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

Saturday, October 11, 2008

ALCS Game 1: Dice Rolls

After a rocky start, Daisuke Matsuzaka pulled himself together and dominated through the 7th inning. His performance was huge, not only for this game, but because he didn’t burn out the pen, which may well be needed to pick up for Josh Beckett tomorrow. Bringing him out for the 8th after a long layoff and a tight 7th and 107 pitches didn’t seem like such a hot idea. But it worked out. Also, the offense couldn’t seem to quite get on track in this game, but luckily they didn’t have to. ...Read More...

Darren Posted: October 11, 2008 at 04:10 AM | 28 comment(s)
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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sox Headed to ALCS to Face Tampa!

This was a much better series than the previous Angels/Red Sox ALDS’s. A very exciting ending after a hard-fought game.

Darren Posted: October 07, 2008 at 03:32 AM | 90 comment(s)
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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Boston Heads Home Up 2-0

Wow, that was an exciting game. Although the Red Sox should have been happy with a split, it would have been pretty awful to have lost this one after leading 5-1 earlier. I thought that Dice pitched well and got a little bad luck. I really didn’t like Francona’s handling of the pen tonight at all. He left Masterson in when you could tell he had awful control. He probably should have been pulled in the 7th, but apparently Delcarmen is never to be trusted ever again. When Masterson came out for ...

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Darren Posted: October 04, 2008 at 05:36 AM | 46 comment(s)
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

ALDS Preview: Boston vs. LA

I could go into a great deal of detail on this, but I don’t think it’s all that necessary. These are two very good teams with the Angels winning five more games than the Red Sox and the Red Sox putting up a more impressive run differential. Both have strong rotations, good pens (edge to the Angels), and good lineups (edge Boston). Overall, a fairly even matchup. There are two factors in LA’s favor, though. The first is homefield advantage. The Angels were 50-31 at home and the same on the road ...

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Darren Posted: September 30, 2008 at 11:57 PM | 64 comment(s)
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Monday, September 29, 2008

No Beckett for ALDS?

Per this SOSH thread, Steve Buckley said on NESN that Beckett has an oblique injury and might not be available for the ALDS. I’m not sure what the proper response to this news is, but I think “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” might cover it.

Darren Posted: September 29, 2008 at 02:48 AM | 40 comment(s)
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Milestone Watch

Just wanted to make a quick post about fun stats to keep an eye on as the season winds down.

—Pedroia has a couple of interesting things going on. He may still have a shot at the batting title, but it’s a slim one. He’s at .325, but as I write this Mauer is 3-3 tonight and up to .331. He’s currently got 211 hits, 4 ahead of Ichiro. He’s tops in runs at 118—10 ahead of Granderson. His 54 doubles are three more than Roberts. It’s also one of the highest totals for a 2B. Gehringer had 60, Herman ...

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Darren Posted: September 26, 2008 at 01:59 AM | 25 comment(s)
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Clinch!

The Red Sox finally clinched a postseason berth with their 92nd win. It’s satisfying even if a bit short of the goal of a division title. This year more than any other has been a testament to the importance of depth. After losing major time from Schilling, Dice, Beckett, Lowell, Ortiz, and Lugo, and losing some time from many other starters, the Sox were able to remain a contender because they had players like Casey, Lowrie, Bowden, Masterson, and others ready to step in and contribute. Another ...

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Darren Posted: September 24, 2008 at 01:59 AM | 58 comment(s)
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Postseason Roster

It looks like the Red Sox are going to make it to the postseason, if only as the stinking wild-card team. This brings up the question of how the post-season roster shakes out. In the first round, they’ll probably need four starters, and I think the 4th starter is the most interesting question. It comes down to Wakefield or Byrd. Based on their performance this year as well as how they’ve done over their careers, I have to take Wakefield. The only reason I could see for leaning the other way ...

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Darren Posted: September 20, 2008 at 02:25 PM | 32 comment(s)
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Papelbon Problem

Once again, in today’s game against the Blue Jays, it appeared that opposing lineup was sitting on Jonathan Papelbon’s fastball. They laid off his other pitches, which were generally out of the zone and absolutely smoked his fastball. The results—2 runs—could have been worse if not for some nice defense and some good fortune. It’s become entirely too predictable for opposing teams.

In a recent Amalie Benjamin article, pitching coach John Farrell explained that Papelbon was indeed throwing ...

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Darren Posted: September 14, 2008 at 11:57 PM | 40 comment(s)
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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Dustin Pedroia: A Year Ago and Today

In the course of the discussion of Dustin Pedroia’s MVP chances, there has been some debate over whether Pedroia is a true talent .330 hitter right now or a guy who’s playing over his head. The consensus seems to be that the latter is the case, which makes sense given that a) there are very few guys who are true-talent .330 hitters, and b) Pedroia’s track record doesn’t make it look like he’s one of them. But there is one interesting tidbit of information that may indicate that Pedroia is one ...

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Darren Posted: September 07, 2008 at 02:47 PM | 27 comment(s)
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Sunday, August 31, 2008

What Would It Take to Make Pedroia A Legit MVP Candidate?

About a week ago, I took a look at Dustin Pedroia’s stats, the shape of his season, and the role he plays on the Red Sox. And I started thinking that he might just start getting some MVP votes. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one thinking that way. I’m not arguing that Pedroia deserves it—there are several players who are having more valuable seasons. But I can see a line within Pedroia’s reach that endear him to the writers. I’m thinking he’ll need to…

—Keep his average above .325
—Lead the ...

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Darren Posted: August 31, 2008 at 03:46 AM | 83 comment(s)
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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bowden Begins

A quick post so that we can discuss the first Major League start of Michael Bowden, which will happen today at 7:05 against the Chicago White Sox. Chicago is 3rd in the league in run scoring and Bowden is still only 21 and just getting the hang of AAA. I wouldn’t get my hopes up too much for great results, but it will be fun to watch him go for the first of his 300 victories. Let’s hope he can keep the Red Sox close and give the team 5-6 IP.

Darren Posted: August 30, 2008 at 03:37 PM | 17 comment(s)
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Minor League Thread: Sumoza, We Hardly Knowzed Ya

The Red Sox dealt Luis Sumoza to the Braves for Mark Kotsay. (Kotsay provides depth, I suppose, but I don’t really see much value to having him on the team.)

Sumoza was signed out of Venezuela in 2004 for $200,000. Like many Red Sox prospects, he’s shown a great ability to strike out in huge numbers, and like those other prospects, this has won him a place in Temple’s heart (a heart that nearly burst at this news). He’s 20 years old and was having his first minor league success this year, at ...

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Darren Posted: August 29, 2008 at 03:24 AM | 18 comment(s)
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Who Can I Blame for This?

That was one awful way to lose the last game of the Yankees series and hopefully the last game the Red Sox will play at this incarnation of Yankee Stadium. After a game like this, it’s easy to look for someone to blame. If player X had only hustled on that play, if the manager had only pullled the starter at the right time, etc. But you know what? The Red Sox are going to lose some games from time to time. They’re even going to lose some close ones in the late innings. And they’ll win some that ...

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Darren Posted: August 29, 2008 at 03:16 AM | 9 comment(s)
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last Waltz at the Stadium

I don’t have a whole lot to say about Yankee Stadium. But this is an important series. As much as the Yankees seem out of it, they are only 5 games back—1.5 games ahead of where they were in relation to the Sox a year ago. If they win 2/3, they are within 4, and the Red Sox are now dealing with a similar level of injury problems. It would be really nice if the Sox could take 2 of 3 and put a nice 6-game buffer between them and the Yankees. But looking at the pitching matchups, I’m not holding ...

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Darren Posted: August 26, 2008 at 02:45 AM | 31 comment(s)
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why Won’t These Teams Lose?

I thought that the Rays were a good bet to drop off from their 97+ win pace, especially once they were hit by a couple of key injuries. But they are a young talented team and it’s not completely surprising that they have kept up this pace.

What is shocking to me is that the Twins are still as in tis as they are. Their lineup is not all that exciting and their starting pitching doesn’t exactly strike fear in the heart. Yet here they are, at the top of the AL Central, meaning that either they ...

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Darren Posted: August 24, 2008 at 09:05 PM | 58 comment(s)
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

19-17

What a bizarre game to say the least. Throwing away a 12-2 lead in a matter of a couple of innings was a real sight to behold. It wasn’t all that surprising or upsetting to see newcomer Charlie Zink have a lousy game against a good offense. But watching reliever after reliever come in and get lit up was a bit much. Down 16-14, Boston’s hopes appeared to be fading. But give the team credit for hanging and really beating the heck out of a very capable reliever in Frank Francisco. Youkilis, Ortiz, ...

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Darren Posted: August 13, 2008 at 03:33 AM | 25 comment(s)
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Daisuke Then and Now

What a weird year it has been for Daisuke Matsuzaka. Last year, Matsuzaka put up nice-looking K and BB numbers but high HR and HBP totals on the way to a 4.40 ERA and a 4.35 FIP. This year, Matsuzaka’s FIP is 4.22—very close to what he did last year. But everything else has changed. His K/G rate has dropped from 8.9 to 7.7 while his BB/G has ballooned from 3.5 to 5.2. He’s only hit 5 batters and cut his HR rate about in half (from 1.11/g to .63/g). The biggest difference, of course, has been ...

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Darren Posted: August 10, 2008 at 10:46 PM | 29 comment(s)
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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Kooky Lineups

What are with these crazy lineups? Drew batting first? Bay batting 6th? The Red Sox are so hung up on notting batting Bay 4th and keeping Ortiz 3rd that it is throwing everything else out of whack. Put Ortiz or Bay fourth and everything else falls into place.

Darren Posted: August 09, 2008 at 02:46 PM | 27 comment(s)
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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Minor League Thread: Internal Bullpen Solutions

With the deadline passing, there are probably going to be a few trade options available to bolster the bullpen. With that in mind, who from the minor league system might be of help? Here are a few guys that might fit the bill:

Chris Smith
Working on his 2nd stint with Boston right now. He’s 27 and has battled injury problems in the past.
AAA: 31 g, 52.1 IP, 44 H, 5 HR, 8 BB, 47 K, 2.24 ERA
MLB: 4 g, 7.1 IP, 3 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, 6 K, 2.45 ERA

Hunter Jones
Big lefty who has had success against ...

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Darren Posted: August 03, 2008 at 11:51 PM | 61 comment(s)
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Some other Takes on the Manny Trade

Just a few thoughts that I’ve had about the Manny/Bay trade since.

—It might be instructive to think of this as two trades rather than one. Imagine that the Red Sox did one trade where they dealt Manny for the remainder of the season worth of Bay. Since they’re paying all of Manny’s salary, it’d be like paying Bay $9 mil instead of paying Manny $7 mil. That’s a deal you’d probably make with your back up against the wall. The 2nd trade would be after the end of the season, dealing away Hansen ...

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Darren Posted: August 03, 2008 at 11:23 PM | 41 comment(s)
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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Magnum Opus

I cannot believe that it has finally happened after five years. FIVE YEARS! There a lots of great memories with Manny. He was one of the 25, as our SOSH brethren like to say. He had some amazing moments both in the regular season and in the postseason. And he provided some real comic relief at times.

With Manny forcing the Red Sox hand, it’s amazing that they were able to pull off the deal that they pulled off. They got a player who is, when you figure in defense and durability, arguably ...

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Darren Posted: July 31, 2008 at 11:02 PM | 104 comment(s)
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Trade Deadline Thread

Well, it’s that time of year again and the Red Sox are showing their usual midseason malaise. A very uninspring 61-47 record (2 games off their pythag) has them on pace for 91.5 wins, which is, pretty mediocre for a team of their resources. Today’s showing against the seemingly magical Angels did not do much to improve my view of them. Nor did losing 2 of 3 to the Yankees over the weekend.

But what do you do to improve the team at the trading deadline? The talent seems to be there at just ...

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Darren Posted: July 30, 2008 at 03:36 AM | 414 comment(s)
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Friday, July 25, 2008

Minor League Thread: Almanzar Living Up to the Hype

I always have a tough time getting excited about the signing of 16-year-old Dominican players because, even if they’re great, you’re not likely to see them in the Majors for 6-7 years. That’s why Carlos

Michael Almanzar’s signing last year did little for me. But he’s certainly making a big impression this year. Almanzar’s .348/.414/.472 line in the GCL was apparently impressive enough for the Sox to skip him to Class A Greenville. There, he’s gone 5/16 with a triple. Good contact so far, but ...

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Darren Posted: July 25, 2008 at 02:36 AM | 10 comment(s)
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Here Come the Yankees!

Boy, the first 2/3 of 2008 sure is different from years in the past, isn’t it? The Red Sox start off strong, the Yankees look like they’re dead and buried. But low and behold, the Red Sox have cooled off a bit and the Yankees have gotten crazy hot and they’re back in the thick of things. And lo and behold, we’re going to have a big series between these two rivals in late July. I’ve never seen anything like it, except for every year for the past decade or so.

This weekend will be fun, but ...

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Darren Posted: July 25, 2008 at 02:32 AM | 162 comment(s)
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Friday, July 04, 2008

Jon Lester: Red Sox Staff Ace?

What Jon Lester’s been doing has been far beyond my expectations or even hopes. 9th in the league in ERA. 6th in PRC. 4th in IP. And even 10th in groundball percentage. And since late April, he’s been pretty unstoppable.

And Lester really came through last night with the Red Sox desperate for a win after their embarrassment in Tampa Bay. A night after the Red Sox looked downright pathetic, they looked like a completely different team.

It makes me think that all the talk that Farrell thinks ...

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Darren Posted: July 04, 2008 at 11:23 AM | 38 comment(s)
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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What to Do with Masterson and Buchholz

Justin Masterson had a nice little run when he first came up, and he’s certainly shown a fair amount of poise for a rookie. But looking at his numbers, he just hasn’t pitched that well overall as a Major Leaguer:

48 IP, 37 K, 24 BB, 8 HR.

He’s got a very nice 51.5% groundball percentage and that’s helped to keep his ERA down to 3.75. But those 8 HRs are not the sign of a guy who’s keeping the ball down consistently. His xFIP of 4.34 and his actual FIP is 5.46.

Meanwhile, there’s the ...

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Darren Posted: July 02, 2008 at 12:02 AM | 50 comment(s)
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Minor League Thread: Zink in the Pink

Charlie Zink—what a story. He pitched for Luis Tiant at the Savannah College of Art and Design before signing with Boston as an undrafted free agent in 2002. He’s been up and down as over the past 6 years, but seems to really have put things together in 08. In AAA Pawtucket, he’s got 60 K, 29 BB, and 4 HR allowed in 96.2 IP. His 2.33 ERA and 69 hit allowed are also impressive. Unlike many other knuckleballers, Zink can throw other pitches that resemble major league stuff. According to Sox ...

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Darren Posted: June 25, 2008 at 03:04 AM | 85 comment(s)
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Jacoby Ellsbury, Kenny Lofton, and Steals

I’ve mentioned several times in this space my belief that Kenny Lofton represents a good upside comparison for Jacoby Ellsbury. As the 2008 season approaches the midway mark, that comparison is looking very good, especially in stolen bases, where Ellsbury is taking a run at Lofton’s AL rookie record. Based on Ellsbury’s current stats, here’s how his projection for the season compares to Kenny Lofton’s rookie season (Lofton was a year older):


Ellsbury: 143 g, 498 AB, 109 R, 17 2b, 6 3b, 11 ...

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Darren Posted: June 22, 2008 at 03:30 PM | 14 comment(s)
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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Minor League Thread: Draft Time

The draft is coming up on June 5 and the Red Sox will likely draft a whole bunch of players who either go on to the Majors or don’t. They will be picking 30th in each round, with bonus picks at 45th (as compensation for “losing” Eric Gagne), and at 85th (for failing to sign 2nd rounder Hunter Morris last year).

That’s about the extent of the analysis that I can offer on this subject. Let’s hope that Philly and Temple stop by soon and give us their takes.

Darren Posted: June 03, 2008 at 10:51 PM | 58 comment(s)
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