|Top 7: Manny Delcarmen postscript||09.28.08 at 1:36 pm ET|
Manny Delcarmen punched in with two scoreless innings today. Delcarmen dropped his ERA to 3.27, but still, his season has sometimes seemed to have the hint of disappointment due following a 2007 campaign in which he had a dominating 2.05 ERA.
Of course, Delcarmen has, in many ways, had a better 2008 than 2007. Entering today, he had struck out 9.0 batters per nine innings, a slight improvement on his rate of 8.4 a year ago. His walks are down slightly from 3.5 to 3.4 per nine innings. He is allowing one homer for every 14.5 innings, compared to one for every 11 innings in 2007. He is allowing fewer line drives, and getting more groundballs. By almost every measure except for ERA, he is better.
The difference? His BABIP (batting average on balls in play, a number with a league average of roughly .290 but that can vary quite a bit based on a number of factors, with luck playing a significant component) has gone up from an insanely low .224 in 2007 to a nearly league average .271 this year. More balls–softly hit, in many cases–have found holes, and Delcarmen has given up more runs as a result.
But as the Sox enter the playoffs, Delcarmen looks dominant. He has closed out the year with 11.1 scoreless innings in his final eight appearances, and so looks very much like a pitcher who can shoulder a meaningful load on the bridge to Jonathan Papelbon during the postseason.
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