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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Surveying the Wreckage II: Underperformance of Stars
When we discuss the stumbling embarrassment that is the 2012 Red Sox, we often start talking about Bobby V, about the dumb trades by the front office, the unprofessionalism of the coaches, the incompetence of the training staff, the Pythagorean record, and so on. And then someone pipes up and says, hey, if Josh Beckett and Jon Lester had ERAs around 3.50, the Sox would be in contention. And they’re mostly right, it’s certainly a good point. My question in this post is, first, how much ...Read More...
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Surveying the Wreckage I: Introductory Thoughts, Injuries
The Red Sox escaped the Orioles series without a sweep, but also without a meaningful chance at making the playoffs. After starting off the decade with two seasons that ranged from boring to painful, the Red Sox have topped (bottomed?) themselves with a truly dire 2012. I am generally the sort of person who responds to bad sports outcomes by going and doing something else, but in this case, I think the crapulence of 2010-2012 is an interesting intellectual problem. These clubs were ...Read More...
Sunday, August 12, 2012
I imagine for a lot of us the interesting portion of the 2012 Boston Red Sox season came to a screeching halt right about the time an Esmil Rogers fastball smashed into the wrist of Will Middlebrooks. While it feels like the good news is gone there is still quite a bit of importance to come.
The fact is that the 2013 Red Sox are heavily represented on the 2012 club and that club should be expected to compete. With that in mind a few things I think are important to pay attention to the next ...Read More...
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
The Long Nothing
The Red Sox currently stand five games out of the second wild card slot. Previous to today’s game, BP gave the Sox an 11% chance at making the playoffs. This number is slightly misleading, though, because most of that 11% chance is comprised of the 10% chance the Sox have of making the wild-card play-in game. I don’t think most fans would consider a one-and-done in the play-in game to be a particularly worthy goal. So if you give the Sox a roughly 50% chance at winning the play-in game, ...Read More...
Thursday, August 02, 2012
Minor League Update
The trade deadline cameth and wenteth and while the Sox were generally (and prudently) inactive we can now rest assured that the guys on the farm are going to be there the rest of the year.
The impetus for the Sox’ moves seem to have been freeing up some room on the 40 man roster. With that in mind I spent a bit of time at www.soxprospects.com looking at players who would need to be protected this coming winter. Among their top 40 prospects the Sox feature three players who will need to be ...Read More...
Monday, July 30, 2012
Trade Deadline Precriminations
After blogging the Sox for a few years, I’ve noticed a few flaws in my analysis that I’d like to fix. The biggest problem is that I have a tendency to like Red Sox moves after the fact that I would not have supported or advocated for before the fact. My partial embrace of the Crawford contract after saying he wasn’t worth more than $90M is tops on the list, my “eh” reception of the Reddick trade is second. I’m pretty sure I’d have liked the Lackey contract and been entirely ...Read More...
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Jon Lester: Why Isn’t He Good?
For the last few years, Jon Lester has been a consistently good but lightly frustrating ace, a pitcher with the stuff to truly contend for Cy Youngs who ended up merely winning 15 games with a 3.30 ERA in a hitters’ park. Last summer, he failed to pick up the Red Sox down the stretch when the rest of the rotation dissolved into a glistening cone of jelly with a 6.5 FIP. He pitched well enough to win in Game 162, but two runs in six innings was his first quality start in three weeks and not ...Read More...
Sunday, July 22, 2012
The Selling Deadline
I have always felt that the labels of “buyer” and “seller” used at the trade deadline are too simplistic. Every team should approach trades as “buyers” with the understanding of what they are buying for.
I do not think “blow it up” is a wise mantra as this team should expect to compete in 2013 (if not still this year despite the way it feels today). For that reason the goal should not be a simplistic “unload veterans” but to begin the work of constructing the best 2013 roster ...Read More...
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
The Personal is the Pythagorean
I’ve been arguing all over the damn place about Pythagoras. The Red Sox expected record by runs scored and runs allowed is 47-39, which puts them in the top tier of ballclubs in the American League. It is generally accepted that estimates of team quality based on component numbers such as RS/RA and runs created statistics are better predictors of team quality than raw wins alone. (See eg, Clay Davenport, “Playoff Odds Report, Redux”)
So, we shouldn’t evaluate the Red Sox as a .500 ...Read More...
Monday, July 09, 2012
86ing the First Half
The Sox have played 53.08642% of their season and are sitting at a nifty little .500 record. There is good and bad in the 43-43 mark and no shortage of talking points. I have a few thoughts on the first 86…
1. 3 games.
After an awful lot of bad news in the first half the Sox are only 3 games out of a playoff spot, 2 games out if you dismiss Baltimore (I’m not sure we can do that anymore). Being .500 is not a lot of fun but given that the Sox played the majority of the season with 4-5 ...Read More...
Friday, July 06, 2012
Another Medical Failure
When Dustin Pedroia injured his thumb at the end of May, the Red Sox tried to help him rush back. He got a special brace fitted, he took swings in the cage within a day or two of the injury, and he was back on the field within the week. Since then, Pedroia has hit like a disappointing version of Nicky Punto (210/280/305). And now there is word that Pedroia has re-injured his thumb and will have to go on the disabled list. Who could have predicted it?
I don’t have a lot to offer her ...Read More...
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Minor League Mid-year Update
Our last minor league thread is over a month old so I figure there is no time like the present to get a new one rolling. Both John Sickels and Baseball America have released updated prospect lists and between those independent sources and any look at the performance of the minor leaguers 2012 is a great year so far for the minors.
Sickels; Bogaerts #11, Bradley #36, Barnes #41, Lavarnway #59, Swihart, #90, Jacobs #105, Owens #119
BA: Barnes #13, Bogaerts #31, Bradley #32, Lavarnway “also ...Read More...
Sunday, July 01, 2012
In just under a month MLB will have reached the non-waiver trade deadline. The Red Sox are expected to be a fairly active team but that activity seems to be driven by deletions rather than additions as the Sox look to clear up some potential roster logjams.
Inspired by MCoA’s post Friday regarding the coming logjam I started thinking of what the Sox would/could move. I’m not going to try and figure out what the Sox will look to acquire right now but I want instead to look at what they may ...Read More...
Friday, June 29, 2012
Petit Object a(aron cook)
The Red Sox season has been characterized by lack and shortage, up to this point. Like the desiring subject in Lacan’s psychoanalytic economy, the Red Sox have recognized themselves as incomplete, and sought from all sources those objects of desire that they imagined could make the team complete. This process got so perverse that they eventually attached themselves to Scott Podsednik for three weeks.
Many scholars have pointed out that Lacan’s desiring subject not only lacks what will ...Read More...
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Remembrance of things not yet past
I love baseball for lots of reasons. I was reminded of one today when 30,000 fans in Fenway Park demanded an opportunity to say their goodbye to Kevin Youkilis, who likewise treated this curtain call as a farewell. People sometimes criticize baseball movies for sentimentality, but I think such films are trying to re-create something entirely read about the game. Baseball is unmatched for its ability to produce honest moments of mass collective sentimentality. I’ll remember this one, and ...Read More...
Saturday, June 16, 2012
The Red Sox are nowhere close to done for the season. I am hoping that come July 15th, I look dumb (er than usual) for this post.
This post is about the failure of Ben Cherington’s offseason plan. Even if the Sox do come back and put together a legitimate stretch run, I think there will be reason for criticism of Cherington (and the owners, and to a lesser extent Bobby Valentine). If the Sox do come back, it will not be a function of the late-breaking success of Cherington’s offseason ...Read More...
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Meditations in something less than an emergency
The Red Sox didn’t play particularly poor baseball in the last week. They played close games and were only outscored by a couple of runs in the aggregate. It’s hard to say they should have played much better – the Sox have gotten very lucky with their depth, and you can’t expect Scott Podsednik to keep hitting the cover off the ball. Perhaps the starters should have done better, but they kept the club in close games. They just lost.
According to the numbers on the internet, the Red ...Read More...
Sunday, June 03, 2012
Red Sox Draft Thread
I recently completed my traditional draft prep of ignoring amateur baseball entirely for 363 days out of the year, and so with the first rounds scheduled for tomorrow, I went and looked at some talent rankings and mock drafts. The Sox have two late first-round picks this year (their own 24th pick and the Phillies’ 31st) as well as a sandwich round pick (the 37th), which is also Papelbon compensation.
The establishment of tough new slotting rules means that the Sox will have only about $350k ...Read More...
The rumor of the week is that the Sox are looking to trade Kevin Youkilis. I certainly support the Red Sox trading Kevin Youkilis for better players, and I oppose the Red Sox trading Kevin Youkilis for worse players. The details are what matter. The Sox have some very peculiar needs, and they can’t be sure exactly which needs they’ll have in two months.
The one thing the team could really use right now is an outfielder better than Byrd and Podsednik – someone who can cover right or ...Read More...
Monday, May 28, 2012
There’s No Place Like Home (Thankfully)
As Red Sox fans we have grown accustomed to the Sox being a great home team over the past decade. However, the Sox declines in recent seasons is almost entirely a function of home wins while their road records have remained generally constant;
2007 – 51 home wins/45 road wins
Why is this? Well, the last time they won less than 45 games at Fenway was the year after Duquette ...Read More...
Thursday, May 24, 2012
A Winning Ballclub?
A lot of weird stuff is going on with the Sox right now. Daniel Nava is our best hitter, Felix Doubront is good and Daniel Bard is not, the bullpen is effective, Adrian Gonzalez is not, and Scott Podsednik started a game and hit a crucial home run. But what does it add up to? With all the ridiculous moving parts, is this club any good?
On first appraisal, I’d say yes, they’re pretty good. I plugged some rough estimates of team quality into my log5 spreadsheet – one part BPro 3rd ...Read More...
Saturday, May 19, 2012
The Two Dan Bards
I think something is wrong with Daniel Bard. It could be any number of things – a nagging injury, fatigue, scouting reports getting around – but he looked bad last night, and he looked bad in his start before that. You can draw a line at the end of April and see two quite different pitchers on either side of the line.
Through three starts in April, Bard had struck out 19 batters in 19 innings against 9 walks, allowing just one homer. You could even make the case that Valentine’s ...Read More...
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The Red Sox have been unexpectedly watchable of late, and it’s greatly thanks to three people. One of them is Adrian Gonzalez, a .gif of whom is linked in the comments. The other two are the kids on hot streaks, Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava.
You might say that it’s not a good idea to write a blog post about two kids with a combined 70 PA in the majors, Dr. Jinxtable. While I can’t deny the extent of my nefarious mind powers, Middlebrooks and Nava were hitting just as well in ...Read More...
Monday, May 14, 2012
Minor League Thread: 150 PA Prospects
I like to look at minor league numbers about 150 PA into the season because this is when a few of the component numbers start to stabilize. For strikeouts especially, and to a lesser degree walks and some of the power stats, we’ve got enough of a sample to begin to make some claims. And I’m claiming that there are a bunch of good things going on in the system right now. This is particularly fun because the Sox drafting and development has been in a slump with the last few drafts in ...Read More...
Thursday, May 10, 2012
A Losing Ballclub
I thought 9-6 was a reasonable expectation for the road trip, and a 10-5 run that put the Sox back on track was within reach. In that stretch, instead, they have been outplayed by the Orioles and A’s, and failed to outplay the Royals. The pitchers didn’t turn in a single well-pitched game, and the offense could not find a game-winning hit despite loads of opportunities.
I have a lot of trouble believing this club has strained its clutch muscle, and I expect the hits will start ...Read More...
Saturday, May 05, 2012
The 11:15 to Nowhere
After 26 games the Sox are 11-15 as they were last year having lost two home games to a team they should not be losing series at home too (Baltimore this year, Seattle last year). They have been outscored by a similar amount (8 runs this year, 6 last) and it feels like the Sox are headed nowhere.
You are never as good as you look when you are winning or as bad as you look when you are losing (is that a Vince Lombardi-ism?). Where are the Sox and where are they going?
What’s Right That ...Read More...
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Almost There (Again)
Two weeks ago, it looked like the Red Sox were back to normal. They came home after a tough road trip and won three straight against Tampa. A win in the Patriots’ Day game would bring the Sox back to .500. Given the difficulty of the early season schedule, a .500 record would have been just about the expected record for a projected 90ish win Sox club. They were almost there.
Instead of picking up that last win to get back to .500, they dropped a game in which the bats went silent and ...Read More...
Monday, April 23, 2012
The Wages of Losing
Some days, I don’t want to talk about baseball on the internet. Sunday was one of those days. I still don’t feel like recapping why.
I have been annoyed at some of the more histrionic proclamations of doom and gloom for the Sox, but I’ve come around to thinking that a moderate level of gloom and or doom is appropriate. The Red Sox are 4-10, and a 90-95 win Sox team should have gone 7-7 or 8-6 over this period. That’s a 3-4 game drop.
Those three or four games matter particularly ...Read More...
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The Meaning of (Another!) Lousy Start
I’ll leave it to others to run the numbers on this and just want to throw out a general feeling about this start. I think when the season opened most of us pegged the Sox as an 88-92 win team with some room on the margins. For two years running the Sox have shown that a bad record after two weeks does not necessarily doom a season. I think the relevant question is has anything meaningful been learned since April 5th at 2:05PM to make us think that is going to not be attainable? There are a ...Read More...
88 comment(s)Posted: April 18, 2012 at 10:54 AM |
Friday, April 13, 2012
Opening Day Thoughts
How the Red Sox are being viewed has been a topic of discussion for several months now dating back to the beer and chicken “revelations.” I was fortunate enough to attend the home opener today and thought I’d share a few thoughts. The thing that struck me was sitting in the Boston Beer Works with my mother (if she puts me up in her basement I can take her to Opening Day). She said that she expected not to be excited after everything that went on but said that sitting there she was incredibly ...Read More...
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