Nine Up, Nine Down: It’s Never Quiet In Boston

Can’t we just rest and enjoy the game? We defeated the Devil Rays 10-6 yesterday, and this was a game that was never as close as it sounded. During and after the game, however, we were treated to the news of:
-Mark Bellhorn becoming a Yankee
-Chad Harville being claimed off waivers from the Astros
-Keith Foulke rather upset and unsure about his effectiveness
-Craig Hansen, Savior, being shut down
-Johnny Damon getting hurt
-David Wells’ rant
-Steve Trachsel to Boston?
Hmm … that’s seven things. Simply add two more, and we’ve got the next edition of Nine Up and Nine Down.
Look, I have advocated cutting Bellhorn for a long time now (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). However, that does not mean I have booed him (never have, and never will boo anyone) nor have I wanted to draw and quarter him. I just was extremely frustrated by Bellhorn and his inability to make contact. He was great last year, and I wondered in the offseason if it was possible that he would not be able to duplicate 2004. Sadly, I was right. This Mark Bellhorn to the Yankees shocks me on an emotional level, much like the Alan Embree move. As for production, however, I am more than fine with the move. Instead of Embree and Bellhorn hurting us (which does, believe it or not, hurt me to say) … they now hurt the Yankees. Here is the bottom line, which helps me to come to terms with this: He’s not the Mark Bellhorn of the 2004 World Champion Red Sox. In 2006, I wish the best of luck to Mark Bellhorn. For right now, I hope he continues the season he has had.
[EDIT] Or maybe Bellhorn will be just fine…

 Home 41 137 17 10 3 14 15 54 .168 .247 .307 .553  
 Away 44 146 24 10 4 14 34 55 .260 .398 .411 .809  

Chad Harville was claimed off waivers from the Houston Astros yesterday, as I made mention of on my site yesterday (in addition to Bellhorn and Trachsel). Geo, a commenter, made this encouraging note: Since a July 15th game against the Cardinals where he gave up a walk-off HR to Pujols he’s been steadily improving his ERA. It’s dropped from 6.65 to 4.46. In 15.1 IP since that date he has 2 earned runs (that’s a 3.41 ERA if you do the math). The WHIP since then is 0.85. Those are good numbers. Indeed, good numbers, and he has the arm that really could turn into someone. I can’t say its likely, but reclamation projects do sometimes turn out. Abe Alvarez should be demoted today to make room for Harville. This comes at the right time, as it adds yet another fresh arm to the bullpen and it is also why Francona gave Alvarez every chance to finish the game last night – because he wouldn’t be around much longer and it would help save the bullpen. It didn’t work brilliantly, but the bullpen is fresher for it. However, when’s the last time a NL midseason reliever came over and helped us? Mike Remlinger…no. Scott Sauerbeck was a mess. Byung-Hyun Kim helped us tremendously … until September. Scott Williamson imploded until the playoffs. The last person that we can really say helped, we have to go way back to Alan Embree. Funny how these things work out. So, Chad Harville in pinstripes in 2008, anyone?
So. ”Maybe I’m just getting old,” Foulke said. ”I don’t know what the deal is. A few years back I was a 90-93 guy, consistently. That’s when I was dominating. That’s where I want to be. Hopefully, over the next month or so we can get back there and keep working toward next year.” I don’t believe it, Keith. I don’t really believe it. Foulke, in frustration, says a lot of things he doesn’t really mean (one I took him to task for, admittedly a bit unfair). I’ve heard he’s been 88, 89 with the fastball and that should be enough to get batters out. Has he completely dominated and shut down Single-A Lowell? No, but he’s the kind of pitcher where it’s going to take time and I can at least see encouraging signs with him in Lowell. Time will tell if he will be effective in Boston, but we’ll know soon, and this is probably the development I am most nervous about. We have a lot riding on how effective Foulke is when he returns, probably the most out of anyone. If Foulke returns to his last year’s dominance, then we suddenly have a great bullpen.
Great. Craig Hansen, aka. the Savior, has been shut down, due to a fatigued arm. Of course, we are all hopeful that rest will cure this arm, but it is possible that we might have to shut him down for the rest of the year. That is common with college/high-school baseball players anyways – shutting them down and having them start fresh the next year, because they’re tired from the college season. In this case, I can’t say it would be a big blow to lose him because you never know – he could have been terrible for us. I will say, however, the potential of him is a loss, and now Keith Foulke’s image is much larger under the microscope. Hansen could just feel great after a few days, but I am no longer counting on him.
Damon left the game last night, having bruised his hand. As the Globe notes, his hand now hurts along with his shoulder, knee, elbow, eye, and cheek. And don’t forget the lingering effects of his concussion when he rendezvoused with Damian Jackson at an inopportune time. Anyone else think that a major injury is on its way? Maybe not this year, but next year? He seems to be getting hurt more and more every single year, and when is the big one going to come? Food for thought when we attempt to resign him. As for this year, I’m not worried about it at all. He may sit out a game or two, but he should rest anyways. That’s as far as it should go.
David Wells … I’m getting a kick out of this guy. I’m sure I’ll tire of him next year much like I tired of Schilling this year, but right now, I’m enjoying his candidness. What he did to deserve the suspension I can’t say wasn’t warranted. A suspension of sorts was indeed justifiable, and it makes it harder because Wells is a starting pitcher, so to really be hurt by the suspension, he needs to be suspended at least five games. I feel that he should have been knocked to to five, but not six. But hey – at least now he’s on track to face the Yankees twice in September, not zilch as it would have been, and he’s been our best pitcher this year. His other rants about steroids I’ll leave to you people to form an opinion on because I’m tired of steroids, and I try not to talk about them.
Apparently, Trachsel to Boston is not as much of a done deal as ESPN was intimating. Apparently, the Mets do not want to move him at all. Considering Trachsel’s effectiveness, I can’t hardly blame him, but it would sure be nice to nab Trachsel. I was going to get into an indepth examination of Trachsel and his career statistics to show that he is indeed, quite a good pitcher, but we don’t want to waste our breath on New Yorkers with a high percentage of remaining New Yorkers, so we’ll file this one away…
Scott Kazmir goes against Curt Schilling today. Ouch. Schilling will look to build upon his previous outing, but there’s just one little problem. Scott Kazmir. He of the career 27.1 IP against Boston, 2-1 record, and … wait for it … waiiiiiiiit for it … 1.32 ERA. Great. Stupendous! To make it even more worse, he is on a roll. He was 3-7 going into the All-Star Break with a 4.59 ERA, and since then has gone 4-2 with a 3.09 ERA. This is a massive test, and we really do need to win this game (as we do need to win ANY game from here on out to distance ourselves from the Yankees) so tonight’s going to have quite a bit of a stake and challenge in it.
This article has been devoid of the usual analysis that I bring (hey, up top it says sometimes I don’t) so I want to throw in some interesting numbers here. Let’s do that.
How did Red Sox players fare in August? This will help us look at what we can expect for September.

E. Renteria 25 109 21 1 18 .349 .390 .477 .867
Johnny Damon 23 98 17 1 15 .265 .345 .337 .682
David Ortiz 24 95 23 10 29 .295 .398 .695 1.093
Bill Mueller 23 86 17 3 11 .372 .391 .593 .984
Manny Ramirez 23 83 23 5 22 .349 .460 .639 1.099
Jason Varitek 20 77 16 5 18 .273 .360 .532 .892
Kevin Millar 22 76 12 1 4 .237 .298 .303 .600
T. Graffanino 20 74 20 1 11 .351 .385 .473 .858
Gabe Kapler 21 58 8 1 8 .224 .270 .328 .597
Alex Cora 12 32 7 1 7 .313 .371 .438 .809
R. Petagine 13 26 4 1 8 .308 .400 .500 .900
John Olerud 9 25 2 0 4 .400 .423 .440 .863
D. Mirabelli 9 20 2 0 0 .200 .360 .250 .610
Trot Nixon 6 20 2 1 4 .250 .273 .500 .773

Let us note Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Bill Mueller, ROBERTO PETAGINE, Jason Varitek, Edgar Renteria, John Olerud, Tony Graffanino, and Alex Cora. These are people whose OPS are over the magic number of .800, meaning they were extremely productive for us. Ramirez and Ortiz were over the eye-popping number of 1.000, amazing considering Ortiz’s struggles with the shift.
People we need to be worried about are Gabe Kapler (great play last night by the way), Kevin Millar (let’s give it one, two more weeks, I think), Doug Mirabelli (he’s gotten very quiet the last few months), and Johnny Damon. Trot Nixon is the only one in the happy medium.
What can we take away from this? Damon may have lost a lot of power, but his OBP is still a healthy .345, so overall, we really only have one fulltime starter struggling, so our offense is healthy.
Our pitching?

Chad Bradford 14 0 2 0 0 5 11.2 5.40 1.11 2.31
Matt Clement 5 5 2 0 0 0 30.0 6.30 1.20 3.60
Mike Myers 12 0 0 0 0 2 7.1 6.14 1.09 3.68
J. Papelbon 5 2 0 1 0 0 14.2 7.36 1.77 3.68
Mike Timlin 15 0 1 1 1 5 14.0 5.79 1.43 3.86
David Wells 5 5 2 1 0 0 28.2 7.85 1.53 4.40
Tim Wakefield 5 5 4 1 0 0 32.0 8.16 1.25 5.06
B. Arroyo 6 5 1 3 0 0 30.0 4.50 1.53 5.40
J. Gonzalez 10 0 1 0 0 1 15.1 4.11 1.30 7.04
C. Schilling 11 1 2 2 4 0 16.2 10.80 1.56 8.10

Chad Bradford, Matt Clement, Mike Myers, Jonathan Papelbon, and Mike Timlin are leading the charge. That’s four bullpen arms if you aren’t counting, a nice reversal. Clement has really shaken his doldrums off and is going back to being our ace. David Wells is in the tweener area and Tim Wakefield just misses the magic 5.00 line, but we’re not worried about him. Arroyo is annoyingly high, and eremi has sadly regressed. Curt Schilling has shown no improvement at 8.10, so his outing tonight is doubly important.
Our pitching is not as good as our hitting in July, but there is reason for promise. Chad Harville’s August statistics are best for our pitchers, so there ya go. If Jeremi can turn it around and Schilling can get to David Wells-esque levels, I’m a lot more confident in the pitching than I currently am.