After winning two of three against the Tigers, the Boston Red Sox (53-52, 8.5 games back in the American League East) host the Minnesota Twins (44-60, 13 games back in the American League Central). Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Sam Deduno (taking on Jon Lester in the opener) is a statistical nightmare. Although Deduno has a good 3.13 ERA, his FIP is a terrible 5.30 and his xFIP is a pedestrian 4.44? Why is that? Walks. Deduno is surrendering 6.26 walks per nine innings versus 7.06 strikeouts per nine (1.13 K/BB). Deduno’s batting average against of .241 shows that he can be effective, but like many young pitchers, it seems like Deduno tries to do everything himself. He’s the anti-Aaron Cook, if you will.
Brian Duensing (facing Felix Doubront) is Aaron Cook with strikeouts and walks. Minnesota’s sinkerballer is striking out 4.98 batters per nine in 2012 and walking 2.41 (2.06 K/BB). His pitching triple line of 4.53 ERA/4.19 FIP/4.77 xFIP is pretty average. Duensing’s ground ball rate of 43.7% should be higher, especially because 40% of his pitches are sinkers. At least Duensing is not surrendering many homers, giving up only 6 in 59.2 innings pitched.
Cole De Vries (against Clay Buchholz) gives up homers. I repeat – Cole De Vries gives up homers. His homer rate is a terrible 2.09 per nine innings (12 in 52 innings). With a groundball rate of only 29.3%, it’s no surprise. De Vries’s 6.23 K/9 is sort of average but his walk rate of 1.73 per nine is pretty good, resulting in an excellent 3.60 K/BB. But those homers…
Nick Blackburn (versus Josh Beckett in the finale) is having a terrible season. His triple slash line of 7.43 ERA/5.83 FIP/5.12 xFIP is as ugly as it gets. His problem is that he has been tremendously hittable – his batting average against is a stunningly bad .316. I’d suggest the Twins put him into the pen but honestly, who else do they have?
WHO’S HOT/WHO’S NOT
At least the Twins are hitting. In the last two weeks Ben Revere (.340/.392/.468, .402 wOBA, 158 wRC), Denard Span (.380/.426/.480, .400 wOBA, 156 wRC) and Justin Morneau (.308/.357/.513, .375 wOBA, 139 wRC) are the hot hitters for the Twins. However, Trevor Plouffe (.143/.143/.286, .179 wOBA, 4 wRC) and Jamey Carroll (.182/.282/.212, .234 wOBA, 43 wRC) are doing their best Punto imitation.
In the bullpen, erstwhile closer Glen Perkins (2.96 ERA/2.86 FIP/3.28 xFIP) is having a very good season, and is joined by Jared Burton (2.36 ERA/3.61 FIP/3.85 xFIP) and Casey Fien (1.59 ERA/2.46 FIP/4.81 xFIP), although Fien’s xFIP is worrying. Alex Burnett (2.84 ERA/4.21 FIP/4.96 xFIP, 4.81 SIERA) has a decent ERA but otherwise pedestrian statistics. Conversely, Tyler Robertson (7.84 ERA/5.31 FIP/2.68 xFIP, 2.41 SIERA) has a terrible ERA but otherwise his stats show he is pitching very well.
RHP Scott Baker (recovery from April 2012 Tommy John surgery) is out for the year. RHP Carl Pavano (right shoulder) and RHP P.J. Walters (right shoulder inflammation) are on the 60-day DL. RHP Matt Capps (rotator cuff irritation), RF/SS Trevor Plouffe (bruised right thumb) and RHP Anthony Swarzak (mild right rotator cuff strain) are on the 15-day DL.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE RED SOX?
In the last two weeks, Will Middlebrooks (.341/.356/.523, .377 wOBA, 135 wRC), Adrian Gonzalez (.327/.365/.469, .363 wOBA, 125 wRC) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.267/.333/.600, .378 wOBA, 135 wRC) are carrying the load for the Red Sox hitters. Mike Aviles (.143/.138/.179, .134 wOBA, -32 wRC) and Carl Crawford (.175/.214/.375, .252 wOBA, 49 wRC but 2 homers), however, are the ones being carried.
As for the starters, Clay Buchholz (1.57 ERA/3.60 FIP/4.58 xFIP) was the only pitcher to have a decent fortnight. The bloom is certainly off the rose for Aaron Cook (9.00 ERA/8.62 FIP/4.60 xFIP) In the bullpen, Alfredo Aceves (0.00 ERA/2.77 FIP/4.64 xFIP), along with (technically) the newly acquired Craig Breslow (0.00 ERA/0.08 FIP/2.30 xFIP) and the now-demoted Clayton Mortensen (0.00 ERA/5.71 FIP/7.37 xFIP), hold the Blutarsky ERA Award. On the flip side, what is wrong with Mark Melancon (18.69 ERA/8.62 FIP/6.64 xFIP)?
Bad times in Twins land. They need effective starters.