Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I keep hearing and reading complaints to the effect of, "Why did Francoma bring Clement in for the 4th?!?" Okay, maybe it wasn't the best decision in the world, but...I mean, did these people actually watch the game? Or, you know, actually look at the final score? The Red Sox lost by 12. Let's just say Clement was pulled after 3 IP. And somehow the bullpen magically becomes really really good and pitches 6 innings of shutout baseball. So then what -- the final score is 6-2, and the Red Sox still lose. No, the simple fact is, the hitting sucked. They made Contreras look like...well, the Contreras that the Yankees thought they were getting back in 2003. (Once again, proof that Mel Stottlemyre is a terrible, terrible pitching coach.) The way Manny and Damon and everyone else looked lost at the plate -- it's reasonable to assume they flat-out told Francona the guy was unhittable (and the huge strike zone didn't help). And so Francona assumed -- correctly -- that a 4-run lead was in fact insurmountable, and so wanted to keep Clement in the game, to save the bullpen.

If anyone here wants to argue that Tito did in fact blow it with his decision, I'd love to hear it. (Please, no "we had him on the ropes the previous half inning" arguments. Crede made a huge error, and even after the runs were scored, Contreras needed just 10 pitches to get three outs. He was still very much on his game.)

Anyway, no matter what Boston loses by, 14-2 or 6-2 or 5-4 (remember Game 1 in 2003? ugh...), they're only down 0-1. A win today ties it, after two on the road. Let's go Wells! Let's go...entire lineup!


  1. Well, a lot of things are easier with 20/20 hindsight. But I really don't think Tito "assumed -- correctly -- that a 4-run lead was in fact insurmountable." I mean how many times have you seen a guy go through a lineup once or twice and then fall apart in the 5th. Especially with the Sox lineup, you can NEVER say a 4 run lead is insurmountable.

    I think the bigger question is that Clement clearly did not have IT yesterday. So get him out. That is why Bronson is in the pen. Then it confused the crap out of me when they brought him in in the 8th when we were down by 10. If you are going to use Bronson yesterday, then why not do it in the 4th?

    Did Tito blow it? Probably not. A win today and they are right back in it. We have seen this team bounce back from adversity all the time in the last few years. Maybe Tito saved Bronson (and just was giving him an inning of work) becuase he plans to use him in more of a setup role and thus was saving him for today.

    But yeah, go Wells. Go Lineup. Hopefully Wells can do a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark. And we can actually knock some out.

  2. I agree that the use of Arroyo was puzzling -- use him early, or don't use him at all.

    And yeah, I overstated my case with the word "unsurmountable". What I should've said was that he decided the chance of a win was too small to risk the bullpen for, in a Game 1. All season the CWS starters vs. BOS have been weird -- either we own them, or get owned. Only once did a starter look good at first and then fall apart (Buehrle). I dunno.

    In any case, it really didn't make a difference. No hit no win. Let's hit, and win, today.

  3. Too lazy to go look it up, but remember earlier in the year we had a lot of chat about the White Sox run production compared to their HR production - they finishe 4th from the bottom in runs, but were 4th in HRs hit.

    This is especially puzzling since they are generally credited as being a "small ball" team. They are 3rd in SB (1st in CS) and 1st in Sacrifice Bunts. I wonder how may more runs they may score if they did not give upso many outs? But its hard to argue with 98 wins

  4. On a related note...

    So I guess you didn't watch it on TV, but later in the game, when it was long over, Rick Sutcliffe pointed to their "small ball" in the first inning as the key play in the game. Proving that the press's tongues remain crazy-glued to Ozzie Guillen's ass.

    Yeah, you can't argue with 98 wins, but you gotta wonder -- if the Red Sox had the White Sox's bullpen, or their starting pitching (but not both), how many wins would they have gotten, even in a tougher division like the AL East? 100, easily -- maybe closer to 105?

    Okay, it's a stupid hypothetical.

  5. I don't think that it is Francona's fault...The whole team was bad...But, I will say this...You don't give up in the playoffs no matter how much you are down. You try to get in to their bullpen, too. We didn't do that...Bad hitting.

    Remember when it was supposed to be Clemens's last game in the ALCS and he got shelled early? Torre took him out right away. That's a future hall of famer being taken out in the in his last game as a pro on the biggest stage there is. That worked out well for the Yankees. If Torre sticks with Clemens there, the Sox were in the series a year earlier.

    There are some things that are said when you send a pitcher back out there for the 4th after that 3rd inning (not to mention the first two). And if the Sox hitters were saying, "Tito, this guy is unhittable."...well, they might as well concede the series. That is not the attitude of a champion if you're trailing by 4 or 5 early in the game and give up.

    I don't blame that game on Francona. But I sure hope that they just didn't give up in the 3rd or 4th...

  6. Also, I agree...If Wells is on tonight then the Red Sox are in a great position to run the table with Wake and Schill at Fenway...

    I am not down about this series at all. In fact, I still think that we get to the ALCS...

  7. You're totally right about not giving up -- I was just all pissy when I wrote that post. Imagine me, pissy! After a Red Sox playoff loss! Whoda thought!?!

    (Of course, it should be mentioned that when Torre took Clemens out very early on, it was Game 7. A Game 7 is very different from a Game 1. Then, a year later, Torre pulled his starter early also, and that time it didn't work out as well...)

    (Damn that still makes me happy when I think about it...)

  8. Exaclty the point - Francona had Arroyo, like Torre had Mussina.

    Sure it was game 7 and in those situations you empty the tank but really should not have been much different. Torre has actually been one with an early hook in those situations.

    agreed terry did not cost us the game
    agreed we still are in this thing

    But really questionable to not go to Bronson early but then use him in the 8th.

    As for the small ball comment, that is just weird. How would that have mattered.

    Pod would have moved to second on the HBP.
    It would have been 1st and 3rd when Toothy singled if Pod had not stolen 3rd - Konerko's ground out would not have changed since it was not hard enough to be a DP and Dye did not steal 2B when Pod stole 3rd.
    Rowand's single would have still scored Konerko and AJ's homer would have come with 1 out.

    I don't get it.

  9. Harold Reynolds (brainiac extraordinaire) also made comments about the small ball. He said that it doesn't allow the pitcher to get in to a rhythm. Well, I don't think throwing sliders over the center of the plate and missing your spots by 3 feet or so have anything to do with rhythm. I think it has to do with nerves and sucking...

    I didn't see any squeeze plays. Podsednik got moved over on the bunt, but then also got caught stealing later on...Small ball, not too successful. Hitting FIVE home runs, very successful.

    Also, giving up on Game 1 in a 7-game series, not too bad (but still not right)...Giving up early in Game 1 in a 5-game series, much more serious.

    With that said...Ben Grieve sucks...He's probably better than Hyzdu, though.

  10. Along the same vein…. It will be interesting to see if the same situation presents itself to Torre in their Series, but my guess is that with the Wanger going tonight and Chacon in Game 4, if either one of those guys gets in even a hint of early trouble, we will see Aaron Small a hell of a lot faster than we saw Gonzalez.

  11. I also expect the Yankees to lose tonight. But they've accomplished what they needed to do...Take one in the away series, then bring it home for Randy Johnson...That gives them the edge, in my opinion. I never saw them winning the opener against Colon...But they did...I might have to redo my prediction and say the Yankees are going to win that series.

    But I won't.

    If the Angels can get to Wang and then Chacon, the middle of that pen is terrible. And maybe Aaron Small will suck (a la Arroyo) in middle relief)...

    Anyway, go Red Sox...Go Wells!

  12. Yeah and that would have/could have been a different game if Garrett Anderson catches Cano's hit.

    Maybe we are blind to it, but it sure seems the Yanks get far more than their share of game breaking "breaks" - Long missing the flyball, Giambi not sliding, Jeffrey Maier, Knoblauch dropping the ball on DPs.....

    Maybe we just notice it more because it is them. but with the exception (and I admit, it is a big big exception) of Byrnes missing homeplate and then Tejada not running, have the Sox been benefactors of these big breaks?

  13. Oh, okay just thought of a couple more:

    Bellhorn's HR - not a break b/c the umps got it right but still was an overruled call
    Suppan running the bases like Robinson Cano