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Saturday, October 13, 2018

ALCS Thoughts

Not sure you’ve heard but the Boston Red Sox are in the American League Championship Series!  Yeah, that’s got a nice ring to it for the three time defending AL East Champions.  The path to a World Series doesn’t get much easier as the Houston Astros come to town to start things off tonight.  Captain Obvious stopped by to note that the Astros are really really really good.  But of course so are the 108+3 win Red Sox so I expect a tight, well played series.  The nice and fun thing about this series in contrast to the last one is that this will be about the baseball.  We can enjoy this without the networks shoving all manner of nonsense at us.  I’m sure we’ll hear a lot about last year and Alex Cora vs. AJ Hinch will be a thing but it should be a lot less annoying.  I’ll be interested to see the crowd this weekend.  When the Astros were in town in September they showed up with a strong contingent of fans.

Some stray thoughts;

1. Throwback to throwing - OK, it ain’t going to be Cristy Mathewson level stuff but I expect the starters to play a greater role in this series than maybe in the NLCS.  I think it will be a bit more traditional in terms of usage though of course as the series goes on I am sure we will see the managers dig in deeper and earlier.  These two teams feature a wealth of great starting pitching and it should be fascinating to watch.

2. Sale of the century - Chris Sale was lifted a bit prematurely I thought in game one by Alex Cora.  It worked out (just) but I think it would be useful if he could get to 100 or more pitches.  I am sure there will be discussion of his relief appearance in game four (something Alex Cora cribbed from AJ Hinch who did the same with Justin Verlander against the Sox last October) impacting his length but 15 pitches 4 days ago should not be a worry.  Sale’s velocity seems to have rebounded though the weather in Boston is cold and grey so it will be interesting to see if that affects him.

3. David vs. Goliath - The Astro lineup is potent and righty-laden.  David Price has a less than wonderful post-season history.  That game two can be a bit scary is not a big reach. Having said that I still, perhaps foolishly, still believe in Price.  The dude is a good pitcher and frankly has not really gotten the credit he deserves for saving this team in the last two months when Sale was on the DL and Price was as good as any pitcher in baseball including an excellent start against this Astro team. 

4. Bearish on the bullpens - Prepare to have this bite me in the backside but I feel like both bullpens are able to be gotten to.  The Astro bullpen is good but I think plays to the Sox offensive strengths with hard throwing righties being a subset of pitchers the Sox have particularly dominated in 2018.  Closer Roberto Osuna has a lengthy track record of struggles against the Sox and for a lot of reasons will hopefully be booed heavily if he enters a game.  The Sox bullpen actually did a pretty good job from the 8th inning of game one through the 8th inning of game four.  On either side of that…as mom always says, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.  I think the Sox have the pieces coming together that Cora can narrow down and manage the bullpen.  One guy who is a bit intriguing is Joe Kelly.  I find Kelly and the “OMG he’ll be a dominant reliever! He throws 100!!!!11!!oneone!!” stuff a bit tiresome, he is what he is.  However, WEEI had a mildly interesting puff piece explaining his childhood dream of being a spy and how it impacts his ability to pitch in big spots.  Like I said, it’s a puff piece but his track record in the postseason is actually quite good (including a strong start in the walk off interference game in the 2013 World Series).

5. Rafael Devers and Brock Holt are better than Eduardo Nunez and Ian Kinsler - OK Alex? OK?

Anyway, here we go.  Let’s do this guys!

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 13, 2018 at 10:40 AM | 94 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: October 13, 2018 at 05:15 PM (#5765733)
Last round my bold prediction was a sweep, but without predicting who would sweep. No such boldness this time.

I am looking forward to seeing how Nathan The Unnecessary does, and how he is deployed.
   2. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 13, 2018 at 10:37 PM (#5766034)
Thoughts so far..

Well Sale looked off. Nunez sucks. F8ck you Nunez...
   3. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 13, 2018 at 11:06 PM (#5766075)
Sale looked a bit off, I agree, but he also looked like it could just be a little mechanical tweak and he's back to being CY level.

Kelly was decent. Nunez sucks balls.
   4. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 13, 2018 at 11:08 PM (#5766076)
The Chevy commercial on mlb.tv is terrible
Who gets excited when they see their vehicles in the parking lot. "That's are car!"
   5. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 13, 2018 at 11:59 PM (#5766157)
Sale had no command. The velocity was down a bit but 92-93 is workable if the slider is there but it wasn’t.

This Nunez thing has to stop. He’s not playing well and it’s not like his track record screams “you gotta staynwith him.” Devers at least gives you that chance for three ugly Ks then a 440 foot homer.

Need Mookie, Bennie and JD to pick it up. Mookie and Bennie are scuffling and JD has good numbers but just the one XBH.
   6. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: October 14, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5766193)
Sale has become a nibbler. He has a history of wearing down in the 2nd half of the season. It's hard to imagine that this is going to change. Great 1st half pitcher, though.
   7. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 14, 2018 at 10:22 AM (#5766201)
Price has a career ERA of against the Astros of 2.94, he had 2 quality starts against them this year, and he pitched 6.2 scoreless innings against them in last year's DS. Whether he can keep it up tonight is another matter, but there's more to his story than his overall postseason record or his record against the Yankees.
   8. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: October 14, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5766202)
Well yeah. It's up to Red Sox pitching to keep the games close. Sale did it last night, Verlander was better.

edit...Sale was ok. They need better than 4 innings out of their starters. We'll see what happens.
   9. Darren Posted: October 14, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5766210)
It's crazy that terrible defender/terrible hitter Nunez was ... terrible. At least his defense only cost the Red Sox about 3 runs.

Mookie hit the ball hard but no lift. I wonder if all that time off at the end of the season, when he was smoking hot, hurt him.

   10. Darren Posted: October 14, 2018 at 12:26 PM (#5766211)
Sale has become a nibbler.


He wasn't nibbling last night. He was missing by a mile. He had no command and reduced velocity. That's not so good.
   11. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 14, 2018 at 12:31 PM (#5766213)
This feels a lot like 2013. Bit of a frustrating game one, great pitcher on tap in game two with the Sox throwing an unreliable uncertainty (Buchholz in 2013). Get a win tonight, get back to Houston 1-1 and carry on.
   12. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: October 14, 2018 at 12:44 PM (#5766217)
I wonder if all that time off at the end of the season, when he was smoking hot, hurt him.


Which I of course initially misread as "pot."
   13. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: October 14, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5766230)
The Chevy commercial on mlb.tv is terrible

The pointless in-game commercials for Google Wiretap are even more ridiculous.
   14. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: October 14, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5766232)
I respect your optimism, Jose. I'll go along.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 14, 2018 at 04:37 PM (#5766264)
I don’t know that I’m optimistic so much as I’m just not despairing. Even if they lose tonight this series isn’t over in my view but boy that’s a tall order at that point.
   16. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 14, 2018 at 11:12 PM (#5766538)
That’s a lot better. Game two thoughts;

- Price wasn’t great but he was good enough. I thought he pitched alright, he made a good pitch to Springer who did a nice job as good hitters often do.

- The bullpen came through big time including our new set up man Rick Porcello. Barnes was especially good. Craig Kimbrel is quickly entering Mitch Williams territory. In fairness he threw strikes tonight which is the biggest thing. Still, stop scaring us Craig.

- Just generally liked the at bats (with one exception) up and down the lineup. Nice to see Mookie drive a ball, thought Bennie looked a lot better and JBJ going to left is always a good sign for him.

- I don’t get starting Kinsler over Holt against the righties and really can’t imagine what reason Cora would have for using Kinsler again this series other than injury. I really liked the decision to use Leon as a defensive specialist. He calls such a good game, I always feel a lot better with him back there. But how does the pinch runner Leon not score on Mookie’s double?

- Martin Maldonado had an uncharacteristically bad night. That kind of break is pretty useful.

- I have watched thousands of games at Fenway, attended hundreds, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ball bounce on the lip like JBJ’s double.
   17. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 14, 2018 at 11:15 PM (#5766540)
And today I learned that Ryan Brasier’s locker is next to clubhouse man Tommy McLaughlin’s. I’ll assume that’s the “oh yeah, put that guy over there” locker.
   18. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: October 14, 2018 at 11:50 PM (#5766544)
Cora refuses to change. He should be playing Devers and Holt, at least against RHPs, and I wish he'd ditch Kimbrel, too, though that's probably going too far right now.

Porcello sure looks good. I want to see more of him. Is he slated for a start?
   19. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 14, 2018 at 11:59 PM (#5766547)
Yeah, he’s got game four, Eovaldi for game three. Hopefully Sale can make the game five start.
   20. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:01 AM (#5766548)
Porcello sure looks good. I want to see more of him. Is he slated for a start?


NO! no starts. I think the Sox should go all Tampa and start using an opener or two, then get Porcello and Price into the game around the 3rd. They hang into the 7th or 8th..game over!
   21. TomH Posted: October 15, 2018 at 07:51 AM (#5766557)
Good grief, can we all say "recency bias" together re: Kimbrel? How many studies have been done over the past decade, dismantling what people call the "hot hand"? A Whole Bunch. How many studies have been done that concluded "yeah, this guy who is a complete stud had a couple of bad outings, that means he is due for more, he is obviously off right now". Show me one. You cannot use a short period of data to overlook 8 years of performance. It. Is. Foolish. Alex Cora probably knows this. Craig Kimbrel is the best reliever in the ALCS. Put him in coach.
   22. Answer Guy, without side hustles. Posted: October 15, 2018 at 08:29 AM (#5766568)
- I don’t get starting Kinsler over Holt against the righties and really can’t imagine what reason Cora would have for using Kinsler again this series other than injury.


Me neither. Holt has the hot hand and I think you ride him there. As an added (20/20 hindsight bonus) if you started Holt, you'd have Kinsler available to pinch run in that spot and he's got a way better chance of scoring on Mookie's double than Leon.
   23. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: October 15, 2018 at 09:27 AM (#5766584)
But how does the pinch runner Leon not score on Mookie’s double?


Because he's a very slow runner. Cora put him in to save Moreland from aggravating his injury, and kept him in for defense. You can quibble with that, because Vazquez is a good defensive catcher, too. But Leon stayed in, so what's the reason? Cora didn't use a faster guy to run (who was left? I was half asleep) presumably so he wouldn't risk emptying the bench.
   24. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 15, 2018 at 09:30 AM (#5766586)
I was joking Joe.
   25. Textbook Editor Posted: October 15, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5766589)
Look, I will fully admit that in 2004, 2007, and 2013 we were spoiled with good, solid closers—who even if they hiccuped in the postseason had a solid regular season to fall back on to give you confidence it was just “one of those days” when they didn’t have it.

Kimbrel is, in my mind, a much worse closer this year than Foulke in 2004, Paps in 2007, and Koji in 2013. I haven’t trusted him against good teams in save situations all year and I’m not going to start trusting him now. Almost every single stat is up/worse than in 2017 and he’s consistently had issues locating the FB, so much so that now it often seems he has to rely on throwing the slider for strikes to get ahead of hitters, and hope they chase the never-in-the-zone FB to get swings and misses. I don’t think that’s sustainable against good teams.

Look I know Cora has lashed himself to the Kimbrel mast and as he goes so go the Red Sox (he’ll never be replaced/not used in save situations). In just feels more and more like a gut-punch, trainwreck outing is assured this postseason; my only hope is it’s a series the Red Sox lead at the time and not a win-or-go-home game.
   26. Nasty Nate Posted: October 15, 2018 at 09:43 AM (#5766603)
Almost every single stat is up/worse than in 2017
Almost every single reliever in baseball has worse stats than Kimbrel's 2017...
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: October 15, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5766616)
How many studies have been done that concluded "yeah, this guy who is a complete stud had a couple of bad outings, that means he is due for more, he is obviously off right now".


Kimbrel had a 2.74 ERA/3.13 FIP this season, and roll the playoffs into that total and he's even less impressive. He's just not a complete stud any longer.

Of course, he's still probably the best non-starter option back there, so it would be silly to demote him. But the idea that this is just overreacting to a bad couple of outings isn't true.
   28. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 15, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5766623)
Not great and not a stud any longer doesn't mean completely useless. Kimbrel isn't what he was and he's had a couple of bad outings but he's still a good pitcher.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: October 15, 2018 at 10:04 AM (#5766629)
Not great and not a stud any longer doesn't mean completely useless.


Agreed. He's more trustworthy than the rest of out options. But I still hate watching him pitch, which is the product of the command issues he always has when I'm watching, combined with the stupid beard and the pre-pitch pterodactyl pose.

   30. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 15, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5766639)
I love the pre-pitch pose. There is something very appropriate, it's like an eagle ready to swoop in for the kill. It's the kind of thing a closer should do.
   31. John DiFool2 Posted: October 15, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5766661)
While you can cavil about which endpoint you choose, since Jun 11 Kimbrel has walked 25 in 35 innings. While his K rate and hit rate have admittedly dropped to [partially] compensate, if this doesn't worry you, I don't know what else to say.
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: October 15, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5766662)
I went to the game last night, a last minute decision. There were plenty of seats available way below face value - a result of the bad game 1, Price starting, an exciting concurrent Patriots game, and the giant face values for ALCS games. So I got some nice seats on Stubhub at the front of the 3B/LF grandstand.

Anyway, the original (season tickets) owner of the seats was there and so he must own a bunch of the seats in the row. He brought along the physical tickets for all the seats he had sold, and handed them out so we could have them rather than just a digital screenshot. It was a nice thoughtful thing.
   33. Textbook Editor Posted: October 15, 2018 at 10:50 AM (#5766678)
the giant face values for ALCS games.


I was absolutely gobsmacked at the prices. I had the opportunity to buy tickets, and was tempted, but not THAT tempted because the prices were insane.

My memory of 2013 is that the standing-room tickets I had an opportunity to buy to game 6 of the WS were $50 each, but I could be way wrong on that... The same tickets are now, I believe, $136. For standing room. That's just batshit crazy, I'm sorry.
   34. Nasty Nate Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5766702)
I was absolutely gobsmacked at the prices. I had the opportunity to buy tickets, and was tempted, but not THAT tempted because the prices were insane.
It's pretty crazy. There are very few seats I would pay the face value for the ALCS or WS at the prices they have set for the public. And the pricing system is wonky - e.g. all grandstand seats are priced the same, whether behind home plate with a great view, or deep in the RF corner with a seat facing centerfield and roof and pole obstructions.

The Stubhub prices won't fall as much as they did for last night, but I bet by next saturday afternoon, Game 6 tix will be cheaper than face value there.
   35. Nasty Nate Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5766746)
Kinsler had some terrible at-bats. After his first 2, I wanted Holt, but I'm not sure if that would have caused bad matchups via LOOGY chain reactions.
   36. TomH Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5766810)
Kimbrel's 2018 was merely good, not great. But since when do we use primarily one-year data (especially for relievers or part-time pos players) to project tomorrow's outcomes? Aren't his 2017 and career ##s relevant too? Did we think he was toast after 2016 (worse than this year), but dominant again last season? Career ERA under 2, and KO ##s still awesome.
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5766819)
But since when do we use primarily one-year data (especially for relievers or part-time pos players) to project tomorrow's outcomes?


So use three years, the more conventional way of determining current talent level.

He's not the dominant pitcher he once was. No way of looking at the numbers changes that.

He's still pretty good, and better than any other option they have. But Atlanta Kimbrel he ain't, his outstanding 2017 notwithstanding.

   38. Textbook Editor Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5766842)
A Kimbrel question: Would anyone on here give him anything more than a 1/$15 or 2/$30 contract? (I would really have to think long and hard about even a 1/$15, to be honest.) To me, where you are on that question tells you whether or not you're in the "we're seeing the decline" camp or "statistical blip!" camp. I'm firmly in the former; I realize YMMV.
   39. TomH Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5766843)
Agree he is not early 2010s Kimbrel. But his last 3 yrs, his H/9 are below his career avg, and his KO/9 are better. Yes, changing conditions influences some of that. I'll take a 2.44 ERA (2016-18) in Fenway Park, thank you; better than Chris Sale :)
   40. Nasty Nate Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:16 PM (#5766856)
By the way, the Sox pitchers have been very very careful with Bregman. But they had to try to get him the 9th, and Kimbrel did (barely).
   41. Nasty Nate Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:24 PM (#5766872)
For those who care, they were back to using their standard home uniforms after being in the alternate reds so far in the postseason.
   42. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 16, 2018 at 08:49 AM (#5767428)
Oh goodie, Nunez and Kinsler in the lineup against Keuchel. Don't think it's the right move but I get the thinking. Hopefully Eovaldi has the good stuff. Let's assume a split in the next two games, do you consider flipping Price and Sale, having Price pitch game five and let Sale have a couple of extra days to recover (a la Schilling in 2004)?
   43. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: October 16, 2018 at 09:46 AM (#5767484)
I was joking Joe.


You rascal.
   44. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 16, 2018 at 10:32 AM (#5767528)
I live on the edge man.
   45. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 16, 2018 at 09:12 PM (#5768292)
A-freaking-proved man. Eovaldi was at it again and so was Jackie Bradley Jr. Don't want to discount Brasier who did a hell of a job in a tight game too. Long way to go but so far so good.
   46. Chip Posted: October 17, 2018 at 01:08 AM (#5768548)
I screamed and screamed and screamed in our Brooklyn abode when JBJ hit that.

And within seconds my sister-in-law the Yankee fan texted my wife from Sarasota and said, “we could hear Chip screaming from here!”
   47. Textbook Editor Posted: October 17, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5768843)
What will it take for Holt to start over Kinsler? I mean, it's getting to the point where you wonder if Kinsler would even get a ST invite in 2019, and he's starting playoff games...

If they win tonight I would be tempted to hold Sale back to Game 6 on extra rest, but if you do that, you lose the possibility he could start Game 5 *and* pitch an inning or two in a Game 7 on two days' rest.
   48. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5768857)
If they win tonight I would be tempted to hold Sale back to Game 6 on extra rest
and start Rodriguez?

I guess it could be just his throw day, but I wondered if E-Rod's appearance last night meant that they were confident Sale could give a bunch of innings in Game 5.

I wish they had Velasquez instead of Hembree.
   49. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 17, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5768864)
Would they potentially just flip Sale and Price if they did that? Price threw 80 pitches in game 2, could he give you 60-70 and at least get you through or almost through the order twice? Basically run it like a bullpen game but with Price starting, even if he only goes 2-3 innings if he pitches well (?) it's worth it and then hopefully you have a fully ready Sale for game 6 (if necessary).
   50. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2018 at 11:35 AM (#5768878)
I guess it all depends on what the Sox think about Sale's health. If he's OK, I don't think they'd switch Price to short rest.
   51. SoSH U at work Posted: October 17, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5768896)
If they win tonight, I'd definitely go with Rodriguez in 5. It was only an inning of work for a well-rested guy - he ought to be able to give them four. And I'd love to have both Sale and Price with extra rest for 6 and 7.

   52. Textbook Editor Posted: October 17, 2018 at 12:41 PM (#5768941)
Side note: watched Moneyball again recently for the first time in years and was amazed they didn't work in the "my #### don't work in the playoffs" quote. (They did include the chair-throwing, which I had forgotten they did.)

I think one problem they have with Game 5/6/7 is that they don't really know how much they're going to tax the pen tonight. Porcello could go 6 or... not so much. Him throwing in G2 is a bit different than throwing in G1, I think, and makes tonight a bit more of a wildcard. (It's possible, for example, that you could see Price throw an inning tonight while still going in a potential Game 6.)

The odd one for me last night was bringing in Kelly up 8-2 instead of Hembree. I get you had to throw Barnes because he had ben "hot" a bunch of times and you wanted to limit his pitches, but Kelly has shown of late he can go 2+ innings, and you may need that tonight, not last night... Although maybe Kelly told them he'd prefer to get limited work in ahead of any longer stint in G4/G5.

I feel good about at least getting this back to Fenway; I'll feel much better if they can steal another one tonight.
   53. TomH Posted: October 17, 2018 at 01:13 PM (#5768991)
48 and 50: because starting Nipper (>5 r/g allowed) in the 86 World Series was a great idea? :)
   54. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 17, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5769001)
Actually Nipper is kind of the argument in favor here. Yeah they lost that one but full rest Hurst and Rocket were both excellent. Hurst the CG win and Rocket left after 7 with a lead after allowing just 2 runs. I've got one more start of Chris Sale in this series, I want him tip top shape, if that means Price on short rest or a pure bullpen game or EdRod in game five I'm OK with that.

And TE - oversight or do you really want Price over Eovaldi for a presumptive game seven?
   55. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5769006)
48 and 50: because starting Nipper (>5 r/g allowed) in the 86 World Series was a great idea? :)
Hey, I'm not the one against pitching Sale in game 5!
   56. SoSH U at work Posted: October 17, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5769018)
Yeah, I think his numbers were off.

There is probably no more vocal opponent around here to teams getting on the short-rest merry-go-round in the playoffs than me. I hate it, and the numbers absolutely don't support its extensive usage. This wouldn't be short rest, but given Sale's late-season issues, normal rest seems like short rest.

If the Sox are up 3-1, I'd much rather see them try to patchwork through Game 5 and have Sale and Price on extra rest if the series goes back to Boston.
   57. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2018 at 01:40 PM (#5769030)
I'd much rather see them try to patchwork through Game 5 and have Sale and Price on extra rest if the series goes back to Boston.
It's good to have Price on hand and rested, but Eovaldi is starting game 7 in that scenario.
   58. Textbook Editor Posted: October 17, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5769038)
And TE - oversight or do you really want Price over Eovaldi for a presumptive game seven?


OVERSIGHT! OVERSIGHT!
   59. SoSH U at work Posted: October 17, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5769048)
It's good to have Price on hand and rested, but Eovaldi is starting game 7 in that scenario.


I assume they would go with the better pitcher.
   60. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 17, 2018 at 02:01 PM (#5769052)
I assume they would go with the better pitcher.


Ian Kinsler?
   61. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5769073)
I assume they would go with the better pitcher.


Ian Kinsler?
Al Nipper
   62. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 17, 2018 at 03:59 PM (#5769196)
With the Red Sox and Dave Roberts led Dodgers still alive on this National Holiday, let's pause to remember great moments in baseball history.
   63. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2018 at 05:00 PM (#5769266)
No Nunez or Kinsler in the lineup tonight!

Also, Bregman bumped up to leadoff for the Astros.
   64. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: October 17, 2018 at 05:04 PM (#5769270)
Which nation has a holiday today?
   65. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 17, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5769271)
Red Sox Nation of course!
   66. Textbook Editor Posted: October 17, 2018 at 06:59 PM (#5769397)
No Sale until Game 6 per Cora. No Game 5 starter announced but Price apparently in the mix.
   67. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 18, 2018 at 01:28 AM (#5770040)
WHAT A GAME!!!! That is an absolute all timer. Two great teams throwing haymakers, great great defense, unbelievable. Thoughts;

- JBJ!!! What a series he has had. The dude has been a different hitter since Memorial Daybut this hot streak has been exactly what the Sox needed.

- The outfield defense was amazing. The throw by Mookie The Catch by Benintendi (intentionally) capitalized is probably second best in club history behind Brunansky given the circumstances and I was watching without sound so I don’t know if they made much of it but Mookie made a great play on the double by Correa to keep Gonzalez at third and save a run. Amazing. Hey, all the Red Sox farmhands made plays, even Reddick made what might have actually been the best catch of the night. The Sox caught a break on a catch that wasn’t made, Vazquez’ double before JBJ’s tater was a ball Springer almost made a great play on.

- Porcello wasn’t sharp but like Price in game two he gutted out enough. Kelly, Brasier and Barnes did a nice job behind him.

- OK enough of the good stuff...what the #### was Alex Cora doing? What on earth has he been seeing that makes him think “yeah, I need Kimbrel for six outs.” I don’t get why it wasn’t the formula that worked in game one (Porcello) and four (Sale) of the LDS and game two (Porcello) of the LCS and use the starter Price for the 8th? It was a weird mix of urgency (get Kimbrel) and worrying about tomorrow by saving Price who presumably will make the start in game five.

- The call by Joe West on the homer/fly out by Altuve...boy that was a break. I don’t know how West saw it clearly from where he was, if the fan was over the wall into the field of play it wasn’t by much. I think that’s a case of “those are your fans so I’m assuming they were reaching out.” Nothing on replay should’ve overturned that regardless of the on field call (like the Kemp play in game three) but that felt a bit like West inserting himself in the game.

But hey, I’ll take it.

One more boys, get one more.
   68. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 18, 2018 at 01:31 AM (#5770045)
NESN just showed a pretty good angle that looks like the fan was over the wall but not by much. I’m still not sold that West could’ve seen that clearly.
   69. Textbook Editor Posted: October 18, 2018 at 02:10 AM (#5770064)
I'm really, really worried Cora is gonna look at results instead of process here... Kimbrel has allowed 13 of 28 batters to reach in the postseason... that is NOT sustainable.

I don't know what the answer is--if he's hurt and hiding it, or just overthrowing or what, but I have zero trust in that guy. He'll blow a key save this postseason, for certain. I don't know why Cora is persisting here--he's a FA, I would bet the house the Red Sox have no interest in re-signing him... why the #### should we care about his "feelings" at this point? It's bizarre.

Wen Cora left in Kimbrel I told TE Jr.: "That feeling of dread you have RIGHT NOW... THAT is what it felt like when Grady left Pedro in. EXACTLY the same."



   70. John DiFool2 Posted: October 18, 2018 at 08:50 AM (#5770085)
"A Kimbrel question: Would anyone on here give him anything more than a 1/$15 or 2/$30 contract?"

Kimbrel likely cost himself at least $10 million last night.

Craig Kimbrel is quickly entering Mitch Williams territory.


If not Steve Blass/Rick Ankiel/Mark Wohlers territory...

If the Sox win this series, it will be the ugliest series win of theirs welp likely ever.

   71. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 18, 2018 at 09:17 AM (#5770093)
I'll take an ugly win over a beautiful loss.

Really other than the Kimbrel issues they've been magnificent. The job the rest of the bullpen is doing has been great, the starters have done enough against a great lineup and the offense has been relentless.
   72. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 18, 2018 at 09:20 AM (#5770097)
Funny, it didn't seem all that long ago that the Red Sox thought their biggest problem was going to be the bridge from the starters to Kimbrel.
   73. Textbook Editor Posted: October 18, 2018 at 09:42 AM (#5770109)
I'll take an ugly win over a beautiful loss.


There are no beautiful losses in baseball.

I'm no expert, but I'd love to see one of those video mashups showing Kimbrel's arm slot, because from behind it looks all over the place, which means he's probably tipping to some extent, making everything easier. The way he yanks the FB across his body and in on LHB is painful to watch, and the arm slot looks completely different from when he throws up and away to LHB... I mean he seems just an unholy mess out there. I have no idea what the hell Cora is thinking.

Cora said after the game "he's my guy," but Cora was the bench coach when they cut Giles loose as closer mid-WS in 2017, right? So you have to think at some point (unless Cora was in Hinch's ear saying 'no, no, stick with him') they'll pull the rip cord on Kimbrel... I mean, how can you ask him to get a 3 out save with only a 1 run lead at this point?

That's where tonight might be critically important. I would guess they have very long odds on getting a win tonight given the matchup and the state of the P staff, but should a save situation come up... with all the pitches he threw + the 2 IP thing + the fact they have a cushion, I doubt Kimbrel comes in. Based on # of pitches in G3/G4, I'd guess Barnes would be the nominal closer tonight. Now... should they happen to win and Barnes gets a lockdown save outing along with it... I think they might think strongly about having Barnes close in certain situations in the WS.

I mean, I'd like to think Cora's not a complete Bob Brenly idiot here, because he's gotten this far. But, then, Brenly won a WS so... It IS possible to be Grady Little/Bob Brenly and have success...

The only good news is that Houston's pen's been used a lot last 2 days so they're not fresh either, but they have Verlander and that's probably enough. But man it would be really nice to get the W tonight and get guys some rest (especially Sale, who I'm very worried is not right at all and could well blow up in Game 6, at which point you're looking at Eovaldi/Johnny Wholestaff to save the season in a G7).

   74. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: October 18, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5770113)
Jose, you must have been watching a different Porcello than I was last night.
   75. SoSH U at work Posted: October 18, 2018 at 09:50 AM (#5770115)
Kimbrel is now 4-4 in save opportunities this postseason, and last night was his best single-game ERA yet. Obviously, if they get a lead tonight, they should look to get nine outs to really maximize him.


   76. Nasty Nate Posted: October 18, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5770116)
Price for 4 (optimistic)
Workman for 2
Hembree for 1
E-Rod for 1
Barnes for 1
Kelly to ROOGY

or if they are getting blown out:
Price for 2
Hembree for 4
Holt for 2
   77. Textbook Editor Posted: October 18, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5770120)
   78. Textbook Editor Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:00 AM (#5770130)
#76--I think there is a very non-zero chance we see Eovaldi in the pen and throwing 1 IP if the game is close late... It's sort of a throw day situation--if you warm him up just once and then use him for 15-20 P it's sort of like a live bullpen 2 days out from a start... If they have a lead late I'm almost positive we'll see Eovaldi get a clean inning to work.

I think best case scenario is Price gives you 5 IP/2 R and you piece together the rest. I just hope he attacks hitters from the jump. This is about as "house money" a game as you can get in the playoffs, especially considering the state of the P staff and the opposing P. Let them take their rips, try to induce as weak contact as possible, and go from there.

Now. Ahem... Holt and Vasquez and Devers simply MUST start this game. You need every last bit of offense you can get against Verlander, and they've all had quality ABs. You just have to start those 3. Sure, sub Kinsler in late for defense if you must, and Leon... but you really have to do this.

Also... I'm really hoping against hope Moreland can go tonight, but I suspect his injury is way worse than they're letting on if they're not even letting him run the bases.
   79. Nasty Nate Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:04 AM (#5770133)
#76--I think there is a very non-zero chance we see Eovaldi in the pen and throwing 1 IP if the game is close late...
Good point. I agree that is likely.
   80. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5770135)
There are no beautiful losses in baseball.


If there are ugly wins there are beautiful losses.
   81. Nasty Nate Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5770140)
Amazing 2-out hitting by the Sox this postseason.
   82. Chip Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:24 AM (#5770150)
https://twitter.com/jaysonst/status/1052787601340416001


Pedro was stressing this point about picking up the target too late last night postgame, and he’s a direct line into the coaching staff.
   83. Textbook Editor Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:24 AM (#5770152)
Amazing 2-out hitting by the Sox this postseason.


Yeah, see, I gotta think that's unsustainable.

This doesn't *feel* like a commanding 3-1 series lead. It seems like we backed into this and are hoping like hell the Dragon don't wake up in time to win 3 games.
   84. Nasty Nate Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:32 AM (#5770155)

This doesn't *feel* like a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Sure, but ... so what? Or to re-phrase, does a 3-1 lead against a great team like the Astros ever feel commanding? Or hypothetically, if they were up 3-1 in a commanding fashion, wouldn't we be exactly as nervous about the dragon being woken up?
   85. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5770170)
This is the first time the Sox have led a 7 game series 3 games to 1 since 1918.

I'm with Nate. We can nitpick about stuff but I'd sure as hell rather have a 3-1 lead with Kimbrel struggling, Cora being annoying with Kinsler/Devers/Nunez/Holt and the assorted starting pitching confusion than have all those things happening and be down 3-1.
   86. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5770179)
I mean, you do you but the Boston Red Sox so far have;

- won 108 games, a new team record
- clinched the division in the Bronx
- beat the Yankees 3-1 in the LDS, again clinching in the Bronx
- Now lead the LCS 3-1
- and have the presumptive MVP leading off for them in the form of probably the most dynamic star player in club history

If I told you when you were a kid that you would see this kind of year...man enjoy this. Maybe the Astros come back and win, they are really good, but the Sox are too and this is a year to remember and enjoy.
   87. Textbook Editor Posted: October 18, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5770271)
Jose, you're right... this is a happy occasion.
   88. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: October 18, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5770273)
I feel really good about the series being up 3-1. I would have felt vastly worse if it were 2-2 with Verlander pitching today against David Price and the bullpen. But now they just need to win one out of three (preferably ASAP to save my heart) to make the WS, and I think they should be favorites against either the Brewers or the Dodgers.
   89. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: October 18, 2018 at 12:26 PM (#5770319)
Now. Ahem... Holt and Vasquez and Devers simply MUST start this game. You need every last bit of offense you can get against Verlander, and they've all had quality ABs. You just have to start those 3.
Nunez v Verlander, career: .304/.346/.522 (26 PAs, only 3 Ks).

[ducks]
   90. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 18, 2018 at 04:54 PM (#5770542)
Welcome back Mitchy Two Bags!!! Get-r-done!

Mookie Betts RF
Andrew Benintendi LF
J.D. Martinez DH
Xander Bogaerts SS
Mitch Moreland 1B
Ian Kinsler 2B
Rafael Devers 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
   91. Nasty Nate Posted: October 18, 2018 at 05:00 PM (#5770548)
Astros lineup a little different:


1. Alex Bregman (R) 3B
2. George Springer (R) RF
3. Jose Altuve (R) DH
4. Carlos Correa (R) SS
5. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
6. Marwin Gonzalez (S) 2B
7. Tony Kemp (L) LF
8. Martin Maldonado (R) C
9. Jake Marisnick (R) CF
   92. Textbook Editor Posted: October 18, 2018 at 05:14 PM (#5770554)
Kinsler.... Noooooooooooooo
   93. Nasty Nate Posted: October 18, 2018 at 05:21 PM (#5770559)
Kinsler.... Noooooooooooooo
I don't understand it, either.
   94. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 18, 2018 at 05:37 PM (#5770567)
I just don't get Kinsler starting. Is he perceived to be that much better then Holt with the leather? He has no chance to hit Verlander; none. His bat speed is waaaay too slow. At least Holt will give you good ABs and might even line one into the L/C gap type of thing. Also, Holt seems to bring an energy when he's playing. I know that sounds old school and all, but the guy is just kind of fun to watch as at least you think he has a chance to hit Verlander.

I really don't understand this decision at all.

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