Sox End Skid, But Suffer Blow To Bench

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.

Texas will also have a lefty on the mound tonight with C.J. Wilson getting the call. He is 12-5 on the year with a 3.20 Era. His last time out, he held the Angels to two runs in seven innings to notch his 12th win of the season. Wilson is 3-1 against the Red Sox with an era of 1.69.

I consider myself to be not just a huge baseball fan but a traditionalist as well. However, I fail to see how implementing instant replay into Major league baseball will hurt the game. What’s important is that if Major League Baseball decides to go ahead and use instant replay the league mandates when the system can and cannot be used and then sticks to it. If I were commissioner (and God knows I should be) I would bring instant replay into the game but only use it in situations like the one that happened in the Cleveland-Chicago game. In a play such as the one umpires are roughly 200 feet away from the play. They are going to get one wrong every now and then. Replay would be a great service to them and to the game.

Snodgress is a 23-year old with a high upside. A 5th Round pick in 2011 out of Stanford, he too is off to a 4-1 start for the Barons and is ranked by Baseball America as the top lefty in the sale jerseys organization, second best pitching prospect behind Erik Johnson, a second rounder in the same draft. He is also 23 and is off to a 2-1 start with a 1.44 ERA in five games.

Before the White Sox played the Tigers at U.S. Cellular today, Kenny Williams pulled off a trade to cut payroll and help the bullpen. The Sox traded pitcher Edwin Jackson and infielder Mark Teahen to the Toronto Blue Jays for Oak Forest native Jason Frasor and prospect Zach Stewart. The blue Jays then traded Jackson to St. Louis in a multi-player deal for Cody Rasmus. Jackson came to the Sox last year in a deal that sent high prospect Daniel Hudson to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Jackson was 7-7 with a 3.92 ERA and 97 strikeouts. Mark Teahen never really settled in with the Sox, having made several trips to the disabled list. He was batting only .209 with 3 homeruns and 11 RBIs.

Really, though, whatever quibbles I have with this lineup construction are very, very minor. It’s at least close to optimal, and that is certainly a good thing for future run production.

Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles finished strong and really aren’t that far from being back in postseason play, but they need to make several tweaks in the offseason.

What worries me is that I’m not sure Owens will be able to simply hit the ball harder. His extra-base numbers in the minor leagues are not impressive: 24 in 2006, 13 in 2007, 12 in 2008 (all with AAA Charlotte). He may not have it in him to get 30+ extra base hits in a season, so if he’s going to stick for at least a year, he has to turn himself into an on-base machine.