Saturday, June 20, 2009

Serious about pitching

Last night at Fenway, Kenshin Kawakami of the Braves pitched exactly the way Daisuke Matsuzaka was supposed to be pitching, and Dice-K pitched like John Wasdin always did. The solution for Matsuzaka should be simple, but it isn't. He NEEDS to be taken out of the rotation and sent down to Pawtucket to work out whatever's wrong with his head, his shoulder, his arm, his guts, or whatever his problem is. The catch is, he'd have to give his permission to be sent down, since his contract stipulates that he can't be demoted to the minors without his explicit say so. The other alternative is to put him on the disabled list with whatever excuse the Red Sox care to concoct. "Tired arm" always works. That way he can save face and rehab as long as necessary without having been technically shipped to the International League. Trading him not only isn't an option (I don't even think the Yankees would take on a contract that big), but it's not smart. He will return to form, but he should do it away from the pressure cooker of the American League East.

I'm excited for John Smoltz's Red Sox debut in Washington against the laughable Nationals (First in war, first in peace, and now last in the National League!), but I also hope we're about to wave goodbye to Brad Penny, in exchange for someone who will be useful down the road. Penny's pitched exactly well enough to be traded, and he should have a great second half in someplace innocuous, like San Diego or Houston. Besides, dealing Penny would open the rotation for Clay Buchholtz, who's done everything asked of him but sell hot dogs and popcorn in Pawtucket. The kid's been the International League pitcher of the week twice this season, he's 5-0 with an ERA of 1.90, he's got 65 strikeouts and 17 walks in 71 innings, and he'd have already made five or six starts on every major league staff except Boston by now. It's not the kid's fault he's stalled in the most pitching rich organization in the game, but to have Daisuke Matsuzaka be as worthless as he's been while Buchholtz is utterly dominant is a situation that can't continue. It's about winning ballgames, and the Red Sox can't afford to keep Buchholtz down much longer when there's a need and a chance to rectify the situation. The deeper the rotation is, the better the Red Sox will be. Fun's fun, but it's time to put the hammer down and strengthen the team for the second half. We're too close not to do this, and thereby shut the door on the Rays and Yankees.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...