(BDD Photo Illustration / Casey Baker, Worcester)
"The Red Sox pitching staff just allowed 48 baserunners in 18 innings against the New York Yankees.
"A $125M payroll and this is the detritus that the team sends out to the mound day after day. There's plenty of embarrassment to go around, but poor Terry Francona deserves a pass. He's been sent into a gun fight with a bunch of spoons.
"I don't know what the offers were, but let's clarify something about the Red Sox' 'untouchables.'
"Jon Lester is not Francisco Liriano and he never will be.
"Craig Hansen is not Joel Zumaya and he never will be.
"Manny Delcarmen is not Mark Lowe and he never will be.
"Sadly, Hanley Ramirez is Miguel Tejada, only way ahead of schedule.
"After Friday's carnage: Lefties are hitting Lester at a .397 clip; Hansen has yielded a .310 batting average against; and Delcarmen has been knocked around at a .295 clip.
"As for Mike Timlin, hope he enjoyed the World Baseball Classic because he sure must not be having fun in this playoff fade. Since he hit the wall in early July he's been getting battered to the tune of a 7.23 ERA in his last 18 appearances.
"The in-house squabbling that marked the Red Sox last offseason seemed to be a schism between the ‘win now at all costs’ mentality and the ‘build for the future’ mentality. Anyone who watched Friday's doubleheader knows the present is lost. It's gone. Over. (I wrote as much last week). And while sacrificing the present for a bountiful future might be measured and wise, forfeiting a chance to win now to pin our hopes on:
"A) a guy who throws 91 and needs 100 pitches to get through five; B) a guy who throws 97 and can't get anyone out; and C) a local kid who has had one 1-2-3 inning in his last 13 appearances, well, just doesn't fill a fan's head with visions of sugar plums and championship banners. One could even be forgiven for worrying that the next time a team comes asking about Lester, Hansen or Delcarmen, not only will the price have gone down -- as it surely has in the three weeks since the trading deadline -- but the Red Sox may not be contending as strongly as they were on July 31, 2006." -- 8.18.06, Kevin Hench