The most interesting part of the season so far has been the nightly effort to guess which part of the team will conspire to create the loss
Will it be the much vaunted rotation that can’t make it out of the fifth inning?
Will it be the “ozzie ball” offense. WIth the emphasis on the “o”, as in zero!
Will it be the bullpen.
Well, yesterday it was the bullpen. After giving us all heart palpitations in his last several outings, Bobby Jenks had a full blown crap of the bed yesterday, and blew a save and then lost the game for the Sox. It seems to this Sox fan that it may be time to put Santos in the closer’s role. Bobby seems to have completely lost his edge.
Two monumental games in Minneapolis against the Twins this week, followed by games at KC and then Detroit. It seems almost foolish to say it on the 10th day of May, but this season could be effectively over for the Sox by the end of this trip…….They’re not going to win the wild card, so the division is their only shot at the post season, in other words these games are crucial!
An 11-1 pounding of the Jays brings the Sox record to 4-5, and leaves them in a tie with the Royals and behind the Tigers and Twins who are both 6-3.
Through these first nine games the pitching has been the team’s strength (as expected) although there have been some troubling performances.
Jake Peavy has yet to hit his stride. I did not see his first outing, but in his second outing against the Jays he did not seem to have the velocity on his fastball, or the snap on his sinker. No one is willing to say that there is an injury at issue here, and he did not appear to be laboring against the Jays, so you have to hope that it is something that he will come out of.
Bobby Jenks has been inconsistent through these first games. He has had dominant performances and followed them up with outings where he couldn’t find the plate. Bobby nearly gave away the first victory against the Jays when he couldn’t pitch a strike.
On the other hand, Santos has look very strong, and Danks just got done slamming the door on the Jays….so overall you have to be pleased, if a bit concerned with the slow start of two very important members of the staff.
On the offensive side, Andruw Jones has proven that he wasn’t just talking about having a strong season this spring. He damn well meant it. As far as this Sox fan is concerned, he has to be in the lineup every night for so long as he is able to perform at this level.
Rios, by the numbers has had a slow start, but has hit the ball hard.
Finally, the two young lions in the lineup, Beckham and TCQ, are having strong starts to the season that will hopefully carry through the remainder of the year.
The Sox have two more in Toronto and then three in Cleveland before closing out the first month against three strong teams in Tampa, Seattle, and Texas.
Sox.com ran a story on the final relief position tonight. The reasonable expectation is that the following fellas have positions locked down in the pen: Randy Williams, Bobby Jenks, J.J. Putz, Matt Thornton, Scott Linebrink and Tony Pena.
As Merkin points out in the story: the final relief slot needs to have a pitcher who can work in any number of different roles. He might be called on to fill an inning late in a close game if this group of previously mentioned talent has been used frequently in a specific time period.
With regard to the remaining candidates for the 7th spot, Ozzie has said the following about Greg Aquino. “Aquino is very impressive. He throws strikes,” Guillen said. “Every time he’s out there, he does a good job. It’s a situation game. He can be on and see how he handles it very well.”
“He came back [in the ninth] and did the same stuff. He’s got a lot of experience. He throws strikes. Especially when you’re competing for a job, you can get wrapped up and all of a sudden you lose what you have. He takes care of it very well.”
Aquino is a 32 year old right hander who has pitched 145 games in the majors.
Sergio Santos is talented, but extremely green. Dan Hudson is also talented, but also green, and is being groomed to be a starter. It seems to me that the better place for Hudson is in the rotation in Charlotte.
Given all of that, it seems to me that Aquino is your man.