Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I guess once things reach this point, it is pretty safe to say "Game Over."
Now we know why the Astros probably asked for the world in the (alleged) Oswalt to Boston deal. they think he is a star and rewarded him as such. Now if Beckett could only pitch more like the Beckett of old (i.e., last night), his $30 Million deal will be a bargain.
I understand why many (most) Yankee fans are insecure and obnoxious. But Chass is puzzling to me. He grew up hating the Yanks (as a Pirate fan) and now is in a head to head battle with George King for unabashed second in command (behind Rubenstein himself) of the Yankee PR machine. His latest - "THEY’RE throwing a playoff party at Yankee Stadium this week, and only legitimate contenders are welcome. The Boston Red Sox weren’t invited. If they had been, they would have probably stumbled and fallen on their faces en route to the festivities. "
How petty? The article is not even (supposed to be) about the Sox. Yet he can't resist. then again, most of the Yankee fans are insecure and probably enjoy reading such nonsense. The defending champ White Sox appear to be in just as much trouble as the Red Sox, but they garner only a mention(and that as an opponent of the Twins). At least George King only sugar coats comments, like acting Reggie was giving A-Rod a pep talk the other day.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Trade Wells NOW while you can get something for him. It is his chance to get back to San Diego (where he could make a huge impact on the race), and a chance for us to get something valuable in return (that we can put to use next year...like a reliever).
I wrote in a comment (at the time, jokingly) that the Sox could wind up a .500 team this year. Now I am thinking that is not so far out of the equation. Let's take a look a look at their DL...
Out right now
Hurting but playing
They've lost 19 games in August and there is NO reason to think that they won't continue to lose at a heavy clip. Is it really out of the question to consider that they'll go 11-21 the rest of the way? They will probably trade Wells...Beckett is inconsistent, Lester is hurt, they have no pen, and they can't hit without Manny and Papi. The weak competition coming in September isn't really "weak" anymore.
They have 7 left against Toronto, 4 against the Yankees, 3 against the Twins, 3 against the White Sox. That's 17 against tough competition. There's 3 against KC, but the Sox have struggled against them this year. Remember the 2 1-0 games? And the series in KC?...The saving grace is Baltimore in this mess...6 against them.
It really is time for the front office to admit defeat and start getting stuff in return for anyone who isn't coming back next year. Someone need a 2b? Here's Loretta. NL team in need of a proven NL reliever? Here's Tavarez...Etc...
My favorite is Colorado who is 5 games back, but 8 games under .500!!!
Monday, August 28, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
So with the sox needing to win at a clip of .667 wins per remaining games for the rest of the season (assuming the Yankees go .500) it feels like our backs are against the wall. One more loss and Yankee win and we’re done.
It occurred to me that we could extrapolate these numbers backwards and forwards through the season to determine how many games back is too far, in other words the proverbial “back against the wall”. Well, time to break out "goal seek" and figure this crap out. Ok, I didn't actually use goal seek, but my spreadsheet is pretty shitty, however I can get a general sense of what I wanted. Here's the breakdown.
First off, a .667 clip is pretty amazing and probably really hard to maintain over a season. In fact, if you did you would win 108 games. I was too lazy to actually look up how many teams have been able to hit that number in the last 100 or so seasons but my assumption was no more than 30 times. On the flip side, winning 4 out 6 games is pretty common. In fact, the best teams do it more weeks than not during the year. After some crappy math I calculated that the chances of winning at a .667 rate were 2.5% for a year and 41% for any given week. (Crappy math available upon request). Assuming that the probability drops off radically relative to the length of the streak I was able to do some “fancy” (See “fuzzy math”) weighting of the number of wins a team would need to catch another depending on how many games were left.
Here is a sample of the results:
121 games left: First place has 23 wins, back against the wall would be 9 games back or 14 wins. (Makes sense, but I am sure if this analysis is done right it will show that this number is actually higher)
81 games left: First place has 46 wins, back against the wall would be 9 games or 37 wins (ok… this makes more sense)
41 games left: First place has 68 wins, back against the wall would be 5 games or 63 wins (seems about right given our current situation)
11 games left: First place has 84 wins, back against the wall would be 3 games or 81 wins (Sounds right to me)
So in conclusions, are chances are shot. I think it’s time to start talking about next year. Oh, and one more thing
Friday, August 25, 2006
- The Pena-Mirabelli play was one of the best putouts from the outfield that I've seen; certainly the best one I've ever seen live.
- But besides Mirabelli's defense, he just keeps getting worse at the plate. Josh Bard and Cla Meredith, while playing in the crap division of the crap league, would be really nice right now.
- I had a pint of beer for $12. It was awesome.
- Alternate reality watch: had Timlin given up a run when he came out for the 8th, everyone would've been howling about how stupid it was to bring him in and calling for Tito's head. But it worked out well. And so no one's mentioning the bullpen management. Because people only think about how much better they are than the manager when the manager is wrong.
- Mike Napoli is batting .230, but has an OBP of .370. That's a lot of walks.
- The top of the 8th inning featured, as my friend Jason said at the time, "The heart of the order: Ortiz, Youkilis, and Kapler." Ugh.
- Papelbon started stretching late in the 5th inning. Does he always start that early?
- Preemptive strike.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Relief Pitcher, Boston Red Sox
Bats Right, Throws Right
Signed by the Boston Red Sox as a free agent, 45 minutes prior to game time.
Making his major league debut at the age of 31, Earl was called in as an emergency relief starter prior to a late-season series against the Los Anaheim Angeles of Edison Field. His first appearance was in the second inning, relieving Kyle Snyder, with the bases loaded and no outs. He went on to not retire seventeen batters in a row, at which point Francona decided to pull him from the game. As a result, Earl's ERA is now 4th-worst in the Sox bullpen for the month of August.
Signed largely because of his proximity to Anaheim, and the theory that "he can't be any worse than what we already got", Earl is essentially a junkball pitcher. This is because of his gimpy shoulder, preventing him from throwing harder than 70 mph, and the fact that he doesn't really know what the different pitches are, let alone how to throw them. While he can be terrible against righties, he is merely horrible against lefties, so he may find his new role to be that of set-up man during the Sox's stretch run. Earl's best pitches are the "intentional walk" and the "balk".
Today is August 22 and the Red Sox have 38 games to play. Now I can say that this entire town is in panic mode...No, this entire town is in "it is over" mode. I happen to be a fence sitter, but probably only because I've seen the Sox in bad situations before only to rally back. But, is that this version of the Sox?
It is funny...this team is only 2 games worse than the Sox team of last year at this point. The difference is that the Yankees, Tigers, and Twins are all better than last year at this point. However, the Sox have played uninspired ball for weeks now. The only time you think they have a chance to win is when Schilling or Wells go out there.
Take for example, tonight they begin an even more crucial stretch on the West Coast. One could predict that they NEED to go at least 6-3 to remain within striking distance of the Wild Card leader Chicago (who, by the way, hasn't exactly been lighting it up). The thing is (and this is what haunts the Sox) they have to throw Kyle Snyder against the Angels.
Snyder surprised most of us with his first start or two, and then his very impressive long relief appearance. He's now, however, giving up more long balls than "Way Back" Wasdin. This really ISN'T the guy you want going for you in a game where you need a lot of innings and a win.
Throw the crappy pen into the picture. Aside from the wild pitch yesterday, Foulke looked pretty good. Seanez is gone. Hansen got shipped back to Pawtucket...and here comes Gabbard and Corey. This is not a group that inspires confidence, and they shouldn't...
I expect the offense to score runs...I expect the defense to play well. But with Lester, Synder, and Beckett going in the next three, I don't expect to win at least two of them. Someone has to step up. Most of the writing is already on the wall, but this road trip will spell it all out for the Red Sox...
Monday, August 21, 2006
Seriously, the Sox need a shot in the arm if they have even a slight thought about making the playoffs this year. But why make a deal now if they didn't at the deadline?
Their pitching is atrocious.
And not for nothing, but those two homers by Giambi yesterday reminded of the two he hit off Pedro, but more steroided, if that is possible...Seriously, the guy was done...If you had the choice of 18MM/year or never playing again, wouldn't you start the HGH again?
It really doesn't matter. This Sox team is not that good. I hope that these youngsters all pan out...because they held on to them for the future...the future better be bright...
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
I have a feeling if someone did a more detailed study they would find large pockets of both Yankee and Red Sox fans behind enemy lines. I had always heard that New London is a heavy Yankees town which steams back to the days that the Yankees would stop there for the night on the train rides to and from Boston. Also from my days of working in Rhode Island I seem to remember odd pockets of Yankee fans there as well. I think that had more to do with Providence being in Boston's shadow then anything else, as I recall.
Anyway, let the war begin!
So who's going to be bigger our Johnson or their Wang? (Couldn't resist).
Thursday, August 17, 2006
- Bill Simmons, November 24, 2003
"I could spend the next 3,000 words ranting and raving about the unacceptable performance of the Henry/Theo regime since they won the World Series - the catastrophic Renteria/Clement signings; lowballing Pedro/Damon, then half-heartedly renewing talks at the last second; overvaluing Beckett (a genuine disappointment) and Crisp (a colossal disappointment); undervaluing their own prospects (Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez) in the Beckett trade; freezing at this year's trading deadline; dealing Arroyo without knowing about the health of Wells and Foulke; allowing 40-year-old Mike Timlin to pitch in the WBC (he's a walking corpse now); letting Roberts and Cabrera go; handing Beckett that unconscionable $30 million extension (I yelped out loud when I saw the headline); and we haven't even mentioned last winter's soap opera with Theo yet..."
- Bill Simmons, August 16, 2006
Anyhoo, I missed it when I read it the first time, but apparently he takes a jab at Seth Mnookin in there - motivated either by jealousy or just general grumpiness about the Sox's recent losing ways. Mnookin responds, in a pretty fantastic post. In the first part he makes some nice points about fans' views of the Sox and all the "what-ifs"; the second part is directly aimed at Simmons. (And there's a nice latte joke at the end.)
I'd love to see this escalate into an all-out verbal war. I wonder who would win. Mnookin definitely would take the "coolest name" category, but Simmons can make up for that with his extensive knowledge of last season's America's Next Top Model contestants.
1) The Sox won today. So that's cool.
2) And they're getting post-trading deadline reinforcements. Hinske definitely, Pena maybe.
3) While Coco's got a lot of bad press lately (Simmons called him a "colossal disappointment" - worse than Beckett?!?!), so far he's putting together a heck of a nice August. For all the kvetching about him in the leadoff spot, lately Coco's OBP has been better than Youk's...
4) On 53 different occasions a pitcher has come in to face the Sox in a save situation. Yet those pitchers have only have 26 saves. No other team in the majors has given the opposing pitchers more blown saves than saves (though the White Sox and Yankess both come close).
5) Who Wants to Be a Superhero is on tomorrow night.
These are all good things. Lets win the next, oh, 5 games.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
First one marginally involves Anna Benson. So back in January after Kris' trade to Baltimore, I threw out a prediction. ....32 HR and an ERA of 4.90..... and then he actually started the season decent. 4-2 and a 3.32 after a month. And I pretty much stopped paying attention, except when Earl picked him. Turns out that Earl Elixir was precisely what he needed. Current ERA 4.74 and 23 HR, but the rate is rising 11 in his last 7 starts.
This should be interesting. The Donald is throwing out the first pitch before the nightcap Friday. This is either pure genius (in a really freakin funny way) or completely idiotic. Or (my guess), he gave a ton of $$$ to the Jimmy Fund (it is their telethon day) and they agreed to his idea to throw out the first pitch. As a notorius Yankee fan (or at least always a front row attendee in the WS), I can only imagine the boos he will get.
Um, what? In the last 2 weeks (14 games), the Sox have scored 72 runs, for 5.14 runs/game. Not great, but a with a league-average pitching staff (and defense) that should translate to 8-9 wins or so. Problem is, in that time the other teams have scored 73. Meaning the Sox pitchers make the opposing lineups look like Boston's. Given that 9 of those 14 games were against Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Baltimore, that's...not so good. And Timlin thinks they're "throwing the ball really well"?
(Of course, I suppose you can "throw the ball really well", right into the wheelhouse of the opposing batter. Reminds me of the Grady Little quote: "The ball was coming out of his hand good, it just wasn't going where he wanted it.")
What I'd like to discuss here is the following:
Over the past few years Damon became one of the most popular Red Sox players of all time. Now this can be debated, but the guy was a major player in bringing the Old Towne a World Series. He was a bonified rock star. There were people dressing like him in the stands. He had the grand slam in Game 7 against the Yankees, etc...
Now he's a Yankee.
So what? Old news, you say? Well, yes, it is. But this is what I want to know. This isn't Mendoza going to the Sox. This isn't Embree going to NY. This is one of the most popular Red Sox going to the Yankees.
So here's the question...Is Damon's going to NY the same as Jeter coming to Boston?
Let me further explain what I am getting at here...Last night Damon hit a game tying home run and the crowd was going nuts. They are totally embracing someone that they absolutely hated before this year. They'd make fun of his throwing, etc...Now he is a NY fan favorite. The last time I was in NY (only a few weeks ago) I was amazed at the amount of Damon NY Yankee shirts I saw there.
So to tie this all up, and to ask the final question...If Jeter became a free agent, and the Red Sox signed him, would the Boston fans embrace him and forget the years of Jeter sucks stuff? I truly believe that I would have a very difficult time liking Jeter as the Sox SS, or even as a player.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
So after the elation that came from sweeping the Orioles, it seems half of RSN is back on the ledge. This is after losing to the best team in baseball, in non-blowout fashion. The Orioles, on the other hand, suck. I would actually submit that last night's game was better than the last two they played against the O's. Yes, Hale made an absolutely boneheaded decision, which cost them a chance at the game - but given that it's mid-August and this is the first time his name has even showed up in the dailies, I can't complain: that's not bad for a third-base coach. The other big complaint it Francona: yes, his hook is slow, but seriously, what choice does he have? Every game he can't trot out Papelbon, especially if it's the 8th and the Sox are down by a couple. Just like I couldn't stand when people complained about the lack of moves at the deadline, while having no suggestions for moves that should've been made, I'm getting tired of hearing about how Francona didn't take so-and-so out soon enough, while offering no ideas whom he should've brought in.
Blaming the coaching staff is the nice pat answer to the Sox's woes. But the fact is, this team just isn't very good right now. I think they're playing well below potential, and when you add that to some key injuries and a poorly constructed bullpen (in hindsight), it's difficult to win. I will add: it's an extremely likeable team, with tons of potential...I hope they bounce back from their slump and their injuries and have a great last 6 weeks of the season. It really can be done.
Boston (this puts a traditional NL city back in the really crappy NL)
Atlanta (well, they have been in the West and the East before, so it only makes sense they play in the Central now)
Al North East
So there you have it. Maintain the unbalanced schedule, with each team playing approximately 50% of the games against the teams in their divisions. The WC is eliminated in the AL, but you have the added advantage of a guarantee of a team in the playoffs from NY (good for TV ratings) and you probably would have half of NY ready to kill the other half by Memorial Day (not to mention that half the city would be really confused about which bandwagon to jump on.)
It seems to be a win, win.
Monday, August 14, 2006
(Beckett ain't looking so good either.)
The Sox only have 3 hitters who are over the .270 on the road. Most are well below that mark. Manny, Ortiz, and Lowell are the three.
At home, the only 2 regulars NOT over .270 are Varitek and Lowell. In fact, Youkilis (.324), Loretta (.339), Pena (.363), Manny (.356), Gonzalez (.338), Nixon (.338), Crisp (.315), and Cora (.339) are all over .300!!!
Now I know that there is a home-field advantage thing. But how is this really possible for everyone? It's not like they are all pounding the green monster enough to have averages 60-70 (and sometimes more) higher.
Mike Lowell, by the way, is the only hitter on the Sox OVER .300 on the road and does not do well (.254) at Fenway.
So, why did I call this post "The Challenge"? The challenge is to come up with viable reasons for an entire team crushing at home, and being generally below average on the road, at the plate.
For the life of me, I can only think of one or two possible reasons for some improvement, but not improvement at this level...Sleeping at home and not in a hotel room. Having extended series at home without traveling. The monster (may help a little...certainly Lowell's grand slam yesterday is not a home run in most parks, rather a fly ball). But what else? What are some other theories? Of course, other teams have claimed the Sox have a camera somewhere, but I think that is weak...For the most part, once pitchers decide on what pitch to throw, even if the dugout can whistle or clap or yell or whatever, the pitch is being thrown and there isn't enough time to adjust.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
"Carl Pavano was involved in a verbal dispute with a fan at his rehab outing in Tampa on Thursday night, during which he made an off-color remark alluding to the fan's sexual orientation, according to sources."
As far as anybody can ascertain — and the records go back to 1900, considered the start of the modern era of baseball — Arroyo is the first pitcher in major-league history to win nine games in a season and then make 10 straight starts without winning a 10th game.
Friday, August 11, 2006
As should be the case for any respectable superhero, there is an Official Monkey Woman Website. Click here for the detailed, illustrated story of her origin. Apparently, in Episode 2 (which I missed - I guess I'll have to wait for the DVD set "Who Wants to be a Superhero: the Complete Series") she endured 2 wild dogs biting her for like 3 hours or something, which is awesome.
I miss you, Monkey Woman!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Anyway, that's enough Red Sox for a while. For the next several weeks I think I'm going to focus on something much more exciting, and something I can actually root for: this.
...I, for one, cannot believe that Monkey Woman and Ty'veculus got eliminated on the same episode. I really mean it when I say: Holy Fucking Shit.
Not quite true. He's still pretty much in his pre-2005 form. Problem is, his pre-2005 form consistently involved massive slumps after the All-Star break:
2004: pre-ASB .305/.384/.571; post-ASB .277/.341/.423
2003: pre-ASB .275/.351/.586; post-ASB .281/.348/.388
2002: pre-ASB .311/.374/.527; post-ASB .232/.308/.398
2001: pre-ASB .285/.350/.480; post-ASB .281/.330/.415
Sometimes (but not always) a drop in hitting and ability to get on base; always a huge drop in power. His career OPS is 100 points lower after the ASB than it was before (it would be much higher if his first half of 2005 wasn't so pathetic). Probably best not to count on this particular hitter coming out of his funk the rest of this season.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
I'm not into despairing after a 3-game losing streak. But that's not what we're facing here. Against AL teams, Boston is 49-44. Against AL teams that aren't the Baltimore Orioles, Boston is 41-43. That is...not good.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
So, as Sox fans, which team are we rooting for? Certainly the division is well within reach, but we are tied for the Wild Card. Do we root for the relative safety of the Wild Card and then go for the division?
These are the questions that must be asked.
We must root for the Red Sox to start winning. No amount of teams beating up on each other will solve the problems the Red Sox are facing right now.
For the most part they are putting people behind the plate that can catch the ball, but not hit. They have young guys on the mound (including Papelbon) that are obviously missing the pitch calling from Varitek. Yet, they are still in it. Where are the articles on the Sox resilience?
Anyway, the idea is don't worry about the other teams. If this Sox team doesn't right its own ship, it isn't going anywhere anyway.
...So Julian Tavarez is no longer My Favorite Player. Sorry Julian. (Hopefully that'll light a fire under him.)
Sunday, August 06, 2006
But in a bit of poetic justice, Ortiz has found his competition this year coming pretty much from other DHs (Thome, Hafner and Giambi). So today Kernan of the post says Jeter is the MVP. I mean it has to be Jeter since last year the argument was that no offense only player could win the award. Never mind that the Yanks might no worse if Giambi himself played SS, than no range Jeter, but that is another argument. So lets promote Jeter. The player who has carried the Yanks through all their injuries. Never mind that he won't (or will barely) score 100 runs, won't (or will barely) drive in 100 runs, will barely hit 10 HRs. Ladies and gentlemen, this is supposed to be our MVP. Yet anyone who follows the Yankees knows that it is Giambi that gets the big hits. His .250 average aside, we all "know" from last year that a no defense player can't win the award.
It will be fun to listen to the NY media tout his candidacy. Never mind that the MVP is reserved for power hitters and sluggers.
We will hear about Ichiro in 2001. I'm sure they will ignore that the M's won 116 games that year. Or look at that lineup - no Giambi, Damon or A-rod like figures.
We will hear about Barry Larkin. Ignore the gold glove and 50 SB.
We will hear about Terry Pendleton. Ignore that everyone already hated Bonds. And that ATL came out of nowhere to win their first of 3 straight divisions. Followed by 11 more after the 94 season.
So brace yourselves. It should be maddening. And delightful for discussion.....
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Now we have Elijah Dukes getting suspended for (likely) the rest of the year. A 30 day suspension would coincide with the end of the AAA season, so he's likely done - and talking about quitting for good (not likely unless he wants to be serving Keith Foulke at Burger King). Lord I hope the Rays don't call him up after the suspension.
My favorite quote (Dukes feeling sorry for himself as if he is NOT a problem player):
"I didn't tell Delmon to throw his bat at that umpire. I didn't tell B.J. to go driving his car after he had some drinks. I don't even hang out with those guys. It was always just me in my apartment after games or whatever. I think I went out twice and both times I got a cab because I don't need any more hassle than I already have on me."
Hey Elijah, I'm sure your "teammates" appreciate the support.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Also, how motivating is it to the rest of the team hearing that you are just waiting for another year or two for the plan to come together?
Do you really care if the Sox are going to be good for the next 3 years starting in another two years? They really had a shot to win it all this year, and MAYBE they still do. Now, I don't think you dump Lester, but I have to think that Hansen and Delcarmen should have been very available.
The fact that this team didn't find another bat off the bench while the Yankees got Wilson from Pittsburgh for a washed-up pitcher just does me in...Plus, he can play every position. And don't tell me that the Yankees could get him for Chacon, but the Pirates would not have given him up to the Sox without Lester or Hansen in the deal...I won't buy it.
Look at the Abreu and Lidle deal. The Yankees gave up no major league talent, and not even their top prospects. So, did Philly demand Lester AND Hansen?
Lester is very good. He gives you six innings, and his control will probably improve over the next few years which should help him. However, people were saying that Clement had electric stuff but just had to learn how to control it. Clement never did.
Hansen looks promising as well, but you would think in a one-inning scenario he should be lights out already considering he throws strikes. He'll improve, but I think the best of the bunch IS Papelbon. This is probably why we couldn't get Oswalt. If other organizations really thought Hansen had the potential to be lights out (read the Braves), they probably would have negotiated for another prospect (not Lester) in the Andru Jones deal.
And Delcarmen is good, but do you have the feeling that he will be GREAT someday?
Even if they had the potential, and you could get Oswalt who is VERY proven and only 28 or so, make the move.
I understand the front office has a plan. They've made that abundantly clear by NOT making any moves. I am now changing my stance, though, because I am a fan. I want my team to do what it takes to win now. I am not saying mortgage the future, but I am saying trade SOME prospects (not even guys who've been on the big league club) and get a bat. The Yankees got Abreu and Lidle that way.
Anyway, it looks like Javy will be the defensive replacement for Tek while rehabs. Hey, they need to do something, but if we got frustrated watching Bard chase balls to the backstop, Javy better hope he can recapture some of hiw pre-2004 power (hint, hint) or the faithful will get frustrated pretty quickly. And if the price really is Adam Stern, I would have to say the O's did okay.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
"The Yankees won for the sixth time in seven contests and moved into a virtual tie, two percentage points ahead of Boston" - Seattle Post IntelligencerWhat is up with baseball and "percentages"? ("On Base Percentage" is the other example.) For a sport which prides itself on being all statistically minded, people can't even get the basic math right. Sorry, but the Sox are not two percentage points back.
"The Yankees are actually ahead by two percentage points." - Worcester Telegram
"The Yankees won for the sixth time in seven contests and moved into a virtual tie, two percentage points ahead of Boston..." - SportsNetwork
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Ok, I admit it. I need some distraction. The fact that we're not in first anymore is nerve-wracking
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
BA: 11-for-14 (0.786)
OBP: 16-for-19 (0.842)
SLG: 32 bases (2.286)
His OPS in those situations is over 3. Uh...wow.