Friday, April 01, 2005

Jump Starter

Since there’s three days left until Randy Johnson throws the first pitch to Johnny Damon at Yankee Stadium, it’s time to dissect the Red Sox roster and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each and every Fenway prowler. Today will be the rotation…

(yes, I realize that’s the exact same intro I used yesterday, we’re on a low budget here, folks)

Ace: Curt Schilling

The ultimate warrior will most likely be on the trainers table until as early as April 13. That date would mean his first start of the season would be at home against the Yankees, but there’s no need to rush the ace. Schilling finished second in the Cy Young voting with 21 strong wins, pitching over 226 innings and striking out 203, a great stat for a guy his age. I look for his stats to decline a little bit with his age and injuries, but I’d take him on my team any day…even if he is a slobbering right-winger.

2004 Stats: 21-6, 3.26 ERA
2005 Prediction: 18-5, 3.42 ERA

#2: David Wells

About three years ago today, I hated this guy’s guts and hoped he’d burn in hell with Yogi Berra, but now he’s a Red Sock. What can I do? No, I’ll never forgive him for saying Fenway Park should be knocked down, he was probably just bitter because the Sox ripped him apart that day. Anyway, Wells was an excellent pickup because of how he controls the plate. He never walks better and always keeps a steady ERA. With Miller coming back in June, he could be the #2 starter, but for the early stages of the season, I’ll take Boomer.

2004 Stats: 12-8, 3.73 ERA
2005 Prediction: 14-10, 3.74 ERA

#3: Matt Clement

Last year on the Cubs, Clement got almost zero run support. He also tailed off at the end of the season, and his record really doesn’t show the great job he did. Clement is one of the best bright arms in the game, evident with his large strikeout total and low ERA. His wins can only go up now due to the relentless and powerful Red Sox offense. Plus, Clement has already developed a relationship with experienced catcher Jason Varitek, and knows what it is like to work with a well-oiled rotation.

2004 Stats: 9-13, 3.68 ERA
2005 Prediction: 19-7, 3.18 ERA

#4: Bronson Arroyo

Arroyo really gave Sox fans hope he’d become a solid pitcher in this league with a valiant effort in Game 3 of the ALDS. He finished the season strong, and after some great innings out of the bullpen in big games, the Sox and Francona really believe he can continue to climb the rotation and not constantly be talked about going to the minors. With more experience, his numbers will get better. But be patient with Arroyo.

2004 Stats: 10-9, 4.03 ERA
2005 Prediction: 14-10, 4.06 ERA

#5: Tim Wakefield

Wakefield is prone to average regular seasons, but picks it up when it really matters. It seems like Wake either pitches a gem or gets beaten around pretty bad, evident with his high ERA. Wakefield loves to pitch for the BoSox, and that knuckler seems to float even more when facing the Yankees. I see him being just as effective as last season, not better or worse.

2004 Stats: 12-10, 4.87 ERA
2005 Prediction: 13-11, 4.62 ERA

#6: Wade Miller

Miller’s on the shelf until June, and the Sox brass is considering this a major midseason pickup. Miller has the heart of a lion, and one of the best combination of pitches in the bigs. But, his mechanics are very prone to injures because he uses mostly his arm. After successful surgery and some good spring workouts, this guy could be a major valuable piece in the 2005 Red Sox puzzle.

2004 Stats: 7-7, 3.35 ERA
2005 Prediction: 12-4, 2.76 ERA


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