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Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Bad Short Term Weekend But Long Term?

So the first four games of 2019 were not quite as enjoyable as the last four of 2018, or the first four, or really just about any four.  However, the Sox entered spring training with a plan in place to ease the pitchers into it in hopes that it would pay dividends down the road.  Add the late reports of Xander Bogaerts getting inked to a long term deal and this weekend’s disappointments will likely be a footnote over not just 2019 but the long term.

Xander Bogaerts may not be going anywhere

It’s unconfirmed at the moment (Sunday night) but Alex Speier has the Sox and Xander closing in on a 6/120 deal (I’ve also seen 7/132 reported).  In either case this is an excellent deal in my opinion.  Bogaerts is a star and in my opinion he is the anchor of this team the way Dustin Pedroia has been for many years.

Rafael Devers is a lively dude

It’s not so much what Devers did at the plate as how he looked moving.  He picked up a steal and just generally he looks like a guy moving faster and better than he did a year ago.  He is not a speedburner and never will be but he looks much improved on the bases.  In the field he still is not great but he seems to have dramatically improved his range (particularly to his right).  He just needs to get more sure handed but I think the skills and work ethic are there for him to follow the type of path we saw Wade Boggs follow (as a fielder) going from quite poor to quite good.

The plan with the starting pitchers…is a work in progress

The Sox have made a concerted effort to limit the rotation a bit early in the year having them throw less in Fort Myers and asking them to ease into things.  These moves are designed to have the group fresh and strong come September and October.  Drawing conclusions based on one start is a fool’s errand but this was disappointing.

The guy I found frustrating was EdRod.  It was more of the same from him.  Get ahead early, then not find a way to put people away.  It seems from what I read that he did not really execute the plan the Sox had put into place.

Matt Barnes was quite impressive

So it was just one inning but on a tough weekend it was nice to see someone stepping up.  He really pitched well in his save opportunity and had an excellent curveball.  When that pitch is working forget it.

The offense is still going to be lethal

The Sox were piling up the runs with their share of enthusiasm.  It was good to see a few guys pop long balls to get on the board for 2019.  It’s always nice when you don’t have to look at that big “0” on the scoreboard for too long.

The thing that struck me is they have picked up where they left off in terms of being relentless.  It has to be exasperating, the Mariners dominated all weekend and the Sox were two good swings away from taking 3 out of 4.  They are never out of a game.

Long story short this was not the weekend we wanted but it is just one series.  I think seeing the offense get off to a good start is encouraging and the pitching will absolutely be better than this for the balance of the season.  Losing 3 out of 4 in Seattle ain’t great but at the same time it’s probably better than losing 2 out of 3 at home to Baltimore.

Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: March 31, 2019 at 09:24 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: April 01, 2019 at 08:55 AM (#5827327)
Losing 3 out of 4 in Seattle ain’t great but at the same time it’s probably better than losing 2 out of 3 at home to Baltimore.
But not as "good" as losing 3 of 4 at Tampa Bay, I guess.
   2. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 01, 2019 at 12:17 PM (#5827427)
It’s unconfirmed at the moment (Sunday night) but Alex Speier has the Sox and Xander closing in on a 6/120 deal (I’ve also seen 7/132 reported). In either case this is an excellent deal in my opinion. Bogaerts is a star and in my opinion he is the anchor of this team the way Dustin Pedroia has been for many years.


I will be very happy with this if either of those numbers are true.
   3. pikepredator Posted: April 01, 2019 at 12:30 PM (#5827434)
I'm loving all these contract extensions. I'd rather the contractual certainty and the possibility of injury (Lookin' at you, Sale) rather than have contractual uncertainty . . . so exciting to see a young core getting locked up on the heels of winning the Series.
   4. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 01, 2019 at 02:27 PM (#5827525)
I am curious if the Sox are going to try and get under the tax in 2020.

Coming off the books & leaving holes:
1B - Moreland/Pearce - $12.75M
2B Caddy/Utility - Nunez & Holt - $8.575M
SP - Porcello - $20.625M

Coming off the books & no one cares:
RP - Thornbug - $1.75M

Coming off the books and it closes a longstanding team nightmare:
Designated Eater - Fat Panda - $18.455M

Estimated on the books tax hit for 2020 = $131.117

Notable Arb Raises:
JBJ - A4 - Currently @ $8.55
Ed Rod - A3 - Currently @ $4.3

Filling in the holes:
X - $20M
Betts - $30M
Arb & Pre-Arb Players (rough 33% increase over 2019) - $30M

Subtotal = $211

And that's with no replacement at 1B, 2B, utility, SP

So no, they will be paying the tax next year too.
   5. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: April 01, 2019 at 08:21 PM (#5827677)
I will be very happy with this if either of those numbers are true.

Turns out they both are. 6/$120MM extension on top of his current 1/$12MM so total 7/$132MM 2019-2025 as of now. Plus a vesting option based on PA for another $20MM for 2026.

I am THRILLED!
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: April 01, 2019 at 08:32 PM (#5827682)
I like the Bogaerts extension. I would have preferred they didn't extend Sale.
   7. Darren Posted: April 01, 2019 at 08:37 PM (#5827685)
I was really sure that Bogaerts was going to get 7/170 or something in that range, and that the Sox would pass. This is a nice deal.

I'm surprised Bogaerts didn't try to get an opt out one year earlier, while still in his 20s.
   8. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 01, 2019 at 09:03 PM (#5827693)
That Xander deal seems....well like really cheap. He's just consistently good and I think he'll throw in a couple of 5 WAR seasons in the next 5-6 years anyway.
Now nail down Mookie and they are looking pretty good for the future

Oh and that easing the SP pitching into the season thing...not too good so far.

Whatever they did last year seemed to work a smidge better.

This losing 3 games before you win 15 or more is not something I really like either.
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: April 02, 2019 at 01:32 AM (#5827760)
Katie Sharp
‏ @ktsharp
37m37 minutes ago

Red Sox have allowed 41 runs in their first 5 games.

Last 5 MLB teams to do that averaged 67 wins for the season.
   10. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 02, 2019 at 08:01 AM (#5827764)
Wait til next year.

Not exactly the start we were looking for. Hopefully second time through the rotation will be a little less crummy.

I'm with Darren and Hugh, the deal feels very reasonable. Between that and the Sale deal the Sox have signed guys for a bit less in dollars and years than I would have expected. That suggests that internally there is a desire for players to be here.
   11. SandyRiver Posted: April 03, 2019 at 10:05 AM (#5828115)
Finally get a good start, and they forget how to score. Sale going 6 strong innings with but a single K is weird. Worrysome?
   12. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 03, 2019 at 10:43 AM (#5828137)
A bit worrisome but I'm not overly concerned yet. He's at about 20 innings pitched including spring training which my memory suggests is where a lot of guys go through some "dead arm" period. Of course Sale's history is not great.

I'm torn right now. Like all the cliches; marathon, sprint, etc...are 100% valid and this team barring something truly catastrophic is winning 90 games. There is a 2011ness to this start and for as bad as that went they won 90 games and in the current rules would have been the second wild card. I think that's the absolute low end. Last year they won 108 in large part because they never had stretches where it all didn't work. The first six games last year were;

4-6
1-0
3-2
2-1
7-3
4-2

So the bats weren't going but the arms were. Later in the year they won games by scores like 19-12 and 14-10. The arms weren't working but the bats were. If you take this team as a true talent 97 win team (give or take) that kind of luck is going to be the difference in a +5/-5 win situation.

With all that said these games count. I'd like to win a fourth straight division title and while I'm confident that things like Betts (.227) and Benintendi (.150) or the starters having an ERA of about 12.00 isn't going to continue losing these games does matter. It also takes away some margin of error. Part of the reason 2011 went the way it did is the 2-10 start meant that they weren't in position to absorb the late season injuries. Had they got 5-7 at the start they would have made the playoffs comfortably.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: April 03, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5828144)
The club is already four games behind the Orioles. I thought it would take at least until June for that to happen.
   14. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: April 03, 2019 at 12:59 PM (#5828206)
I thought it might take until June for the Orioles to win 4 games.
   15. villageidiom Posted: April 04, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5828487)
I'll say that it was nice to see a result that was better than the process for once in 2019. Eovaldi was all over the place last night, but at this stage 3 ER in 5 IP is a big step up for the rotation. And as much as we can cite the lucky double Betts had last night as evidence that they didn't deserve to win on the merits, (a) they earned the tie they had to that point, and (b) Fernando Rodney. So yeah, they deserved to win.

If this is how the bullpen will work this season I will enjoy this very, very much. It's not just that they put a bunch of zeroes on the board. But Barnes coming in for Davis in the 7th was just perfect.
   16. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 04, 2019 at 10:45 AM (#5828515)
(b) Fernando Rodney.


I always feel confident when he comes into a game against the Sox. Even when he gets the save it never seems easy.
   17. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 04, 2019 at 11:16 AM (#5828534)
I always feel confident when he comes into a game against the Sox. Even when he gets the save it never seems easy.


46 games against the Sox - tOPS+ of 120. Just below the Blue Jays and Angels (131 & 140) in comparable # of games. The Sox have a .743 OPS against him.
   18. Darren Posted: April 05, 2019 at 12:28 PM (#5828906)
This team looks totally unprepared, which is surprising given how prepared they were right out of the gate last year. The idea of easing in the pitchers appears to be a mistake, but at least you see the thinking there. The rest of the team, though, looks like they just aren't focused--baserunning, defense, approach at the plate, you name it.
   19. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 05, 2019 at 01:25 PM (#5828943)
Darren - Yeah, I wonder if the pitching stuff has carried over mentally to the rest of the team. It may not even be conscious but if you're Mookie or Benintendi or whoever there has to be a "well if they aren't going to push Sale and Price I'm going to ease into it too" mindset.

One other thing. Since the advent of the Wild Card they've had an early west coast trip five times. It really has never gone well;

2009 - 3-6 (1-2 at home, then 2-4 in LA & OAK) (9-0 ensuing homestand)
2008 - 3-4 (two in Japan, two in Oakland, three in Toronto) (4-2 ensuing homestand)
2000 - 2-4 (5-2 ensuing homestand)
1998 - 3-5 (9-1 ensuing homestand)
1997 - 4-4 (5-4 ensuing homestand)

So I don't want to just give them a pass but as I've been telling anyone who asks, I want to get through the first homestand before I start the urination process. You're 100% right though, they look dare I say it like the Bobby Valentine Red Sox right now. The difference is the talent here is off the charts and I don't think Cora is alienating the clubhouse.
   20. pikepredator Posted: April 05, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5828973)
The difference is the talent here is off the charts and I don't think Cora is alienating the clubhouse.


Agreed. They are not playing well and things aren't breaking right, but they're a talented team who had a great time winning together last year. I haven't lost any confidence in them, and wouldn't be surprised to see them reel off 20 of 25 to get up to 22 and 11, starting dancing around on the field again and having fun.

That said, another 2-6 stretch would definitely make my palms sweaty.
   21. villageidiom Posted: April 05, 2019 at 02:54 PM (#5828981)
The rest of the team, though, looks like they just aren't focused--baserunning, defense, approach at the plate, you name it.
The lack of focus on the basepaths and in the field is what bugs me the most about Nunez. They need vintage Pedroia, but even absent that they could use Pedroia instincts with sub-Pedroia range - which is what they'll get with Pedroia.

One other thing. Since the advent of the Wild Card they've had an early west coast trip five times. It really has never gone well

FWIW, here's where they finished in the division each of those years:

2009 - 2nd, 8 GB
2008 - 2nd, 2 GB
2000 - 2nd, 2.5 GB

1998 - 2nd, 22 GB
1997 - 4th, 20 GB

Arguably the bad start made the difference in the divisional race in 2 of those 5 years. (It made no difference in playoff qualifications for the other 3 years.) That's not good.
   22. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 05, 2019 at 03:26 PM (#5829012)
vi - Yeah that's why this matters. I think those years (and 2011 also) can demonstrate that a bad start by a talented team is not proof that the team suddenly isn't talented but it also demonstrates that games in April (and March) count.
   23. Chip Posted: April 06, 2019 at 01:49 AM (#5829146)
It would help the fans if they could just give us a date when they expect to complete their extended spring training schedule and begin taking games seriously. Then we can binge-watch all those Netflix and Amazon series we’ve missed, and otherwise keep our TVs tuned to content other than that provided by NESN until said date.
   24. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 06, 2019 at 03:03 AM (#5829149)
I watched a little bit of the early innings today, in particular the 4th. A flair falls between 3 fielders, a liner off Holt's glove(I'm thinking Pedey catches this) and Moreland then fails to field an easy grounder which should've been a double play ball. Just stuff that didn't seem to happen at all last year.
Or the ball in Oakland that fell between JBJ and Mookie they either could have caught and bounced over the wall for a double. Xander getting nailed at 3rd in a 1 run game going for triple. None of that stuff went against them last year.
As mentioned above, everyone just looks underdone. There's nothing...errr..sharp or crisp about them. If they were pants they'd be loose.
It's very odd. I'm not enjoying it, but then again the Cubs have only won 1! game and are 5.5 back of the Brewers; an actual good team.

I don't think the Rays can win more then 92-93 games so for me it's a matter of staying close to NY and still keeping track of 95 wins. Hopefully then can win 3 of 4 soon and right the ship, but man does the SP look bad....really bad.

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