Friday, July 4, 2008

APNDR's Slightly-More-Than-Halfway Report on the Sox of Red (Pt. I)

Happy 4th of July to everyone! (Except for our Canadian, Mexican, Asian, European, African, and Oceanic readers, to whom we wish -- Happy Friday, everyone!)

Yes, it's that time of year again. The time when we gather together with friends, family, and copious amounts of illegal fireworks transported by your buddy Clint from South of the Border on the way back from Spring Break in Daytona, and say, "jeez, the baseball season is, like, three-quarters over already. Is it the playoffs yet?" Then you realize that you are bad at math, and forgot to carry the two, and that the season is only half over. Which slightly disappoints you, because you were looking forward to the playoffs, so you have that extra beer, get belligerent, and smack your bitch/dude up a little harder tonight.

But that's not my problem. No, my problem, which I gladly accept, is to do a rundown of what we know, what we don't know, and what we're afraid we do know at the halfway-ish point of the season with respect to our local Red Sox. I can't decide which hackneyed, tired, overused, seen-it-a-million-times framing device to use for this review.... so I'll go with that old favorite, "Mid-Season Awards". The envelopes please.....

Midseason MVP:      Kevin Cash


Okay, I just put that in to tork off Mrs. Ankiel. Seriously....

Midseason MVP (Overall):      Theo's Reconstructed Farm System

Yes, he's made some puzzling moves in his short tenure as GM (oh, and also won two World Series), but there's one thing I think we can all agree on: there is nothing wrong with Theo Epstein's desire to build and maintain a strong reservoir of talent in the minor leagues (see, e.g., the Atlanta Braves), a long-term plan that is now starting to bear fruit.

Let's conduct a little thought experiment, shall we? Let's say that the inbred cretinous retards that call in to WEEI had gotten their way in the offseason, and the Red Sox had gone that extra mile to obtain Johan Santana. Do you recall the last deal that the Twins were insisting was the minimum they would accept? Well, let me remind you. The package was Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, Justin Masterson, AND Jed Lowrie. All of them. And to be honest, at the time a deal that made the Lester/Ellsbury an either/or proposition (i.e. one or the other plus Masterson and Lowrie) would have been a reasonable deal. But would you do it today? HELL 2 THA NAW. Because injuries and other assorted shit happens all the time in baseball. And this year, when trouble has struck, the Red Sox have been able to dip down into the minors and bring up legitimate Major League-level talent, not career AAA journeymen or seat-fillers. And that is why this team is currently competitive.

Midseason MVP (Offense):      J.D. Drew

You can also make a strong case for Dustin Pedroia, who has picked up right where he left off last year, or for Kevin Youkilis, who has rounded into a strong middle-of-the-lineup threat. But the most valuable contribution has been from Drew, who is finally showing us the talent that makes every GM fall in love with him, because of his impeccable timing. Drew's scorching, Mickey Mantle-like June was just what the team needed in the wake of the loss of David Ortiz to a wrist injury. Had Drew not stepped up and earned his contract (for now), this team could have been in serious, serious trouble right now.

Midseason MVP (Defense):      Kevin Cash

This time I'm serious. Cash has done a great job catching and calling Tim "The Timmy Who Doesn't Suck" Wakefield's knuckler this year -- Wake has been solid as a rock so far, notwithstanding his utter lack of run support. Honorable mention to Jacoby Ellsbury and his death-defying center field play.

Midseason MVP (Pitching):      David Aardsma and Javier Lopez

Also known as "The Only Guys In The Bullpen Who Can Get Guys Out Whose Names Don't Rhyme With 'Applemon'". Aardsma has had a big problem with walks -- 25 in 37.1 innings -- but has a hard, lively fastball that is very effective when he can hit his corners. Opponents are batting a mere .203 against him (by comparison, opponents are hitting .193 against Paps, and a toasty .322 against Mike "The Timmy Who Sucks" Timlin). Lopez has been deployed efficiently and effectively by Terry Francona, and has quietly become a better clutch option than poor Hideki Okajima, whom hitters have really started to figure out.

This counts as the "good" at the midpoint. Coming over the weekend -- or whenever I get around to it -- the bad and the ugly. Enjoy the holiday, everyone! Don't drink and drive!

1 comment:

futuremrsrickankiel said...

A serious oversight here: the exclusion of Daisuke, who is really coming into his own as a starter and has done an excellent job of maturing past his rookie confidence issues. 9-1!