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   1. John DiFool2 Posted: August 17, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3902302)
One thing I noticed (checking yesterday before the DH) is that their batting average has stayed on pace, as has the slugging, but walks drawn plummeted during August, leading to people noticing all the home runs (20, but 12 solo shots) but few of those 5-6 run innings anymore (leading to 4.2/game and only 1 contest w/ 10+ runs). 28 out of 63 runs have scored on homers despite only 1 three-run bomb (Ells yesterday) and no grannies. After they got all of 6 hits in the doubleheader yesterday of course the average and OBP dropped off some more.
   2. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 17, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3902318)
Since none of the games from here until the start of the playoffs matter in the slightest, it will be interesting to see how the Yankees and Red Sox play out the string.
   3. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 17, 2011 at 04:01 PM (#3902330)
We signed all our high draft picks!!
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 17, 2011 at 05:06 PM (#3902392)
I think in a way it's encouraging that the slump is due to the bats. I'm confident they will get going though Ortiz' absence hurts. I think the continued good work of Beckett and Lester plus some solid signs from Lackey, Wake and Bedard make me feel good about this team.

I think Ortiz is key though. I noticed this in interleague and again yesterday. With him out of there the lineup just suddenly seems a lot shorter.

As a random note I'm at Fenway now. One of the underrated aspects of this experience is the subdued tenor of the pregame. No blaring music, just an organist, and generally you can sit and soak it in.

Lastly, sorry if I offended anyone in the game thread last night. I got a bit heated.
   5. Dan Posted: August 17, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3902420)
If Ortiz is really going to be out all week, they should just DL Scutaro and call up Lavarnway to get some DH ABs. Darnell McDonald and Mike Aviles don't need to be replacing Ortiz in the lineup while he's out.

Also, is Gonzalez ever going to hit another home run? He's rolling over pitches and pulling grounders to second at a rate that would be high even for JD Drew, never mind a guy who is normally trying to take almost everything the other way. His GB rate is at a career high (by a lot), and his FB rate is at a career low. His HR/FB is lower than it's been since he had his power breakout in 2007-2008, when we were expecting it to be up with him trading 81 Petco games for 81 Fenway games a year. His ISO is lower than it's been since 2006. Is his shoulder and/or neck bothering him more than he is letting on? He's not driving the ball at all right now. He hit a ball off Shields in the first inning yesterday that I thought would at least hit high off the CF wall if it didn't go out, and it was easily caught by Upton.

Crawford has been better this month overall, but yesterday in the doubleheader he looked beyond awful in every single AB. Have the Sox had his eyes checked out? He's just swinging at pitches that are nowhere close to the zone. I don't know why anyone would ever throw him a strike.
   6. tfbg9 Posted: August 17, 2011 at 09:48 PM (#3902706)
McDonald is a pathetic, poor excuse for a big leaguer. He's 32 and truly a terrible hitter: .167 .259 .333.(!)
That's just really f*cking bad. No way around it.

Edit-they just seem like they're falling apart right now.
   7. OCD SS Posted: August 17, 2011 at 10:44 PM (#3902728)
Also, is Gonzalez ever going to hit another home run? He's rolling over pitches and pulling grounders to second at a rate that would be high even for JD Drew, never mind a guy who is normally trying to take almost everything the other way. His GB rate is at a career high (by a lot), and his FB rate is at a career low. His HR/FB is lower than it's been since he had his power breakout in 2007-2008, when we were expecting it to be up with him trading 81 Petco games for 81 Fenway games a year.


I think a lot of people hopped onto this line of thinking without also allowing for a corresponding better level of pitching in the AL East.
   8. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 17, 2011 at 11:16 PM (#3902744)
Also, I'm not sure people realize that Fenway is not a HR park. It's a doubles park.

Runs:
Fenway: 1.168
Petco: 0.788

HR:
Fenway: 0.863
Petco: 0.801

2B:
Fenway: 1.444
Petco: 0.873

Now, it's better for HR than Petco, but not that much better, particularly for LHB.
   9. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 18, 2011 at 06:34 AM (#3902893)
Looking over the park factors again, what's up with Tropicana being one of the most extreme pitchers parks in baseball recently? Did I miss something? Seems like more should be made of that.
   10. Swedish Chef Posted: August 18, 2011 at 07:31 AM (#3902896)
OPS Day/Night

Crawford: .899/.558
Jeter: .912/.656

Seems they are not serving enough carrots in the post-game buffets in AL East.
   11. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 11:23 AM (#3902911)
Seems they are not serving enough carrots in the post-game buffets in AL East.
Well, you know Jeter is old, he gets worn out by 7-8 o'clock. What's Crawford's excuse?
   12. toratoratora Posted: August 18, 2011 at 12:40 PM (#3902919)
Since none of the games from here until the start of the playoffs matter in the slightest, it will be interesting to see how the Yankees and Red Sox play out the string.


I so miss pennant races. I was thinking about it last night-This should be one of the epic races of all time between the Sox and the Yanks, a nail biter where every game counts and things get tighter and tighter as the wire approaches. Instead, it's a yawnfest where I check the standings weekly, hope nobody gets injured, and wonder about things like Tito lining up the rotation for the playoffs.

I cannot say how much I hate the wild card-it's robbed August of the glory that once was.

Now to get those kids offa my lawn
   13. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 01:08 PM (#3902933)
Per Pee Abe, Youks' back may land HIM on the DL too. Awesome.
   14. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#3903120)
Also, I'm not sure people realize that Fenway is not a HR park. It's a doubles park.


I had two Yankees fans lament to me that Fenway is a bandbox. That was fun.

Also, given the travails of the pitching staff, any chance we'll see Varitek relegated to bench coach in Sept, with Lavarnway getting called up? He's become impossible to ignore at AAA.
   15. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 18, 2011 at 05:16 PM (#3903133)
Given the way they feel about Varitek I would be very surprised to see the Sox thrust a guy like Lavarnway behind the plate for meannigful time in September. I think if Youk or Ortiz has to go on the DL there is a reasonable chance he'll get some DH time but other than a couple of games I don't think Lavarnway would play behind the plate this year. I think they would prefer Varitek's steadying presence (and say what you want, obviously that's how they feel about him).
   16. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 18, 2011 at 05:17 PM (#3903135)
any chance we'll see Varitek relegated to bench coach in Sept, with Lavarnway getting called up? He's become impossible to ignore at AAA.

FWIW, Lavarnway's 2011 MLE right now is roughly in Salty territory - .252/.319/.460 or so.
   17. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 05:25 PM (#3903144)
McDonald is a pathetic, poor excuse for a big leaguer. He's 32 and truly a terrible hitter: .167 .259 .333.(!)
That's just really f*cking bad. No way around it.


His role is supposed to be "4th OF and PH against LHP." Do we really need that role anymore? The only regulars whom McDonald should replace (either in the field or as a PH) are Reddick (since he's been pretty bad in the past month) and Saltalamacchia (who surprising is only a SHINO right now). I might include Crawford here, but Tito tends to leave him in, perhaps because of the superior defense. McDonald has a .750 OPS against RHP in limited time, and had an .821 OPS in that dept last year.

So where does that leave him? The team probably needs a righty bat off the bench, especially if Youk goes on the DL and Scutaro remains questionable. They also need a 4th outfielder, especially if Reddick continues going pumpkin. Not saying we should keep McDonald, but if not him, then who else could we get in there that's both available and a better option?

EDIT: There's not even anyone in the minors who we could use as a 4th OF, with the possible exception of Hassan. We traded away the other option (Chiang).
   18. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 18, 2011 at 05:42 PM (#3903161)
then who else could we get in there that's both available and a better option?


JD Drew? Seriously, what's the story on him? Is he just done or is he coming back soon?

Other than Drew I don't see options existing right now. There is nothing in the minors, a year from now maybe Hassan, Kalish, Brentz or Hazelbaker provides an option but now, zippo. There was talk of Seth Smith around the trade deadline, wonder if he could be slipped through (and for what)? Maybe revisit Carlos Quentin? Reed Johnson is one who might carry a reasonable price tag and just seeing a guy hit .350 with a 15:1 K:BB ratio would be fun.
   19. Spivey Posted: August 18, 2011 at 05:42 PM (#3903163)
If the Rangers are healthy when the playoff starts, I fail to see what separates the "big three" from them.
   20. JJ1986 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 05:55 PM (#3903187)
   21. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 06:01 PM (#3903192)
Wow. Awesome. I hope the kid does well. I guess he'll DH for the time Ortiz is out.

EDIT: Anybody know how I can find out his stats as a DH versus as a catcher?
   22. Joel W Posted: August 18, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3903196)
Do any of you think Youkilis would be on the DL if the wild card weren't sewn up? I highly highly doubt it.
   23. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 18, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3903199)
It'll be fun to see if Lavarnway can do it. So Lowrie at 3rd or will they go with Aviles?
   24. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#3903203)
Lavarnway's 2011 MLE right now is roughly in Salty territory - .252/.319/.460 or so.


That's it? I didn't think Pawtucket was a hitters' park, and I know Portland helps pitchers. To me his stats look like Victor Martinez with a few more strikeouts.
   25. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#3903208)
So Lowrie at 3rd or will they go with Aviles?


My guess is they'll go with Lowrie until he either gets hurt again (Naehring 2.0, sigh) or until he shows (again) that he can't hit righties. It might be a moot point anyway if Scutaro remains hobbled.
   26. Chip Posted: August 18, 2011 at 06:49 PM (#3903246)
Do any of you think Youkilis would be on the DL if the wild card weren't sewn up? I highly highly doubt it.


Making the tournament is all that has ever mattered to this front office.
   27. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 07:03 PM (#3903257)
Tampa's eight games back. I don't know if I'd call that "sewn up" with over a month to play.
   28. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 18, 2011 at 07:08 PM (#3903262)
Tampa's eight games back. I don't know if I'd call that "sewn up" with over a month to play.


I had the same thought, especially with seven head to head games. Certainly it is very likely that the Sox are in but not a certainty. The Rays are a bit scary because they have the type of pitching staff that could get them on a serious roll.
   29. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 18, 2011 at 07:21 PM (#3903275)
That's it? I didn't think Pawtucket was a hitters' park, and I know Portland helps pitchers. To me his stats look like Victor Martinez with a few more strikeouts.

If you want to split it out:

AA .241/.303/.406
AAA .263/.334/.513

Take these with a few shakes of salt, of course.

That combined line, though - that's basically Victor Martinez who doesn't hit for average.
   30. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 07:40 PM (#3903300)
That combined line, though - that's basically Victor Martinez who doesn't hit for average.


The AAA line seems about right. Looks like Russell Branyan, with the ability to catch. That wouldn't be bad. I'm hoping he has some development left in that bat, though. Crossing my fingers that it turns him into a Brian McCann-type.
   31. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 07:40 PM (#3903301)
That combined line, though - that's basically Victor Martinez who doesn't hit for average.
Also known, as noted above, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
   32. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 07:41 PM (#3903303)
Also known, as noted above, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia.


Yeah, I suppose so, though the 30 HR in 110 games looks awfully shiny.
   33. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3903305)
Where do you get your MLE's, Joe?
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#3903309)
I had two Yankees fans lament to me that Fenway is a bandbox. That was fun.

It is is certain ways, i.e. allowing cheap pop-up HR's to LF. But, it takes away legit HRs in other places.
   35. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 07:52 PM (#3903312)
It is is certain ways, i.e. allowing cheap pop-up HR's to LF. But, it takes away legit HRs in other places


What I hadn't realized before this year is that those cheap pop-up HR's to LF are actually home runs in most other parks, too. Fenway is 310 down the line, but the 40-ft fence probably means that such a ball would cross over a 9-ft fence that is 325 ft from home plate. Haven't looked it up, but I don't think there are many parks that have longer LFs than 325.

The argument those fans made was that it's actually RIGHT field that is the problem. Never mind that it's pretty hard to hit a homer to right that curves around the Pesky Pole, and that it's 380 to the corner.
   36. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 18, 2011 at 07:55 PM (#3903313)
My spreadsheet - based off numbers MGL worked out in a now-lost thread maybe seven years ago - is a little more pessimistic on Lavarnway. MGL's component MLEs find that the two types of hitters that translate worst from the high minors to the majors are high-K hitters and home run hitters. Home runs in particular get chopped like in half by this method. So it's not going to like Lavarnway a lot. It has:

239/304/364 (Portland)
253/330/475 (Pawtucket)
246/317/419 (combined)

My guess is that the vast majority of MLE methods will like Lavarnway more than MGL's method does, because he's basically the worst possible hitter for the system. Nonetheless, his Pawtucket line looks very nice indeed for a stopgap, and his combined line would be solidly above average for a major league catcher, if he can be that.
   37. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 18, 2011 at 08:03 PM (#3903319)
What I hadn't realized before this year is that those cheap pop-up HR's to LF are actually home runs in most other parks, too


Yeah, but LF in Fenway takes away a lot of home runs too. A lot of balls that hit high up the wall would get out in other parks but go for singles or doubles at Fenway.
   38. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 08:05 PM (#3903322)
@Jose: Right. Making Fenway a homer-dampener.
   39. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 18, 2011 at 08:23 PM (#3903334)
I don't have my whole baseball nerd library with me in my apartment anymore - in a year we'll move somewhere with space for more bookshelves of random crap - but I for some reason do have the Bill James handbook from 2009, which has some platoon differentiated park factors.

From 2006-2008, Fenway increased run scoring by about 10%. This increase is entirely a function of Fenway's effects on hits and doubles - it's great for batting average (107 PF), the best doubles park in the universe (143), merely neutral for triples (98) and quite bad for homers (81). This homer dampening effect is seen more for LHB than RHB, as would be expected, but Fenway isn't positive for homers for either set (84 HR-PF for righties, 76 for lefties).

The case you want to make against Fenway, if you care to, is about cheap doubles, not cheap homers. There aren't a lot of cheap homers, and those are more than balanced out by flyouts and doubles which would be homers in a lot of other parks, but you see a good number of pretty meh flyballs that bounce off the wall for doubles (or singles).
   40. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 18, 2011 at 08:53 PM (#3903352)
My spreadsheet - based off numbers MGL worked out in a now-lost thread maybe seven years ago - is a little more pessimistic on Lavarnway.

FWIW, MCoA, the one I used is the same one that used to be on that Minor League Splits site.
   41. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 18, 2011 at 08:56 PM (#3903357)
Good stuff, MCoA and Joe. Even the eyeball test says Fenway causes a huge number of cheap doubles. But I would have thought it also boosted triples given the triangle and deep RF.

EDIT: There is an "Oh Noes--Where Did Adrian's Power Go?" article on Boston.com right now. I think you just answered it, MCoA.
   42. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 18, 2011 at 09:13 PM (#3903367)
FWIW, MCoA, the one I used is the same one that used to be on that Minor League Splits site.
Cool. It looks like the two methods end up in quite similar places, and my guess is that the difference in slugging is a function of MGL's extra discounting of home run power.
But I would have thought it also boosted triples given the triangle and deep RF.
Well, triples are so rare that a three-year sample is probably too small to draw the most confident conclusions from. My guess is that Fenway surely does boost triples to right and right, but it is physically impossible to hit a triple to left or left-center, and that probably comes somewhere close to balancing out. I would have guessed the former factor was somewhat larger than the latter, but I'm not sure.
There is an "Oh Noes--Where Did Adrian's Power Go?" article on Boston.com right now. I think you just answered it, MCoA.
Well, he has been quite poor in August - just a .333 SLG. So he's in a slump, too. Gonzalez' overall wRC+ matches his career high, so I'm not terribly worried about him overall. (The one concern is that I read that Gonzalez is battling a sore neck, which might be part of his problem, and if so he might continue slumping until he gets some time off or the problem resolves on its own.)
   43. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 18, 2011 at 09:25 PM (#3903372)
There is an "Oh Noes--Where Did Adrian's Power Go?" article on Boston.com right now. I think you just answered it, MCoA.


AG was hitting 30-40 HR in Petco, and is on pace for like 25 or so this year, so even accounting for park factors he's a little on the low side for him (Petco has an insanely low LHB HR factor). Nothing to get too worked up over, though - he could easily flip out and hit 12 more HR this year. He is of course 2nd in the league in doubles.

I got my park factors from ESPN, which seem to match up with MCoAs.
   44. chris p Posted: August 18, 2011 at 09:42 PM (#3903382)
but it is physically impossible to hit a triple to left or left-center,

i remember donnie sadler hitting one. it was a pop up that surely would have been an out anywhere else, with the possible exception of the trop ... it may have been high enough to get caught in the catwalks.
   45. Darren Posted: August 21, 2011 at 07:11 PM (#3905438)
Forget Fenway for a minute. He's got 10 HRs in 62 road games. That's after hitting 70 road HRs over the past 3 years for the Padres.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2011 at 11:35 PM (#3905570)
Darnell McDonald since the end of June: 268/364/571
   47. Darren Posted: August 22, 2011 at 12:08 AM (#3905585)
Those are pretty numbers.
   48. chris p Posted: August 22, 2011 at 12:20 AM (#3905592)
too bad the league's caught on to josh reddick.
   49. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 22, 2011 at 12:31 AM (#3905597)
Reddick's K and BB numbers are still pretty normal during his slump. When he was outmatched in the majors in the last two seasons, he was striking out too much and never walking. I still believe in Reddick.

It's the bullpen before Bard and Papelbon that I'm worried about.
   50. chris p Posted: August 22, 2011 at 03:04 AM (#3905702)
Reddick's K and BB numbers are still pretty normal during his slump. When he was outmatched in the majors in the last two seasons, he was striking out too much and never walking. I still believe in Reddick.

oh, i do too. he may have some adjustments to make, but if he can keep those k/bb numbers in a reasonable spot, he should be fine.

It's the bullpen before Bard and Papelbon that I'm worried about.

well, i like wheeler. aceves is good for what he is. albers scares me, though. do they give weilend a shot in the pen at some point?
   51. tfbg9 Posted: August 22, 2011 at 01:05 PM (#3905833)
In case y'all hadn't noticed, the upcoming four game TEX beat-down of our Townies will all be available to witness via the MLB channel and ESPN2, if you reside in the right region.

I'd be overjoyed with a split.
   52. Joel W Posted: August 22, 2011 at 08:55 PM (#3906218)
Do we need some Junichi? http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=tazawa001jun

He's dealing in Pawtucket and was pretty good in Portland also.
   53. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 22, 2011 at 09:10 PM (#3906229)
Opinions! Thoughts!

Reddick wasn't going to keep hitting .330, so this is hardly unexpected. Agree that if he can continue his improved strike zone control he should be fine in the long term.

Albers - I mean, he "scares" me only because he's never had a season anywhere approaching this good. Then again, he's like the 4th or 5th RH in the pen - he's not the most important guy in the world. I can live with him as long as he's a 6th-7th inning guy.

OBP/SLG
Darnell McDonald: .273/.389
Carl Crawford: .287/.386
It does look like the Sox scouts/FO got it right by keeping McDonald over Cameron

Here is the link to the MLE calculator I used above.

I am all for trying Tazawa in the pen or as a spot starter for 5 innings (say, paired up with Aceves or something) down the stretch.
Giving Weiland a shot would be fine with me as well, though his BB rate could be a tick lower - not sure how well that will translate with more selective hitters. Admit that the last point there is a bit of superficial conjecture on my part.
   54. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 22, 2011 at 10:01 PM (#3906256)
Reddick wasn't going to keep hitting .330, so this is hardly unexpected. Agree that if he can continue his improved strike zone control he should be fine in the long term.


Reddick looks like a major league player, and he could be a starting OF for a big league team for a few years, but whether he's a good enough RF for a championship-quality team is trickier. I could see Reddick putting up a 270/320/465 line with good defense. That's good, but he seems like he might be one of the lower OBP guys on the team (assuming a Carl Crawford resurgence).
   55. Dale Sams Posted: August 22, 2011 at 10:09 PM (#3906261)
re Reddick:

Came oh-so-close to a couple of spectacular plays in KC, almost preserving the one run lead in the Albers loss, and almost getting to a couple of dives.
   56. Dan Posted: August 23, 2011 at 02:02 AM (#3906485)
Forget Fenway for a minute. He's got 10 HRs in 62 road games. That's after hitting 70 road HRs over the past 3 years for the Padres.


This. A thousand times, this. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting like Juan Pierre since the ASB. Before tonight's game, his second half numbers were .315/.377/.399. That's an .084 ISO. He's taking more walks, which is good, but he is not hitting for any power at all. This has nothing to do with Fenway or Fenway's park factors.

His lack of power is really concerning at this point.
   57. Darren Posted: August 23, 2011 at 03:19 PM (#3906778)
So, our starting RF, CF, DH, and 3B are out to injury. Our 1B looks injured but is still playing with no power, our 2B is in a little dip, and our LF has been replacement-level all year. In the rotation, we've lost #3 and #5 for the year, while our #4 had been replacement-level. The pen's been pretty healthy and good except for Jenks.

Overall, this team looks to have weathered a similar amount of injuries to the 06 and 10 teams. It looks like they may get healthier down the stretch and salvage this season, but I'm less sure than I was a few weeks ago.
   58. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 23, 2011 at 03:32 PM (#3906791)
Overall, this team looks to have weathered a similar amount of injuries to the 06 and 10 teams. It looks like they may get healthier down the stretch and salvage this season, but I'm less sure than I was a few weeks ago.


This is how I feel. I'm still concerned about a playoff spot. The Rays pitching is such that they can get on the kind of roll they need to go 25-11 down the stretch to make life uncomfortable.
   59. Joel W Posted: August 23, 2011 at 04:15 PM (#3906831)
7.5 games with 35 games left to play is a huge lead. Even if Tampa goes 25-11 down the stretch, which would be an excellent stretch of baseball, that would leave them with 94 wins. To get to 95 wins the Red Sox have to go 18-17 from here on out.

The idea that they are "salvaging" a season where they are, according to BPro 99.4% to make the playoffs, and 45% to win the division is silly. My frustration is that they are coasting into the playoffs, but there's no real fear that they won't get there.
   60. Darren Posted: August 23, 2011 at 04:56 PM (#3906876)
I don't think they're in trouble, but I no longer feel like they're mortal locks. I'm not too worried about the coasting. They're so banged up that they are bound to look like they're coasting even when they are not.
   61. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 23, 2011 at 05:06 PM (#3906892)
They're so banged up that they are bound to look like they're coasting even when they are not.


Again I agree with Darren. This needs to stop. Terry Francona rulz!!!

Seriously, in its own little way I'm pleased at "how" we are struggling. With a few exceptions I think the starting pitching has been very solid. I'll probably regret saying this 8 hours from now but I feel a lot better about seeing John Lackey take the baseball in a playoff game than I would have a couple months ago and Bedard has looked pretty good too. I wonder if last night had been a ALDS Game Three if Francona would have gone to an Aceves for the Napoli at bat.
   62. Joel W Posted: August 23, 2011 at 06:42 PM (#3906987)
There's some question as to how banged up they are, no? Ortiz, sure. I wonder if Ells and Youk would have rested if the race were close. Ellsbury is back tonight apparently.

Agreed on the starting pitching.
   63. Joel W Posted: August 23, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#3906988)
Also, uh, why no claim on Wandy?
   64. Dan Posted: August 23, 2011 at 06:48 PM (#3906991)
Supposedly the Nationals claimed Wandy, so they never had a shot (if that indeed proves true).
   65. Joel W Posted: August 23, 2011 at 06:57 PM (#3907001)
Well done by Nationals if that's the case. They could have a nice team in say...2013.
   66. Dan Posted: August 23, 2011 at 07:01 PM (#3907004)
They could, but they still have to compete with the Phillies and Braves in that division. The NL East is starting to look like the AL East.
   67. Darren Posted: August 28, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#3910765)
Hey, that sweep yesterday was good. The Sox are in very good shape now to take the division when you consider:

--they have a 2 game lead
--the Yanks have to make up games in a short, short period.
--the Sox have 16 home games left vs. 13 road games; the Yanks: 14 home, 19 road
--the Sox have already won the season series vs. the Yanks.


One worry is that someone will decide, "Hey, let's just make up the O's games in NY and hope no one notices."
   68. chris p Posted: August 28, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3910783)
One worry is that someone will decide, "Hey, let's just make up the O's games in NY and hope no one notices."

new york to baltimore is almost close enough for a split doubleheader. well, not really, but they're so close they wouldn't play them in ny just to save travel time.
   69. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 28, 2011 at 04:42 PM (#3910861)
The Red Sox are going to make the playoffs, and there's no reason to worry about that. Consider:

If the Red Sox go 15-14 in their final 29 games, they'll be 97-65.

Tampa Bay, the closest team to them for the wild card, is 72-59. To win 98 games, they have to go 26-5 from here on in.

That's not happening.
   70. Darren Posted: August 28, 2011 at 11:51 PM (#3911113)
I was talking about the division.
   71. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 29, 2011 at 01:25 AM (#3911160)
Sorry, Darren, I wasn't responding to your comments. There are some earlier comments on this thread that seem to worry Tampa could still come back to top Boston and/or NY.

For those that see David Price do his best Bob Gibson impression, and think Tampa could rip off 12 in a row or something, let's put even THAT in perspective:

1) If the Sox go 15-14, and the Rays win their next 12 games - the Rays would still have to go 14-5 AFTER THAT to beat a struggling Sox team.
2) If the Sox really struggle, and go, say, 9-20, the Rays would still have to go 20-11. They've done that this year (they started 0-6, and were 20-14 at one point), but it's still tough.
   72. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 29, 2011 at 01:47 AM (#3911173)
There are some earlier comments on this thread that seem to worry Tampa could still come back to top Boston and/or NY.

Who are these guys? We had this discussion last week in another thread and I responded in kind, which I will repost for purposes here..

I am assuming you are referring to the ever popular "mathematical" version of this, as there is simply no f*cking way this team misses the playoffs now. None. Too many combinations of good hitters and good pitchers to not squeak out a minimum .500 record from here on out and end up on 95+ wins, even while shutting it down; which of course they will do. (end point warning)If you take out the cringe inducing 2-10 start, they are playing at 66% clip, which is just awesome. It's all about health now. If they are healthy, they will meet Philly in the series.

It's ridiculous for any of us now to even consider them missing the playoffs, we should be discussing how they'll set up the rotation, if Buchholz is ever coming back, is Bedard definitely the #3 guy, would you rather face Texas on the road or Verlander twice but have the homefield advantage. You know, like relevant things. And less relevant things like, when A-gon wins the MVP, will he be the first guy to win it and only be like the 3rd best guy on his own team....
   73. chris p Posted: August 29, 2011 at 02:47 AM (#3911204)
It's ridiculous for any of us now to even consider them missing the playoffs,

i think everybody is on the same page here ... people that are stressin about how they are playing are hoping that the sox will compete for the division, rather than treat the rest of the season like an exhibition season.

we should be discussing how they'll set up the rotation,

ok, i'll bite.

if Buchholz is ever coming back,

i'm going with no

is Bedard definitely the #3 guy,

i think bedard and lackey are 3 and 3a at this point. as it stands now, if they have to choose between one of them, they'll look at the matchups. either one could
start pitching well (or poorly) enough to either distinguish himself (or the other guy) as the clear number 3.

would you rather face Texas on the road or Verlander twice but have the homefield advantage. You know, like relevant things.

i'd take home field.

And less relevant things like, when A-gon wins the MVP, will he be the first guy to win it and only be like the 3rd best guy on his own team....

according to bref, pedroia was 3rd on the red sox in WAR in 2008 ... they have youk at 6, lester at 5.6, and petunia at 5.2. in 4th was daisuke with 5.1! mourneau was a 4th on the 06 twins in war ... santana and mauer were at 7, liriano at 4 and morneau with 3.8. ... i'm sure there were others ...
   74. chris p Posted: August 29, 2011 at 02:57 AM (#3911207)
in '96, juan gonzalez and his 2.8 WAR was 4th among hitters and 6th overall on the rangers: ken hill: 6.0 (!), ivan rodriguez: 5.6, rusty greer: 4.8 (?!), mark mclemore: 3.9, darren oliver: 2.8.

mo vaughn was 4th on the '95 red sox ... valentin had an amazing 8.5 war. wakefield (4.6) and naehring (4.4) were just ahead of vaughn (4.2).

dennis eckersly was 6th on the '92 a's. somehow lance blankenship ranks at 3.3 war that year ... wtf?
   75. Joel W Posted: August 29, 2011 at 03:43 AM (#3911222)
FWIW, fWAR has Pedroia 1st on the Sox in 2008, and Vaughn ahead of Naehring. HOLY crap John Valentin though.
   76. Joel W Posted: August 29, 2011 at 03:45 AM (#3911224)
Wait, seriously, John Valentin was a 30 WAR player from 1993 to 1998. I had no idea he was that good.
   77. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 29, 2011 at 01:02 PM (#3911294)
What the 2011 Red Sox would do to have the mid-90s John Valentin playing SS for them...

As for winning the division, consider this:

Boston's remaining schedule (29 games, 16H, 13A)

TB - 4H, 3A
TOR - 2H,4A
BAL - 4H, 3A
NY - 3H, 3A
TEX - 3H

New York's remaining schedule
TB - 3H, 3A
TOR - 3H, 3A
BAL - 3H, 4A
BOS - 3H, 3A
LAA - 3A
SEA - 3A
MIN - 1H

I may have the Yankees off by a game - please correct me if I'm wrong...the bottom line is that the Red Sox biggest advantage down the stretch is fewer games left to play, and that they've "cashed in" those already-played games as wins. The two teams have virtually identical intradivison schedules, but whereas Boston has a home series against Texas, NY has to go to LA and SEA for their remaining non-division games.
   78. Joel W Posted: August 30, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3912226)
Sort of thought we'd get a "here's what happens if we lose 3, lose 2, lose 1, lose 0" thread today from MCA.

As it stands, I'm excited about this divisional race, even if it doesn't mean much.
   79. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 30, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3912272)
Oh, you will, don't worry.

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