Monday, June 15, 2009

Sox Superlatives, Part 2 (The Pitching Staff)

The first installment focused on the field players, but personally, I think there are more wacky personalities in the rotation and 'pen. I mean, the bullpen chose a pirate theme. PIRATES. The closest thing the field players have going is the team goatee thing, and they share that with the pitching staff. On to the superlatives!

Starting Rotation:

Most Likely to Live to be 100 (and still be pitching): Tim Wakefield
There's a great article in this month's Red Sox Magazine about the knuckleballer, who, along with Captain Varitek, is the longest tenured member of the Boston Red Sox. Wake is known for his professional attitude, as well as for his versatility, having pitched in every possible role during his career. Who would have thought, way back in 1995, when Wake was released by the Pirates that he would play 13+ seasons with the Sox? I'm proud to say that my jersey collection includes a #49.

Most Likely to Transfer: Brad Penny
With injuries to many of the hot arms on the trading block, Penny has become one of the best pitchers on the market (according to MLB Network's skilled analysts). Injuries to Halliday and Peavy can only be good for the Red Sox, who will deal Penny only if they are "blown away" by offers, despite the logjam in the rotation. I think we can also award Penny with Mr. Congeniality. Despite what the Dodgers say about his less-than ideal clubhouse persona, the Sox have had nothing but praise for Penny's presence and work ethic.

Most Likely to Cuss in Church: Josh Beckett
Beckett has never been known for his eloquence: he gets his point across very well, but with a... uhhh... limited vocabulary. Beckett has been known to cuss indiscriminately at opposing teams, and in press conferences, all but ensuring a permanent seven second delay on every presser he ever appears on. Josh doesn't take crap from anyone, and wants to make sure everybody knows it. Runner up superlative: Most Likely to Shock a Nun.

Most Likely to Inspire the Masses: Jon Lester
Hear me out: this has very little to do with Jon's overcoming cancer, but as there is someone fighting it in my family, I can't overlook it completely. Lester has electric stuff: I was at Fenway for Lester's start against the Rangers where he made a run at perfection, and managed to finish up with a complete game. No matter what Jon does in his career, even if he wins a handful of Cy Youngs and throws multiple no-hitters (he has his start), he will always be inspirational to those fighting cancer, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Least Likely to Throw a Com
plete Game: Daisuke Matsuzaka
Daisuke has not pitched into the seventh inning yet this year, and has pitched into the sixth just once. Matsuzaka is exasperating to watch, and I'm pretty sure he's personally taken several years off of my life while he continuously creates jams to wriggle out of. Daisuke nibbles, we all know that, but this year he's giving up lots of hits and runs. I, like most of New England (and, I suspect, the Sox front office), blame the World Baseball Classic. Maybe if we can convince him the Red Sox represent his country, he'll care enough to pitch like that for us.


Most Likely to Jump of
f the Tobin Bridge if Traded: Manny Delcarmen
Manny is one of those homegrown players who is really homegrown. Born and raised in Boston, and drafted out of a Boston high school, Manny truly is a Boston boy, and the day he gets traded (there is considerable interest) will be a hard one indeed, all around. I know plenty of boys who would give their left kidney to play for the Red Sox: I'm guessing that Delcarmen was the same as a child, and to achieve one's childhood dream only to have it yanked away is cruel. I know it's unrealistic to think he'll be with this team forever, but here's hoping he leaves on his own terms.

Worst Nickname: Ramon Ramirez
Whichever media outlet/blogger/lumberjack came up with the name "Ram-Ram" deserves to be shot. I understand that there was another Ramirez who recently parted ways with the Sox, but any fan who gets confused when you talk about Ramirez's pitching line is clearly a Yankees fan in disguise.

Most Likely to Succeed: Daniel Bard
I had to save this one for a rookie, as listing Youk or Pedey would feel like a cop out. However, I feel very confident with this prediction, even considering the disappointing outing he had yesterday in Philly. His reaction to the shelling was more telling than the results themselves: he handled himself admirably, shrugging it off as growing pains. Judging by the 100mph fastball followed by 85mph breaking stuff he displayed the outing before, I'm willing to bet that it was only growing pains. Runner up superlative: Closer of the Future.

Most Likely to End Up in Pinstripes: Jonathan Papelbon
I have resigned myself to the fact that Paps is going to be closing games for the Bronx Bombers sooner or later (and probably sooner). It all fits: Paps' insistence on the highest payday, the Sox' reluctance to sign him long term (due to concerns about his longevity), the fact that Mariano Rivera is reaching the end of an amazing career, and that the Red Sox have an in house solution for the spot. It will hurt to see him pitching for the other side, but it cannot be termed as unexpected.

Cutest Smile: Hideki Okajima
Don't even pretend like you don't see it. In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Least Likely to Make Headlines: Takashi Saito
The most interesting thing to happen to the righthander so far was Josh Beckett greeting him by saying "Hola" during Spring Training. Saito has done well thus far, though he has done nothing spectacular. He doesn't get notice unless he does particularly bad, which must be hard for a man who once saved 39 games in a season. All in all, he is a valuable part of the bullpen, and we would do well not to forget that.

Most Popular: Justin Masterson

Just one interview of Justin had me convinced he was someone I wanted to keep track of. What a character! First off, he drives a Mini-Cooper, and admits that he bought it, despite his 6'5" frame, because his wife wanted it. He's not afraid to laugh at himself, and to top it all off, he wants to do whatever he can so that the Red Sox win. Need a starter? Long guy? Quick double play? Masty's your man. Someone so versatile and friendly has got to be beloved in the clubhouse, and I KNOW he's beloved by the fanbase.

There you have it: my take on Sox superlatives so far. I promise to do a better job of updating... or I'll at least try (my sister's wedding is in less than a month, so life is pretty hectic right now).

1 comment:

  1. wow, these were GREAT! only one i didnt agree with was Papelbon. That would ABSOLUTELY kill me.