Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Schilling - not looking good

Yikes. Between TB and KC. The two worst teams and he has an ERA of about 15.

General Craziness as September Approaches

Giambi is again crushing the ball...Now I have no idea what is happening. I thought it was Yankees Stadium, but he hit two last night in Seattle. That's four in the last two games. To top that off, over the last month Tino Martinez has hit at a +.300 clip. That's excellent production from a spot no one thought the Yankees would get production from this year. Boooooo.

Clement got a much deserved win. That's 4 good outings in a row now. Between him and Wells we do have two good starters...Now if only Schill can put it together...We'll see tonight.

DiNardo is getting the start on Thursday...What??? Why not Papelbon again? Nothing like being in a pennant race with a slim lead and throwing DiNardo. I understand Papelbon has been used quite a bit in the pen, but make him unavailable until Thursday and start him.

The light throwing Alvarez got knocked around. Where's Delcarmen?

Foulke is back on Thursday. Even if he doesn't close, but is effective....Even if...

746 runs scored for the Sox and counting...This offense is insane.

16 of 17 at Fenway (and they blew the only loss)...

Bellhorn to the Yankees...

We picked up Chad Harville on waivers. Does anyone know why Houston let him go? He seems like he's pretty solid.

What about all this talk regarding Youkilis for Trachsel? I don't see why the Mets would want Youkilis. They have Wright at 3rd. They could use a 1B, but would you want Youk to be your 1B of the future? Doesn't make sense...Plus, is Trachsel all that good?

40-man roster upcoming. I think the Sox should bring up no position players and 15 pitchers...If they can each get an out per game our starters will only have to go 4 innings and will be rested for the playoffs...That's a joke, by the way...Sort of...I think we'll see Delcarmen, Hansen, Foulke, Lester, Ramirez...not sure who else. One thing is for sure, I don't want Jimy Williams type lineups by Francona to "give the young guys a chance". We need to win the vast majority of our remaining games to guarantee a playoff spot.

Monday, August 29, 2005

AAAHHHHHHHHH

If this comes back to bite us on the ass, I swear I'm off the Theo bandwagon. Hell, I'll even take down that full-size poster of Theo that's currently on the ceiling over my bed. (Wait, did I just type that? I meant to only think it. Crap.)

Wells Loses Appeal

David Wells will begin his suspension tonight. He was denied because he bumped an umpire that came over to break it up...

So, let's get this clear...
He gets thrown out of a game by an umpire that had nothing to do with the confrontation.
He gets suspended for 6-games (notice that MLB didn't give him the average 5-game/one start) for bumping an umpire that stepped in front of him. Perhaps the ump bumped him?

Now, I think he should have been suspended, but now it is a 6-gamer. While that only pushes his second start back a day, it makes the Sox have to start someone in his place twice.

He will return Sunday against Baltimore.

My guess is that Papelbon goes back to the mound. So our rotation rounds out like this for now.

Schilling
Clement
Wakefield
Arroyo
Papelbon

That doesn't look that bad until you realize that Schilling is not Schilling right now. It also leaves, yet, another hole in the pen...

Gordon Edes - GYS Reader?

Did you see the lead to his article?

All Important Games

I will say this...Yesterday's game was very needed. That was an old-fashioned drubbing. The pitching looked solid and the offense looked, well, like the offense we are pretty much used to seeing. We are still 2 up in the loss column...

Remlinger is gone and Alvarez has been called up...I don't think this makes us any better but I don't think it makes us any worse.

I just checked the Yankees schedule and they have a fairly easy go of it from this point out. They do have a lot of road games, though...And they play Tampa a fair bit, and they've had a very tough time with them, as well.

Back to us...

Foulke is throwing in the minors...Fine...but...we have Alvarez and Papelbon in our pen...Time for a major league arm to come back up even if not at 100%...

Papelbon should head to the rotation, Arroyo to the pen.

How weird was it that we couldn't block a Yankees' waiver move? Hopefully that trend can continue.

You know what else sucks? Embree is now rounding in to form. His past few outings have been excellent.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Rule 6.08(b)2

The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when he is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless the batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball; If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball.

Just got back from the Astros-Dodgers game. I was saddened to see Craig Biggio not in the lineup. But then he pinch hit for Roger Clemens, and on Jeff Weaver's first pitch, was hit in the elbow! I jumped up, screaming (most Dodger fans thought I was nuts); and then began loud booing when they called him back. The ruling was that he didn't make an effort to get out of the way, so it was just ball 1. I'd like to see the replay. But I hate when rules are enforced selectively. I know once this season a batter was called back when he was hit by a Wakefield "fast"ball, but it's pretty rare. The Astros probably would've scored if he'd been awarded the base (final score: Dodgers, 1-0). But even sadder, I missed the chance to witness history: if Biggio had been hit, he would've moved up to 2nd place all-time in HBP. Very sad. I swear, I've never booed so hard in my life.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

One and a half...and shrinking...

Never would I have thought being in first place could feel so hopeless. Sox have lost 3 of their last 4, to the two worst teams in the AL Central; even their one win, a 9-8 slugfest, was hardly convincing. When you can't beat the Detroit Tigers even when you score 8 runs, you know you're in trouble. Hopefully this is just a rough patch, but we'll see. I'm tempted to declare the season over, but I'll give them a few more games. I mean, you can't call a first-place team out of contention...can you?

The bullpen scoreless-less streak is up to 21 games. Keep it up, boys!

Papelbon's been hit, hard, his two times out of the bullpen. Have hitters figured him out, or is he just better as a starter? Given that three of our current five starters are shaky at best, I'd like to see him get one more chance starting a game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees scored 5 in the bottom of the 9th to beat the suddenly-not-so-pathetic Kansas City Royals. Seriously, when was the last time the Sox went into the bottom of the ninth a couple runs down and you thought they might pull it off? June?

Uh oh.

The Yanks just got Matt Lawton. The guy's not great, batting .268 this season and the same over his whole career. But I have a bad feeling about this -- remininscent of the late-season acquisitions they made around '99-'01, who totally overperformed and really helped pick up the rest of the team. Hell, their acquisitions this year (Chacon and Small, even maybe Leiter) have been surpisingly good. I hope I'm wrong.

In other news, Michael Young has snuck past Johnny Damon for the lead in AL batting. Damon's been hitting .256 in August.

Finally, I've had the word "Crun-chew-eezy" stuck in my head all day. I don't know why, but please somebody make it stop.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Pitching bitching

In August, the Sox pitching staff has combined for a 5.19 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. That's third-worst in the AL, beating only Texas and Kansas City. Even across the entire season, Sox pitching is fourth-worst in the AL, with Tampa Bay also behind them. They have the worst bullpen in the AL, by a fairly wide margin (ERA of 5.36; next worst is TB, with 4.98).

There's been a lot of discussion the last couple weeks on this site as to whether a team can survive the postseason with such glaring problems (for example, here, here, and here). But, with the Yanks only 2.5 games out, making it to the postseason is hardly a forgone conclusion.

If the Sox do make the playoffs, it'll be a pretty rare feat: in 2002-04, all 24 teams making the playoffs were in at least the top 8 in terms of team ERA; most (including the 2004 Sox) were in the top 5 or 6.

Pretty scary.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

More Hazel Mae

My god did anyone see Hazel on Red Sox Rewind last night. Yummy.

I forever dream of Hazel Mae Naked.

To see more, click here.

Okay, thought that might cool you down.

Hazel Mae nude
Hazel Mae naked
Hazel Mae's breasts
Hazel Mae breasts Hazel Mae's boobs

The eighth perfect game

Len Barker (CLE) May 15, 1981 vs. TOR

- Continued

And Now A Real Question

Ok...July saw one Jason Giambi's "hard work and determination" finally payoff. He hit 14 HRs, had a .355 BA and 1.498 OPS! That's ridiculous.

What then has become of Mr. Giambi's "hard work and determination" since Palmeiro was busted for steroid use? Let's take a look...

August
.207 BA
2 HRs
.722 OPS

Now why could it be that the same hard work and determination that got him back in to form is now not working at all? That's strange...

Quote of the week

Brad Penny: "It's kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

If Matt had a brother.....

And he was a Yankee fan. He would write this.

Streak

The Sox bullpen has given up at least one earned run in every game from August 4th on. That's a streak of 17 games -- quite a feat. Yet in that stretch, the Sox have gone an impressive 11-6. Of the six losses, the bullpen only got two of them, and have actually gone 6-2 in that stretch. So they're vulturing a bunch of wins, and they're preventing the Sox to get back into the game when the starter is shaky, but the Sox still have been managing to win in spite of their bullpen. Which is nice, I guess, but you can't expect it to continue in the postseason.

On a related note, one of Torre's big faults the last few seasons has been his uncreative use of the bullpen. If he deems the game winnable, it's Quantrill ('04) /Sturtze ('05), then Gordon, and then Rivera. We saw what happened to those three last year, with their collapses happening in August, September, and October (respectively); there are some indications that it may be happening again. But that was the Yankees, so it was, you know, awesome.

Let's pray the same thing isn't happening to Mike Timlin...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Back

In the last 4 1/2 days I've had two out-of-town guests, made it to 2 Sox games, put almost 600 miles on my car, and drank 721 beers. (Roughly. And never while driving.) Hence my disappearance. I now have an absolutely insane 12 days ahead -- have to get tons of stuff done before vacation. So anything I type on this site the next 2 weeks will be a clear sign that I'm in serious procrastination mode.

...So anyway, you can always find all sorts of splits describing how players perform under certain circumstances. But one I haven't seen much of is splits for when the team wins versus when it loses. Obviously, almost by definition, most players should perform better in wins than in losses. But I can't imagine for most it's a massive difference. However, this season, Manny bats .355 in Sox wins, .198 in Sox losses; 27 of his 33 HR are in Sox wins. That strikes me as a huge difference, pointing just to how much the Sox rely on Manny to win (all his stats are similarly lopsided, but I chose just the ones which are essentially independent of what other teammates do). When he struggles, they lose; when he hits, they win. And the Sox almost traded him for Mike Cameron and Aubrey Huff. Awesome.

Also, this didn't take long.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Highly Unlikely, but...

Wouldn't it be awesome if the Twins, who are starting a 3-game series against the White Sox tonight came all the way back and won the division?

I know...that is nearly impossible, but what if?

They have 10 head-to-head games. Of course the down side is that even if the Twins take 7 of 10 they only gain 4 games...

But they also have 7 against KC. Now I know that KC has won two in a row, but I think that the Twins could be all right.

I know this isn't going to happen (despite Chicago being 3-7 over their last ten) but wouldn't it be great?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Yucky

This is by far my worst year for Sox game attendance of the last 10, with today's game being the first I've actually attended (note to self: get out of LA). What a welcome back. It was ridiculously frustrating, with the Sox's weaknesses, defense and bullpen, completely exposed. Unearned runs made the difference, as did the relief pitching. Seriously, this team is in trouble. And the Yanks are only 3 games back now. Let's get a win tomorrow (I'll be at that one also).

The Red Sox bullpen has given up at least one run in every game since August 3. That is just terrible. On the bright side, Mike Remlinger (Game 6) got an out without giving up a run.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Mike Remlinger Watch: Game 5

In the seventh inning against the Angels, he gives up two runs on 3 hits and a walk. As a result, his ERA and WHIP both go down. Well done, Mike!

Update: He then went on to pitch the eighth, and gave up 3 more runs. So never mind.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ramblings

Amazing. Sox lose two to the Tigers (could have easily been swept), with the Yanks playing the D-Rays, and yet lose no ground. Man, I never thought 1st place -- with a 4 1/2 game lead -- would feel so stressful. Still, both the Sox and the Yanks seem to be in serious trouble, pretty much always, and yet somehow both keep rolling along.

Remlinger continues to be on fire, pitching 1 2/3 scoreless (!) innings, bringing his Sox ERA down to 20.25.

White Sox have lost five in a row, and no longer have the Best Record in Baseball. Red Sox are somehow only 5 games behind them in overall record. Pretty interesting.

Royals are only 3 losses from the AL record of 21 in a row (88 Orioles). Problem is, they now face the A's. Then the Red Sox. Then the Yankees. Then the Twins. Then the Rangers. Then the White Sox. Wow.

A couple weeks ago in my fantasy league I traded away David Ortiz. So you have me to thank for his latest tear (OPS of 1.319 in August).

Recent article in the NYT about the lower HR totals this year (6-8% lower than 2004). Remember all those players' apologists saying back in May it was the cold weather? Yeah, um, this is turning out to be one of the hottest summers on record. So what do they have to say now? It's also worth noting that ESPN used to have a HR tracker (comparing 2005 to 2004 and 2003) on their main page -- it's gone now. Were they strongarmed by MLB?

Finally: I think I've figured out the problem with SportsCenter. Not enough Terrell Owens coverage.

Asterisk *

I thought we had some debat on this. In aNew York times article on statistics, it discusses the asterisk. I had thought there was no such asterisk, but Earl had found something on it. but this article says:

"Baseball can lay claim to the most awkward instance of all, the handling of Roger Maris's 61 home runs in 1961. That year, the season had been extended to 162 games, 8 games more than when Babe Ruth set the record of 60 in 1927. Baseball officials, wanting to protect Ruth's majesty, decided to list both Yankees as record-holders. (Contrary to legend, an asterisk by Maris's name was never used.)"

The fifth and sixth perfect games

The fifth – Jim Bunning June 21 1964 6-0 versus the Mets
The sixth – Sandy Koufax September 9, 1965 1-0 versus the White Sox

Continued..

Interesting Statistic

The Red Sox are 0-8 since 1998 on August 15.

This also happens to be his birthday.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Today's Most Improved Player Award...

...goes to Mike Remlinger. After getting his first out in a Red Sox uniform in the bottom of the tenth, his ERA shrunk to 54, and his WHIP to 15. Now those might not sound very good, but you have to remember they were both "infinity" beforehand, so it's really quite an improvement for him. He then managed to load the bases, and give up a grand slam to Craig Monroe, but no harm: his ERA's still 54, and his WHIP actually went down further, to 9. Congratulations, Mike! You are today's Most Improved Player.

Okay, enough harshing. In fairness, his WHIP was seriously hurt by errors in his first two appearances, and I can't help but feel bad for the guy -- he was an All-Star just 3 years ago. Still, he really should be out of a job tomorrow.

Same goes for Alan Trammell.

Same goes for Alan Embree.

Sorry, guys.

The fourth perfect game

Don Larsen 1956 World Series.

Who cares. This world already has enough crap written that glorifies all things Yankee. I will not add to this.

The Third Perfect Game

Charlie Robertson April 30,1922. White sox defeat Detroit 2-0.

Robertson is by far the least accomplished pitcher to twirl a perfect game. His career stats total 49-80. His perfect game was in his fourth start ever. Imagine if Papelbon took the mount two weeks from today and chucked a perfect game. There is a lot of speculation that the game was not exactly, how should I say, legitimate – but it still stands in the record books. Robertson was a known spitball thrower. And in 1922 gambling had not been fully eradicated from the game. There is some speculation that some of the DET players were on the take this day.

Continued

Two things about Curt Schilling

1) He really puffed up the store last night.
2) There is the obvious problem that he is not a jug of relief.

Monday, August 15, 2005

My new game

It's a sloooowww day at work, and still no baseball for another 40 minutes, so I've been entertaining myself with a new game. The rules are simple: paste some text into the Google Translator; translate it to German; translate the output to French; and finally translate that back to English. Loads o' fun -- it's like a game of Telephone, for people with no friends. People like me.

Here's the translated first paragraph of an earlier post of mine discussing whether Mariano Rivera should get the Cy Young:
There is recently a quantity of conversation on of Mariano Rivera that the boy receives ALCy this year; p. e.g. here, here and on BBTN. It seems ridiculous on its face. For a thing all the supports Harold Reynolds is stupidly jumped to be. Moreover, MOS on the stage aiming to deform it 72 Inn-Ing rights which is really really weak. More this one, a bad year for Al-Choke is not; * while none solid mass standouts, Roy Halladay and one to mark right Buerhle to dominate (although Halladays to wound), and Barry Zito to leave late unstoppable (8 profit and an ERA 2,33 in its last 8 beginning). Lastly, there is the obvious problem that it is a jug of relief. Eric Gagne received boy Cy 2003, but there were two special circumstances, year: (1) was it a bad year for of NL-Pitching, only Prior marking and Jason Schmidt which has even a probability; and (2) Gains it had 55 stores (10 more than its naehster competitor, John Smoltz) and zero stores puffed up. It was more this band which all, received to it him Cy. the MOS on a stage for 44, but Wickman, Hermanson, Nathan and Guardado would have on which stores also maintenance much. He two stores more obviously roasted.
Damn, that's like 100 times better than the original. And the phrase "there is the obvious problem that it is a jug of relief" may be the single best thing I have ever written. Maybe I should start writing like that all the time.

Great Expectations

Joe Torre, on Jaret Wright's start in Tampa Bay tonight:

"I'm not sure how sharp he's gonna be. When a pitcher goes down and has surgery it's not really fair to count on him."

Wright's last surgery was in late 2001.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Rainy day notes

Bummer of a day to be rained out. A Sunday, Maine Day, etc. Was really hoping for the sweep too. Yanks have closed the gap to 4.5 games, by playing two more games than the Sox in the last four days. Some random notes...
  • I want to feel bad for Pedro, but I just can't. I mean, he signed with the Mets. It's surprising this sort of thing hasn't happened more often.
  • From an SI poll ("of 450 MLB players") taken in the preseason: 29% of players think 10% or more of major leaguers use steroids. However, almost the same amount (27%) think more than half of all players use amphetamines. Which is pretty amazing. The mlb doesn't test for amphetamine use.
  • Corey Hart just got his first career hit today, a 3-run homer in the Brewers' win over the Rockies. There's a joke in there somewhere, I'm just too tired to figure it out.
  • Scott Podsednik leads MLB in steals, with 54 (2nd place: 41). He also leads in caught stealing, with 18 (2nd place: 12). That's a 75% success rate. Hm. Couple that with his Bellhorn-esque .685 OPS, and compare that to the OPS of the guy he was traded for (0.843), and you've got to wonder just how good the White Sox would be had they not made that trade.
  • On a related note, the Red Sox still lead MLB in stolen base success rate, at 83%. Half of MLB teams (including the White Sox) are under 70%; the Nationals are actually under 50%. The full list is here.
  • David Wells has a web page. It's called boomer16. You can get there by going to "www.boomer3.com", or "www.boomer33.com". However, "www.boomer16.com" doesn't seem to work. The picture of Wells and a shirtless Steven Tyler will give you nightmares for weeks.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Five wins

Sox have won 5 in a row now, against average-to-excellent teams. The ugliness from the Minnesota series has carried over into this win streak: in these five games they have given up 8 unearned runs (1.6/game). The bullpen has been atrocious, with a 7.24 ERA over that stretch.

On the other hand, the Sox have been scoring 11 runs a game. I suppose if they keep doing that, the bullpen and defense don't matter much? Has a team ever gone to the playoffs with absolutely amazing hitting but with so many other glaring problems?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Moneyball

I'm watching the replay of the ninth inning of today's Angels-A's game on FSN West. Kendall's just on 2nd, but it's pretty exciting to watch knowing what's about to happen. In any case, the A's are insane. They've gone 22-5 since the ASB, and 49-16 since May 30th, when they were 14 under .500. Zito's won his last 9 starts, Harden and Haren look great, as do their 4 and 5 starters. Their offense has a great mix of veterans (Chavez, Kendall, Payton) and young guys (Johnson, Ellis, Crosby). This must be great redemption for Billy Beane, who had to endure all those people saying that without Mulder and Hudson the A's stood no chance (*cough, cough*), and that April and May proved it.

If the playoffs were to begin tomorrow, the Red Sox would face the A's. In a five-game series. Absolutely terrifying.

Whoops, there he goes. Awesome. Play of the season so far. (And just a day after the hidden ball trick.)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The second perfect game

Addie Joss. October 2, 1908. This one is perhaps the most “clutch” of the perfect games with the exception of the Larsen WS game. It came on the second to last game of the season with Joss’ Cleveland Naps (named for player manager Nap Lajoie) a mere ½ game out of first place. A perfect game in the heat of a pennant race. It was the perfect game with fewest pitches thrown – 79; fewest strikeouts – 3 and was completed in 89 minutes. Also, the term “perfect game” did still not exist – it was referred to in the papers as “a very rare, no runner reaches base” game. Joss was waaaaay ahead of his time – he wrote a column for the Toledo Bee newspaper and he covered the WS for the paper.

Continued

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Random notes on the Rangers game

Never before have I been so happy to see a (non-Yankee) starting pitcher get shelled.

I think the Sox have finally hit on a winning formula: the nine-run inning. If they can get one of those each game, I think they should be in pretty good shape (bullpen and defense be damned).

Speaking of nine-run innings, I know Chan Ho Park isn't very good, but why exactly did the Rangers trade a starting pitcher for another hitter? Is offense their main problem?

Sportscenter, on the umpires botching the call on Kapler's HR: "Rogers clearly gives up a home run, but the arbitrator reduces it to just a double."

The National Press

Ok, so we complain about Boston writers...Ok, we complain about Boston writers a lot. Ok, I complain. But I am noticing a trend, and I am wondering if those of you out of the Boston area could verify or disprove my theory. My theory?

Baseball writers are always looking for a new story. The Sox curse was one of the biggest stories/legends in baseball for 86 years (for the better part of 86 years anyway). Now, it's like just about every columnist wants them to fail, or will find fault with them in some way, some how. Meanwhile, it seems to be the White Sox turn to be the darlings of the press. Here are two quotes from this weeks SI Power Rankings I submit as evidence.

The White Sox (Rank #1):
"Lots of people have contributed to what's becoming a special season on the South Side..."

The Red Sox (Rank #5--behind White Sox, Cards, Braves, and A's):
"Don't kid yourselves. They'd still love to be rid of Manny Ramirez, especially since he'll become a 10-and-5 man in the offseason with full trade veto power. But with $64 million and three-plus years remaining on Manny's contract, GM Theo Epstein's options are limited to say the least."

So let's take a look at the last week. The Sox swept two series, but then played poorly in Minnesota (but still almost took two of three there). But what they choose to write about in Manny. Who, by the way, has been very good in the wake of all of this...And, let's face it...the Sox would be going nowhere quickly without him.

The White Sox--"A very special season"? Whoa...slow down there, buddy. Yes, they will win their division, but look at their division. Where's the competition? There's a long way to go before the White Sox start to celebrate...

My point? The press want another "curse" broken. It's been longer for the White Sox than the Red Sox (even before last year). So where was this story when the White Sox were out in front last year? Granted, they are better this year, but come on already.

Again, this is not to trash the White Sox, but to spot a trend in reporting.

It is the in-thing to trash the "old news" that last year was the biggest story in sports in a LONG time. I bring back my "alternative music" theory. It was cool, back in the day, to like a band until they "sold out". Then people thought they sucked. It seems like the baseball press is considering winning the WS "selling out"...

It's strange, but I don't remember this kind of sarcasm hitting the Angels the year following their victory, or the Marlins for that matter. Hell, the Yankees won a bunch of years in a row and were a dynasty for all to love (except, of course, us Boston fans). So why is Boston taking this heat?

Pen Problems...

Ok, so with Miller going to the DL, what do the Sox do?
Wells
Clement
Arroyo
Wakefield
???

Foulke isn't back, yet, so Schilling stays in the pen.

Papelbon? I wouldn't mind seeing him back up here, especially if we can juggle the rotation to have him start against Detroit instead of Chicago. That his him, then, miss the Anaheim series and then pitching against KC and TB in his next two starts. It's a real good chance to get this kid's feet wet, and maybe he'll stick. Then move him to the pen and bring Schilling in when Foulke comes back.

And while we are talking about it. Is Remlinger any better at this point than Mark Malaska or Lenny DiNardo? Seriously, the more I think about it the more I don't understand this move.

Of course, we just got Battalico. So what is our pen now? Timlin, Schilling, Remlinger, Bradford, Gonzales, Myers. If Papelbon doesn't come up, that means we are probably moving Schilling in for a spot start (highly unlikely) and Timlin becomes the closer, and Battalico comes up. OR Battalico becomes the closer. Man, that pen is terrible...We NEED Foulke to come back with a vengeance or this team is in trouble.

Of course, they will probably win the division. Wells is good in the post-season. Schilling would have to start. That's a good 1-2 punch. And if we can keep Clement focused with Wake starting 4, we could move Arroyo to the pen. That makes me feel pretty good.

Ugly

Sox are 6-2 in August. I honestly don't know how. Those were 8 of the ugliest games imaginable. While the team seems to have a good shot at making the playoffs, they have no chance of getting anywhere if they can't turn the relief pitching and the defense around. While I shouldn't be complaining -- I mean, they just won 11 of 13, and are now a season-high 18 above .500 -- they're just painful to watch. No lead is safe. Our closer needs to come out every freakin' game.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Remlinger??

A strange move, but I guess it didn't cost much. I guess we need another left, but I am starting to wonder what our final pen will look like. Especially since we prepared to only go with 11 pitchers.

The first perfect game - Cy Young

As promised, the August installment of book review will be broken into installments chronicling the 14 perfect games detailed in “27 Men Out” by Michael Coffey. Andrew will also be delighted to know that the author was inspired to write the book after witnessing David Cone’s perfect game.

While I have read only of the games so far, I was pleasantly surprised that the writing (at least in the first one) is not a detailed account of the game, but it set the stage for the game and the details of the actual perfect game itself, were minimal. Which I like.

Continued in comments.

Cy Rivera?

There's been a lot of talk lately about Mariano Rivera getting the AL Cy Young this year; for example here, here, and on BBTN. It seems ridiculous on its face. For one thing, anything Harold Reynolds supports is bound to be stupid. Moreover, Mo's on pace to pitch just 72 innings, which is really really low. Plus this is not a bad year for AL starters; while there are no massive standouts, Roy Halladay and Mark Buerhle are pretty dominant (though Halladay's been hurt), and Barry Zito has been unstoppable as of late (8 wins and an ERA of 2.33 in his last 8 starts). Finally there's the obvious problem that he's a relief pitcher. Eric Gagne got the Cy Young in 2003, but there were two special circumstances that year: (1) it was a bad year for NL pitching, with only Mark Prior and Jason Schmidt even having a chance; and (2) Gagne had 55 saves (10 more than his closest competitor, John Smoltz) and zero blown saves. It was that streak more than anything that got him the Cy. Mo's on pace for 44 saves, but Wickman, Hermanson, Nathan, and Guardado should also get about that many. Plus of course he's blown two saves.

But on the other hand, those two saves were in his first two appearances of the season, against Boston. (I still get pissy when I think about him getting booed.) Since then he's converted 30 straight. His ERA's incredible (0.92), but becomes much more impressive (0.58) if you take out just those first two games. His WHIP is 0.73 on the season. So despite those two early-April blown saves (one of which he got the win in), it's fair to say he's having one of the best seasons a closer has ever had.

But then again, let's say he wasn't superhuman this season, merely quite good, with an ERA of 3. So he gives up three times as many runs. How many games does that cost the Yankees? Given that in 15 of his saves (half of his total) the Yanks won by three or more runs, the answer is: not many. Two or three, maybe 4. Now, make Buerhle or Halladay and Zito merely good, and how many games does that cost their teams? Somewhere between 5 and 10, probably.

But, then again, this is Mariano Rivera we're talking about. He's a HOF'er, and this is the best season of his career. You know how they sometimes give the Oscar to an actor or actress or director not for a particular movie, but instead as a sort of "lifetime achievement award"? It seems reasonable to do that in baseball as well (though I'm not sure if it's ever happened before).

So I'm conflicted. Plenty of good arguments for, and against, Mo getting the Cy Young this year. Thoughts?

Monday, August 08, 2005

It's Time for Some Breathing Room

Enough already...We've talked about how bad the Yankees' starting pitching has been, how hurt they are (Pavano scrapped his latest attempt to comeback due to further shoulder problems, and RJ is now in doubt for his next start as his back is beginning to flare)...Yet, here we are...only 3 1/2 games up...

I am not intimidated by the Yankees. Certainly, I think that we have the upper hand the rest of the season...a ton of home games, better pitching, etc...

However, there they are...

As it turns out, the A's are on fire and very well may win the West. The White Sox are a lock...It does look like losing Hunter will spell the end for the Twins, the Angels are spiraling a bit...So, does the Wild Card come from the East?

If the Sox play up to potential (and what they did in Minnesota this weekend was not an example of that) they will run away with the East. By all accounts they should have run away with it already. The O's have exploded and are done...The D-Rays were done on opening day...The Jays losing Halliday will keep them from seriously hanging in there this year...

That leaves the Yankees...
Will Leiter's one out of every three starts be gems? Is that enough...
Will RJ ever get on track?
Will Pavano come back? If he does, will he be better than before he got hurt?
Will Mussina ever be able to be effective after the 5th?
Will Small continue to come up big?
Will Nomo help?
Is Chacon the answer?

With all of those questions, how could they even be in the equation? Let's not even start with their bullpen...

Yet, there they sit only 3 1/2 back...

Time to open this race up a bit...Let's start tonight against the Rangers...

Spoiling the broth

The New York Magazine article on Gary Sheffield has just been published. A good article, but a bit of a letdown, I guess -- we've already heard the juicy parts, and I'm a little bummed that I don't despise him any more than I did before. In fact, in some parts he actually doesn't seem quite as odious as I like to imagine he is. (Since then, his assertion that he was miquoted puts the whole thing in a somewhat funnier light. The magazine insists it's all on tape -- I wish they'd put the audio on the web, just to embarrass him.) Choice quotes from the article:
Sheffield seems genuinely na├»ve about how his more incendiary comments will be interpreted. “Tell me something,” he says. “How come I talk to reporters, tell them the truth, but they treat me worse than the guys who say nothing?” And there is Gary Sheffield’s dilemma: Not only does he play on a team with A-Rod and Jeter, baseball’s Glimmer Twins, but what he thinks of as Gary’s just being honest, others interpret as, well, Gary’s being an asshole.

Sheffield tithes a sizable portion of his annual $13 million in earnings to his church. In the winters, he takes his kids to Aspen and ignores a no-ski clause in his contract. “How can you say ‘I can’t go skiing’ to your children?” he asks.

“People say about me, ‘He’s moody,’ but I don’t see them in the same mood every day. Some days I feel like talking, some days I don’t. Some days I don’t feel like looking at you. I’m tired of looking at you.”
There's some discussion of race in there, which is clearly something he spends a lot of time thinking about, but it doesn't seem he has a huge chip on his shoulder about it. (For more good reading check out the two-part Bonds excerpt from Howard Bryant's Juicing the Game, over at Bronx Banter.)

What most annoyed me about the article is that Sheff teases us with some insider knowledge:
“I know who the leader is on the team. I ain’t going to say who it is, but I know who it is. I know who the team feeds off. I know who the opposing team comes in knowing they have to defend to stop the Yankees.”
But he never tells us who it is! C'mon Sheff, don't leave us in suspense! Who is it? Tony Womack? Wayne Franklin? Rey Sanchez? This is killing me!

Its that time again

Book review!!!

This one will be short and sweet. As many of you know I have spent far, far too much time on airplanes lately, so I have had some time to do some reading. while picking out books for the Hawaii trip, my wife suggested that I get a book about something other than baseball. Now I have to admit this is a completely foreign concept to me. I think in the last ten years I have read about 4 books that are not about baseball - the DaVinci Code, Tuesdays with Morrie, the Lance Armstrong one and the Red Auerbach recent one.

So, lets just say my wife was less than pleased when I rolled up to the register with "Season on the Brink." My argument was "Hey its not baseball."

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Rancho Cucamonga!

I didn't have much of a chance to get too upset about last night's loss, because immediately after it I left to watch my first minor league game in about 2 years. California League (high A), watching the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Angels affiliate now; Matt Clement once played for them) play the Inland Empire 66ers (Mariners affiliate), in Rancho Cucamonga. We had the option of $4, $7, or $10 tickets; decided to "splurge" and get the $10 ones. That put us right behind home plate, which was a surprisingly empty section...except all the scouts. Which was insane. Mostly guys from the Angels and Mariners, but a couple from other AL teams, including one from Boston. I talked to one of them a bit about timing the run from the plate to first: the average major leaguer is 4.2-4.3 sec, depending on whether he's RH or LH, and they have this scale based on tenths of a second. He said Ichiro was about the fastest you can be -- an "8", which I think means he gets to first in 3.5 seconds. I had about a thousand other questions for him, but I felt bad asking too much. (Plus I had been drinking, shockingly, and I can only assume they hate drunk fans asking them stupid questions.)

The game itself was okay. The Quakes have a lot of mashers -- they scored 11 of their 13 on the HR (or maybe the 66ers just have terrible pitching). I was excited to sit behind the plate and watch the pitches, but there didn't seem to be much movement to most of them, which I guess is to be expected. Dallas McPherson was there for a rehab start, and had a couple hits, including one massive HR; he's the Angels rookie who can't seem to keep his jersey buttoned. He had a red batting helmet, compared to everyone else's blue one; I didn't see if it had an "A" or a "Q" on it, but I assume it was because he's been a major leaguer. (Is that normal for farm teams? I find it sort of obnoxious.) Also notable was Michael Garciaparra, who looks amazingly like his older brother, though without the OCD-warmup before every AB.

Besides the baseball...their mascot was "Tremor", a dragon/dinosaur who liked to dance...they actually had cheerleaders, the "Shakers" (seriously), who weren't very good dancers but still tried very hard to live up to their name...nice fireworks show afterwards, which even the players seemed pretty into...and as we were leaving the park they gave out free loaves of bread. I swear to god. Very surreal scene, leaving a ballpark as part of that big post-baseball crowd, but with everyone holding a loaf of Sara Lee white bread. Turns out it makes for a pretty nice weapon.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Roster Shenanigans coming??

I read with great interest this article on Bellhorn. As the days of August tick by and the Sox having some uncertainty at a number of positions. I would guess that the Sox will play a few games with the Roster right around September 1. We may see some mysterious injuries in the week before (one of the kids, or a Gonzalez, Dinardo maybe even a Youkilis). Some rehabs prolonged (Foulke, Olerud, Bellhorn).

With the rosters set to expand September 1, I expect there will be at least handful of callups. And, of course, the playoff roster has to be set using players that are active on September 1 or on the DL on that date. The only exception to that is if a player is put on the DL after that date, the team can add on player - this was the K-Rod exception from 2002 when they moved some crappy pitcher who had already been on the 15 day DL to the 60 day DL which opened a spot on the 40 man roster for K-Rod.

But to give the team the most flexibility in roster management for the playoffs, it is in their interest to have a few options. And having players on the DL creates such opportunities.

So I would guess we will see some strange stuff in order for the Sox to give some players more of an audition for a post season roster as well as a chance to create a roster that will give them better matchups.

Under new management

When Baltimore fired Lee Mazzilli and replaced him with Sam Perlozzo, it was the first time in MLB history a manager with two "z's" in his name replaced another manager with two "z's" in his name, a piece of trivia which I just pulled out of my ass but which is probably true. The Orioles have gone 2-0 under Perlozzo; while I haven't been paying close attention to the sports media's take on it, if a team does well under a new manager, usually writers and the BBTN guys go off about how the team's trying to impress their new manager, and/or there's a "fresh start" which allows the players to "clear their heads and begin anew". I've always assumed that was BS, but never bothered to look it up. That is, until this morning, when I had some important stuff to do at work which I've been trying to avoid.

Since the 2002 season, managers have been replaced midseason 14 times; three times this year (Mazzilli, Tosca, Pena), twice last year (Brenly and Jimy), twice in 2003 (Torborg, Boone), and seven times in 2002 (Manuel, Garner, Muser, Martinez, Baylor, Bell, Lopes). [I'm not counting the two times KC named an interim manager for less than 20 games.] The 14 new managers went a combined 8-6 in their managerial debut; over the course of their first 5 games (2 in the case of Perlozzo), they went a combined 37-30. Not bad given that all came into teams at or below .500 (the 2004 Astros were 44-44 when Jimy was fired), but my guess is those winning records are statistically insignificant.

In only 3 of those cases are the new managers considered to have "turned the team around": Tony Pena for KC in early 2002, Jack McKeon for the Marlins in early 2003, and Phil Garner for the Astros in mid-2004. Given that that list includes the names "McKeon" and "Garner", I have serious doubts as to whether the new managers had anything to do with the teams' turnarounds, but in any case, those three went a combined 1-2 in their debuts, and 6-9 in their first 5 games.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Favorite Player

So Andrew at 12Eight has said Tek is his favorite player of all time. I thought it an interesting choice. I even questioned whether this was indeed the case or perhaps he had his current Sox hat on - apologies to Andrew as he stuck to his guns.

Which then further got me thinking about my favorite player of all time. I admit I have thought about this a number of times, but I have never been able to reach a conclusion. I have limited my choices to players I have actually seen - thus Teddy Ballgame would not qualify.

My options are:

George Brett - a very long time ago, I was an aspiring third baseman in little league. And around the same time, George Brett was dominating MLB. Talk about a guy that played the game the right way. Of course, my memories are probably tainted by my youth and the passage of time.

El tiante - this one is definitely tainted by the fact that El Tiante pitched in the second game I ever attended - Game one. LCS 1975. 8-0 victory against the A's. Aside from that, some memories over the 75 WS (which have been augmented by ESPN Classic and Ken Burns' Baseball Documentary) along with some goofing in the backyard as a kid mimicking the windup, I really don't have that many memories.

Jim Rice - most feared hitter in the AL for a number of years. Also while I was an avid fan. Plus it didn't hurt that I ran into him one day on Newbury Street and he said hello to me (after I had told him what a big fan I was). I was about 16 and thought that was very cool. Plus, the guy could damn right hit. It was the ruthless trashing of Rice in the late 80s that got me (at a very young age) to recognize that the media are brutal in Boston and can work to form the opinions of so many. My dad would trash Jim Ed, solely based on some comments made by Bob Ryan, Will McDonough or Leigh Montville. Side note - sure miss Will and his Saturday AM rambling. I would say he blogged before there was anything like a blog.

Those are my choices. I have other players I really loved at one time or another (Clemens jumps to mind) but nothing that has stuck like those guys. Mo Vaughn was headed in that direction until he signed with the Angels (I could have eventually gotten over that, since it was no MFY) but then his career fizzled. I will always have a special place in my heart for Mo. Others I really enjoyed - Scott Cooper, Tim Naehring (something about 3B), Daryll Strawberry before the 86 WS, Piazza, and perhaps Mike Greenwell - but these guys were definitely not in the category of the others.

So that's it. Kind of lame that I don't have an outright answer. But it is what it is.

Gary Sheffield

He's mouthing off again. Awesome.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Eight in a row

Really ugly game, but a win is a win. And Varitek had his first career grand slam. Red Sox are now 15-5 against the AL Central (13-3 against teams other than the White Sox). Really makes you wonder what the White Sox's record would be if they were in any other division. Hopefully the Red Sox can continue this streak through the weekend, where they play the now-third-place Twins at the Leylu Dallas Metrodome. Also this weekend the Yanks play the BJ's, and could be in third by the end of it. Sadly there will not be a Chacin-Chacon matchup.

Not a great return to the Majors for Roberto Petagine, who went 0-3 with 1 BB, 1 R, and 1 GIDP. For an unbelievably thrilling real-time Petagine play-by-play, click here. Somehow I hadn't realized until this game that it was pronounced "Pet a Genie". If you Google "Pet a genie" you end up here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Murray Chass's recent article on the Red Sox

To paraphrase: "Uh, hey, everybody! I'm a stupid moron with an ugly face and big butt and my butt smells and I like to kiss my own butt."

Giambi

Each New York newspaper has an article today on Giambi and Palmeiro. Predictably, George King of the post says Giambi's clean because "multiple sources" confirmed it. The NYT has kept its mouth shut about Giambi's power surge; my guess is they're hedging their bets. Not one paper mentions that HGH and other drugs are not tested for; as far as I can tell from surfing th web that loophole is not widely known by many baseball fans. The more I read about it, the more I've decided the current testing is a sham. From the Post:
In order for a player to undergo additional testing other than the random tests when his team is tested, the HPAC Committee would have to approve it. HPAC is a four-man group represented by the Players Association, MLB and one doctor from each side.
One doctor "from each side"? Great. How about someone...I dunno, not bought and paid for?

Also, Joe Torre on Palmeiro:
"The doubt is there; that's the problem...Just from hearing his statement that he made a mistake...the only way you clear that up is to just let people in on what the mistake was."
Exactly. Now apply that to Giambi's non-apology from just a few months ago. Now you'll see why I'll always be skeptical of that man.

And they say Boston is a tough town

So D-Lowe is having an affair with a reporter. And it is all over the papers. Sure his wife spilled the beans publicly, but the Times did run the story. One thing about Boston, is at least they do keep personal stuff out of the papers.

I wonder if D-Lowe will blame the media for this problem. And if he does, will that be the media he is sleeping with or the rest of them?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

"Say it ain't so, Nilknarf!"

And another one. Not quite as good a player though. I think that makes the Mariners the first team with two players suspended for using banned substances. Lotta good it's doing them. Remember kids: winners don't do drugs. (Unless you're the New York Yankees, and it's 2003.)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Palmeiro

One thing that's interesting about the Palmeiro case is how hush-hush it was. He had a special hearing, with an indepedent arbitrator, which is not normally the way it's done. Will Carroll, somewhat of an expert on 'roids in baseball, explains the possibilities, and the confusion:
No other player was given this privilege, meaning that there was likely some circumstance that led to this. It may have been an unusual circumstance of the testing, his stature in the game, a desire of the Commissioner to avoid the appearance of a ‘witch hunt,’ or some paranoiac conspiracy theory. We have no answer to this question. It is also very unclear when this hearing took place. Discussions with reporters covering the Orioles did not clear this up. All parties were confused as to whether Palmeiro left the team for the hearing and had no inkling that this situation was ongoing.
So that's odd. Also odd is that, despite the hearing, no one in the press seems to have gotten word of it. (However Carroll says "Rumors began circulating this weekend that something was brewing. I heard from no fewer than three independent sources that a 'big story' was breaking.")

Though this is interesting: in a Daily Show interview last week (July 26), Bob Costas brings up Palmeiro pretty much out of nowhere. (You can see the video here.) Jon Stewart brings up steroids, makes a pretty funny joke, then Costas suddenly mentions Raffy:
"...everyone talks about Bonds, whatever; but to me the most interesting guy in the midst of all this is Rafael Palmeiro of the Orioles: recently reached 3000 hits, closing in on 600 homers, seems to be a good guy, emphatically denied any steroid use, and I accept that. But it's interesting while he denies using performance enhancing drugs, he is the national spokesman for Viagra. [Laughter] So, I don't -- I don't say the two are connected, but I will say this: for the past few years, this -- this guy's been getting good wood on everything."
Ba-dum-bum. Terrible, obvious joke. But the fact is, everyone's making that joke now, and Costas was the first, by almost a week. So maybe some in the press did know about it, or at least have an idea about it?

The First Big Name

Wow...Palmiero gets a suspension for roids...That's a shame. He is maintaining that he's never done roids...period...I know that this will get a rise out of the Latin ballplayers. They were complaining that they were being targeted before...Now that the first big name is Palmeiro, I am expecting more anger.

Secondly, should Giambi be tested again? The guy was terrible until his recent weight gain...He's worked hard and added all that muscle without the aid of roids? Are we going to fall for that again? The guy hit 14 homers this July!!! That is ridiculous. Test him already...

Either way, I wish that I could just "hit the gym" and, without any added aid, gain 20 pounds of muscle. I've worked out and I will say it is difficult to gain that much weight when putting on muscle because muscle makes you burn fat...and lose weight...

Anyway, I hope that it turns out that Palmeiro gets re-tested and it shows up negative...I've been a big supporter of his...For him to get caught and NOT Bonds and NOT McGwire and NOT Sosa is terrible...