21. San francisco Giants – San Francisco fans can relax about Matt Cain, who has put up numbers very similar to previous seasons but simply doesn’t have the wins or ERA to show for it.
Overall, these five players combined for 62% of the relief innings in 2010, but the damage done by other pitchers getting significant action was hard to overcome. Henry Rodriguez (4.55 ERA in 27 2/3 innings), Boof Bonser (5.09, 23), Tyson Ross (5.12, 31.2) and Chad Gaudin (8.83, 17.1) accounted for 23% of the relief innings last season, and when almost a quarter of your bullpen innings are that bad, it makes it hard for a team to stay in games when the offense isn’t playing well.
American League Cy Young Award – Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox. I may have been one year too early in predicting John Lester would win this award last year. Then again, if Lester hadn’t gotten off to such a bad start last year (1-2, 4.71 ERA in April), his stats would’ve looked even better than his impressive final stat line of 19-9, 3.20 ERA. If Lester can get off to a fast start for a change (4.58 career ERA in April), anywhere between 20-23 wins is a possibility considering the revamped Red Sox lineup, the speedy outfield, and the improved (at least on paper) bullpen.
I find it interesting to see that the 1921-22 New york Yankees made the list. When they acquired Babe Ruth from the Red Sox, a baseball fan’s first thought after all the home runs and the “House that Ruth Built” is that the Yankees immediately dominated major league baseball in the Roaring Twenties after that ill-fated trade by Boston.
Years ago, August 17, 1920, to be exact, Cleveland Shortstop Ray Chapman was hit in the head by a pitch thrown by Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. 12 Hours later he died without ever waking up. This tragedy, the only Major League to die so far from being hit, led to a rule requiring Umpires to replace the ball whenever it became dirty.
With sale jerseys looking more and more likely to pitch in relief this season (or maybe not, I guess), an expedited return from a detached lat is all the more important for Peavy and the White Sox. It’s probable the Sox will be without Peavy for some time to start the year, but the real question is how long that time will be.
The question is where do the White Sox turn? What does the future hold? The truth is there really is no light at the end of the tunnel. Unless the team can collect talent via trades and clean house, the South Side struggles could be around for awhile.