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Master... ful?

I just don't understand why Tito has decided seemingly arbitrarily that Masterson is his main squeeze. Masterson is a very good rookie and I am confident that he will succeed most of the time.

As a reliever, Masterson's numbers are very good. Yet, it seems that Tito is going with his gut on this guy and that he just doesn't trust my man mini-Manny. Delcarman, post-All Star break (which I think is a fair apples-to-apples comparison to Masterson as a reliever), had very good numbers, and that doesn't even account for some things that my traditional-baseball-loving mind values such as post season experience and bouncing back from defeat.
  • Masterson as reliever: 2.36 ERA, 27 games, 34 innings, 29 strikeouts, 12 walks, 2 homers, .231 batting average against, and 1.18 walks and hits per innings pitched.
  • Delcarman in second half: 1.82 ERA, 30 games, 34 innings, 33 strikeouts, 13 walks, 2 homers, .161 BAA, and 0.94 WHIP.
I simply see no reason for this change aside from something in Tito's gut (which I obviously do not share). And I had thought Bill James had beaten the gut out of Yawkey Way. Delcarman has clearly pitched better than Masterson by the numbers and he was with us last year (though not pitching well by giving up 4 runs on 2 homers, in 4.1 innings).

That said, Masterson is a very good ground ball pitcher (1.99 GB/FB as opposed to 1.47 for Manny (for the entire season)). He also is nasty on righties with the angle at which he throws (.570 OPS for righties vs. .787 for lefties).

The Sox are best served using Delcarman as the main 8th inning guy. I don't believe in being rigid about this - using Lopez, Masterson and Oki in some combo is fine given the situation - but he's the best at it and most experienced so he should get the call more times than not.

Perhaps Delcarman's pre-All Star stats (.240 BAA, 1.31 WHIP, 4.54 ERA) has left residual uncertainty with the coaching staff. Regardless, I am glad we have the problem of which of the 5 good relieves we have should we use. Sure beats putting Chris Smith out there.

Side note: I hope that with my use of the absolutely hilarious and boundlessly clever "Masterful" joke - cause his real name is Masterson! But he's good! Get it? - this will be the end of that. Forever.


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