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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 06, 2010 at 02:26 PM (#3609681)
Chances of other outcomes, using the starting pitcher adjustment:

18.9% - Red Sox 3-1
37.1% - Series split
31.1% - Yankees 3-1
9.3% - Yankees sweep
   2. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 06, 2010 at 02:39 PM (#3609709)
I feel a million times better going up against the Sox without Youkilis. It sucks that he's hurt, but I'm positive that he would have taken Vazquez yard at least once if he were healthy.

The Yanks aren't hitting much right now, hopefully a big series against the Sox wakes them up. The Yanks better win the first two, those last two games look like L's the way Burnett has pitched against the Sox.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 06, 2010 at 02:45 PM (#3609716)
Obviously the Sox aren't as good without Youkilis and Pedroia, but they've spent so much of the season without so many of their best players, it's hard to say that the offense projects to be a lot worse than it's been. It does project to be worse, though.
   4. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 06, 2010 at 02:52 PM (#3609725)
Obviously the Sox aren't as good without Youkilis and Pedroia, but they've spent so much of the season without so many of their best players, it's hard to say that the offense projects to be a lot worse than it's been.

I am pretty sure Lowell will have a huge series. He always seems to come up with a big HR in the late season series against the Yanks. But Youkilis is that terrifying presence in the middle of the lineup and there's (IMO) no way Vazquez could have faced him 3 times in a game and kept him in the yard (Yes, I know he's probably done it before). With him out, I feel much better about Vazquez's chances to keep the Yanks in the game. Pedroia is nearly as good of a player, but Youkilis scares me a lot more, especially with a right hander who throws 89-91 with a change and HR problem on the mound.
   5. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 06, 2010 at 03:17 PM (#3609747)
The pitching match ups are good for the Sox but just as I'd feel confident if the Yankees were without Teixeira and Cano I feel pessimistic without Pedroia and Youkilis.

This could be a crazy series though. Neither team features a real lock down bullpen so I wouldn't be shocked if one of these games had a big comeback in it.
   6. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 06, 2010 at 03:30 PM (#3609759)
Neither team features a real lock down bullpen so I wouldn't be shocked if one of these games had a big comeback in it.

From memory, it seems that the Burnett-Beckett games tend to have scores like 11-8 (it may just be that 15-11 game skewing my memory, when Tek hit that grand slam against Burnett) or something like that, because Burnett sucks and Tito always leaves Beckett out there an inning too long. Buchholz-Vazquez would be my second pick to be one of those 20 run games.

I haven't seen the Yanks play in more than a month. I am pumped (as evidenced by my constant posting in Sox Therapy) that I am going to get to see 3 out of the four games in this series.
   7. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 06, 2010 at 03:30 PM (#3609760)
I think you might be surprised, Jose. Robertson has been really good for awhile now, and Mo is having his best year ever.
   8. The Good Face Posted: August 06, 2010 at 03:34 PM (#3609766)
I feel a million times better going up against the Sox without Youkilis. It sucks that he's hurt, but I'm positive that he would have taken Vazquez yard at least once if he were healthy.


Yes. The numbers show that he's mortal (although really, really good), but every time I see him against the Yankees, it seems like everything off his bat is a laser beam. I have yet to see him make weak contact.
   9. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: August 06, 2010 at 09:16 PM (#3610071)
Doubront is up, with Okajima hitting the DL with a case of the sucks, I mean calf strain, wait now it's his hamstring. Meanwhile, Bowden has looked good in relief in Pawtucket: 2.19 ERA, 12.1 IP, 12 k, 3 bb, 0 HR. I wonder what it will turn out Delcarmen has been suffering from all along -- strained k/bb ratio?
   10. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 06, 2010 at 09:46 PM (#3610091)
Fwiw, Accuscore gives the Red Sox a 41% chance for game 1.
   11. Jayszone93 Posted: August 06, 2010 at 10:46 PM (#3610124)
Has Beckett met our expectations?

http://tdotsports1.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/beckett-career-perspective/
   12. Spaceman Posted: August 06, 2010 at 11:22 PM (#3610145)
Thanks, Matt
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 07, 2010 at 12:44 AM (#3610237)
Yes. The numbers show that [Youkilis is] mortal (although really, really good), but every time I see him against the Yankees, it seems like everything off his bat is a laser beam. I have yet to see him make weak contact.

Well, if it's any consolation, he's only .273 / .429 / .273 / .701 against Mo.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 07, 2010 at 02:33 AM (#3610367)
Updated...

9.3% Red Sox sweep
34.9% Red Sox 3-1
41.0% series split
14.8% Yankees 3-1
   15. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 07, 2010 at 02:49 AM (#3610371)
Aw, raspberries.
   16. Sonic Youk Posted: August 07, 2010 at 03:03 AM (#3610376)
Apparently Delgado tried out for the team before tonight's game.

I like it. I think most of us have given up on this team, but its cool to see them have some serious balls and fight to the death over this season.
   17. Spaceman Posted: August 07, 2010 at 03:16 AM (#3610379)
Updated...

Yeah, you keep those updates coming, Matt
   18. Spaceman Posted: August 07, 2010 at 03:23 AM (#3610381)
Well, if it's any consolation, he's only .273 / .429 / .273 / .701 against Mo.

Yankees vs Paps:
Jeter - .675
Cano - .646
Posada - .500
Swisher - .250
Teixeira - .111

Oh, I almost forgot your starting catcher:
Cervelli - .000
   19. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 07, 2010 at 04:28 AM (#3610401)
I like it. I think most of us have given up on this team, but its cool to see them have some serious balls and fight to the death over this season.


Something has to start going their way - the Czervelli dropped catch may be just the beginning
   20. Answer Guy Posted: August 07, 2010 at 04:56 AM (#3610408)
At least it's not going to end in a humiliating sweep now. It of course could still be a moderately embarassing (under the circumstances) 1-3 series, though the likeliest outcome is the respectable-but-none-too-helpful 2-2 split.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 07, 2010 at 10:41 AM (#3610453)
Dr. Spaceman-

So, you're just cherry-picking the worst head-to-head OPS's? Obviously Papelbon has struggled against the Yankees, and guys like ARod and Gardner have hit him well. Granderson, too, from his days in Detroit. I really have no idea what you're trying to say.

Cervelli's OPS is actually 1000 - he got hit by a pitch. Once. It's a meaningless number either way.

I don't think head-to-head OPS is a meaningful number, due to sampling issues. I also don't think that player v. team OPS is meaningful, both due to sampling issues and because teams change over time. Papelbon looked good last night, regardless of what OPS different Yankees have put up against him in seven to ten plate appearances.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 07, 2010 at 12:54 PM (#3610472)
Some reflections on last night-

-I really like watching Ryan Kalish play baseball. He's a good defender in a corner, he's got an advanced approach at the plate, he's quick to the ball, and while his power right now is a bit marginal for a corner player, you can see the projection in his swing. If Kalish stays healthy, I expect him to be a solidly above average RF during his cheap years, and he could easily be an all-star. Right now, Kalish is only about average with the bat, but he'll start hitting homers more regularly as he develops.

-On the other side, it is deeply, deeply annoying that Robinson Cano has become a great hitter. Michael Kay would not shut the crap up about how beautiful Cano's swing is, but godammit, it really is a nearly perfect swing.

-And what's the deal with Javy Vazquez's fastball? I guess I just hadn't watched him closely this season, but he's lost several mph off the fastball from his peak. (According to fangraphs, it's a 2.3 mile drop in average velocity just from 2009.) After the freakouts about the salary dump trade and the debates about FIP, Vazquez looks to have made this all moot just by aging.

-Papelbon continues to look just fine, thanks.
   23. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 07, 2010 at 01:21 PM (#3610477)
I think you might be surprised, Jose. Robertson has been really good for awhile now, and Mo is having his best year ever.


Knew about Rivera but didn't realize Robertson had straightened out. Still, like the Sox with Bard/Papelbon they seem thin out there with Joba playing the role of Okajima as "key guy not getting it done." Any game the starter leaves early is up in the air even with a good lead. I'm not concerned about Joba/Wood and no reason for Yankee fans to worry about Delcarmen/Atchison.
   24. Raskolnikov Posted: August 07, 2010 at 01:30 PM (#3610483)
As the Mets are dying an agonizing death, I'm rooting for the Sox. Hope Lackey starts earning that contract tonight.
   25. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 07, 2010 at 01:41 PM (#3610486)
Agree on Cano - best swing in the game
   26. Spaceman Posted: August 07, 2010 at 02:07 PM (#3610500)
St Nick cherrypicked one single pitcher who has Youks number, I just returned the favor. I know the numbers are not meaningful.
   27. Spaceman Posted: August 07, 2010 at 02:20 PM (#3610507)
I'd say the Sox OF defense deserves a shout-out. That one catch by Mr. Ellsbury was out of this world. Welcome back!
   28. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: August 07, 2010 at 03:06 PM (#3610519)
Why can't people use the link function?
   29. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: August 07, 2010 at 03:09 PM (#3610521)
That win seems to have quieted the "season's over" crowd for another night at least. The Sox are in precisely the position a team needing make up ground want to be in -- lots of games against the teams ahead of them, 15 of the final 52.
   30. Answer Guy Posted: August 07, 2010 at 03:29 PM (#3610534)
That win seems to have quieted the "season's over" crowd for another night at least.


This was, depending on how one feels about the recent struggles of Lester, probably the most favorable pitching matchup of the four game set.

Today's obviously a pretty important game from that perspective. Steal this one (I imagine Yankee fans think of CC as the firewall of this weekend) and it is a bit of a game changer.
   31. JJ1986 Posted: August 07, 2010 at 04:47 PM (#3610590)
Delgado signs with Red Sox. Minor league deal.
   32. RJ in TO Posted: August 07, 2010 at 04:57 PM (#3610594)
Delgado signs with Red Sox. Minor league deal.

While I hate the idea of Delgado wearing a Red Sox uni, I'm pleased to see he may get his chance to get to 500 HR.
   33. Dan Posted: August 07, 2010 at 05:03 PM (#3610597)
I wonder how long it will take Delgado to get ready to face major league pitching.
   34. Dan Posted: August 07, 2010 at 05:04 PM (#3610598)
Also, Ellsbury is out of today's lineup after making the diving catch last night. Against Sabathia it's probably not a big deal to lose his lefty bat, but the downgrade in CF defense might hurt with Lackey on the mound.

Sox lineup:
Scutaro SS
Lowrie 2B
Ortiz DH
Martinez C
Beltre 3B
Lowell 1B
Drew RF
Hall LF
McDonald CF
   35. RJ in TO Posted: August 07, 2010 at 05:14 PM (#3610601)
I wonder how long it will take Delgado to get ready to face major league pitching.

Probably a week or two. He's undoubtedly in game shape physically, since he's been doing nothing but working out for the last year. Really, all he needs to work on is his timing, and it shouldn't take too long in the minors to sort that out.
   36. Dale Sams Posted: August 07, 2010 at 05:29 PM (#3610611)
Delgado signs with Red Sox. Minor league deal


Season's over.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 08, 2010 at 03:31 AM (#3611012)
The numbers have grown boring, but here they are nonetheless:

25.7% - Red Sox 3-1
51.0% - series split
23.3% - Yankees 3-1

Can't really complain about today's game. Sabathia looked excellent in that deeply boring way that he's made his own. Lackey showed the sort of stuff that made him an ace in LA, as well as the lack of command that's made him so mediocre in Boston. That's a sort of improvement for him. Hard to win when that's the pitching matchup.
   38. Sonic Youk Posted: August 08, 2010 at 03:37 AM (#3611016)
Can I say I don't "get" Sabathia? He just doesn't look like an amazing pitcher. I'm sure he's awesome and everything, but his pitches don't look as devastating as his results indicate. I assume its all in the slider, because his fastball seems hittable, I guess.
   39. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 08, 2010 at 04:02 AM (#3611030)
When Sabathia's on, he's got terrific command of all of his pitches, and pitches at a quick pace that keeps his fielders alert. When he's not on, his command problems usually result in loss of control within the strike zone, and he gives up .8 HR/G. Today was a fairly typical outing for him: In trouble early due to lack of control, then settling down and pitching deep into the game. He's a legitimate ace, but more because of his stamina and consistency than because of any otherworldly stuff. He's seldom as good as (say) Burnett at his best, but he's almost never as bad as Burnett at his worst. He may also be the most "unflappable" Yankee starter I've seen since the prime years of El Duque, and he seldom gets really torched; he's only given more more than 3 earned runs 4 times all year, which is on pace to be a fairly big improvement over 2009.

Bottom line: He'll almost always keep the Yanks in the game going into the late innings.
   40. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 08, 2010 at 04:11 AM (#3611035)
Hard to win when that's the pitching matchup.


I give full props to CC today. But the home-plate umping was so bad, it's hard to say what the game would have look like with a competent ump back there. Yes, I'm exaggerating, but I'm still angry, dammit.
   41. Spaceman Posted: August 08, 2010 at 05:18 PM (#3611176)
it's hard to say what the game would have look like with a competent ump back there

I will say, pretty much the same given that Drew and Papi were facing a very tough lefty, and Youks and Ellsbury were not. The aggregate SLG% of last nights lineup vs last nights pitcher can not be more than say, .300. Lackey simply had to show up for the game but he did not.
   42. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 08, 2010 at 05:32 PM (#3611188)
he's only given more more than 3 earned runs 4 times all year

That seems particularly good, but I don't know how common it is for top starters.
   43. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 08, 2010 at 05:50 PM (#3611211)
Robertson has been really good for awhile now

Too little, too late. I'm going to lose that damn bet because of the first week of the season.
   44. Dan Posted: August 08, 2010 at 09:22 PM (#3611404)
Looks like you're going to need to re-run your odds, Mikael. Burnett has been scratched from tonight's start with back spasms, and won't pitch until Tuesday. So Moseley and Hughes are being moved up to face the SOx tonight and tomorrow, respectively.
   45. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 08, 2010 at 09:31 PM (#3611408)
So Moseley and Hughes are being moved up to face the SOx tonight and tomorrow, respectively.


Would be nice to beat Moseley tonight and then play on Monday to take the series. That would make them 4 back of the Yanks, and as of right now they're only 4 back of the Wild Card; the Rays have fallen into a slump, losing 5 in a row.
   46. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 08, 2010 at 10:21 PM (#3611425)
I'm sure the numbers don't bear this out, but I'd almost rather see Mosley pitch then Burnett at this point.

At least everyone is on normal rest. Thank you, day off!
   47. Darren Posted: August 09, 2010 at 02:12 AM (#3611602)
Beckett beat by Mosley. Lester beat by Masterson. These are not things that should be said of a team headed for the playoffs. A split will not mean the season's over, but it will be close.
   48. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: August 09, 2010 at 02:45 AM (#3611615)
A split will not mean the season's over, but it will be close.

What if New York wins tomorrow? There's still the Wild Card, if Tampa keeps losing.
   49. Textbook Editor Posted: August 09, 2010 at 03:20 AM (#3611623)
Gotta win tomorrow or the WC may be out of reach. Toronto's going to be gunning for us this week too, as they've crept closer... Finishing 4th would not be out of the question.
   50. nick swisher hygiene Posted: August 09, 2010 at 03:57 AM (#3611635)
wow, I think I had a post deleted from this thread.....Jolly Old St. N: did you read it? comment on CC's craftiness? there's the possibility I deleted it while sleepwalking, I suppose...
   51. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: August 09, 2010 at 03:59 AM (#3611636)
I'm sure the numbers don't bear this out, but I'd almost rather see Mosley pitch then Burnett at this point.

No 'almost' for me. When it was announced that Burnett was being scratched with 'don't-want-him-to-face-the-Sox-itis' I turned to my dad and said "Oh, ####."
   52. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:24 AM (#3611642)
No 'almost' for me. When it was announced that Burnett was being scratched with 'don't-want-him-to-face-the-Sox-itis' I turned to my dad and said "Oh, ####."


It's too bad Beckett can't come down with a similar ailment against the Pinstripers. 19.3 IP-26 Runs (24 Earned) against the Yankees in 2010. I'm sure Teddy could explain how they weren't big games.
   53. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:48 AM (#3611650)
Now that you mention it, not sure why the Sox wouldn't have pulled the very same trick. Start Wake today, Lester tomorrow and Beckett Tuesday. Maybe just because Burnett's a weaselly punk and Beckett's a ####### crazy person, so it wouldn't have gone over as well in the visiting clubhouse.
   54. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:55 AM (#3611651)
Beckett beat by Mosley. Lester beat by Masterson. These are not things that should be said of a team headed for the playoffs.


Add to that the continued time behind the plate Kevin ####### Cash gets
   55. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 09, 2010 at 05:23 AM (#3611655)
Add to that the continued time behind the plate Kevin ####### Cash gets

He makes his pitchers better, as you can plainly see.
   56. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 10:50 AM (#3611669)
It's too bad Beckett can't come down with a similar ailment against the Pinstripers. 19.3 IP-26 Runs (24 Earned) against the Yankees in 2010.

I swear at some point last night I remember Miller's saying that Beckett has the highest regular season career ERA (5.95 before last night) against the Yankees of any starting pitcher who began his career after 1960. Which would be kind of ironic, considering the way he totally dominated them in the 2003 World Series.

He's also got a 7.34 career ERA against the Blue Jays, 5.56 against Cleveland, and 4.82 against the Rangers. I've always kind of thought of Beckett as having ace-type stuff, with only injuries having held him back, but reading the breakdown of his stats makes me suspect that his problem is that he's simply pitching in the wrong league.
   57. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 09, 2010 at 11:08 AM (#3611672)
Whay one thinks of the Red Sox chances of catching the slumping Rays depends largely on what one thinks of Beckett and Lackey. Many local "sports talk call-in"-type people see these guys as pitchers with a reputation and salary that leads to very high expectations...and I'm pretty sure we shouldn't be treating these guys as being in the same class as people like Sabathia, Price, Verlander...or even Lester and Buchholz.

Seriously, in a playoff series, there's no way I want Beckett pitching before Game 3, and Lackey, before Game 4.
   58. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 11:18 AM (#3611673)
He makes his pitchers better, as you can plainly see.
I suppose that is true if you define "his pitchers" as "those pitchers throwing when he bats."
   59. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 09, 2010 at 12:44 PM (#3611694)
Seriously, in a playoff series, there's no way I want Beckett pitching before Game 3, and Lackey, before Game 4.


Me either. If some craziness happens and somehow the Red Sox make the playoffs, I'd prefer they left Lackey off the roster altogether. I'd honestly rather see Doubront out there. At least he isn't horribly ugly.
   60. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 01:18 PM (#3611706)
   61. Spaceman Posted: August 09, 2010 at 01:24 PM (#3611708)
and I'm pretty sure we shouldn't be treating these guys as being in the same class as people like Sabathia, Price, Verlander

I find this quote hysterical because I distinctly recall Verlander being washed up 2 years ago. "Lost too much on his fastball", they said. "He's done".

Although Beckett was quite ace-like last year.

When a pitcher throws 93 MPH fastballs down the middle of the plate, maybe because his location isn't yet back after a half season on the DL, he will be hit hard. And if he's hit hard while his team cannot muster runs nor defend, his team will probably lose.

That said, when Berkman cannot hit anyone, yet slaps Beckett around like every Yankee has for 2 years, I wonder if the Yankees know exactly what Josh is treating them to, and that maybe, just maybe, he might want to work on that.
   62. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 01:37 PM (#3611716)
Although Beckett was quite ace-like last year.

This isn't directed at Beckett in particular, but how can a pitcher with a 3.86 ERA be thought of as "ace-like"? Lester was clearly the ace of the Red Sox, and Beckett's ERA didn't even put him on the AL leaderboard. Not to mention that his ERA was 5.34 against the Yankees, 4.50 against the Angels, and 5.02 against the the defending AL Champion Rays. What's "ace-like" about any of that?
   63. Spaceman Posted: August 09, 2010 at 01:49 PM (#3611724)
Those numbers are the result of one poor game vs each team. In actuality, he did fine vs LAA and TB, the 3rd and 5th best offenses in baseball, respectively.

Apr 7 TAM W 5-3 7.0 2 1 1 0 3 10
Apr 12 @ LAA L 4-5 6.0 8 4 4 0 2 5
Apr 30 @ TAM L 0-13 4.2 10 7 7 1 3 8
May 10 TAM W 4-3 6.0 6 3 3 0 3 5
Sep 2 @ TAM L 5-8 6.0 7 5 4 2 0 9
Sep 17 LAA L 3-4 8.0 7 3 3 1 0 7

Oct 9 @ LAA L 1-4 6.2 5 4 4 0 1 3

Edit: don't know how to create a table here, but posters should be able to seperate the data
   64. rconn23 Posted: August 09, 2010 at 02:07 PM (#3611733)
"That said, when Berkman cannot hit anyone, yet slaps Beckett around like every Yankee has for 2 years, I wonder if the Yankees know exactly what Josh is treating them to, and that maybe, just maybe, he might want to work on that."

Yeah, Berkman can't hit anyone after 22 plate appearances. Who would have though that one of the better hitters of the last decade could string together a couple of flukey base hits?
   65. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 02:10 PM (#3611735)
Those numbers are the result of one poor game vs each team. In actuality, he did fine vs LAA and TB, the 3rd and 5th best offenses in baseball, respectively.

Apr 7 TAM W 5-3 7.0 2 1 1 0 3 10
Apr 12 @ LAA L 4-5 6.0 8 4 4 0 2 5
Apr 30 @ TAM L 0-13 4.2 10 7 7 1 3 8
May 10 TAM W 4-3 6.0 6 3 3 0 3 5
Sep 2 @ TAM L 5-8 6.0 7 5 4 2 0 9
Sep 17 LAA L 3-4 8.0 7 3 3 1 0 7

Oct 9 @ LAA L 1-4 6.2 5 4 4 0 1 3


Unless I'm misreading those numbers, I see three very good starts, one so-so one (8 IP, 4 ER), and three duds. There were also three quality starts of 6, 6, and 7 innings against the Yankees, bookended by two blowouts.

That comes to six quality starts, one so-so, and five duds or semi-duds against Boston's main three rivals. Whatever term you'd want to apply to that, "ace-like" isn't what would first spring to mind. An ace is as an ace does.
   66. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 09, 2010 at 02:17 PM (#3611739)
I was looking at Beckett's track record against the Yankees this morning. I don't know how to determine if the spread is unusual but it seems like it is either a feast or famine against them for Beckett. He has had some really outstanding games but also some horrible games as well. 10 of his 21 starts are Quality Starts which is a bit low but I would bet above average against the Yankees over the last five years but then sometimes he is helpless.
   67. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 02:28 PM (#3611747)
That said, when Berkman cannot hit anyone,


You know, life does not begin with the Yankees. Berkman was never "cannot hit anyone."
   68. Spaceman Posted: August 09, 2010 at 02:33 PM (#3611752)
An ace is as an ace does

Look at how CC fared vs LAA, BOS and TB last year. He did well vs BOS, not so well vs LAA and TB. On a quick look, his overall numbers vs all 3 look about the same as Josh's.

6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, and 6.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 3 K, are bad games? Come on, surely you watched that playoff game vs LAA. That was a very good game he pitched into the 7th, when he seemingly became unraveled after a few stolen bases.

Fun fact: How to tell when Beckett becomes unraveled/pissed: Some player gets clocked with a fastball.
   69. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 02:37 PM (#3611757)
I was looking at Beckett's track record against the Yankees this morning. I don't know how to determine if the spread is unusual but it seems like it is either a feast or famine against them for Beckett. He has had some really outstanding games but also some horrible games as well. 10 of his 21 starts are Quality Starts which is a bit low but I would bet above average against the Yankees over the last five years but then sometimes he is helpless.

It is kind of weird. Overall he's been just flat out terrible against the Yanksees (see #56 for the details), but we can all recall more than a few times where he's handled them like an NL also-ran. Maybe it was sometimes a case of putting him out there when he wasn't 100%, just because he was Josh Beckett, and suffering the consequences. Managers are known for doing things like that.
   70. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 02:42 PM (#3611762)
An ace is as an ace does

Look at how CC fared vs LAA, BOS and TB last year. He did well vs BOS, not so well vs LAA and TB. On a quick look, his overall numbers vs all 3 look about the same as Josh's.


That's a fair point, and I wasn't picking on Beckett just because of the uniform. As I wrote in #39 above, Sabathia's "a legitimate ace, but more because of his stamina and consistency than because of any otherworldly stuff." He's been one of the dominant pitchers in the AL over the past few years, but I wouldn't confuse him with Randy Johnson or Pedro.
   71. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 02:45 PM (#3611763)
Although Beckett was quite ace-like last year.

This isn't directed at Beckett in particular, but how can a pitcher with a 3.86 ERA be thought of as "ace-like"?


When raw ERA is a terrible way to evaluate a pitcher who pitches in a high offense era in a DH league in a hitter's park with a disproportionate amount of starts against the team with the best offense in the league?

When despite facing the Yankees 5 times his 122 ERA+ is 10th in the league anyway? When he pitches 212 innings with typical excellent peripherals? When his ERA+ from 2007-2009 was around 130?

I don't think Beckett has been an "ace" over his whole career - he's generally been a cut below that - but in 2009 he certainly was "ace-like."
   72. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 02:53 PM (#3611769)
Not to mention that his ERA was 5.34 against the Yankees, 4.50 against the Angels, and 5.02 against the the defending AL Champion Rays. What's "ace-like" about any of that?


So he struggled against the team with the best offense in the league (Yankees), posted a better-than-league-average ERA against a team with a good offense (Angels), and struggled against a team with an above-average offense (Rays).

Yes, that is shocking.

It's odd to argue this issue on the basis of these kinds of splits, anyway.
   73. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 03:12 PM (#3611790)
Ray, this only comes down to one thing: We have different standards for aces. We can swap statistics all day without resolving that. It's entirely possible that my standards are unrealistically high, but IMO the Beckett of 2009 wasn't my idea of an ace.
   74. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 03:28 PM (#3611806)
Okay, but you could at least use adjusted numbers instead of raw ones (at least when presenting seasonal ERA; I realize when looking at splits against opponents raw ERA is all that's available). It's kind of odd to see someone here quoting raw seasonal ERA (3.86) instead of ERA+ (122); I thought we were beyond that.

Also, just because Lester was the team's best starter doesn't preclude another starter on the team from also being "ace-like." If "ace" means "number one starter" and there are 14 teams in the league, then it would seem to me that there are 14 "aces" in the league, with (in all likelihood) some of them being on the same team.

Can a case be made that Beckett was one of the 14th best pitchers in the AL in 2009? I think so. He was 10th in ERA+ and 9th in innings. He had a 4.2 WAR, and the 10th best pitcher in the league had a 4.3 WAR, so Beckett was right there.
   75. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 03:45 PM (#3611826)
Okay, but you could at least use adjusted numbers instead of raw ones (at least when presenting seasonal ERA; I realize when looking at splits against opponents raw ERA is all that's available). It's kind of odd to see someone here quoting raw seasonal ERA (3.86) instead of ERA+ (122); I thought we were beyond that.

Fair enough, but an ERA+ of 122 doesn't strike me as any more ace-like than a raw 3.86 ERA.

But again, it's mostly a matter of definition of standards. You can perhaps say that the best 14 starters in the league are "aces", and put Beckett somewhere near the bottom of that mix. Or you can go out on a limb and be a bit more subjective, and say that an "ace" is a pitcher who's consistently dominant, with the emphasis on both words. And by that standard there are usually only a handful of true aces in any given year, depending on how you define those two words, and how strict a standard you use for either of them.

Beckett's Game Scores for 2009 broke down this way:

60 or better: 13 starts

50-59: 6 starts

40-49: 7 starts

39 or worse: 6 starts

Or more crudely, Beckett was better than average in 19 of his 32 starts, and dominant in 13 of them. Whether you call that an "ace"-like year is entirely up to you, but I wouldn't.
   76. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 03:56 PM (#3611832)
And by that standard there are usually only a handful of true aces in any given year, depending on how you define those two words, and how strict a standard you use for either of them.


Well, I concede that Beckett wasn't one of the top 5 or 7 pitchers in the league in 2009, so, yes, if you restrict your number of ace slots available to somewhere below 10 then at some point he won't make the cut. I don't really follow that, though; at least my number of 14 ace slots available wasn't pulled out of thin air, and corresponds to the number of AL teams.

Beckett's Game Scores for 2009 broke down this way:

60 or better: 13 starts

50-59: 6 starts

40-49: 7 starts

39 or worse: 6 starts

Or more crudely, Beckett was better than average in 19 of his 32 starts, and dominant in 13 of them. Whether you call that an "ace"-like year is entirely up to you, but I wouldn't.


I have absolutely no idea whether to call that an "ace"-like year; you've presented no comparison at all. You've simply quoted Beckett's performance by this new measure and deemed it non-worthy.

If one is attempting to show how good (or not good) a player is, one presents a comparison.
   77. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:00 PM (#3611837)
My point in #57 wasn't that Beckett isn't valuable, but that a lot of Red Sox fans picture the 2007 Josh Beckett (who finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting, and was excellent in the postseason), and think that he is consistently that pitcher, or that he should be that pitcher. What I find annoying about him, as a Sox fan, is that he acts like he's Roger Clemens out there, with his nasty demeanor, rear-back-and-fire sort of demeanor...but there are simply too many games where he doesn't back it up. I understand the pitfalls of small sample sizes, labelling somebody as "Clutch McGamer" or something, but honestly, the Red Sox really needed Beckett to excel last night, and he didn't.

The offense didn't excel, either, but it is also missing two of their best hitters - Youkilis and Pedroia - and it's tough to blame some of the other players for not scoring runs (Beltre has been awesome all year, way beyond what anybody expected, and has earned a lot of slack; Lowell, by contrast, is being asked to play a position (1B) that he LITERALLY has never played in a major-league game before this year, all while having a hip like my grandmother. How can anybody get mad at Lowell for anything he does right now? And Billy Hall? He's got 13 HRs in part-time play, and has played all three OF position, 2B, 3B, SS, and even f***ing pitched an inning this year! How can anybody get mad that he's not hitting .300 or something right now?)

Is Beckett an "ace"? Is he one of the 10 best starting pitchers in the AL (or top 14, or whatever)? I don't think so, but I know this: if he is, then my team has three of the 10 best starters in the AL, because Lester and Buchholz are better than him right now (not to mention younger, healthier, and a s**tload cheaper)...
   78. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:06 PM (#3611843)
Just to give some context to #75 I played with BBRefPI for a few minutes. Among starters with at least 50 starts since 2006 Beckett is 20th in % of starts with a game score over 60. Pretty sure this won't be pretty but;

Player GS GS>60 %
Tim Lincecum 112 67 60%
Adam Wainwright 110 61 55%
Orlando Hernandez 53 29 55%
Johan Santana 150 81 54%
Chris Carpenter 88 47 53%
CC Sabathia 155 79 51%
Jake Peavy 126 64 51%
Brandon Webb 102 51 50%
Zack Greinke 102 49 48%
Clayton Kershaw 74 35 47%
Matt Cain 153 72 47%
Roy Halladay 152 71 47%
Erik Bedard 91 42 46%
Francisco Liriano 76 35 46%
Roy Oswalt 148 68 46%
Jered Weaver 134 61 46%
Felix Hernandez 150 68 45%
A.J. Burnett 135 61 45%
Dan Haren 158 71 45%
Josh Beckett 134 60 45%
   79. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:16 PM (#3611852)
Josh Beckett: 134 starts, 60 of them game score above 60, 45%
AJ Burnett: 135 starts, 61 of them game score above 60, 45%

Does this not strike you as about right? These two guys' careers are interesting in terms of the points in which they parallel, intersect, etc., and now they are on the two rivals' teams. Nobody thinks Burnett is an "ace", or even the second-best pitcher on the Yankees. If you switched the players, Burnett would be the thirs or fourth best starter on the Sox, and Beckett would be the third or fourth best starter on the Yankees. They both make a lot of money. They both look like HOF'ers several times a year.

And neither of them is an ace...
   80. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:23 PM (#3611857)
I think we're neglecting to laud a great effort by those scrappy New York Yankees yesterday, losing their scheduled starter at the very last moment and forced to scramble with the substitution of journeyman cast-off Dustin Mosley. Facing an elite pitching ace in Josh Beckett and a surging Boston team, the Yankees could have written this game off and rested Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada for a Monday attempt at a split, but instead these gritty Yankees went on the field to out-pitch, out-hit, and out-field Boston on the way to victory. Kudos to Mr. Giradi for refusing to concede in the face of wide odds, and to Mr. Mosley for his finest pitching performance to date.
   81. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:25 PM (#3611859)
Given the numbers posted by Jose in #78 (Orlando Hernandez?), Beckett would seem to qualify by Andy's standards. 20th in the majors over that period would seem to suffice.

But, even though Jose's numbers support my side of the argument, I reject this entire methodology of evaluating pitchers. Evaluating pitchers by Game Score? Why?
   82. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:28 PM (#3611862)
Josh Beckett 134 60 45%

Year by year breakdown:

2006: 12 60+ GS / 33 starts, 36% (with 8 sub-40 GS)

2007: 19 / 30, 63% (4 sub-40)

2008: 13 / 27, 48% (4 sub-40)

2009: 13 / 32, 41% (6 sub-40)

2010: 3 / 12, 25% (5 sub-40)

We can all argue about what the cutoff point should be, but those are the raw numbers.

One nice curiosity I found while looking up Beckett's game logs---my 2010 nomination for the Jack Morris "Pitching to the Score" award©. A Game Score of 9, but he must have kept the Sox in the game, because they won!
   83. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:38 PM (#3611871)
We can all argue about what the cutoff point should be, but those are the raw numbers.


I don't argue what the cutoff point should be; I get stuck before that point, as I object to the entire framing of the discussion. It's not a useful methodology.
   84. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:38 PM (#3611872)
Given the numbers posted by Jose in #78 (Orlando Hernandez?), Beckett would seem to qualify by Andy's standards. 20th in the majors over that period would seem to suffice.

Ray, those weren't my standards. I was raising the thought of defining an ace by ranking among his peers, but I wasn't endorsing it at all.

But, even though Jose's numbers support my side of the argument, I reject this entire methodology of evaluating pitchers. Evaluating pitchers by Game Score? Why?

There's no one perfect way to rank pitchers, but Game Scores have one distinct advantage over any cumulative method: They treat each game separately. A pitcher who gives up two runs each in his first two starts (7 innings each)** won't have those two dominant Game Scores modified or erased by a blowout in his third start, whereas the more conventional metric might show him with a terrible overall ERA or ERA+, depending on how long his manager let him stay in there to keep getting punished.

The bottom line for that pitcher (to me) is that his team likely won 2 of those 3 games, thanks to his pitching, but if you looked at his overall ERA or ERA+ you might not realize that. In general, the more detailed attention that a metric pays to particular games or circumstances, the more I value it, even though the overall stats obviously have their use.

**with a good K/BB ratio, which also enters into it
   85. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:39 PM (#3611874)
After Teixiera took Beckett deep, I turned to my wife and said, "Now watch this punk hit a Yankee in the next few batters. It's the macho way to go."

And I was right, as Cano got plunked. I've taken me a lot longer than most of my Yankee fan friends here to come up with this one, but Beckett gives every indication to me that he's a bad human being.
   86. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:40 PM (#3611877)
But, even though Jose's numbers support my side of the argument, I reject this entire methodology of evaluating pitchers. Evaluating pitchers by Game Score? Why?


Why not?

Seriously I prefer a method that focuses on a game by game look at pitchers rather than a totality of the pitcher's accomplishment. One or two bad starts can skew a pitcher's numbers within a season so I think there is a benefit to trying to parse out some of the noise. In practicality there is little difference between 9 ER, 3 1/3 IP and 5 ER, 3 1/3 IP, both teams are likely to lose the game. But even that has an impact of 0.18 on a pitcher's ERA in a 200 inning season. The problem of course is you start getting into selective end points and invaldating the data.

Just for interest the same 20 players listed above only this time by percentage of games with a Game Score < 30. Beckett now is 3rd on the list (behind the curious El Duque and his doppelganger Burnett) which I think confirms the Jekyll & Hyde nature of his performance with Boston.

Orlando Hernandez 17%
A.J. Burnett 16%
Josh Beckett 13%
Francisco Liriano 12%
Zack Greinke 12%
Felix Hernandez 11%
Jered Weaver 11%
Erik Bedard 10%
Matt Cain 10%
Clayton Kershaw 9%
Adam Wainwright 8%
Jake Peavy 8%
Dan Haren 8%
Roy Oswalt 7%
Brandon Webb 7%
CC Sabathia 6%
Chris Carpenter 5%
Roy Halladay 4%
Tim Lincecum 4%
Johan Santana 3%
   87. Answer Guy Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:48 PM (#3611888)
I really wish they'd have let Beckett walk after this season, and if they don't already, I imagine management will feel the same way soon. He gave us that one magical 2007 season so I can't say that trading Hanley for him was a disaster exactly (not to mention that throw-in Mike Lowell was good for us for a couple years there too) but I really don't think he gets that deal on the open market this off-season. (And if he did, he'd be someone else's problem at that point.)
   88. SoSH U at work Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:53 PM (#3611893)
I really wish they'd have let Beckett walk after this season.


That was truly disappointing. I doubt he'll ever be a year-in, year-out ace (I'm more in the Andy camp that the number of aces doesn't equal the amount of teams, but reflects a certain level of quality). And I'm almost positive that he'll continue to be a year-in, year-out ass.
   89. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 04:59 PM (#3611903)
Just for interest the same 20 players listed above only this time by percentage of games with a Game Score < 30. Beckett now is 3rd on the list (behind the curious El Duque and his doppelganger Burnett) which I think confirms the Jekyll & Hyde nature of his performance with Boston.

I started to compile such a list, but thanks for sparing me the work. And it confirms what I wrote about Sabathia above: His consistency factor in avoiding blowouts is what also contributes to his ace status. His 51-6 ratio of dominant starts to blowouts confirms his tremendous value to his team(s).

One question, though: How did El Duque slip onto those lists? He retired three years ago, and had only 44 starts in 06-07.
   90. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 09, 2010 at 05:07 PM (#3611912)
He had 53, you are missing the 9 starts with the D-Backs in 2006.
   91. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 05:21 PM (#3611926)
Got it. I'm still amazed to see him on your lists, and even more amazed (and doubly pleased) to realize that even at 40 and 41 he put up such a high percentage of dominant starts. My last real memory of El Duque was that Houdini act he pulled in the 2005 ALDS, and he kind of slipped below my radar after that.
   92. Spaceman Posted: August 09, 2010 at 05:35 PM (#3611944)
"Game Score. Start with 50 points. Add 1 point for each out recorded, (3 points per inning). Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th. Add 1 point for each strikeout. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed. Subtract 1 point for each walk"

I haven't considered GS before but it is interesting. One complaint:
6 IP
7 H
3 R
6 K
2 W

Depending on who that pitcher's starting against, that 50 is either an excellent or ok game. Which is to say, pitchers of the AL Beast deserve some slack.

14 of '09's highest 20 GS are NL starters
   93. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 09, 2010 at 05:36 PM (#3611946)
I don't at all see the logic of defining an ace based on the number of teams in the league, on the premise that there's a #1 for all of them only to say that there isn't. I do like the method Jose's developing, above.
   94. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 09, 2010 at 05:51 PM (#3611960)
I do like the method Jose's developing, above


I'm hesitant to share this with this crowd (y'all can be tough) but I did some rudimentary analysis on this a few years ago on my blog. The relevant piece was this;

...break each start into one of four categories;

Quality Start – The classic definition, 6 or more IP, 3 or fewer runs allowed

Bad Start – Fewer than 6 IP and more than 3 runs allowed

IP Quality Start – A start of 6 or more IP but more than 3 runs allowed

Runs Quality Start – A start with less than 6 innings pitched but 3 or fewer runs allowed

What we found is that within these criteria, teams win at the following rates;

QS – 71.3%
BS – 20.3%
IPQS – 37.0%
RQS – 54.2%

What we do with that information is assign the values to each start, add ‘em up and we get what we call the number of Win Opportunities. What this method allows us to do is eliminate the situation where a couple of horrible appearances makes a guy’s season look worse than it was.


Obviously it is not perfect but it was an attempt to find guys who had one or two terrible starts skewing their data.
   95. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 05:54 PM (#3611962)
I don't at all see the logic of defining an ace based on the number of teams in the league, on the premise that there's a #1 for all of them only to say that there isn't.


Well, is "ace" something better than "#1 starter"? Because by definition it would seem that if there are 14 teams, then there must be 14 #1 starter slots alloted.

I use the terms synonomously, basically just as a quick and dirty way of conveying how good the pitcher is.

Anyway, Andy was using "ace-like," which seems to me like something less than "ace."
   96. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2010 at 05:56 PM (#3611966)
Obviously it is not perfect but it was an attempt to find guys who had one or two terrible starts skewing their data.


If we're worried about disaster starts skewing the ERA+ (which I agree is a legitimate concern), I think Michael Wolverton's Support Neutral work essentially takes care of this.
   97. Textbook Editor Posted: August 09, 2010 at 05:56 PM (#3611967)
I'm fairly sure should the Red Sox be lucky enough to make the playoffs that the rotation would be:

G1 = Lester
G2 = Buchholz
G3 = Beckett
G4 = Lackey
G5 = Lester

Beckett's been out most of the year and Lester and Buchholz are the staff aces (at least in 2010).
   98. SoSH U at work Posted: August 09, 2010 at 06:05 PM (#3611975)
Well, is "ace" something better than "#1 starter"? Because by definition it would seem that if there are 14 teams, then there must be 14 #1 starter slots alloted.


I don't think most people think No. 1 starter and ace are exactly synonymous, no. But in the end, it doesn't really matter, since everyone seems to agree on where Beckett rests compared to his contemporaries (at least before this year. In 2010, he's just crap).
   99. Chip Posted: August 09, 2010 at 06:44 PM (#3612012)
And I was right, as Cano got plunked. I've taken me a lot longer than most of my Yankee fan friends here to come up with this one, but Beckett gives every indication to me that he's a bad human being.


It was a cut fastball that barely grazed Cano, and only because it didn't break back toward the plate as much as Cano expected it to, as he made no effort to get out of the way. Cano was the most surprised guy in the park when it nicked him.
   100. Christopher Linden Posted: August 09, 2010 at 06:53 PM (#3612034)
Regarding Game Scores, it's important to remember that they were invented by James not as a heavy-duty valuation metric but as more of a play-time junk stat used to identify and highlight dominance (AIR, his GS-introduction article was all about who'd had the best games of that year or the prior few, and game-to-game consistency was not a focal point. Could be wrong, though). That aside, GS is a useful measure of start-to-start consistency/variance that is far more granular than Quality Starts without the complexity of the Wolverton/BP Support Neutral metrics. I kind of like indexing GS (and on a larger scale, all single-game pitcher stats) to opponents. What was the Yankees' opponents' average Game Score? Divide that into the pitcher's GS for that day, and voila. Debatable whether in the grand scheme of things that would tell us much we don't already know, but it's interesting to me (do it sometimes for team stats in college football, bu I digress).

Aces: In my own mind I put the correlation between aces and teams at zero. "Ace" to me is easier for the eye to see than for the brain to quantify. I basically see an ace as someone who combines a high number of dominant starts with a very low number of disaster starts and has year-to-year consistency. A guy who, were he to go the distance in a big game and beat a good team 2-1 on a 12-whiff five-hitter, would surprise no one. The kind of guy you want starting Game 7. Big, strong, high-strikeout monster who lives on his fastball and power breaking ball (Madduxian exceptions may be granted). This hews pretty closely to what scouts and pro evaluators mean, too. When a kid's name is bandied about as a "future ace," scouts aren't suggesting he could be the best pitcher on the majors' twentieth best team. YMMV.

Beckett: I'm not the first to suggest that pitchers whose stuff exceeds their command might have more start-to-start and year-to-year variance than guys who have less velocity or movement but could fit a baseball through a key hole pretty much on demand. The Burnett comp is a good one, although I think Beckett is both better at his best and less likely to be at his worst. Casual fans look at Bex' biggest moments/years ('07 campaign plus playoffs, '03 Series), on-the-mound demeanor, and talent, and just naturally think of him as a great pitcher. Beckett to me prompts another question: Setting aside knowing-how-to-win blather, why are some pitchers with high "stuff/results ratios" overrated ("untouchable when he's on") while others are perceived to be disappointments ("can't seem to put it all together") by the MSN/casual-fan crowd? As just one example, Floyd Bannister, to go back a bit, seemed to be the former. Beckett seems to be the former. Ryan over his career was the latter, then the former, even when his winning percentages, ERA, etc., didn't vary all that much. That's something I can't seem to answer satisfactorily.

Happy Base Ball
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