The Weakest Link

I hate reality shows.

With a passion...

I love baseball.

With a passion...

How about we meet half way?

I will give you the Weakest Link and you give me baseball, sound like a deal? We will take a look at the Red Sox and try to weed out the weakest link(s) on the team.

It is all about pitching
I don't care how much you hit, how far you hit, or how many runs your team scores, if your pitching tanks you can forget winning in a consistent fashion. Taking this into account I will ignore the field players and zoom in on the Red Sox pitching staff. There are two components that are of interest, the starting pitchers and the bullpen or relievers. I will first cover the starting rotation and then browse the relievers.

I think we can breeze through a few of the staff that obviously are not going to feature in this article. Clay Buchholtz (6-0), John Lackey (4-0), Felix Doubront (3-0), Jon Lester (4-0),

This leaves us with only one starter as a possible candidate:
Ryan Dempster holds a 3.30 ERA over 5 games and 30 innings. He is averaging 6 innings per start, not bad at all and only a little over 2 runs per start given up. His only loss was when the Red Sox only scored 2 runs and the opponent scored 3 on him. The way the Red Sox are hitting I can't really make a case for this being a weakest link. Maybe if you had to point to a single starter being a weakest link, but this is a stretch. The Red Sox have the starting rotation perfectly in order.

These guys have a different role, be that the closer, long relief, or middle relief we still have guys that we can cross off our list of candidates that might be the weakest link(s) on the Red Sox. Andrew Bailey with 5 of 6 save chances, has taken over the closer role and is posting a 1.46 ERA over 12+ innings, Junichi Tazawa sporting a 2.84 ERA over 12+ innings, Koji Uehara has a 1.69 ERA over 10+ innings, and Alex Wilson with 1.35 ERA over 6+ innings.

What is left for our weakest link candidates:
Joel Hanrahan was to be the Red Sox closer this year coming out of Spring Training with 3 saves out of 4 chances before he was put on the disabled list. His 11.12 ERA is most likely thanks to his pitching into that injury. The stint on the disabled list did put him out of the closer role and onto my list as a weakest link.

Andrew Miller is a personal favorite of mine and I have followed his journey up and down from the minor leagues to the major league and back. I was pretty excited to see him come to the Red Sox and to finally find a role as an 8th inning setup man. A 4.76 ERA over 5+ innings does not look so good. He is not getting the call as much as he should and it looks like the Red Sox are going with Joel Hanrahan as their 8th inning guy with him out of the closer role. Things are not looking rose colored in the start of this season and he is definitely one my list as a weakest link.

Clayton Mortensen seems to be the choice of the Red Sox for middle relief, someone to take a few innings if possible when the starter breaks down early. He averages one and a third innings per appearance, has a 4.50 ERA over 12 innings. He only has one bad appearance but that cost him 3 earned runs. I can't really tag this one as a weakest link.

Who is it?
I think Joel Hanrahan is a candidate for sure, but he has some time to show that the injury was the cause of his two bad appearances. I think he will bounce back if he stays healthy and be an asset to the Red Sox in some form in their relief corps.

If I am honest, put aside my personal preferences I think I need to cross my fingers for Andrew Miller. He needs to forget about April and start putting together some better appearances or he might find himself bouncing up and down again. That would pain my heart to watch that happen again and my suggestion is that he needs to change something. I vote he shaves the beard and focuses on sitting down opposing hitters one after the other.

Who's with me?

Post a comment or hit me up on twitter @ericschabell with your thoughts.

More by Eric D. Schabell