Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Sox Therapy > Discussion
Sox Therapy
— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Thursday, August 30, 2018

11 Days To…Something

While the Red Sox have 32 days and 28 games left in their regular season there is a very good chance that the next 10 games over 11 days will be decisive.  The Sox have a challenging schedule with a seven game road trip against the White Sox and Braves then three at home against Houston.  While this is going on the Yankees will be playing four in Detroit then a challenge of their own with three in Oakland and three in Seattle.  If one team can assert itself during this stretch (or one team stumbles) the race will either be over or very tight with three weeks to go.  The good news for the Sox is that simply holding serve is enough with a strong lead in the division.

The last week and a half has been a bit uncomfortable with poor performances, injury and general malaise making the Sox look bad.  Still, when 4-6 (-8 runs) represents the worst ten game stretch of the season well that’s a pretty good indication that your season going A-OK.  Of course being 92-42 also provides that kind of indication.  A few thoughts on what we have seen over the last week and change and what it might mean;

- If there is a bigger notch in Alex Cora’s belt than Jackie Bradley I am not sure what it is.  I have touched on it several times but since that three day vacation in May he has hit .254/.329/.452.  What I have loved about the last two nights is his success in clutch situations against two types of pitchers he typically struggles with; hard throwers (Tuesday) and southpaws (Wednesday).  The Sox lineup changes so much when Bradley can provide something offensively.  He will never be even a Bill Mueller or Jason Varitek batting ninth but when JBJ is not in one of those automatic out stretches good things follow.

- One of the things that makes this team such a treat to watch is the way the hitters adjust.  During that 11 run inning Wednesday night you saw guys grip and rip (Bradley’s double, Holt’s triple) but also saw some guys just get the bat on the ball (Kinsler’s double, Nunez’ single) and I loved the aggression of Xander swinging 3-0.  The ability of the Sox to beat teams in a variety of ways differentiates them from some of their historic (see 1977-1978) brethren.

- Despite some recent stumbles I still feel good about the rotation.  Alex Speier made the good point that the Sox may use Price’s injury as an excuse to skip his start in Atlanta thereby absolving him of the need to swing a bat.  The discussed plan to have Steven Wright work out of the bullpen might get shuffled in that case.  The return of Eduardo Rodriguez on Saturday is potentially a huge boost and Scott’s protestations to the contrary I always feel good about Porcello.  My guess is that we will see Sale the weekend of the Houston series, just thinking it out Sale pitching on Friday the 7th and staying on an every fifth game schedule would line him up for;

9/7 - Houston
9/13 - Toronto
9/19 - @Yankees
9/24 - Baltimore
9/30 (last day of season) - Yankees

In a perfect world that would either be a start that is skipped or a 2-3 inning “stay sharp” session on an already clinched division (pleeeeease).

Add in Brian Johnson and a Nathan Eovaldi and I like what the Sox have.  Am I insane for thinking that a Johnson/Eovaldi piggyback might make a good fourth starter in the playoffs?  Generally I think Eovaldi has the type of stuff that can make him a dangerous reliever.  I can easily see him having the type of impact Bronson Arroyo had 14 years ago.

- On the flip side any kind of illusion that all is well in the bullpen has blown up pretty hard.  Putting Hector Velazquez back out there helps but the Sox need to find someone they can rely on.  The simple fact is that it is impossible to argue that the bullpen is good enough.  Intriguingly the American League seems to feature a lot of that with Houston, Cleveland and even New York having some issues out there.  The AL portion of the playoffs definitely look like they are setting up to be wars of attrition.

- One thing I was wondering about watching the game Tuesday night was if Cora has considered going to Leon in close games with Swihart behind the plate.  Despite being Swihart’s biggest fan game calling and defense in general are not his strong suits.  I thought he was too predictable during the at bat with Sierra that tied the game.  That’s a minor nitpick though.

- Just because; Blake Swihart since Vazquez went on the DL is hitting .283/.317/.433.

The Sox have stumbled a bit but every team does.  That they have managed not to surrender too much of their lead (just two games off from where they were when Cleveland arrived a week and a half ago) is probably as good as we could hope for during a stretch like this.

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 30, 2018 at 03:45 PM | 49 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. villageidiom Posted: August 31, 2018 at 09:55 AM (#5736859)
This is my shorter summary: when I heard the Yankees were getting McCutcheon my reaction was "meh". I can't express how unconcerned I am. I mean, it's not over, but the news was just something I shrugged off.

Maybe I am an idiot for reacting that way. McCutcheon is awesome. But it just felt like Cashman is Chief Brody, in a daze, muttering that they're gonna need a bigger boat. Not the best analogy to make, given that they ended up with a smaller boat and still vanquished the shark. Still, you get what I mean.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 31, 2018 at 10:08 AM (#5736862)
My reaction to the McCutchen news was that it is a sign that they aren't counting on Judge.

It's one game so it's dumb to think this way but last night had a feel of decisiveness. The comebacks in both Chicago and New York happened within about five minutes of each other. Still a long way to go but the last couple of nights have been a couple of really nice comebacks.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: August 31, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5736864)
While the Red Sox have 32 days and 28 games left in their regular season there is a very good chance that the next 10 games over 11 days will be decisive .... If one team can assert itself during this stretch (or one team stumbles) the race will either be over or very tight with three weeks to go.
Or both teams neither assert nor stumble and the next 10 games would have a good chance of being decisive...
   4. Darren Posted: August 31, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5736941)
Just popping in here to say this has been quite a year for Brian Johnson and Blake Swihart. Two guys who have struggled to find their place in the Majors, kept on the team because they had to be, and both have become contributors.

   5. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 31, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5736945)
Hey Darren, good to see you.

Yeah they've done a great job. My opinions on Swihart are well documented but I'm thrilled to see Johnson do so well. Between taking two line drives off his squash to dealing with depression to having frankly ordinary stuff seeing him able to succeed is nice.
   6. Darren Posted: August 31, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5736950)
I agree on McCutchen. He's a sign that Judge is probably out for a long time. He's also not what he once was--a lesser Mookie Betts. But of course, there's a chance he goes David Justice down the stretch.


Piggyback of Johnson/Eovaldi could be good, I think, Jose. Could mess with platoon advantage and timing a lot.


Here's a tidbit I noticed:
Betts, leading off game--.255 .315 .480

I know Cora sees a psychological advantage, but man, it's really interesting to wonder what it would be like to have Mookie batting 2nd or 3rd.
   7. Textbook Editor Posted: August 31, 2018 at 12:56 PM (#5736977)
I wonder how they will configure the 3 C's once Vasquez is back. Presumably Swihart has worked his way into playoff roster consideration, and I suppose being able to PH for Leon/Vasquez has value, but I do tend to wonder if some of the P dropoff of late has been due to Swihart behind the plate, but I've been too busy to look up C ERA, etc. to see if there's any validity to this supposition...

   8. dave h Posted: August 31, 2018 at 04:03 PM (#5737050)
Leon becomes very expendable, presuming Vazquez is full strength, right?
   9. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 31, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5737061)
CERA

Leon - 3.26
Vazquez - 3.76
Swihart - 4.27
Butler - 5.40

2017:
Leon - 3.41
Vazquez - 4.02

2016:
Hanigan - 3.55
Leon - 3.90
Vazquez - 4.27

2015:
Leon - 3.47
Swihart - 4.51
Hanigan - 4.58

So first of all...holy crap Sandy Leon has been getting meaningful playing time for the Sox for four years?

Second of all I go back to what Bill James wrote about Doug Gwosdz one year. Gwosdz was a non-descript backup catcher for the Padres whose starter was four time all star Terry Kennedy. For some reason though the Padres had some kind of ridiculous record when Gwosdz started. James noted that he wasn't sure WHY that was happening but he'd keep him around until he figured it out.

That's kind of how I feel about Leon. I know all the arguments against CERA but;

- the pitchers, coaches and both managers during his tenure have sung his praises
- the numbers ARE very good
- just watching him he looks good.

At some point he has to hit a bit and nine hits since the ASB is probably the wrong side of the line but the Sox' pitchers seem to do better with him back there than without him back there. Vazquez ain't exactly Mike Piazza with the bat and he's missed a lot of time. Assuming he will just step right in and be the player he was is probably optimistic in the extreme. Swihart's versatility means you can get him some PT around the diamond to keep him sharpish.
   10. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 31, 2018 at 08:10 PM (#5737129)
STILL POSSIBLY DOOMED IF RICK PORCELLO IS STARTING IMPORTANT GAMES.

(also, Sandy Leon does seem to call a really good game, just from anecdotal evidence.)
   11. Textbook Editor Posted: August 31, 2018 at 09:42 PM (#5737189)
STILL POSSIBLY DOOMED IF RICK PORCELLO IS STARTING IMPORTANT GAMES.


This.

I mean, I get it's gonna be (barring injury) Sale-Price in G1/G2 of the ALDS, but it's the G3 start that scares me because (a) I know they're going to start Porcello in G3, (b) I don't trust Porcello. At. All., and (c) I know they're gonna start Porcello in G3.

I was hoping EdRod could go lights out for 4 straight starts or something and work his way into a "hot hand" G3 start, but this seems unlikely on many levels.

It all, frankly, comes down to how quick a hook Cora has in playoff games. If Porcello looks awful, gives up 2 dingers and 40+ pitches in 1st inning... You have to cut bait and not wait for him to "figure it out."

This offense gives you multiple chances to catch back up, even if a SP shits the bed in the first inning or two... but you MUST have a quick playoff hook to give yourself a fighting chance.
   12. Darren Posted: September 01, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5737384)
It seems pretty lousy to have lost that game last night after such an extended delay. On a larger note, there should really be a limit to how long a rain delay can be. It's not fair to fans who paid for those tickets to get to see a few innings of a game, then have to sit around for hours, late into the night, to see the rest. At which point, the starting pitchers are pulled and some others as well possibly.
   13. Jay Seaver Posted: September 01, 2018 at 12:33 PM (#5737391)
It's arguably less fair to expect them to eat the tickets or screw around trying to sell them if the game gets resumed/rescheduled to a day they can't come, if it's not an easy trip.

I actually kind of like the long rain delay sometimes. I wouldn't hope for one, but you can walk around the park and sometimes you get a memorably weird game.
   14. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 01, 2018 at 10:15 PM (#5737547)
I think a Friday night on a long weekend is a pretty good time to have such a delay. Monday night in a school month, no way but all things considered that’s not a bad time for it.

I was bummed by the delay because I felt confident in getting at Kopech. We never got a second time through against him and the Sox have been manhnalding hard throwers this year.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 01, 2018 at 10:16 PM (#5737550)
Two observations;

1 - That was not only a nice win but really encouraging. Rodon is the kind of guy who has carved us up this year and we didn’t pound him but we hit him a bit. More importantly seeing EdRod look so sharp was great.

2 - This is probably nonsense but am I the only one who thinks JD Martinez hits incredibly hard top spin grounders? THe number of times he’s hit a topspin grounder that I thought was an out that just sizzled into the outfield amazes me.
   16. Jay Seaver Posted: September 01, 2018 at 10:37 PM (#5737555)
The thing that really encouraged me was Rodriguez being fairly efficient and aggressive. He usually drives me nuts with his refusal to throw strike three on an 0-2 or 1-2 count, always seeming to wind up with an average of 20 pitches/inning, but he was not messing around tonight.
   17. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 02, 2018 at 09:11 AM (#5737596)
I was hoping EdRod could go lights out for 4 straight starts or something and work his way into a "hot hand" G3 start, but this seems unlikely on many levels.

There's lights-out start #1!
   18. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 03, 2018 at 08:18 PM (#5738063)
He hasn’t pitched well and didn’t exactly dazzle today but Eovaldi taking the ball today gets a thumbs up from me. With Price skipping the start and Sale on the DL it was big to get a few innings out of him.
   19. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 04, 2018 at 12:26 AM (#5738106)
Well I think with 23 games to go and an 8.5 game lead we can be confident the 2 time AL East defending champs will soon be the 3 time AL East defending champs.

It's been an amazing season thus far, however if Price and Sale are shot to hell...then they're screwed(sure it's not a perfect rhyme but what do expect in the middle of a busy working day...)
   20. TomH Posted: September 04, 2018 at 06:28 AM (#5738113)
it's over
   21. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: September 04, 2018 at 08:35 AM (#5738129)
IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN OVER!!!

But seriously, if someone told you in March that the Red Sox would finish with 95 wins you'd have said "that's pretty good".

In the other thread, I said they would get to 110 pretty easily. Jose predicted 107. It could be in between, it could be > 110, it could be less than 107, but one thing is certain: The Yankees are finishing 2nd in the division. They may not get to 100. They have to go 14-10 to get to 100. I don't think they'll do that.
   22. villageidiom Posted: September 04, 2018 at 05:34 PM (#5738489)
It'll be "over" with the Yankees' first loss to the Jays. Boston will clinch a tie in the Bronx, but will win the division while in Cleveland.
   23. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 04, 2018 at 08:29 PM (#5738581)
I’ll relax a bit when we are done with the Astros if we are still in good shape.
   24. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 05, 2018 at 04:03 PM (#5739131)
Zoinks. That was something. Just for posterity sake the Red Sox won a game today on the road against a first place team using its ace with the following lineup;

CF - Bradley
RF - Swihart
LF - Benintendi
1B - Moreland
2B - Phillips
3B - Devers
SS - Holt
C - Vazquez
P - Velazquez

Because sure why not. This is just getting stupid.
   25. villageidiom Posted: September 06, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5739600)
And with the footnote that this was Brandon Phillips' first MLB appearance in almost a year.

Up 9.5 with 21.5 to go. Not over.
   26. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 06, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5739611)
I'm going Friday night; Price vs. Cole. That should be enjoyable. What's the over/under on the number of times the broadcasters use the phrase "possible ALCS preview" this weekend?
   27. TomH Posted: September 06, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5739730)
Q for vi: the Indians are up 16 games, or maybe it's 16 billion games, with >20 to play. Is it "over" for the AL Central?
   28. villageidiom Posted: September 06, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5740027)
Q for vi: the Indians are up 16 games, or maybe it's 16 billion games, with >20 to play. Is it "over" for the AL Central?
Yeah. The paths by which the Twins catch Cleveland are implausible.

To illustrate: what's the plausible worst case for Cleveland? They have series against Toronto, Tampa, Detroit, the White Sox (6 games), KC, and Boston. I think plausible worst case is they get swept by Boston and maybe Tampa (so, 0-6), and go roughly .500 in the rest (8-9). That gives us 8-15. If Cleveland goes 8-15, Minnesota could win all their games and Cleveland would still clinch. It would take something beyond plausible for the Twins (win nearly all their games), AND something beyond plausible for the Indians (lose more than 15), for the Indians to lose the Central. It's not mathematically over, but it's over.

If the Twins were only 10 games back, and had 6 more games head-to-head with the Indians, then that's a different story. It's plausible that the Twins sweep - there was a point this season when MIN had won 5 in a row against CLE - and then we're talking about MIN being 4 games back with 17 to go. It's still an uphill battle but it's at least plausible that MIN catches them. But that's from something closer to the BOS/NYY situation than the actual CLE/MIN situation. The AL Central is over.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: September 06, 2018 at 02:40 PM (#5740039)
If you call a very-likely thing "over" and the result doesn't change, no one gives you credit or thinks you smart. And if the unlikely happens and the result does change, you look stupid for declaring something "over" incorrectly. What's the point?
   30. villageidiom Posted: September 06, 2018 at 03:24 PM (#5740072)
What's the point?
We crave simplicity and certainty. We're human.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: September 06, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5740079)

If you call a very-likely thing "over" and the result doesn't change, no one gives you credit or thinks you smart. And if the unlikely happens and the result does change, you look stupid for declaring something "over" incorrectly. What's the point?


The secret is to be the second loudest. I was just as sure as anyone else that it was over in 2011, and said as much. I just didn't write it as Rayish.
   32. SandyRiver Posted: September 07, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5740467)
The secret is to be the second loudest. I was just as sure as anyone else that it was over in 2011, and said as much. I just didn't write it as Rayish.

The early bird gets the worm. The second mouse gets the cheese.
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: September 07, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5740473)
I still laugh at my friend (a big Patriots fan) who went to bed during the Falcons-Patriots super bowl. He's definitely one of those people who likes to smugly declare games "over" as soon as he can.

Some people who try so hard to be jaded/cynical/mature have swung around back to naivete.
   34. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: September 07, 2018 at 05:23 PM (#5740692)
The 2011 September was a once in a lifetime failure, for a team that had won as many as 83 games through 8/31.

This team was at 93 wins thru 8/31.

It. Is. Over.
   35. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: September 07, 2018 at 05:28 PM (#5740694)
Enjoy the game, Jose!
   36. John DiFool2 Posted: September 07, 2018 at 06:02 PM (#5740714)
The Yankees currently have, on their disabled list, their two best position players and their closer, and only just got their SS back today. FG & BBP have them both around 1% for the division.
   37. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: September 07, 2018 at 06:06 PM (#5740715)
FG & BBP have them both around 1% for the division.


So you're telling me there's a chance...
   38. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: September 07, 2018 at 06:37 PM (#5740721)
Tommy John for Kopech, in case you're not watching NESN.
   39. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 07, 2018 at 07:46 PM (#5740739)
Section 31, row 3. These are great seats.
   40. Textbook Editor Posted: September 07, 2018 at 09:08 PM (#5740779)
Pedroia ruled out fo the season, and it was revealed he has a procedure in July to remove scar tissue; 3 procedures in all last 10 months.

This is really sad but... I think this may well be all she wrote.

There's gonna be a dearth of 2B who played who career between 2000-2020 when it comes to HOF consideration; Utley and Pedroia are 2 of only 4 2B with over 50+ WAR (Utley has the edge, 65.5 to 52.1) and who have their whole career (80% or more at 2B) within 2000-2020, so if this is essentially the end aside from some stat-padding, I do think Pedroia has an outside shot at a HOF selection, whether now or way down the road as a veteran's pick
   41. Textbook Editor Posted: September 07, 2018 at 10:42 PM (#5740816)
Is it too late to fire Joe Kelly into the sun?

I don't want him anywhere near a playoff roster.
   42. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 08, 2018 at 12:51 AM (#5740835)
I used that exact phrase in a text with friends today.
   43. Answer Guy, without side hustles. Posted: September 09, 2018 at 10:27 PM (#5741412)
I wouldn't say I'm pants-pissing exactly - the Yankees would need to get blazing hot to a degree we haven't really seen out of them to any shot at taking the division away even if the Sox stumble a bit - but I am also wondering how on earth the Sox are going to get through playoff series against playoff-caliber opposition with a bullpen that looks as bad as this one does. They owe most of their gaudy record to a demonstrated ability to slice through MLB's many bad teams.
   44. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: September 12, 2018 at 05:50 AM (#5742745)
They're 8-5 against the Yankees. They're 9-3 against Tampa ( a 90 win team, probably/maybe). 2-2 against Cleveland, 3-0 against the Braves, 3-3 against Houston. They're 2-4 against Oakland. That adds up to 27-17 against good teams.

One way they can win in the playoffs is if Sale and Price go deep into games, and the offense gets hot. I wouldn't bet against them.
   45. SoSH U at work Posted: September 12, 2018 at 07:08 PM (#5743184)
They owe most of their gaudy record to a demonstrated ability to slice through MLB's many bad teams.


Houston against good teams (teams on pace to finish with 10 more wins than losses): 38-35. New York: 32-25, Cleveland: 14-25. The Sox have beaten up on bad teams, but no more than our two closest rivals, and much less than the Tribe.
   46. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 12, 2018 at 09:58 PM (#5743269)
Win #100 in the books!

but I am also wondering how on earth the Sox are going to get through playoff series against playoff-caliber opposition with a bullpen that looks as bad as this one does.


But most of those guys in there now won't be seen in the playoffs. Cora has the #4, 5 and 6 starters at his disposal along with Sale or Price coming back to save a game if necessary. If you've got like 3-4 guys you can count on, you're usually pretty good. Hopefully they'll roll in the first round and get to the ALCS without too much fuss. Then it'll be on for young and old. Both Houston and Cleveland shape up as seriously good playoff rosters.

Ironically the AL will have these epic series and someone like the Snakes or Brewers will sneak into the series and luck their way to winning it in 6. The playoffs really are a crap shoot.
   47. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 12, 2018 at 11:49 PM (#5743351)
The last few days have been rather pleasant. It was cool to be there for win number 100.
   48. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 13, 2018 at 12:26 AM (#5743354)
Jose, yeah, very cool. There must have been quite a buzz. Been a long, long time since they won 100. Just a really special moment.
   49. Nasty Nate Posted: September 13, 2018 at 12:28 AM (#5743355)
Two things haven't happened for 70+ years: Sox win 100 games, and the Twins win a series against the yankees. Cheers!

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Infinite Yost (Voxter)
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

IT’S OVER
(3 - 11:45am, Sep 21)
Last: dave h

11 Days Later
(85 - 11:08am, Sep 21)
Last: Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature

6,036 Days
(15 - 2:49pm, Sep 20)
Last: Nasty Nate

Finishing Up - The Sox Therapy Concernometer
(81 - 10:51am, Sep 17)
Last: Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature

11 Days To...Something
(49 - 12:28am, Sep 13)
Last: Nasty Nate

Extra Special
(43 - 1:01pm, Aug 20)
Last: villageidiom

What Do We Got?
(46 - 10:03am, Aug 15)
Last: Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature

Hope Springs Eternal (Sox Therapy Predictions)
(31 - 10:04am, Aug 06)
Last: villageidiom

Halfwayish Home
(81 - 7:00pm, Jul 31)
Last: Biff, highly-regarded young guy

Bigfoot, and Unicorns, and the Red Sox Bullpen
(31 - 8:32pm, Jul 14)
Last: dave h

It's Getting Drafty
(26 - 4:17pm, Jul 02)
Last: Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature

A Pleasant Trip So Far
(60 - 10:27am, Jul 01)
Last: John DiFool2

Where Are We?
(33 - 3:01pm, Jun 29)
Last: Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature

That Was Fun
(38 - 2:15pm, Jun 08)
Last: Darren

Lining Up The Minors
(29 - 9:53am, Jun 06)
Last: villageidiom

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.3867 seconds
40 querie(s) executed