by Mike DePilla
Saturday, April 17, 2010
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The Sox lost another one to the lowly Indians today and although Jake Peavy didn't turn in a vintage '07 Cy-Young Award winner Peavy performance, we can say the following:
Well, at least he looked better out there.
His line today: 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 H 3 BB 3 K. A very good looking line, especially from the runs and hits standpoint. Now, he wasn't quite that good, as the line doesn't really reflect Shin-Soo Choo's first-inning would-be double and a lot of hard hit balls right at defenders that turned into outs. So he got a lot of good luck today. But it was a good-enough-to-win effort-a quality start, for sure.
Yes, his velocity has been down a touch in the early going. That was especially noticeable in his shellacking at the hands of the Blue Jays earlier this week. Today he was better, sitting at about 91-92 mph, about what we should expect.
But that's not a big issue. By all accounts he's not injured at all, and he can add a mile or two per hour to his heater as the summer progresses. Besides, he can more than get by with his stuff even if his fastball only hits 92.
The biggest problem has been plain old location. His slider has seemed as tough as ever, but his cutter is getting too much plate with not enough break. It's not missing any bats. Choo's run scoring "ground out" (aka his double to right field) in the first inning is a perfect example. Peavy was ahead in the count 0-2 but got burned on a '09 Linebrink-esque meatball right down the middle.
He's just going to have to miss more bats. His 10/8 K/BB rate in the early going this season is not good enough. He'll need to get that K-rate up by improving his location and staying away from any pitches (like the cutter and maybe change up) that aren't getting the job done.
As for today's loss-I think it was fairly obvious that Peavy was fatigued in the 7th inning and I can't see any good reason why he came out to start the 8th. The Sox have one of the best bullpens in the game, why leave your clearly-fatigued starter (Cabrera's homer was pitch number 109 for Peavy) in with such a slim lead? I'm sorry, there's little justification for Ozzie's decision there.
Then there's the offense. Picking on individual hitters is like shooting fish in a barrel and shuffling the batting order might be like rearranging the seats on the Titanic. However, they need to try something to shake things up.
Here's a really wacky idea: how about trying Teahen at the leadoff spot? In the early going he's shown a willingness to take a walk and, though a .400+ OBP probably isn't sustainable, it sure looks nice for now, especially considering Juan Pierre's struggles. Move everyone down a slot- putting Pierre into the 2-hole where he can bunt to his heart's delight and Beckham to 3 where he can actually swing with guys on base.
The left-right balance is way out of whack on that one, but honestly, who cares? The current L-R balance and a five dollar bill will get you a sandwich at Subway.
One more thing: the Sox are yet to win a game in which they don't hit at least two homeruns. Draw your own conclusions.
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