After narrowly escaping blowout status each of the last two nights by pushing across late runs to keep the Sox within 5, the bullpen removed any chance the Sox had at a three-peat by allowing 9 runs to cross the plate on their watch in just 5 outs. We're 56 games into the season; the Sox have just three victories this season by more than 3 runs, and have lost by margins of 4, 4, and 7 in the last three games to the Yankees. That says about all I need to say about this team.
They're just bad. You might have been able to argue that they were a mediocre team a couple of weeks ago. But a 3-11 stretch during which they've been outscored 89-44, and a bullpen that's approaching a month of combined double-digit ERAs, have removed all doubt. This team can't compete in the best division in baseball, and will be lucky to come out with a .500 record in their next 15 against the lowly NL Central.
Jose Contreras had allowed only three baserunners in his first 7 innings pitched, but a leadoff walk to Derek Jeter and a Melky Cabrera single made Ozzie go to the pen. It's tough to blame Ozzie for going to the pen, but given the terrible state of the pen, I'd rather see him either stick with the Starter or give it to the Big Fella. I suspect we would have seen Jenks if the Sox were holding onto a 1-run lead, but Ozzie didn't want to go against convention in a tie game. Not that I blame him, but with his current batch of arsonists in the pen, it may be time to rethink strategy.
Matt Thornton came in to allow another clutch Abreu hit -- He's hit .346/.452/.654 against the Sox and just .245/.336/.306 against the rest of baseball this season -- plating Contreras' runners. Then walked the bases loaded (one was another Ozzie special IBB) and tacked a run on his own line.
After the Sox got back into it with two runs in the bottom of the 8th, it was time for the bullpen to really show what it was made of (guys who belong in AAA). Brett Prinz got rocked. Boone Logan was spotty, issuing his fourth walk of the season. His only pitches that weren't strikes were to that Abreu guy, who just happened to be batting in front of... A-Rod, who absolutely schooled Ryan Bukvich with an all-too-predictable grand slam.
The two callups now feature ERAs that add up to over 40, which is even worse than I expected. Way to beat expectations guys! I wouldn't have been comfortable, but I would have been more comfortable with either Wasserman or Egbert in the ninth tonight.
Enough about the crap the Sox putting on the field now, let's talk about the crap they'll put on the field in 5 years. I'm talking about the draft, of course, the first five rounds of which were destroyed by ESPN on Thursday.
- (25th overall) -- Aaron Poreda | LHP | U San Francisco | MiLB scouting report
Poreda is a big lefty with a big fastball, but lacks a second pitch. Sound like any former first rounder currently on the Sox? The difference is Thornton has, prior to this season, struck batters out at a rate of about 1 per inning. I don't even want to think about what professional hitters will do to a guy who couldn't even strike out college hitters at a respectable clip. Supposedly, he was one pick away from going to the Athletics, and I wish he would have with the Sox taking Rick Porcello, the consensus top HS pitcher in the draft, who went a few picks later to the Tigers because of Scott Boras and bonus demands.
- (89th overall) -- Nevin Griffin | RHP | Middleton HS, Tampa FL | MiLB scouting report
This is the type of pick I was expecting when Kenny announced there would be changes to the draft philosophy. Griffin is a projectible HS righty with good velocity and multiple pitches. I'm no pitching coach, but it looked like he could use a little more leg kick, or drive, something. His arm action was good, but there might be even more velocity in that arm if he gets his bottom half more active. He was a projected late-first rounder or sandwich pick. Getting him at the tail of the second round is a great value pick.
- John Ely | RHP | Miami (OH) | video
Ely is a local guy, a graduate of Homewood-Flossmor, and a reportedly huge Sox fan, if that matters to you. He has a deceptive, violent delivery and a good fastball/change up combo. He was a projected late-second rounder, so again the Sox got good value.
- Leroy Hunt | RHP | Sacramento CC | video
I hate to admit it, but the thing that surprised me most about Hunt when I watched his video was that he was White. I thought Leroy sounded like a black guy. As for his stuff, Hunt has a good fastball with lots of movement, a lot like our first pick Poreda, but doesn't really have much in the way of secondary pitches. He's got a low 3/4's style delivery that will make it hard to add anything other than a sweeping slider. It's certainly a better pick than Tyler Reves in the 4th round last year.
- Nathan Jones | RHP | Northern Kentucky | no video
Jones seems like the reach Reves was last year. He wasn't in Baseball America's top 200 and was ranked 9th in the state of Kentucky, but was the third taken. Shuffled between the pen and rotation, he had a poor walk rate while striking just over a batter per inning. I have no clue what we've got here, but Sox scouts saw something that the rest of baseball didn't.