Challenging Times Ahead

Looks like I’ll be having a lot less time now that I’m in college, and this is before classes start! Yikes. We’ll see how things transpire.
I am more interested in how things transpire for the Red Sox as they embark on a challenging schedule that really doesn’t allow any letup until September 19th – and even that team, the Devil Rays, have been quite good in the second-half. In fact, one can say we have no letup from now until October 3. Tampa Bay and Baltimore on the face of it look like cakewalks, but each game with the Devil Rays we had to battle to win and the Orioles for some reason have our number.
We have a game against the White Sox right now, with Curt Schilling handling the White Sox through two, then host the Angels for a three game set. It’s off to New York, Toronto, then back home to host a four-game set against Oakland. We then shoot down to Tampa Bay, play the three-game series, get our off-day then fight Baltimore at Camden Yards.
We wrap the season up with a four-gamer against the Blue Jays and three against the Yankees.
That’s the end of the regular season, and it only gets worse from there. So we’re going to really have to cowboy up on the pitching end, and that’s why I think we recieved good news today when the Globe when they said Wade Miller get a start or two down the stretch. WIth only one off-day the rest of the way, it makes perfect sense to get Wade some starts to ease the burden on our rotation.
Some people have questioned why I like Wade Miller over Bronson Arroyo. Of course, we all know that Arroyo has more trade value than Wade Miller, but people still don’t understand why I would take Wade Miller over Arroyo.
I think Arroyo has good peripherals and can develop into an ace, but he’s just not doing it. Maybe he will in two years and we’ll moan and groan, but right now, we have a glut of starters with Abe Alvarez, Jon Lester, Anibal Sanchez, and other candidates in the minors getting ever so closer with each passing day. We can afford to move Arroyo to fill other needs (in the offseason, we’d need a firstbaseman – Arroyo for Lyle Overbay as the central section could happen) because as it stands right now, next year we will have Curt Schilling, Matt Clement, David Wells, Tim Wakefield, Bronson Arroyo, Wade Miller, and Jon Papelbon. Anibal Sanchez figures to start the season in AAA along with Jon Lester (if not start, then most certainly finish) and Jon Papelbon looks to have locked up a bullpen spot next year and the #6 starter man. We can’t work with seven starters on the team, six of which will clamor for time.
Arroyo has the highest commodity, and Wade Miller is no slouch. Most people take one full year after shoulder surgery to really become effective again, and I can see this applying to Wade Miller. Last year, before Wade got hurt, he had a 3.35 ERA. This was consistent with his career. Over his career he has an ERA of 3.98 and per year, including his 10.1 inning stint in 1999, here are his season ERAs: 9.58, 5.14, 3.40, 3.28, 4.13, 3.35, 4.95 (this year). Compare this with Arroyo.
6.40, 5.09, 4.00, 2.08 (in 17 IP), 4.03, 4.47.
Arroyo seemed to be turning the corner in 2002, 2003, and 2004, into becoming a more than serviceable #3, #4 starter. He has regressed this year by allowing batters to make more contact with the ball, which is a direct result of less stuff. Whether he can regain it nobody knows, but over the career, Wade is the clear choice here. Much has been made about Wade Miller being injury-prone, but he’s had one shoulder surgery. It doesn’t mean he’ll have another one.
Miller’s stuff has always been better than Arroyo’s, and it was only his first-inning struggles that were bloating his ERA.

  IP H ER HR BB K ERA WHIP BAA  
 Pitch 1-15 10.1 15 9 0 4 5 7.84 1.84 .349  
 Pitch 16-30 11.2 16 8 3 7 7 6.17 1.97 .327  
 Pitch 31-45 12.1 13 15 0 7 10 10.95 1.62 .260  
 Pitch 46-60 17.0 16 7 2 7 8 3.71 1.35 .254  
 Pitch 61-75 11.1 11 2 0 6 9 1.59 1.50 .244  
 Pitch 76-90 12.1 5 6 0 9 11 4.38 1.14 .119  
 Pitch 91-105 12.0 11 3 3 5 9 2.25 1.33 .234  
 Pitch 106-20 3.2 9 0 0 2 4 0.00 3.00 .474  
 Pitch 121-35 0.1 0 0 0 0 1 0.00 0.00 .000  

As we can see, that’s not quite pretty. However, he has drastically improved as the game went on and in his career, has been better than advertised.

    IP H ER HR BB K ERA WHIP BAA  
 Pitch 1-15   114.2 99 67 6 35 85 5.26 1.17 .237  
 Pitch 16-30   127.1 108 47 14 50 110 3.32 1.24 .230  
 Pitch 31-45   131.0 110 65 9 50 109 4.47 1.22 .231  
 Pitch 46-60   127.1 128 47 19 49 94 3.32 1.39 .262  
 Pitch 61-75   123.2 118 50 18 48 110 3.64 1.34 .248  
 Pitch 76-90   106.2 107 42 15 63 95 3.54 1.59 .264  
 Pitch 91-105   89.2 87 44 11 38 80 4.42 1.39 .254  
 Pitch 106-20   31.2 31 16 6 18 34 4.55 1.55 .254  
 Pitch 121-35   7.0 7 2 1 2 6 2.57 1.29 .259  

His career, he has struggled a bit in the first inning, but after that … it’s clear skating. Compare this to Arroyo’s career line…

  IP H ER HR BB K ERA WHIP BAA  
 Pitch 1-15 101.0 93 66 9 39 65 5.88 1.31 .246  
 Pitch 16-30 100.1 104 58 12 39 73 5.20 1.43 .264  
 Pitch 31-45 94.0 100 47 9 21 64 4.50 1.29 .273  
 Pitch 46-60 74.0 100 34 11 31 38 4.14 1.77 .329  
 Pitch 61-75 75.0 69 39 7 22 42 4.68 1.21 .244  
 Pitch 76-90 65.1 69 22 5 8 38 3.03 1.18 .266  
 Pitch 91-105 38.0 36 11 3 14 33 2.61 1.32 .243  
 Pitch 106-20 8.1 8 6 3 1 5 6.48 1.08 .242  
 Pitch 121-35 0.1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 3.00 .000  

And his season line …

  IP H ER HR BB K ERA WHIP BAA  
 Pitch 1-15 25.0 21 20 2 4 14 7.20 1.00 .231  
 Pitch 16-30 26.0 31 8 3 7 19 2.77 1.46 .287  
 Pitch 31-45 27.2 30 15 4 2 13 4.88 1.16 .280  
 Pitch 46-60 21.0 28 9 1 9 9 3.86 1.76 .322  
 Pitch 61-75 25.1 22 15 4 9 11 5.33 1.22 .227  
 Pitch 76-90 23.2 27 14 2 2 8 5.32 1.23 .290  
 Pitch 91-105 19.2 17 3 1 7 13 1.37 1.22 .227  
 Pitch 106-20 4.2 5 2 2 0 4 3.86 1.07 .263  
 Pitch 121-35 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 .000  

And I have to say that based on Wade’s history, career splits, stuff, that I like him more than Arroyo. Miller’s makeup also seems to be better, as he is more tenacious, more of a bulldog. Put Arroyo in the bullpen if you wish, but you run the risk of him agitating to start, and we shouldn’t have that, not when we can use him to plug other holes, because he won’t be as valuable on the trade market as a reliever.