Sunday, May 8, 2011

Some random thoughts

Justin Masterson, the former Red Sox prospect who was a key part of the Victor Martinez deal, looks like he's turned the corner in Cleveland. In a very nice start last week, he allowed nine hits over seven innings. Eight of these hits were singles, and five of those were infield hits. Effectively, it was like facing an entire lineup of Derek Jeters! Overall, Masterson has put up a 2.11 ERA in 47 innings, while posting solid strikeout and walk rates. While he has been a bit lucky with the home runs (2.8% HR/FB, where the major league average is about 10%), he finally is becoming the pitcher he thought the Red Sox thought he could become.

Ben Zobrist is having a bounceback year in Tampa Bay, and got a lot of press for having a monster double header against the Twins a week and a half ago, when he hit two home runs and drove in ten runs. Since that game, Zobrist has continued to hit very well, going 12/35 (.343 average). In an interesting little twist, in those nine games since the double header, Zobrist has not driven in a single run, despite scoring ten himself. The run binge has balanced out his stat line, putting him at 25 RBI and 28 R for the season, good for fifth and first in the AL, respectively. After falling to 2-8, the Rays are now tied atop the AL East with the Yankees at 20-14. For a team that lost an incredible number of free agents in the offseason and was missing Longoria for almost all of this season, that's awfully impressive.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox are still struggling with uneven play. They managed to make it to 14-15 by beating an incredible run of starting pitchers - Felix Hernandez, Dan Haren, and Jeff Weaver. Of course, after that they dropped their next three games. Winning their last two has pulled them back to two games below .500, but they're only four games behind the Yankees and Tampa Bay. It is still early, but it is not going to be early for too terribly much longer...

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