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   1. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:44 AM (#2538298)
I just woke up. I just read that Eric Gagne got the win by throwing a clean inning, and then Drew, Varitek and Lugo hit homers in high leverage situations.

Either I need to go back to bed, or the Devil Rays needs some help. I think it might be the latter, because I just read the boxscore and it appears Tito had a late hook on Daisuke
   2. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:55 AM (#2538302)
Either I need to go back to bed, or the Devil Rays needs some help.


it looked like the sox were going to lose the game. the jays were helping us out in new york, but they could only do so much, running the yanks to their second extra inning game in 2 days. thank god the sox won because the yanks are like the ####### undead at this point. someone needs to put a wooden stake in their heart (their heart = derek jeter's ass).

what happened to carlos pena? i thought this was the player the sox were getting last year.
   3. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:55 AM (#2538303)
also, brocktoon! in double digits!
   4. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: September 23, 2007 at 04:30 AM (#2538322)
I pissed my pants!
   5. philly Posted: September 23, 2007 at 04:30 AM (#2538323)
We're in the tourney! I know it makes me a homer, but I'm picking them to go all the way in their bracket!
   6. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: September 23, 2007 at 04:31 AM (#2538325)
Boston Clinches the Playoffs!
Like there's been any doubt since May.
   7. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: September 23, 2007 at 04:46 AM (#2538334)
I'm still on my hands and knees praying for the division.
   8. Rough Carrigan Posted: September 23, 2007 at 05:11 AM (#2538358)
#2. After being slow to see that Youkilis might have virtues that the great Kevin Millar didn't, Tito then shifted to being slow to see that Pena might have something Youkilis didn't.
   9. Rough Carrigan Posted: September 23, 2007 at 05:12 AM (#2538360)
Almost forgot. Congratulations to the Sox on reaching this early milestone on the way to the real goal.
   10. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 23, 2007 at 06:14 AM (#2538384)
Like there's been any doubt since <strike>May</strike>March.

Fixed.
   11. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: September 23, 2007 at 07:22 AM (#2538397)
Pedroia's in a mini slump guys, will it hurt his chances for ROY???
   12. tfbg9 Posted: September 23, 2007 at 07:59 AM (#2538398)
will it hurt his chances for ROY???


Maybe. I guess if he fell below .300 it might?

Congrats Phil, and let's don't sweat the Division thing too much. Hey, we can run our parlays if it doesn't work out AL East-wise, right? We're "in" now regardless, and it was nice to see the Sox do it on the field with a win, and celebrate a little bit in front of their fans.

See you in the Sunday Chatter?
   13. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 23, 2007 at 10:52 AM (#2538405)
I want to see this lineup before the season is over:

C: Cash
1B: Hinske
2B: Cora
SS: Lugo
3B: Clayton
LF: Kielty
CF: Jacoby
RF: Moss
DH: Doug
Starter: Hansack

The ultimate house money lineup: Out of 9 hitters, you've got 6.5 automatic outs.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 23, 2007 at 01:42 PM (#2538433)
Excellent.

I have to say, and I know this is kinda dumb because I recognize how scripted these things are, but nonetheless I was happy about the scope of the Red Sox celebration last night. The regular season isn't close to over for me until the division is wrapped up, and the Red Sox at the least were interested in sending the message that they felt somewhat similarly.

In terms of postseason planning, what is the deal with Youkilis and Manny and Okajima and Buccholts? Edes' article yesterday had some updates, all pretty vague, but with a couple of great Papi anecdotes:
"No fracture?" Ortiz repeated. "Good. I thought it was broken when I saw you that day in the shower. When do they say you'll be ready to go?"

"As soon as I can smoke a ball in BP," Youkilis said.

That may be a few days yet. Youkilis did not take batting practice yesterday. And manager Terry Francona said Ramírez, who last night missed his 22d game since straining his left oblique Aug. 28, is "unlikely" to play this weekend. That would be consistent with the message on the back of the T-shirt he was wearing while trolling a Tampa mall Thursday: "Game Off."

Ortiz said he understood Ramírez's continued absence. "That's the worst injury ever," Ortiz said. "You sneeze, it hurts.
Buchholz will pitch in relief of Lester on Wednesday, as a scheduled outing - a start in relief, like they do in the minors. While that's not exactly how a team that's fighting tooth and nail for the division goes about things, on the other hand Clay Buchholz is a hell of a pitcher who gives the team a great chance to win.

Okajima threw well in long toss on Friday, will pitch a side session Tuesday, then be available Thursday.
   15. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 23, 2007 at 01:51 PM (#2538437)
I've gone my entire life without picturing ballplayers in the shower (except in movies, where most of the stuff I really don't need to see is artfully hidden), and then have been confronted with two Youkilis visions in relatively short order. There's MCoA's post up here and Francona's hilarious quip from a couple of years ago - "I've seen him in the shower and he isn't the Greek God of anything!"
   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:01 PM (#2538504)
Okajima threw well in long toss on Friday, will pitch a side session Tuesday, then be available Thursday.

So what's the deal here? Okajima isn't even allowed to throw from the mound for more than a week? Something more than fatigue being hidden?
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:07 PM (#2538510)
A truly disinterested query. I am certain that The Yankee Clapper betrays no hope or excitement at the possibility of an injury to a Red Sox player. He's merely setting aside his fandom and asking the innocent question. It's good to have dialogue like this.
   18. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:15 PM (#2538521)
Well, it might be cleverly concealed trolling, but let's face it, anything that changes the subject from Youkilis in the shower is a plus.
   19. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:18 PM (#2538528)
Hey, I don't think Francona should have said it publicly, but that's a really great line.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:28 PM (#2538534)
It's good to have dialogue like this.

I guess that means no one knows and you're just hoping its nothing serious.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:30 PM (#2538535)
I think the story is more confusing that you give credit for.

-it's not like people's wrists are invisible in public, only unveiled when bathing
-how and why was Youkilis showering the day he nearly broke his wrist?
-and if he was showering, he must have had some sort of air cast already on it, so how did Ortiz guage the injury?

The best answer I've got is that there's some sort of running joke on the Red Sox about Kevin Youkilis and the shower. I don't want details.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:30 PM (#2538536)
I guess that means no one knows and you're just hoping its nothing serious.
And you're hoping and praying that it is serious. Go #### yourself.
   23. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:42 PM (#2538547)
I'm really tempted to change my handle to "Youkilis in the Shower", but I don't approve of serial handle-changing and don't want to subject the board to the probabilities of others referring to me in various ways.

I can think of a handful of Primates whose tastes run towards men - does anyone really want to think about Kevin in the shower the way I want to think about Jessica Alba in the shower?
   24. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:43 PM (#2538549)
And you're hoping and praying that it is serious. Go #### yourself.

Such a short temper. I just find it a little strange that Okajima was shut down (not throwing off a mound for more than a week) without anything more precise than fatigue being given as the cause. Folks around here speculate about a lot less.
   25. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 23, 2007 at 03:51 PM (#2538557)

I can think of a handful of Primates whose tastes run towards men - does anyone really want to think about Kevin in the shower the way I want to think about Jessica Alba in the shower?


Jessica Alba has been long replaced by Dustin Pedroia in my book.
   26. Answer Guy Posted: September 23, 2007 at 04:00 PM (#2538562)
<i>I can think of a handful of Primates whose tastes run towards men - does anyone really want to think about Kevin in the shower the way I want to think about Jessica Alba in the shower?<i>

Maybe not Kevin specifically. Especially not since the shaved head + goatee thing.

Remember that goofball interview with Philip Rivers last year where he was talking about taking snaps with his center in the shower to prepare for a rainy game somewhere b/c it doesn't rain much in San Diego? If I saw footage of that shower, it'd probably be about the same as you guys' reaction to, say, the Denise Richards-Neve Campbell scene in "Wild Things."
   27. PJ Martinez Posted: September 23, 2007 at 04:13 PM (#2538569)
"Tito then shifted to being slow to see that Pena might have something Youkilis didn't."

Pena didn't do much for anyone last year (including Columbus, IIRC). Hard to see how Tito gets knocked for that.
   28. Chip Posted: September 23, 2007 at 05:09 PM (#2538602)
Didn't the Yankees just recently shut down Vizcaino for nothing more than "fatigue"?
   29. Darren Posted: September 23, 2007 at 07:38 PM (#2538919)
How could anyone blame Tito for Pena? Even I'm not that bad.

I guess you could argue that once the season was in the tank, he should have been given regular playing time. But it doesn't look like he would have done too much with it.
   30. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 23, 2007 at 10:48 PM (#2539395)
Yo clapper, is that moniker because you are a MFY fan or are you hiding a condition we don't want to know about? THERE'S some speculation for you. If you are even remotely serious about wishing injury on any player, regardless of team, then you have serious issues. Please steer me in another direction if I'm way off the mark.
   31. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 23, 2007 at 11:14 PM (#2539421)
Didn't the Yankees just recently shut down Vizcaino for nothing more than "fatigue"?

Sounds like the "ineffective right shoulder" the Phillies used to put Gavin Eaton on the DL a few weeks ago.


Remember that goofball interview with Philip Rivers last year where he was talking about taking snaps with his center in the shower to prepare for a rainy game somewhere b/c it doesn't rain much in San Diego? If I saw footage of that shower, it'd probably be about the same as you guys' reaction to, say, the Denise Richards-Neve Campbell scene in "Wild Things."


Somehow I never thought offensive linemen would be good sexual fantasy material, but what do I know.
   32. Rough Carrigan Posted: September 24, 2007 at 02:08 AM (#2539552)
#27. It was lingering frustration that Tito kept playing even an injured Mark freaking Loretta. Now that we know Pena has some serious ability it's frustrating that an absolute compulsion to play the Sultan of Non-Descript took away what little chance the Sox had of realizing it.
   33. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 24, 2007 at 03:48 AM (#2539655)
Didn't the Yankees just recently shut down Vizcaino for nothing more than "fatigue"?

Vizcaino did get 6 games off in early September after 2 ineffective outings. However, there weren't reports of special exercises and the duration was only about half of the 14-day period suggested for Okajima. Which is why I posed the question as to whether this was anything more than generalized arm fatigue.

If you are even remotely serious about wishing injury on any player, regardless of team, then you have serious issues. Please steer me in another direction if I'm way off the mark.

Someone has serious reading comprehension problems. Read the thread.
   34. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 24, 2007 at 05:41 AM (#2539713)
However, there weren't reports of special exercises and the duration was only about half of the 14-day period suggested for Okajima.

Special exercises? More like SUPER FUN HAPPY GO LUCKY FAMILY FORTUNE EXERCISES!!!
   35. Chip Posted: September 24, 2007 at 05:45 AM (#2539715)
Long toss is now "special exercises." Right.
   36. John S Posted: September 24, 2007 at 05:49 AM (#2539716)
Whatever his special exercise is, it cannot top Igawa's. Kei has to play with a long stick in his spare time.
   37. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 24, 2007 at 06:41 AM (#2539729)

Whatever his special exercise is, it cannot top Igawa's. Kei has to play with a long stick in his spare time.


Are you sure it's "long"?
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 24, 2007 at 12:32 PM (#2539760)
Long toss is now "special exercises." Right.

No, not long toss. Earlier reports such Thursday's Boston Herald article had quotes that seemed to suggest more than that:
“He went a couple of days with no throwing, just let the medical people do their stuff, then get him back on the arm-strengthening program we think will refresh him for hopefully what we want to be a long run so we can lean on him a little bit.”


Seems like more than just a few days off, but it's pretty clear there is little interest in the topic here.
   39. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 24, 2007 at 12:39 PM (#2539765)
there aren't really "arm-strengthening" programs in Japan. Hasegawa went through the same thing when he came to the US
   40. Answer Guy Posted: September 24, 2007 at 02:12 PM (#2539870)
Somehow I never thought offensive linemen would be good sexual fantasy material, but what do I know.

It's really mostly about the context.

Much the same way that not winning the division comes in the context of having a 14.5 game lead and blowing it to the Yankees, as opposed to if it came in the context of only leading by, say, 8 games and having the beneficiary be Toronto.
   41. robinred Posted: September 24, 2007 at 06:25 PM (#2540254)
I pissed my pants!

Nicely done.

Boston Clinches the Playoffs!
Like there's been any doubt since May


Let it be noted that I didn't post this.

I think the WC sucks, mostly, but the four teams in the AL postseason will be fun to watch.
   42. Answer Guy Posted: September 24, 2007 at 07:49 PM (#2540369)
Can the Jays get the three more outs needed to earn a split? I think that's as much as the Sox could have hoped for from Toronto, though they did sweep the Sox. Damn it.
   43. Answer Guy Posted: September 24, 2007 at 07:54 PM (#2540376)
Yep, the Jays got the final 3 outs for the split. Lead back to 2 games with 6 games to go.

Question is can the Sox win 4 of the last 6 at home...
   44. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 24, 2007 at 07:56 PM (#2540381)
Today is a pretty good example of why "X games in the loss column" is not a particularly useful analytic.
   45. Textbook Editor Posted: September 24, 2007 at 07:56 PM (#2540382)
AG, the Sox would have to go 5-1 if the Yankees go 6-0 because the Yankees hold the tiebreak, and thus would win the division if there's a tie.
   46. chris p Posted: September 24, 2007 at 08:03 PM (#2540402)
Today is a pretty good example of why "X games in the loss column" is not a particularly useful analytic.

i don't get this. are the yankees not more likely to win than to lose? especially considering how they've played recently.
   47. karlmagnus Posted: September 24, 2007 at 08:04 PM (#2540406)
Yes but 4-2 and the Yanks go 6-0 would be a very gentlemanly loss, which one couldn't possibly object to. 4-2 will do fine; let's not overstretch their capabilities.
   48. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 24, 2007 at 08:07 PM (#2540410)
i don't get this. are the yankees not more likely to win than to lose? especially considering how they've played recently.
They're still not a 1.000 team - they're much closer to being a .500 team than being a 1.000 team. The difference between being up "1.5 games" and "1 game in the loss column" is pretty marginal, so it doesn't make much difference, but I prefer the actual game total. It gets at the essence of baseball- great players and great teams fail, all the time.
   49. Answer Guy Posted: September 24, 2007 at 08:08 PM (#2540411)
AG, the Sox would have to go 5-1 if the Yankees go 6-0 because the Yankees hold the tiebreak, and thus would win the division if there's a tie.

I'm aware of that and just thought to myself (should have thought more) that it wasn't likely the Yankees would win all 6 games; even though they're against Baltimore and Tampa, all 6 are on the road. The Orioles admittedly look horrendous right now, but Tampa looks like they have some life left in them.
   50. Vin Middle Posted: September 24, 2007 at 08:08 PM (#2540415)
Today is a pretty good example of why "X games in the loss column" is not a particularly useful analytic.

i don't get this. are the yankees not more likely to win than to lose? especially considering how they've played recently.
____________________________

I am very happy for this win on many levels, chief among them the crow it serves to the 'Loss column' crowd. I almost drove into a tree yesterday listening to Sterling shouting that the Janks were now 'ONE. GAME. BACK.' of the Sox. How's your loss column now, gasbag?!
   51. chris p Posted: September 24, 2007 at 08:12 PM (#2540420)
I almost drove into a tree yesterday listening to Sterling shouting that the Janks were now 'ONE. GAME. BACK.' of the Sox.

well, obviously he's wrong.
   52. Darren Posted: September 25, 2007 at 12:11 AM (#2540730)
Yanks finally lost today. 2 game lead with 6 is reasonably good. Too bad it appears Manny and Youk are still not ready to come back.
   53. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 25, 2007 at 12:42 AM (#2540794)
Yankees were absolutely mailing it in today. Don't know if that will keep up in Baltimore and TB--hope it doesn't--but I don't think the Sox have much to worry about.
   54. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 25, 2007 at 02:29 AM (#2540987)
MFY are now in cruise control also...they will setting up their rotation for the playoff run, the division is ours!
   55. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 25, 2007 at 02:35 AM (#2541004)
I see that "Not calling them the 'MFY'" thing didn't last very long.
   56. philly Posted: September 25, 2007 at 02:59 AM (#2541047)
I see that "Not calling them the 'MFY'" thing didn't last very long.


Maybe the F stands for something different. Like Friendly.

Don't the Yankees like their moms? #############.
   57. Answer Guy Posted: September 25, 2007 at 04:25 AM (#2541160)
I missed the part where everyone agreed not use the term "MFY."
   58. Darren Posted: September 25, 2007 at 09:46 PM (#2542050)
Manny's back tonight according to SOSH.
   59. Nasty Nate Posted: September 25, 2007 at 09:51 PM (#2542056)
...batting 2nd apparently and playing LF
   60. PJ Martinez Posted: September 25, 2007 at 10:41 PM (#2542095)
"batting 2nd apparently"

that's odd

edit: allegedly it is so he can get 3 ABs quickly and then be lifted (per McAdam on EEI via SoSH)
   61. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 25, 2007 at 11:22 PM (#2542188)
"I missed the part where everyone agreed not use the term "MFY."

Uh, me too. Since I live like 12000 miles away I don't post regularly so its hard to keep up. However if this is the consensus I'm happy to conform. I only do it because I'm lazy and its shorter than any other moniker.

I think the idea of Manny hitting 2nd is quite clever. He's been an OBP machine his whole career and if he gets 3AB's he'll see at least 15 pitches.
   62. Darren Posted: September 26, 2007 at 03:36 AM (#2543035)
I think part of the equation was probably that they thought Ellsbury would be replacing him and you want Ellsbury batting 2nd rather than 4th.

Nice win tonight. It's up to 3 games with 5 to play. Looking pretty good.
   63. Darren Posted: September 26, 2007 at 03:37 AM (#2543038)
Drew's now up to .265 .369 .409--never thought I'd be happy to see him with those #s. And Ortiz finally reached .600 in SLG.
   64. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 26, 2007 at 03:39 AM (#2543042)
Wow. And I thought I was annoyed at Tito for risking the division and holding tryouts in high-lev situations. Jose Veras? Jeff Karstens? Wow.
   65. tfbg9 Posted: September 26, 2007 at 03:43 AM (#2543045)
No playoff starts for Wakefield, right? Please?
   66. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 26, 2007 at 03:46 AM (#2543048)
I only do it because I'm lazy and its shorter than any other moniker.
How about NYY?
   67. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 26, 2007 at 03:46 AM (#2543049)
I'd put Buchholz in the playoff rotation and make Wakefield the long man, but what the Red Sox will do with Buchholz is unknown. I don't really have a preference between Lester and Wakefield, if the Red Sox decide to put Buchholz in the pen.
   68. PJ Martinez Posted: September 26, 2007 at 03:54 AM (#2543057)
"they thought Ellsbury would be replacing him and you want Ellsbury batting 2nd rather than 4th."

I think it was even simpler than that: get him 3 ABs quickly without bumping Ortiz from the 3-spot.

Drew's numbers on the season still stink, but at least he's having his first good month since June.

I second both of MC's points about the playoff rotation.
   69. Darren Posted: September 26, 2007 at 03:57 AM (#2543062)
I was really happy to see Karstens. Veras at least looks like he can pitch. Great ending that I still can't believe actually happened. It happened, right?
   70. PJ Martinez Posted: September 26, 2007 at 03:59 AM (#2543063)
Yeah, it happened. And now the Sox just need to go 3-2 for the division.
   71. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 26, 2007 at 04:05 AM (#2543068)
I gotta say, I kinda respect Joe Torre. When he decides not to care about something, he doesn't go half-assed. He doesn't just hold off on using Rivera in a tie game - he calls on the very worst pitcher on the roster to throw the 10th inning. It's like, #### you, I'm not even gonna fake it.

Now, the Red Sox just have to actually win a couple games. Losing to the Yankees when they're not even trying, that would suck even worse.
   72. 1k5v3L Posted: September 26, 2007 at 04:07 AM (#2543071)
So now Yankee fans realize why the Dbacks released Brian Bruney...

In case you're still wondering, check out his 2005 season in AZ: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7324/career

He was given plenty of opportunities to become the closer in AZ, because of his fastball. But he absolutely refused to accept any coaching that could help him gain better control on his stuff and cut down on his walk rate. He thought his fastball was too good to be coached...

Anyhow, am glad to see that he's just the old garbage innings mop-up guy I remember from AZ...
   73. Darren Posted: September 26, 2007 at 04:10 AM (#2543072)
Wasn't Torre just saying a couple days ago that he was going all out the rest of the way? Didn't he just break the Joba rules 2 days ago? Not sure what's changed since then.

And keeping Rivera in reserve is right in line with trying to win if you're only going to use him for 1 IP.
   74. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 26, 2007 at 04:57 AM (#2543096)
I'm really glad Papelbon only had to throw one pitch tonight. When will we see Okajima again? I hope he's OK
   75. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 26, 2007 at 05:43 AM (#2543113)
The NYY(in response to #66) are done. They are setting up for the playoffs. No other way to explain why they did what they did. I third MC's points on the pitching. Is there any way you throw Gagne out there in a critical playoff situation? It took him 26 pitches to get 2 outs...and it was painful to watch.
   76. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: September 26, 2007 at 08:48 AM (#2543143)
The only meaningfull innings I can see Gagne getting, are Curtis Leskanic circa 2004 ALCS innigs when there is no one else to use.
   77. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 26, 2007 at 11:25 AM (#2543161)
Wasn't Torre just saying a couple days ago that he was going all out the rest of the way? Didn't he just break the Joba rules 2 days ago? Not sure what's changed since then.
Torre has been saying it for a while now, but hasn't--at least in my opinion--actually been managing that way, no matter what he says.

If anything, breaking the Joba rules is more about setting up for the playoffs (such that Joba can go on back-to-back days, come into games with guys on base, etc.) than it is about trying desperately to win the division.
   78. villageidiom Posted: September 26, 2007 at 11:52 AM (#2543166)
When will we see Okajima again?
Thursday, according to NESN.
   79. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 26, 2007 at 11:54 AM (#2543168)
Okajima threw a 40-pitch side session on Tuesday, and Farrell said he looked very sharp. They plan to get him two appearances (Thursday, and either Saturday or Sunday) before the postseason.

EDIT: Here's a report from the Globe on Okajima (also includes a mildly funny Youkilis bit about Manny):
Lefthanded reliever Hideki Okajima wasn't pained as much as tired, which is why he hasn't pitched since Sept. 14. He threw a bullpen session of 40 pitches this afternoon and looked good, according to pitching coach John Farrell. Okajima will be available Thursday.

"There was some fatigue that we dealt with and much like other guys who need a little bit of a breather, this was his time," Farrell said. "Hopefully we’ll get him one or two appearances before the regular season concludes and certainly we’ll factor in health."
   80. PJ Martinez Posted: September 26, 2007 at 12:39 PM (#2543187)
I find it hard to place the Sox in the AL pecking order going into the playoffs-- in part because of injuries (Manny, Okajima, Youkilis). If all those guys are hurting, then the Sox strike me as the weakest of the four (though I guess the Angels have been playing poorly lately, and have some guys banged up as well).

Despite their lack of a dominant starter, I suspect the Yankees may currently be the strongest AL team. Cleveland is very good as well, though I wonder if their use of Borowski will cost them in the playoffs.

When was the last time the four AL playoff teams were this evenly matched? Or do others see a clearer hierarchy?
   81. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 26, 2007 at 12:48 PM (#2543198)
I'm quite confident in Manny and Okajima for the postseason, which makes me feel that the Red Sox are the team to beat, though only by a small margin. If I were being more pessimistic, perhaps less fanboyish about Manny and Okajima, I would probably see things as you do.
   82. Dizzypaco Posted: September 26, 2007 at 12:57 PM (#2543211)
Personally, I think the playoffs are generally a crapshoot, even when the teams aren't as evenly matched as the AL teams are. Two teams that win about the same number of games, and are about equally healthy, have about an equal chance of winning a five games series. We can analyze the four teams to death, but all I think we'll accomplish is to figure out which team has a 51% or 52% chance of winning, even if we're right.

I hope its Lester in the rotation, not Wakefield. Wakefield has always been a particularly streaky pitcher, and I don't think its likely he's going to turn it around in the next week.
   83. Josh Posted: September 26, 2007 at 04:51 PM (#2543534)
I see the AL as

Indians
Red Sox
|
|
Angels
|
Yankees
   84. TomH Posted: September 26, 2007 at 05:27 PM (#2543578)
If the Indians can get 4 of 5 games from their top 2 starters, they are favorites in a best-of-5. But their odds aren't good any time they have to use Byrd/Westbrook along with their weaker offense, and if a best of 7 probably at least 3 games will be of that type. Smae could maybe said of Anaheim. Those clubs need the #1 seed (extra playoff day if they choose) the most.
   85. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 26, 2007 at 05:29 PM (#2543581)
I'd probably put odds of winning the AL as something like this:

Indians 26%
Red Sox 26%
Angels 25%
Yankees 23%

If you're trying to pick a winner, you might as well write the four teams names on a piece of paper and pick one out.
   86. The Essex Snead Posted: September 26, 2007 at 05:47 PM (#2543612)
Drew's now up to .265 .369 .409


Even better - his line in September is .323 / .443 / .565, the best he's hit since June. Granted, a month full of ABs against Baltimore & Tampa Bay will make anyone look good, but it's defintely nice to enter the playoffs on a hot streak.
   87. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 27, 2007 at 12:10 AM (#2544244)
The management are looking like geniuses where Manny is concerned. 2 games back, he's got 5 hits and 2 walks already. If we can get a similar response from Oki off the mound, Gagne will see no action at all.
The division is in the bag now AND we managed to set up the rotation AND rest(except Papi) the players who needed rest. I'm thinking our chances are better than 26%. I'd say we are the favourites at this stage, not raging hot favourites but somewhat warm. We still have the best all-around staff and now that the bats are waking up, watch out!
   88. Nasty Nate Posted: September 27, 2007 at 12:19 AM (#2544275)
I'd say we are the favourites at this stage, not raging hot favourites but somewhat warm. We still have the best all-around staff and now that the bats are waking up, watch out!


i'm raging hot
   89. Darren Posted: September 27, 2007 at 12:36 AM (#2544317)
Pedroia looking good again, Ortiz hits his 50th 2B. Nice game overall.

If Lester ever harnesses his stuff, he's going to be good.
   90. Darren Posted: September 27, 2007 at 01:20 AM (#2544481)
Gagne looked pretty shaky again tonight. Then again, the only ball that was hit hard was the liner that Moss caught.

If anyone thinks we're raging hot favorites (I'm looking at you, Nate), they should take a look at what the Yankees have done since the All-Star break. I like Boston's chances, but come on.
   91. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 27, 2007 at 01:27 AM (#2544504)
Always the cautious one Darren. Who would prefer we beat...er play in the 1st round of the playoffs?
   92. Darren Posted: September 27, 2007 at 01:30 AM (#2544518)
No preference, those are both good teams. I guess I'd prefer to go up against Cleveland's pen, though.
   93. Nasty Nate Posted: September 27, 2007 at 01:32 AM (#2544528)
Sox over LAA
Yanks over Cle (i dont trust wedge's management)

another doomsday alcs and more premature gray hairs for me
   94. GIANTlhbASS Posted: September 27, 2007 at 01:38 AM (#2544549)
Fun game, indeed, except for of course the latest Gagne test.

Whether the Sox come in 1st or 2nd in the AL, it's almost a certainly now that they open up at home against the Angels, who have 92 wins with 3 to play. The Sox have 94 with 4 left. The Sox hold the tie-breaker advantage, so the Angels would have to surpass them, winning all 3 while the Sox lose all 4 (getting us into losing-the-division territory). The Angels passing the Indians (94 wins, assuming their 12-3 lead in the 7th holds up, with 5 games left) is even more unlikely.
   95. Darren Posted: September 27, 2007 at 01:41 AM (#2544559)
What if the Yanks win out and Boston goes 1-3? Then it's the Yankees who would play LAA at home.
   96. Nasty Nate Posted: September 27, 2007 at 01:42 AM (#2544565)
that would suck
   97. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 27, 2007 at 01:42 AM (#2544566)
Should the Sox win HFA, do you think they'll choose the shorter series option (preventing the Angels from throwig Escobar/Lackey twice each)? That would seem to be the wise move, since after Beckett, the Sox starting rotation is a lot more balanced 2-4. Obviously, Cleveland will choose the longer series if they get HFA.
   98. Darren Posted: September 27, 2007 at 01:46 AM (#2544578)
The longer series lets Boston skip one of Wake/Dice. It lets the Angels skip Colon/Saunders. Not sure there's a big advantage one way or the other there. With our relievers worn down a bit, it might be best to have the long series. No worries about using Pap 3 days in a row. (There's a great Pap article in SI that I've submitted to be posted on the newsblog.)
   99. PJ Martinez Posted: September 27, 2007 at 01:46 AM (#2544581)
"We still have the best all-around staff and now that the bats are waking up, watch out!"

As others have noted before, "best all-around staff" seems far more important in the regular season than in the postseason.

I agree the teams are pretty evenly matched, more so than usual, but see the Yankees having a slight edge. I know they don't have any really dominating starters, but imagine what their record might be if they had Chamberlain, Hughes, Clemens, and Kennedy for the whole season. They have everyone healthy now and I assume have the best record in the second half.

It's close, but they seem to be getting underrated in posts 83 and 85, at least.

Also, I know everyone loves postseason pitching, and Fausto and Sabathia are scary, but the Indians haven't scored very many runs this year. Offense counts, too.
   100. Darren Posted: September 27, 2007 at 01:49 AM (#2544587)
They have everyone healthy now and I assume have the best record in the second half.


Kennedy and Clemens are question marks right now.
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