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

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Decisions Decisions

OK, the Sox have clinched the American League East for the third consecutive year and at some point soon will secure home field throughout their playoff run.  I think I can now safely consider the roster without any jinxes (except injury. This whole piece assumes health which…oh man I’m going to worry about this for two weeks).

Anyway, I am operating under a 14 position player/11 pitcher set up.

(and yes I just literally knocked on my wooden desk);

INFIELD: Mitch Moreland, Ian Kinsler, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Brock Holt, Eduardo Nunez, Steve Pearce (apologies: Tzu-Wei Lin, Tony Renda, Brandon Phillips)

Quite frankly most of the decision making on the positional roster exists here.  I would like to see a pinch runner of some sort but none of the guys with a shot at that role are Rajai Davis/Quintin Berry types so I am not compelled to force them onto the roster.  The bigger decision here is who the hell plays.  Bogaerts is a given of course but incredibly all three of the other spots are up for grabs.  My one strong opinion is to keep riding the hot hand of Brock Holt and make sure he is in there.  I will admit I worry greatly about Devers’ defense at third but I love his bat.  He has shown some life in Cleveland with a couple of homers and anecdotally he seems to step up against the best pitchers.  I would go with him, I would play Holt at second and platoon Pearce and Moreland.  However, I do think Alex Cora has to be prepared to move Holt to third and Kinsler to second if the Sox have a late lead (and of course Moreland should be in defensively in such situations).  If Nunez can’t go I think Phillips is the play.  Fairly similar type player and brings a defensive component that might be useful.

OUTFIELD: Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts

This is easy.  Holt and Blake Swihart operate as backups if you need them and of course JDM can play it too.

CATCHER: Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart

I want to see how the Sox run with this.  I know we are supposed to pooh-pooh the idea of catcher ERA but man, it’s hard to argue with the numbers* and frankly the eyeball test matches the numbers in this case.  If I were the Sox I would start Leon and let him ride with the starters.  If you have a lead and maybe if you are tied, stay with him but if you are behind, pinch hit in the 5th inning or his next at bat.  Be aggressive using Swihart in that role and if you get a lead, Vazquez is available as a defensive replacement.

* Sandy Leon 3.32, Christian Vazquez 3.81, Blake Swihart 4.81

DH: J.D. Martinez

Just like the David Ortiz years, done and done.

STARTERS: Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez

The top two are no brainers and if you worry about Price in New York this would have him pitching in Fenway if the Yankees were the Sox LDS foe.  Porcello has struggled a bit lately but I still think he’s the guy.  The fourth starter comes down to EdRod or Eovaldi and I think Rodriguez is the better choice here.  When he is on he is a force and when he’s not it’s clear right away.  With Eovaldi and Steven Wright the Sox should have a couple of multi-inning options in the bullpen if necessary.  Also, I think Eovaldi is going to make a better relief option than Rodriguez.

BULLPEN: Do i have to?

Yes Jose you do.

BULLPEN: Craig Kimbrel, Mike Timlin, Hideki Okajima, Alan Emb…

knock it off you big baby, get on with it.

Sigh.

BULLPEN: Craig Kimbrel, Nathan Eovaldi, Steven Wright, Brandon Workman, Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly (apologies: Heath Hembree, Hector Velazquez, Robby Scott, Brian Johnson)

The guy that I love out there is Workman.  He had a tough go in New York on Tuesday but he’s a guy who will attack hitters and isn’t going to let the moment get to him.  Barnes getting right this week would go a long way to giving Alex Cora and the rest of us reason to breathe for the final several innings of a ballgame.  Velazquez is a guy I hate not taking because he has been terrific this year.  I’m just not sure who you take off the list.  I am no Kelly fan but he has shown the ability to dominate when he is on his game.  With Wright and Eovaldi on the roster the Sox really don’t have a need for Velazquez’ ability to go multiple innings is not really meaningful.  It’s a shame, the dude has done everything the Sox could have asked and is a real feather in Dave Dombrowski’s cap.

That’s what I got.  Mock away.

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 23, 2018 at 05:00 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Mikαεl Posted: November 25, 2003 at 02:09 PM (#546540)
I have bad, bad memories of Francona from down in Philly, too. I can only hope he has changed from the days when Doug Glanville and Marlon Anderson batted at the top of the lineup, when Rico Brogna played every day at 1B, when Schilling and Byrd had their arms slagged clean off.

The one thing I've read that gives me some hope (from the Hohler article about the coming of Tendu and "quant" analysis):

[Rick Peterson] said Terry Francona, the Oakland bench coach who is a front-runner to become the next Sox manager, regularly used the sources to help develop "Cliffs Notes" for A's pitchers and hitters.

No one says how good these reports are, but at least he's open to the use of such data.
   2. Mikαεl Posted: November 25, 2003 at 02:49 PM (#546541)
I should also admit - though it is shameful and fanboy-ish - that I am reasonably confident that if Theo and co like Francona, then he has changed.

I know I have no evidence for this. I just need to admit that I think Theo and John Henry are dreamy, and I can't help the way I feel.
   3. Mikαεl Posted: November 25, 2003 at 04:41 PM (#546548)
Luis Castillo is the 2B version of Roger Cedeno. He's a perfect fit for the Mets.
   4. SeanForman Posted: November 25, 2003 at 06:14 PM (#546551)
I have to second Mike C's comment. My reading of the page does not show any random words appearing as hyperlinks.
   5. Mikαεl Posted: November 25, 2003 at 08:45 PM (#546557)
Half of Schilling's guaranteed $12M is deferred, so there's no reason for panic this year. He would put the Sox payroll in the $112-120 range, which isn't over budget at all.

After this year, so much salary comes off the books that we just have no idea where the payroll will go.
   6. PayRod Posted: September 26, 2004 at 01:57 PM (#878612)
Who's we?
   7. GGC Posted: September 26, 2004 at 03:24 PM (#878643)
Who's we?

My late father used to refer to the Red Sox and Giants as "we." I never felt comfortable about referring to sports teams that way, but I guess alot of people do.

I was going to retrosheet that Baltimore game to fact check, CHB. Alas, it was a spring training game. (I think Shaughnesssy worked for a Washington paper in those days.)
   8. Pingu Posted: September 26, 2004 at 03:28 PM (#878647)
.........Shaughnessy says Earl Weaver was still babbling about it "deep into the night" at the hotel bar. (Ah, the good old days, before managers started using PCs and drinking bottled water instead of scotch).

Is this supposed to be a joke?
   9. GGC Posted: September 26, 2004 at 03:34 PM (#878651)
I don't think so, Curt. From a sportswriter's standpoint, it's easier to get info after a manager had a few cocktails.
   10. Pingu Posted: September 26, 2004 at 03:36 PM (#878653)
Of course, maybe I should rephrase.

Does Ryan have an editor? Worthless.
   11. GGC Posted: September 26, 2004 at 03:46 PM (#878657)
Is Mirabelli the best backup catcher out there? I would guess he ranks up there. Here is BPro's offensive stats for catchers this year. But you'd probably have to look at at least three seasons of data to get a clearer picture, and I have no clue how to rate catcher defense.

He definitely isn't a Bob Montgomery or Moe Berg ;).

One day, I should try and rank the best backup catchers of all time.
   12. GGC Posted: September 26, 2004 at 04:44 PM (#878699)
Of course, maybe I should rephrase.

Does Ryan have an editor? Worthless.


Why? Because that part in parens wasn't a complete sentence? So what? I understood what Ryan was saying. I'm guessing that the Globe was probably under a tight deadline, since it was a night game. If you don't like it, start your own newspaper.

I don't mean to pick on Curt, but this is the type of smugness which I've noticed on this site that ticks me off. From 6-4-3 castigating someone about range factors, to Repoz lamenting the fact that Lenny Harris wants to play next year, and (the most egregious example, IMO) one Primate slandering another Primate's father because he didn't use correct speech.

I know that there are alot of smart cookies here at BTF, but I have yet to come across one that is omniscient. I just wish that there were more humble ones. It's far easier to criticize how someone else is doing their job than doing a good job yourself.

[/rant]
   13. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: September 26, 2004 at 09:37 PM (#879346)
It doesn't show on his Bref page, but I'm pretty sure that Mirabelli was released by the Giants before the Rangers got him. Maybe he was DFA'ed and the Rangers got him during the 10-day period before he became a free agent.

Doug also has been honored in Strange and Unusual Injury discussions for going on the DL after getting drain cleaner into his eyes while playing home handyman in SF.
   14. Pingu Posted: September 26, 2004 at 10:07 PM (#879388)
GGC,
I suppose I ought to respond just for the sake of completeness, but I have say that in general I agree with your disdain for what you call "smugness". I also apologize if you thought I stepped over that arbitrary line.

Had nothing to do with complete sentences. Where you hate the "smugness" shown on this site, a lot of other people might hate the "remember the good ol' days" that permeates every sector of the baseball world, especially the media. The part in parentheses wasn't relevant to the column, and that is exactly all it contributed.

Now whether or not it was appropriate for me to say what I did, who knows, likely it wasn't. I realize your rant wasn't directed entirely at me, but I apologize for the comment anyways.
   15. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: September 26, 2004 at 11:05 PM (#879483)
Curt--that's one reason why I love the "Old Ballplayers Never Die" sections in the Historical Abstracts. It's pretty funny to see such a statement in 1916.
   16. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: September 26, 2004 at 11:24 PM (#879505)
Mirabelli will be 34 next year, but should the Sox not re-sign Varitek, would it be nuts to make him the primary catcher in 2005 while waiting to see whether Shoppach can cut it? (Esp. given the Sox budget contraints.)

Non-park adjusted stats for Belli for 2002-2004 (not incl. Sunday's game):

 AB  H  2B HR BB HBP  SO  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS
455 115 29 21 46  5  113 .253 .326 .455 .781


BPro has the avg. AL catcher at .324/.419/.743; I think that *is* park adjusted.

Mirabelli could decline given his age, but then again, it's probably not easy to hit near the league avg. when you're only getting 170 AB's a year.

I have no idea how to rate Mirabelli against Tek as far as their catching goes.
   17. Toby Posted: September 26, 2004 at 11:25 PM (#879506)
GGC,

is there any particular reason you posted that in Sox Therapy? I don't think we are the primary offenders, here.
   18. GGC Posted: September 27, 2004 at 12:21 AM (#879605)
a lot of other people might hate the "remember the good ol' days" that permeates every sector of the baseball world, especially the media. The part in parentheses wasn't relevant to the column, and that is exactly all it contributed.

Curt, I see what you mean now. Although I neither hate it nor like it, I can see that nostalgic attitude turning people off.

Toby, it was mainly those other posts that I mentioned (and some others which I forget) which ticked me off. I misread what Curt was trying to say and that was the one that broke the camel's back.

That's why I don't rant to often. It usually winds up coming out misdirected.

Nice win today, huh?
   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 27, 2004 at 03:22 AM (#880008)
Here's my Yankee loving take after today's game:

Both AL East teams should pray they don't play Minny in the first round.

If Schilling can start 3 games, Boston should be a slight favorite. He's the only starter on either team with both stuff and stamina. The joker in this is what it does to the rest of the Red Sox rotation.

In games when Pedro pitches, Boston needs early runs and a quick hook.

The Yanks have an edge in any game which is tied in the 8th. Boston's bullpen isn't as sharp as it was in last year's ALCS.

Lieber right now has an edge over Boston's #3 starter, be that Arroyo or Lowe. He's much improved over the past month.

Any game with Vasquez starting is an automatic Boston win. (Duh.)

Forget Brown.

Most likely matchups:

Hernandez - Schilling
Mussina - Pedro
Lieber - Arroyo
Yanks forfeit to Lowe
Hernandez - Schilling
Mussina - Pedro
Lieber - Arroyo

Schilling can pitch three games, but then who starts game 5 for Boston? No way Pedro pitches on 3 days rest.

Mussina and El Duque are about even right now. I personally trust Hernandez more in a tight game, but Torre might well go the other way on the strength of Mussina's recent starts.

Francona should wake up, maybe by first getting out of his pajamas and into a uniform, and then by setting an alarm clock which rings after Pedro's 95th pitch. Sweatshirt Man's the Yanks' not-so-secret weapon, as have been all Boston managers with the exception of Dick Williams.

Bottom line: Don't you pity the fans of all those other teams?

And a Black Cat prediction: If they both survive the DS, Boston in seven. New York's pitching is just too thin to keep the Sox down this time.
   20. RobertMachemer Posted: September 27, 2004 at 03:37 AM (#880020)
Do you guys remember the Bill James Playoff Prediction System?

<u>Red Sox vs Twins</u>
Won-Lost record:    RED SOX, 7 POINTS (*)
More runs scored:   RED SOX, 3 POINTS
Fewer doubles hit:  Twins, 14 POINTS
More triples hit:   Twins, 12 POINTS (*)
More homeruns hit:  RED SOX, 10 POINTS
Lower team AVG:     Twins, 8 POINTS
Fewer errors:       Twins, 8 POINTS
More double-plays:  Twins, 7 POINTS
More walks allowed: RED SOX, 7 POINTS
More shutouts:      RED SOX, 19 POINTS
Better ERA:         Twins, 15 POINTS
Playoff experience: RED SOX, 12 POINTS
Head to head:       Twins, 12 POINTS
-----
Red Sox 58 - Twins 76.
The system predicts a Twins victory.

(*) indicates a criterion that may yet change in the final week of the season.

<u>Red Sox vs. A's</u>
Won-Lost record:    RED SOX, 10 POINTS (*)
More runs scored:   RED SOX, 3 POINTS
Fewer doubles hit:  A's, 14 POINTS
More triples hit:   RED SOX, 12 POINTS
More homeruns hit:  RED SOX, 10 POINTS
Lower team AVG:     A's, 8 POINTS
Fewer errors:       A's, 8 POINTS
More double-plays:  A's, 7 POINTS
More walks allowed: A's, 7 POINTS
More shutouts:      RED SOX, 19 POINTS
Better ERA:         A's, 15 POINTS (*)
Playoff experience: RED SOX, 12 POINTS
Head to head:       RED SOX, 12 POINTS
-----
Red Sox 78 - A's 59.
The system predicts a Red Sox victory.

<u>Red Sox vs. Angels</u>
Won-Lost record:    RED SOX, 12 POINTS (*)
More runs scored:   RED SOX, 3 POINTS
Fewer doubles hit:  Angels, 14 POINTS
More triples hit:   Angels, 12 POINTS
More homeruns hit:  RED SOX, 10 POINTS
Lower team AVG:     RED SOX, 8 POINTS (*)
Fewer errors:       Angels, 8 POINTS
More double-plays:  Tie??? (*)
More walks allowed: Angels, 7 POINTS
More shutouts:      RED SOX, 19 POINTS
Better ERA:         RED SOX, 15 POINTS
Playoff experience: RED SOX, 12 POINTS
Head to head:       RED SOX, 12 POINTS
-----
Red Sox 91 - Angels 41
The system predicts a Red Sox victory.

I'm estimating double-plays by using each ESPN team fielding page and comparing each team's first basemen's DP numbers. By that crude measure, the Angels and Red Sox are tied.

<u>Red Sox vs. Rangers</u>
Won-Lost record:    RED SOX, 14 POINTS (*)
More runs scored:   RED SOX, 3 POINTS
Fewer doubles hit:  Rangers, 14 POINTS
More triples hit:   Rangers, 12 POINTS
More homeruns hit:  Rangers, 10 POINTS
Lower team AVG:     Rangers, 8 POINTS
Fewer errors:       Rangers, 8 POINTS (*)
More double-plays:  Rangers, 7 POINTS
More walks allowed: Rangers, 7 POINTS
More shutouts:      RED SOX, 19 POINTS
Better ERA:         RED SOX, 15 POINTS
Playoff experience: RED SOX, 12 POINTS
Head to head:       Rangers, 12 POINTS
-----
Red Sox 63 - Rangers 78
The system predicts a Rangers victory.

<u>Red Sox vs. Yankees</u>
Red Sox vs. A's
Won-Lost record:    Yankees, 7 POINTS (*)
More runs scored:   RED SOX, 3 POINTS
Fewer doubles hit:  Yankees, 14 POINTS
More triples hit:   RED SOX, 12 POINTS
More homeruns hit:  Yankees, 10 POINTS
Lower team AVG:     Yankees, 8 POINTS
Fewer errors:       Yankees, 8 POINTS
More double-plays:  Yankees, 7 POINTS
More walks allowed: RED SOX, 7 POINTS
More shutouts:      RED SOX, 19 POINTS
Better ERA:         RED SOX, 15 POINTS
Playoff experience: Yankees, 12 POINTS
Head to head:       RED SOX, 12 POINTS
-----
Red Sox 68 - Yankees 66
The system predicts a Red Sox victory.

Make of all this what you will.
   21. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 27, 2004 at 08:10 AM (#880195)
That system makes no sense. Why are you rewarded for fewer doubles, lower batting average, and more walks allowed? And how is "playoff experience" measured? And why the hell are triples so important?
   22. RobertMachemer Posted: September 27, 2004 at 08:51 AM (#880215)
From <u>The Bill James Baseball Abstract 1984</u>:


What I decided to do was to compare categories of accomplishment. In each World Series, one team has hit more triples than the other team. What is the record of the teams which have hit more triples? What is the record of the teams which have hit for a higher average? What is the record of the teams which have turned more double plays?

I found some surprising things. I found that the teams which had hit for a better average had usually lost the World Series -- that is, they had lost it more often than they had won it. Offense as a collective thing didn't seem to mean much; the good offenses had won a few more than they had lost, but not a lot. The power-hitting offenses had done very well; the high-average offenses had not done well. Teams which had hit a lot of doubles had been wiped out with demonic consistency; in every generation, almost in every decade, the teams which had hit more doubles than their opponents had lost around 60% of the time
(p. 246).


In that Abstract, he pointed out that his (obviously empirical) system worked about 70% of the time. I've been told by trustworthy sources (but feel free to confirm for yourself, if you wish) that it has continued to work about as well (actually, I'm told it's been working a little better since then).

More from James:


Why do teams with high batting averages do poorly in World Series play? A simple reason: it takes them too many hits to score. If they are legitimately a better offensive team than their opponents, then that's another story. Most of the time, they're not; everybody who gets into a World Series has got some bats. The higher batting average doesn't indicate the team which has a better offense, but the team which has more of a high-average offense, as opposed to a power offense.

High average offenses score by stringing sequences together. To get a three-run inning, it might take them five or six hits... You've got five chances to stop that inning. With the three-run home run, on the other hand, you've only got three chances to stop it
(p. 246-7).


It's all his guesswork, and I don't agree with all of it, but it's empirically true that teams which have hit more doubles have done worse than teams which have hit fewer doubles. James's guess as to why that might be true is probably no better or worse than anything with which you or I might come up.

Later:


Other interpretations of odd rules might be more speculative, but I am absolutely convinced that teams which hit a lot of doubles during the regular season are never going to do well in the aftermath because they are aggressive baserunning teams, teams which are exploiting weaknesses that will not be there when the Series starts. Shutouts are important because most shutouts are thrown by front-line starting pitchers, and front-line starters do a much larger share of the pitching in a World Series than they do during the season. Walks are not that important because they are disproportionately influenced by fourth and fifth starters who will spend the World Series in hibernation. The other rules are positive rules; all the system does is weight them according to their historic importance (p. 247).


As for your question regarding playoff experience, what I typed is my own shorthand. What James actually wrote was:


Give 12 points to the team which has been in postseason play more recently. If both last appeared in postseason play in the same year, award the points to the team that was more successful at the time (p. 246).
   23. Mikαεl Posted: September 27, 2004 at 11:32 AM (#880237)
The James thing is a fun toy. I wouldn't make too much of it. Not to say I haven't wasted quite a bit of time playing with it, but it's just a toy.

(What meaning it ever had, has been lessened by the doubling of playoff teams, which leads to a few more significantly flawed teams in the postseason. Insofar as it works as James explains it, the predictor's assumption is that all the teams lack notable flaws.)
   24. GGC Posted: September 27, 2004 at 12:40 PM (#880250)
Francona should wake up, maybe by first getting out of his pajamas and into a uniform

Why does Francona wear that top anyways?
   25. Vance Law Revue Posted: September 27, 2004 at 01:27 PM (#880280)
This probably isn't the most appropriate time for this, but the boston.com is claiming the Sox magic number is 2claiming the Sox magic number is 2.

I know I have had some trouble with this before, but I think this is wrong. I'm reasonably certain the Sox clinched a wild card tie last night.

Boston   93 62
Oakland  88 67
Anaheim  87 68
Texas    86 69


Now, Texas, clearly, need to win out to get to 93 wins. If they do so, Oakland could also win out to get 95 wins, leaving Texas and Boston tied for the wild card.

If Anaheim wins out and gets to 94 wins, however, the A's can win no more than 92 games.

Therefore, if the Sox can win 94, the wild card is theirs. Their magic number isn't 1 in the traditional sense, as they still need losses from Texas and Anaheim, but a Sox win tonight clinches it.
   26. OlePerfesser Posted: September 27, 2004 at 01:27 PM (#880282)
Thanks for all the Playoff Prediction System number-crunching, Robert. Great work--much appreciated. (And thanks also for typing in James's explanations.)

After watching Mulder last night, and in consideration of Robert's work, I'm more eager than ever to have the DS matchups shake out as Yanks-Twins, Sox-A's.

The A's are leaking so much oil, however, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Angels catch 'em, even without Guillen. (And how about THAT!?) These sure are interesting times...
   27. Toby Posted: September 27, 2004 at 01:53 PM (#880312)
Let's see ...

If Boston's magic number were 1 rather than 2, that would mean Boston would win the wild card outright if it won just 1 more game, i.e., finish with 94. Is that the case?

Texas can't win 94. They have only 86 wins with 7 game games left.

So assume Anaheim goes 4-0 against Texas (giving them 91 wins) and Oakland goes 4-0 against Seattle (giving them 92 wins). Anaheim could then take 2 out of 3 from Oakland to have both finish with 93. Boston would indeed win the wild card outright if it gets to 94 wins.

So 1 is the magic number.
   28. Toby Posted: September 27, 2004 at 02:08 PM (#880324)
Oh, wait. For the magic number to be 1, it would also mean that even if the Sox didn't win again, a loss by a Sox opponent would clinch the wild card.

So let's see ... if we hang one more loss on Texas, they can't match Boston's 93. Anaheim could finish 6-1 (losing to Oakland) to finish with 93, and Oakland could finish 5-2 (losing to Anaheim) to finish with 93.

If we instead hang one more loss on Anaheim, then Texas could win out to finish with 93 and Oakland could win out to finish with 94.

If we instead hang one more loss on Oakland, that doesn't do it either, because the A's and Rangers could both finish with 93.

I guess that's why the magic number is 2. There isn't any one contender who you could hang a loss on to give Boston the WC outright.
   29. Vance Law Revue Posted: September 27, 2004 at 02:10 PM (#880326)
Thank you for verifying that, Toby. mlb.com is also putting the magic number at 2, and it's starting to make me feel a little crazy.

I hope the team at least gets their facts straight, but I doubt anyone in the organization wants to be the one to stand up and say, "Actually, we only need to go 1-6."
   30. Vance Law Revue Posted: September 27, 2004 at 02:15 PM (#880329)
It's a perfectly fair point that we would need an Angel's loss and a Ranger's loss to clinch in the absence of a Red Sox win, but that doesn't make 2 any more accurate than 1. It just means that the "magic number" system is flawed.
   31. Toby Posted: September 27, 2004 at 02:28 PM (#880347)
I agree. It's not well suited to a multi-team situation.

Eureka! We've made a breakthrough with respect to magic numbers. What would Will Carroll say?
   32. Vance Law Revue Posted: September 27, 2004 at 02:38 PM (#880357)
RE: Mirabelli

The Red Sox catchers are my daddies.


RE: Will Carroll

No comment. Will Carroll has replaced CHB on the VLR no-read blacklist. I haven't read anything regarding the recent fracas.
   33. Vance Law Revue Posted: September 27, 2004 at 02:39 PM (#880360)
"Backup keeps popping up"

For some reason, this title makes me think, "Has Dusty seriously given the starting job to Neifi?"
   34. Mikαεl Posted: September 27, 2004 at 03:08 PM (#880396)
My original post sounded kinda dismissive. Sorry, Robert, and good work on the predictor.

If the Red Sox win tonight before the Tex/Ana game is completed, will they celebrate clinching the Wild Card?
   35. Vance Law Revue Posted: September 27, 2004 at 03:22 PM (#880416)
I doubt the celebration will be anything like it was last year. I would, however, expect there to be champagne involved.
   36. Mikαεl Posted: September 27, 2004 at 03:22 PM (#880417)
Unrelated minor league note.

Baseball America ranks the Sox' Luis Soto #1 in their top 20 GCL prospects. His tools compare favorably to Hanley's. He obviously needs to learn the strike zone, but between him, Lara (#9 GCL and #9 NYPL), Pedroia and Hanley that's one hell of a set of shortstops.
   37. Vance Law Revue Posted: September 27, 2004 at 03:23 PM (#880419)
If the Red Sox win tonight before the Tex/Ana game is completed

Also, the outcome of Tex/Ana is irrelevant to clinching today, as the winner will still be alive in the wild card.
   38. Vance Law Revue Posted: September 27, 2004 at 03:24 PM (#880424)
winner will still be alive in the wild card.

...assuming a Red Sox loss.
   39. nickm Posted: September 27, 2004 at 03:25 PM (#880426)
They should celebrate. I sure hope they have people able to figure out sufficiency of 94 wins.
   40. Mikαεl Posted: September 27, 2004 at 03:28 PM (#880431)
Also, the outcome of Tex/Ana is irrelevant to clinching today, as the winner will still be alive in the wild card.

Oh, I know. I just meant that the sufficiency of the win is based on (relatively) complicated stuff, so they might not be entirely aware.

And I expect the Red Sox' celebration to be as wild as always. They clearly really, really like to celebrate.
   41. Vance Law Revue Posted: September 27, 2004 at 03:49 PM (#880465)

And I expect the Red Sox' celebration to be as wild as always.


I expect it to be relatively subdued. Nowhere near Yankee style disdain for making the postseason, but not like the wild card celebration was last year, for 10 reasons:

a) They are on the road.
b) They are still in the division race.
c) They have unfinished business from last year.
...
j) whip it out.
   42. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 27, 2004 at 04:11 PM (#880500)
By the way...as good as Mirabelli's been this year, I'd rather have Duchscherer at this point.
   43. RobertMachemer Posted: September 27, 2004 at 04:28 PM (#880529)
What meaning it ever had, has been lessened by the doubling of playoff teams, which leads to a few more significantly flawed teams in the postseason.


As I say, from what I've been told, the prediction system has been working at a better rate in recent years. Feel free to check the numbers to confirm or refute this.

It is a toy. It's also been right roughly 70% of the time (perhaps closer to 75%). It may well be wrong about the Sox vs Twins, for instance (although I do think the Twins are the classic example of a team that is obviously better suited for short series play than seasonal play). We'll know soon enough, for good or ill.
   44. The Polish Sausage Racer Posted: September 27, 2004 at 08:22 PM (#880907)
For what it's worth, Vance, RIOT agrees with your first statement. They say Boston clinched at least a tie for the wild card last night, taking into account all the other matchups.
   45. Vance Law Revue Posted: September 27, 2004 at 08:56 PM (#880963)
Yeah, Boston.com actually wrote me back and acknowledged that it is a weird situation. They said they are going with 2 as the magic number bacause that's what all the other media outlets are doing.
   46. Toby Posted: September 27, 2004 at 09:24 PM (#880994)
I guess I shouldn't have said he "played" his last game at Fenway. More like he "appeared in uniform for" his last game at Fenway.
   47. bob mong Posted: September 27, 2004 at 11:15 PM (#881114)
Burks for HOF?

He is a centerfielder, and his stats match up okay with the other post-WWII HOF centerfielders: Kirby Puckett, Duke Snider, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Larry Doby, and Richie Ashburn

Those guys put up this average line:
   G    H   2B  3B  HR R+RBI  AVG OBP SLG OPS+
2174 2368  367  86 349  2623  301 388 501 140
Ellis Burks' numbers:
   G    H   2B  3B  HR R+RBI  AVG OBP SLG OPS+
1999 2106  402  63 352  2456  291 363 510 126
Burks' numbers aren't quite as good, but they're close.
   48. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 28, 2004 at 12:57 AM (#881391)
Is he dead?
   49. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: September 28, 2004 at 04:35 AM (#881970)
Don't forget context--Burks did a lot of his damage 1993+, when offense increased. (Plus, he played 5 season in CO.)

Also, the last year he played 100+ games in CF was 1991.
   50. bob mong Posted: September 28, 2004 at 04:41 PM (#882655)
Don't forget context--Burks did a lot of his damage 1993+, when offense increased. (Plus, he played 5 season in CO.)

True enough. That's why I provided the OPS+ numbers. I think he really is a bit shy of being a HOF-quality player, but he is close.

Also, the last year he played 100+ games in CF was 1991.

Also true, but he has played more games in CF than anywhere else:
   G  Pos
1062  CF
 360  RF
 290  LF
 298  DH
That's before this year. He hasn't played as many games at CF as the guys I mentioned above (they averaged 1800+ games at CF), but you can't really classify him as anything other than a CF.
   51. Mikαεl Posted: September 28, 2004 at 04:48 PM (#882665)
Burks is a classic Hall of the Very Good.

Because he jumped between teams and peaked in obscurity, it is lost just a bit how excellent a baseball player he was. While comparing Burks to Hall of Famers will show Burks not quite measuring up, it's a testament to his overlooked career that the comparison can reasonably be made.
   52. villageidiom Posted: September 28, 2004 at 05:12 PM (#882702)
Is he dead?

No, but at the game on Sunday we were perplexed by the announcement. Apparently he'd announced his retirement that morning; nobody had heard about it by the time the game started.

When they announced that it was likely his last regular season game at Fenway, the prevailing thought was, "So they already decided they don't want him back, and they're breaking it to him this way? That's cold."

Anyway... mamaidiom accompanied me on Sunday, and Burks was one of her favorite players in his prior stint in Boston. She was thrilled to have the chance to pay her respects, and figured she'd sort out the details later.
   53. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: September 28, 2004 at 05:25 PM (#882728)
If Ellis had stayed healthy I think he'd be a hall of famer.

Growing up Ellis was one of my favorite players, they way he left Boston never sat quite right with me, and I'm glad theo brought him back so he could see how much the Red Sox and Boston have changed.

I hope they can find Ellis a nice position somewhere in the organization, I'd love to see him coaching in fenway someday.
   54. villageidiom Posted: September 28, 2004 at 06:43 PM (#882892)
Growing up Ellis was one of my favorite players, they way he left Boston never sat quite right with me...

I'm right with you on the first part. I was sad to see him go, but not Fisk-to-the-White-Sox sad.

But at the same time, IIRC, they let him go because he always seemed to be injured. Now maybe they were thinking he was faking or otherwise exaggerating his injuries so he could hang out with Mia Enrique someone instead of playing ball. Or maybe they were seriously concerned about true fragility taking away too much of his PT.

Was there more to the story? I don't recall. Joseph, what am I missing?
   55. Sexy Lizard Posted: September 28, 2004 at 08:11 PM (#883077)
I will always recall Ellis throwing a baseball with Mike Dukakis in Brookline on Election Day, 1988. I don't think that helps his case for the Hall.
   56. Phil Riley Posted: September 28, 2004 at 09:37 PM (#883294)
Well, yeah, of course they always consider what candidates a player appeared with when they do the HOF vote. Main criterion, in fact.
   57. bob mong Posted: September 28, 2004 at 10:59 PM (#883401)
Also, the last year he played 100+ games in CF was 1991.

Also true


Small correction: Burks played 114 games in CF in 1998. Prior to that, the last time he played 100+ games in CF was 1991.
   58. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: September 29, 2004 at 07:54 AM (#884676)
a nice goodbye here

village, I always had heard that Ellis was uncomfortable with the racial tension in boston at the time, among other things.
   59. Mikαεl Posted: October 04, 2004 at 03:16 PM (#896747)
Quick take on the series. The Red Sox are better in hitting, defense and starting pitching. The Angels are better in bullpen and baserunning.

The Red Sox are the better team by basically any measure. But, what matters is not who has the higher true talent level, but who plays better baseball over the next week. And even if we take the most optimistic projection of the Sox and the most pessimistic projection of the Angels, there would still be a golid 33% chance of an Angels victory.
   60. bunyon Posted: October 04, 2004 at 03:28 PM (#896766)
<i>Sox in 4,/i>

Decades? Yeah, they should win something in the next four decades. :)
   61. Toby Posted: October 04, 2004 at 03:28 PM (#896767)
Imagine that one of your best friends is a diehard Angels fan (yes, they do exist). What would you say to him on the eve of this series?

"Don't forget to keep the spiders away from your first baseman"?
   62. scotto Posted: October 04, 2004 at 03:28 PM (#896768)
Schilling for Coroner!
   63. CONservative governMENt Posted: October 04, 2004 at 03:31 PM (#896774)
I think the Red Sox may be flat for the first game at least due to travel to the West coast. Eric M. Van, a Harvard braniac, did some very compelling studies showing that circadian shifts can have a powerful impact on certain players. Varitek in particular is likely to go hitless in Game 1.
   64. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: October 04, 2004 at 03:41 PM (#896801)
I am starting to have my seasonal depression kick in. I can't tell if it's the long shadows or my pessimism about the Sox.
DB
   65. Mikαεl Posted: October 04, 2004 at 03:42 PM (#896806)
Imagine that one of your best friends is a diehard Angels fan (yes, they do exist).

I have a good friend who lives and dies by the A's. I told him I wished him luck, and I hoped his team lost badly. He said the same, and we didn't talk about baseball for a while after that.

Eric M. Van, a Harvard braniac

That's our EMV. Health food nut.
   66. villageidiom Posted: October 04, 2004 at 03:50 PM (#896826)
The effect of the long travel is mitigated by the players' departure for the West Coast, which apparently started some time around the 4th inning on Sunday.
   67. OlePerfesser Posted: October 04, 2004 at 04:45 PM (#896916)
Village's #8 is pretty close to dead on. The Sox waited briefly in the clubhouse to watch the Twinkies' final game loss, but shortly after 5 Eastern they were on a bus to BWI where they had a charter plane warming up. They likely got excellent rest and will just have a light workout today to get those cicadas in rhythm (or whatever the hell Eric M. was researching).

So travel shouldn't be a disadvantage, and I might argue that having your top 2 veterans go on the road (esp. where it's likely warmer, for Pedro to get looser) and your 3-4 guys at home is not bad, either. And let the MFY cope with Santana.
   68. The Original Gary Posted: October 04, 2004 at 04:52 PM (#896924)
I've often said I compare discussions on this site to that of a barroom bull session. Keyboards rather than beers. That said, I guarantee that most of us have never discussed "studies showing that circadian shifts can have a powerful impact on certain players". I actually looked at my monitor cross-eyed when I read that.
   69. OlePerfesser Posted: October 04, 2004 at 05:03 PM (#896949)
One study that will give Sox fans some comfort is posted today by Dayn Perry at the other BP. After crunching the post-'95 numbers, he concludes that:

From these data, it does indeed appear that in recent seasons teams with potent rotation fronts not only have an edge in making the postseason, but also in thriving in the wilder shores October. That's a welcome bit of news for Astros, Red Sox and Twins fans this time around.

Here's the daily dose of Sunshine:

Top 5 Postseason Starters, by Support-Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNLVAR)

Player, Team, VORP, SNLVAR

Johan Santana, MIN, 89.3, 8.4
Curt Schilling, BOS, 73.4, 6.9
Brad Radke, MIN, 60.5, 6.7
Roger Clemens, HOU, 61.2, 6.1
Pedro Martinez, BOS, 51.7, 5.8
   70. Toby Posted: October 04, 2004 at 05:07 PM (#896959)
Wow, I had no idea Radke was that good.
   71. VoiceOfUnreason Posted: October 04, 2004 at 05:11 PM (#896967)
Eric M. Van, a Harvard braniac, did some very compelling studies showing that circadian shifts can have a powerful impact on certain players.

He also did some very compelling studies about how Casey Fossum was tracking a HOF career path.
   72. bunyon Posted: October 04, 2004 at 05:26 PM (#897004)
I once had a long debate in a bar about whether or not the word "racemization" had ever been uttered in said bar.
   73. scotto Posted: October 04, 2004 at 05:31 PM (#897018)
What's unfair is that NYC trumps LA/Boston combined. I'm pretty peeved about the schedule this week. Two mid-day starts and a late night one means that I have to exist in a bubble most of Tuesday and Thursday.
   74. CONservative governMENt Posted: October 04, 2004 at 06:10 PM (#897123)
That said, I guarantee that most of us have never discussed "studies showing that circadian shifts can have a powerful impact on certain players".

Eric M. Van discussed them here (I can find links to occasions but they don't access) but moreso at SOSH. He essentially proved that Varitek's night-day splits were related to circadian shifts and had some very far-reaching conclusions relating to team travel in general.

It's nothing to be afraid of.
   75. Vance Law Revue Posted: October 04, 2004 at 06:11 PM (#897133)
Eric M. Van, a Harvard braniac, did some very compelling studies showing that circadian shifts can have a powerful impact on certain players. Varitek in particular is likely to go hitless in Game 1.

First of all, if you found that study "very compelling," you have very low standards for compellation.

Now, even if that study had been very compelling, it didn't apply to "certain players," it applied to Varitek and Varitek alone, and the conclusion was that Varitek had trouble with night games, and had a true talent OPS of ~1.100 during day games.

Given that tomorrow is a day game, EMV would conclude that Varitek is likely to go 2 for 4 with a homer.
   76. Vance Law Revue Posted: October 04, 2004 at 06:14 PM (#897143)
IaiC,
Congratulations, BTW, on another very successful troll.
   77. Vance Law Revue Posted: October 04, 2004 at 06:21 PM (#897169)
Oh, and Varitek's Day/Night split this year was .700/.924.

So, either:

a) He has found a solution to his circadian problem which adversely affects his daytime production.

or

b) His previous day/night splits were the result of random variation.
   78. Vance Law Revue Posted: October 04, 2004 at 06:30 PM (#897190)
Apropros of very little, the Sox ended up scoring 949 runs this year. Hot damn, how about that?
   79. CONservative governMENt Posted: October 04, 2004 at 06:37 PM (#897199)
VLR,

I thought it was the reverse in that Varitek had trouble at night (while most players hit better during the day due to daylight conditions). This year Varitek's D/N was .700/.924 and in 2003 was .608/.982. From 2001-2003 he was at .752/.826. So Tuesday being a day game would adversely affect him, correct? (No need to be rude - I'm just pointing it out.)
   80. Vance Law Revue Posted: October 04, 2004 at 07:21 PM (#897315)
I thought it was the reverse in that Varitek had trouble at night

Van concluded that Varitek was an early bird who had trouble with night games. He did his study before the 2003 season.
   81. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 04, 2004 at 07:36 PM (#897345)
I have Sox sweeping if Arroyo gets game 3 as he should. If not, Sox in 4.
   82. Greg Franklin Posted: October 04, 2004 at 09:57 PM (#897579)
Geez, I remember Van. Didn't he produce some absurdly optimistic Red Sox W-L projections back in the day?

Some more fodder: a sunshiney CHB year-in-review column, concluding with a little black cloud:

Red Sox enter playoffs with seasoned performers
   83. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: October 04, 2004 at 10:27 PM (#897602)
Damn, that last paragraph is a doozy. It was an enjoyable read up to that point.
DB
   84. Darren Posted: October 04, 2004 at 11:36 PM (#897673)
VORP and SNL have a couple of very obvious flaws. 1. They treat all runs the same, earned or unearned. Unearned runs aren't perfect, but they are better than raw runs.

2. The bigger problem is that they blindly use runs rather than component or DIPS numbers. This results in things like Radke ranking ahead of Johnson this year in SNL.

SNL also gives pitchers credit for inconsistency. Though that may actually result in more wins, there's not a real good reason to credit those wins to the pitcher.

On another subject, Eric Van is still an active poster over at SOSH, where he often debates statistical measures with a certain Tangotiger. I have no idea why Tango is over there, but after the way he handled disputes on Primate Studies, maybe it's where he belongs.
   85. Toby Posted: October 04, 2004 at 11:55 PM (#897691)
So, do you think Shredder is actually going to grace us with his presence?
   86. Mikαεl Posted: October 05, 2004 at 12:30 AM (#897738)
Darren,

If you don't mind the question, what was your problem with Tango? I didn't follow the Studies blog too closely, but I always enjoyed his contributions in articles and comments.

(The way he left was weird as all crap, if anyone has good gossip there...)

In actual baseball discussion, Radke has had a hell of a year, but it's easily his best in a long time, and it's hard to say that he's really this good. I'm expecting him to get stomped by the Yankees, but we'll see.

Oh, and the EMV day/night thesis was possibly the greatest Eric Van moment ever. If it wasn't, I'll sleep with Liv Tyler.
   87. Darren Posted: October 05, 2004 at 12:40 AM (#897756)
I didn't have a problem with Tangotiger. However, he seemed to rule Primate Studies with an iron fist, and I think SOSH is a lot like that. I certainly don't know any gossip about how he left.

I liked Eric's other projections where he'd project a player's line based on arbitrary endpoints of after taking out his bad starts. I believe Frank Castillo was going to be a top of the rotation starter for us when Duquette signed him.
   88. Vance Law Revue Posted: October 05, 2004 at 01:41 AM (#897814)
I liked Eric's other projections where he'd project a player's line based on arbitrary endpoints of after taking out his bad starts.

Blind squirrels and all, but he did project Mueller to a .390 OBP in 2003.

Of course, he also projected the Sox offense to 1150 runs that year.

I with Michael, though, the "Varitek is Barry Bonds shrouded by the tools of ignorance and a fear of darkness" theory was the best Vanism.
   89. scotto Posted: October 05, 2004 at 02:38 AM (#897848)
.
.
Posted by Gordon Edes at 09:42 PM (#897899)

When referring to him, please follow the Globe stylesheet as follows:

"Harvard brainiac and consumate Red Sox fan Eric M. Van."

Thank you.
   90. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 05, 2004 at 03:17 AM (#897869)
I'll be in the upper deck, right field side, tomorrow. I wonder during which inning the "19-18!" chant will start up.

I've never particularly hated the Sox until last year, when I took my parents to their first baseball game in America. Some Sox fans behind us ripped up the rally monkey dolls they were giving out at the game, and rained them down on two senior citizens who didn't quite know how to react.

Yeah, yeah, a few rotten apples, whatever. 1918, buddy.
   91. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 05, 2004 at 03:31 AM (#897889)
MLB.com's preview of the series.

Angels get the edge at catcher and center field? Please.
   92. Shredder Posted: October 05, 2004 at 03:46 AM (#897897)
Some Sox fans behind us ripped up the rally monkey dolls they were giving out at the game, and rained them down on two senior citizens who didn't quite know how to react.

I stand by my comment that there is no lower form of life than a visiting Sox fan.*

*scotto excluded. Oh, and Toby (who I've never heard of until today) owns a border collie, and they rule, so he may not be all that bad.
   93. Mattbert Posted: October 05, 2004 at 04:16 AM (#897923)
My favorite part of the MLB.com preview: no entry for starting pitching. It's not like that's important in the playoffs or anything.
   94. Shredder Posted: October 05, 2004 at 04:29 AM (#897944)
It wasn't in 2002.
   95. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 05, 2004 at 04:30 AM (#897945)
The intangibles section is just mean:
"With the Red Sox, it always begins and ends with The Curse. When things go awry, they can't avoid those "Here we go again" blues. But this motley crew is oblivious enough to end it."

So he's saying that the Sox are going to duck the Curse because they've got toughness or character or will, but that they're just stupid? Did Kruk write this?
   96. scotto Posted: October 05, 2004 at 04:30 AM (#897947)
Thanks Shredder.

If it goes to Game 5 you're more than welcome to come to my place to watch the game. I'd have you over for Game 4 but I don't think any actual game watching will happen - too many kids between the ages of 2 and 8 to allow it to happen.
   97. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 05, 2004 at 04:34 AM (#897959)
So he's saying that the Sox are going to duck the Curse because ...

Er, that should be NOT because.
But you knew that.
   98. Darren Posted: October 05, 2004 at 02:43 PM (#898473)
Some Sox fans behind us ripped up the rally monkey dolls they were giving out at the game, and rained them down on two senior citizens who didn't quite know how to react.


How many times do I have to say I'm sorry? I was drunk, okay? I thought they were real monkeys and they were taunting me.

Oh, and Toby (who I've never heard of until today) owns a border collie, and they rule, so he may not be all that bad.

Toby no longer has a border collie. Seems I ripped it up and rained it down on some senior citizens.
   99. Toby Posted: October 05, 2004 at 05:10 PM (#898828)
Never heard of me? Ouch.

Now my heart's been shredded and my dog's been, too.

Hmm ... them's the makings of a good country song.
   100. Toby Posted: October 05, 2004 at 05:18 PM (#898865)
FWIW, my Angels fan friend (see post #3) had this response:

Toby, in 1986 it was not the spider that caused the damage, it was the insertion of a relief pitcher who had lost his split-finger fastball. Having stood on the railing while watching that pitch fly over the fence, I know that is what cost us the series. In 2004, we do not have that same problem. The Angels will sweep this series.
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