Pedroia to AAA, Arroyo Pitches Well, Timlin an All-Star?

I’ve had plans to go to Norwich, CT to see the SeaDogs play for some time. I was excited to see Jon Papelbon (who will be drawing the start) be pitted against the Navagators with Pedroia and Hanley up the middle and see other names of note such as Alberto Concepcion, David Murphy, Brandon Moss, and perhaps see Jon Lester and David Pauley lounging around. Alas, I will be missing Hanely Ramirez because he was put on the DL on the 11th with a back sprain, and Pedroia was just called up to AAA Pawtucket. He will be making his debut tonight.
I guess I will have to try to grab tickets to a PawSox game later this year and go see Dustin. As for Hanley… well, maybe next year.
In big league news, it was encouraging to see Bronson Arroyo finish with a line of 7 IP, 4 H, 4 K, 1 ER, and 1 BB to lower his ERA to 4.02. In addition, he had to face seven out of nine batters who happened to be left-handed. Including his game last night, lefties are hitting .289 off of him with a 1.51 WHIP, compared to .202 and 0.83 against righties. If Arroyo finally has turned the corner against lefties, he could become a perennial Cy Young candidate. Consider that last year Arroyo was .227 and 1.05 v. RHP and .269 and 1.38 v. LHP, he’s actually enjoying more success against righties this year.
Which, again, is why we need to keep him in the rotation. Favorite player be damned, Tim Wakefield is more valuable as a longman, middle reliever, setup, and closer who can pitch a lot without much rest in the bullpen than he is in the rotation, and coupled with the fact that Arroyo is having a Cy Young season v. RHP… The potential is there (based on last night’s game) for an extended run of dominance from him, so much that we are better served with Arroyo in the rotation.
Not that anyone ever listens to me anyways as plans are to shove Arroyo into the bullpen when Schilling returns.
Schilling will return at the All-Star Break, and it is during the All-Star break when we will know if Mike Timlin is an All-Star or not. As a precursor to what I’m about to say, let me just note that Tito now has four slots to pick from, much different than when Joe Torre had a ton of slots to pick from and predictably picked from all Yankees. I better not hear any crying from Yankee fans (or other fans for that matter) because we earned the right to give some love to our players, and it’s not like Timlin doesn’t deserve it anyways.
Middle relievers are always undervalued in this game, and that’s surprising because they are the bridge from the starters to the closers. Runs are just as important in the first and second than they are in the sixth and seventh. A lousy bullpen gets you a lot of unneccessary losses. Ask Cleveland last year and us this year.
Anyways, if there was a voting for a middle reliever, you’d have a great case for selecting Mike Timlin. The 39-year old who leads the Boston bullpen, he has a 1.31 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP, and .255 BAA. He has logged 34.1 IP so far. What’s interesting is that while the BAA and WHIP is lower than last year, in 2003 when he ended up with a 3.55 ERA he had a 1.03 WHIP and .239 BAA. Makes me wonder if he’s been lucky so far this year. I went to Baseball Prospectus to try to find any other meaning with more advanced pitching metrics, but all I found was that Timlin had sheer luck. His Delta-R (The number of runs, more or less, that a pitcher allowed, compared to his statistics. The pitcher’s statistics (such as hits, walks, home runs) are run through a modified version of the equivalent runs formula to get estimated runs. Again, positive is “bad luck,” negative is “good luck.”) in 2003 was 4, while this year it is -8.
So yes, Timlin is having a good year, but could regress. But there’s something to be said for luck. Luck can run out, but it can also hold. There is really nothing statistically to show why Timlin is having so much more success than he is in 2003 with worse numbers, and I’m leery to use the Delta-R statistic because not only could luck be a fluke, it could in addition be something else that we just aren’t seeing.
Either way, I’ll take what Timlin is giving us.
Can we do this for the Red Sox – Yankees games? I’ll be the Red Sox, and the computer can be the Yankees – set on easy, of course.

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