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   1. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 28, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4118374)
Feels like just a few days ago I was posting, "Et tu, Brute?"

.500 today will be a tall task with Peavy. I hope Lester can match him.
   2. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4118401)
I hope Boston fans pining for Bard in the bullpen will stop soon. Bard looked very good last night, and has arguably been the team's best starting pitcher so fat this season. He and Doubront as the #4 and #5 starters have been possibly the best part of this season so far - two young starting pitchers who have been effective, are inexpensive, under team control, a lefty and a righty...most teams would kill to have this situation for their back of the rotation.

I don't expect Ross, Sweeney, and others to keep hitting like this, but I also don't think Saltalamacchia is going to hit .150 all season, and Youkilis is either going to hit better, or Middlebrooks will be playing third by mid-season. A team with Ortiz, Pedroia and Gonzalez in the middle of it is going to be a pretty good offense. Aviles is a fine SS for the season, they have options at catcher and 3B, and they should ride the Sweeney/Ross express as long as it's worth riding - hopefully, Ellsbury will come back at some point to take it back over.

The bullpen is better than it looked two weeks ago, but do any of us think Aceves looks comfortable as a closer out there? Could Morales do a better job as a closer, and we put Aceves back as a three-times-a-week, two-inning guy? That's his best role, if you ask me...Albers is looking OK now, and I like Tazawa...and I think Bobby V. will give Tazawa a lot of opportunity to grow into a key role. Hill is activated today, replacing Thomas - that's an upgrade.

This is not a 97-win team...but it may be a 92-win team - and if it is, that's probably enough to at least play in the one-game wild card play in. To do that while developing two new young starting pitchers, losing your top two bullpen guys and your OF who was the MVP runner up? Better than most teams could reasonably expect, yes?
   3. Dan Posted: April 28, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4118408)
I also don't think Saltalamacchia is going to hit .150 all season,


Considering he's already hitting .261, that's probably a pretty easy call.
   4. Darren Posted: April 28, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4118430)
Tazawa is a big bright spot. It's amazing how much better a guy can pitch without a shredded arm. :)
   5. Dale Sams Posted: April 28, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4118439)
It's amazing how much better a guy can pitch without a shredded arm. :)


I think someone pointed out that his babip is .156. But I'd still rather have a reliever whose pitching seems to explode out of his hand right down the middle with movement, then a guy who walks the park.

As I suspected here's his work two days ago. At least 4 first pitch strikes were near the middle of the plate and taken.
   6. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 28, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4118493)
At least 4 first pitch strikes were near the middle of the plate and taken.


Is that unusual?
   7. I Am Not a Number Posted: April 28, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4118500)
Is Abreu someone to be considered adding to the collection of outfield mediocrities? His defensive limitations wouldn't be as exposed playing in Fenway.
   8. Darren Posted: April 28, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4118501)
His BABIP is quite low, which tells us he probably won't maintain his 0.00 ERA. However, his peripherals--4K, 0 BB, 3 H, 0 HR in 6 IP--look quite good.
   9. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 28, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4118507)
Is Abreu someone to be considered adding to the collection of outfield mediocrities? His defensive limitations wouldn't be as exposed playing in Fenway.


Abreu is in pretty steep decline. Can he even be league average this year? Properly platooned, the OF won't be a problem, and as someone else said in a different thread, the Sox offense projects to score 900-ish runs this year. Offense isn't the problem. Abreu's not good at defense, so what does he bring?

Edit: This is another way of saying that if you think Abreu is a solution to the problem, then you don't understand the problem. :)
   10. Dale Sams Posted: April 28, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4118508)
Is that unusual?


I think so. It doesn't seem like Lester goes out and pumps the first ball down the middle of the plate to most of the batters he faces.
   11. Darren Posted: April 28, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4118518)
MC,

Maybe you could do something up about the Youk question. There seems to be consensus on SOSH and among my Sox fan friends that he is toast and not likely to be worth his option. That sounds like crazy talk to me.
   12. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 28, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4118519)
I think so. It doesn't seem like Lester goes out and pumps the first ball down the middle of the plate to most of the batters he faces.


I guess I was hoping for a less speculative answer. Does anyone know if the preponderance of Tazawa's first pitch FB strikes are unusual for relievers or pitchers in general?
   13. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 28, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4118520)
Maybe you could do something up about the Youk question. There seems to be consensus on SOSH and among my Sox fan friends that he is toast and not likely to be worth his option. That sounds like crazy talk to me.


I don't think he's toast, but he looks injured or slower at the plate and in the field.
   14. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 28, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4118527)
Youk is not 100% healthy, not even close. The question the Sox will have to answer about Youkilis, eventually, is whether some real time off - on the DL - would result in a meaningfully improved level of play. Middlebrooks is good enough to fill in at 3B, no problem. I'd like to see if Youk is going to be good enough at the plate, if healthy, to be a solid DH in 2013-2014 (which brings up the question of Ortiz's future).

The only way Youkilis would be on the team after this year, it seems ot me, is if Ortiz leaves Boston after 2012, and Youkilis signed a team-friendly two-year deal to serve as the full-time DH. The only way that's happening is if Youkilis was healthy by the end of the year, productive, and asking for a lot less than Ortiz would.

Question: Who would you rather have on the team in 2013 and/or 2014: Youkilis or Ortiz? I'm actually thinking Ortiz is less risky than Youkilis, which I never would have said 13 months ago...
   15. Darren Posted: April 28, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4118532)
What, 13 months of .323 .408 .572 is enough to sway you? :)
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 28, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4118535)
Maybe you could do something up about the Youk question. There seems to be consensus on SOSH and among my Sox fan friends that he is toast and not likely to be worth his option. That sounds like crazy talk to me.
I like to wait until you get at least 100 PA before getting into stuff like that. I prefer to have something to say about the numbers, and we're still entirely in Voros' Law territory. (Same with Papi, going the other way.)
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 28, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4118537)
Abreu is in pretty steep decline. Can he even be league average this year?
That's the issue. Abreu's projections are really bad for a guy who takes value away in the field - 340/385 consensus between ZiPS and CAIRO. I think the Sox are better off with Ross out there every night.
   18. Dan Posted: April 28, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4118548)
I'd rather see Lars get some time in LF against RHP than screw around with Abreu.
   19. TomH Posted: April 28, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4118571)
Sox have 53 two-baggers in 19 g; on pace to break the MLB record of 376 ('08 Rangers). Red Sox often hit tons of doubles (it's the Fenway park factor thang); lookig back at recent seasons, they could be expected to hit about 340, so maybe 380 isn't out of the question.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 28, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4118651)
Matsuzaka had a pretty good rehab start in Portland this afternoon. 4.2 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 7 Ks. Not too much info out there on how he pitched, what he threw, beyond that he topped out at 93 mph. I figure they'll move him along slowly, but Matsuzaka could definitely be an asset this summer.
   21. Dan Posted: April 28, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4118691)
Apropos of nothing: Josh Reddick, who leads MLB in OF assists, is playing LF for Oakland today while Crisp is playing RF for some reason.

Edit: nevermind, the box score's been updated and they're back in their normal spots.
   22. Dan Posted: April 28, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4118692)
I think Matsuzaka is going to surprise a lot of people. He hasn't been pitching healthy in several years.
   23. Dan Posted: April 28, 2012 at 09:59 PM (#4118782)
Aceves was throwing a ridiculous fastball tonight: 96-98 MPH on some of them with enough run that PFX classified them as 2-seamers. Where the heck did this velocity come from? Touching 98 on a cold night in Chicago. Crazy.
   24. Dale Sams Posted: April 28, 2012 at 10:11 PM (#4118786)
Im telling you this isnt Aceves. Aceves sweats, androids dont sweat. Obviously this one needed tuning.
   25. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 29, 2012 at 12:13 AM (#4118837)
I think Matsuzaka is going to surprise a lot of people. He hasn't been pitching healthy in several years.


Agreed.

I think a huge number of "pitcher X is having a bad year" is down to injury. I don't know what the percentage is but I'd bet it's well in excess of 50% that pitchers who falter are dealing with some sort of physical malady.
   26. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 29, 2012 at 12:27 AM (#4118850)
Hmm, so it appears that playing crappy teams can do a lot for a struggling but talented team's record.
   27. Dan Posted: April 29, 2012 at 12:55 AM (#4118859)
Hmm, so it appears that playing crappy teams can do a lot for a struggling but talented team's record.


Hasn't done much for the Angels though.
   28. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:44 AM (#4118868)
Karma for the Wells/Napoli trade is likely to haunt them for years. The mere on-field effects of that decision aren't really enough punishment for such stupidity.
   29. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 29, 2012 at 03:06 AM (#4118881)
10-10! 2.5 games out. This team may be too flawed to win, but they'll at least be in the playoff hunt all season, fans pants shitting aside.
   30. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: April 29, 2012 at 03:43 AM (#4118886)
10-10! 2.5 games out. This team may be too flawed to win, but they'll at least be in the playoff hunt all season, fans pants shitting aside.

Why do people always dump on me?!
   31. John DiFool2 Posted: April 29, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4118921)
Here's an insane idea: DiceK as closer, or at least reliever? His well-known pattern of falling apart on the 3rd or 4th time through the order might be one reason to go to the pen, as would durability questions.
   32. Darren Posted: April 29, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4118927)
I like Phil too much to even consider the thought of Dice as closer.
   33. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 29, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4118936)
Dice-K to the rotation, Doubront on the trading block for bullpen help and a live arm in the low minors. You heard it here first, folks.

Edit: Doubront in this scenario is basically Bronson Arroyo, but he'll bring back something better than Wily Mo Pena.
   34. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 29, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4118943)
I'm burning something down if they trade my boy Felix.
   35. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 29, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4118945)
No trading away pitching depth! Depth almost always works itself out in the rotation, and the Arroyo trade is a great example of why you don't do things like that.
   36. Dale Sams Posted: April 29, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4118983)
Trade a young, cromulent++ starter for a reliever? You're fired piehole. Buch to the BP, or give Dice-K the old Aceves role.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4118993)
Buchholz makes no sense as a reliever - he usually takes a couple innings to settle into a game.

And, to reiterate, fans often think their team might have too many starters in April, and pretty much no one ever has too many starters in August. This isn't a problem to be solved, this is a strength to be enjoyed.
   38. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4119007)
They lead the majors in runs scored (er, and almost runs allowed) with a 119 OPS+. Ortiz, Ross, and Sweeney will come back to earth, but Youkilis will improve, and Ellsbury (and Crawford, should he ever return) will help offset that as well. At the end of the day, their offense will be plenty, and I believe their rotation will be good, but their pen sucks right now.
   39. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4119009)
If you project the Sox as a high-80s win roster (their preseason projection minus Ellsbury and Bailey), they should be 10-9 right now given their schedule. They’re almost back on pace again.


Hmm. I had them as high-80s _with_ Ellsbury and Bailey.
   40. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4119013)
Is Abreu someone to be considered adding to the collection of outfield mediocrities? His defensive limitations wouldn't be as exposed playing in Fenway.


Abreu looks cooked. I was surprised he held serve for as long as he did after declining with the Yankees, but he looks done now.
   41. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4119014)
Hmm. I had them as high-80s _with_ Ellsbury and Bailey.
I had them in the low 90s, and so did the RLYW projection blowout. So, you have them as a mid-80s team without Ellsbury and Bailey?

A few wins one way or another is pretty marginal in a full sesson projection, and I certainly can't say it's crazy to have the Sox a few games worse.
   42. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4119016)
Maybe you could do something up about the Youk question. There seems to be consensus on SOSH and among my Sox fan friends that he is toast and not likely to be worth his option. That sounds like crazy talk to me.


We need a lot more PAs before we conclude that Youkilis is going to be a problem. His offense slipped a little last year, but he _did_ move over to 3B, so that can be attributed as one of the reasonable causes.

So can his age, but, again, let's wait and see.

EDIT: Coke to Matthew.
   43. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4119018)
I had them in the low 90s, and so did the RLYW projection blowout. So, you have them as a mid-80s team without Ellsbury and Bailey?


Yes, but I'm not going to quibble. Even though I just did :-) Was just pointing out that I didn't have them as low 90s unless things broke right, and so far things have broken wrong with the injuries to three major players (Ellsbury, Crawford, and to some degree Bailey).
   44. Dale Sams Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4119019)
Buchholz makes no sense as a reliever - he usually takes a couple innings to settle into a game.


Then go to six starters and pay Cook big bucks to stay in AAA? It seems a little crazy to move Doubront or Bard to the pen for Dice-K. This is Dice-K we're talking about. The sands of time haven't clouded my mind as to whom we're talking about here. I'm hesitant to even tell Bard it's just part of limiting his innings unless they can get him onboard mentally.
   45. Dan Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4119024)
Youkilis's offense only declined last year because he didn't hit AT ALL while he was trying to play through the hernia. Before his catastophic last 100-200 PAs, he was right where he's been since breaking out.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4119029)
Then go to six starters and pay Cook big bucks to stay in AAA? It seems a little crazy to move Doubront or Bard to the pen for Dice-K.
I think odds are extremely good that come June, either Dice will have had a setback or one of the other pitchers will be hurt or otherwise need time off. I don't see much reason to worry about it.

If everything is great, and the Sox have Dice ready to come back and a healthy, effective five-man rotation, they can parcel out "strained quadrilliminus" DL stints to get their more fragile or younger pitchers some days off.

If Aaron Cook demands to join the roster, I think they can make him a swingman in the pen.
   47. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 29, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4119034)
If Aaron Cook demands to join the roster, I think they can make him a swingman in the pen.


I read this initially as Aaron Small and was wondering just what in the hell you were talking about.
   48. villageidiom Posted: April 29, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4119049)
Dice-K to the rotation, Doubront on the trading block for bullpen help and a live arm in the low minors. You heard it here first, folks.

I expect by mid-June the rotation will be five of Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Doubront, Cook, and Bard. One of them will be in the bullpen or injured. I fully expect that Buchholz is actually injured now.
   49. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 29, 2012 at 08:34 PM (#4119398)
So, with today's loss, the Sox failed to get back to even. Using the RLYW team win projections, accounting for home field advantage, and projecting the Sox as a high-80s win team (without Ellsbury, Crawford, and Bailey), the Sox should have gone 11-10 over their first 21. This has been a very tough early stretch - even the series against weaker teams were all on the road.

The next stretch is very easy. Three at home against both Oakland and Baltimore, then three on the road to Kansas City, and home again for four with the Indians and two with the Mariners. In these fifteen games, the Sox should win nine. If they can go 10-5, they'll be back to even.
   50. Dale Sams Posted: April 29, 2012 at 09:30 PM (#4119418)
I had them at 10-12. For my next trick I will predict May:

14-16.
   51. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 29, 2012 at 09:36 PM (#4119427)
Sox play 29 games in May, simple log5 with home/road projection has them 16-13.
   52. Dale Sams Posted: April 29, 2012 at 09:40 PM (#4119432)
I was including tomorrow's game in that.

me=dumb.
   53. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 29, 2012 at 10:04 PM (#4119447)
I just want to know when I can say it's over, one way or the other.
   54. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 29, 2012 at 11:11 PM (#4119482)
I just want to know when I can say it's over, one way or the other.
You? Anytime now. The rest of us will wait a bit longer.
   55. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 30, 2012 at 01:56 AM (#4119549)
Sox play 29 games in May, simple log5 with home/road projection has them 16-13.

I think they'll begin to tease us like last year..May record 18-11.

And, to reiterate, fans often think their team might have too many starters in April, and pretty much no one ever has too many starters in August. This isn't a problem to be solved, this is a strength to be enjoyed.


agreed. One never, ever, ever, ever has enough decent pitching...ever.

   56. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 08:31 AM (#4119584)
If everything is great, and the Sox have Dice ready to come back and a healthy, effective five-man rotation, they can parcel out "strained quadrilliminus" DL stints to get their more fragile or younger pitchers some days off.


At some point Doubront and Bard especially will be held back due to season caps on pitch counts, perfect time for Cook and Dice to come in. 6 or 7 man rotation around the all-star break.
   57. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 30, 2012 at 08:49 AM (#4119587)
You can't possibly run a seven man rotation in modern baseball. That would require a five man bullpen, which just isn't going to work (certainly not with this Sox club). A six-man rotation would be pushing it, and I don't know why you'd limit Lester's starts, for instance.

If the Sox actually do have too many healthy and effective starters - which I doubt will happen this year - they'll parcel out get-some-rest DL stints and possibly some swingman bullpen duty to manage the issue.
   58. villageidiom Posted: April 30, 2012 at 09:35 AM (#4119599)
You can't possibly run a seven man rotation in modern baseball. That would require a five man bullpen, which just isn't going to work (certainly not with this Sox club).
A five-man bullpen would require starters to work out of the bullpen on their throw day. That's something so unprecedented that it's doomed to fail... except that it's already succeeded once this year.

Like with any staff alignment, the efficacy is dependent on worst-case scenarios. If a starter can't get past the 2nd inning, you need the bullpen to cover at least 7 innings. If you can have one pitcher take a bullet and throw 4 of those, then you're OK that day... But that effectively reduces the number of relievers you have at your disposal for the next few days. If you're starting with 5 relievers, going down to 4 for a few days isn't great. If you're constantly rotating in a different throw-day starter each day, that could help things, but maybe not enough to offset the problem of burning out one reliever.
   59. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 30, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4120105)
You can't possibly run a seven man rotation in modern baseball. That would require a five man bullpen, which just isn't going to work (certainly not with this Sox club). A six-man rotation would be pushing it, and I don't know why you'd limit Lester's starts, for instance.


Yeah, yeah, yeah. Way to ruin my idea by pointing out its deficiencies.
   60. Dan Posted: April 30, 2012 at 06:17 PM (#4120115)
Youkilis a late scratch again with back stiffness. If he's going to miss more than a few games here, let's get WMB up here for a little trial run.
   61. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 30, 2012 at 06:20 PM (#4120117)
I'm guessing he's had back stiffness all year. A DL stint and a Middlebrooks call-up seem like not unreasonable calls.

With 12 pitchers on the roster, platoons at two positions, and only one backup 2B-SS-3B, this roster isn't really built to carry an injured infielder through a five-day rest period.
   62. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 01, 2012 at 12:46 AM (#4120448)
I'd really like to see the Sox call up Clayton Mortensen. The kid has electric stuff and while there is every reason to be concerned about the walks the Sox desperately need a bat-missing reliever.
   63. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: May 01, 2012 at 02:11 AM (#4120462)
Speaking of back stiffness, I wonder how much longer Buchholz is on the roster. I didn't see the game but his pitching line looks...Lackey-esque. He seems like the obvious candidate for a DL stint or some kind of roster shenanigan.
   64. Dan Posted: May 01, 2012 at 02:32 AM (#4120464)
He looked fine. His stuff was better than it's been all season and his line was fine until that last inning. I think he's getting on track.
   65. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 01, 2012 at 07:47 AM (#4120491)
Buchholz showed a much better fastball last night than he'd had all season, and he threw a number of good curves and a few good changeups. I agree with Dan that pitching line notwithstanding, last night looked like Buchholz working himself into shape.

What I continue to not understand about Buchholz is why he can't ever seem to command even one of his secondary pitches consistently. The curve and change are both good enough that he could be a very good pitcher with his fastball plus either a consistent curve or change, using the other as a show-me third pitch. And he could be an ace if he could command both. But instead, both pitches always seem at risk of spiralling out of control at any moment.

I guess I shouldn't say "never", as it seemed like through most of 2010 Buc could settle into one or the other pitch working pretty well for him, but both last season and this season, his consistency with his secondary pitches has been very poor.
   66. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 01, 2012 at 07:58 AM (#4120493)
On the "too many starters" issue - per WEEI, Bobby and Ben have decided that if Cook comes up, he'll pitch in relief:
If the Red Sox select him, Cook will receive $1.5 million. If they don’t he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Valentine made it clear that if the team promotes him by Tuesday, he will come out of the bullpen, despite going 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in five starts for Pawtucket this April.
   67. Nasty Nate Posted: May 01, 2012 at 09:44 AM (#4120537)
On the "too many starters" issue - per WEEI, Bobby and Ben have decided that if Cook comes up, he'll pitch in relief:


I hope Matsuzaka will similarly not be guaranteed a rotation spot
   68. chris p Posted: May 01, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4120553)
What I continue to not understand about Buchholz is why he can't ever seem to command even one of his secondary pitches consistently. The curve and change are both good enough that he could be a very good pitcher with his fastball plus either a consistent curve or change, using the other as a show-me third pitch. And he could be an ace if he could command both. But instead, both pitches always seem at risk of spiralling out of control at any moment.

because he still struggles from the stretch. he basically can't throw his curveball ... curveball from the stretch was what reddick hit out ... so when he can get into a rhythm from the full windup, he can mix in all his pitches, but when he gets into trouble, he basically becomes a 2-pitch pitcher.
   69. Dan Posted: May 01, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4120640)
In other news from the division:


Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that Evan Longoria has a hamstring issue which could keep him out for 6-8 weeks.


That's a bigger loss for the Rays than Crawford or Ellsbury are for the Sox. Their offense without Longoria is not pretty. And their options to replace him in the lineup are abysmal: Elliot Johnson or Reid Brignac probably take most of his ABs, maybe some to Keppinger against RHP when he would've been sitting. I'd guess their lineup vs RHP will look something like this:

LF Jennings
1B Peña
2B Zobrist
DH Scott
RF Joyce
CF Upton
3B Keppinger
SS Rodriguez
C J Molina/Gimenez

That's pretty rough. And it seems like Elliot Johnson or Joyce probably ends up in the lineup against LHP. Considering Joyce can't hit LHP a lick, and Johnson can't hit, that really thins out the lineup a lot against lefty starters:

LF Jennings
1B Pena
2B/RF Zobrist
3B Keppinger
CF Upton
SS Rodriguez
DH Scott
C J Molina/Gimenez
RF Joyce / 2B Johnson
   70. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 01, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4120644)
I hope Matsuzaka will similarly not be guaranteed a rotation spot
I figure he isn't guaranteed one right now, but if he does everything right in his rehab, he's going to be starting. I'm cautiously optimistic - Daisuke was a heck of a pitcher before he started having arm trouble back in 2009.
   71. Dan Posted: May 01, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4120649)
I'm cautiously optimistic - Daisuke was a heck of a pitcher before he started having arm trouble back in 2009.


This. A healthy Matsuzaka should be a very good starting pitcher.
   72. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 01, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4120655)
Agreed. The reason my optimism is cautious is that having TJ surgery is no guarantee that you're healthy. Matsuzaka had reported shoulder ailments as well during his time in the wilderness. But if he can rattle off a string of solid rehab starts, show good velocity and command, he deserves a spot in the rotation.
   73. Dan Posted: May 01, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4120661)
I imagine his shoulder probably benefitted from the rest and the strengthening and rehab regimens too though. It's also possible that his shoulder was acting up due to compensating for the injured elbow.
   74. Nasty Nate Posted: May 01, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4120666)
Yes, he "should" be, but he hasn't been a good pitcher in more than 3 years, and I don't want the Sox to derail the season by giving him a string of 5 inning 4-run outings just because he is famous and highly-paid.

He better be destroying those International League hitters, and even then I wouldn't mind making him prove it with some relief outings at the major league level. This all may be moot, though, if Buccholz pitches his way out of the rotation or onto the DL.

edit:
But if he can rattle off a string of solid rehab starts, show good velocity and command, he deserves a spot in the rotation.


This is what I disagree with. Or at least I would want better than "solid" rehab starts. I think Matsuzaka should be looked at as depth, as a late season secret weapon, but not given a rotation spot just because he was good 4 years ago.
   75. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 01, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4120679)
I think if Daisuke is ready in mid-June there is not going to be a reason to keep him out of the rotation. I can't envision the Sox not wanting to keep both Bard and Doubront down around 150 innings so there are going to be starts for Daisuke to make even without injury and it's not like Beckett and Buchholz are channeling Old Hoss Radbourn out there. When is the last time the Sox made it to the All Star break without having to replace someone in the rotation for a few weeks?
   76. Nasty Nate Posted: May 01, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4120689)
re # 75, a reason to keep him out of the rotation would be if he is a worse pitcher than the 5 current starters. But as you say, the Sox will need someone to make some starts this season beyond the current guys. I think they should use him to start when they need him, not necessarily at the moment when his rehab is done.
   77. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 01, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4120691)
But if he can rattle off a string of solid rehab starts, show good velocity and command, he deserves a spot in the rotation.

This is what I disagree with. Or at least I would want better than "solid" rehab starts. I think Matsuzaka should be looked at as depth, as a late season secret weapon, but not given a rotation spot just because he was good 4 years ago.
Well, to be clear, the important issue is the "velocity and command". If Matsuzaka shows stuff and command that looks like his 2008-2009 self, he should be in the rotation. I mean "solid" in the sense of, pitching like a solid major league starter. Not in the sense of "ERA under 4".

I don't want to put too much weight on results - he's only going to be throwing maybe 30 innings, and lots of weird stuff can happen in that small a sample. If he looks like the old, healthy DiceK, he deserves a rotation spot.
   78. Nasty Nate Posted: May 01, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4120697)
If he looks like the old, healthy DiceK, he deserves a rotation spot.


Do you think the same about Aaron Cook?
   79. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 01, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4120709)
I never thought there was any real chance of Aaron Cook being more than 80% of the pitcher he used to be, given his injury history. And even though he did pull off four legit above average pitching seasons in Coors, I had a lot of trouble believing that a guy with his (lack of) strikeout rate would be an effective pitcher in year n+1.

A healthy Daisuke is an asset in any rotation - I'd certainly bump Duke Felix to the pen for him - and coming off TJ surgery, it's very possible that he is fully healthy.
   80. Nasty Nate Posted: May 01, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4120732)
A healthy Daisuke is an asset in any rotation - I'd certainly bump Duke Felix to the pen for him - and coming off TJ surgery, it's very possible that he is fully healthy.


I don't want the Sox to find out how healthy he is by giving him a month's worth of big-league starts if that means forcing out an otherwise effective SP. We will have more information about Bucc/Bard/Felix/Daisuke by the time Matsuzaka is ready, and it is very likely that they will need some starts from him by then. But if they don't need someone, they should prioritize the team's 2012 success (and the development of Bard and Doubront) over Matsuzaka's rehab and progression.

Matsuzaka was supposedly healthy in 2009 and 2011, and wasn't much of an asset to those rotations.
   81. Jim Wisinski Posted: May 01, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4120756)
That's a bigger loss for the Rays than Crawford or Ellsbury are for the Sox. Their offense without Longoria is not pretty. And their options to replace him in the lineup are abysmal: Elliot Johnson or Reid Brignac probably take most of his ABs, maybe some to Keppinger against RHP when he would've been sitting.


Eh. It's still a very fine top six in the lineup and the Rays have played without Longoria for about a month a couple times. Defense and pitching will still be strong and Maddon has always done a fine job maintaining a productive lineup in the face of adversity. Losing Longoria sucks and hurts but injuries are part of the game and they'll survive as they always do.
   82. Dan Posted: May 01, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4120757)
Also: if Punto makes a third straight start at 3B then management has failed. If Youkilis is going to miss that many days in a row they NEED to make a move to try out WMB.
   83. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 01, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4120767)
It isn't starting Punto at third that bugs me, exactly. I won't begrudge the Red Sox trusting their projections over 25 bad plate appearances.

It's that you can't start Little Nicky Punto without a backup for his position so you can pinch-hit if he comes up in a leveraged situation. Being locked into batting LNP with runners on and two outs late-and-close for one game is the sort of thing that can happen with contemporary roster management, but three days of it just won't fly.
   84. Jim Wisinski Posted: May 01, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4120768)
Also there's an update now saying that they aren't sure of the extent of Longoria's injury yet and that it's possible he won't even be DL'd. It seems pretty likely that he will be but it wouldn't be surprising at all if he missed a lot less than the six to eight weeks talked about.
   85. Dan Posted: May 01, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4120777)
It's that you can't start Little Nicky Punto without a backup for his position so you can pinch-hit if he comes up in a leveraged situation. Being locked into batting LNP with runners on and two outs late-and-close for one game is the sort of thing that can happen with contemporary roster management, but three days of it just won't fly.


Well yeah, that's the other part that is ridiculous. You have a 3B who's pretty injury prone and going to miss games here and there, and you have a roster with 1 backup infielder with a noodle bat.

And yeah Jim, I just saw the quotes from Friedman about not DLing Longoria yet, so I guess Topkin kind of jumped the gun there.
   86. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 01, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4120791)
The lone chink in Longoria's armor seems to be his health. He's a bit like a positional Pedro Martinez, great player but you just have to accept that there is going to be a four week stretch that he's cooling his heels on the DL. The Rays are pretty good at the whole depth thing so it doesn't seem to rattle them too much.
   87. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: May 01, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4120903)
The lone chink in Longoria's armor seems to be his health.


Is that really true? I mean, he missed some time last year, but I don't think he'd ever missed much time before.
   88. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 01, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4120921)
I was semi-right but not as right as I thought. Looking it up he has been on the DL twice before, about a month in 2008 and then last year. 2009 and 2010 he was healthy. I thought he had missed some time in 2009 and 2010 as well. 3 moderate DL stints (a bit over a month in each case if this comes to pass) in 5 years isn't great, but it ain't J.D. Drew either.
   89. Dale Sams Posted: May 01, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4120924)
Drew was on the DL twice for the Sox if memory serves.
   90. Dan Posted: May 01, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4120940)
And we get a third straight day of Punto at 3B with no backup available. Just terrible roster management.
   91. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 01, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4120960)
I can sort of defend this from a within-the-organization perspective. They may not want to call up Middlebrooks for five days and hurt his development or his trade value with a bad set of games. That leaves Nate Spears as a backup 3B, and he can't hit, so you'd be looking at McDonald and Shoppach as your pinch-hitters for Punto. The mistake was made in the offseason, when the Red Sox didn't acquire a bench bat who could cover 3B. That was a clear need on the roster, and they didn't see it. I don't know if there's a good option out there now on the AAAA trade market, but Cherington should be on the lookout.
   92. karlmagnus Posted: May 01, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4120977)
If you tell Middlebrooks it's 5 games and no decisions will be made based on it, it should only be beneficial -- he needs to get experience of MLB, and this is the way to do it. Sox are altogether too cautious in bringing up talent, wasting vast amounts of $$ on marginal veterans and then trading the talent, whose value has declined because they're older and blocked, for relievers.
   93. Joel W Posted: May 01, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4120979)
I think I figured out how Valentine has done so well against his pythag all these years. He takes managing to the score to the extreme. In an 11-1 game, just let your starter blow up and then bring in crappy relievers, and then win a much closer game, 11-8. Your win expectancy will go down only slightly, but your wins over pythag, that will look great! No blowouts allowed.
   94. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: May 01, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4120994)
In an 11-1 game, just let your starter blow up and then bring in crappy relievers


I think some other managers may be on to this idea.
   95. Nasty Nate Posted: May 01, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4121012)
I find it slightly amusing that Sox Therapy had talked themselves into accepting Punto as the starting shortstop ... but now are freaking out about him starting 3 games.
   96. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: May 01, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4121027)
...at third base. With no conceivable backup on the roster.
   97. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 01, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4121037)
Sox called up Iglesias, optioned Tazawa. The Red Sox don't exactly have a murderer's row of bench options to pinch-hit for Punto, but they will be able to call on either McDonald or Anderson if they need to.

I want Tazawa to get more of a shot, but I'm confident he will in the future. For now, the club needs 14 position players on the roster to cover injuries, and Tazawa is clearly the 12th pitcher on the roster.

EDIT: Also, from the link:
Will Middlebrooks might have been considered for a call-up, but he tweaked his thumb slightly on a swing over the weekend. The 23-year-old had Monday off, and his health will be re-evaluated after he returns to the PawSox lineup on Tuesday.
   98. Dan Posted: May 01, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4121040)
Why the ####### fuck would you call up ####### iglesias instead of Middlebrooks? Criminal mismanagement.
   99. Dan Posted: May 01, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4121045)
Okay, from Speier on Twitter:


#redsox call up Iglesias, option Tazawa. Wondering why no Middlebrooks? Team source says he tweaked his thumb slightly


I am now less mad.
   100. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 01, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4121048)
My guess is that if Youks gets DL'ed and Middlebrooks is healthy, he'll come up. If it's just another day or two, they'll go with Punto and the pinch-hitters.
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