Jeremi!

We lost today’s game, but I’ve been very encouraged on what I’ve seen the last two games. Even though we had coasted to two amazing win streaks, I thought that’s what we were doing – coasting. It took a bitter pill in the Tigers game to refocus us, and the pressure of the second game helped reinforce that. We did lose the third game, but we didn’t lose it. Wells got dinked to death, and we clawed our way back, and let’s be honest – we had them where we wanted them. Man on first, one in, Ortiz at bat. He just didn’t come through. It doesn’t happen much, but it happens.
I want to pay homage to Jeremi Gonzalez. He’s quickly become a favorite of mine, for whatever reason. Probably because he has such a nondescript job for us, wasn’t supposed to be a factor for us, and has a cool first name.
My first mention of Jeremi on Fire Brand was with the 2004 Know Thy Enemy in which I said: SP Victor Zambrano/Jeremi Gonzalez/Mark Hendrickson/Doug Waechter/Paul Abbott comprise, what I think, is a horrible rotation. Save for Waechter, no one is promising and young. Abbott or Hendrickson will eventually lose their jobs to Damian Moss. Zambrano and Gonzalez are good pitchers – good end of the rotation pitchers. This is what will keep them back most of the year, and be the cause for their expected finish in fifth place. Again.
Tim of BS Memorial Stadium opined in the Red Sox Roundtable that perhaps Jeremi could take hold in short relief. How right you were, Tim. The first true mention of Jeremi came when Curt Schilling went on the DL
So who WILL come up? The popular consensus on message boards is former Devil Ray Jeremi Gonzalez, who has always had the stuff (and translated that in AAA) but never the makeup for the majors. So far he has started 4 games for Pawtucket, 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 24 IP. Maybe he can become good now, you never know.
Well, we know now. We know that while Jeremi is not a star, he is a MORE than adequate bullpen arm for us. Jeremi sports a 5.57 ERA now, fifth straight appearance it’s gone down. If he had not (1, 2) been gasoline inducing in two appearances (one which was a spot start, one a relief shot) his ERA would be a very respectable 3.45 in 39.1 IP (including today‘s game). That’s not to discout his two terrible appearances, but let me try. One was a spot start. He made three. One good, one average, one terrible. Considering he wasn’t supposed to start at all this season, that’s a success. His other time against the Twins was only his second time making back to back appearances of the season. He got two quick outs (one to end the seventh, got out of a 2nd and 3rd jam) and to start the eighth. Then Renteria couldn’t handle a (scored a single) ball, with a single following. A double and homerun later, and Jeremi was screwed (followed the HR with an out, double, and out).
In other words, using relief numbers only (throwing that spot start out) Jeremi has been our sixth best reliever, and two people ahead of him are Bronson Arroyo and Lenny DiNardo, who each threw 1.1 IP in relief. The other three are Mike Timlin, Chad Bradford, and Mike Myers.
Chad Bradford gives up an unhealthy amount of inherited runs (5.74 ERA if you include inherited/bequeathed runs) while Jeremi’s goes DOWN to 4.61 (his ERA is 4.85 as a reliever). It’s time to give Jeremi Gonzalez his due.
Jeremi is quite simply, our third best relief option. That’s not trying to show how bad our bullpen is. That’s giving Jeremi his due for being a nice surprise for us this season. So, here’s to you, Jeremi Gonzalez. You’ve helped save our season.