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

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tick, Tick, Tick…

Well, it’s Martin Luther King Day weekend, that time of the offseason when you perk up and say to yourself: “Hey, spring training is coming next month. Have the Red Sox done what they need to do to prepare for next season?” My general sense is that yes, they’ve done fine. They had no gaping holes once they re-signed Lowell and Schilling, and the team projects to be one of the top in the AL. Still, there are a few questions left unanswered:

1. Obviously Johan Santana is still up in the air. It ...

Darren Posted: January 19, 2008 at 03:31 AM | 56 comment(s)
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Monday, January 14, 2008

In Manny’s Defense

Our old friend SG* over at RLYW kept track of zone rating numbers each day of 2007, providing us with some fascinating information on Manny Ramirez’s defense. If you recall, we left off last time with me claiming that Manny’s defense was so bad that it actually destabilized the Middle East, while others felt that it was a bit closer to average. Here’s what SG found about how Manny played in Fenway vs. on the road:

Stadium G GS Ch INN PO A E DP ZR PM Diff RS RS/162
Road 58 58 ...

Darren Posted: January 14, 2008 at 01:26 AM | 21 comment(s)
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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Rethinking the Usage of the Japanese Pitchers

Looking forward to the 2008 season, I am wondering how usage patterns for Hideki Okajima and Daisuke Matsuzaka might change from last year. In 2007, both pitchers were used quite heavily early in the season.

In a recent interview, Okajima even said that there were times when he dreaded getting the call to come into the game because he was so tired. That’s not surprising, given that he threw 62.1 IP before September started, after not topping 56 IP over the previous 5 years in Japan. I’d look ...

Darren Posted: January 01, 2008 at 11:37 PM | 29 comment(s)
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Friday, December 28, 2007

A Look Back on JD Drew

Sorry for the lack of entries lately. I’ve been working on some other projects lately, and frankly, there’s just not a whole lot going on with the Red Sox that interests me. No relievers signed, no backup catcher action, no ridding of Tavarez, and no big trade for Johan. To quote Lou Reed, “there’s nothing goin’ on here at all.”

One thing that I find pretty interesting this year is how J.D. Drew turned out to be exactly the opposite of what conventional wisdom said he would be. Remember what ...

Darren Posted: December 28, 2007 at 09:55 PM | 21 comment(s)
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Minor League Thread: Sickels Likes Sox Prospects, Not Sox Fans

Sickels has put out his top 20 list for the Red Sox. A couple highlights:

1 Clay Buchholz, RHP, Grade A
2 Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Grade A-
3 Jed Lowrie, SS, Grade A- (too high? I think he’s an A- as a shortstop, but a B+ as a second baseman. Will he stick at short?)
5 Michael Bowden, RHP, Grade B
7 Nick Hagadone, LHP, Grade B
8 Ryan Kalish, OF, Grade B
16 Reid Engel, OF, Grade C+
20 Bubba Bell, OF, Grade C

I’m a little surprised to hear John trash two big segments of his fan base:

I will ...

Darren Posted: December 15, 2007 at 10:21 PM | 44 comment(s)
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Who’s More Expendable: Lester or Lowrie+Masterson+?

Not much else to talk about here except the possible Johan trade. Consider these possible packages:


The first is reportedly Boston’s best offer and the second is what they simply will not do. But I suspect that the Red Sox would be better off parting with the second package. The first package means that the Sox will be sending 2 of Wake/Lester/Buc to the pen, which is really overkill. Meanwhile, they will have no middle-infield depth in the upper ...

Darren Posted: December 13, 2007 at 12:27 AM | 64 comment(s)
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Friday, November 30, 2007

Finally, Something to Obsess Over: The Johan Question

This offseason was shaping up as one of the most relaxing in recent history. The Red Sox were coming off of a World Championship, and unlike 2004, there weren’t a bunch of players ready to depart via free agency. The only loose ends, Curt Schilling and Mike Lowell, were quickly re-signed to reasonable deals, and the team was pretty much ready for another run in 2008. Sure, there was the question of what to do with our extra CF and adding another good arm in the pen would probably be wise, but ...

Darren Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:17 AM | 243 comment(s)
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Rule 5 and the Red Sox: Bring on the Loadstone

Did you notice that the 2007 Red Sox featured no rule 5 guys on the roster? Didn’t managing the roster just seem a lot easier than in the Stern or Lenny Dinardo days? There are some interesting names our there but I hope the Red Sox don’t waste a roster spot on a guy who cannot contribute to this year’s team. I don’t see them losing anyone as none of their eligible guys seem all that interesting.

Darren Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:14 AM | 3 comment(s)
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Monday, November 19, 2007

Trade Target Cabrera: How Fat Is Fat?

The Red Sox are among the teams that are at least considering acquiring Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins. The biggest question mark about Cabrera is, of course, his weight. Everyone seems to agree that he can hit and that he’s not a very good fielder at 3B (except Bill Lajoie who thinks he’s good there). His weight, everyone says, is the big problem.

But how big is he? I’ve looked around a little bit to see if I can find a picture of Cabrera that would show him to be really heavy. But so far, ...

Darren Posted: November 19, 2007 at 03:44 AM | 87 comment(s)
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Offseason Minor League Thread

Philly has done a very nice review of the Theo-Era Red Sox first three years of drafting over at SOSH:

I put the Sox second partly because they’ve already banked three good seasons and have very good depth. If the Sox drop off from this lofty ranking it will be because their elite talent doesn’t quite match some other teams. Papelbon is great in his role, but it’s not unreasonable to question whether a 60 IP/year pitcher can be a “real” star. Buchholz has the requisite talent to be ...

Darren Posted: November 19, 2007 at 03:16 AM | 10 comment(s)
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

ARod to the Yanks: Not a Good Day for Sox Fans

I have to say that I am totally stunned that ARod has decided to go crawling back to the Yankees. I really thought that he would have been turned off by being booed and blamed despite playing at an all-time great level. But in the end, that seems to be what he did (although for someone crawling back he somehow managed to get a big boost to his contract). Is it about money—was no one else willing to pay that much? Is it about his family wanting to stay in NY and the Mets not making a legit ...

Darren Posted: November 15, 2007 at 03:14 AM | 121 comment(s)
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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lessons Learned: Why the Red Sox Will not Give Up on Lugo

If you could have changed anything about the Red Sox in 2007, it probably would be to go with a different shortstop than Julio Lugo, right? Sure, JD Drew was a disappointment, but in the end he put up an OPS of ~800, so he wasn’t THAT bad. And yes, Pineiro and Wily Mo flopped (although neither was given much of a chance), but those guys were cheap and playing small parts. Lugo was basically a replacement-level player who is signed for 4-5 years and placed at the top of the lineup. With that in ...

Darren Posted: November 10, 2007 at 03:33 PM | 74 comment(s)
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

That Other Big Question: Coco to Go?

By a show of hands, who didn’t fall in love with Jacoby Ellsbury during his brief times in the Major Leagues? Okay, yes ladies, calm down, that’s not exactly what I meant. Settle down, now. Please stop throwing your undergarments! And do I see any hands raised? Just one, who is that? Some guy wearing a “Duquette Rules, bring back Darren Lewis T-shirt”? Magnus, quit goofing around!

The emergence of Ellsbury puts the Red Sox in the rather nice position of having an extra starting-quality CF. And ...

Darren Posted: November 07, 2007 at 03:42 PM | 80 comment(s)
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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Terry Francona: Postseason Genius?

Terry Francona’s contract is up at the end of 2008, meaning he is likely to get an extension this offseason. His credentials are pretty impressive and he looks like he is headed for a big payday. Consider:

—He’s won 2 World Series in 4 years.
—He’s led the Sox to their first sole division title in a decade (and another one that they shared)
—His teams are 22-9 in the postseason.

It’s that last number that I want to look at. It seems that whatever else people think about Terry Francona, they ...

Darren Posted: November 04, 2007 at 03:54 PM | 65 comment(s)
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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Minor League Thread: Red Sox Minor League FAs

According to BA, here are the Red Sox minor league FAs:

Boston Red Sox (18)
Righthanders: Carlos Almanzar, John Barnes, Mike Burns, Felix Diaz, Jeff Farnsworth, Travis Hughes, T.J. Nall
Lefthander: Adam Cox
Catcher: Salvador Paniagua
First baseman: Jeff Bailey
Second basemen: Joe McEwing, Bobby Scales, Junior Spivey

Tony Granadillo

, Ed Rogers
Outfielders: Brad Correll, Steve Garrabrants, Cory Keylor

Do any of these names jump out at anyone?

Darren Posted: November 03, 2007 at 03:05 PM | 29 comment(s)
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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Elias Rankings of Sox Players

Completing cribbing this from Temple over at SOSH:

AL Elias Rankings from USA Today

Type A: Schilling, Lowell

Type B: Gagne, Timlin, Wake

Yep, Gagne is Type B. No two picks for him, just one supplemental. The trade was a disaster in soooo many ways.

The good news is that another team wouldn’t have to worry about giving up a #1 pick to sign him.

Sidenote: Highest ranking went to Ortiz: 100.00.

Darren Posted: November 01, 2007 at 01:47 AM | 31 comment(s)
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Big Question: Lowell—How much for how long?

So… the offseason is upon us and there’s no point in wasting time. What do you think Mike Lowell is worth? What do you think he will cost? Would you lock him up before he hits free agency?

If the Red Sox left it up to me (and I haven’t heard that they are going to), I’d sign Lowell before free agency. Remember, there’s another team in our division that desperately needs a starting 3B. It might feel good to go out and get ARod and feel like you took him away from the Yankees, but it would be a ...

Darren Posted: October 30, 2007 at 11:25 PM | 223 comment(s)
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Monday, October 29, 2007

Red Sox a Mile High after Sweeping 07 World Series!

The Red Sox complete an amazing year, sweeping the World Series. Off the top of my head, the MVP of the series goes to Lowell for his great hitting and baserunning. What an amazing year!

Hey, this beer is warm!

Darren Posted: October 29, 2007 at 04:12 AM | 209 comment(s)
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Sunday, October 28, 2007

World Series Game 3 Reaction: Resurgent Dice K + butt-kicing offense = 1 win away

Dice K looked really good today for the first 5 innings. It was even encouraging that he didn’t seem to hit that wall that he usually seems to hit around the 5th. I wonder if the somewhat compacted balls in Colorado make it feel more like the smaller Japanese ball. Whatever the case, great game for him. Also a great game for Ellsbury, who I’ll admit I thought should not have started today. Overall, the offense is really clicking for the Sox.

Some of the managerial moves were pretty baffling. ...

Darren Posted: October 28, 2007 at 04:59 AM | 63 comment(s)
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Friday, October 26, 2007

World Series Game 2 Reaction: Nice Game Tito

A real nailbiter tonight. The Red Sox couldn’t get that hit to put the game away, but the pitching was so good that they held the line. Great job by Terry Francona in getting Curt Schilling out of the game at a critical juncture and sticking with Hideki Okajima just long enough but not being tempted to push him too far. Papelbon’s fun to watch.

Darren Posted: October 26, 2007 at 04:15 AM | 72 comment(s)
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Thursday, October 25, 2007

World Series Game 1 Reaction: Beckett

Is there anything else to say? Josh Beckett was just awesome once again, under less than ideal circumstances, and the offense was great too. The only beef I had was with Beckett going 7 IP for no discernible reason. I’d have pulled him after the long bottom of the fifth or at least after the 6th. The only reason I could think for leaving him out there was so that they could completely rest the pen. But if he was looking to rest the pen, he wouldn’t have warmed Delcarmen or used Timlin.

All ...

Darren Posted: October 25, 2007 at 04:38 AM | 84 comment(s)
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Series Preview

It seems like it’s all been said, but I thought it would still be nice to have a Sox Therapy World Series preview thread. A couple points of interest:

—Ortiz/Youk/Lowell: Who sits in Colorado? I’m really worried about Ortiz’s knee. If it’s bothering him as much as it seems to be, they may not want to risk him in the field. Plus, having his bat ready for a super-important AB would be nice too.

—Coco/Ellsbury: Who sits? I could see Francona going with Ellsbury in Fenway and Crisp in the vast ...

Darren Posted: October 24, 2007 at 02:03 AM | 29 comment(s)
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Monday, October 22, 2007

Red Sox win AL Pennant; Headed to the World Series

I’ve been pretty good about taking this postseason in stride. Until today, I wasn’t living or dying with every pitch. I was happy the Sox had won the Division and I figured that any postseason success would be gravy. But when they took a 3-0 today, I finally gave in. When it got to 3-2 with Dice-K on the mound, I was screaming at the TV, hoping for him to get out of the 5th. I felt the same way as the team seemed hopeless against Westbrook for the next couple innings. 

But they came through ...

Darren Posted: October 22, 2007 at 04:06 AM | 126 comment(s)
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Sunday, October 21, 2007

ALCS Game 6 Reactions: Drew Comes Through (and Schilling too!)

The Red Sox absolutely dismantled the Indians tonight. Throughout the series, the Indians had been the ones coming up with 2-out hits. This time, it was JD Drew blasting a HR to center with 2 outs and the bases loaded in the first. This after two very fortunate infield hits.

The game was far from over when David Ortiz grounded into a DP to end the 2nd. Trot Nixon and Casey Blake, the #8 and 9 hitters got on to start the 3rd. Curt Schilling recovered admirably and then cruised after the Red ...

Darren Posted: October 21, 2007 at 03:57 AM | 68 comment(s)
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Friday, October 19, 2007

ALCS Game 5 Reactions: Beckett Comes Through… Again

Josh Beckett once again comes up huge in the postseason. His 8 IP, 11 K, 1 BB 1 ER performance puts his 07 postseason totals at 23 IP, 1 BB, 26 K, 1.17 ERA. He’s been more than amazing. On the offensive side, I’ve given up on the bottom of the lineup, but if Pedroia is actually bouncing back, the Red Sox have a fighting chance.

Going back to Boston, Cleveland has an edge in game 6 with Carmona on the mound but I think it shifts the other way if we get to game 7.

Darren Posted: October 19, 2007 at 04:15 AM | 101 comment(s)
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ALCS Game 4 Reactions: Panic!

Well, that was pretty lousy. I missed most of the game, so I don’t have much to say. From what I saw, the Indians outplayed the Red Sox pretty convincingly. Only a few hitters are actually doing anything for Boston and their starters are not getting the job done. Would have been nice to have two starts from Beckett in the last 4 games instead of one.

Darren Posted: October 17, 2007 at 03:40 AM | 85 comment(s)
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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

ALCS Game 3 Reactions: Dice-OK and the big question

You know, Daisuke Matsuzaka has pitched two games during this postseason and gotten lousy results, but I still think he’s looked pretty good. A lot of balls found holes tonight. The bats went to sleep for most of the evening against a rather unimpressive-looking Jake Westbrook. Really, his stuff looked pretty hittable but the Red Sox seemed to just be missing it.

The big question now is who will pitch game four. From everything I’ve heard, it’s going to be Tim Wakefield instead of Josh ...

Darren Posted: October 16, 2007 at 04:14 AM | 64 comment(s)
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

ALCS Game 2 Reactions: What a Battle

As nerve-racking as it was to watch, game 2 was a game for the ages. Both teams got to the starters early and found their way into the opposing bullpens. The Red Sox managed to get to Perez pretty well but were shut down thereafter. Meanwhile, the Red Sox bullpen did a pretty good job of holding the Indians in check until the inning that shall not be mentioned.

Overall, there are a million ways you could second guess decisions or curse a bad break here or there. Should they have stuck with ...

Darren Posted: October 14, 2007 at 01:15 PM | 52 comment(s)
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Saturday, October 13, 2007

ALCS Game 1 Reactions: More Manny Ortez

Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz combined for the following line today: 4-4 with 5 BBs and 1 HBP. They batted 10 times between them and reached base every time. Those guys are simply amazing. Meanwhile, Josh Beckett was efficient and effective, giving up just 2 runs in 6 IP. His low pitch count (80) means that he’d like be available for game 4 on 3 days rest, if needed.

Plus Gagne held them scoreless too!

Darren Posted: October 13, 2007 at 03:30 AM | 71 comment(s)
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Friday, October 12, 2007

ALCS Preview

Sorry guys, been pretty busy so this is late and there’s not much too it. The Red Sox have a big advantage in this series in goofy facial hair, with Kevin Youkilis’s stupid goatee easily defeating Casey Blake’s Grizzly Adams beard. However, the Indians make up for that by having the most bizarre and frightening name on their roster—Fausto “deal with the devil” Carmona. Pretty evenly matched overall, but I’ll give Boston a slight edge.

Darren Posted: October 12, 2007 at 10:36 AM | 39 comment(s)
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