Thursday, May 25, 2006

PREDICT THE FUTURE AT YOUR OWN RISK

I originally was writing Tuesday afternoon on the train home in giddy anticipation of the final two games of the series against the Yankees. After the disgrace of the Wednesday night game (Wakefield), I decided I could not in good conscience post my inane thoughts & theories.

With the Yankees hastily dispatched by the latest rebirth of Curt Schilling and the pounding the Red Sox line-up put on Yankees pitcher (ace?) Chien-Ming Wang, attention turns to the next match-up: Jaret Wright for the Pinstriped villians versus Tim Wakefield.

The maddening untouched potential and inconsistent success of Wright versus maddening consistency of knuckleballer, Wakefield. Wakefield is a pretty consistent line on a chart: He will pitch six to eight innings, and give up anywhere from two to six runs. He may win, he may lose, but he rarely gets bombed or dominates anymore. He is, to quote Shakespeare (in Julius Caesar): He is as constant as the Northern Star.

(OK, here I was right about Wakefield. He almost got six innings in and gave up six runs. Unfortunately, the Sox bats did not pick him up.)

For the Yankees, Jaret Wright remains the continual tease. He will follow-up a great performance with three horrible starts. He will flash just enough potential every so often, when he is healthy, that the team has no choice but to keep throwing him out there and hoping he puts it together like he did for the Indians for that brief, shining moment in the late 90s, or like he did for Leo Mazzone and the Braves in 2004. Think of him as the Yankees version of Matt Clement, except worse. The Pavano signing was bad luck for the Yankees, but Wright was just a bad baseball decision.

(Wright had one of those maddening performances when he went from horrible, to unhittable, to lucky. Of course, the next paragraph was where I jinxed the Sox.)

What the Red Sox have to be sure to do against Wright, which they often fail to do, is to keep their foot on his throat when he is down. Letting him weasel out innings with men on base in the first few innings will not be acceptable. The Sox need to get him out of the game by the fourth inning and feast on some Colter Bean or extended action from Mike Myers. If the Sox get to Wright early and keep the pressure on him, it should be smooth sailing until they can get the ball into the hands of Mike Timlin and/or Jonathan Papelbon.

(Of course, the Sox kept letting Wright off the hook until it was too late. WASTED opportunity.)

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BIZARRE HAPPENINGS:

Strangely, I have somehow, temporarily, clawed my way from twelfth to first in one of my fantasy baseball leagues, although I have no idea how (It is the Dan League). In the Rickles League, I am finally back up to .500, but desperately need some offensive consistency. In the Dan League, I am desperately looking for any help in the bullpen, but there is not a single save out there for anyone to get their hands on. Of course, I am sure if I check my innings used, I am way over the projected limit and my lead is due to running up strikeouts, wins, and other pitching stats along with the temporary resurgence of Brad Wilkerson padding some stats as well.

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