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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Red Sox bullpen implodes in devastating loss to Yankees

As someone tweeted…“Bobby V should just cut to the chase, save us 13 months and resign during the post-game show.”

In one of the most dramatic bullpen collapses by their team in years, the Red Sox saw a 9-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning turn into a 15-9 loss, as the bullpen was charged with 14 runs (13 earned) in just three innings of work.

It was a horror show rarely matched in scale. Vicente Padilla came on with a 9-1 advantage in the top of the seventh. He recorded just one out while allowing five runs, four on a Nick Swisher grand slam. Matt Albers followed and, with the aid of an error by shortstop Mike Aviles, allowed two more runs without recording an out. That led to the entry of Franklin Morales, who got out of the inning, but then was lifted after a leadoff single by Eduardo Nunez in the eighth.

The Sox turned to Alfredo Aceves for a six-out save. Instead, he recorded none, allowing a pair of hits and four walks while being charged with five runs. He was followed by Justin Thomas, the left-hander whose only outs came courtesy of a missile of a line drive double play. When the dust had settled, the Sox had given up a second-consecutive seven-run inning, and a dizzying 15-9 deficit.

It was the largest blown lead by the Red Sox bullpen since June 30, 2009, when the team saw a 10-1 advantage turn into an 11-10 loss in Baltimore in the seventh and eighth innings. At 4-10 and with a full-blown bullpen disaster now on their hands, the Sox appear to be a mess.

Repoz Posted: April 21, 2012 at 08:22 PM | 147 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, yankees

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   101. rlc Posted: April 22, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4113171)
Time to run out another Earl Weaver quote:

A manager's job is simple. For one hundred sixty-two games you try not to screw up all that smart stuff your organization did last December.


That's not a ####### quote, that's a ####### paraphrase.
   102. Pokey Reese's Pieces Posted: April 22, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4113172)
I'm talking intragame. There often is that point in a game when both sides realize that this thing is over and there is nothing you can do about it. That feeling of total lconfidence in the outcome, warranted or not, is hard to beat.


What good is momentum if it only becomes palpable in a situation like this?
   103. Brian Posted: April 22, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4113199)
For example, the feeling of going up 9-1 on your hated rival at home with only nine outs to go.


No, it's more like the feeling the Yankees had coming into the 8th down 9-8 after rallying back from 9-1.
   104. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 22, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4113219)
Time to run out another Earl Weaver quote:

A manager's job is simple. For one hundred sixty-two games you try not to screw up all that smart stuff your organization did last December.


That's not a ####### quote, that's a ####### paraphrase.

You've gotta be right there. Earl the Pearl would never be so vulgar. I'm sure that he said "negate".
   105. Howie Menckel Posted: April 22, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4113287)
I can think of no better momentum than having a 3-0 lead in a playoff series and a 9th-inning lead in Game 4 with the great Mariano Rivera in the mound.
Palpable? There would be no point in the other team even stepping into the batter's box.

That would be a point in a game when both sides realize that this thing is over and there is nothing you can do about it, is how I would describe it. Palpable - that, too.

I mean, if wasn't enough to finish things off - well, it would make me question my entire belief system in momentum altogether. And that is not a world that I want to live in.
   106. Zipperholes Posted: April 22, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4113291)
I'm talking intragame. There often is that point in a game when both sides realize that this thing is over and there is nothing you can do about it. That feeling of total lconfidence in the outcome, warranted or not, is hard to beat.
That's not momentum. That's confidence.
   107. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 22, 2012 at 07:10 PM (#4113293)
BBTN reports the Sox are skipping Bard's turn in the rotation and moving him to the pen, at least short term.
   108. Dale Sams Posted: April 22, 2012 at 07:23 PM (#4113298)
BBTN reports the Sox are skipping Bard's turn in the rotation and moving him to the pen, at least short term


Yesterday, the thing that made me angriest was that I knew this was going to happen. Yet another dumb move in a long line of dumb moves. Bard can't cover everyone and is and has been completly capable of blowing games himself.
   109. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: April 22, 2012 at 07:25 PM (#4113302)
That's not momentum. That's confidence.


If you can gain confidence from the previous night's game, and if that confidence can lead to you performing better in the next one, what's the difference between that and momentum?
   110. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 22, 2012 at 07:27 PM (#4113303)
I'm torn on Bard if that is what they are doing. I don't think he is suited to be a starter and the Sox have options for the rotation (Aaron Cook, Ross Ohlendorf) that probably would not work as well in the bullpen. At the same time if you are going to make the move, make the move and stick with it. The long term benefit of Bard being a useful MLB starter outweighs a season that I think is going nowhere no matter what role he is in.

EDIT: Not that I want the Sox to lose, but I really would be entertained if Bard blew the first game he came out of the pen for.
   111. Dale Sams Posted: April 22, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4113309)
Bard would have to be pretty bad to even be a an average fifth starter. As it is, he's probably the best in MLB...but now we probably won't find out until he gets traded some day for Grady Sizemore or something. Cook will come up, be cromulent and everyone will ooh and ahh while the superior pitcher throws fewer innings.
   112. karlmagnus Posted: April 22, 2012 at 07:37 PM (#4113311)
yet another utterly foolish move by this management. Bard to starter was the one intelligent thing they did over the winter and now they're reversing it because of a rainout. knuckle-draggingly stupid.
   113. Zipperholes Posted: April 22, 2012 at 07:47 PM (#4113318)
If you can gain confidence from the previous night's game, and if that confidence can lead to you performing better in the next one, what's the difference between that and momentum?
I'm not sure what you're asking. I'm sure you're familiar with the momentum as a scientific phenomenon. The way people use the word in sports, they imply there's some transcendent factor beyond the bodies and minds of the players that affects the game.

If you're saying they really just mean confidence, fine (though they should use that word). But none of us has any idea what's in the minds of the players (at least by looking at results), so for us to point to this as the reason for their success/failure is silly.
   114. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 22, 2012 at 07:48 PM (#4113320)
They haven't exactly reversed anything. All they've announced is that they're skipping Bard once. Makes sense to me for at least two reasons -- 1) I'd want my best starter going in your next game after the events of the last few days, and 2) Bard has never thrown as many as 80 innings in a professional season; I'd certainly want to limit his innings in his transition to starting year. And given that the bullpen is pretty depleted right now, what's the big deal if Bard throws a couple of relief innings in the next few games?

IOW, why not wait until it happens before you ##### about it?
   115. Zipperholes Posted: April 22, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4113325)
IOW, why not wait until it happens before you ##### about it?
You must not be familiar with the Red Sox fans here.
   116. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 22, 2012 at 08:05 PM (#4113328)
Too easy. But since most of the Red Sox fans here pride themselves on being cut from a different cloth than the stereotypical pants-pissers in Kenmore Square, the point stands.
   117. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 22, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4113333)
IOW, why not wait until it happens before you ##### about it?


Second guessing is lame. If you think something is bad, have the stones to say so in advance. I think I speak for most Red Sox fans when I say it will be shocking if Bard doesn't spend the rest of the season in the bullpen.
   118. Textbook Editor Posted: April 22, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4113336)
The shame of Bard to the bullpen is that we all know it'll become permanent... and I guess I'm in the camp that he could be a really useful starter. Maybe not an "ace" but that's not why you converted him. "Good" #3/#4 types don't grow on trees, and they don't come cheaply in the FA market (as we've found out many, many times in the past decade).

This sucks. Seeing how Bard & Dubront pitched this year was one of the main things I was excited about, and both have pitched reasonably well (and you could argue above most expectations so far)... and for that, both might wind up in the bullpen.
   119. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 22, 2012 at 08:26 PM (#4113337)
If the team is indeed moving Bard to the bullpen, then I am disappointed. Regardless of what happens in 2012, there's a pretty good chance the team enters 2013 looking something like this:

C - Lavarnway
1B - Gonzalez
2B - Pedroia
3B - Middlebrooks
SS - Iglesias
OF - Crawford, Ellsbury, ???
DH - Could be Ortiz, could be 2013 option year of Youkilis, could be Lars Anderson

Rotation - Beckett, Lester, Buchholz, Bard, Lackey
Bullpen - Bailey, Morales. Melanson, Aceves, Doubront,blah, blah

As a lifelong Sox fan, I kind of like the idea of letting the season play out for the next two months, and let's see if the team is playoff-worthy. If not, start planning for 2013. Let's face it - Bard is WAAAAY more valuable to the team over the nest several years as an above-average starter than he is as even an excellent closer. His last start was excellent. He looks really good as a starter. He's young, and he's cheap, and he seems to want to be a starter. So they move him to the bullpen - so what? The problem on Saturday wasn't the lack of a closer - it was the lack of any relief pitching. Bard doesn't solve their problems in the 6th, 7th, or 8th innings. If the Sox are serious about trying to make this team a winner for the long run, you keep him as a starter, and don't even think about it. Tell Cook to head to the bullpen, and tell Aceves he's the closer, period.
   120. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 22, 2012 at 08:34 PM (#4113341)
I've played a lot of things competitively, and momentum, at least on a game-to-game basis, is pretty much horseshit, as far as I can tell

I'm talking intragame.


You're talking out of your ass.
   121. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 22, 2012 at 09:05 PM (#4113350)
BBTN reports the Sox are skipping Bard's turn in the rotation and moving him to the pen, at least short term.


I am Jack's lack of surprise.

When they announced they were moving Bard to the rotation at the same time they let Papelbon go, I knew it wasn't going to last.
   122. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 22, 2012 at 09:38 PM (#4113371)
The Red Sox are 5th in the league in runs per game, 4th in the league in OPS+. So the offense has been good.

It's the pitching that's killing them. Last in the league in runs allowed per game and last in ERA+ -- by huge margins. They're allowing 1.9 HR/game. You can't survive doing that. And they haven't.

But the pitching is better than this, and the starters, at least, will be good.

I don't like panicking over a bad 14 games and moving Bard out of the rotation. If you thought your pen was good enough two weeks ago, you shouldn't do a re-org just yet.
   123. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 22, 2012 at 09:54 PM (#4113378)
So, it's not over?
   124. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:18 PM (#4113386)
I think Bard to the BP makes sense to limit his innings, as pointed out above. I'm hoping it's just this week and then he's back on track next week. Bard doesn't solve really any problems in the bullpen. Everyone sucks right now and if he's there, the temptation will be to overuse him. I think the Sox know this, and I think Jose Can You Seabiscuit is wrong.
   125. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:28 PM (#4113392)
I think Jose Can You Seabiscuit is wrong.


Never! (except those times when I was, y'know,...wrong. But those don't count).
   126. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:28 PM (#4113393)
The Sox's schedule is going to get easier and there is a chance they'll go on a bit of a run in the next week. If Bard is lights out in the bullpen during this time, say he closes out three games, how is the front office going to sell his return to the rotation to the fans?
   127. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:29 PM (#4113395)
I think I speak for most Red Sox fans when I say it will be shocking if Bard doesn't spend the rest of the season in the bullpen.


You've been very consistent on this point, but I still don't agree. I think it's problematic for lots of reasons; some of which have already been brought up. But I think the largest problem is one of roster construction. Unless there's incontrovertible medical news on Bailey, what on Earth will they do when he returns? I think pure distribution of the talent on this team is better served if Bard is in the rotation.

*EDIT*

Either Bard is a Superman in the 'pen, which leads to role problems when Bailey comes back. Or he gets shelled or even hurt in that role, which will lead to a ton of second-guessing. This to plug a temporary hole in April.

When the Sox beat the Yankees like a drum in the first half of the season two years ago (I believe they won the first eight meetings), the Yankees looked every bit as bad as Sox 2012. And then the Yankees made the playoffs and the Sox went home for October.
   128. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:31 PM (#4113396)
I think Bard to the BP makes sense to limit his innings, as pointed out above.


But there's no evidence that limiting a pitcher's innings in this way provides any advantage whatsoever.
   129. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:31 PM (#4113397)
Also, I can think of very few rainouts which really clearly benefited one team affected by it the way this one did. There's no way (in my opinion, of course) that the Sox will be this vulnerable and this ready to be steamrolled at Fenway.
   130. bobm Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:33 PM (#4113399)
how is the front office going to sell his return to the rotation to the fans?

Who says the Sox' front office gives a rat's @$$ about the fans' opinion in this matter?
   131. Bad Fish Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4113400)
I think baseball is too hung up in its orthodoxy. If you have the horses, why can you go with a 7-8 man rotation, where only 2 or 3 are on a strict 5 day pattern, and put everyone else on 6-12 day rotation where you are expected to serve in the bull pen for part of the rest. It seems to me that this would get the best of both worlds, and limit the number of innings the young guys get.
   132. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4113401)
Who says the Sox' front office gives a rat's @$$ about the fans' opinion in this matter?


Well, it shouldn't matter, but I think fan perception can often influence a front office's decision-making. I don't think the Boston front office is immune. It would be interesting to see what Voros has to say about the public's influence.
   133. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM (#4113409)
Unless there's incontrovertible medical news on Bailey, what on Earth will they do when he returns?

He's not slated to be back until July. By then, somebody else in the pen will be hurt or sucking.
   134. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:58 PM (#4113412)
When the Sox beat the Yankees like a drum in the first half of the season two years ago (I believe they won the first eight meetings), the Yankees looked every bit as bad as Sox 2012. And then the Yankees made the playoffs and the Sox went home for October.

IMO both of those teams are going to be erratic as hell. The Yanks have a much better bullpen and somewhat better hitting, but that starting rotation's going to take them out of a lot of games early (and wear out the front end of the bullpen) unless it gets turned around, and quickly. Texas and the Tigers are the only AL teams that look a bit scary so far this year.
   135. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 22, 2012 at 11:02 PM (#4113413)
but that starting rotation's going to take them out of a lot of games early

I think it's too early to worry. I expect Sabathia and Kuroda to be what we expected, and Nova looks great.

They need one other guy to be cromulent. Maybe it's Hughes, maybe Pettitte, hell, maybe Phelps.
   136. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 22, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4113418)
They need one other guy to be cromulent. Maybe it's Hughes, maybe Pettitte, hell, maybe Phelps.

And hopefully Pineda somewhere down the road. But Hughes looks like he did in 2011 and I'm afraid Garcia's at his end. And meanwhile look who's had game scores of 77, 75 and 79 in 3 of his first 4 starts. Ouch!
   137. Ron J Posted: April 22, 2012 at 11:17 PM (#4113423)
If you thought your pen was good enough two weeks ago, you shouldn't do a re-org just yet.


I generally agree with the sentiment. The basic problem though is Melancon. You can't use organizational depth to patch Melancon when you've already had to react to the Bailey situation.

This isn't the bullpen that they planned for.

Yeah, it's unlikely that Bard to the bullpen fixes things.
   138. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 22, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4113433)
But Hughes looks like he did in 2011

Hughes still looks terrible, but I think this is an overstatement. At least he is missing bats this year. He just gives up 2-3 HRs a game.
   139. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 23, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4113560)
I think it's problematic for lots of reasons; some of which have already been brought up. But I think the largest problem is one of roster construction.


Funny but this is a reason I think Bard is ticketed for the bullpen full time. While 2006 and 2011 are reason enough to never ever use the phrase "enough pitching" the Sox have starters available to them. Besides Beckett/Lester/Buchholz they have Doubront who so far looks solid, they have Aaron Cook pitching well at Pawtucket, Ross Ohlendorf was strong in his first start and every report so far on Daisuke Matsuzaka has been positive.

Given the types of pitchers those guys are I don't really see any of them (maybe Ohlendorf) helping in the bullpen but I think they can all help as starters. I think the mix of any of those guys in the rotation with Bard in the bullpen is likely to be better for the 2012 Red Sox than Bard as a starter/any of those guys in the bullpen.

This doesn't take into account the long-term benefit of developing Bard as a starter of course.
   140. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 23, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4113595)
But Hughes looks like he did in 2011

Hughes still looks terrible, but I think this is an overstatement. At least he is missing bats this year. He just gives up 2-3 HRs a game.


His velocity's been spotty but it's up over last year, and that translates into more strikeouts. So you're right, that's one hopeful sign.

The problem is that his control has been getting steadily worse ever since he returned to his starter role. He's now over 4 walks per 9 innings, and he's as bad as ever within the strike zone, which explains that home run rate's being more than twice what it's ever been before. Hard to tell whether it's a question of confidence or mechanics, but right now he scares me every time he takes the mound.
   141. OsunaSakata Posted: April 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4113634)
That said, I was no fan of the Valentine hire, but you can't screw up a team in two weeks, and no manager in history is bad enough to cost his team a game after being up 9-0.


Even Maury Wills?
   142. SG Posted: April 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4113642)
Hughes still looks terrible, but I think this is an overstatement. At least he is missing bats this year. He just gives up 2-3 HRs a game.


One thing I never realized about Hughes was how disparate his home/road splits have been in his career.

236.2 IP at home, 40 HR, 5.13 ERA.
220.1 IP on the road, 17 HR, 3.88 ERA.

His peripherals are pretty similar home/road, aside from a higher BABIP against at home. The HR rate tells me the park seems to be killing him though.
   143. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 23, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4113654)
Interesting trend in Girardi's IBB rate. He's been increasingly ordering intentional walks by the bushel:

2009: 28 in 162 games (17% of games)
2010: 37 in 162 games (23%)
2011: 43 in 162 games (27%)
2012: 7 in 15 games (47%)

For comparison sake, the AL in 2011 averaged 33 IBBs per team, or an IBB in 21% of games. Here's the 2011 breakdown:

Tm IBB ERA+
CHW 50 103
NYY 43 119
BAL 42 84
KCR 42 92
TBR 38 104
MIN 37 88
CLE 34 93
DET 34 101
LAA 34 107
LgAvg 33 100
TOR 28 99
SEA 27 99
OAK 24 109
TEX 21 117
BOS 11 102

Wow. Maybe I need to re-evaluate my low opinions of the skills of Terry Francona (and Ron Washington). 11 IBBs for Francona means that he (or perhaps his front office) understands that you don't want to put runners on base unless it is really, really necessary.
   144. Dale Sams Posted: April 23, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4113675)
Ray, Tito got a few things like that right. He was a little too anti-bunt for my tastes.

As for Valentine, "Hey, when your bullpen can't stop runners from scoring...giving the other team more baserunners isn't a good idea."
   145. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 23, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4113692)
As to Valentine:

He has IBBd 5 men in 14 games thus far (36%).

In 1991 (his last full year in the AL) he IBBd 37 men in 162 games (23%). League average was 43 (27%).
   146. SoSH U at work Posted: April 23, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4113699)
As to Valentine:

He has IBBd 5 men in 14 games thus far (36%).


In his defense, sadly, his rate goes way down on an IBB/Opponent PA basis.

   147. Brian Posted: April 23, 2012 at 10:09 PM (#4114258)
You're talking out of your ass.


Wow. That is a powerful point. Is this why the arguments here are so important for you to win Raymond? Have you never won anything else?
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