Red Sox Report: Can Jason Vartiek Keep It Up..Will Dice-K Turn It Around
We are 66 games through the 2009 Major League Baseball season. The best record in baseball belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have an astonishing 44 wins and 23 loses.
Not far behind them are the red hot Red Sox. The Sox have won 7 of their last 10 in large part of the hitting.
David Ortiz has broken out of his slump with four home runs in the last 14 games. Their lineup has been amazing. With 336 team RBI's, which is third in the league, they also lead the league in doubles, walks, OBP, and slugging percentage.
It's not all Ortiz's hitting. Jason Bay is leading the league in RBI's with an amazing 61 and Kevin Youkilis is fourth in the league in batting average. One silent but deadly weapon at the bottom of the order is Nick Green.
Green is usually the eighth or ninth batter but has come up big in the past few games. In their most previous game he had a big two out hit and brought in two runs to give the Sox a lead. They eventually win the game 3-0.
With Jed Lowrie hurt but soon returning, expect Greene to be a big contributor on off days for Lowrie.
One player the Sox almost released this off season was their captain, Jason Varitek.
He was horrendous last year, batting .220 with 122 K's, 43 RBI's, and only 13 HR's.
Its the exact opposite this year. He has had a phenomenal year with 10 HR, 35 RBI's and 30 K's.
Can Tek keep it up?
Also, the pitching has been amazing. The only one who is pitching terribly is Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Dice-K is 1-5 with a 8.23 ERA. It's not only that he is giving up runs, he doing it in an art form.
In his last start, his first pitch was hit out of the park by the Braves lead off hitter.
Opposing hitters are hitting .378 off of him. That's good enough to win the batting crown.
Dice-K has been scratched from is next start and John Smoltz is the expected starter for Dice-K. Smoltz will be making his first start of the year after about a month of rehab.
Beckett and Lester have really turned it on and are holding up Dice-K's end of the wagon.
In Beckett's last start, his stat line read.
CG, 5H, 0 BB, 7 K.
That is a stat line pitchers might get once a year. What's even more remarkable is the fact that the five hits were all singles while only letting one person reach second base.
In Lesters' last start, he had a stat line of
7IP, 8H, 0BB, 2ER, 8K.
In his last four starts combined he has allowed five total ER. Before that, 29 ER in six starts.
Dice-K will continue to struggle if he keeps getting into these jams where he has bases loaded or two on with one out. Last year he got lucky and got double plays but this year hitters have figured him out and now know what he is going to throw in a specific point.
The future will tell if Dice-K can figure out his problems and if the Sox can keep up their hitting.
As for now, they better hope Lester and Beckett keep pitching the way they have been.
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