Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A CALL TO ARMS

Bitching about pitching: that is what it has come down to this season for Red Sox fans. The inconsistencies of the starting rotation sans Curt Schilling and the Chernobyl bullpen have left the Red Sox in the same place they have been all season: chasing the Orioles and never getting enough momentum to generate a charge at first place.

Rotation:

Really, the rotation is one of the top five in the game, and I am hoping that the pendulum swings more towards sustained, solid consistency in the rotation until Schilling returns. Tim Wakefield, as a knuckleball pitcher, is going to be up and down, that is a given. Bronson Arroyo, though twenty-eight years old, is really coming off his rookie year and still learning to pitch effectively and consistently. Matt Clement has been very good and very consistent, with only two poor performances all year. Wade Miller is still finding his comfort zone and the Red Sox are going to give him time to straighten himself out. Finally, David Wells is hopefully in shape enough to be able to run off four or five straight solid games.

A staff with Schilling, Wells, Miller, and Clement all healthy and pitching well would be unstoppable in the second half of the season. The Sox, and pitching coach Dave Wallace, need to find out how to get these starters on track.

Bullpen:

Basically, the Sox returned the bullpen which won them the World Series and added Matt Mantei to fill the role of the middle reliever who can get a big punch-out. Alan Embree has been atrocious and may need to spend some time on the DL with a mysterious injury to work himself back to where he should be in Pawtucket. Mantei, when fully healthy, and Mike Timlin, make it tough for right-handed hitters late in the game. They will be needed in July, August, and beyond. Mike Myers has been great, and with Schilling returning in July or August, Wakefield or Arroyo can help with depth in the bullpen will be improved

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INCOHERENT:

What in the world is Richard Seymour doing showing up at team charity golf outings and ring ceremonies at the Kraft estate in the days following him skipping out of the mandatory camp. I do not know who is giving him contract negotiation advice, but his agent needs to find a better way to get results. I have no problem with Seymour trying to get a new deal, but he has got to realize that where hold-out is linked without doubt to the questionable character of Terrell Owens, this is not a way to build up public support.

I agree Seymour deserves more money that Marcus Stroud, who he has outperformed since they both came into the league, but I do not see what he hopes to accomplish by not showing up for a mandatory mini-camp and then popping in the next day to pick up his ring? That is bad, bad advice. Seymour is earning almost $3 million this year. He signed a six year deal as a rookie, presumably without any type of automatic weapon held to his temple by Bill Belichick (though I am sure there are a few writers in town who would contend that Belichick has jack-booted goons doing just that thing to the poor souls on the team trying to negotiate a fair dollar).

I am sure that I, like most fans, want these players on our favorite team to get as much money as possible. I say bully for them for making millions at a game; however, the success of the Patriots is that they get great players, superb depth, and a championship team on the same budget that every other team has in this salary cap era. Unfortunately, some players are not going to be paid their full value in this competitive balanced world of the salary cap. That is just the price they pay to be on a winning team.

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