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

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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Ortiz out “at least a month”

I didn’t quite get what the exact injury is—I’m away from my Tivo—but NESN is reporting David Ortiz has a partial tear of a wrist tendon and will be out “at least a month.” This isn’t good news for the Sox. Main beneficiaries should be Coco and Casey.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 03, 2008 at 02:30 AM | 101 comment(s)
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Monday, June 02, 2008

Yin and Yang and All That Junk

It seems like just a couple weeks ago (because it was) that all the talk in baseball was that the Red Sox’ young starters were outshining and embarassing their Yankee counterparts. Buchholz was putting up nice numbers and Lester, after a shaky start, had rebounded and threw a thrilling no hitter. Meanwhile, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy were both winless and struggling mightily to get out of the 4th inning. Fast forward a bit and Buc is in AAA after getting hurt and having a couple lousy rehab ...

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Darren Posted: June 02, 2008 at 12:32 AM | 14 comment(s)
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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Minor League Thread: Adam Mills Still Thinks He’s a Prospect

After dominating college hitting in 07 with a 1.01 ERA, Adam Mills had to wait until the 8th round to hear his name called in the Major League draft. He quickly signed and pitched about as well as you could for Lowell in the Penn League to finish out the year, although 3 HR in 35 IP was a bit poor. That seemingly did little to improve opinions of him, as at the start of 08, the Red Sox sent him to the pitching Siberia known as Lancaster. Not to worry, though, because after a rough start, Mills ...

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Darren Posted: May 27, 2008 at 03:56 AM | 77 comment(s)
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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Future of Manny

Manny Ramirez got off to a torrid start, and it appeared that his intense offseason work had helped him return to his former greatness. But even while he was hitting well, Manny was striking out more and walking less than he had in the past. Now, those problems seem to have caught up to him. Manny’s now back around the decreased level he was at last year:

07: .296 .388 .493
08: .280 .364 .489

That’s an awfully pedestrian line in his last ~800 PA. The good news is that Manny’s defense ...

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Darren Posted: May 24, 2008 at 09:56 PM | 110 comment(s)
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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Minor League Thread: That Other B Guy

So, when are we going to start talking about Michael Bowden as a top pitching prospect? As a 20-year-old last year, he dominated high-A before moving to AA, where he held his own. This year, he seems to have adjusted quite well to his new surroundings. 47.2 IP, 35 H, 2 HR, 14 BB, 48 K, 2.83 ERA. All this at the young age of 21. Word is that is stuff isn’t all that impressive, but the results sort of speak for themselves.

Other interesting players at AA:

—Jeff Corsaletti has always had a ...

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Darren Posted: May 21, 2008 at 01:49 AM | 44 comment(s)
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Try to Enjoy This

It’s easy to forget now, but things didn’t always go this well for the Red Sox. Seems like just a few short years ago, the Red Sox weren’t coming back from 0-3 holes, winning World Series, throwing no-hitters, and seeing numerous exciting young players come up to the big league team. Jon Lester’s no-hitter tonight is just one of many moments over the past few years that we Red Sox fans should feel thankful for. It’s probably a good time to take a step back and just enjoy it.

Of course, his ...

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Darren Posted: May 20, 2008 at 01:51 AM | 65 comment(s)
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Disincentive for the Red Sox to Lock Up Their Young Players

In the past month or so, some of baseball’s most prominent young players have been locked up to longterm deals. The Rays lsigned Evan Longoria shortly after his Major League debut. A few days ago, they extended Scott Kazmir for a very tidy little sum of 3 years/$28 mil (ensuring many more frustrating games for the Red Sox). There was also a 6 year/$70 mil deal for Hanley Ramirez. And today, the Brewers announced an eight-year deal with last year’s NL Rookie of the Year, Ryan Braun.

Hey, the ...

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Darren Posted: May 15, 2008 at 10:51 PM | 46 comment(s)
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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Minor League Thread: Josh Reddick vs. Lars Anderson

There seems to be a pretty wide consensus that Lars Anderson is a better prospect than Josh Reddick, but I wonder if it’s time for that to change. Prior to the season, Sickels had Lars as #4 in the Sox system, with a B+, and Reddick as #10, with a B-. BA had them slotted the same. Sox Prospects also had Lars #4, and only recently moved Reddick up to #7.

But let’s take a look at what each of these guys has done. Last year, both played most of the year in Greenville. Here’s how they hit:

Lars ...

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Darren Posted: May 10, 2008 at 09:15 PM | 27 comment(s)
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Coco off to a monster start!

That headline may sound like a bit of an exaggeration. His gaudy .315 average masks a pretty mediocre .722 OPS (96 OPS+). But as I documented last year around this time, Coco has always been a slow starter. Consider these OPS:


Mar/April 2004: .211 .262 .316
Mar/April 2005: .253 .302 .354
Mar/April 2006: injured
Mar/April 2007: .235 .274 .338
YTD for 2008: .315 .338 .384

If Coco follows his usual pattern of improving greatly as the weather warms up, he’ll have a pretty nice year. If you ...

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Darren Posted: May 10, 2008 at 02:12 AM | 81 comment(s)
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Farnsworth’s Suspension for Throwing Behind Manny’s Head Reduced from 3 Games to 0*

In a ridiculous decision today, an arbitrator reduced Kyle Farnsworth’s suspension from 3 games to 1 game. This was an idiotic decision on a number of levels:

First off, anyone who pays attention to baseball knows that a 1-game suspension will have almost no effect on a middle reliever. Having a reliever unavailable for one day means that he’ll be more able and ready to pitch the next day. A 3-day suspension is really the minimum suspension that has really works as a punishment for a ...

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Darren Posted: May 10, 2008 at 01:52 AM | 46 comment(s)
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