This debate that I will start on my own blog, as it was criticized on another blog. It is the debate of whether or not Jason Varitek should wear a "C" on his uniform, defining his status with the team as the captain. I don’t condone a public displaying of rank necessarily as we are all human beings first, but when a player like Manny Ramirez sees a big "C" on the chest of Jason Varitek, he might think twice about questioning the valued catcher. The fact that he displays this "C" on his uniform does not change what he does for this team, which is why I personally do not have a problem with it. If Jeter had the same physical labeling visible to us, I would not think any differently of him. And we all know how much respect I have for the Yankee captain.
Jason Varitek does a lot for this Red Sox team and the main part of his game that I admire so much, is his ability to work with the pitching staff. Now I understand that he has to be able to hit to retain his spot in the starting lineup. If he hit like Mirabelli he would not be the starter, or should not be, at least. See: Brad Ausmus. But Varitek has done enough with the bat, even this season, to be an all around above average player in this league. The two qualities that he seems to possess so much of: intangibles and game calling skills, cannot be measured through statisitics, and therefore could be overrated or underrated. In my opinion they are valued very highly though.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners seem to have showed us they are probably not as good as their record indicates over the two series that they recently played. They cannot be judged by one series sweep, I completely understand this. But I have not believed that either team is as good as their positions in the playoff race. The Mariners are not average, and but they are definitely closer to average than they are to good. They are sixth in runs scored and sixth in runs scored away from their "pitchers park." They are ninth in team ERA, and 11th away from…again…their pitcher friendly ballpark. Their seemingly strongest strength was their bullpen, and it is still good, but it has fallen to fifth in ERA, in the AL. They are not a real threat to the better teams if they did in fact make the playoffs. The only real scary things about them would be King Felix, and JJ Putz come playoff time. But who knows how the young Hernandez would react to playoff pressure?
As for the Diamondbacks? They are young. They just are not quite there yet. And as I have stated before, run differential is not everything, but we must take into account that with their’s standing at -38, it is tough to ignore. I believe that they will be more of a factor next season. But neither of these teams are out of it. They are very much in the race. Both being tied for a playoff spot as I am speaking (Arizona would be in through the Wild Card). But I feel that the both of them will slowly fade and fall just short of the playoffs. Seattle may end up finishing around five games out of the race. But there is the definite possibility that I am wrong and maybe the two teams will face each other for the chance to win a ring. But I like my original theory more so.
For all the talk about Ortiz having such an "off-year" because of a lack of Home Runs/RBI’s, it is safe to say that he is still one of the five best hitters in the AL this season. Meaning that, in respect to the rest of the league, he is still a great offensive force. And power numbers do not appear to be "top-heavy" as they have in past years, but it isn’t as if all the great hitters have left, right? He is still a force to be reckoned with. And I mean that to a very high degree.
Ben Sheets has returned and now they have what they need back on the team…an ace. Sheets doesn’t wal hitters and strikes out many of them. If he stays healthy down the stretch, they could make a realistic push for a playoff spot. I think they fall short by a small margin, but they won’t make it without, that is nearly certain.
I feel confident that Schilling will give the Red Sox a chance today. He is a "Big Game" pitcher. The problem is that he is an elderly man out there. And at some point in a players career, it doesn’t matter how well they pitched in the most meaningful of games, they will not be able to get the job done. But I just have some optimism about his start today I guess.