Recent reports out of Camelback Ranch already have me concerned for the start of the season.
Apparently Coop and Bobby Jenks are experimenting with Jenks pitching from the wind-up, rather than the stretch. It’s not entirely clear, based on the reports from the Tribune and the Sun-Times, whether this experiment is being done to improve Jenks’ rhythm, alleviate a recurring calf problem, or improve his velocity.
Either way, the thought that Jenks may not be “right” heading into the season sends a chill down my spine. This bullpen has been set up with a certain pattern in mind. And when it is working appropriately that pattern concludes with Jenks closing the game. In the past two years, when Jenks has been injured and that pattern has been disturbed, ugly, horrible, nasty, losing has occurred as a result.
Without knowing for certain what Putz is going to add to the pen, I am left to say that we need Jenks at the end of the bullpen to make it successful. The thought that he may not be right, is not a good thing!
Having lost their last four, and six of their last ten, the second best thing possible happened to the Sox tonight, they were rained out.
There is no positive way to spin it, the Sox have been ugly on this trip. The pitching got shelled by the Rangers, and then they got swept by Greinke and the Royals.
Two positives came out of this trip, I think Ozzie and Coop have finally concluded that Contreras is not ready for the rotation. Not exactly a headline you want to print in the media guide, but at least now they can move on and give Richard or one of the kids in Charlotte a run. Marquez has been terrible to start the AAA season, but two kids Wes Whisler (5 GS, 1.95 ERA, 27 innings, 10 W, 17 K) and Carlos Torres (5 GS, 0.96 ERA, 28 innings, 10 W, 28 K) have put together reasonably strong starts (although neither has pitched a substantial number of innings in their starts), so we will see if Kenny Williams gives them a run.
The other troubling thing has been the errors. Guys are booting the ball all over the place, and even when he’s not commiting errors, Fields is making it clear that he cannot go to his left, and please, please don’t get me started on Wilson Betemit. WHAT A HACK!
In the midst of the injuries and the mayhem, Jayson Nix has made a nice showing for himself. Also, Scottie Pods has returned, and while he will remind no one of Rickey Henderson, he has done reasonably well in the place of the injured Anderson and Wise and the waived Jerry Owens. How bad must Jerry Owens feel, the two guys he competed with in the spring go down with injury, but rather than give him a shot to take the spot back, they waive him, and call in a fella sitting at home watching the games on TV with you and me.
As bad as the last ten have been, it is a long season, and we are only 3.5 back, but we need to start putting together wins, or we will be watching the pennant race from the cheap seats in August.
An extremely strong pitching line from Contreras and Colon in the last game of spring training against the D-backs. No runs, one walk, nine strikeouts (Three for Jose, Six for Bartolo). Ozzie and Coop have to love that!
Monday its for real against the Royals
Jose pitched two innings, struck out four, gave up one hit. He started out ahead in the count on six of the seven batters faced.
It was as good as Ozzie & Cooper could have hoped!
Those were the words used by Sox pitching coach, Don Cooper, as he described the progress being made by Bartolo Colon and Jose Contreras. According to Coop the next major milestone will come for these two when they pitch their first innings in live action sometime around March 14.
In other news of “hope and optimism” Clay Richard pitched four scoreless innings against the Rangers yesterday.
It is far too early to get too geeked about any of this, but the apparent development of the Sox rotation is extremely good news. Now if we could only find a viable candidate for centerfield!