After taking only one game from the Yankees, the last place Boston Red Sox (64-80, 17.5 games back in the AL East) hit the road for a three-game skein against the Toronto Blue Jays (65-77, 15.5 games back in the AL East) at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays are 5-5 in their last 10 games and won their last game. The Red Sox are a dismal 2-8 in their last 10 games and have lost two in a row. One thing is for sure: the Sox and Jays are Missing the War.
STARTING PITCHERS: Aaron Laffey, Carlos Villanueva and Brandon Morrow
Aaron Laffey (against Daisuke Matsuzaka in the opener) isn’t very good. With a 4.43 ERA/5.41 FIP/4.73 xFIP triple slash line and a -0.1 fWAR, you can see why. With only a 4.75 K/BB and a terrible 3.13 BB/9, batters are getting on base against Laffey. Then comes the home runs, to the tune of a career high of 16.5% homers to fly balls. This is not good for Laffey. Laffey is using a cut fastball for the first time in his career, throwing it 30.5% of the time. It doesn’t seem to be working.
Carlos Villanueva (versus Clay Buchholz) is a small bright spot in an otherwise dismal season for the Blue Jays. He has a 3.48 ERA/4.19 FIP/3.93 xFIP pitching triple slash line. Villanueva could turn into a top pitcher if he could limit his walks, as he has a 3.31 BB/9. However, Villanueva’s WHIP is only 1.21 and his batting average against is .228, so fewer walks (and a couple fewer homers) could make Villanueva into a very good hurler.
Brandon Morrow (facing Jon Lester in Sunday’s finale), while you weren’t looking, is having quite the nice season. Sporting a 3.16 ERA/3.58 FIP/3.87 xFIP, Morrow has a 2.0 fWAR for a bad Blue Jays team. 8/04 K/9 and 2.71 BB/9? Homers per nine under one? A .220 batting average against and a 1.12 WHIP? Not much to complain about here.
1. Brett Lawrie, 3B
2. Colby Rasmus, RF
3. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
4. Adam Lind, 1B
5. Yunel Escobar, SS
6. Kelly Johnson, 2B
7. J.P. Arencibia, C
8. Rajai Davis, LF
9. Anthony Gose, RF
WHO’S HOT/WHO’S NOT
In the last two weeks Anthony Gose (.381/.435/.667, .506 wOBA, 229 wRC) is hitting very well. Honorable mention has to go to Edwin Encarnacion (.205/.340/.667, .393 wOBA, 151 wRC) and his 6 homers in 12 games. After that it’s rather barren. Kelly Johnson (.172/.294/.207, .250 wOBA, 53 wRC), Brett Lawrie (.182/.217/.227, .199 wOBA, 17 wRC) and J.P. Arencibia (.071/.133/.071, .107 wOBA, -47 wRC) are hitters who are especially cold. Perhaps winter came early in Toronto.
In the Jays’ bullpen, 172-year-old Darren Oliver (1.62 ERA/2.94 FIP/3.34 xFIP) has had a great season. Brandon Lyon (2.75 ERA/2.49 FIP/2.66 xFIP) has also impressed, as has Casey Janssen (2.43 ERA/3.26 FIP/2.92 xFIP) and Steve Delabar (2.42 ERA/3.01 FIP/2.71 xFIP).
And now, a musical interlude.
RF Jose Bautista (recovery from September 2012 left wrist surgery), RHP Robert Coello (right elbow) 1B David Cooper (mid-back), RHP Kyle Drabek (recovery from June 2012 Tommy John surgery), LHP J.A. Happ (fractured right foot), RHP Drew Hutchison (recovery from August 2012 Tommy John surgery), RHP Jesse Litsch (right shoulder, biceps), RHP Dustin McGowan (right shoulder), LHP Luis Perez (recovery from July 2012 Tommy John surgery) and RHP Sergio Santos (recovery from July 2012 right shoulder surgery) are out for the season.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE RED SOX?
The Red Sox played hard against the Yankees, for the first two games at least. It was a refreshing sight.
In the last two weeks, Dustin Pedroia (.439/.477/.732, .525 wOBA, 237 wRC), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.227/.346/.636, .406 wOBA, 155 wRC) and Ryan Kalish (.417/.462/.417, .391 wOBA, 145 wRC) are the hot hitters. However, the Sox have nine, count them, nine batters whose wRC are 22 or lower (Daniel Nava, Mike Aviles, Jose Iglesias, Mauro Gomez, James Loney, Pedro Ciriaco, Ryan Lavarnway, Scott Podsednik and Ivan De Jesus). That, my friends, sucks.
The starters have exactly one win (from Jon Lester) in the past two weeks, so the less said about them the better. The relievers who qualified for the Blutarsky ERA Award is getting kind of long: Junichi Tazawa (0.00 ERA/0.10 FIP/0.88 xFIP), Andrew Miller (0.00 ERA/ 0.91 FIP/1.72 xFIP), Clayton Mortensen (0.00 ERA/-0.90 FIP/-0.90 xFIP), Rich Hill (0.00 ERA/5.10 FIP/5.59 xFIP) and “The Other” Chris Carpenter (0.00 ERA/5.72 FIP/5.72 xFIP). I’d give you the stats for Alfredo Aceves but I think Bobby V is going to make him play second base as a punishment for his insubordination in Wednesday night’s game.