It’s a simple question. If the Red Sox were in a playoff game or going into a big series, who do you trust more?
Here’s the list…
- Josh Beckett (SP) is by far the best pitcher on the Red Sox this year. He has already won a World Series by putting the Marlins on his back. In the post-season he has averaged over 7 innings per start and a 2.11 ERA. In ’07 against teams with over a .500 winning percentage, he has a 2.83 ERA. When Beckett plays in any game or series, the chances the Red Sox win are more than with any other player. In the second half Beckett’s ERA at 3.10 is better than his first half at 3.44. This points toward a strong finish for Josh.
- David Ortiz (DH) has been amazing ever since he joined the Red Sox. In the playoffs, he’s been amazing ever since the 2003 ALCS against the Yankees. As apart of the Red Sox, Ortiz’s line in the post-season is .307/.402/.596. In ’07 Ortiz is hitting .346 with RISP and has a .602 SLG. He hasn’t been the same late-inning hero he was in previous years. When it’s a “late & close” situation, Ortiz’s line is .279/.389/.393 in 61 AB’s. No matter what, Ortiz is one of the most clutch players is in all of baseball. Just ask anyone. Even little girls in pink hats who never watch games and think Pedroia is sexy.
- Jonathan Papelbon (RP) would be higher but he doesn’t get the opportunity to be counted on more, even though he’s one of the best closers in all of baseball. It doesn’t matter where or when he gets the ball. He shuts down everybody. In 50 appearances, Papelbon has allowed a run to score in just seven. Of all MLB pitchers with 40 innings pitched, Papelbon’s K/9 of 13.41 is the highest. His current ERA is 1.61 and his WHIP is 0.77.
- Curt Schilling (SP) has a lot of experience in tough situations. In the post-season Schilling has been amazing. Game 1 of the 2004 ALCS is the only post-season game where Schilling struggled. Bloody sock anyone? He still managed a great start in Game 6 and Game 2 of the World Series. Take that start away and his post-season career numbers are 106.1 IP with a 1.61 ERA. Since 2004 his numbers have dramatically changed. His ERA used to sit in the low threes and now it sits normally around four. His batting average against has gone from .230-.250 to around .275. Either way, I still believe.
- Mike Lowell (3B) is one of if not the best bat the Red Sox have had all year. Is he the ultimate what-have-you-done-for-me-lately player? Lately he’s had the best year of his career. He leads the team in rbi’s, avg, and hits. He sits 2nd in 2B’s, TB’s, SLG, and OPS. With RISP, his line is .367/.426/.633. Some of his other clutch stats aren’t what you want. Like for example, when the game is tied his line is .306/.325/.396. When its “late and close” his line is .296/.346/.408. If Lowell gets the job done early in the game, its fine with me.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka (SP) has a lot of experience in big situations. But, it gets a lot bigger in the playoffs. October/September baseball will be an experience for him. Dice-K has a lot of potential to be a post-season star but he’s looked bad as of late. Post All-Star Matsuzaka’s ERA is 4.65 as compared to 3.84 in the 1st half. In games against teams with a .500 W% or higher Dice-K has a 4.68 ERA. More fitting with what he has done in the second half. Always capable of a solid start but a bad one is just as possible.
- Manny Ramirez (LF) currently sits with an OPS of .880. The last time he finished with an OPS below .900 was when he was 22. At 35, Manny is still a great hitter even if this is a down year. A line of .292/.385/.495 is still good. In the past four years Manny has kept a consistent AVG of above .300 in both RISP and with Runners-On. This year’s RISP is .273 and Runners-On is .285. Manny hasn’t had the kind of on-base, slugging, or average when it counts this year. Manny is Manny. On the bright side, in October for the Red Sox, Manny has a .311/.388/.521 line.
- Dustin Pedroia (2B) is the exact kind of lead-off or #2 bat a working offense needs. If Pedroia leads of his .396 OBP and 33 doubles set the table. If he bats second his .329 AVG and team leading 12 AB/K (the next-best AB/K is Lowell at 9.6) ensures he’ll be creating action and not leave guys standing. When Pedroia comes up with just a man on first his line is .436/.494/.538 (88 Plate Appearances).
- Hideki Okajima (RP) was the best bargain of the off-season. He bridges the gap between starter and Papelbon and for years this is where the Red Sox got hurt the most. This year he has a 1.54 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and .188 batting average against. Post All-Star Break he has a 3.00 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and .238 AVG. He still has good post-ASB numbers and his control looks great. He’ll be turned upon to shut down any big rally at any time, especially come playoff time. If its 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and on, Okajima can be the stopper. He’ll have a lot more versatility then Papelbon and might have more of an impact. Without Okajima the bullpen in the middle innings would be living on a prayer.
- Eric Gagne RP Potential. Potential. Potential. He’s yet to play up to it in Boston allowing 10 ER in 10 IP here. To top it off, currently he’s playing catch and resting his shoulder. However, between Delcarmen, Timlin, and Lopez in the bullpen, I’d still choose Gagne.
- Jacoby Ellsbury (CF, LF) is the hottest Red Sox player right now. It probably won’t last but who knows? He plays great defense in the outfield, has crazy exciting speed, and is hitting the ball real well for power. He looks as good at stealing as Lugo or Crisp.
- Kevin Youkilis (1B) has a great bat, or used to earlier in the season but the man knows how to draw a walk and plays a great 1B. His season’s total line is .290/.390/.470 and for the second half is .231/.350/.430. In September he is hitting .308/.357/.769… in 13 AB’s.
Tags: Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, Manny Ramirez, Mike Lowell