Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ortiz = Tom Brady??

In the little that I have followed the Pats, there seems to be this collective whining about how the Offense is struggling because Number 12 does not have Branch and Givens to throw to. It is 3 games into the season and the team is 2-1. And they play in avery weak division. Sure they have work to do, but the hacks would make it seem like they are 0-3. Of course Borges has had an ax to grind with Coach Bill for a few years, but that is another story. Which brings me to the Sox. The last two months Ortiz is getting nothing to hit. Three more walks last night. And August and September are his two highest walk total months this season. By far. Every one knows that Manny's bat will be hard to replace. And while these guys (theo and the trio) appear to not really care how the media portray their decisions, they will get crucified if Manny goes, Ortiz walks and the offense sputters. The same people that are screaming about Branch and Givens, and talked about Bagwell for years, will be all over the Sox.

Friday, September 29, 2006


For all the complaining about the FO's mistakes the last 2 years (much of it legitimate, in my opinion), will we see any of the "Henry/Theo sucks!" crowd admit that maybe Boston was right not to sign Pedro? He's now out for the postseason (which the New York Times hilariously says was unexpected), and that very well may be it for his career.

Assuming it is (of course, I'm really hoping it's not), he's had 54 starts for the Mets, coming out to almost exactly $1M/start. His ERA the last 2 years is the NL East. Adjusted to the AL East (add ~1 point of ERA), and the fact that plenty of people here feel we should have outbid the Mets, a multiyear contract with Boston becomes a pretty scary thought. Don't get me wrong, I miss Pedro a lot, and him pitching even half of this season in Boston would have helped the 2006 Sox immensely...but 2007 and 2008 would've been not-so-fun, for everyone involved.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A new theory?

While I never believed in the "Curse" to begin with, if the Cards blow this lead and lose the division I am going to write a book that when the Red Sox won the WS in STL, that they transferred the Curse from the Red Sox to the Redbirds. In reality, the Cards string of bad luck extends back much longer than 2004, but then again reality apparently has nothing to do with writing a hit book about baseball - take it from the book reviewer.

We're Number Two! And Post-season Thoughts

Back in second place...AAHH...sigh of relief. Just kidding. Second place is no better than last place if you don't make the playoffs.

With that said, what about playoff speculation. After reading this quote from the Globe today, "Beckett has had to endure the challenge of switching from the Triple A National League to the American League"...well, let's just say that the level of writing everywhere in this country is childish...poopie, if I must say.

Of course, if the Mets win the WS it will be because they are the most AL team in the NL. And correct me if I am wrong, but didn't an NL team win within the last 3 years?

I understand that pitchers' ERAs tend to go up in the AL due to the DH, but the AAA National League?

Ok, back to the big picture which I hope will tie in with what I've just written.

In the AL you have Oakland, Minnesota, NY Yankees, and the Tigers. Is there a dominant team out of this bunch? With the Yankees rotation starting to show signs of age as they head to the post-season, you have to wonder as to their chances. The Tigers have nothing more to really thank than their unbelievable start. Essentially, they've held on to make the post-season. But, hey, they're in. Oakland played in a fairly terrible division, and they have great pitching. So, despite the injuries to the Twins pitching, they still have the most dominant starter in the AL, and an excellent closer (not to take away from the other closers, but Nathan is by far the most underrated closer around), I am picking Minnesota to win the AL.

The A's just don't have the sticks. MAYBE they pull a White Sox and pitch their way through, but I just don't see it.

The Yankees are going to have big problems with RJ's back, and Mussina. Wang is very good, but you can't base your post-season hopes on that kid just yet. Of course, their lineup is huge, but they are going to give up 5+ runs per game, and you can't win a championship doing that.

The Tigers, like I said, held on. They are still a very good team, however, and if their pitching performs like they can, they have a shot.

I just like the Twins this year.

In the AAA National League...I like the Mets. Big surprise. Seriously. They have Pedro (who, if you haven't noticed has been resting...they've called it DL'ing, but those of us from Boston know what is going on there). Glavine. Hell, even Trachsel has been good. Their pen is solid, and they have Wagner as a closer. If you haven't noticed, Beltran is an MVP candidate, Delgado and Wright are terrifying, and Reyes is excellent.

Their biggest competition? Houston, if they make it. I can't see any team from the West doing damage (with the possible exception of LA, but they may not make it, either). The Cards? Nope. The Phillies? Possibly. They give the Mets problems, but I say it is NY.

So my WS is Minnesota/NY. I would be very happy with any outcome of that series. But just to punish all the stupid writers...Go NL!!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We're number three! We're number three!

Wow. Well, looking on the bright side of things:

- maybe some level of parity is returning to baseball. I'll take a closer look at this at the end of the season.
- tickets may be easier to come by. Obviously, I'm never going to root for the Sox to fail, but another season like this and the bandwagon will be so empty I'll be able to go to Fenway again, without giving some guy from Quincy $120 for a bleacher seat. (Does that make me a "foul weather fan"?)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Random thoughts at the end of a rough season

  1. The Magic Number for finishing the season in 2nd place is 7. Woohoo!
  2. Julian Tavarez got the Sox's first complete game win the other night. Some people seem surprised by this - but I'm not.
  3. Is Gordon Edes becoming the next Dan Shaughnessy? This is may be the worst Boston sports article written all year.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


My god that guy is awesome. So nice to have a bright spot in an otherwise bleak end to the season.

Roids, Off Season Moves, and a Lost Season

Looking back at the last off-season and the moves the Sox made, I have a theory...

The Sox didn't take the plunge on guys like BJ Ryan and sluggers like Thome, Delgado, etc...because they were concerned that many performances would drop significantly due to steroids, and they didn't want to get stuck with big contracts for little hitters...

Needing a corner infielder, and having a Delgado and Thome available, why didn't they make a run at one of them? A big problem they had last year was no protection for Manny. My theory is that they believed that many sluggers around the league were going to experience huge power losses due to the new drug testing policies. There definitely seemed to be a fear against going for a few big of the big name sluggers.

The reason that I was thinking about this was they went and signed non-power guys like Loretta and Gonzalez (and Crisp). Guys who get base hits, have some speed (not Loretta) and can field. They quickly moved away from the long ball and turned to defense as a philosophy. Why? Defense definitely helped them win the WS, no doubt about that, but having that offense didn't hurt them...

I know that most of the guys they got fit the bill with OBP, but, I have to think that Henry and company (the way they view it all as a business) didn't want to take a chance on bringing in a 40HR guy at 10+MM, only to have him test positive or show up at camp a singles hitter.

And not saying that any of the Sox pitchers were past abusers, but some of them dropped in velocity considerably (many pitchers around the league did...especially bullpen guys). Maybe this was the reason they didn't take the chance on guys like BJ Ryan. I am not saying Ryan was a user. I don't think he was/is. But maybe they said, "look we're heading into a transition year, anyway AND there is going to be dropoff on many hitters and pitchers now that juicing is out. Let's play it safe and not spend the money on....etc....".

It seemed like their entire philosophy changed, and very quickly. Something must have triggered it. I believe that a conversation about not getting burned by a steroid scandal (I have to believe most teams thought about this) took place. Especially with how careful the FO has been about constructing an image.

I guess that we will see what happens this off-season since no one big got caught cheating this year (why was that??? was there really no big name guy juicing??? that just seems so unlikely)...

I know that this post is a little disjointed, but I was just sort of thinking of the effect the new testing policies might have had on some of the off season moves the Sox made last year...I am sure the discussion on this topic will tighten up this post...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Two bits of news

Deja Vu - Bronson Arroyo is 14-10. Exactly the same as last year. His periphial stats are improved, but I would imagine when adjusted for league and park, the difference is not as big.

Looks like there is a bit of a soap opera going on in NY. If the Giambi A-Rod exchange is accurate, Giambi goes from 0 to about an 8 on the respect meter (of course that is out of 100), but its a start.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

No theory is perfect

Much has been written this year about how pitching in the NL is the elixir that any major league (or not so major league) pitcher could hope for. But even the NL, in a hitters park, could not put an end to Rudy Seanez' nightmare that is 2006.

For anyone that did not catch it, the padres took a 9-5 lead into the 9th. And the Dodgers hit 4 straight HRs to tie. In the 10th, Bard singled home a run for 10-9 lead. And then Seanez gave up a HR to Nomar in the bottom of the 10th.

The game featured 10 former Red Sox players, including 3 from the 2004 championship team (which is more than started any of the 4 games this past weekend for the Sox).

Monday, September 18, 2006

Small Victories...Much Satisfaction

A few things I noticed in the taking 3 of 4 from the Yankees over the weekend...

There is no way a team with 10+ game lead should lose 3 of 4 to a team who has been sucking for a while now without one of their biggest hitters, a decimated rotation, and zero bullpen.

David Murphy will vie for a spot on the roster next year...Meaning, Manny, Wily Mo, or Crisp will be gone (and maybe two of them will be gone).

Coco Crisp has a ton of potential...making him a trading chip. His numbers should be better, but he might not be cut out for Boston.

Tavarez is pretty good as a starter (and that might look good to NL teams in the offseason).

Trot loves to play for Boston. Maybe it is because it is his contract year, but that guy is still going all out for a team very far out of it all...

The Yankees rotation is not all it is being written up to be...But it isn't terrible. Their worst starter seems to be Randy Johnson.

To continue with their pitching...their pen definitely isn't good. Whoever plays them in the playoffs, if patient against their starters, can do damage late in the games. If the Yankees want to do anything this post-season, they better pray Rivera returns strong and can carry the late games 2-innings at a time...

Their vaunted offense (which is loaded with All-Stars) couldn't do much against guys like Snyder, Tavarez, etc...Good luck against Santana, Harden, Verlander, etc...

Losing Tek killed their season. If you look back over the time that Tek was out, they record was atrocious. He's back...they're better.

It's going to hurt if they sweep the Twins. Seeing how a healthy Sox team (even without healthy all around pitching) can actually play and beat really good teams, will make this seem like a lost season.

The thing that hurts the most and is probably the most obvious. To me, the Yankees are the odds on favorite to win the AL penant. What does this mean? It really means that there isn't a standout team in the AL, meaning (of course) that this definitely could have been a year the Sox had a chance to win another...

With all that said, I'd love to see another subway series with the Mets unloading on the Yankees pitching staff and taking the thunder in NY away from their beloved Yankees...However, the Mets just got swept by the Pirates when they could have clinched the division and started resting people.

Baseball is strange that way...

My favorite thing

About tonight's game, well beside the Yanks not being able to clinch, was suprisingly a comment from Joe Morgan. As could have been predicted, Morgan was carrying on and on about Jeter. Hell Morgan was a middle IF who won two MVPs so you expect him to support the guy. They were comparing Jeter's past seasons and how he had fared and Miller noted that they Yanks did not have an MVP in any of their recent runs, to which Morgan replied "Yes, its been a long time since the Yankees have had an MVP." I guess 10 months is a long time. Nice work, Joe. And Miller must just ignore him at this point, since he didn't even bother to correct him.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Let Jeter have it.

Anyone know the last time an MVP played for a World Champ? 1988 – Kirk Gibson. Blame it all you want on the extra tier of playoffs. But maybe the baseball gods are finding away to dish out some karma. That is a lot of postseasons. The extra tier probably has something to do with it, but also teams with the MVPs are often (by the now widely accepted definition/application) mediocore teams with player that "carries the team on his back" to the playoffs. Problem is, once the playoffs arrive, neutralize the MVP and you are left with a mediocore team. Deep teams with strong pitching win in the post season. Take the 2004 Sox - Ortiz did not really arrive as an MVP type until the postseason. Manny, who led the league in HR and OPS was a distant 3rd.

For so many of the last 25 years, I think us Boston fans have focused way too much on personal achievements. So while Clemens and Pedro were winning Cy Youngs, Mo was winning his MVP and we were bellyaching that Pedro was robbed in 1999, Boggs, Lansford and Nomar were winning batting titles, it made us feel better about not winning the ultimate prize. In essence, the individual accomplishments were nothing more than consolation prizes.

So if it takes Jeter winning the MVP to assure a joyless winter in the Bronx, then by all means cast your vote for the Yankee Captain.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Any guesses?

The Sox have 17 games left; their current W-L is 77-68. Which is stunning given than on July 25 (7 weeks ago) they were 23 games above .500. So, my question is: where will they end up? My predictions are that:
  1. They'll go 7-10, for a grand total of 84 wins.
  2. They will end up 3rd in the AL east, and 8th in the AL (the bottom half of the league) overall.
I just can't believe these predictions seem reasonable (optimistic even!), for a team with the second-highest payroll in baseball. Time to face facts: we're the 2001-2005 Mets.

Any other predictions?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Flashback, part 2

A couple weeks ago X pointed out that this season was looking a lot like 2001. "The only thing lacking is complete and utter chaos in the clubhouse." Well, we haven't seen that yet, but you know things must be bad when David Ortiz of all people starts throwing his own team under the bus:

"Come hit in this lineup, see how good you can be."

Really, not cool. And totally unexpected. I've come to expect that sort of talk, and more general ly the calling out of Jeter, who really hasn't been at all offensive this season, from some players, but not Papi. Yuck - this season just keeps getting worse.

Monday, September 11, 2006

So I finally ran the numbers...

Red Sox pitchers (Schilling, Beckett, Wakefield, Clement, Lester, Papelbon, Hansen, Delcarmen, Timlin, Tavarez, Seanez) vs. the NL, in 142.2 IP:

16-1, 3.15 ERA, 0.93 K/9IP

Pedro, Lowe, and Arroyo all have worse numbers than these against the NL. Sanchez has a better ERA (2.44), but his other numbers are worse.

Now: Pedro/Lowe/Arroyo/Sanchez vs. the AL, in 69 IP:

3-4, 5.22 ERA, 0.71 K/9IP

Whoop-dee-doo. Sure sucks we got rid of them.

[Interesting side note: all those interleague games really inflated Red Sox pitchers' stats. Taking out games against the NL, Beckett's, Delcarmen's, Timlin's and Hansen's ERAs jump up about 0.4; Lester's jumps up 0.7, to 5.46. Yikes.]

How the other half lives

Last week, while in Chicago I went to a Cubs game. It was a thrilling match up between the Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates - ARRRRRRR!

Anyway, here were some of my observations from my experience:

1. Wrigley is super easy to get to, much like Fenway it's in the middle of the city right next to a subway line.
2. It's a tiny park, again much like Fenway.
3. The scalpers were ridiculous in their numbers and aggression. (Could have more to do with a last place team than Chicago. However the pan-handlers in Chicago were much more aggressive than NYC or Boston. Then again I could have had "sucker" printed across my forehead).
4. Plenty of bar options around the park, again like Fenway
5. Consession stands were exactly like fenway but they served "Old Style" beer and that was it.
6. Beer served in the stands!!! There is a god! Last call lasted about 2 innings :-)
7. The seventh inning stretch was fun and lively (the Lamont little league team sung)
8. Fans were generally watching the game, although the stands were hlaf-empty and people were dropping like flies even with the game tied. (Again, last place may be more of a factor).
9. I saw the following players shirts in the stands: Prior (4), Wood (2), Zambrano (1), Grace (2), Garciapara (2), Murton (1), Lee (2)
10. The ushers actually checked your tickets through out the game which made it a bit more challenging to walk up to the empty good seats - we still ended up 20 rows back behind homeplate without a problem.

The cubs lost on a wild-pitch in the top of the ninth :-( It was still a better played game then the Paw Sox v. Louisville Bats, although not that much better. I think the pitching was the biggest difference.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Its that time again….

After a brief hiatus, it is time to resume book review once again. Although, it may be a temporary respite. A quick explanation for the lack of book reviews – the problem is that I am finding nothing new to read. Sure there are plenty of books out there, but the problem is that I follow the game so closely by the time something is big enough to warrant a book, I have probably followed the story closely enough that there is very little new information. That plus the lack of creativity that exists – which working in the entertainment business I see on a daily basis….. Perhaps I should go historical. Or work on some catalogue titles. Who knows. And this entry does nothing to temper my frustration.

Without further ado, this month’s entry, Feeding the Monster by Seth Mnookin.


Friday, September 08, 2006


So with Ryan Shealy's triple off the ladder tonight, you have to wonder - why do they need to keep the ladder? They no longer need to retrieve balls out of the screen.

And no, Dino, it was not a ground rule triple.

Speaking of Xtra base hits - you guys need to make sure you see the inside the park homer by Reyes last night It was one of the few (only) ones I have seen that was not the result of some really quirky bounce or a missed dive.


So I had an idea of some numbers to calculate (knowing full well what I'd find beforehand), but someone beat me to it. If you compare Beckett/Lester/Delcarmen/Hansen's numbers vs. the NL to Anibal Sanchez's against the NL, theye're just about the same. Sox pitchers had a 2.82 ERA; Anibal's is 2.89. Sox pitchers had a BAA of .200; Anibal's is .208. Except: the Sox pitchers got way more strikeouts (8.9 vs. 5.5 K/9IP) and gave up way fewer walks (1.7 vs. 3.8 BB/9IP). Sanchez had only 2 starts versus the AL, dominating the Yankees but getting shelled by the Red Sox (7 ER in 4.1 IP). Basically, this all means that the Red Sox currently have a number of young pitchers on their roster who are better than Anibal Sanchez.

The lesson of all this, once again: the NL sucks. Even the NL East, which will probably produce the NL champion, sucks. If I were Theo (and could afford to be petty and vindictive) I'd want nothing more than to get Arroyo, Meredith, and Sanchez back for 2007, just to remind Sox fans of this very obvious, but apparently very easily forgotten, fact.

Continuing a theme.... A New Challenge

Heading into 2006, the Yankees were going to challenge the all time record for runs scored or at least be the first since the 99 Indians to score 1000 runs. With all their injuries and A-Rod's strikeouts, that is not going to happen. In fact, while they very likely will lead MLB in runs scored, the Yankees will not score even 900 runs.

The Red Sox led MLB in scoring in each of the seasons 2003 through 2005. Each season they had over 900 runs - with a high of 961 one season. During that time, only one other team eclipsed the 900 run level. Without looking.... Name that team. Lets just say, I would have never guessed.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Oh man

(So, continuing our recent trend of not talking about the Red Sox, since their season's basically over...)

This week's Onion Sports is all A-Rod. Every single article is hilarious. There's this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.

A Challenge

Here's the challenge...and do it looking at other web sites or books to figure it out...otherwise, it isn't a challenge at all...

Go back before the realignments to the magical year of 1986 and try to write out which teams were in which division...don't worry about the order of finish...

I've been really tempted to go to ESPN or some web site to figure it out, but I am having a ton of trouble with the NL EAST. For some reason, every time (in my mind) belongs in the West...

Post your answers in the comments...That's where I will put mine...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Gnawing thought

I did not post this earlier, even though the thought occurred to me late last week. This team is going to suck us back in. We all "know" they can't make the playoffs, let alone go deep in October with all their issues. But isn't a hallmark of Red Sox teams to give their fans false hope. I just know they are going to get close enough to let people start to play "what-if scenarios." Its inevitable. Maybe the Yankees lose a couple games this week and the Sox head to the Bronx back 5 or if MN and CHI struggle a bit - plus the Sox have 3 more against MN. The whispers will start. If they can sweep, etc. I know, I know, before everyone jumps all over me, I realize it is a silly notion. I'm only saying that noone should be surprised if it happens. After all, this is the life we chose for ourselves. And while 2004 forever changed the balance of power, it appears that it has not changed the dynamics of the team and its nation.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

It's that time again...

...where I read a baseball book X read 4 months before. Today's book is Game of Shadows - I didn't actually read it, but instead did the books-on-tape thing as I drove across the country. (That's right, I'm back to living in the Boston area.) Anyway, I think I found it more interesting than X did in his review, but I generally agree - not much new there, at least in terms of baseball. Barry Bonds is an ass, all the recent HR records were steroid-fueled, and everyone involved (from the users to Selig to the investigating agents to the reporters) are small-minded and petty. But I enjoyed the non-baseball stuff. Two people came across worse than Barry, which is pretty hard to do: Victor Conte, and Marion Jones. What's stunning about Conte is that he was completely open about his illegal activity: if he weren't such an attention-hungry idiot, the Cream and the Clear would still be in widespread use now, and there would be no test for THG. And that's the scary part: there must be many other drug entrepeneurs out there, who aren't as attention-starved and egomaniacal, that are quietly getting rich by synthesizing other steroids (or HGH analogs) that haven't been yet identified in the drug-testing (or even the pharmaceutical) community yet. That pretty much means that drug testing will never work, and that players (such as former juicers who mysteriously find their power after going "clean") will keep using PED's. Oh well.