I generally like Tom Verducci of SI.com. I think he's a great baseball writer and provides good perspective from the national level. ITM contributor Joe Murph swears by him, has his column set as his homepage, and I'm pretty sure they chat on the phone every other night or so.
Today however, Tom and I are in disagreement. In his most recent piece, he nearly describes Dice-K as an ace reborn and goes on to call him the key to Boston's success. He provides a solid argument to believe in a possible Dice-K turnaround with the return of his velocity and aggressiveness......but expecting an ace and calling him the key to the team's success may be a bit premature. (ITM note, Tom points to that himself at the end of his article)
When you consider the struggles of Beckett and Lackey, you've got to look at a potential rebound in their performances as the real key to Boston's success....plus....have you seen Dice-K pitch over the last three years?
I was his biggest fan when he was searching for the no-no. I want him to succeed and truly earn his 103 million dollar value....but even after Saturday's masterpiece I was screaming at T Murph that Dice-K will go 4 and 2/3rds, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits and 5 walks in his next outing.
He's only started 5 games this year, Saturday's 8 innings of dominance and shutout baseball still leaves him with an ERA of 5.76. Keep in mind he had a great start against Toronto a few weeks back, only to give up 7 runs to the Yankees in his next go-round.
I pray that history doesn't repeat itself with Dice-K's next start (Thursday against the Royals), but unfortunately that's all I know and expect at this point. Until he can show some longer term consistency and convince me otherwise, I'll consider him a nice to have as opposed to a key to Boston's success.
Clay Buchholz on the other hand....now he's doing some convincing.