April 20, 2011

Varitek Getting More Playing Time

In an interview with WEEI before yesterday's game, Terry Francona said Jason Varitek would be getting more playing time as Jarrod Saltalamacchia continues to "earn [his] stripes".
I think sometimes a catcher can put down the same signs, but depending on who it is, the pitcher throws with a little more commitment. ... It's always going to be hard for the next guy to come in to compare themselves, the way the game's being run, with Tek. That's been Tek's strength for so long. ... We've obviously tried to get him in there a little bit more ... I've got to be a little bit careful about running him out there too much. He has gotten a lot of wear and tear. We don't want to reach for too much and get him hurt. Then we're really in a bind.
Saltalamacchia started eight of the season's first nine games, but since April 9, Francona has been alternating between the two catchers every game. Boston is 3-2 when Varitek starts and 2-9 when Salty gets the nod.

Red Sox pitchers have a 2.40 ERA throwing to Varitek (45 innings) and a 7.14 ERA with Saltalamacchia (92 innings). Neither man is hitting worth a damn.
         PA   AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS   OPS+
Salty    39  .194  .256  .222  .479    34
Varitek  19  .063  .167  .063  .229   -33
As you might expect, Boston's catchers' hitting stats (.154/.228/.173) are the worst in MLB.
From last night's recap:
In the eighth, David Ortiz singled and Jacoby Ellsbury pinch-ran. Anderson fell behind Mike Cameron 3-0, but battled back to strike him out on a check swing; Ellsbury was running on the full count pitch and beat Kurt Suzuki's throw, but was called out because Cameron stepped in front of Suzuki as the catcher was throwing to second base.
After the game, crew chief Tim Welke told reporters that there had been no interference on Cameron's part, and Ellsbury was tagged out sliding into second, completing a double play.

Replays showed that Ellsbury was safe, so second base ump Andy Fletcher blew that call. And the entire crew failed to provide any coherent explanation for the play, as Cameron, Ellsbury, and Francona were unclear after the game what the actual call had been.

I'd like to get a little more of a clarification because Jacoby came back because he said it was interference, but I guess when [acting manager DeMarlo Hale*] went out, [the umpire] said no interference, they called him out at second. It was confusing because I never saw a call made at second.
* Hale was managing because Tito had been ejected in the fourth inning when the umpires failed to call a balk on Anderson, and ruled Dustin Pedroia had been picked off.

John Lackey, on why he was pulled after six innings and 93 pitches: "I don't know. I just work here."


Amy said...

I am glad that Francona values Tek as much as he does. I know that there are some skeptics out there in JOS-world, but I still believe that Tek offers more than Salty does at this point. It's hard to think that the manager is just saying this to be nice, which adds more credence to the statements that his battery mates often make. It does not appear to have been just lip service in the name of team image when the pitchers talked about what a good catcher he is if the manager, given a choice, still prefers Tek.

Geoff said...

I was at the game and it was extremely frustrating to watch. Lackey pitched well and probably should have come out for one more inning.

Even in the stands I saw the balk and was so annoyed at that bad call.

The Ellsbury and Cameron deal was plain confusing from the stands POV. No one knew what was going on.

I was pissed when McDonald came up in the eighth. Would have preferred to see a pinch hitter.

Also was pissed at Gonzales. Hit one back to the pitcher and he didn't really run it out. Pitcher bobbled it and he was lucky to be safe at first. It shouldn't have been close if he could just be bothered to run it out.

Seeing them play it is easy to see why they are not doing well.

johngoldfine said...

John Lackey, on why he was pulled after six innings and 93 pitches: "I don't know. I just work here."

He said that??? That's churlish in the extreme--he would have to be a considerably and consistently better pitcher to get away with being such a snot.

allan said...

someone at sosh wondered if he goes out of his way to be as unlikeable as possible. he could have easily said that he felt strong enough to go another inning, but it's a long season, blah blah blah...

matthew said...

Looking at the catchers' numbers, maybe Tito should let the pitchers hit and use the DH for Salty & Tek.