Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Lavarnway, who started at catcher and batted sixth last night against the New York Yankees, is hitting .161 with one home run in 87 at-bats after an 0-for-4 that included three strikeouts in the 4-3 win. Iglesias was on the bench, mired in a 2-for-22 (.091) slump since returning on Aug. 25.
If one wants to throw young outfielder Ryan Kalish into the mix, he’s struggling, too, batting ..229 with three extra-base hits (all doubles) in 96 at-bats.
“Well, I don’t know if there’s any decisions that have to be made on any one of those three guys, necessarily,” Sox manager Bobby Valentine said before the game. “That’s what’s done all the time, during the season, during the offseason. You have to sometimes use what you believe you saw and go forward with it, and then hope that they’re healthy afterward.”
Perhaps I should spend more time basking in last night's win, but as Tomase indicates for Boston, I'm in full-on 2013 mode as well.
And I can't help but be worried.
There hasn't been a bigger Jose Iglesias supporter than me. I'm not even that concerned with his bat -- if he hits as well as Mike Aviles has this year, that's enough, and Mike Aviles hasn't sniffed a .300 OBP in quite a while. But Jose isn't even close to Aviles' level -- in a very small sample, Iglesias has a .303 OPS. OPS! .303! That's really bad!
Granted, it's 25 PA's. Lavarnway's sample is a bit bigger, but nearly as horrible.
Does this mean they can't contribute next year? No. But it is a concern. And Ryan Kalish's continued mediocrity also makes me nervous. Remember when we traded Josh Reddick because Ryan Kalish showed more promise?
I'm still on board for a youth movement next year. I'd like to see all three guys start next year, and not in some dumb platoon. Give them some security, show some faith in them, and see what happens.
On page 2...what's up with Jon Lester's control?
More than likely, Valentine was displeased "with Lester's penchant for getting rattled when he doesn't get pitches he thinks are strikes.
"I thought he threw some good pitches," said Valentine diplomatically. "I didn't want him to get distracted. I wanted him to focus on the hitters."
What's amazing is I was about to go into detail about what's gone wrong with Jon Lester this year, and expecting to toss some great BB/9 numbers at you. What I found? His walk rate is actually better this year than it has been the last two. In 2010, it was 3.59, in 2011, 3.52, and in 2012, it's down to 3.09.
Further, his xFIP is 3.82 -- not great, but not horrendous -- suggesting he's been a bit unlucky to have a 4.99 ERA. Last year his ERA was 3.47, while his xFIP was 3.62, a little more in line with what you'd expect.
Maybe it's the fault of defense or the park or something, but I actually think Bobby V is pointing to the right thing -- more than ever, Lester appears to lose his focus on hitters. If he walks one guy, he starts fretting about the strike zone, either leading to more walks, or to meatballs. Even if he isn't walking more batters this year, they are seeming to come more in bunches and are often hurting him and the team. He was lucky last night.
Herald | Jacoby Ellsbury celebrates with walkoff party | Don't cry, Sox fans | Bobby Valentine likes chances | Pedro Ciriaco slays NY again | Globe | Ellsbury lifts Red Sox in 9th | Valentine: I'm the best man for the job | These Red Sox are lousy, but not the worst | CSNNE | Ciriaco continues to rip Yankees pitchers | Ellsbury gives Sox, fans something to cheer about on birthday | ESPNBoston | Red Sox finally get some satisfaction | Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox push Yankees into tie with Orioles | Ciriaco finds way to make things happen