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It’s no secret that Red Sox pitching has been a bit bleak lately. Josh Beckett has gone from the team’s Ace to their Joker. If he’s any worse, he’ll be the “Rules for Draw and Stud Poker” card. Hideki Okajima and Takashi Saito have been ho-hum out of the pen. Tim Wakefield is injured too much to be effective over enough innings to be considered as having a good outing, and Daisuke Matsuzaka is garbage, even in Portland. His fellow countryman Junichi Tazawa is still largely untested and lacks the experience to help the Sox.
John Smoltz and Brad Penny were largely abysmal but “conveniently” became great pitchers immediately after leaving. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz don’t pitch every day, so the Sox will need a top notch bullpen to have any hope of winning any games, much less beating good teams in the playoffs. Billy Wagner and Jonathan Papelbon are good but aren’t used to logging many innings to deal with too many botched starts, so more is needed. The cure may be the ultimate dark horse in the Red Sox “pitching” staff: Nick Green.
Green has only had one outing in the majors as a pitcher, going two innings and giving up no runs on no hits with three walks and no strikeouts. With only one outing, opponents will still be in the dark about what Green can do. This gives the Sox a great opportunity to develop him and his pitching arsenal to do great things and surprise opponents.
Green did give up the three walks, which is evidence of his inexperience at pitching. This inexperience could be a detriment, but this can be easily remedied by properly training Green to be a pitcher. His shortstop career fizzled after a good start, so why not make the transition? The amount of errors he was making per game got to the point where you had to use variables to keep count.
As long as we’re giving an array of pitches to Green to work with, why not bring back the eephus pitch? It feels like the pitch hasn’t been seen since the first caveman lit a fire, made a wheel, and purchased Geico coverage, so nobody would see it coming. The high arc and downward acceleration makes it difficult to hit, so with practice it could be very effective, especially with empty bases.
Clearly, the Yankees are the team to beat this year. Even with an 8-0 start against the Yanks, the Sox still struggled against them in the standings. The Angels are always contenders, and the current NL division leading Cardinals, Phillies, and Dodgers would be tough World Series opponents. The aforementioned Brad Penny and John Smoltz would be tough if they continue to shine in their new homes. Penny’s new teammate Tim Lincecum would also provide a tough roadblock for a sporadically struggling Red Sox offense.
Adding Green to a new role would certainly go a long way to putting the Red Sox back on top and having Red Sox Nation’s favorite slogans mean something again.