Ryan Lavarnway has been in Boston all month long. So why did it take until Tuesday for the Sox to take advantage of their top young power-hitting prospect?
Tuesday night the Sox received incontrovertible proof that, yes, Ryan Lavarnway was still alive.
"Well of course they knew," you might say. "In fact, they even played him Monday!" Quite right, they did, but that doesn't really explain why, exactly, he had been missing for all but seven at bats this month of September.
To be certain, coming into September, the Sox didn't have any real problems with their catching duo. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hadn't really kept up his numbers from June and July, but the power numbers were good enough in August for the Sox to overlook the dreadful .265 OBP, at least to some extent.
Then came September, and the apparent contest between Saltalamacchia and Varitek to see which could play worse. A hat trick from Salty one night, a golden sombrero from Jason Varitek in the next, and all throughout passed ball after passed ball. Neither has an OPS of even .550 this month.
So where has Ryan Lavarnway been? Well, riding the bench, where else? Despite being Boston's best hitting prospect, and despite having been rushed back to the majors as soon as possible when rosters expanded, Lavarnway simply hasn't been given the opportunity to prove himself...until Tuesday.
With his two homers against Baltimore's admittedly mediocre staff, Lavarnway already finds himself halfway to matching the long ball production of his competition behind the plate. What's more, he can already add to his resume one saved season. If it weren't for all four of his RBI Tuesday night, the Sox seem as unlikely to win game 161, and unlikely to have a realistic shot at making their way into the postseason.
So what do we know? We know that Ryan Lavarnway can absolutely destroy left-handed pitching, and that he at least has proven capable of hitting righties quite well in the high minors. What's more, he didn't exactly look bad behind the plate--certainly not bad enough to keep him from playing there when the alternatives are Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek.
So with the one or two games that may be left to them, isn't it time for the Sox to look for some new life in a player who seems all too eager to give it to them? He's been here all month long. It's time to take advantage of that.