Thursday, December 27, 2007

Clemens's "investigation"

This is pretty hilarious. Peter Abraham puts it perfectly:
There are two possibilities here:

1. Clemens didn’t do it and he’s fighting the good fight to clear his name.

2. Clemens did do it but he’s going to deny, deny, deny and hope the waters are cloudy enough to still get in the Hall of Fame.

You have to assume it's number two, but whatever; the HOF is almost certainly the issue. Anyway, am I the only one who finds this quote from his lawyer a little odd?
"We are convinced the conclusions in Mitchell's report are wrong and are investigating the findings ourselves."
If the descriptions of needles being stuck into Roger's butt are simply lies, wouldn't you say things a bit more forcefully than you are "convinced" that the "conclusions" are wrong?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas All

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Go Sox. Go Pats. Go Celts.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A new high/low at 38pitches

Schilling's most recent blog post is actually pretty good - I have to say I agree with most of it (a first!). In it he defends a previous post in which he suggests Clemens should clear his name or give his Cy Youngs back. Commenters - 703 of them - went insane, trotting out "innocent until proven guilty" - 57 times total. (For comparison, "shut up" appears 30 times, "blowhard" 5 times.) His response is spot on:
You can argue the innocent until proven guilty angle all day long, and legally you would be right, but like just about every single one of you I make opinions and judgments on people without seeing a court decision handed down.
Damn, sometimes the guy actually makes sense. Anyway, that's not the reason I'm posting now. It's because his response already has 390 comments. And #3 has perhaps the best single sentence I have ever read in my whole life:
I’m not trying to be critical or anything but maybe some of our baseball greats just need to approach the whole mitchell report with a grain assault.
Man, that is just awesome. He's right: what we need is a grain assault. Thank you calio4life for making my week. Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas, all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Non-PED-related post

Driving by Fenway at 6am this morning I noticed all the stadium lights were on and there was a big crane inside. Does anyone know what they're doing? Adding still more seats?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Random thoughts on the Mitchell Report

I haven't read it all yet - I've been reading random sections - but I actually think it's a pretty reasonable document. I'd have liked to see more blame put on Selig and Fehr, who really let this mess get as out of hand as it did, but I don't thing there's anything even remotely "witch-hunt" about it. The media coverage of it is another matter (my guess is a large percentage of Americans think there's a section titled "The List"), but it's not really a newsflash to say "the media sucks". And what were the alternatives? There's "do nothing" and there's "Congressional investigation"; neither are appropriate in my mind. Anyway, a couple scattered thoughts, in no particular order:

- I can think of at least one upside to this whole thing: it makes the whole PED issue less tainted by questions of race. My guess is that huge discrepancy in the polls on how blacks and whites see Bonds's treatment (and even innocence) may shrink somewhat. You can't really argue that only African-American superstars are being targeted anymore...

- Lots of people are asking the question of whether Clemens should sue baseball for libel and/or slander. Most ignore a sorta important fact: if the statement is true, it's not defamation. It's really that simple. If Clemens took PED's the way the Mitchell Report says, then a lawsuit simply will not work. [It should be noted that the reverse is not necessarily true: if the statement is false, it still might not be defamation. You have to prove malice, etc etc. So Schilling's argument - basically that not suing is the same as admitting guilt - is complete BS.]

- I simply don't understand HGH. There's no evidence it helps with anything - i.e., maybe it's not a PED at all - but yet players clearly believe it does. Maybe there benefits not covered in the medical literature? Maybe a placebo effect? Also, some websites are saying HGH wasn't considered a controlled substance (and wasn't banned by baseball) until 2005 - is that right? If so, then why were players so secretive about it? None of this makes sense to me.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Fun quotes in the aftermath

Jim Leyritz: "Look, the bottom line is if Brian McNamee gave Andy Pettitte two to four shots of HGH, Andy Pettitte wasn't using a performance enhancing drug. We are not talking about abuse.

Dave Justice: “Mac is lying, and he knows he’s lying,” Justice said Thursday in a telephone interview. “He was going to go to jail, and they told him: ‘Look, you get a free pass, but we need names. Tell us about everything you know.’ That’s what he did. I’m not saying everything’s a lie about everybody, because some of the stuff he said was pretty convincing because he offered details. But with me, he’s lying.”

Andy Pettitte: ''This is it -- two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list,'' he said. ''I wasn't looking for an edge

Mo Vaughn's mom: “The one year they claim he did this was the year he didn’t play any baseball, so I don’t see how it makes any sense,” she said by telephone. “Why would they insinuate he was (using performance-enhancing drugs) when he wasn’t even playing?”

Thursday, December 13, 2007

And the nominees for best enhanced performance are...


Let's face it. It's news worthy. I am surprised X didn't post already considering his favorite has already been leaked. I wonder how many names will be listed prior to the 2 PM announcement. MLB trade Rumors has a good post that will follow all the action. Watch, as 2 PM rolls around the most notably name will be Manny Alexander.

UPDATE (12:56 PM): Pettitte and Clemens named in Mitchell report

UPDATE (1:27 pm): I really should have done more homework, Deadspin published a list at 11:16 AM this morning. They acknowledge that it is not entirely accurate.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's back on...


Rumors of a deal forJohan hit the rumor mill again today. Twins are leaning toward a deal with Jacoby. Still, nothing has been done and frankly no new news is being reported. But I thought I'd start another thread, just in case this heats up quickly. Plus it is a great excuse to post this awesome picture.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

That was fun... this is now


Evidence of more "blocking and tackling" work done by boy-genius. Offering arbitration to Gagne sounded risky to the Fenway faithful, but if Gagne jumped ship it would net us sandwich-picks (if I've got this crap correct). After last season, I think everyone in Green Monstah territory would agree that a sandwich pick is better than Gagne at this point.

Tim Brown is reporting the Brew Crew is close to inking a deal. Gagne would fill the hole left by Francisco Cordero who signed with the Reds for a 4-year deal. God speed good sir. I hope his career bounces back, because I honestly have no reason to hate him other than the fact that he ALMOST become the next Bill Buckner. I don't blame Bill and I wouldn't have blamed Gagne, but still I'm not going to miss him.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

This might be the craziest thing this offseason

Check out this picture. Johan is already a Yankee. And he now throws right handed and appears much more fair skinned than I remember.

Friday, November 30, 2007

GM for a day

I will resist the urge to post to the Pioneer Press for a third day in a row. But I will keep the Minnesota bias going.

If I were MN GM Bill Smith, I think I have a plan for what I would do. I would send out word that final, sealed bids for Johan are due on Sunday evening at 8:00PM. A couple of things, I think, would make this plan work incredibly well.

You already have the attention of NY – just take a peak at the NY headlines. And most of the writers are saying NY should go for it. Of course they also want to trade Andy Philips and Chase Wright for Johan, but that is a different story.

As we saw last winter, the power of the final, sealed bid can lead to unexpected things. When the Dice-K story first hit, baseball types were talking about how the posting fee would blow away the Ichiro bid. They were talking numbers as high as $20, 25MM. Maybe even $30MM. but the Mets did something like $35MM and we know where the Sox ended up. I think this could be the same thing. The interested parties all know what MN wants, so the sealed bids could work. And you can see the FO/GM/Owners sitting around saying “well we know Boston will include 4 guys, one guy with X skills, another with Y…., so we NEED to include our four guys, two of which are regarded more highly than the Boston guys.” And the next thing you know, as an example, Theo has now talked himself into including Ellsbury and Bucholz b/c he is convinced NY will include Melky and Joba (not saying this IS going to happen, just using as an example.)

And really, this does not have to be a *final* sealed bid. They can always go back one more time and try to tweak the offers. We already know Hank’s final word really does not mean much.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Interesting update

Are the Sox the frontrunners?The latest rumor involving the Red Sox and Santana is the juiciest yet. According to a report from Charlie Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (who sources “a little birdie”) on Thursday, the Sox are now the frontrunners to land Santana as part of a trade package that does not include either Jacoby Ellsbury or Clay Buchholz. According to Walters, the Red Sox would receive Santana in exchange for Coco Crisp, Jon Lester, and minor league prospects Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson, both of who rank among Boston’s top young talent. More from Walters: “Before a deal could be made, the Red Sox would have to have time to negotiate a contract extension with Santana, 28, who can become a free agent after next season and could have a market value as high as $150 million over six years."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

BLOCKBUSTER TRADE

Via yfsf, some genius in Minnesota has a fantastic idea for a trade. Sox would get Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, and Carlos Silva. All they'd have to give up is John Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Clay Buchholz. Oh yes, and Dustin Pedroia. And Jonathan Papelbon. Sounds fantastic! Who cares if Carlos Silva is a free agent!?! We'll get Santana, and an older, worse closer! For one year each! All we lose is an All-Star closer, ROY 2nd baseman, 2008 ROY-candidate center fielder, and 2/5 of the starting rotation! I don't see a downside, really.

Anyway the commenters are piling on, and it's awesome:

- Maybe they would give us Ortiz and Manny too if we throw in Nick Punto?

- One, Silva not ours to trade. Two, you're dumb.


- This trade was proposed but shot down by Bill Smith when theo insisted on throw-ins manny ramirez, david ortiz, mike lowell and jason varitek (to help offset the salary of santana).

- Nice try, though. Next week, the Yankees will trade Pettitte, Mientkiewicz and Reggie Jackson for Francisco Liriano.


- You are very, very dumb. You must be a real treat to play fantasy baseball with.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A-bonanza

Wow, it sure is easy to come up with "clever" A-Rod puns, since "a" is the indefinite article! "A" + any noun = hilarious headline! Like Joel Sherman's recent piece of awesomeness, "A-mistake". Brilliant. Anyway, this has probably been said countless times, but A-Rod's new $30M "marketing" contract is pretty insane. (This NY Post graphic says it all.) He gets $6M each time he reaches a milestone in career homeruns - passing Willie Mays (660); Babe Ruth (714); Hank Aaron (755), and 2007 Barry Bonds (762); then $6M for breaking the all-time HR record. (The NYT says he needs to tie, not pass, each milestone to collect his money.) Given that Bonds may never play baseball again, that's a lot of money in a short period of time - $6M for #755, then 7 HR later he gets $6M for #762, and another $6M for the one after that. That's $18M in what will probably be a single season, plus the $27.5M of his contract. So in 2014 or so he'll make over $45M. Hell, he could make $12M in one game!

Or, as Sherman suggests, with the mounting pressure he could have 40 or 50 hitless at-bats before reaching each milestone. That would be pretty fun to watch.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fun with quotes

First of all - yeah I figured how to post.

A fun quote from dodger owner Frank McCourt - "It wasn't so much that we didn't win it all - which is our goal and what we want to do every year," McCourt said, "but what left a sour taste in our mouths was that we didn't fulfill the potential we had. At one time, I think we had the best record in baseball."

April 21, 22 and 22 - at 13-5 and 13-6. I guess you have to start somewhere.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

...played by Johan San-ta-na

Buster Olney reports Santana is looking to set a new record in pitching contracts - something like $150M/yr for 6 years or so. (He's already rejected an offer of $16.6M/year for 5 years.) If that's right, you have to assume he's not going to be traded - he can use his no-trade clause as a massive bargaining chip. So he can ratchet up the price; meanwhile the Twins stand to get compensation picks if he leaves after 2008, so the trade itself would have to be a damn good offer. So the Sox would have to give up a bunch of young players (something like Lester, Buchholz, Crisp, and a minor leaguer or two), and sign away well over $100M (plus insurance, and possibly luxury tax) over 6 years. Thanks but no thanks. Maybe the Mets or Dodgers will go for it; but I don't see him in Boston or the Bronx next year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Breaking news

Hot Stove, non-East Coast Bias edition

Weird that it looks like neither the Sox or the Yanks are going to change hugely this year - with Schilling, Lowell, A-Rod, Posada, and Rivera re-signing (or nearly re-signing) with their previous clubs, the cores of each team from 2007 are in place for 2008, with the young guys not going anywhere (yet). Can't remember the last time that happened; and it probably won't happen again any time soon. But, lots of important stuff going on elsewhere; for example...
  • Kenny Rogers fired Scott Boras, and wants to return to the Tigers. Publicity stunt, or was he really sick of Boras urging him to look elsewhere?
  • The agent representing Francisco Cordero, Luis Vizcaino, and Billy Wagner is named Bean Stringfellow. Seriously.
  • I love headlines like this. Particularly when it's about giving up Jon Garland to get Orlando Cabrera.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hot Stove

I can't believe that we haven't started an official HOT STOVE thread, yet.

What are the issues facing the Sox this off-season?

Third base: Do you resign Lowell, or look to the alternatives? I'd say 3 years on Lowell is enough. He was basically my favorite Sox player this year, but I have to say that his numbers this year are as good as they'll get. I am not sure he would repeat those numbers in any of the 3 years I'd give him.

News flash: ESPN reports that Lowell and the Sox are finalizing a 3-year/37.5MM. So, this question is moot.

Infield then looks the same as last:
Youk at 1B
Pedroia at 2B
Lugo at SS
Lowell at 3B

I expect an up year from Lugo and Lowell to dip slightly. Youk will deliver the same numbers (he's not going to deviate much offensively in the next few years). Pedroia will be the same.

Outfield:
Your starting OF looks like this:
Manny in LF
Ellsbury in CF
Drew in RF

Coco might be dealt, but you need a 4th outfielder. Manny missed time this year. It will be Ellsbury's first full year, and Drew (as some know) isn't "Mr. Durability". However, I do think that Drew has a much better year upcoming.

Ortiz at DH

Your lineup

Ellsbury
Youk
Ortiz
Manny
Drew
Lowell
Varitek
Pedroia
Lugo

Strangely enough, this off-season looks like building a bench. Wow. That's not much to worry about...

Pitching:
Starting rotation this far:
Beckett
Daisuke
Schilling
Wakefield
Lester/Buchholz

Bullpen
Papelbon
Okajima
Delcarmen
Tavarez

That's it so far...

Another setup guy would be great. I could see Buchholz getting the fifth starter role with Lester coming out of the pen. The Sox want to resign Timlin. Lopez will probably be back.

So, should the Sox trade for Santana? What if the Twins wanted Buchholz and Lester? That's a tough call. Beckett, Santana, and Daisuke for the next few years nearly guarantees a WS win or two. Santana is only 28. So, if you could sign him long-term, I would have to say go for it. Plus, the Sox still have two young guns in the minors in Masterson and Bowden...and the Twins want Coco. So you might even be able to give the Twins a proven major leaguer in Coco, then Buchholz OR Lester, and another prospect.

Two notes

1) Team USA beat Cuba to win the gold in the World Cup. First time in 33 years - congrats guys. Tampa Bay prospects Evan Longoria and Justin Ruggiano provided much of the offense; Delwyn Young and Jayson Nix (brother of Laynce Nix...what's with that family putting extra "y"s in their names?) also contributed.

2) A-Rod has announced his contract talks are in the "bottom of the fifth inning". Which tells us nothing. Is he talking about a meaningless game in April, or in the playoffs?

Another awesome article

This has to rank up there as one of the worst articles I've ever seen on the Globe website (non-CHB division). Technically the writer, Jason Tuohey, is a producer for boston.com, and so is not affiliated with the Globe sports section, which is good I guess. But oh my god - just the insane amount of fanboy-ism in the article makes me want to throw my computer out the window. I know it's considered cool to write "contrarian" articles...but usually you need to have a decent argument first. Look: Ortiz is not the MVP of the AL. He is not even the MVP of the World Champion Boston Red Sox. Hell, he is probably not even runner-up for MVP of the World Champion Boston Red Sox. God this pisses me off.

Anyway, for a good example of how stats can be used selectively to argue any point you'd like to make, check out this (or any other) article showing how awesome David Eckstein is.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Program Notes

I added a new link section on the right, "Boston Land of Champions". I am actually surprised by the lack of fan blogs out there for the other teams in the Boston area. Anyway, I found a couple good ones which I've added as links.

I am also tempted to go through our existing links and kill any link that hasn't had a recent post (say in the last 6 months). What do people think?

Also there is a new template feature through blogspot, not sure if we are interested in radical change. Let me know.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Fun

So the term "Pay-Rod" has been around for a while; it looks like the headlines will be "Stay-Rod" pretty soon; and of course there's "Pray-Rod". Looking for others...let me know if I've missed any...

Scary thought...in some alternate universe, these are all Boston Herald covers and he's in a Red Sox uniform. Thanks, MLBPA!

(Also, the more this deal looks like it's going to happen, the more I hope he'll announce at the last second that he's signing that 10 year, $350M deal with the Angels. Can you imagine? Yanks fans will have to do another U-turn on the guy; plus the Steinbrenners' heads will explode.)


Thursday, November 15, 2007

*Poof*

And, just like that, A-Rod's no longer making the biggest baseball headlines. I guess that means Jake Peavy winning the Cy Young is the third biggest story of the day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

PLEEEEASE?!?!?

So what's going on with A-Rod? He announces he's talking directly to the Steinbrenners about returning to the Yankees, and apparently Boras isn't at all involved (the Yankees refuse to speak to A-Rod with Boras as part of the negotiations). There are two very different possibilities here: (1) he really wants back, knowing the best way to salvage his reputation is to take a pay cut (of at least the $21.3M the Rangers were going to pay him). (2) Boras is involved, but not directly - the Angels told him $30M max, less than he would've gotten with his old contract, so they concocted this whole scheme making it seem like there is a bidding war. I honestly don't know - either one seems plausible (though both are sort of ridiculous). I guess I hope it's the first one, because (a) I don't want him on the Red Sox; (2) I honestly like to think he's a good person, with a lot of this BS based on an honest mistake rather than malice/classlessness; (iii) it's sort of awesome to think he made a $20M mistake; and (D) this would seriously damage Boras's reputation, among both the players and the owners.

Also, if he does sign a contract without Boras involved, Boras still gets his 10% cut, right? I feel that must be in the agent's contract that the cut is guaranteed no matter who does the negotiation; otherwise players would be able to let the agents do 99% of the work, then fire them at the last second and not have to pay anything.

Update: NY Daily News says they're close to a 10-year, $270M contract. NY Post says they're still pursuing Mike Lowell, for first base. Ulp.

Update update: Channel 7 reports that 4 teams (Braves, Cards, Angels, Yanks) offered him four-year contracts, $15-16M/year. I'm sorry, but that's just too much. If he follows the money...oh well. (Hopefully he won't end up on the Yankees.) I suppose since they cite just a "source", it could easily be his agent, trying to get Boston to offer something bigger.

Update update update: Yep, looks like Channel 7 was wrong. Cards are denying making any offer, and other sources (1-2 days old) say the Angels and Yankees aren't interested in a fourth year.

Another update: apparently by the collective bargaining agreement, no team can refuse to meet with a player's agent. And so this whole "Scott Boras is not involved" thing is basically untrue. Damn this is fun.

Now we can all be like Earl!


MLB announced yesterday that the Red Sox will open their 2008 season in Japan against the Oakland A's. The Sox will play a 4 game away series against the A's, 2 of the games in Tokyo and 2 of the games in Oakland. God, I am yawning already.

It will be a fitting start to the 2008 season as it will remind us of all the late nights at the end of the 2007 season.

In other Sox news, C.C. Sabathia won the AL Cy Young. I am no expert, but this might be one of the tightest races in recent memory. (Given that I have a very short memory, this has a very good chance of being true). C.C. was 19-7, Beckett was 20-7, Lackey was 19-9, and Carmona was 19-8. Lackey led the league in ERA at 3.01, followed by Carmona 3.06. C.C. edged Beckett in the ERA department 3.26 to 3.27 while clocking a league leading 241 innings. (Ok, I am guessing on that last statement and I am too lazy to look it up). Honestly, I feel like Beckett got over looked because the Sox were a better offensive team, so his contribution did not seem as valuable as C.C.'s. The voting should have been much closer, C.C. got 19 of the first place votes with 8 going to Beckett and 1 going to Lackey. Anyway, we know who was the better pitcher in 2007 :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Baseball in mid-November

So you wouldn't know it from casually surfing the web, but the Baseball World Cup (which I wrote about before the WBC) is going on right now, in Taiwan. You're supposed to be able to watch it online (games are EST +13 hrs, I think, so they're going on now), but I can't get it to work.

Apparently the MLB doesn't let its players compete, but the U.S. roster includes several important rookies-to-be, including Delwyn Young, Jeff Karstens, Evan Longoria, and Andy LaRoche. They're doing well, having won 5 out of 6 (the loss was an upset by Italy). In the other division, Cuba is 6-0 and Australia is 5-1. The best team, of course, is my Favorite Team, the Netherlands (see here, here, and here). Some of my favorite Dutch players are back, including Nicky Stufbergen, Dirk Van't Klooster, Raylinoe Legito, Michael Duursma, Sharnol Adriana, and Sidney De Jong. But there are also some new great names on the roster, including Dorotheus Drajier, Rogearvin Bernardina, Vince Rooi, Leok Van Mil, Duko Jansen, Kenneth Berkenbosch, Roel Koolen, Berry Van Driel, Martin Meeuwis, and best of all, Tjerk Smeets. (That's two-thirds of the roster. Possbly the best-named baseball team in history.) Notably absent is Robin Van Doornspeek. Also absent is the Netherlands' big success story, Jair Jurrgens, presumably because of all his big-league experience. He's no longer with Detroit; he was traded to Atlanta for Edgar Renteria, along with...wait for it...Gorkys Herndandez. Man, what a trade.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tomorrow's Boston Herald headlines, today

Mark it down:

Ped-RoY-a

And no one's ever thought of that before. (If Denver has a crappy tabloid: No RoY for Troy)

Congratulations Dustin. And you too, guy in that other league.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2008 Arquimedez Pozo Award winner


Kosuke Fukudome just filed for free agency. I've mentioned his awesome name before, but I was focused on his last name only; I don't think I appreciated the sheer awesomeness of his first name, and both put together. It's the whole package. Some team's going to get mighty lucky.

Fukudome links:
- www.welovekosuke.com
- video of an angry at-bat

- Arquimedez Pozo Awards

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This one goes to 11

So the Globe reported that 11 members of the current free agent class would be named in the Mitchell Report; this led to some fun guessing games (Bonds, Sosa, Guillen, Cameron...), but ultimately the report was wrong and the Globe had to issue a retraction. The real story of course is that "no more than 11 were asked to speak to Mitchell". Okay...but what the hell does "no more than 11" mean? Doesn't that just mean, um, 11? (Of course, if I were leaking information from the Mitchell Report, I would tell the press "no more than 872...but no less than -13", but maybe most people wouldn't.) The other thing: what happens when a player refuses to talk to the Commission? I imagine most refused, but do they get their own chapter on "Uncooperative Witnesses"? I assume they do, meaning all 11 of them - except for those who talked and somehow cleared their names - will be in the report.

Regardless, when it comes out, it's going to be ugly. And one thing I don't know is how this affects the month before then. Will free agents (or players approaching free agency in a couple years) will be racing to lock up big lucrative contracts? Will clubs insist the contracts include "Mitchell Report" clauses? Ugh.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Random links, random thougts

Because it beats working.
  • This is mighty interesting. I wonder what it'd take (beyond Coco) to get Saltalamacchia? If you're going to get rid of Coco, it's hard to come up with an upgrade in the name department, but this one might actually work. (Plus there's the whole "Jason Varitek will be 36 next year" thing. But that's not nearly important as having awesome names on the roster.)
  • The MLBPA is so fucking predictable. (Though I have to say it's pretty awesome that Gene Orza accused Murray Chass of collusion. Who to root for?)
  • Two weeks ago Will Leitch (of Deadspin fame) wrote this awesome article about Curt Schilling. It sums the guy up pretty perfectly in my opinion.
  • I've known about this for years, but have never bothered to take a look: C.J. Nitkowski has a blog, which he's maintained for years (probably before the term "blog" was even coined). It's worth a look - it turns out he's more than just the guy I picked up late in the 2002 fantasy season (along with A.J. Hinch, B.J. Ryan, A.J. Pierzynski, A.J. Burnett, and B.J. Surhoff) because of his awesome name. This last season for him seemed rather rough - he played in Japan, for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (teammates with Adam Hyzdu!), struggled throughout the season, and clearly by the end was ready to go home. His blog is interesting because it's just so candid - something you don't see much by athletes these days.
  • Anyone else notice that Peter Gammons has been taking potshots at baseball stats lately? "The sabermetrics guys in their garages never understand these things." "Sorry, but the postseason is not random" "But it is that drive and obsession with consistency and winning that makes Jeter a greater player than any statistic can measure." I know he's never been too into statistics, preferring to focus on the human side of the game, but has he always been this snide (even passive-aggressive) towards sabermetrics?
  • Obviously Scott Boras continues to surprise (see Barry Zito), but I can't help but think he made a huge mistake with the A-Rod opt-out. Simply talking to the Yankees gives them 7 years/$230M - they could probably talk it up to 8/$265. Maybe the Angels will pay more than that, but maybe not. If they have to settle for 5 years, even if it's $33M/year, I'd view the whole thing as a big fuckup.
  • The Tejada rumor is great. As you know, I hate the guy, so I'd love to have him to root against. And the fact that he's on the decline, and may well make a nice big cameo in the Mitchell Report, makes it that much better.
  • Bob Raismann may be the awesomest-looking sportwriter ever. That's it, I'm growing a moustache.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

First offer to Lowell

Damn things are moving fast. This is a pretty fun offseason so far.

"Bedazzler"

A bit out of date, but in case you haven't already, watch this.



Then watch this.



While we're on the subject of members of the World Champion Red Sox on late-night talk shows, check out this as well. It has nothing to do with bedazzling, but it's pretty fun anyway.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuk!

Youk wins the gold glove

Let's put this in perspective:
1. He DID NOT make an error all season (1,080 chances, 990 put outs)
2. He is only the SECOND 1B in Red Sox history to win (George Scott won 3)

I felt like he deserved his own post, especially because he pulled a Wakefield-esque move and sat for games 3 and 4 without complaint. MAN I LOVE THIS TEAM.

Hot stove, hot corner

Murray Chass takes a break from his normal M.O. of ranting incoherently and does a little - gulp - "reporting", asking GM's point-blank if they're interested in going after A-Rod and giving their answers. While he's pretty stupid to say that you need two teams to be interested to drive a player's price (does he know anything about Scott Boras?), the list of "no" teams is pretty interesting, especially because it includes the Mets. The Giants are a big "maybe", which isn't surprising, but you have to assume they'd be in great shape were it not for the Zito contract - $19.3M for the next 6 years! Even the most cynical of us didn't think they'd be regretting that contract after just one season. I figured it'd take at least three.

Meanwhile, of course everyone wants Mike Lowell re-signed. Count me in - I've had a serious man-crush on the guy ever since 2002 when I picked him up for our fantasy league. So here's a question: how much should the Sox spend? I read somewhere he was looking for 4 years, $56 million. That seems a bit...uh, high, considering he'll be 37 by the end. I guess I'd go for 4 years, $48M, or 3 years, $42M.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Another "B" in Cooperstown

According to ESPN, Schilling in Boston for one more year is a done deal.

Nice.

Update: $2 million in "weight incentives". Damn, I wish my job had that.
Update 2: Curt announces he passed his physical.

Confession

So I didn't actually watch Game 4. Seriously - I did not watch the Red Sox win the World Series. I read about it the next morning at 9am in Helsinki, a couple hours after it was over. It bums me out, but it was just impossible - no TV, internet was spotty, plus I was suffering from serious sleep deprivation - I'd watched the previous 8+ games at 2-3am; they ended at between 6 and 7:30, and I had to be at work by 8. So by Game 4 it just didn't happen.

Some people I tell this to just can't believe it. As if it makes me a bad Red Sox fan. Yes, it was a great, close game, and I would've loved to see the on-field celebration. But really: was there any doubt? Did anyone seriously think the Rockies were going to pull it off after Game 3? Hell, even after Game 2, or Game 1? After Game 3 - their best offensive game of the series - they were batting a miserable .222 in the Series (OPS was around .650). Despite bringing out their number 1-3 starters, they gave up ten or more runs, twice. While Game 2 was great, even then they looked completely and totally outmatched. There was simply no way they were going to win four in a row. Now, I've been told that one team actually has come back from a 0-3 deficit to win a 7-game postseason series (the name of the team escapes me at the moment), but there's just no comparison - after 3 games they were batting .289, and showed some signs of life throughout all three of those games.

I'm sure I'm hardly the first to note this, but the World Series has been sort of...uh, lame lately. In the last 4 years the losing team has won exactly one game (and pine tar may have had something to do with that...). Before that, the 2003 Series (Yanks-Marlins) didn't feel nearly as close as it really was, and the 2002 Series (Giants-Angels) was big on drama (7 games!) but not so big on good baseball. You have to go back 6 years, to 2001 (Yankees-Diamondbacks) to find a truly great World Series.

Which is weird since during this time of boring World Series the LCS's have been absolutely epic.

2003: Marlins-Cubs (7 games, Bartman play), Yanks-Sox (7 games, Little/Boone)
2004: Astros-Cards (7 games, Edmonds 12th inning HR, Pujols/Beltran HR-fest), Yanks-Sox (7 games, the Steal, Foulke, etc etc etc)
2005: Astros-Cards (only 6 games, but that blast by Pujols off Lidge...yow.)
2006: Mets-Cards (7 games, the Catch)
2007: Indians-Sox (7 games, most of which were insanely close through 5+ innings)

Not sure if it means anything, but it's pretty weird that I can recount many more events from the last five years of LCS's than I can of the (non-Red Sox) World Series.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Back

Just returned from Finland, to this nice piece of news. Wakefield for the 2008 season - hard to complain. I really love that contract.

In other news, Julio Lugo's wife is named Sulky. Sulky Lugo.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My two favorite moments/stories of the 2007 WS

1. By far, my favorite Red Sox moment of all time. The post game interview with Tim Wakefield and Timlin comes storming in and says, basically, that Wake is the greatest teammate in the world for making the ultimate sacrifice by saying that he could not pitch in the WS and giving up his roster spot. And Timlin said how every guy in that locker room appreciated it b/c it is so hard to admit something like that. Wake was so touched by what Timlin said, he was choking back tears.

Seeing/hearing this got me thinking about how very true it was what Timlin said. Think of Schill starting game 2 of the LCS in 2004 after hurting his leg in ANA and getting lit up, before Dr. Morgan performed the surgery, or even Clemens this year against CLE having to leave after like two innings. I know these guys are competitors. And think they can do it an be a hero, but what Wake did probably took more courage, guts, and brains than any of us could imagine.

I always thought a little too much was made of Wake sacrificing his start(s) in 2004 to rescue the pen. I take all that back and now think Wake may have made the leap to being my all time favorite Red Sox.

2. The story I heard about the Sox post game private party at their hotel in Denver and Maroon 5 were staying at the hotel as well and got invited to the party. They apparently broke out their instruments and started jamming, with the highlight of the evening being the band playing and Papelbon and Beckett (among others) leading the band and team in a sing along of "We are the Champions." How freaking sweet is that?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gold Glove Caliber

11 hours until game time. With Youk sitting I was wondering if they would move Jacoby to lead-off, drop Dustin to second or keep Dustin in the lead-off and move Drew to second. Well, wonder no more. NY Times is reporting that Jacoby will be lead-off tonight. It may not make a huge difference, especially if Jacoby gets on base a couple of times and works it into a run. That being said, I like the fact that our line up has been putting pressure on pitchers early. Moving Drew to the second spot would make up for Youk being out of the line up. But I guess with the pitcher batting 9th you would be lowering Jacoby's threat factor.

Which is more likely to happen, as Earl asked earlier the words "Dante" and "Bichette" being used or DiceK going yard? Chicks dig the long ball.

By the way, read the last line of the NY Times article to figure out the title of this post.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Something to read on the day off

I think we all agree that since late in the 2004 season (possibly sooner), there's been a large contingent of Sox fans which are...well, pretty much awful. This article describes that in great (probably too much) brutality. Sox fans in general are now basically seen as another version of Yankees fans, only worse because (1) our team is actually winning now, and (2) most non-Yankees fans sort of liked the Red Sox before the fans became insufferable.

That said, this article is fantastic - probably the best thing ever written about being a Red Sox fan. Check it out.

Now on to Coors field


So it occurred to me that tomorrow night will be the very first time I have watched a game played at Coors Field. I missed the last/first time the Sox played there in 2004. That being said, I do remember talking to X on the phone as he drove through a crazy thunder storm with golf-ball sized hail to a game only to turn around because of snarled traffic.

Anyway, I am too lazy to look up our record from those games but we scored 20 runs on 36 hits including 4 homers. The team's OPS was .991. Granted the 2007 Sox are different from the 2004 Sox, but it is safe to say the two teams are built in similar ways, thanks to in-Theo-we-trust.

That being said, there is a lot of talk about how the Rockies have started to figure out Coors field. From humidors to failed pitchers the Rockies have tried a lot of angles. The 2007 team is focusing on defense. According to Slate writer Eriq Gardner who provided all of the above links, the Rockies have "tied the National League record for the fewest errors in a season (68) and set the Major League record for the highest fielding percentage (.989)". The expansive outfield and the high altitude will be interesting variables in Saturday nights game 3. As will Ortiz at first and Manny being Manny in a BIG left field.

Thoughts?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

WS Game 2 thread

People who post here are awesome.
People who don't, aren't.

Things I didn't know before today, but should have

- For all their winning in the LDS and LCS, the Rockies really weren't hitting much. I mean, check this out - in the NLCS, five of their eight regular hitters had an OPS of .513 or below. (They were marginally better in the NLDS.)

- Jayson Stark mentioned that the Sox outscoring opponents 43-6 in the last four games was second most in postseason history. Which is crazy. First was the 1996 Braves: in Games 5-7 of the NLDS they beat the Cardinals 14-0, 3-1,and 15-0 (series MVP: Javy Lopez), and then beat the Yanks in Game 1 of the World Series 12-1, for a differential of 42-1.

Sort of spooky: They swept the NLDS (beating a team from LA); in the NLCS they won Game 1 but lost the next three, only to win all three must-win games and the pennant; then they crushed the opponent in Game 1 of the WS. Problem is: the Yankees won that Series, 4-2.

Remember that time...

...when the Red Sox play in the World Series and you all basically abandon this so-called Red Sox blog. That was awesome.

Last night: utter, total dominance. Beckett continued to be on, the Rockies offense couldn't do anything, and the insane hitting (10+ runs) continued. You have to assume the Rockies' long break really hurt them - their number one starter and middle relievers couldn't find the strike zone, except to leave the ball up, begging for a double. I like when they called in Speier to put out the fire (bases loaded, 2 outs) and promptly walks the next three batters. (Hey, at least his ERA didn't suffer.) But it sure also seems like a moot point - even had they pitched up to potential, they still would've lost that game.

Fun fact: the Rockies have won 20 of their last 22 games! And they've only lost once on the road since September 14! That's amazing!

Win three more, please.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What the???

Wakefield will not be on the WS roster...I wonder if they are thinking about setting Beckett up for three starts, or if Lester will get the call...

I guess that Bryan Corey or Tavarez will now be added...

Monday, October 22, 2007

2007 AL Champions

Okay, I'm awake, and back at "work". A couple initial thoughts while I enjoy my coffee:

- what a series. Cleveland really is a great team, and it says tons that the Sox took three in a row from them.

- The score - an asswhoopin' - didn't reflect just how tense 3/4 of the game was.

- Last night's win pretty much showcased everything about the Sox which got them here: patient hitting; the ability to wear down the starter so even if he frustrates them (Westbrook arguably outpitched Dice-K), he has to leave early, and the onslaught against the bullpen (usually tired late in a series) begins; impressive defense; an incredible bullpen.

- the team's health (Beckett, Okajima, Schilling, Ortiz, Manny, Daisuke) is a huge part of their success so far; compare this to the Angels or Indians (you hae to assume CC was exhausted). Anyone still upset about sitting all those players in September now? Brilliant late-season managing in my opinion.

- Yes, the Sox caught some breaks the last games, especially those two Lofton plays last night. But this was after getting NONE the first 4-5 games. As they say, it all evens out I guess.

- Wedge's managing just got worse and worse as the series progressed - by this game he was being downright stupid in my opinion. As for Francona, I didn't care much about the Crisp/Ellsbury thing (I mean, it has to be Ellsbury, but the whole thing reminded me too much of Bellhorn), but his pitching management wasn't great this last game - both Daisuke and Okajima were left in too long.

- this offense at Coors - should be fun to watch.

More later.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

SOX ROX

Wow. Sox in the World Series. I've gotta go to bed now - 2 hours of sleep. But lots to talk about tomorrow.

Game 7 open thread

Okay, really now...earlier today I found at least 5 sites (including mlb.com) which said gametime was at 8:00 EST. But that was a lie - Fox coverage begins at 8:00. So seriously: where can you find info on the first pitch? Because those of us watching the game from GMT+1 don't like getting up any earlier than we have to.

Then again, Eric Karros's hair is a sight to behold. He reminds me of this guy.

Game 6 -- Game night in Boston Proper

What a great night out in Boston...

X and I watched both game 5 and game 6 at Costello's
. Apparently, X has some association between luck, the Sox, and lesbians. Actually, the details are hardly what you think. Needless to say, it worked out both nights! I'll save the details for game 5 for the bottom. Honestly, even the EMACULATE performance by Josh Beckett didn't top last nights game for sheer-joy. We can argue that point if you'd like, but frankly game 6 was the most recent must-win-game. And what a game it was.

Daisy and I joined X as Manny approached the plate with 3 men on and no men out. Life looked pretty sweet. I wasn't worried when Manny went down 0-2, because at this point you'd have to live under a rock to not know Manny is the best in the league at batting in 0-2 counts. He worked it back to 3-2, sweet. Carmona came in low and hard. Manny chased to no avail. Lowell looked in and takes a bad cut at something up and away. The short pop-up was caught easily by Trot Nixon. Just as it looked like Nixon was going to be labeled the nation's next least favorite son. JD Drew, the face of current Red Sox busts stepped to the plate and final opened up a small place in our collective hearts. 4-0 just like that! Costello's erupts. Packed from the start, a crowd of Bostonians revel together as though they are all at the game. High-fives every where. X even ran up and down the bar giving strangers high-fives! The crowd of course, dug it up. The breaks we have not been getting came in bunches last night. Whether or not the mighty Indians have been rattled remains to be seen. My guess is that they will jump right back with even the slightest offensive rush. But last night they looked a bit shell-shocked from the start. Drew's blast blew away any doubt that the Sox would go meekly. While their two errors raised the blood pressure of Cleveland Heights. Last night was quite a win and it appears that the momentum is swinging our way. The Sox just have to show that they can also hit mediocre pitching, not just C.C. and Carmona.

Did I miss anything?

Sadly, I watched absolutely none of last night's game, because I was on the plane leaving Finland. So I'm done with having to watch playoff baseball in Finland...from here on out it's all from...Israel! Only six hours ahead, so it's WAY easier to watch from here.

All right, I'm sure this is all over the Boston papers, but from 1999 on the Sox are 13-3 in must-win playoff games. Which is ridiculous. But not ridiculous enough - let's make it 14-3, please.

Friday, October 19, 2007

What Next? Game 6 Thoughts

Well, I guess we'll have to see.

A few nice trends from last night's game (could they be called trends after one game?).

Pedroia is squaring the ball up and they are now landing away from Indians.
Cleveland's bullpen showed they can and will give up runs.
Crisp needs to sit down for a game...
Beckett is ridiculous...
JD Drew got on base a few times and clocked a double...

So, what does this mean?

If the Sox can continue to hit the "hard throwers", then they should be able to replicate their results against Carmona. Of course, the flip side of that is Schilling. Yes, outstanding post-season numbers...But, before this year, you could count on a bad outing (See Game 2) as an aberration. This year, however, he was never consistent. Hopefully he rebounds. The good news is that the Boston pen is VERY rested. I imagine the Lester will be quickly called upon should trouble arise.

The key is to get out to an early lead and put pressure on Carmona. Cleveland's D doesn't make too many mistakes, so you have to capitalize on walks, and play some small ball. Making them play catchup is preferable because the back end of Boston's pen is very strong.

Of course, the offense is much better at Fenway. I am predicting a 7-4 Boston win.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Aw, crap.

So, any guesses as to the number of times Buck or McCarver bring up Manny's comments ("who cares") tonight? I'm getting angry at them already, and game time's not for another 9+ hours.

[For the record, (1) it's true, the world will not actually end if the Red Sox lose, (2) anyone who thinks a guy with an OPS over 1.5 truly "doesn't care" is a moron, and (3) "it's not the end of the world" is probably the exact right attitude the team needs to take if they're going to win. If they press tonight, they're doomed.]

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Well then.

Yesterday's game wasn't quite a "must-win", but it was definitely a "please-win". No dice. So the Sox have to win 3 in a row to stay alive. They've done that 3 times in recent memory: 1999 ALDS (vs CLE), 2003 ALDS (vs OAK), and 2004 ALCS (vs NYY). This team can absolutely do it again, but it's hard to feel super optimistic. Yes, we can only hope Beckett will continue to be amazing; but the way things are going I feel he could pitch a complete game 1-hitter and still get the loss.

Earl's Red Sox Keys to the Next Three Games:
1) Start scoring runs.
2) In each game, score more runs than the Indians do.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

File under "poop"

Yikes. Well, I suppose we can analyze Daisuke's performance all day. His numbers (K's, BB's, H's) were a tad bit better then against the Angels, but these are the Indians, so it still translated into more runs (as predicted). And he again didn't make it out of the 5th.

But Matsuzaka wasn't the story here - it was the lack of offense. Westbrook utterly shut them down, and frankly made them look silly. In the end they actually saw 3.85 P/PA, only a little lower than their season average (3.94) - this is surprising to me, since it seemed they swung at everything. I suppose there were a few battles (Coco, Manny) to raise that number near the end. But that's just it - just as they seemed to get to Westbrook, Wedge went to the bullpen, and that was the ballgame. Of course, Ortiz making contact with the batted ball, Manny's non-walk (that ump was awful, for both teams), and not scoring after loading the bases with 0 outs were all absolutely huge plays - take out of even one of those and it may have been a different game.

So the Sox are down 1-2; not a time to panic, but a win tonight seems rather important. I'm expecting a high-scoring affair - you have to assume Wake won't do much, and Byrd's success against the Sox is probably from the small sample size. We'll see. Best case scenario of course is rain - which is forecasted - allowing Beckett to pitch Game 4 with full rest...

Link to tonights weather forecast in Cleveland.

Link to a Finnish cover of "YMCA". (As I'm sure you know, everyone here dresses and acts just like that guy. It's pretty awesome.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

ALCS Analysis...So Far and Beyond

OK...there is way too much panic in the air in Boston. Let's face it. The reality of the situation is that the Sox fared very well against the two Cleveland aces, and they were a missed sliding catch away (Sizemore grabbing Youk's sinking line drive with Ellsbury on second) from a 2-0 lead. The fact that Gagne, Lopez and Lester couldn't shut down the Indians doesn't concern me much.

Before the start of the series, did anyone think the Sox would be up 2-0 after facing Carmona and Sabathia? Possibly, but not likely. Ok, they didn't lose to Carmona, but the result is the same. And, honestly, I don't think we'll see Gagne and Lopez in key situations again in this series.

Beckett was dominant in Game 1, and I expect more the same from him in Game 5 against Sabathia in Cleveland. But, let's not jump that far ahead, yet...

Tonight's Game
Daisuke v Westbrook

In my opinion, Diasuke can have his crappy one inning in this one and be just fine. The reality of the situation is that Westbrook is going to have trouble with this lineup. He walks a fair number of people and gives up a lot of hits. If the Sox stay patient, they should be fine.

Diasuke can't nibble too much in this one. He's had a ton of success when pounding the strike zone. If he gets an out or two in to the seventh, giving up 4 runs or so, the Sox should be fine.

Tomorrow's Game
Wakefield v Byrd

A ton of questions here...The most pressing of which would be Wakefield's health. Knowing Wake (not personally, of course) he would not go out there if he didn't feel that he was up for it. After all, he is not being pressed by circumstance into starting. Beckett could go. So, you have to think that he is ready.

The next question...What about Byrd? He is a pitch to contact guy who gives up a lot of HRs. He also wins a lot of games (averaging just over 6 innings per start) But with a 4.59 ERA and only 88 Ks on the year, you must believe that he got a lot of run support. September was rough for him...He sported a 5.21 ERA giving up 48 hits (6 HRs) over just 38 innings while going 2-3. He was effective against the Yankees in the ALDS.

So, while I am confident the Sox win Game 3 (tonight), the pitching matchups lead to too many questions to have any confidence about Game 4. Can a healthy Wake run with Byrd? Absolutely. Byrd will have to be on his game...Wake will just have to have movement on the knuckler.

The difference maker for Byrd is probably tonight. If the Sox unload on Westbrook, Byrd will be under tremendous pressure to stop the bleeding in Game 4. This bodes well for the Sox.

My feeling is that the Sox need these next two games if they want to survive this series. Partly because Sabathia will be better next time out, as will Carmona. If Beckett's outing is negated by a good Sabathia outing, that puts the series squarely on to Schilling and Daisuke. Of course, both of those starts will be at Fenway...But I wouldn't want to HAVE to win both of those...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Game time: 2:07am (EEST)

Maybe I should've just stayed on East Coast time. Oh well; I'm going to try to watch it online. Anyone up for a game thread?

I have nothing interesting to say about the upcoming series (other than Sox in 7), since Andrew has already written a medium-sized book on it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good NYT reading

So it's a total cheap shot to quote Boston-area sports radio to make a point that Boston is obsessed with the Yankees (typical of NY sports writers). I mean, sports radio sucks, especially in Boston. And yet, their Suzyn Waldman jokes are pretty damn funny. This is perhaps the first time I've ever enjoyed something from Boston sports radio - and I read it in the Times.

Also from the NYT: Paul at YFSF discovers some amazing articles from when Manny was a kid in Washington Heights. I know he was a big deal even back then, but I hadn't read anything from the time.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

WS matchup thoughts

Is there anyone (outside of Greater Phoenix) not rooting for the Rockies? Doesn't having the D-Backs (outscored by 20, which is way worse than the 2006 Cards) in the World Series just sound horrible?

And while I know it's cool to root for the Indians (I honestly really like that team), doesn't an Indians-Diamondbacks World Series sound unbelievably lame?

Of course, if it's Cleveland-Rockies, we'll get everyone screaming "Cleveland-Rox!". And Drew Carey will be the spokesman. And we can't have that. I'm getting ill just thinking about it.

So really, the only acceptable outcome is Red Sox-Rockies. Which, in spite of my biases/preferences, would be my pick based on the matchups (though it might take them all 7 games to get there). Yes, we'll have to put up with "SOX-ROX on FOX", but it's still the best-case scenario.

ALCS

Ok, Sox fans...Time to appreciate what your team is doing. Get over the inferiority fears...The Yankees are gone. The Sox won the division, the Yankees were the Wild Card. The Sox advance to the ALCS, the Yankees do not.

But...some Sox fans are saying that the team is not better than the Yankees if they can't beat Cleveland. Not true, but let's take a look at the matchups.

CC v Beckett
Sabathia is left-handed. The Sox don't hit left-handers very well. That is bad. But, the Sox have Beckett. The back end of the Sox bullpen is better. So, keep this one close and have it be decided between Borowski and Paps.

Daisuke v Carmona
This is not good...Unless the good Daisuke shows up. The Sox were shut out by this kid earlier this year. But that was in Cleveland. He beat the Yankees in Cleveland. Can he pitch in Fenway? We'll see.

Schilling v Westbrook
Schilling.

Wakefield v Byrd
Seeing as how the Yankees got 10 runners on in 5 innings against this guy, I've got to say he doesn't stand much of a chance against the Sox lineup. But how will Wakefield fair?

Then back to the top...
The Sox should try to win this in five because it might get a little hairy after that. Pitching Dice-K second sets Schilling up for Game 7. But do we want to go that far???

Great place to watch the playoffs

I'm in Finland. Not much interest in baseball here in Finland, it turns out. Very hard to watch games - impossible, it would seem. Finland's illustrious role in baseball history, other than a variant called Pes├Ąpallo, is that it was the birthplace for John Michaelson, who pitched 2 2/3 innings for the Chicago White Sox in 1921. And that's it. Really.

I just got my internet connection going, so only now found out about the Sox and Yankees, which is ridiculous. Rather than go back to old posts to comment, I'd add:

- I know the Sox are rolling, but the Indians are a tough team. And I seem to remember another 3-game sweep of the Angels by the Sox, after which time they struggled for 3 8/9 games. Obviously that turned out all right, but I'm not ready to be cocky yet.

- Mets fans must love that Kaz Matsui's a big part of the NLCS Rockies team.

- Joba/Ankiel: Will Leatch (Deadspin founder) made the same comparison as well. He's maybe a bit too sympathetic about the bugs, but his new blog for the Times is quite good (especially the first post). If more sportswriters were like that...

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Partial List of players with as many or more RBI this postseason

Than the highest paid player in baseball:

Kaz Matsui
Yorvit Torrealba
Casey Blake
Geovany Soto
Daryle Ward
Trot Nixon (4AB)
Jeff Baker (1AB)
Asdrubal Cabrera
Mark Reynolds
Augie Ojeda
Doug Davis (P)

As Planned???

The Sox complete the sweep of the Angels and looked to be firing on all cylinders. They pitched extremely well, they had very good at-bats, and their fielding was flawless *(with the exception of Manny overrunning a line drive).

Now, they sit and wait until Friday when they will play Cleveland or NY. With the way that series is shaping up, one might think it will go five. Wang pitches for the Yankees tonight on three-days rest. Where is Mussina? Then, my guess, Pettitte in Game 5, if necessary.

What does that mean? Probably Phillip Hughes against Beckett in Game 1 (if the Yankees prevail) or Carmona against Beckett in Game 1.

Either way, let's hope this series goes 5...Although, with the way the Sox are playing, it might not matter who is pitching.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Would you have believed me if I told you in April.....

That we would watch a game in October, being called by Don Orsillo, in which JC Romero was the losing pitcher, and it eliminated Romero's team from the playoffs. We you have believed that none of us would have really cared that much?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

HOLY CRAP WE ALMOST FORGOT

Today's the big day. Congrats Ben, wherever you may be.

Manny.

Sometimes I find myself wondering what things would be like had the big trade pre-2004 happened. We'd have A-Rod and Magglio Ordonez - this year's likely MVP and MVP runner up - in addition to David Ortiz. That would go down as one of the scariest lineups in history. And it'd probably also avoid some of the ridiculous soap opera BS (fueled by media and fans) we've endured much of for the last 3 seasons.

But I like this better:













Meanwhile, in New York, maybe Joel Sherman was right: Joba is a key player in this series.

At least the New York tabloid writers had a field day:
DOOM BUGGY...STUNG!...Tribe, bugs put bite on Yanks...Yanks victim of insecticide...Bombers in 0-2 hole after bugging out ... "termites in the bat rack, not Lake Erie midges" ... Joba Buggin' ... "here is a new Joba Rule: He is not lord of the flies" ... Now they're in a swarm of trouble ...
..."the eighth inning was a giant Midge-Stake by the Lake for the rookie right-hander"...SWAT'S UP...BUGGIN' OUT...could be zapped tomorrow...Reality Bites for Yanks..."they have a Perfect Swarm to thank"...Andy Pettitte's gem gets lost in the buzz...and the best/worst:

"A-Rod's October Gnat Happening"

Tension at the office

I'll take this break from the playoffs to note that in yesterday's ESPN Keith Law chat he made this comment on a potential Johan for Jose Reyes trade.


"That wasn't a rumor - it was something a writer made up and claimed made sense for both sides, which is true if you assume Omar has an IQ of 12. "

Interesting because that was from Buster Olney's blog only a few days earlier. I wonder what Keith and Buster will talk about the next time they run into each other at the water cooler in Bristol.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New thread

Given it's the playoffs, and the Red Sox are in said playoffs, we should probably be posting more. I'm of course the worst offender, as I seem to never have anything interesting to say (other than
"I'm going to the game!!!!! :) :) :) !!1!!" or "Josh Beckett is awesome!!!!"). X, the smart one, has a bad habit of introducing new interesting topics in the comments. So, here's a new thread, focusing on two burning questions I have:

1) What's the best first name in the playoffs - Ubaldo or Asdrubal?
2) Any predictions for tonight?

(My answers, in no particular order, are "5-4 Sox" and "Asdrubal".)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

So, uh...

...I just found out I'm going to the game tonight. My work has season tickets that we share; I won the Game 1 lottery. Which is weird because I never win anything.

Holy crap. Hopefully tonight will extend my Sox-Angels playoff game record to 2-0.

Update: In comments, GR correctly pointed out the obnoxiousness of this post. Sorry about that - I was a bit in shock. If it helps, I'll be traveling for work outside the US for every other playoff game, so will only read about the results.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Greatest Game Ever

I know the memory is so fresh and it will take some time to see where this one falls out.....

But I am really going to have to think about this game last night and where it ranks. Seriously top 5. Game 7 2001, Game 6 1975. I think the Mazeroski game might make the list, but I didn't see that one obviously. Game 7 of the 91 series (Morris shutout). Both game 6s in the LCS of 1986 - the Hendersen HR and the Mets 16 inning game (after tying in the 9th).

This was even better than the Dave Roberts game since the Sox were down 3-0. If they win that game and then lose game 5 or even game 6, that steal/game is really just a footnote. Should the Rockies win the WS or even just get there, I think this game will grow in "importance."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Rotation is Set

Beckett in Game 1, Daisuke in Game 2, and Schill in Game 3. Wake in the pen...

That means Schilling will have a ton of time in between starts.

Also, Lester had two solid innings in relief yesterday...I wonder if that is in the plans?

Not to Scream Over Small Things, but...

Tom Singer of MLB.com wrote the following about the Red Sox and Angels:

"Both teams may regard this as the biggest obstacle to the World Series: The Red Sox went 5-2 against Cleveland and see so much of the Yankees, they're always willing to take their chances with them; and the Angels held their own while splitting 10 games with the Indians, and always like their karma against the Bombers."

A couple of small points to make here. One, both teams are whole-heartedly focused on this series because it doesn't matter if you don't make it out. Two, the Indians are playing much better ball than the Angels right now, and probably the Sox. Three, I am not sure the Angels or the Sox don't view the Yankees as the biggest hurdle, especially the Sox (losing a large portion of the last 10 games against them). The Sox are "always willing to take their chances with" the Yankees? I don't think they're scared, but my guess is they'd rather go LAA, Cleveland on the road to the Series than have to play the Yankees...

I know it is Tom's job to drum up interest in this post-season matchup. The rest of his article is interesting, but just took it a little too far...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Amazin'

I'm sure tomorrow's NY tabloids will have some awesome headlines about the Mets. I just can't figure out what they might be. Any ideas?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

AL East Champs and Now The Playoffs...

Ok, so the LAA come to Boston next week for the playoffs. I am guessing:

Beckett v Lackey
Daisuke v Santana
Schilling v Escobar

Does that sound about right?

I am also guessing the lineup goes back to something like:

Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Manny LF
Drew RF
Lowell 3b
Tek C
Youk 1B
Lugo SS

Of course, Youk might move back to the top, but Francona loves the left/right/left/right thing...and Youk hasn't gotten back to form quite yet. And I think the Sox send Ellsbury and Lugo a lot to keep the pressure on.

Without sounding too confident, I fully expect the Sox to get to the ALCS where I would rather face Cleveland, even if Cleveland has the home field...

But back to this series...The Sox are coming in healthier than the Angels. The Angels are sub-500 on the road. Vlad and Matthews are hurting. And the Sox tend to knock the Angels ace (Lackey) around. One caveat for the Sox is that if the series goes 5, I think that the Angels take it. I think the same team seeing Daisuke twice in a short span will be more likely to get to him the second game.

Also, if you are Francona, how do you manage these next two games? Do you rest Papi or let him keep getting his swings? Do you pitch Wake for five today and then let Snyder pitch a few innings regardless of how he's throwing the ball? Then Schill and Tavarez the same plan on Sunday?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Lessons still being learned????

I was coming to post - "Hey Dice K has pitched 6 great innings - why does Tito not get him out of there and have him finish the regular season on a positive not?"

And then Mourneau hits a lead off HR. Damnit. I hope he gets out of this inning with no more damage.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sort of Random Thoughts

3 is the magic number...The Sox are up by 3.

The Yankees are 8-8 versus the D-Rays. 35-32 versus the AL East.

The playoffs lineup in the Yankees favor as of today. They haven't lost to Cleveland this year, but are 3-6 against the Angels. The Wild Card gets Cleveland at this point.

Drew is on a tear and, hopefully, it carries through the playoffs. With the return of Youk and Manny, and Drew and Lowell still hitting, this becomes a dangerous lineup.

The Mets are struggling over in the NL East. If the Phillies catch them, the Mets are likely not to make the playoffs.

I am rooting for the Royals to overtake the White Sox in the AL Central.

I am glad the World Series is in an American League ballpark.

Santana is pitching for the Twins today. That means he won't pitch in Fenway. Probably good news for the Sox in terms of winning the division.

Ellsbury is the CF next year. No doubt. I am guessing Coco is gone.

With Ellsbury, Pedroia, Youk, Papelbon, Lester, Buchholz, and possibly Bowdoin at cheap money, and on the roster next year one has to give credit to the scouts for finding so much talent...Secondly, do they run at a big free agent? A-Rod at SS? That won't happen, but that is the only place I could see an upgrade...Unless they cut Lowell loose and run at A-Rod for 3b...

Of course, they could package a few players to Texas if they are willing to part with Saltalamacchia...but, I doubt they would...

Lastly, Francona has done a great job in a strange situation. Deciding on whether or not to play for the division, while having to rest guys...He seems to be making all the right decisions, right now...

Monday, September 24, 2007

AL East

Obviously anything can happen, but I think it is pretty safe to say that if the Yankees lose today, the Sox should win the division. If they win today, due to the tiebreaker, I imagine they are going to make it very hard for the Sox. Let's hope Burnett pitches as well against them as he did against the Sox. Make it an even 2 games with six left. If the Sox go 4-2 at home (and I think not having to face Johan), then NY has to go undefeated. Of course, the Sox could go 2-4 and in that case, they'll probably lose the division no matter what happens today.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Home field advantage

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who doesn't really feel too strongly about whether the Sox take the Wild Card vs. the AL East. Obviously, winning the division would be awesome, but the Yankees are in a 63-33 run, which is pretty damn hard to compete with, and losing serious ground to a team like that does not constitute a choke. Check out this piece of ridiculousness comparing the Sox 2007 season to 1978. Note that the words "wild" and "card", which are kind of important when discussing the playoffs, don't appear until about 3/4 of the way down.

Just about the only argument that makes any sense why the Sox "need" to win the division is the home field advantage that comes with it. So: does it matter? The Sox offense is way better at home (AL rank in parentheses):

HOME: .295 BA (4th), .378 OBP (2nd), .459 SLG (3rd), .838 OPS (2nd), 71 HR
AWAY: .263 BA (10th), .344 OBP (3rd), 419 SLG (6th), .763 OPS (6th), 80 HR

But check out their pitching stats:

HOME: 4.18 ERA (6th), 2.50 K/BB (4th), .261 BAA (5th), .726 OPSA (5th)
AWAY: 3.57 ERA (1st, by a lot), 2.20 K/BB (3rd), .233 BAA (1st, by a lot), .684 OPSA (1st, by a lot)

I have no idea what this means; and I don't have time to look these numbers up for only August-September. But it would seem to suggest that either (1) with the exception of HR, Fenway is still very much a hitter's park, or (2) we have the right hitters but the wrong pitchers for Fenway.

Either way, given these differences I'd expect not too much of a road-home split in wins. But it's huge: they're 47-28 at home, 43-35 away.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Brilliant analysis

Jerry Crasnick, saying that the trade for Eric Gagne had a negative impact on the Sox:

"To make matters worse, Gagne's problems have been contagious. Okajima has a 7.04 ERA since Gagne's arrival."

I really hope that was a joke, but I don't think it was. Yes, Gagne's been awful. But does anyone really think he's made Okajima worse? We were all confused (happily so) about why the Sox picked up another setup man. Now we know why they did: there was some concern about Okajima's durability over the entire season. Had Gagne not arrived, Okajima probably would've gone on the DL in late August.

Not to say the trade was a good idea, but it's pretty damn stupid to blame Okajima's troubles on it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just Make The Playoffs?

The Sox have the unfortunate injuries to Ramirez and Youkilis happen late in the season. The Yankees had their injuries all early on...Obviously, the Yankees are playing extremely well. They've won 11 of their last 13, and if they keep up that pace, the division is theirs...

So, looking at the injuries above, do you rush back Ramirez and Youk to try to maintain the division championship, or do you try to get healthy for the post-season? All Sox fans have been frustrated by the recent slumping, and the inability to put away the Yankees. But, with the magic number of "4" sitting in front of the Sox and the post-season (any combo of Detroit losses and Sox wins), do you push for the division title? Yes, it means gloating by the Yankees fans. But, does it matter?

Well, let's remember a few things. The Sox went in to the '05 post-season with their rotation all out of order. I won't remind anyone of how that went. Last year, they don't even make the playoffs. And, the most important one of all...They went in to the '04 playoffs as a Wild Card and healthy...

Look, the Sox will win 4 more games before the season is over. Heck, if the Sox go 6-4 the rest of the way, the Yankees must go 9-2 to win the division (they win the tiebreaker). If that happens, the Yankees deserve the division.

I'd like to have rested and healthy Manny and Youkilis, and a lined up starting rotation heading into the post-season. It would be nice to celebrate the division crown. I will feel the pain of not holding on to a huge lead, if they don't follow through. No doubt about it. But, I would rather see a shot at a World Series. And resting the injured guys, as opposed to rushing them back to just win the division doesn't seem like the right thing to do at this point.

And, just sit Gagne and you win the division (the last part was a joke, sort of...)

Monday, September 17, 2007

I hope some lessons have been learned

By Francona. It seems like about 5 times in the last month, he has left one of his vet pitchers in a game far too long. In a tie game or with the Sox only one or two behind, he has a tendency to leave Schill, Beckett, even dice K, in the game. And the results have not been good. Sure Schilling was pitching well last night. But by the time Jeter hit the HR, Schill was struggling. The most pitches of any inning. Plus he had left a few balls up. I hope in the playoffs, Terry now knows to go get the guy out of the game. I'm sure he has less confidence in the pen than he did a month ago, but I still would rather see Delcarmen's first pitch against Jeter than Schilling's 90th.

Friday, September 14, 2007

middle of the 1st

Oof, this is going to be a loooooonnnngggg game. Three outs, 1 error and 1 hit batsman.

...Nope, make that 2 errors.

...Anyone online?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

NO HEART

This team sickens me. Where are the come-from-behind victories? Really, does anyone really think this team is any good? Sheesh.

Seriously, am I the only one who feels that, if they can fix their god-awful bullpen, the Devil Rays could actually be sort of...you know, good? Their offense has a ton of potential - if these guys stay healthy, and stick around for a couple years, the lineup would actually be sort of scary. That's a weird thing to say, given they're the Devil Rays.

Meanwhile, this whole Patriots thing really confuses me. They're arguable the best team in football, and so the whole thing makes no sense. One upside: one of the people complaining about the Pats cheating is Shawn Merriman, which is awesome.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Wow, revisited

Okay, so this sort of...sucks. So much for happy baseball stories. I'd like to think the story's not true, but it's pretty big on specifics; and maybe it doesn't matter in the big picture, but it still seriously detracts from the utter awesomeness of it all.

Oh well.

On the upside, I think a 9th inning infield single, steal, and RBI single to win the game counts as "heart". Next complaint: the Red Sox have no "stomach". Who's with me? Eric? Dan?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two Questions

One - without looking up the internet... what mlb pitcher has allowed the most HRs this year.

Two - Matt, please respond to this.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Have you ever...

...not wanted to post anything, for fear of jinxing things? I just feel if I were to say anything positive, the season would come crashing down instantly...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Clay should thank me

For going nowhere near my computer.

Nice job. He looked great. Excellent command of the curve and change.

We should learn something today

The sox dugout should be full today, with the additions of Bucholz and Corey to the pitching staff and Moss, Elsbury, and Clayton.

We'll see what Bucholz learned from his brief time in the bigs (hopefully to trust his stuff).

We'll see what the lineup is, with the new injuries now coming daily.

we'll also see how the Sox respond knowing that the Yanks have already won.

So lots to learn in the next 5-6 hours.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Scott Baker

Perfect through 6.

Boooooooo

Generally speaking, the Sox are still in good shape...

To take something from this past series.
Schilling looks very healthy. That makes the 1-2-3 combo very strong. Our number 4 has 16 wins...The bullpen is very strong.

The pitching is definitely there. There were questions about Schilling, but he's been very good since "resting".

The glaring hole? No Manny. Without rehashing early season posts, there were great concerns about this offense. They have scored a lot of runs. But they've gone through very bad stretches. They have no bench...although that will change tomorrow with the call-ups...

Maybe the Sox will luck out and the Yankees will get the Angels in the first round. Then they won't have to face them in the playoffs. I think that the Sox should think about sending down Lopez today to bring up Ellsbury or someone just so they are eligible for the post-season roster without someone going to the DL (although I am thinking that Snyder will probably get hurt some time this month for that very reason...and perhaps Hinske...).

I think that even the relatively easy games aren't going to be very easy without Ramirez in the lineup. Who in their right mind is going to pitch to Papi?

I think that Drew should be the leadoff hitter for the rest of the year. He is fast. He likes to walk instead of swing. And don't move Lugo or Crisp to the top. Put Papi there.

Drew
Papi
Lowell
Youk
Tek
Crisp
Pedroia
Lugo
Guerrero (oh, wait we don't have him)

Yes, you have a weak bottom of the lineup...no doubt. But you get Papi and extra at bat...After the first go-round it doesn't really matter in the AL.

I don't know...they need something to happen. I am not thinking that the lead will grow this weekend with the Yankees playing the D-Rays and the Sox facing the O's....