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

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Papelbon Usage Manual

Chris Wok has asked me to post a ‘Papelbon Usage Manual’ thread. In it, I think he had envisioned the opportunity to define exactly when Papelbon should be used, and then chronicle whether that actually matches what Francona is doing. I’ll let him stop by and take it from here.

As for me, I’m pretty darn happy with the usage of Papelbon so far.

Darren Posted: April 26, 2007 at 01:31 AM | 95 comment(s)
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Weekly Minor League Thread: Haigwood Special

The Red Sox recent trade for Daniel Haigwood generally flew under the radar, but the more I look at it, the more it seems like a steal. As recently as prior to the 2006 season, Sickels ranked Haigwood a B prospect. In his midseason, prospect review, he said that Haigwood was “[p]itching just as well as [Gio] Gonzalez,” and made no negative comments. Yet, come this spring, Haigwood was listed only in the “Others of Note” section for the Rangers, meaning his grade is now likely in the C range. He ...

Darren Posted: April 25, 2007 at 01:26 AM | 47 comment(s)
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Monday, April 23, 2007

Red Sox Sweep Yanks

There were just was a million great stories in this game and this series:

—The Yankees touched all three of Boston’s vaunted starters for at least 5 R each. Schilling earned his bad results but Dice K and Beckett both seemed to have decent to good peripherals and generally pitched pretty well against a tough lineup.

—Torre managed this series like it was the World Series. He uses Rivera in the 8th after swearing up and down he wouldn’t. In game 3, he again goes to Pettitte in relief (for ...

Darren Posted: April 23, 2007 at 04:07 AM | 112 comment(s)
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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Enjoy it

It just doesn’t get a lot better than tonight. The whole night seemed destined for craptitude. Schilling looked bad. Pettitte looked decent, and seemed to get a DP or other out whenever he needed. The bats looked lost. ARod looked unstoppable.

But then in came Vizcaino who seemed to have nothing (is this how he normally looks?). Then Rivera, who Torre has sworn up and down he wouldn’t use in the 8th, comes in in the 8th. Then Coco and Cora. Okajima to finish it out was pretty tense, ...

Darren Posted: April 21, 2007 at 03:03 AM | 51 comment(s)
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Friday, April 20, 2007

Up and down the lineup

There’s been some talk that the top 5 of the lineup are carrying the bottom four, who are awful. Not exactly true. It’s been more like the 3 and 5 holes hitting well, 1 and 6 doing alright, and everyone else being horrible. To wit:

—Pedroia has not looked good so far. Not at all. He is patient and he doesn’t strike out. But he has not hit the ball hard. The good news is that he seems to take some time to adjust to new levels before settling in, much the way Youks did. I haven’t lost faith, ...

Darren Posted: April 20, 2007 at 01:06 AM | 51 comment(s)
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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Boston’s Best Baseball Writer Headed to the Herald

According to a Boston Sports Media report, Rob Bradford is heading to the Herald. No news yet about what this will mean for his excellent Bradford on Baseball blog, but I’m guessing it will continue to operate the same way. It’s encouraging that a guy who has gone out of his way to avoid the BS that often overwhelms all aspects of sports writing and focus on real baseball content is getting hired to a much more high profile position.

Here’s a recent piece by Bradford on Why Papelbon’s ...

Darren Posted: April 17, 2007 at 01:09 AM | 15 comment(s)
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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Weekly (in name only) Minor League Thread: George Kottaras

Although it may never approach Bagwell for Andersen, the Wells for Kottaras trade may end up looking very good. Kottaras is off to a very nice start in Pawtucket this year, hitting .292/.433/.458. It’s a nice step up for him after he clearly struggled in the PCL last year. In our offseason rankings, Temple ranked Kottshot (GKott? Kottie?) the 11th prospect in the Sox system. If he continues this sort of success, he’ll be ready for the Majors next year and will shoot way up in those rankings.

...
Darren Posted: April 14, 2007 at 01:23 PM | 50 comment(s)
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Kudos to Tito

However you feel about the Red Sox choice of moving Jonathon Papelbon to the bullpen, you have to like the way they have used him since he’s been there. Papelbon has now been used three times and each one of those times has made perfect sense. The first time he was used was in a traditional cheap save situation, but it was a chance to get him work after he didn’t get into the first two games of the year. Appearance #2 came against the heart of the Texas order in the 8th, with two runners on and ...

Darren Posted: April 14, 2007 at 11:40 AM | 44 comment(s)
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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Is it too early to complain about bullpen usage?

I understood the first couple of days, getting everyone work. I liked using Papelbon in the cheap save the other day to get him some work. But yesterday’s game was mystery to me. Lopez is brought in in the 5th to face two lefties. But with a runner on 3rd and 1 out, he’s allowed to face two righties. This leads me to believe that it is so early in the game that Francona is not willing to let matchups dictate his moves. Fine.

But then why is Kyle Snyder, theoretically the long man, lifted ...

Darren Posted: April 08, 2007 at 03:09 PM | 89 comment(s)
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Friday, April 06, 2007

Inaugural Minor League Thread: Lester in A ball

According to this AP article, Jon Lester threw 4 innings of 1-hit ball for Greenville today. He’s expected to make at least three more starts there. Other key numbers: 37 of 54 pitches were strikes and he touched 96.

Sounds like he’s on the road to recovery. Good for him.

Darren Posted: April 06, 2007 at 01:37 AM | 76 comment(s)
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No Worries about Coco… Yet

Watching Coco Crisp at the plate, it is easy to see why every Red Sox game chatter is littered with posts like “Coco stinks” and “When’s Ellsbury getting here?” Coco looks terrible at the plate in three games so far this year. Watching third strikes. Skying pop-ups. Tapping weak dribbles on the infield. He looks just like the guy who hit .264 .317 .385 for the Red Sox last year.

However, there’s a reason I’m not too worried about Coco yet. Coco was a good hitter in 2004 and 2005, and only ...

Darren Posted: April 06, 2007 at 01:26 AM | 42 comment(s)
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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Opening Day is Never Our Day

The Red Sox have apparently lost the 6 of the last 7 opening days, so this one was no surprise, I guess. Still, if you watched the game without knowing who was who, which team would you have guessed had been picked to lose 100 games, the one saddled with a #1 starter whose contract is a punchline? Which team would you say had the $150 mil. payroll, with a potent lineup and good starting pitching? It was just one game, but man, was it ugly. A couple of quick observations:

—Schilling looked a ...

Darren Posted: April 03, 2007 at 02:45 AM | 26 comment(s)
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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Matsuzaka, Please Just Be Nomo

The Globe has a nice Red Sox season preview up, which includes a big section on Matsuzaka. As the season is set to commence, I’ve decided to be modest in my hopes. I am only asking that everyone perform about as expected. Drew plays only 115 games with good defense and a strong bat—fine with me. Manny and Ortiz chime in with 1.000 OPS? Great. Beckett in the mid-4s in ERA? Okey dokey. If everyone does what they’re supposed to, more or less, this team will be very likely to win 95 games.

For ...

Darren Posted: March 31, 2007 at 12:04 PM | 29 comment(s)
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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

MDC to AAA, YYY???

According to Bradford’s blog, Manny Delcarmen is headed for AAA to start the season. To me, this is a continuation of a head-scratching pattern by the front office.

If there was one non-Papelbon reliever who I felt reasonably confident about coming into this year, it was Delcarmen. His peripherals have been very good. He has two pretty good looking pitches. He’s young and has been fairly durable and consistent the past two years. His ERA and WHIP were bad, but his XFIP and other factors ...

Darren Posted: March 28, 2007 at 12:10 AM | 33 comment(s)
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Preview Thread V: The Front Office

The Red Sox are expected to contend during the season, and to some extent the front office is expected to make moves during the season to help keep the team in contention. This thread isn’t about what the front office does building a team in the offseason, but whether the moves it makes during the season are likely to be effective.

I look at the body of work of this front office during the season and I have to say it doesn’t grade out well. What I wanted to do was track the Win Shares ...

Toby Posted: March 27, 2007 at 06:19 PM | 29 comment(s)
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Spring Is in the Air

Yesterday was the first time I actually caught some spring training action on TV. I saw Beckett looking very, very good against a mostly Major League lineup. This spring he’s got 24 K, 4 BB, and 1 HR allowed (!) in 23.2 IP. It’s performances like that that make me sad that ST results usually mean very little. On the flip side, that means I don’t have to get too worked up about Lowell, Pedroia, and Ortiz at the plate, or Kevin Youkilis’s repugnant facial hair.

Have any of the players’ ...

Darren Posted: March 27, 2007 at 12:32 AM | 14 comment(s)
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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pap to the Pen: A Quick and Dirty Look

There’s been a lot of conjecture about whether the move of Papelbon to the pen will have a positive or negative effect on the Red Sox 2006 season. Some have suggested that the move has handed the division to the Yankees, while others have said it has sured up a former weak spot. I think it might provide some insight to look at David Gassko’s THT chaining article, which he used previously to discuss Papelbon’s move to the rotation.

I’ll handle this a little differently than David, though. ...

Darren Posted: March 25, 2007 at 04:50 PM | 33 comment(s)
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Closer Look

How many threads have there been on here about the closer situation? A lot, but that won’t stop me from posting one more. There are a couple of interesting developments on this front, but it’s still a mystery who will be closing out games for the Sox this year.

Interestingly, this Projo article by McAdam says Timlin “had been hand-picked to start the season as the team’s closer.” But it says it in a matter-of-fact way, as if this were common knowledge. There is no quote from anyone on the ...

Darren Posted: March 21, 2007 at 10:52 PM | 41 comment(s)
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Preview Thread IV: Manager & Coaches

Terry Francona enters his fourth season as Red Sox manager. He has gone from 98 wins to 95 wins to 86 wins, and from a World Series title to a first-round playoff ouster to a third-place finish. Not a good trend. He is 279-207 for Boston, and 564-570 overall.

Traditionally, the fourth season is not a good one. The track record of recent Red Sox managers who completed three full seasons:

* Jimy Williams, completed 4th season, replaced during 5th season
* Butch Hobson, not back for 4th season
* ...

Toby Posted: March 19, 2007 at 03:08 PM | 86 comment(s)
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Preview Thread III: The Defense

Because the bullpen is in a state of flux, I want to do a thread about it. But because the bullpen is in a state of flux, it’s probably best to put it off till IV or V.

And so let’s ponder the defense. Using defensive efficiency as a measure, last year’s team was not good: .683, 27th out of 30 teams. Most of last year’s defense is back, so will it be more of the same?

The personnel changes are at rf (Drew for Nixon), ss (Lugo for Gonzalez), and 2b (Pedroia for Loretta). We may also see some ...

Toby Posted: March 14, 2007 at 06:23 PM | 104 comment(s)
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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Preview Thread II: The Lineup

Here’s your chance to put down in pixels exactly what you think the Red Sox offense will do this year. I won’t go into great specifics here (I’ll add mine in the comments later), but I think this team looks like it’s headed back into 900+ runs territory, and average defense. I also think the lineup is set at 1-5 and 9:


I think Pedroia set at #9 to keep the pressure off and to have a sort of second leadoff. He’s in for a good year, so he may not ...

Darren Posted: March 10, 2007 at 06:23 PM | 38 comment(s)
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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Preview Thread I: The Rotation

First in a multi-part series, inspired by villageidiom, in which Therapudlians and others attempt to make objective sense of the 07 Red Sox. Part I, the rotation. This is not about our hopes and dreams or irrational exuberance, but an attempt to be realistic.

Let’s start with the rotation. I am going to throw out some numbers and then tell you where they came from, and you can tell me how wrong I am.

Matsuzaka: 14-8, 3.32 ERA, 176 K, 66 BB in 192 IP
Schilling: 4-7, 6.50 ERA, 50 K, 19 BB in 73 ...

Toby Posted: March 08, 2007 at 02:52 PM | 75 comment(s)
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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Curt Schilling’s new blog, 38 Pitches

It’s called “38 pitches”. He plans to cover baseball, media, family, electronic gaming, you name it.

Aside to Curt: A lot of people here (Sox Therapy, and BTF-wide) don’t seem to care for you much, but I haven’t figured out why. Keep on doing what you’re doing.

Some of the baseball-related tidbits so far:

The AL Central will be a knock-down-drag-out fight similar to last year ... Daisuke Matsuzaka is legit. ... Josh [Beckett] is getting better each time I see him ... The best part of Jon ...

Toby Posted: March 07, 2007 at 10:07 PM | 8 comment(s)
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Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Josh Beckett Storyline

There are a lot of story lines being covered with the Red Sox this year, but one that seems to be getting very little attention is the fate of Josh Beckett in 2007. One article I did find on it was this Beradino piece in the Mercury News. It’s fairly positive and suggests that Beckett will try to cut down on his HR totals by using more breaking stuff. (BTW, when did Julian Tavarez become the voice of the Red Sox?)

But this is a very important question for the fate of the team. If Beckett’s the ...

Darren Posted: March 01, 2007 at 01:22 AM | 6 comment(s)
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Irrationally Exuberant Therapudlian

Drew is healthy. Crisp is mostly healthy. Manny is in camp. Lowell has emerged as a leader. Lugo should be fine. Pedroia should be ready. Youks is Youks. Papi is Papi. Tek—and this, I am not so exuberant about—is Tek. Cora and Hinske and Pena are the core of a real solid bench. Belli, or whoever else will catch Wake, I am not so exuberant about.

Schilling is referring to CHB as CHB. Beckett is rediscovering his change and curve. Dice-K is for real. Wake is Wake. Papelbon is healthy, and easily ...

Toby Posted: February 27, 2007 at 03:48 PM | 38 comment(s)
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bookmarking the Red Sox

How are you going to keep up with the Sox this year?

Besides here, of course.

And besides the standard places—Globe, Herald, Projo, Courant, SoSH ....

Me, I don’t have a lot of free time, so I scan Bruce Allen’s, and his Red Sox news mashup, to get a rundown of the major stories of the day in the major New England papers.

For a broader picture, I scan Google News: a simple “red sox” search.

For example, I just learned from a Google News search that Rob Bradford of the ...

Toby Posted: February 14, 2007 at 03:34 PM | 27 comment(s)
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Truck Day is Feb. 12

According to a recent story in the Herald, the Red Sox equipment van will pack up and leave Feb. 12. That’s just around the corner.

According to the spring training Q&A at

Feb 16—pitchers and catchers report
Feb 20—position players report
Feb 22—first full squad workout
Feb 28—host Twins in first Grapefruit game
Mar 30-31—at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, final preseason games
Apr 2—season opener at Kansas City
Apr 10—Fenway opener vs Seattle

Key dates not yet firmed up:

Feb ...

Toby Posted: February 08, 2007 at 04:13 PM | 36 comment(s)
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Monday, January 29, 2007

The Lowell down on the Helton trade

There’s been a lot of talk about the Helton trade, and I think there is a key point that a lot of people are missing. Mike Lowell is being discussed as if he is dead weight, just another $9 mil of salary to offset Helton, but is he? Lowell racked up 6.3 WARP1 last year, and will probably be projected in the 5-6 range for 07. On a one-year, $9-mil deal, he’s a bargain. Meanwhile, they are trading him for a guy who’s probably projected to be a win or two better, but is signed for 6 years. ...

Darren Posted: January 29, 2007 at 12:34 AM | 52 comment(s)
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Friday, January 26, 2007

Red Sox Top 20 Prospects Part 4

The grand finale! Thanks again to Temple for his great work:

5. Jason Place (OF); b. 10/8/88: Place endeared himself enough to Boston’s amateur scouting department that the Sox made him the first high school hitter they have taken in the 1st round (27th overall) since Theo has become the GM of the team. He put on a power show in a private workout in Greenville that gave the Sox hope that he could instill some much-needed pop into a light-hitting system. His mature demeanor and dogged work ...

Darren Posted: January 26, 2007 at 12:22 AM | 28 comment(s)
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Monday, January 22, 2007

Red Sox Top 20 Prospects Part 3

We’re starting to get into the really interesting youngsters now. A lot of fresh faces here. Prospects #6-10 from Temple:

10. Lars Anderson (1B); b. 9/25/87: Despite never having registered a PA for the Sox organization, nor being recognizable to even the most ardent prospect follower, Lars has developed himself quite a following in a very short time. As he was gaining helium in the scouting community leading up to the draft, he was seeing an equal gain in the online community—prior to the ...

Darren Posted: January 22, 2007 at 01:52 AM | 62 comment(s)
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