The Red Sox pitchers lead all of baseball with 73 walks. That's an average of almost five walks per game. The league average is 49. Last season, the eventual world champs dished out a total of 482 walks, which were sixth-fewest in all of baseball. In 2008, they are walking batters at a rate that would result in 739 walks by the end of the regular season. That would be the most in the majors since Milwaukee gave out 728 bases on balls in 2000.
While that's not likely to happen, Boston's walks are of great concern, and certainly aren't helping when it comes to actually slowing down the opposition. Only Fausto Carmona (eight of his 17 in one game) has more walks in the majors than Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester (15 each), Boston's No. 2 and 3 starters. Tim Wakefield isn't far behind with 12. Despite all of his troubles (27.00 ERA), Mike Timlin walked his first two batters of the season last night in a disastrous inning of work. David Aardsma, who has generally been regarded as one of the team's solid contributors coming out of the bullpen (1.80 ERA), has walked six in eight innings of work.
Clearly, not having the likes of Schilling (or even Wells) is part of the reason. But what gives this year with the Sox control problems? Is it weather-related? Talent-related? No steroids-or-greenies-related? What's going on with this team's ability to throw strikes?