|Mitch Williams on D&C: Red Sox ‘good enough’ for playoffs||07.25.12 at 9:47 am ET|
MLB network analyst Mitch Williams joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss the Red Sox’ mindset heading into the trade deadline and their chances of making it to the playoffs. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“This team is good enough,” Williams said. “Talent-wise it absolutely is good enough. Performance-wise I think there have been some guys on the team that obviously have not performed up to their capabilities.”
Based on Boston’s ability to win, Williams said the Red Sox should — and will — look for additions before July 31.
“Buyers,” Williams said of the Red Sox. “With the wild card teams there’s too much baseball left to just punt on the season right now. I look down in Miami and what they’re doing. They’re dismantling already and you’ve got 60-something games left. That’s just telling your players, your fan base that as a front office you’re giving up. And there’s a lot of playoff spots out there, and you don’t have to quit because they quit.”
Williams said Jon Lester is one of the players who hasn’t answered the call. Williams said the lefty is struggling because he won’t throw his most successful pitch, the four-seam fastball.
Lester, for reasons unknown to Williams, has continued to use the cutter, although it is the lefty’s weakest pitch.
“That’s the problem. I have not been able to figure it out,” Williams said. “He’s absolutely fallen in love with that pitch. … The thing about the cutter is there are two guys in the game of baseball right now that throw cutters that are cutters. That is Mariano Rivera and Kenley Jansen. It’s natural. They have to think to throw a four-seamer straight. It comes out of their hand cutting. It’s cutting from the minute it leaves their hand. The cutters that most pitchers are throwing today are just maybe sliders that are just offspeed fastballs that are moving maybe two inches.”
Added Williams: “When you can’t command the cutter, it just becomes a spinning, non-breaking 91 mph fastball.”
The MLB analyst said throwing cutters, as well as confidence, has hurt Lester. He dismissed the theory of pitching coaches and catchers factoring into a pitcher’s success.
“If you’re counting on your pitching coach and catcher to get you through ballgames, you’re in the wrong place,” Williams said. “A catcher to me makes suggestions. … Pitching coaches are there, if you get out of whack, and it can happen, a pitching coach has got to be able to say, ‘Look,you’re drifting, you’re not getting to your backside.’ Simple stuff like that. Other than that, a pitching coach shouldn’t have to tell you how to go after a hitter. It is up to the pitcher.”
As far as Josh Beckett is concerned, Williams said the righty needs to show more emotion to return to effective pitching.
“I like Josh, but I want to see Josh angry,” Williams said. “I want to see him pitch angry again. When Josh gets out there and he’s kind of cerebral, I don’t look for him to do very well. When I go out there and I see him pitching angry, that’s the Josh Beckett I like to watch.”
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