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Monday, May 08, 2017

A Nice Weekend John

After a frustrating loss Friday night John Farrell went to the well and shook up the lineup for Saturday.  As Jerry Remy noted in the broadcast that kind of shake up on a day when Nick Tepesch is the opposing starter is stacking the deck a bit but they came back the next day and against the one guy who has actually been better than Chris Sale continued to swing the bats well.  Things looked even rosier after a big ninth inning broke the game open earning Craig Kimbrel his second career hold with the Sox.

I think Farrell deserves a lot of credit for that win on Sunday.  He really seized the opportunity of the day off to go to Kimbrel for the five out save after Matt Barnes spit the bit and Robby Scott was fortunate to keep Eddie Rosario in the ballpark.  It seems to me that managers’ screwing up is a lot more obvious than managers making good moves but with the lineup change and the aggressive use of Kimbrel I think Farrell made a decisive positive impact this weekend.  I like reverting to the lineup that worked so well last year with Benintendi taking the Ortiz role.  Just a few random observations on an off day;

- The bullpen…yeesh.  It’s amazing to me that this team has the third best bullpen ERA in the American League because it doesn’t feel at all that reliable.  To continue with my praise of Farrell I think we have seen him make some pretty aggressive moves in the last week and change; lifting Hembree after three pitches (and two hits and a line drive out) last Friday then Barnes yesterday.  I think he realizes he doesn’t have that 8th inning go to guy so he’s not going to sit around trusting anyone.  I don’t know how feasible that is long term but it’s getting some wins right now.

- Xander Bogaerts seems to be flying under the radar a bit.  The power started to come a bit this weekend but even without it .340/.393/.417 will work just fine.  As he starts to add doubles and eventually homers those numbers are going to look good. The question for Bogaerts is can he stay effective all year.  He wore down in 2016 and of course playing in the WBC this year leaves that an open question.

- Chris Sale “earning” the victory in his worst appearance of the year is a just result.  Dude deserved a bit of luck.

- Speaking of deserving better than he got I thought Eduardo Rodriguez deserved better on Friday night.  It looked to me like Mookie Betts misplayed the first inning triple and that was a ball that should have been caught.  If he makes that play Rodriguez is through the first without a run and the way he went from there I think the Sox were going to be feeling pretty good about their chances.  In general the Sox defense (DER .685, 12th in AL) has let them down all too often.  While the focus has been on the bats the defense is the area that has surprised me the most.  I think we all expected some struggles from the Ortiz-free lineup but the defense has really disappointed.

- Someone noted in the minor league thread the hot start from Michael Chavis in Salem.  As Chuck LaMar might’ve said, this club is great at third base except at the big league level.  Chavis, Bobby Dalbec and Rafael Devers are all exciting prospects so while the Sox will likely need to make some kind of move as the year goes on the long term future at that spot looks optimistic.

- (EDIT) I meant to include an update on Kimbrel with the different catchers;

Leon - 2.96 ERA/3.27 K:BB
Vazquez - 1.50 ERA/6.00 K:BB

I thought the approaches to both Mauer and Kepler yesterday were perfect.  He worked Mauer knowing he had first base open and didn’t give in coming back with the 3-2 curve then when it was obvious Kepler couldn’t touch the fastball just blew him away on three pitches.

Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: May 08, 2017 at 09:44 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: May 08, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5450785)
In general the Sox defense (DER .685, 12th in AL) has let them down all too often.  While the focus has been on the bats the defense is the area that has surprised me the most.  I think we all expected some struggles from the Ortiz-free lineup but the defense has really disappointed.


UZR/150 rank among players with 200+ innings on defense, by position:

1B Moreland 16th (-3.5 UZR/150)
2B Pedroia 5th (+9.7)
3B Sandoval n/a (-14.2) - has only logged 139 defensive innings at 3B
SS Bogaerts 6th (+2.9)
LF Benintendi n/a (-7.2) - has only logged 141 defensive innings at LF
CF Bradley n/a (+18.8) - has only logged 142 defensive innings at CF
RF Betts 5th (+16.3)

Moreland has been surprisingly disappointing at 1B.
   2. jmurph Posted: May 08, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5450800)
Moreland has been surprisingly disappointing at 1B.

But much better offensively than we had any reason to hope for. Probably some leveling coming on both sides?
   3. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: May 08, 2017 at 01:17 PM (#5450911)
Yeah I would be interested to know how much of that UZR is based on the three errors which is something I expect not to be an ongoing issue. The other thing I've noticed about Moreland and it's a weird thing is he doesn't stretch well. There have been a few plays recently where his stretch for throws from short or third was really poor. I can remember two where in each case the Sox got the out after a review but a better stretch would have made it a much easier play.
   4. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: May 10, 2017 at 01:25 PM (#5452785)
One thing I would like to see the Sox do is separate Porcello and Sale in the rotation. With the offday Monday they should be able to do it. It just feels like that would help spread things out a bit.
   5. John DiFool2 Posted: May 10, 2017 at 01:45 PM (#5452808)
Moreland has been surprisingly disappointing at 1B.


No surprise for Panda tho. Egad.

Benintendi is more of a surprise, thought he had the ability and the reads to go with it.
   6. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: May 12, 2017 at 08:31 AM (#5454039)
I love the way Farrell is using Kimbrel, he's won a couple of games already this way. But boy oh boy, if we are going to have one dependable reliever that just is not going to work.
   7. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: May 16, 2017 at 03:12 PM (#5456664)
So I may be the last person to know this but there was an article in one of the St. Louis papers today and within it they mentioned that Molina got in Manny's face during the 2004 World Series because the Cards thought he was signaling pitches to ortiz. I never knew why they were jawing with each other.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: May 18, 2017 at 09:46 AM (#5458248)
I didn't stay up, but it seems Farrell used his closer in a tie game in the 9th.

Amazingly, another pitcher was able to fulfill the easier job of protecting a lead later on.
   9. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: May 18, 2017 at 09:58 AM (#5458262)
Ben Taylor...13th inning save specialist.
   10. villageidiom Posted: May 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM (#5458264)
Amazingly, another pitcher was able to fulfill the easier job of protecting a lead later on.
Winning pitcher: Abad. If that's not the most amazing part of that game, I don't know what is.

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