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Just throw strikes … please

Finding pitching help has never been easy. Even before teams hopped on the Tony La Russa Local (the car that makes three or more stops per nine innings), discovering big-league pitching has required far more work than tracking down big-league outfielding, to name just one every-day job.

And now teams must navigate deep, dark, seemingly endless tunnels in hunting down pitchers, failing more often than not.

And we’re not talking about Cy Young candidates. These days, big-league clubs search the ends of the baseball earth for someone who can take the reins of an 11-0 lead in the eighth inning and wield an efficient mop.

Take Jake Faria. If you stopped watching the Red Sox’ rout of the Chicago Cubs on Sunday before Faria toed the slab, let us review:

Making his first and what should be only Red Sox appearance, Faria came on to begin the eighth. He wasted little time in walking Trey Mancini on five pitches.

Settling into a nice little groove, Faria walked Miles Mastrobuoni on four pitches,

Pitching coach Dave Bush hustled out to the mound, spoke into his hand and drew several nods from Faria.

Whatever advice Bush offered worked brilliantly, if only briefly. Faria got ahead of Mike Tauchman 1-2 … then threw three straight balls, loading the bases.

Faria started Nico Hoerner with a called strike … then threw four straight balls.

Trey Mancini, amble on down that third-base line.

There is no need to harp on Faria, even though his two innings required 65 pitches, with just 31 strikes. He has maintained a measure of incompetence for nine seasons, for the Rays, Brewers and Diamondbacks.

As for the Red Sox, they slapped around Cubs pitching enough to take an 11-5. They are five games over .500, would be in first place in the American League Central, are a mere 1.5 games out of the AL’s third wild-card spot.

But alleged big-league pitchers who are unable to throw strikes – with an 11-run lead in the eighth inning – is simply too much of an insult to an old baseball scribe’s sensibilities.

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