Our self-appointed job here at Fan Interference is to ridicule and correct the mistakes of professional baseball writers. But it should also stand to reason that if one of them says something uncharacteristically smart or insightful, we should point it out also. Picking up on a pet peeve of Special K’s, I found a choice nugget in Steve Phillip’s weekly online chat. Normally, the former Mets GM is intolerable on the air, always trying to sneak big economic jargon into simple trade stories. But here’s what he had to say about the Red Sox’ suspect credentials this year:
- Jim Nj: The Red Sox bats are shaky shut out against Texas and Now Seattle. What moves can be made to make sure the Sox don’t get shut out 45 games this year, and get the pitchers more wins? 1 win was taken from Wakefield another from Dice-K I will take 2-3 runs allowed by a starting pitcher every ouoting.
Steve Phillips: I agree with you that, if Matsuzaka gives up 3 runs in 7 innings every time out, he’ll win 15 games for sure. He certainly pitched well enough to win yesterday. The Red Sox offense is off to a bit of a slow start. The main culprit is Manny Ramirez. This season, like last year, Manny just doesn’t seem locked in. I think JD Drew will have a productive season behind Ortiz and Manny, but there are some holes in the lineup that could limit overall production. Mike Lowell looks like he might be slowing down a little bit, and I have questions about Dustin Pedroia and Coco Crisp at the bottom of the lineup. There’s just not enough sock to go with the big 3 in the middle. People think I’m crazy to pick the Red Sox 3rd in the East, but when you look at the ‘ifs’ for this team, you have to have some concerns.
Steve Phillips: Here’s what I mean; the Red Sox can go to the playoffs IF Curt Schilling doesn’t drop off and IF Josh Beckett can be the ace they traded for and IF Wakefield and Jon Lester can win 12 games each and IF Papelbon can stay healthy all season and IF they can find someone to take the ball in the seventh and eighth innings and IF they get decent production from Crisp, Lowell, and Pedroia. It may happen, but experience shows that not everything does.
You might remember that Peter Gammons, Jayson Stark*, and even the dear-to-our-hearts Buster Olney predicted Boston will win the AL East under the assumption that all these hypotheticals are certainties; so it’s nice to one of the regulars breaking through the Bristol-based hype machine for an instant. I know, this is kind of like rewarding the slacker student for finally doing what’s expected of him, but still: baby steps.
*I just noticed the unnecessary letter “y” in Stark’s first name. What a jerk.