Appreciate the Mirabelli Monster Shot™!
Most of you already know that Doug Mirabelli started last night against the Blue Jays as the DH. He went 1-3 with a walk in the three-spot, but this is a move that should have been made. He was hitting .385/1.077 (!!!!!!!)/.429 against Lilly while ‘Tiz checked in at .105/.211/.261. It was an opportune time to get Ortiz more rest.
So I’ve decided it’s time to give Mirabelli some appreciation. A search in Fire Brand turns up that while Mirabelli has shown up in quite a few posts and been applauded, he has not been the central figure. No more, he’s the central figure here. Doug, here is your 15 minutes of fame.
I’m not the first one to appreciate Mirabelli, though. Google turns up someone who appreciates Mirabelli so much, he gave Doug his own fan site. Not a bad site as sites go, check it out.
So why is Mirabelli so special to us? Let’s check out what he’s done for us so far as a Red Sox in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005.
Here’s some notes I’ve said about Mirabelli.
December 4, 2004
Doug Mirabelli agreed to a two-year deal the other day. I really like this move as it allows AAA catcher Kelly Shoppach to stay in AAA (assuming Jason Varitek resigns) for another two years, to cut down on his strikeouts and raise his average. Shoppach to me smacks of another Mirabelli – great defensive catcher and pitch-caller, and also hits for power, but with a low average. Mirabelli will earn more money if he is a starter. Mirabelli has hit .259 with 31 HR and 101 RBI in 615 AB during his 3.5 seasons with the Red Sox. That’s a full year for most players, that’s very nice statistics for Mirabelli. He caught Tim Wakefield for most of the year, and I think most of the critics who thought Varitek should catch Wakefield were silenced when we saw the difficulty that Varitek had with Wakefield in the playoffs. I was one of those critics, but I still believe (as I have stated here before) Mirabelli and Varitek should split Wakefield duties, for the experience of the knuckler for Varitek. However after witnessing that incident in the ALCS, I am more appreciative of why they don’t have Varitek catch Mirabelli. Has to give Varitek quite a breather not to do that. Besides, we’re not losing much sending Mirabelli up there. He usually was a no-hit catcher but since coming to the Red Sox, his batting has gotten better – no doubt because of the Green Monster. It seems everytime he hits a HR in Fenway, it’s over the Monster. Mirabelli is an important part of the Red Sox, and I am very happy he’s around for two more years. The 34-year old is turning out to be one of the great deals in the Duquette regime. The Red Sox acquired Mirabelli from the Texas Rangers for Justin Duscherer (who is now with the Athletics and just this year got a bullpen relief slot) the day Jason Varitek underwent surgery in 2001.
Doug Mirabelli is our backup, and is having a solid season. His fielding percentage is .992 with a CERA of 3.45. The fielding percentage slippage is explained by the fact he is Wakefield’s personal catcher. The CERA is a little surprise, considering that he catches Wakefield, who currently has a 4.27 ERA. Certainly is good on the defensive front. On the offensive front, he’s giving Barry Bonds a run for his money: .297/.366/.656 (Bonds has a .790 OPS). ‘Belli has 19 hits, 11 of which have gone for extra base hits. I am among the pantheon who support giving Mirabelli more starts against lefties and allowing Varitek to catch Wakefield. It’s not a good idea at all to have your primary catcher uncomfortable with catching someone. Mirabelli has a .364/.391/.864 line against lefties, and a .262/.354/.548 line against righties, mostly on career track. But a philosophy instilled by manager Grady Little has carried over, unfortunately. Exceeds. (Did you think his hitting would be this good?)
Mirabelli has followed up his campaign last year with a similar one. He’s a powerhitting backup who also is known for his defense. What’s not to like about this guy? Really, I can say he’s the best back-up in the game, and when I look around at some teams, I just shake my head because I know Doug Mirabelli could be a starter on that team.
But I’m glad we have him and the facts don’t deny it – he and Wakefield make a very effective tandem. Since Mirabelli returned, Wakefield is 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA after five straight losses. Is it all because of Varitek? Absolutely not and eventually, Wakefield could get comfortable with Varitek again. Nonetheless, the rapport is there with Mirabelli, and that makes him valuable to us.
So here’s to Doug Mirabelli! Thanks for being on the Red Sox! You go, Doug!
(This article would have been much better if we didn’t have the brain-beating the Jays just gave us, so just to throw a little doom and gloom in this post, Matt Mantei has pitched 26.3 innings and has 24 walks. But don’t think you go unappreciated, Doug.)