Monday, July 25, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
We had just started June with 10 straight wins. Entering the "easy" inter-league stretch of the month, we were 11-2 for the month and in first place. We took 2 out of 3 against the Brewers and then promptly fell apart, blaming it on the stupid "rules" of the game. Yes, that is right. We complained about the fact that Papi couldn't play DH in the national league parks. (This was not my proudest moment as a Sox fan). The embarrassment amounted to considerable egg on our face as we went 2 and 4 against the lowly Padres and Pirates. (The Pirates to their credit are 1 game out of first in the NL Central). We didn't do much better as we rolled through Philly. In the end, we made the NL road trip respectable by sweeping the H'astros and going 6 and 6.
For June we ended up 16 and 9 (.640 winning percentage). That still rocks, but we did lose our grip on first place.
We are now at the All-star break and we've have started July with a blazing 9 and 1 record. Once again we're back in first with an overall record of 55 and 35. Will we have another mid-month slump?
Our pitching situation is looking bleak. Beckett's knee is sore, Lester isn't 100%, Bucholz is working through a back strain, Lackey is working through a severe case of the SUCKS and DiceBB's arm has fallen off. Wakefield has regressed from previous years and while Andrew Miller has added some spark, I don't see him making a lasting contribution to the Red Sox second half. Through 2011, the Sox starting staff has been entirely mediocre netting 7.0 wins above replacement (WAR) value. In comparison the Yankees have netted 8.7. (The Phillies led the league with 15.4).
One ray of hope is the bullpen. It hasn't been as streaky as last year and overall the team is the second best in the league (WAR), netting 3.7. The Braves have the top spot in the majors with 4.9 WAR.
All said and done, I think we might be in the market for an arm as we approach the trade deadline. I think we will be fine in a 7 game series with Beckett, Lester and Bucholz, but to get there we will need some help.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
So they are far exceeding that pace. Obviously they have played some great ball (the current 8 game winning streak, the two sweeps in NY, the 13- 2 stretch at one point), but this appears to be a streaky team. But now they have had three really long excellent stretches and only the bad start on the downside. And sure they will have one or more cold spells at some point. But, I'm saving my best for last......
As of right now, the Sox are 38-26, a .594 pace. Which over the full season works out to 96 wins. So even after the awful start they are on pace for 95, 96 wins. Right on pace.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Looking ahead, the rest of June consists of 9 games against our top AL East foes (NY, Blue Jays, and TB) and 12 games against random NL teams (Padres, Brewers, Pirates and Phillies). On top of that 15 out of 21 games remaining are on the road! On the surface June is going to continue to be a tricky month. Amazingly, we're 1 game out of first which is a huge improvement, but I really don't see us gaining any ground in June. Frankly, I would be happy to get out of this month 3-4 games back. My guess is that we'll go 4 and 5 against the AL East and we'll split the 12 games with the NL teams. Which means we'll end up 1 game under .500 for June.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I am going out on a limb and talking about something other analysts haven't. This series won't come down to the featured match-ups. It won't be the top line of Vancouver against the top D line of Boston. That will be great to watch without a doubt.
I think that this comes down to the third lines of each team. Why? Both teams are stacked on the top two lines. Boston I think has a slight advantage on line 2, but it isn't worth mentioning as Vancouver's second D-line is better.
But those third lines...This is where I think the B's get the edge. Seguin, Kelly, and Peverley (or Ryder). If these guys perform, the B's take this series.
As it turns out, they got their 15th win on Sunday afternoon (which assures them a .614 or better winning percentage) and almost swept their second series in May with a 4-3 loss to the Tigers that evening. I was hoping last night was our night with Lester on the mound, but alas his game needs some tweaking. Perhaps Aceves will extend his winning streak tonight and we'll be a game ahead of plan heading into June.
Regardless, we've got a share of first place and our 2 for whatever start seems like a distant past.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Trot obviously had a much longer career with the Sox and even the untrained eye can see that he put up more impressive offensive numbers during his time guarding pesky's pole. In contrast, we all waited an entire season for JD Drew to get a "hit". Fortunately, for him and for us that came in the form of a pretty clutch grand slam against Cleveland.
Obviously, there are a lot of ways to skin this cat and none is perfect. After doing some looking I finally settled on WAR (wins above replacement) for one simple reason, it combines offense and defense. The other aspect of WAR that was appealing is that it is a direct comparison in that it compares the value of each player over a "replacement".
Finally, how to adjust for the fact that Trot patrolled RF for the Sox for 10 years and Drew is just in his 5th? I think the only way to do this is to take the best 4 consecutive years of Trot's career and compare them to Drew. With that in mind and the simple fact that Drew was apart of the 2007 World Series Champions, we have to pick the best 4 years around 2004 for Trot, otherwise Drew will have the only stat that really matters: "winning," as Charlie Sheen would say.
So with that in mind here are the numbers:
Trot 2002-2005: 2.8, 4.9, 1.1 WS Champs, 3.7 (total 12.5)
Drew 2007-2010: 1.9 WS Champs, 4.1, 5.0. 2.5 (total 13.5)
Ok so that's settled. Or not. Drew was hurt in 2004, which pretty much makes up the difference between them. If you substitute 2001 (3.5 WAR) or 2006 (1.8) for Trot's 2004 season this would be a different story. They would either be the same value or Trot would be more valuable.
Of course we should consider the cost. One can argue that the lower costing Trot allowed the Sox to spend more on other players. However, by the time Drew was signed the Sox weren't exactly cutting corners on their budget. That being said the facts are that Drew cost $56 million over those 4 years while Trot a mere $18.7 million. Again this might have more to do with the fact that home grown talent is ALWAYS cheaper than free agent signing.
So there you have it, or not. Maybe it comes down to the fact that DJ Werd might just be one of the best backwards names ever to play for the Sox. but Tort Noxin does have a nice ring to it.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Millwood is 36 and pitched 31 games last year for the Orioles with a 5.10 ERA.
Um... We honestly don't have anyone in AAA that is better?
Sunday, May 22, 2011
“I didn’t think he pitched as bad as the line’s going to show,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
Darwin Barney(notes) and Starlin Castro(notes) singled and Ramirez walked, loading the bases. Carlos Pena then walked in a run before Johnson doubled to left, putting the Cubs ahead to stay. Alfonso Soriano(notes) followed with a popup to short left field where shortstop Jed Lowrie(notes) let it bounce off his glove for an error as Pena scored.
“Overran it, misjudged the wind,” Lowrie said. The conditions have “been tough all year. It’s no excuse, just got to play it. What can you do?”
Franklin Morales(notes), obtained Thursday from Colorado, relieved Albers and his first pitch went for an RBI double by pinch-hitter Jeff Baker(notes). Koyie Hill(notes) struck out and Barney flew to right, where J.D. Drew’s(notes) catch was only the beginning of a bizarre play.
He threw home and Soriano, who had tagged up, headed back to third. Catcher Jason Varitek’s(notes) throw ticked off third baseman Kevin Youkilis’ glove. Youkilis was charged with an error and left fielder Carl Crawford(notes), who backed him up, threw wildly to home for another error as Soriano and Baker scored.
Castro followed with an RBI double, making it 9-3.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Here is what was significant about Sunday night:
1. Beckett's birth day
2. The night in 1941 when Lou Gehrig started his consecutive hits streak
3. The evening in 2003 that Fenway was first sold out to set the longest consecutive sell out streak
4. Jon Lester's 66th win, giving him the highest winning percentage among pitchers with at least 50 games
5. The night that Bobby Valentine confessed to the world that he was Billy Buckner's roommate in college. (Ok, so this wasn't THAT interesting but I did enjoy the Buckner references when ARod botched the play at third).
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Last night, Gregg Zaun was in the booth with Don and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I had this impression from his playing days that he was just another meathead 'roider. That may in fact still be true, but last night he showed a completely different side. He was articulate, funny and insightful. It helps that he has played with and against a lot of the guys who were on the field. And it always seems that catchers have a keen perspective on the game. All in all, I'd like to start a campaign for MORE Gregg Zaun.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Editor's note - May is off to a good start. Beating the defending CY Young pitcher and the pitcher who would win the one month 2011 Cy Young in their first two starts. But back to April.
All along, I thought the starters would be about what they were last year. Refer to this post. And I'm sure it is elsewhere in comments, etc.
"Last year. Starters were 70-50 with a 4.17 ERA (6th in league). I think they will be pretty close to that this year. Maybe a tad better. We know they offense is going to score the most or second most runs in the league. So the difference from last year is the bullpen."
Granted its been a bit up and down. Actually down then up. Adn right now the starters are 10-10 3.75. Breaking it down Grieve style:
Lester is the stud he was last year.
Dice-BB has been pretty much Dice-BB. Two awesome outings. And then three outings w 11 IP total. Overall result 3.81 but I expect more of the 5IP Dice than the one hitter Dice.
Lackey overall has been the same 5+ Lackey as last year. But has shown promise in the last three starts.
And that leaves Beckett and Bucholz - who have essentially flip flopped. I also wrote somewhere that I expected either Lester or Bucholz to fade a bit, but Beckett or Lackey to step forward. All of which is kind of happening.
Bottom line - its still early. Some of this will sort itself out. Bucholz is probably hurt, thus the diminished results, but the starting pitching feels like last year.
In short, now that the first week of the rotation getting hammered appears to have been a blip (save Bucholz and the long ball), no need to panic about SP.
This was last year's Achilles. And I don't feel much better about this year's pen. Yet. The ERA of this group 5.02. Jenks and Wheeler were the $$ acquisitions. And they have sucked.
I never thought I would say this. And I shutter a bit as I type it. Thank goodness for Paps. What a shock, the contract year has lit a fire under his ass. Hope he keeps it up. Saves 40 games, including 8 in October. And then some dumbass team pays him $50. And we'll get to hear him trash Boston all winter. But I digress, nice to see him mix it up a bit and not pump all FB.
Bard - again a workhorse with an occasional blip. But clearly Tito trusts him. A lot. As he should.
Dubront (sent to AAA), Oki, Reyes (already cut) - not holding their own either.
Bottom line - they have too much invested in Jenks and Wheeler to not keep running them out there. the scary thing with Jenks is that he can look filthy for a stretch. And then boom lose it. Hopefully they all settle down. And the results will come. If not Theo will keep running new faces into the 1-2 spots he has flexibility with.
And Wake, bless him for that start yesterday, but long term, I don't know how they can keep justifying that roster spot. Especially if some guys are struggling.
Now..... the lineup.
I had visions of going through them all. But not really much point. They will score runs in bunches. Just like they did tonight. Sure they are susceptible to LHP. Particularly starters. But I think that will be fine in the long run. Crawford will be fine. Gonzalez should hit for a bit more power. We;d like Elsbury to get on base a bit more. Pedey and Youk have lower than expected AVG, but their OBP are okay and YOuk's power is there. Drew is Drew. Papi is Papi (Lite).
The only real problem that warrants watching. And I know its a real chorus. Catcher. As much as they talk about how they are being patient, etc. I have to wonder how long they can keep running Salty out there. And if they are really comfortable with Tek catching 3 times per week. He is old. And then if he breaks down, they are screwed. Salty looks lost back there at times. Adn he is in the lineup for his bat. But .204/.259/.259? A week and a half ago, Gammons was saying that it wouldn't surprise him if the Sox made a move back then. I imagine the pressure is only mounting.
Benji Molina is available although he'd cost $$$. Or bring up one of the AA guys. Apparently the Federowicz guy is for real. We'll see.
All told. My bottom line. No need to panic. It was a bad month, but they are starting to show some encouraging signs.
Now if they can just solve C and stay away from LH starters. And apparently it would be nice to play 162 games vs the Angels.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Official Press Release
This is all Frank could come up with:
"Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner's action today."
MLB To Oversee the Dodgers
It's the beginning of the end for Frank McCourt. Bud Selig, per the LA Times, has decided that enough is enough:
"Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club. I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt's ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days. The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future."
The NY Times adds:
But two people with knowledge of the situation said that he was also strongly considering forcing the sale of the team by invoking his “bests interests of baseball” powers to wrest the team from Frank McCourt, the owner since 2004, who he believes has mismanaged the franchise while enriching himself.
And TMZ chips in with this:
IRS agents are interested in the fact that the McCourts took $145 million from the team and paid no taxes (certain court documents place the figure at around $105 million, but we’re told it’s actually $145 mil). The IRS is also interested in the fact that the McCourt children have drawn a salary from the team but performed no apparent services to justify the payout.
Is it me, or is this a little unusual? The Sox are in a slump and head to the west coast for a series of games. My memory tells me that we'd limp through the west coast trip happy to be .500. Here we are on the verge of sweeping the LAAAAAAAAAs and taking 5 out of 6 games.
And who do we have to thank? Well, it doesn't suck the BecKKKKKKKet is lighting it up. Nor does it suck that Dice-BB is finally throwing strikes! What a concept. I liked ispost at baseball musings. In short, "He went with what worked and de-emphasized what didn’t."
I like the sound of that! We'll see how long it lasts, but I have to believe Dice-BB is hungry for a "break-out" season.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Imagine you see this girl every day and she is smoking hot. But you have to get laughed at every day for a year (have the worst record) to get a chance to go out with her. And finally you do. The first date (season) goes okay, you act like a gentleman and don’t want to rush things. The second date is starting to look really good, there is some promise you make out a bit and get to second base (second round). The third and fourth dates go okay. They aren’t great, but they aren’t terrible. You don’t go home with her, but you think there is enough progress being made. She laughs at your jokes (scores a lot), she teases you with her physique, but there is definitely a little alloofness there. By the fifth date you are confident. The starts are aligning. You have a great date (number one seed), she is wearing a smoking outfit (100 points) . You finally get her naked and she says, not tonight, it just doesn’t feel right (first round exit). You have another date. You’re starting to worry. Same crap. Then what would be your last date. Again, showing hope. Again she’s smoking (another high seed). You get her home. You get her naked. You’re bangin her but she just lies there. She even asks if you’re done yet. So that’s it. You know it will never be. You break up with her.
But in the end, you do have a bit of the last laugh. As she dates someone new, yes she still looks hot. In fact in the first year after you break up she wins a beauty contest (mvp), but you still get to laugh cause you know they are only going to second base. And she just lays there.
Feel free to discuss.
Monday, April 11, 2011
2009 Yankees From April 24 - May 7 they were 4-9 and lost 5 straight (and they won 103 games)
2008 Phillies - June 12-14 6 game losing streak
2007 Sox - June 12-14 5 game losing streak
2006 Cardinals - they had 3 months w a losing record and lost 8 in a row at one point
2005 White Sox August 12-16 7 game losing streak
So or those ready to write the season off.....
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Will the Sox win again this year? Maybe. They do play the Yankees 18 more times.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
Continuing the conversation re: 2011 prediction, here are my thoughts on the AL West. Again, this is based on absolutely minimal research, beer (Sam's Boston Ale), and how I felt the 2010 season went based on my fantasy baseball team. (If nothing else, I am honest).
Texas 88 wins
Oakland 82 wins
Ichiro 40 SB
This might be over estimating the A's ability to manufacturer wins. Their pitching will be competitive especially if they can keep up the defense, but I am just not scared of their line up. Am I missing something? I think it's more likely that the team will move to San Jose than they win the AL West (and I mean this beyond 2011). Texas went all the way last year (heh) and they look good again this year. They have arms and bats, oh my!
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Ramirez was originally listed in the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Angels, but he has since been scratched, the St. Petersburg Times reports.
Yahoo! sports reports: There doesn't appear to be an injury here, as the Rays seem to simply be giving Ramirez a rest day to regroup after his 1-for-16 start to the season. It's unfortunate because it seems like a good matchup for him; he's 18-for-35 (.514) with three homers and four doubles in his career against Angels starter Dan Haren.
DH Manny Ramirez, off to a 1-for-16 start and booed by the Tropicana Field crowd Tuesday, was not in the lineup Wednesday.
"I want the fans to know he works, this man really works, this man really cares... It's not working for him right now, but he's going to be just fine. We need to let him be himself and let Manny be Manny and go up there and not try to carry us. The last thing I want him to do is feel like he has to carry us."
Impressive, even if Maddon played Manny and he went 0-5, he'd still be batting .450 on Dan Haren. Talk about OWNED.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
While the Tigers have the most pop on paper, I am signing up for the Twins to take it again. Morneau ought to be healthy and as long as Mauer's knees don't explode the Twins have the best all around team (in my opinion). The Sox are going to benefit from Adam Dunn in the line up, and no I am not just saying that because I drafted him for my fantasy team. In the end I see the following:
Twins 85 wins
Tigers 83 wins
Indians may get 70 wins
Royals may not get 70 wins
Is it me or is it a little sad that the Twins will win out with 85 wins and have the benefit of 36+ games against the Indians and Royals?
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Now for our own backyard. AL East standings at the end of this year (drum roll)
Red Sox 97 wins
Yankees 95 wins
Rays 88 wins
Essentially, I have to go with the fact that the Red Sox had, on paper, the best off-season. It was a lot of fun to watch the line up last night (last preseason game). Jacoby, Pedroia, Crawford, Gonzalez.... HOLY COW! Per the previous post, if the starters can improve slightly, the offense holds or improves, and the bullpen improves a lot we should be in good shape to take the East. Of course, this is barring the injury bug that crushed us last year.
Per X's point, the Yankees are too rich and have too much talent to discount. That being said, I do think they are vulnerable. They haven't had the injury bug in a while and they have some aging players. In the end, if they stay healthy I think they are a lock for the wildcard.
Tampa Bay will give it a good run, but will fade. Especially, after Manny hits 20 HR in the first half and checks out mentally. Their pitching is good, but young and that might work the first time around. But as hitters in the AL East get more looks they will start to lock in. So I see a pretty significant second half fade.
Toronto will be above average as will Baltimore. I think Baltimore has some up and coming pitchers that will make it interesting. But neither team has the depth to last deep into the season. I can't wait for the huge slump the O's will experience at some point in the second half. Showalter will blow his cool in some completely crazy way.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Having Matsuzaka as your number 5 guy is impressive. Was he good last year? For a number 5, he was fine. You'd like to see more innings from him, but 9-6 with a mid-4's ERA is not terrible. Again...for a number 5. And does last year's performance mean anything this year? Not really. The Sox have made some tweaks in his regimen. Now it is wait and see.
Lester has developed into one of the premiere left-handers in the game. He's the one guy the Sox can hang their hat on.
Buchholz emerged last year as the clear number two in the Sox rotation. But, like Dice-K, he is still an unknown.
The clearest part of this puzzle is that the Sox need more from Beckett. Lackey, despite local criticism, had a typical Lackey year. I think, with his associated price tag and previous playoff hype, Sox fans expected a number 1 when he arrived. But, Beckett's season last year was abysmal by Beckett standards. He hasn't had a great spring training, either. But, as stated above, spring training means nothing. The Sox can't have another year of 6-6 with an ERA near 6 if they expect to make a series run. The need a healthy Beckett.
This rotation could go either way. It has the potential to be the deepest in the majors. It also has the potential to be middle of the pack.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Some pretty good stuff, mostly about how the clubhouse kids work silly hours to basically clean the spikes of the players and unpack their bags when returning from a road trip.
My real problem with the show was the complete fictional timeline the producers create. Granted, I am nitpicking here. The real story is about the dedicated employees who are probably underpaid, overworked,etc. But if the producers are going to pretend that this is a "real" timeline, then make it a real timeline.
The documentary starts with rain coming down and the tagline "2:32:Red Sox due home from West Coast trip any minute."
Then they proceed to tell how the guys work all night to get ready for the game the next day. Cut to Fenway park "the next day." And they show pregame coverage of the game. Batting practice, fans mulling about the Stadium. In the footage, the CF scoreboard clearly shows the date as July 15, 2010 (more on that later). The "game" proceeds. Wake takes his warm ups, their is a rain delay, and the Sox win in the 11th.
All good, except
Returning from a West Coast trip? July 15 was the first game after the All Star break.
July 15 was started by Wake. But the Sox lost.
The Sox did win a game vs TEX on the play they showed (a Youk walk off Sac Fly), but that was July 17. There was even a fan in the pregame coverage carrying a Cliff Lee sign, which makes since as Lee was the pitcher in the Saturday the 17th game.
So why did the producers have to take liberties with the facts? Did they not think people could check this stuff? Silly.
Other than that? Decent stuff.
Oh and why is mlb2K11 showing Longoria as this big time HR hitter? I mean, you had, what 22 HR. Same as JD Drew.
Monday, March 07, 2011
Could it be that rooting for a team like the Bruins reminds one of the 86-year struggle Sox fans went through? Is there more excitement in a team struggling to win rather than one that's recently won?
Is it the professional demeanor of the Sox?
Is it the band wagoners that are just enjoying the winning and buying all the tickets making it next to impossible for others to go?
I'll tell you what a big portion of it is for me (and LISTEN up Sox Front Office and NESN). It's the incessant advertising. In between almost every pitch the camera pans Fenway (or other ball park) and a burn appears on the screen. Orsillo or Remy's voice reads the copy. Or...Friday night games...Not only do you get the countless commercials, but you get the booth guests.
It is NOT the speed of the game. If allowed, Remy and Orsillo could lay out strategies and options for the next pitch. The director would not cut 10-12 times in between each pitch (except to maybe show player positioning and pitch calling).
Nope...the Sox have commercialized the game to death. I understand that they need revenue to compete. I guess. I do make the trips to the New York area (family down there), and I'll watch the Yankees or Mets games. Aside from the fact that their announcers aren't very good, you at least don't get killed with non-stop product placement. One can't enjoy the game when one feels they are watching 3 hours of commercials. It isn't cohesive. The game has a flow that NESN and the Sox don't want to get across on television. They are too busy trying to suck pennies from their viewers.
The Bruins games have very little of this. The games keep moving. The announcers provide great play-by-play and thorough analysis. The Sox brass have made big moves to bring back TV viewers by acquiring players. They should look, however, at their over-advertising as the next move. Maybe then, we can start to enjoy the televised games.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Not to sound jaded, but...
Ellsbury is coming of a full year of injuries.
Pedroia's foot is NOT 100 percent, and he will likely miss time this year.
Drew is already hurt and the Boston Globe had an article about him speaking of retirement DURING SPRING TRAINING!
Gonzalez, one of the big studs in the lineup, is coming off shoulder surgery.
Those are four big question marks for the lineup.
For the pitching...
Lackey is basically what we saw last year. Do not expect major improvements. He won't be the top guy in the rotation, AND he might be your number four starter.
Beckett is coming off a terrible year.
Daisuke is Daisuke.
That leaves the non-question marks as Lester and Buchholz.
Don't get me wrong. This team is stacked IF healthy. To me, though, it is too early to be crowning them the AL East champs.