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Sox Therapy
— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Monday, September 20, 2010

Really?  You haven’t given up yet?

Me, I’ve given up.  The Sox are playing without their two best players, and their $30M 3-4 starters still suck.  But other folks seem to be clinging onto those last strands of hope, angling gnarled knuckles to grasp at a future that still sort of maybe could happen, an early October week in which all values are transvaluated and the Red Sox somehow end up in a one-game playoff.

Obviously it is a silly idea.  Here’s your thread, silly people.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 20, 2010 at 03:09 PM | 122 comment(s)
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Go Big, or Go Home

The BPro playoff odds numbers have been steadily counting down over the last two weeks.  It’s somewhere between one in twelve and one in six by now, depending on the inputs.  The Sox have played great baseball, especially with their diminished lineup - the problem is the Rays and Yankees have been just as good.  Keeping pace is a moral victory, but moral victories are stupid and suck. 

The last chance the Sox have at a non-moral victory is to throw a sweep on one of the Yankees or Rays in a ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 27, 2010 at 03:54 PM | 117 comment(s)
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Shortstop Logjam

Dustin Pedroia returns on Tuesday, and surely will play just about every game at 2B from here to the end of the season.  That’s good.  It creates a bit of a problem at shortstop, though.  Jed Lowrie has been brilliant filling in for Pedroia.  He’s played a solid but unspectacular second base while hitting 308/429/538.  My favorite little slice of Lowrie’s stats is that he has 11 walks, 8 extra base hits, and 7 strikeouts.  Lowrie’s cut his strikeout rate in half since he last played ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 16, 2010 at 02:28 PM | 81 comment(s)
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Friday, August 06, 2010

A Long Weekend in the Bronx

Hey, just because I’m de-cathecting from the season doesn’t mean I can’t obsess about beating the Yankees.  I love beating the Yankees,* and this weekend does offer a reasonable chance of seeing the pinstriped proto-fascists in defeat.  The problem with all this is that the Yankees are better than the Red Sox.  Some theoretical Red Sox with normal injury luck would be neck and neck with the Yankees and Rays, right in the thick of the greatest pennant race in the Selig era, but we’re just ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 06, 2010 at 02:11 PM | 181 comment(s)
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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I Give Up

Kevin Youkilis has been placed on the DL.  Kevin Youkilis has gone on the DL with an injury so obscure that the team doctors don’t have a treatment plan yet.  Kevin Youkilis has been placed on the DL with an injury to the thumb of his top hand, and we all know that hand injuries to hitters commonly heal easily and quickly.

In conclusion, go Rays.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 03, 2010 at 10:52 PM | 211 comment(s)
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Monday, August 02, 2010

Coulda Shoulda Woulda: Tradez and Such-like

The Red Sox are, of course, not dead yet.  A 5-1 stretch this last week has them still within shouting distance of the Rays and Yankees.  BP’s numbers have the Sox at 25% to make the playoffs (regular playoff odds), 10% (PECOTA-adjusted odds), or 20% (ELO odds).

But the trade deadline has come and gone, and with it, most of Theo’s best chances to improve the team for the stretch run.  Really, I think the critical time to improve the team came and went much earlier, in June and July. 

1) ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 02, 2010 at 09:01 PM | 32 comment(s)
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trades?  I Say “Maybe”

It’s weird to be two weeks from the deadline and not have insane seven-team, five all-star rumors swirling around the Sox.  This should be a quiet deadline.  I think, though, there are some small-bore trades that make sense for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox certainly shouldn’t be sellers at the deadline – they’re still in the range of 1-in-3 to make the playoffs, and that’s far too great of a chance at a World Series to give away. 

So, what should they buy?  As per the previous thread, ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 18, 2010 at 02:42 PM | 165 comment(s)
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All-Star Break Thread: Not As Depressing As You Expect

The Red Sox finished the first half of the season with a 51-37 record, on pace for 94 wins.  Given the injuries they’ve suffered, there’s really nothing to complain about – the Sox have played well, and Theo and Tito have done very well to plug the holes that keep opening up.  We can’t help it that the Yankees and Rays are on pace for 103 and 99 wins, respectively. 

Looking ahead, the BP “playoff odds report” has the Sox at between 38-44% to make the playoffs, which would be ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2010 at 04:19 PM | 50 comment(s)
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Minor League Thread: Other Things That Are Also Bad

A midseason survey of Baseball America’s top ten Red Sox prospects, with MLEs for high minors hitters.

1) Ryan Westmoreland – had successful surgery on a “cavernous malformation” in his brain this spring, is recovering well and beginning baseball activities.  Whether, following major brain surgery and neurological rehabilitation, Westmoreland will still stand among the couple dozen best young ballplayers in the world is an open question that won’t be addressed until next year at the ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2010 at 04:12 AM | 39 comment(s)
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It Gets Really, Really Bad

The Red Sox just lost two of their three best players to injury in the span of a week.  Dustin Pedroia won’t see a major league diamond until August, while Victor Martinez will (theoretically) return after the All-Star break.  And of course, already the club has been dealing with the loss of most of the starting outfield and a couple spotty starting pitchers. 

Bill Hall will give the Red Sox a lot more offensive production than most clubs could expect from a backup second baseman, but ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2010 at 12:59 PM | 84 comment(s)
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Monday, June 07, 2010

You Know They’ll Be Talking Soon

These days, when a player in his 30s looks like he’s lost a step, then suddenly returns to playing like he did in his prime, it’s a near certainty that the media will begin to talk about the possibility of PED use. Despite the fact that the league now has testing in place which requires players to submit to random tests throughout the season, the general consensus seems to be that these tests can easily be beaten. And when a player has had a history of using PEDs, suspicions will tend to be ...

Darren Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:00 PM | 18 comment(s)
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Sunday, June 06, 2010

Red Sox Draft Thread

I never follow amateur baseball until June 5th or so, and as such I don’t actually know anything about this draft other than that Bryce Harper wears eyeblack like he’s embarrassed to have cheeks.  The Red Sox have successfully switched drafting strategies over the last few years, now focusing their early picks on upside-y high school talent and leveraging their huge piles of money to go over-slot in the late rounds.  I assume they’ll, you know, continue to do that.  I open the thread to ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 06, 2010 at 02:01 PM | 44 comment(s)
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Saturday, June 05, 2010

You Know Who’s Really Kind of Great?  Adrian Beltre is Really Kind of Great.

The Red Sox were 19-19 on May 17th, heading into a two-game set with New York that felt like it might be the season.  They lost the first game in New York in about as awful a fashion imaginable.  In hindsight, though, the eight-run comeback the offense put together marked the beginning of the resurgence of the Red Sox, who have gone 13-4 since, including sweeps of the Twins and Rays. 

The big story of this resurgence has obviously been David Ortiz, but I think a case could be made that the ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 05, 2010 at 09:28 PM | 52 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What’s Wrong With John Lackey?

John Lackey was the Red Sox’ big offseason signing.  I hailed the move as “pretty logical” at the time, and most folks agreed that Lackey’s a good pitcher - maybe he was being overpaid some, maybe he wasn’t, but he was a solidly above average pitcher.  The contract could be a problem by 2013, that was the objection.

Instead, the Red Sox would very nearly be better off without Lackey, this year.  He’s given them a couple of good starts, but the overall numbers are bad - a 5.07 ERA that can’t be ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 22, 2010 at 02:07 PM | 99 comment(s)
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Papelbon Debate

Is Jonathan Papelbon still a good closer?  I think he is - he was one last year, he was one the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that. Any statistical engagement with the question will hold that Papelbon is among baseball’s best relievers.

The case that Papelbon sucks has to rest on observations about his pitching - that there are real changes in quality that haven’t shown themselves over a long enough period of time to produce a useful statistical sample.  (ie, ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 19, 2010 at 04:19 AM | 91 comment(s)
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good News, Bad News on Papi

David Ortiz’s two HRs on Friday and his general power surge of late are certainly good news for the Red Sox. If his turnaround is similar to last year’s, only beginning a month earlier this year, then he should have good numbers by the end of the season. But there’s one part of his game that may hold him back: strikeouts. Ortiz fanned 2 more times on Friday, bringing his seasonal total to 34 in just 99 plate appearances—a rate that would put him well over 200 Ks in a season. Even during his ...

Darren Posted: May 15, 2010 at 03:23 AM | 61 comment(s)
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Minor League Thread: The Irresistable Draw of an Old Non-Prospect

This time it’s for real, folks. This time I mean it. No more falling for the 2nd baseman who can’t play 2nd, has no power whatsoever, and is too old for his league. No more getting excited about a 39th rounder who hits well on the distant planet known as Lancaster. And no more guys married to women 20+ years older than them and carrying on some secret feud with the owners that only Dan Syzmborski knows about.

No, this time, I really have found an old, non-prospect minor leaguer to root ...

Darren Posted: May 13, 2010 at 11:52 PM | 40 comment(s)
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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Are the Red Sox Properly Preparing Starting Pitchers?

For the 2nd year in a row, the Boston Red Sox have come out of the gate with their top pitchers struggling quite badly. In 2009, Josh Beckett had a 7.22 ERA in April. Jon Lester was in the mid-5’s through May. Daisuke Matsuzaka was at 8.23 when they shut him down in June. Meanwhile, reclamation Brad Penny and John Smoltz were deemed ready to pitch, joined the rotation, were dumped, and then picked up by other teams where they pitched much better—even accounting for league. (Warning: If you ...

Darren Posted: May 09, 2010 at 02:01 PM | 29 comment(s)
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Friday, May 07, 2010

This Series Matters in a Quantifiable Way

One of the requirements for helping to write a bi-monthly addition to a sabermetric blog is that, when the Red Sox play their first series against the Yankees, you have to talk about how most early season series don’t matter, but this one is different.  I swear before every series someone says that.  Someone’s probably already said it on this board somewhere. 

I thought I’d take a very quick-and-dirty look at how much this series matters.  I put together a spreadsheet that uses the ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 07, 2010 at 12:49 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Weird Week That Was Weird

On the surface, this was a very successful rebound week for the Boston Red Sox.  They came in at 4-9 and took back to back series from the Rangers and Orioles, then won their first game at Toronto for a 5-2 record since being swept by Tampa.  The Rays and Yankees continued to play well, but the Red Sox at least managed not to lose more ground on the league leaders.

Anyone who watched the games, though, knows the week was, well, weirder than all that.  Six of the seven games were decided by one ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 27, 2010 at 05:34 PM | 43 comment(s)
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Should Tito Manage the Slump?

We all believe that 15 games generally cannot amount to sufficient data for any confident conclusions about teams or ballplayers.  .  It seems pretty evident that Theo Epstein and Terry Francona agree with us on this score.

It doesn’t follow from this, though, that the manager should do nothing.  He shouldn’t do anything stupid like swap one of his best pitchers out into middle relief, but clearly Epstein and Francona decided, before the Texas series, to make a show of aggressive ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 22, 2010 at 08:56 PM | 57 comment(s)
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Minor League Thread: Pulling Me Back In

Ten games into the season is no time to be making dumb extrapolations from minor league statistics, but from another perspective, it is the perfect time.

Three of the Red Sox top prospects of 2008 have been encouragingly not terrible, even kinda great, over the first games of 2010.  Lars Anderson is the biggest – he has three homers in the first ten games, after knocking only nine all of last season, en route to a nice 316/381/632 line.  The Dominican bonus baby pair of Oscar Tejeda and ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 20, 2010 at 12:07 PM | 66 comment(s)
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Monday, April 19, 2010

What’s Wrong?  Everything.

They say that failure is an orphan, but in the case of the Red Sox 4-9 start to the season, failure is like some sort of test tube clone freak spliced from the DNA of dozens of different people.  And it is like other, better similes as well.

The Sox have been outscored 69 to 50, which projects to a record closer to 5-8 than 4-9.  So they’ve been marginally poor at turning runs into wins.  The Sox have a .329 wOBA, 5th in the AL, but they’re 10th in the league in runs scored.  So they’ve ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 19, 2010 at 09:17 PM | 57 comment(s)
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Sunday, April 11, 2010

I’m Stumped

If someone can explain to me how the Red Sox playing time and positional assignments are being determined, I’d love to hear it. David Ortiz starts for the first four games, two of them against lefties, and then sits against a righty. Mike Lowell, whose strength is hitting righties and obvious weakness is defense, finally gets a start and it’s against a righty and playing the field (when he could easily have DH-ed). Jason Varitek, who also mashes lefties, gets his first start against one of the ...

Darren Posted: April 11, 2010 at 02:11 AM | 37 comment(s)
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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

How Good Is Josh Beckett?

There appears to be a developing BTF consensus that Josh Beckett’s 4/68 extension is perfectly fair, and probably somewhat favorable to the Red Sox.  John Lackey, whose ERA+ numbers have been functionally equivalent to Beckett’s the last three years, got a bit more from the Red Sox.  Walt Davis mentions Carlos Zambrano (5/91), AJ Burnett (5/82) and Derek Lowe (4/60) as comparables.  That all looks reasonably good.

But we’re statheads, right?  We stopped caring about actual runs prevented years ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 06, 2010 at 01:45 PM | 35 comment(s)
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Sunday, April 04, 2010


What’s the deal with this?  It’s opening day and it’s 75 degrees out and it’s a night game.  Consider this an open thread to draw far-reaching and panicky conclusions about the Red Sox after just one game, and then consider this an open thread to perform your emotional and intellectual superiority as represented by your lack of concern and/or tempered excitement about the events of the game.

In unimportant news, Terry Francona’s lineup matches almost exactly what I projected in one of the ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 04, 2010 at 11:10 PM | 64 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I Haven’t Been Watching Spring Training

For a variety of boring reasons, I’ve watched only a handful of innings this spring.  I think this lack has also shaped my expectations, in that I haven’t really changed any of the opinions I held after watching the team in ’09 and then seeing the projection spreadsheets in February.  The two major divergences between my expectations and those of the broader March-baseball-watching Therapudlian population seem to be David Ortiz and Josh Reddick. 

The following are their projections ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 28, 2010 at 12:13 PM | 12 comment(s)
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Your Two Thousand and Ten Boston Red Sox

We’re a week away from opening day against the Yankees, so it seems like a good time to look at the roster.

C: Martinez, Varitek
IF: Youkilis, Pedroia, Beltre, Scutaro, Hall, 25th man
OF: Ellsbury, Cameron, Drew, Hermida
DH: Ortiz

SP: Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Wakefield, Buchholz
RP: Papelbon, Okajima, Bard, Ramirez, Delcarmen, 6th reliever, 7th reliever

Mike Lowell is the 25th man if he can play baseball, but that appears doubtful.  While Lowell’s role would be to back up the corners and ...

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 27, 2010 at 03:36 PM | 63 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Red Sox Offseason Shopping With the Benefit of Hindsight

Let’s take a look at what the Red Sox have done this offseason, acknowledging of course, that we have the benefit of hindsight. Here are most of the annual salaries they’ve committed to since the season ended (all numbers are 2010 AAV salary, from Cot’s Baseball Contracts):

John Lackey, $17.5M
Adrian Beltre, $10M
Mike Cameron, $7.75M
Marco Scutaro, $6.25M
Jeremy Hermida, $3.345M
Bill Hall, $2.6M

Total: $47.445M

That is a pretty hefty chunk of change that the Red Sox were willing to plunk ...

Darren Posted: January 30, 2010 at 09:11 PM | 53 comment(s)
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Festivus Miracle?

Maybe it’s a gift from three wise men (Larry, John, and Tom?) or maybe it’s just a nice bit of PR as they try to unload tickets this holliday season, but the Red Sox are making noise about continuing to spend even though they’ve already upped their budget substantially. This Bradford article suggests that they are considering increasing payroll to make an offer to Jason Bay. Putting aside the wisdom of going after Bay, this makes sense and should be a welcome sign to Red Sox fans.

It makes ...

Darren Posted: December 24, 2009 at 02:30 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox

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