Sports Outside the Beltway

Red Sox Offseason Progress – Starting Pitching

As mentioned in a previous post there were four areas that I felt the Red Sox needed to address prior to the 2007 season.

  1. Bullpen
  2. Starting Pitching
  3. Manny
  4. Aging Talent

After the miserable second half of last season it was evident that the Sox SP was not up to snuff but if you need more evidence take a look at some of these stats.


Pre 53 33 4.54 265 3.08 598 0.263 0.330 0.436 0.765 780 1.36 2.26 7.00
Post 33 43 5.16 244 3.21 472 0.296 0.358 0.459 0.816 790 1.54 1.93 6.32

While stats are for the entire staff, it still shows what we all saw. The Sox sucked in the 2nd half of the season.

Going into last season the SP looked to be in good shape

  1. Schill
  2. Beckett
  3. Wells
  4. Wakefield
  5. Clement

Unfortunately the rotation by the end of the season looked more like this

  1. Schill (sort of)
  2. Beckett
  3. Wakefield (sort of)
  4. Tavarez
  5. Snyder/Gabbard/Hansack et. al

As you can see the season did not end with the same excitement that the season started with. Going into the off season the Sox needed to get younger and obviously get better.

The banner move of the off Red Sox off season was definitely the signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka. While the signing of Matsuzaka does not equate to automatic sucess, it has some real upside. Daisuke is only 26 years old, has between 4-6 plus pitches (depending on who you read), and has remarkable make up. While I can not refute the concerns some people have (can he bring his success to MLB, has he been worked into the ground, can he play in the intense atmosphere that is Boston, what effects will a 5 man rotations have on him) I think the price was right (figuring Meche, Marquis, and Zito went for) for the Sox and his presence in Boston means he does not help the aging Yankee staff.

As mentioned in the RP post the 2nd addition is also an addition by subtraction. A debate that will last for as long as the game of baseball is played is, are you better off having a lights out closer that can save 45 games a year, or a starter who can give you 220 innings and win around 20 games. While the squad needs a closer much more than another SP, the medical team has deemed Jonathan Papelbon is better served as being an SP. As I said previously, if he can not stay healthy for a season as a RP he is no use to the team on DL, so I support the thinking behind this move, I just hope my faith is rewarded.

The addition of Paplebon, Matsuzaka, along with Beckett give the Sox 3 top shelf arms that are 26 years old. While I agree that Beckett did not excel with the Sox, he stuff can not be denied, and for the first time in his 5 year career he pitched over 30 games, and maybe most inpressive he did not have to spend any time on the DL. I know those are not the best accomplishments but it is something to build off of. Hopefully these 3 along with the old men of the staff, Schilling and Wake, can be the SPs that will carry us to a more successful season. If they fail there is the potential for another disappoint season in Red Sox Nation. 

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