Last night, with appauling Billy Traber on the mound, Kevin Youkilis in left field and John Smoltz in his civilian clothes by the fourth inning, I have to say that it looked as though our season was cracking.
Smoltz has to go.
We have watched eight painful starts and the guy is 2-5 with an ERA north of 8.00, come on! Last night, he went 3 1/3 innings and managed to surrender eight runs on nine hits, two of them rockets into the seats, whilst walking four. This is not the John Smoltz that used to dominate the National League, he has to go if we are to make the playoffs.
As we sink like lead balloon, we have Tim Wakefield (the only starter capable of anything good behind Lester and Beckett) on the DL, accompanied by Rocco Baldelli. JBay is missing for the entire weekend with a bum hamstring and Jed Lowrie had to be taken out of the game last night due to injury. Watching Mike Lowell run is just painful and yesterday he nearly got thrown out at first by Jeter on a slow roller to shallow left, whilst Dice-K and all of his legendary pitches are sitting at home because the guy can’t make an out. Big Papi is now batting .222 and I can’t remember the last time he got a hit, he has become liability. The bullpen is battered and bruised without Justin Masterson to soak up innings and the roatation behind The Big Two just flat-out sucks.
I really think it is time to go back to the drawing board and to the minor leagues. Today, we have signed Paul Byrd again to a minor league deal and he should be ready near September 1 which is going to help immensly.
The rotation we currently includes Beckett, Lester, Smoltz, Penny and Buccholz. If you add up the combined ERA of the last three guys, you get 19.58, something has to be done.
We need to release Smoltz now and Penny once Wakefield is healthy again and we need to get Paul Byrd ready as soon as possible and hunt down on the minors for that fifth starter because Buchholz just isn’t going to get it done. How about giving Michael Bowden a shot or is this the time that we finally see Papelbon moved in to the rotation?
A rotation of Beckett, Lester, Bryd, Wakefield and Papelbon is so much more solid than a rotation with Smoltz, Penny and Buccholz supporting the back end.
Well, tonight, we have Josh Beckett going thank god, against A.J. Burnett at Yankee Stadium.
Rant over, let’s do this, we’re three and a half games back and just two and a half ahead of the Rays, but hey, let’s go to work!