Friday, July 18, 2014

Red Sox Second-Half Pitcher Power Rankings

This edition of FenwayNation's Red Sox Power Rankings looks at recent production by five key pitchers. Basically, these are the hurlers—starters and relievers—who offer The Carmine Hose the best chance of doing something positive from here to the end of September. OK, here are our top five pitchers:

1. Jon Lester, SP.  Abraham Lincoln once said about General Ulysses S. Grant, “Find out what whiskey he drinks and send all of my generals a case". The Red Sox might say the same about Lester. Over his last two starts, he's posted a 0.60 ERA—with no decisions. He's walked none over that span and struck out 19. Some walk year!  PROGNOSIS: Table the talks and give him the ball every five days.

2. Andrew Miller, RP.  While he still lets some inherited runners score, Miller is lethal against most lefties. In his last five appearances he has posted a 0.00 ERA—striking out 5 in 4.1 innings. PROGNOSIS: Don't trade him!

3. Clay Buchholz, SP. Over his last three starts, he has posted a 2.01 ERA—including a complete game shutout to end the first half. He has struck out 21 batters in his last 22.1 innings—and walked just one. If he can regain his dominant form, he and Lester are a tough 1-2 punch. PROGNOSIS: Keep him healthy and confident.

4. Jake Peavy, SP. Apparently, trade rumors make him awesome. Despite getting almost literally no run support, Peavy has a 2.77 ERA over his last two starts. In those games, he has struck out 12 and walked only 3.  PROGNOSIS: Keep threatening to trade him, then don't.

5. Koji Uehara, Closer. Forget the last couple of blown saves—he has. Despite some recent rough patches, Koji is still a magician in the ninth inning. We don't know how he does it, do you? Over his last six innings, he has struck out nine and walked one—in fact, he's walked only six in 43.2 innings the whole year.  PROGNOSIS: Make sure Papi doesn't strain anything when he lifts him up after each save.