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Thursday, August 02, 2018

Owner John Henry: Now Red Sox need to produce in postseason

Of course that staff included Chili Davis and Brian Butterfield who are getting very positive reviews in Chicago.

“If you remember during spring training I got frustrated initially with writers’ negativity that we hadn’t done much,” Henry wrote in his first public comments on the team since spring training. “I pointed out how bad our approach was last year and how a clean sweep of staff was a major change. Alex and his staff have had a clear approach that is quite different from what we had before, different on a number of levels.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 02, 2018 at 01:57 PM | 68 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 02, 2018 at 04:03 PM (#5719838)
I pointed out how bad our approach was last year and how a clean sweep of staff was a major change.

Not that long ago, many thought a manager who won a World Series for the Red Sox would be revered for decades by both fans and ownership. Clearly that was incorrect, since run them down while running them out of town seems to be the practice.
   2. TomH Posted: August 02, 2018 at 04:33 PM (#5719860)
John Steinbrenry
   3. TomH Posted: August 02, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5719868)
someone 'splain this quote to me:
"we weren’t nearly aggressive enough, except in running the bases"
Where do they need to be more aggressive, per Mr. Henry? Pitchers in the strike zone? Charging ground balls? Drills before the game?
   4. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 02, 2018 at 04:55 PM (#5719881)
Where do they need to be more aggressive, per Mr. Henry? Pitchers in the strike zone?


There was a lot of criticism last year that the hitters were too passive and that when they did swing they were looking for singles rather than home runs. There has definitely been a change this year, not just adding JDM but Mookie and Xander in particular have had big power bumps. The team ISO has gone from .149 last year to .187 this year (obviously just adding JDM has an impact there). Also they are swinging at the first pitch of a PA 28% of the time compared with 20% of the time last year (and with a better OPS in such situations as well).

Of the five players who were here last year and played enough to qualify four of them (Mookie, Moreland, Xander and Benintendi) have a higher ISO while Bradley's is .010 less.
   5. L. M. Gumby Posted: August 02, 2018 at 04:56 PM (#5719882)
Yeah, pitches in the strike zone. The Sox were last in MLB swinging at pitches in the zone in 2017. As a result they didn't strike out much. Yet,they got nothing for it as they were only 9th in BB% and 28th(?!) in ISO. Chili Davis might be a great coach in other ways but there was clearly a conservative hitting philosophy, and it was clearly not working.

Aaand a Jose-cola is in order.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: August 02, 2018 at 04:58 PM (#5719883)
I pointed out how bad our approach was last year and how a clean sweep of staff was a major change.


Yeah, finishing first two years in a row for the first time in 100 years needed an immediate fixin'.

   7. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 02, 2018 at 05:00 PM (#5719885)
Where do they need to be more aggressive, per Mr. Henry? Pitchers in the strike zone?


He's thinking about when Bud gave them the green light to hit Yankee batters at will.
   8. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 02, 2018 at 05:33 PM (#5719908)
The expectation based on the current millennium is that the Red Sox will win a World Series once every 5 years. If they fail to do it this year they're falling behind.
   9. bfan Posted: August 02, 2018 at 05:45 PM (#5719916)
The expectation based on the current millennium is that the Red Sox will win a World Series once every 5 years.


That is the frequency that ESPN paid for and they darn well better get what they bargained for.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: August 02, 2018 at 05:48 PM (#5719919)
"Last" at swinging at pitches in the zone as in "swung most often"? Cuz otherwise I don't see how taking pitches in the zone leads to fewer strikeouts.

I'll let somebody else dig up the detailed numbers but there's superficial evidence of some of this on the Cubs as well. BA is up, walk rate is steady (so OBP up), ISO is down. The drop in ISO might be mostly Bryant's injury and Rizzo weirdness. K-rate is down by 1%. I don't know if Davis has had anything to do with it but Baez has blossomed, Zobrist and Heyward have rebounded well, Happ has shown signs ... while Bryant seemed a bit messed up even before the injury** while Rizzo seems to have snapped out of his funk. The biggest power drop is probably Contreras with an ISO from about 200 to 175 but then the OBP is up and the OPS+ is the same -- hard to complain about a C with a 372 OBP.

** But he was beaned and concussed early in the year which might have more to do with it.
   11. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 02, 2018 at 06:53 PM (#5719949)
Also they are swinging at the first pitch of a PA 28% of the time compared with 20% of the time last year (and with a better OPS in such situations as well).


Don't batsman have really good averages/SLG/OPS) against the 1st pitch anyway?

Walt, someone, can you pull a quick chart with the OPS for each pitch in an AB? Unless I'm misremembering, 1st pitch swinging(at strikes of course) has really good results.
Needless to say I would imagine a 3-1 count also has good results.
   12. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: August 02, 2018 at 07:00 PM (#5719954)
He's thinking about when Bud gave them the green light to hit Yankee batters at will.



Which is why it's tough to see Sale on the DL for this series. Oh well, he'll get them next time.
   13. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: August 02, 2018 at 09:45 PM (#5720075)
Walt, someone, can you pull a quick chart with the OPS for each pitch in an AB? Unless I'm misremembering, 1st pitch swinging(at strikes of course) has really good results.
There's one on this page, for the AL in 2015-2017, for PAs that end after the stated count. At 0-0, batters go 345/352/582.

At 3-0, batters go 407/944/818. New plan: first, get a 3-0 count...
   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 02, 2018 at 10:33 PM (#5720096)
If the Red Sox go on to win the World Series, they won it in the offseason and at the trading deadline. No other team matched their acquisitions of JDM, Pearce, Kinsler and Eovaldi in terms of addressing specific needs.

Anything can happen, but right now they're the odds-on favorites to go all the way.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: August 02, 2018 at 11:53 PM (#5720121)
Just a standard table available easily to all at b-r (league splits): here's AL 2018

By the way, when batters swing at the first pitch -- which includes misses and fouls -- the result is not so awesome. Overall the result is 263/288/445 (i.e. the eventual result of the PA). When they hit the first picth fair, they're hitting 337/348/576 in 6662 PA. However apparently they don't hit it fair about 60% of the time they swing at it ... just short of 11,000 PA that ended after that first pitch. Batting average is just 204. (This requires subtraction and division by hand! :-) For whatever reason that seems a little worse than overall "after 0-1 count", possibly because of more aggressive hitters continuing to be "overly" aggressive.

So attacking the first pitch is not exactly the path to success. Smacking the bejesus out of the first pitch is still a good plan though.
   16. villageidiom Posted: August 03, 2018 at 08:16 AM (#5720152)
If the Red Sox go on to win the World Series, they won it in the offseason and at the trading deadline. No other team matched their acquisitions of JDM, Pearce, Kinsler and Eovaldi in terms of addressing specific needs.
And the release of Hanley Ramirez, which very well might have been addition by subtraction.
   17. villageidiom Posted: August 03, 2018 at 08:26 AM (#5720154)
So attacking the first pitch is not exactly the path to success. Smacking the bejesus out of the first pitch is still a good plan though.
Yeah, that's the thing. Boston has a collection of hitters who are excellent at making contact. They should be looking for good pitches to hit, then smacking them. Letting a hittable strike go by at the start of a PA, for the sake of discipline, is pointless.

The whole notion of working the count to get a starter's pitch count up faster, and thus get him to exit the game earlier, which exposes the soft underbelly of the bullpen, doesn't work if teams are building out their bullpens more. What works is forcing the starter out because he gave up 7 ER in 2.2 IP. Your bullpen's Gashouse Gang isn't going to enter the game in the third.

Don't wear down the pitcher by forcing him to throw one extra pitch per PA; wear him down by forcing him to back up home every other PA. If you get a good pitch to hit, hit it.
   18. Darren Posted: August 03, 2018 at 09:04 AM (#5720162)
That's a really misleading headline, which apparently is based on this quote from the article:

“It’s a historic team with regard to regular-season dominance, but history is primarily based on the postseason,” Henry wrote in response to an e-mail. “The best thing I can say about it is how much fun this team has been to watch.”


The rest of the article is good. I don't think it's cool for an owner to be this detailed about his criticism of the previous manager/coaching staff, but it is interesting to hear his insights.

Anything can happen, but right now they're the odds-on favorites to go all the way.


Not even close, actually. I wish they were, but they are not.
   19. Darren Posted: August 03, 2018 at 09:22 AM (#5720168)
The approach thing is interesting. Maybe aggressive isn't the right word for this, but in an era when HRs and power were spiking the Red Sox were suffering from a team-wide power outage. Practically every member of their lineup saw their power numbers drop in 2017, as well as their overall production. I believe that Davis was against the launch-angle revolution in general, and that seems like a bad decision overall.

On the pitching side, Farrell seemed a bit slow with the hook for his starters, which could be considered a lack of aggressiveness. In the postseason Farrell seemed positively frantic in how he handled the pitching.
   20. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 03, 2018 at 09:54 AM (#5720191)
Anything can happen, but right now [the Red Sox are] the odds-on favorites to go all the way.

Not even close, actually. I wish they were, but they are not.


Just out of curiosity, what team would you currently rank above them, and why?
   21. TomH Posted: August 03, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5720198)
Houston.
- better odds to win div and avoid one-&-done playoff (Sea and Oak would really surprise me if they continue to overachieve)
- better than BOS in key metrics such as OPS difference offense v allowed; BOS has better record due to better bunching
- they were better last year too; it ain't that 2018Hou is a fluke :)
- after Sale and Kimbrel, Hou has a very big pitching advantage in both rotation and pen
   22. TomH Posted: August 03, 2018 at 10:32 AM (#5720200)
and if the Dodgers stop fitzing around losing close games, their team is very talented. The Cubs are almost as talented. The Yankees and Indians are very talented, Cle's bullpen woes notwithstanding. There are six teams who could easily win, and deserve to win, the 2018 trophy.
   23. TomH Posted: August 03, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5720202)
Jose and others (#4ff), thanks for the good answers
   24. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 03, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5720222)
Hou has a very big pitching advantage in...pen


Is that true? My perception is that the Astro bullpen is every bit as wonky as the Sox.

The AL is interesting. I think Houston and Boston are the two best teams but both teams have bullpens that are a bit disconcerting. The Yankees are a team that certainly has the tools to make that work for them (strong bullpen of their own, potent offense) but the starting pitching is questionable. And of course Cleveland I think is a team that is better than they've shown.

That's all my way of saying that Seattle is probably going to win the pennant.
   25. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 03, 2018 at 11:19 AM (#5720223)
I believe that Davis was against the launch-angle revolution in general, and that seems like a bad decision overall.

To echo Walt's point, you can see the affect Davis has had on the Cubs. It's virtually the same offensive personnel (save the backup C), and it's been a dramatic change. The Cubs felt they had too many Ks (not enough contact), so as a team they went from .263/.348/.453 (6th/1st/4th in the NL) last year to .275/.357/.440 (1st/1st/3rd); they went from a 24.1K% as a team to 22.6%. So I think as a whole, they've gotten what they wanted. The HRs are down, but doubles and triples are up.

Whether that makes then better or worse in the playoffs is TBD. Like Walt said, Rizzo and Bryant have had off years, but some (most?) of that might be injuries (Rizzo also went on the DL with a back problem early); Russell has stagnated/regressed, but I think almost everyone else has benefited from Davis's coaching/plan/whatever.
   26. SandyRiver Posted: August 03, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5720248)
Letting a hittable strike go by at the start of a PA, for the sake of discipline, is pointless.

The most adamant practitioner of this I ever saw was Luis Aparicio. In some 200-300 PA witnessed (thanks both to TV and to going to college less than 1/2 mile from the ballpark in the mid 1960s), he swung at the 1st pitch only once, at a game I attended. Leading off in the bottom of the 1st, he lined it to right-center for a triple, later scored on a ground out. That was the Oriole's offense until the 15th, when they came from behind for a 3-2 win.
   27. Darren Posted: August 03, 2018 at 12:36 PM (#5720255)
Just out of curiosity, what team would you currently rank above them, and why?


This page lays it out nicely:

Fangraphs Playoff Odds

Astros are prohibitive favorites. The Indians and Dodgers are slightly ahead of the Sox too. Heck, the Yankees are only 1.5% behind them. Being the AL East is rough.
   28. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 03, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5720283)
Yeah, the issue for the Sox is there is still a chance they will be playing a Wild Card game. Houston, Cleveland and LA are all going to be in the LDS. It might be interesting to see how those odds move if you make an assumption about the AL East winner. I'd bet the AL East Winner as a team probably comes in a close second in terms of World Series odds.
   29. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 03, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5720291)
Just out of curiosity, what team would you currently rank above them, and why?

Houston.
- better odds to win div and avoid one-&-done playoff (Sea and Oak would really surprise me if they continue to overachieve)


That's certainly their biggest advantage, but unless the Yankees achieve a minor miracle with their starting pitching, the Red Sox are almost as much of a lock to win their division as the Astros, and they'll also wind up with the HFA throughout the DS and the LCS.

- better than BOS in key metrics such as OPS difference offense v allowed; BOS has better record due to better bunching

I'd say Boston has a better record because they've been more consistent, and they're even better right now because of their recent acquisitions.

- they were better last year too; it ain't that 2018Hou is a fluke :)

At the start of the season I picked the Astros to repeat, and beat the Yankees in the LCS. But from what I've seen of the Red Sox up to now, I'm looking at a lineup that with the exception of Bradley is solid from top to bottom, with plenty of power but the ability to play small ball when necessary. They've shown both a killer instinct and an ability to come from behind, and along with that an ability to win on the road.

- after Sale and Kimbrel, Hou has a very big pitching advantage in both rotation and pen

Sale and Verlander are 50-50**, though after that I'd concede the Astros' advantage in their rotation.

But the bullpen? The numbers don't support you here. And overall the pitching numbers are pretty much a dead heat.

** I'll admit that Sale's post-July performance history makes this an unproven theory. Without Sale at his best, I'd revert to my pre-season pick of the Astros.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This page lays it out nicely:

Fangraphs Playoff Odds

Astros are prohibitive favorites. The Indians and Dodgers are slightly ahead of the Sox too. Heck, the Yankees are only 1.5% behind them. Being the AL East is rough.


I've addressed the Astros above.

Those Indians and Dodgers odds largely reflect their more guaranteed path to the DS, and in the Dodgers' case in particular, the fact that their competition in the NL isn't nearly as strong as the top teams in the AL.

I'll only add that (1) none of the above is any attempt at reverse jinxing in an attempt to cause a Red Sox collapse; and (2) a Red Sox-Astros LCS would give us one of the best matchups since division play first began. When I say the Red Sox are the odds-on favorites to go all the way, that only means that I think they have the best chance of all the teams. That doesn't mean that losing to the Astros would be much of an upset. I'd save that description for either of those teams losing in the World Series.
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5720325)
When I say the Red Sox are the odds-on favorites to go all the way, that only means that I think they have the best chance of all the teams.


You do know you're using it incorrectly, right?
   31. TomH Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:02 PM (#5720329)
and now ESPN header article is calling this year's Red Sox the Best Sox Ever.

Hello, rush to judgment:
- 1/3rd of the season to go; recall in 1978 they were 84-47 near the end of Aug
- 1946 was an awfully good Red Sox team. 104-50, which projects to 109+ wins in 162 game schedule, and run diff over 200 per 162 games. Yeah, they lost the WS mostly 'cause Ted Williams was badly hurting and slugged .200 instead of .550.
   32. TomH Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5720334)
re: Astros' pen; they have, like Cleveland, underperformed. Going forward, look at the arms they have. Most projections would show them all as 3.00-3.30 guys. Which is better than the Sox' options after Craig the K-er
   33. Darren Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5720337)
When I say the Red Sox are the odds-on favorites to go all the way, that only means that I think they have the best chance of all the teams.



You do know you're using it incorrectly, right?


And that you're still wrong?

You handwave away way too many possibilities.
   34. TomH Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5720339)
plus as we know, the Stros will use their fresh rotation arms as key bullpen men in the playoffs.
   35. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5720392)
When I say the Red Sox are the odds-on favorites to go all the way, that only means that I think they have the best chance of all the teams.

You do know you're using it incorrectly, right?


Depends on the dictionary.

odds-on
[odz-on, -awn]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
adjective

being the one more or most likely to win, succeed, attain, or achieve something: the odds-on favorite.

And that's what I meant. When I mean to say what it appears you think I was saying, I always use mortal lock, or alternately the nuts, as in "the Red Sox are the nuts". Big difference.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And that you're still wrong?

You handwave away way too many possibilities.


Just give me the sports section from your November 1st newspaper, and we can settle this once and for all.
   36. Leroy Kincaid Posted: August 03, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5720397)
and now ESPN header article is calling this year's Red Sox the Best Sox Ever.

Hello, rush to judgment:


What's the fun in waiting until they sweep the post-season?
   37. bfan Posted: August 03, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5720401)
Question: which team is judged historically better:

The team with the best regular season record ever for the franchise, by a comfortable margin (say, 5 games), which goes to the world series and loses?

Vs.

any team that wins the world series for that franchise?
   38. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5720403)

And that's what I meant. When I mean to say what it appears you think I was saying, I always use mortal lock, or alternately the nuts, as in "the Red Sox are the nuts". Big difference.


But neither of those things are accurate substitutes for odds on either.

Even if the Red Sox were the odds on favorite to win (which they're not, under any definition), that wouldn't make them mortal locks or the nuts. Just that they would be more likely to win than not win. That the phrase has been misused so that your incorrect definition is common enough that crappy online dictionaries now include it as a definition that is decidedly different than the original meaning is not a very good reason to also use it, which I'm sure you would agree if we were talking about disinterest/uninterest.

   39. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 03, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5720415)
Question: which team is judged historically better:

The team with the best regular season record ever for the franchise, by a comfortable margin (say, 5 games), which goes to the world series and loses?

Vs.

any team that wins the world series for that franchise?


The last two paragraphs of the ESPN article answer it pretty well...

Ultimately, no matter how many more games the 2018 Red Sox win than the 2004 Red Sox, this year's team will be measured by one target: winning the final game of the season. Personally, I find that a little unfortunate. The all-or-nothing nature of that evaluation reduces the regular season to an insignificance beyond simply qualifying a team for the postseason. The beauty of a great team is doing it over 162 games. Sure, you want them to finish it off, but the postseason is a short affair where anything can happen, where an entire series can turn on one stolen base.

As Red Sox fans will remind us, Dave Roberts stole that base -- and seven games later, he was a member of the greatest team in Red Sox history.
   40. bfan Posted: August 03, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5720425)
Fair enough that this is how ESPN would judge it; is that the popular consensus? I really hate the ESPN take of "...the winner at the end is the best, and only winners win with their winning skills and attitudes" BS. It is what leads them to say that Trent Dilfer was a better QB than Dan Marino, because Trent got himself a Super Bowl ring.
   41. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2018 at 03:46 PM (#5720430)
It is what leads them to say that Trent Dilfer was a better QB than Dan Marino, because Trent got himself a Super Bowl ring.


Has anyone ever said that?
   42. bfan Posted: August 03, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5720433)
Has anyone ever said that?


Those that say the ring is the thing, yes.
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5720445)
Those that say the ring is the thing, yes.


I know people downgrade Marino among the greats because he never won a Super Bowl, and Montana is elevated for his 4-0 mark in the big game, but I'd need some hard evidence before I believe anyone, including the entire extended Dilfer family, has ever seriously advanced the idea that Trent Dilfer was better than Dan Marino.

   44. Darren Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:01 PM (#5720451)
Something else not being discussed here is the slotting once you get into the playoffs. IIRC, let's say that the Red Sox win the division and win more games than the Astros (as it currently appears will happen). They will then get the "reward" of getting to face the wild-card team, which is very likely to be the 100+ win Yankees. Meanwhile the Astros will get to face the low-90s win Indians.

But on the ~ 1 in 3 chance that they get the wild card: If they make it past the play in, they have to face the team with the best record between the Yankees and Astros. The other team gets to face the Indians.

In each case, the Red Sox stand to face the Astros and Yankees, whereas the Astros and Yankees often get to skip one of those teams.
   45. TomH Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:07 PM (#5720457)
I suspect the Sox win the div but play CLE, as HOU gets best record.
But stuff could happen.

Oh, and Archie Manning >> Terry Bradshaw, but because of SB rings versus crappy team, no one postulates that.
   46. Nasty Nate Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:08 PM (#5720458)
Something else not being discussed here is the slotting once you get into the playoffs. IIRC, let's say that the Red Sox win the division and win more games than the Astros (as it currently appears will happen). They will then get the "reward" of getting to face the wild-card team, which is very likely to be the 100+ win Yankees. Meanwhile the Astros will get to face the low-90s win Indians.
That's true. But I think it's likely that at that point, the Indians will be just as formidable (or more) of an opponent as a Yankees team that has just used Severino.
   47. Darren Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:20 PM (#5720467)
Maybe? But maybe they aren't lined up to use Severino in the play-in.

Also, coming down the stretch, the Indians and Astros are getting to line up their rotations while the Red Sox and Yankees are still trying to win the division.
   48. Nasty Nate Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:24 PM (#5720478)

Also, coming down the stretch, the Indians and Astros are getting to line up their rotations while the Red Sox and Yankees are still trying to win the division.
It's possible that this is how it shakes out, but it's too early to tell. FWIW, the Sox have a bigger division lead than the Astros right now.
   49. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:28 PM (#5720482)
I suspect the Sox win the div but play CLE, as HOU gets best record.
But stuff could happen.


You think the Astros will make up seven or more games on the Red Sox between now and season's end? That strikes me as decidedly on the stuff can happen side of likelihood.

   50. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:40 PM (#5720492)
Question: which team is judged historically better:

The team with the best regular season record ever for the franchise, by a comfortable margin (say, 5 games), which goes to the world series and loses?

Vs.

any team that wins the world series for that franchise?


Kind of depends if your team has won any World Series. If not, you take what you can get, even if it's just a set of steak knives.

That's an atypical example, since by my count only 7 teams have never won it all. But to frame the question in a way that would apply to the other 23 teams:

Would Indians fans rather see a repeat of 1948, or a repeat of 1954?

Would Yankees fans go for another 2000, or another 2003?

Would Cubs fans rather have them win the pennant by a single game and then win the World Series, or win 116 games and lose the World Series to the White Sox?

Do Orioles fans look back more fondly at 1979 or 1983?



   51. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:49 PM (#5720505)
Ultimately, no matter how many more games the 2018 Red Sox win than the 2004 Red Sox, this year's team will be measured by one target: winning the final game of the season. Personally, I find that a little unfortunate. The all-or-nothing nature of that evaluation reduces the regular season to an insignificance beyond simply qualifying a team for the postseason. The beauty of a great team is doing it over 162 games. Sure, you want them to finish it off, but the postseason is a short affair where anything can happen, where an entire series can turn on one stolen base.

As Red Sox fans will remind us, Dave Roberts stole that base -- and seven games later, he was a member of the greatest team in Red Sox history.


Fair enough that this is how ESPN would judge it; is that the popular consensus?

Would Red Sox fans choose the 104-50 1946 team over their 2004 wild card winner? I'd have a very hard time believing that.

I really hate the ESPN take of "...the winner at the end is the best, and only winners win with their winning skills and attitudes" BS. It is what leads them to say that Trent Dilfer was a better QB than Dan Marino, because Trent got himself a Super Bowl ring.

I think that most people are capable of distinguishing between individual accomplishments and team accomplishments, even if Countdaringz is a standard held by some talk radio idiots. Fans** root for team accomplishments first and foremost, but that doesn't mean they can't recognize the greatness of a Dan Marino or Ernie Banks.

** Fantasy league "fans" aren't fans under any ordinary definition.
   52. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 03, 2018 at 05:05 PM (#5720527)
And that's what I meant. When I mean to say what it appears you think I was saying, I always use mortal lock, or alternately the nuts, as in "the Red Sox are the nuts". Big difference.

But neither of those things are accurate substitutes for odds on either.

Even if the Red Sox were the odds on favorite to win (which they're not, under any definition), that wouldn't make them mortal locks or the nuts. Just that they would be more likely to win than not win. That the phrase has been misused so that your incorrect definition is common enough that crappy online dictionaries now include it as a definition that is decidedly different than the original meaning is not a very good reason to also use it,


I only referred to that particular online dictionary to illustrate that there's no set and universally recognized definition of "odds-on favorite".

Here's where I'm coming from: I've spent 54 years in pool rooms, witnessed many thousands of gambling matches, and whenever a player is considered to be in a can't lose situation, he's always said to be a "mortal lock", OR "have the nuts." Perhaps this isn't how you've always heard that situation being described, but not everyone shares the same experiences.

Never once in my life have I ever heard a "mortal lock" being described as merely an "odds-on favorite". They're not synonymous at all where I've been.

So when I said that the Red Sox are "odds-on favorites", I was saying that IMO (emphasis added) they've got the best chance of winning the World Series among all 30 Major League teams. Obviously you disagree with that, too, but that's an entirely different subject, and the only way to settle that difference of opinion is to wait for that November 1st newspaper.

which I'm sure you would agree if we were talking about disinterest/uninterest.

Okay, now that's an easy one. Anyone who uses "disinterested" to describe a state of boredom or indifference is going to have me sic John Simon on him. He may be 93, but he'd still be a mortal lock to win any linguistic dispute.

   53. Nasty Nate Posted: August 03, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5720530)

So when I said that the Red Sox are "odds-on favorites", I was saying that IMO (emphasis added) they've got the best chance of winning the World Series among all 30 Major League teams.
So then, what's the difference between "odds-on favorite" and "favorite" ?
   54. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 03, 2018 at 05:10 PM (#5720536)
One can have the nuts at one point and still lose.
   55. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 03, 2018 at 05:21 PM (#5720553)
So when I said that the Red Sox are "odds-on favorites", I was saying that IMO (emphasis added) they've got the best chance of winning the World Series among all 30 Major League teams.

So then, what's the difference between "odds-on favorite" and "favorite" ?


Nothing much in my book. The former is just a slightly more emphatic way of stating the latter.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

One can have the nuts at one point and still lose.

Absolutely, and with the quality of the top 3 or 4 teams in the mix this year I can't see any one team being described as a mortal lock to win it all, at least not where it stands today. That's a term I'd reserve for the Yankees against the Padres in 1998, or the Red Sox against the Rockies in 2007. This year it'd only apply to a hypothetical World Series matchup between the Red Sox or Astros against any NL team not named the Dodgers or the Cubs.
   56. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 03, 2018 at 05:26 PM (#5720562)
So what I gather is that the Andy dictionary is only loosely based on the English language .
   57. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 03, 2018 at 05:30 PM (#5720569)
World Series where the apparent mortal lock lost:

1906
1988
1990 (maybe)

And that's about it. There's a difference between "strong favorite" (1914 A's, 1946 Red Sox, 1969 Orioles, 1979 Orioles, etc.) and "mortal lock", and in a short series I'm slightly surprised that there haven't been more "mortal locks" go down to defeat.
   58. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2018 at 05:31 PM (#5720570)
Never once in my life have I ever heard a "mortal lock" being described as merely an "odds-on favorite". They're not synonymous at all where I've been.


They're not. And I said as much. Odds-on has a specific meaning (or has had) - it means you are more likely to win than to not win.

Favorite can mean many things, including the team with the best chance to win among a number of teams, though no team has better than even-odds (think the field for the Kentucky Derby or an individual team's chances of winning the World Series before the playoffs begin).

There's nothing wrong with believing the Red Sox are the favorite to win the World Series, meaning they have the best chance among all the contenders (say 4:1 odds, if you really like them). But no one who knows anything about the sport could believe at this point that they're more likely to end the 2018 season as the world champions than to come up short.

You used odds-on when you meant favorite.
   59. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 03, 2018 at 05:32 PM (#5720571)
So what I gather is that the Andy dictionary is only loosely based on the English language.

Let's just call it situational language, which is often a lot more fun than what you'll find in some classroom settings.
   60. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 03, 2018 at 05:36 PM (#5720573)
Never once in my life have I ever heard a "mortal lock" being described as merely an "odds-on favorite". They're not synonymous at all where I've been.

They're not. And I said as much. Odds-on has a specific meaning (or has had) - it means you are more likely to win than to not win.

Favorite can mean many things, including the team with the best chance to win among a number of teams, though no team has better than even-odds (think the field for the Kentucky Derby or an individual team's chances of winning the World Series before the playoffs begin).

There's nothing wrong with believing the Red Sox are the favorite to win the World Series, meaning they have the best chance among all the contenders (say 4:1 odds, if you really like them).

You used odds on when you meant favorite.


Point taken. See the first part of what I wrote in #55 for the reason I used it the way I did, but in retrospect I would've been better off having just dropped the "odds-on" part.
   61. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2018 at 06:45 PM (#5720591)
Hou vs Bos ... Hou has been racking up wins against awful competition more than Boston. Hou is 15-1 against Balt, KC, CWS. That leaves them 54-40 against everybody else, a solid but not overwhelming 574 WP. Bos is a nice, healthy 16-5 vs those teams, leaving them a still mind-numbing 60-29 against everybody else. In interleague play, Bos gets the NLE and they are 6-2 vs Atl, Phi, Was so far. Hou gets the NLW and they are 2-3 vs Ari and Col, haven't played the Dodgers yet.

Obviously that's all small samples and not necessarily indicative of a short series anyway but Bos has been slightly more impressive so far.
   62. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2018 at 06:59 PM (#5720596)
Nearly 40% of Hou's run differential comes against those 3 teams: 114-41, 56-16 against CWS alone. Bos is outscoring those teams 124-72. Granted, that still leaves Hou with a 646 pythag against the rest; Bos comes in at 662.
   63. BDC Posted: August 03, 2018 at 07:52 PM (#5720631)
I wonder if there has been an odds-on favorite to win a baseball postseason since divisional play began. Obviously in a two-team postseason, one team will be odds-on unless both happen to be exactly even money. But in a four-team playoff it would be less likely, and in an eight- or ten-team, most unlikely. Maybe the 1969 Orioles? The 1976 Reds? I doubt even the 1998 Yankees or 2001 Mariners would have been better than 1:1 when the postseason began. Somewhere, such things are archived :)
   64. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 03, 2018 at 08:07 PM (#5720641)
There's no way a team would ever be odds-on at the start of an 8 team playoff. It'd mean that team was roughly 80% to win in each of 3 separate series, and teams are basically never a 4-1 favorite in a given round, even if Andy declares them a mortal lock.

If you ever see it happen, go bet the field.
   65. Hank Gillette Posted: August 04, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5720851)
So attacking the first pitch is not exactly the path to success. Smacking the bejesus out of the first pitch is still a good plan though.


Wouldn’t smacking the bejesus out of the pitch on any count be a good plan?
   66. Hank Gillette Posted: August 04, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5720853)
Just a standard table available easily to all at b-r (league splits): here's AL 2018


The line that really stuck out for me was that batters were hitting .500 after obtaining a 4-2 count. The two instances might be too small a sample size to be indicative, though.
   67. Hank Gillette Posted: August 04, 2018 at 11:04 AM (#5720859)
Anything can happen, but right now [the Red Sox are] the odds-on favorites to go all the way.

Not even close, actually. I wish they were, but they are not.

Just out of curiosity, what team would you currently rank above them, and why?


Did you look at the Fangraphs projections? Boston is projected to have the best record in the AL, but their odds of winning the World Series are 13.5%, while the Indians are at 14.3%, and the Astros are at 22.6%. What brings the Sox down is that they are only 82.4% likely to win their division, while the other two are virtual locks.

I don’t know how accurate the Fangraphs projections are, and none of us will live long enough for there to be enough seasons to tell, but the logic of the current projections make sense. If you don’t win your division, going through the wildcard game lowers your odds considerably.

Edit: I see I was late to the party, but by any measure except your own, the Sox are only the third most likely to win it all in their league.
   68. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 04, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5720870)
I don’t know how accurate the Fangraphs projections are, and none of us will live long enough for there to be enough seasons to tell, but the logic of the current projections make sense. If you don’t win your division, going through the wildcard game lowers your odds considerably.

And you think that the Red Sox have only an 82.4% chance of winning the AL East? With the Yankees missing their best player and their regular catcher, with their one formerly reliable pitcher in a complete funk since the All-Star game, and with the rest of their rotation on life support?

Yes, I know it's not over till it's over, but let's get real.

Edit: I see I was late to the party, but by any measure except your own, the Sox are only the third most likely to win it all in their league.

I look forward to seeing your reaction to the WP article I just submitted to the Jimbo. It should appear at some point later today. Meanwhile, if you're still worried about the Yankees.....

The Yankees Have Come Down to Earth. The Red Sox Are Still Defying Gravity.
The Red Sox lead the majors in runs per game and on-base plus slugging percentage, with the Yankees ranking second in both categories. Yet Boston’s way of scoring seems more suited for October than the Yankees’ approach, which relies more heavily on home runs.

Power, of course, is a very good thing — home runs are the most efficient way to score — but the Red Sox can also play that game. The Yankees lead the majors in homers, but Boston ranked sixth of the 30 teams, while also leading everyone in stolen bases and ranking just 25th in strikeouts. ...



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