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

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Amazing Year of David Ortiz… Again

Every time you think David Ortiz has reached a plateau from which he cannot possibly improve, he goes out and does the impossible. For the seventh straight year, his OPS+ will have gone up. His OPS+ this year was a striking 174 before his 3-4 with a HR and double last night.

And in 2007, his achievements are all the more impressive because his ailing knee and shoulder caused him to alter his style considerably. No longer could he simply muscle the ball out of the ballpark with ...

Darren Posted: September 29, 2007 at 01:47 PM | 57 comment(s)
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The Red Sox win the AL East outright for the first time in over a decade. What a great way for it to end. Dice pitches well, Ortiz is still on fire, and Pap close it out! The Red Sox win the AL East!

Darren Posted: September 29, 2007 at 03:22 AM | 51 comment(s)
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Monday, September 24, 2007

The wild card playoff idea, again

Another year, another attempt to trot out the wild card playoff idea. I put this in Sox Therapy because that’s where I have keys, but the idea really is worth general discussion, IMO:

Each league has two wild-card teams.

The wild card teams play a one-game playoff, with the team with the better record hosting.

The playoffs then proceed as they currently do.


1. One-game playoffs are awesome.
2. Division races become more significant, because the division winner avoids the huge risk of ...

Toby Posted: September 24, 2007 at 04:40 PM | 42 comment(s)
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Boston Clinches the Playoffs!

Tonight the Red Sox clinched a spot in the playoffs, which is a big part of what should constitute a successful season for them. The team started out on a torrid hot streak, went into a long period of mediocrity, and has returned playing about .600 ball over the past couple months. Consider this a celebration of what the team’s done so far and a look forward to future success.

Darren Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:32 AM | 141 comment(s)
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

2.5 Games and Winning Is Still not a Priority

The Red Sox are pushing back Matsuzaka until this weekend. In so doing, they are giving a start to Buchholz, who will be pitching on 13 days rest. They will also be pushing back Wakefield, thus eliminating his start in Tampa, where he has pitched his best. And of course, let’s not forget tonight’s Eric Gagne debacle. Inserting Gagne into a 1-run game is questionable enough, but letting him turn it into a 2-run deficit is just beyond explanation.

This team now has a 2.5 game lead with 10 to ...

Darren Posted: September 19, 2007 at 02:02 AM | 381 comment(s)
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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hinsker Do

Even before yesterday’s nice game, I had been thinking that Eric Hinske has been taking an unfair amount of abuse around these parts. In sporadic playing time, he’s been putting up a 100+ OPS+ while playing a respectable first base and a lousy-ish OF. In short, he’s been a good bench player and an important part of a winning team.

His performance yesterday was another feather in his cap. 2-4 with a key double and a tack-on HR late, but most importantly taking out Posada at the plate. For the ...

Darren Posted: September 16, 2007 at 02:19 PM | 38 comment(s)
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Weekly Minor League Thread: Mickey Hall and His Weird Splits

Mickey Hall has been somewhat of a forgotten man among Red Sox prospects, and for good reason. After being selected in the 2nd round in 2003 and lured away from Georgia Tech (where he was to replace Matt Murton), Hall has not done much to distinguish himself since. Before 2007, the only thing that he did with consistency was strike out in big numbers.

His 2007 started out like the others. He began the year in Greenville, where he hit .213/.330/.325, but with an encouraging 14/21 BB/K rate. ...

Darren Posted: September 11, 2007 at 02:43 AM | 2 comment(s)
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I want the division!

And judging from the cursing in the game threads recently, I’m not the only one who does. The division is key because it sets up home field advantage for the Sox, but there’s another reason that I want it. The division, to me, is an important achievement in its own right. The Yankees have at least tied for the AL East for the past decade, and to knock them off would be a really impressive accomplishment.

I’m not saying I want to see Papi hobbling out there on one knee, Manny rushed back, or ...

Darren Posted: September 11, 2007 at 02:35 AM | 106 comment(s)
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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Is it time to discuss the postseason roster?

With another win tonight, the Red Sox move ever closer to securing a playoff spot. And with that being the case, they will soon have to decide who is going to be on the roster. The starting nine, Mirabelli, Cora, the top four starters, and Pap/Okajima/Delcarmen/Timlin are a given, assuming health. That leaves six other spots to fill in. Loogy Lopez is probably in and Kielty too, leaving four more players. Who else gets in there? Does Lester or Tavarez make it as a reliever? Is Ellsbury a sure ...

Darren Posted: September 08, 2007 at 02:45 AM | 101 comment(s)
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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Jacoby Ellsbury: Where Did This Come From?

The big question about Jacoby Ellsbury’s future has to be his power. After being promoted to AAA early this year, Ellsbury put up a .380 slugging percentage. But in his brief stints in the majors, he has displayed great power. His current MLB line of .452 .514 .774 is enough to make you say, “Manny who?” Why has he been so good in the majors this year? Can such an outburst be random? Whatever the case, he’s been about the most fun Red Sox player to watch for the past week or so. ...Read More...

Darren Posted: September 05, 2007 at 02:44 AM | 41 comment(s)
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The Papelbon Rules: ???

In many of my recent posts, I have decried this team’s seeming lack of urgency down the stretch. Time after time, the Red Sox have opted to err on the side of caution and plan for the long run, even as their lead in the East dwindled down to 4 games. And it appears that that strategy, whether I agreed with it or not, has not hurt them so far. They’ve returned their lead to a rather comfortable 7 games and the BPro postseason odds has them at over 99 percent chance of winning the division. If ...

Darren Posted: September 05, 2007 at 02:13 AM | 79 comment(s)
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Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Much-Needed Youth Infusion!

The arrival of Buc and co. couldn’t have come too quickly. After last night’s heartbreaker, this team really needed a victory. Brandon Moss and Jacoby Ellsbury contributed with the bats and Clay Buchholz, well, you know what he did. One of the most enjoyable games of the season given the context.

Darren Posted: September 02, 2007 at 03:26 AM | 40 comment(s)
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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Buchholz to pitch tonight (and promotions!)

With Tim Wakefield unable to go last night, Clay Buchholz will get the call tonight. He, along with Jacoby Ellsbury, Brandon Moss, Royce Clayton, and Bryan Corey will be called up today. (link)

First of all, thank goodness for the reinforcements. Sox players are dropping like flies and it has really hamstrung them the last couple days. Having said that, all of these players make sense to me except for Clayton. He is a terrible hitter with an overhyped defensive reputation and he’s not ...

Darren Posted: September 01, 2007 at 12:07 PM | 33 comment(s)
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Weekly Minor League Thread: Splitting the Difference

There are a couple of players who have had good to great 2nd halves after struggling in the first half. I’m hopeful that at least a few of these guys have made real improvements during the season that have been masked by their season totals. Here are a couple examples:

Jeff Natale: Gadzyouki, as all the cool kids are calling him, put up a .389 OBP but only a .341 SLG before the All-Star break. Since the break he’s batting .308 with a .461 SLG and .429 SLG. That’s still pretty lousy power but ...

Darren Posted: August 29, 2007 at 02:56 AM | 14 comment(s)
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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Really Fun Interview with Pedroia’s College Coach

I don’t know who runs the site “Hacks with Hags” but they have an excellent interview with Dustin Pedroia’s college coach, Pat Murphy. Murphy affectionately gives insight into Pedroia’s rather boisterous attitude and marvels at his success despite his lack of physical skills. Here are a couple excerpts, but you’ve got to read the whole thing:

PM: I’ve been trying to figure it out and I can’t. Mike Gallego is a good friend of mine and I used to tell him that he reminded me of Gags. That ...

Darren Posted: August 28, 2007 at 02:56 AM | 28 comment(s)
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Make That a Good Weekend in Chicago!

What a great series. The Sox taking 4 blowouts allows them to go into the Yankees series with their pen lined up and well rested with at least a 7 game lead. A few other fun highlights:

—I’m glad that they used Papelbon today—he needed a little work so he won’t be rusty. 1 IP with a day off before the series is perfect. With his 3 K performance he boosted his ratio over 1.5 K/IP. He’s in ‘Lidge/Gagne/Wagner’ in their primes territory.

—Gagne’s turned it around. Last 4 appearances: 4 IP, 4 ...

Darren Posted: August 26, 2007 at 10:14 PM | 93 comment(s)
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

ROY for the Red Sox?

Piehole wrote me and requested a thread on the possibility of a Red Sox player winning the rookie of the year. Boston has three great candidates: Dustin Pedroia, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Hideki Okajima. All three have contributed greatly to the team this year, but that is not always the biggest consideration. I think that media attention plays a far bigger role and because of that I think Matsuzaka is the favorite. What do you think?

Darren Posted: August 25, 2007 at 06:42 PM | 34 comment(s)
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A Good Day in Chicago

The Red Sox swept the doubleheader today, pushing their lead in the East to a more comfortable 6 games (for the time being). I have to admit, when the Sox were winning 5-3 and Okajima was in a jam in the 7th, I thought there might be some trouble. But they pulled away and several good things happened today:

—The team won two games while only using up 1 IP between their top two relievers. I was a little concerned to see Pap warming with a 7-3 lead, but thankfully, Mike Meyers had nothing and ...

Darren Posted: August 25, 2007 at 04:30 AM | 52 comment(s)
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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pap’s New Pitch Needs a New Name

According to this Globe article, Jonathon Papelbon has invented a new pitch. It’s a combination of a slider and cutter, which he has predictably named “the slutter.” This is a near Wok-level affront to decency and goodness, so I think we really need to come up with a new name for it. I have come up with very little so far. The Cut slider? Clider? Gadzyouki?

Pap apparently threw one such pitch to Johnny Gomes in the game yesterday. He didn’t get a chance throw it tonight because every ...

Darren Posted: August 23, 2007 at 03:23 AM | 29 comment(s)
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Weekly Minor League Thread: How did this guy go undrafted?

Hunter Jones is 6’4, 240 lb. lefty who pitched for Florida State. According to his Sox Prospects profile, he features “a low 90s two-seam fastball, a circle change, and a curveball.” He apparently missed some time in college with a fractured arm (pitched with it during his sophomore year) and had a rather unimpressive 5.05 ERA in 2005, his last collegiate season. Somehow, this was enough for him to go completely undrafted. How bad could have been that nobody even took a flier the big huge lefty ...

Darren Posted: August 23, 2007 at 02:52 AM | 7 comment(s)
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Friday, August 17, 2007

Wily Mo Pena Traded to Washington

According to ESPN, Washington acquired outfielder Wily Mo Pena and cash considerations from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named. This deal reunites Wily Mo with Jim Bowden, who previously traded for Pena while GM of the Reds.

Without a doubt, the trade for Pena must be classified as a failure. As you know, Bronson Arroyo has pitched very well for the Reds. Although Pena showed flashes of talent, the Sox could never find consistent playing time or a role for him. Since the National ...

Jim Furtado Posted: August 17, 2007 at 05:33 PM | 130 comment(s)
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Friday, August 10, 2007

Weekly Minor League Thread: AAron Bates

After a couple months of murdering the ball in Lancaster, 1B Aaron Bates has been bumped up to AA Portland. Bates is pushing 24, so he really needs to be tested at a higher level. He’s shown good power and average; the scouts also seem to like his glove.

Darren Posted: August 10, 2007 at 10:25 PM | 10 comment(s)
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Buchholz Should Replace Lester

It goes without saying that Jon Lester’s return from cancer to pitch in the Majors has been nothing short of amazing. However, he simply has not pitched all that well this year in AAA or the Majors. His results have been pretty mediocre at both levels. Watching him, his fastball seems to be off a couple MPH and his control isn’t all that great. If only the Red Sox had some great young pitcher at AAA who could come up and take his spot.

Wait a minute! They have Clay Buchholz, who is fanning 12 ...

Darren Posted: August 10, 2007 at 12:58 AM | 52 comment(s)
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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Can Winning Be a Priority Now? Please?

Watching tonight’s “game” and seeing the lead in the East shrink to 5 reminded of how low ‘winning games’ seems to have sunk on the Red Sox list of priorities. Lester/Gabbard/Tavarez spend time in the rotation while Buchholz toils in AAA. The Red Sox underbid the Yanks by about 30-40 percent on Clemens. Schilling pitches 7 scorelss IP in AAA while Tavarez pitches for the big club, and Schilling is then given a week of rest before returning to the Majors, and looks awfully rusty in his comeback. ...

Darren Posted: August 08, 2007 at 04:31 AM | 250 comment(s)
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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Timlin for a 2nd IP? Really? Seriously?

I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what the purpose of having Mike Timlin pitch 2 IP last night in a tie game was. I can understand if Tito thinks that Timlin has been pitching better and that he is a good choice in a tie game, especially when you’ve got 4 IP to fill. But what I don’t get is why he thought there was any way Timlin would be effective for a 2nd inning. Since his arrival with the Red Sox, one thing has been pretty consistent about Timlin: he can pitch well for 1 IP ...

Darren Posted: August 04, 2007 at 07:05 PM | 20 comment(s)
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Weekly Minor League Thread: Bowden Adjusting to AA

With Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy skyrocketing through the Yankees system, Michael Bowden’s accomplishments seem modest by comparison. But let’s take a moment and see what he’s done this year—it’s pretty impressive. He started the year in Lancaster and was young for the league. In an extreme hitting environment, he put up a 1.37 ERA, 46 Ks, 8 BBs, 35 H, and only 1 HR in 46 IP. This earned him a promotion to Portland, making him the youngest pitcher in AA.

AA seemed to provide Bowden with ...

Darren Posted: August 04, 2007 at 02:56 PM | 72 comment(s)
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Friday, August 03, 2007

Pairs of Sox, Part 3: Wily Mo and Hinske

Our right- and left-handed bats off the bench, Wily Mo Pena and Eric Hinske are the subject of the latest ‘Pair of Sox’ post. In a way, they’re very different players. Hinske has earned his spot in the majors by showing an ability to get on base while hitting for decent power. After his excellent rookie year at the plate, the Jays locked him up longterm, a decision that doesn’t look so hot in retrospect. As a bench player, though, he’s in the upper echelon.

Wily Mo has never been known for ...

Darren Posted: August 03, 2007 at 12:14 AM | 61 comment(s)
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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Trade Deadline Wrap-up

So the trade deadline has come and gone and the Red Sox have made two deals. One sent Pineiro to the Cardinals for a PTBNL. Good luck to him—he hardly got a chance in Boston.

The other trade, obviously, was the big one. The Red Sox getting Eric Gagne was a good move, but I wouldn’t call it a steal. Kason Gabbard is no Barry Zito, but he’s not filler either. He’s a guy who has been a decent to pretty good in the past 2 years after a few years of injury problems. He’ll be a nice addition to ...

Darren Posted: August 01, 2007 at 03:03 AM | 21 comment(s)
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Weekly Minor League Thread: Interesting Developments in Pawtucket

A few pretty interesting things are going on at Pawtucket right now. First, Brandon Moss is expected to be used at first base soon, which could mean any number of things. Perhaps they think that his bat is for real and want to prepare to give him at shot at winning that job next year. Or maybe they consider him a bench player who could take over the role that Eric Hinske currently handles. Another possibility is that another team has shown interest in him as a 1B.

The next item is Jed Lowrie’s ...

Darren Posted: July 28, 2007 at 12:47 PM | 28 comment(s)
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Friday, July 27, 2007

Schilling’s Road to Recovery

Curt Schilling pitched a rehab start for AAA Pawtucket tonight and by all accounts was dominating: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 66 pitches. According to NESN reports, he hit 93 on the gun as well. To an outsider to me, that looks like he’s ready to go. Yet NESN reports that he will have another rehab outing on the 7/31 before returning to the rotation.

Why bother? He’s likely going to throw in the 80+ pitch range, so you might as well have him doing it in the majors so that we can avoid another ...

Darren Posted: July 27, 2007 at 03:12 AM | 15 comment(s)
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