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   1. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 09, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4100855)
I think there is a realistic chance that Daniel Bard will never start a game for the Boston Red Sox. If it's 4-3 in the 9th tonight and the Jays have Escobar, Johnson and Bautista due...

Cook is throwing well in Pawtucket as he did in Ft. Myers. I'm not endorsing a shift of Bard to the bullpen but I think the Sox have to be strongly considering it. They have options for the rotation (Cook, Aceves, Ohlendorf) that are more likely to be successful than any of the relief options are.

I was not as keen on Valentine's managing yesterday though I don't think he made any particularly awful gaffes. I'm not convinced the move to Ross was the right call. With the lead I would have preferred to keep the superior defensive player out there. On those same lines if he's going to go for the offense why not go at least to Salatalamacchia to hit for Shoppach in the ninth? You can make the same argument for Youkilis over Punto but I can pretty easily get behind the idea of getting Youk a day off.
   2. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4100934)
What's funny is that the starting staff sans Lester has been just as bad (if not worse) than the bullpen. To me, the gopheritis by Beckett is a strong suggestion that he's either hurt or can't locate or both. Which means that the rotation will need Bard.
   3. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4100975)
Cook is throwing well in Pawtucket as he did in Ft. Myers. I'm not endorsing a shift of Bard to the bullpen but I think the Sox have to be strongly considering it. They have options for the rotation (Cook, Aceves, Ohlendorf) that are more likely to be successful than any of the relief options are.


If you make the decision to have Daniel Bard start, like they did with Lowe in 2002, you make it with the understanding that you're going to have a big problem replacing his production in the bullpen, and you decide that you'll find a way to deal with it. Bailey going down was bad, but there's no chance that the bullpen is as bad as it has been for 3 games, and a 4-3 game in Toronto isn't going to change that.

If Aceves is stinking it up in the bullpen, that doesn't mean he deserves to be promoted to starter.
   4. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4101039)
I noted in the top of the 9th that he pinch-hit Ross for Sweeney up by two runs. I’m pretty sure that’s the sort of aggressive move that Francona wouldn’t have made – he’d have figured the leverage was too low and he’d rather give Ross the full day off.


Yes, but then he came up short on the Shoppach AB. With Youkilis on the bench, a strikeout RH on the mound in Dotel, Shoppach up, and 2nd/3rd with 1 out....how on earth do you not pinch-hit there? Because it's 2 runs and you might as well give Salty the full day off. I think that's really poor, and while I liked the rest of the moves, this stood out to me more than the good moves.
   5. Dan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4101041)
I think Valentine pushed most of the right buttons. Going to Aceves in the 9th was the right move. It was a 3 out, 3 run save. It was theoretically a great opportunity to get him settled into the closer role. The fact that he took a big #### all over the mound isn't Valentine's fault.

The one thing I didn't like was Valentine's moves in the top of the 9th. I agreed with hitting Ross for Sweeney, but once you do that, AND have Aviles bunt against a lefty, you HAVE to pinch hit Salty for Shoppach against Dotel. Dotel is death on right-handed hitters, and Shoppach can't even hit average righties. Meanwhile in Salty you've got a solid LHH to face a pitcher without great numbers against lefties. On top of that, Shoppach strikes out a ton, so he's not even a good bet to hit a sac fly or anything with 2 RISP and 1 out. Either Aviles has to swing away against the LHP or you PH for Shoppach against Dotel. The sequence of moves as it played out really made no sense, and Valentine looked pretty dumb for a moment there.
   6. Dan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4101044)
I see that Nate posted a more succinct version of my beef while I was writing up my long-winded post. And I agree with Nate that the only explanation was Valentine rested on his laurels after the first insurance run and being happy with a 3 run lead and just wanting to give Salty the full day off rather than 1 AB and 1 inning in the field. Stupid.
   7. Toby Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4101073)
Overall, the bullpen has allowed 10 runs in 11 innings.


Overall, the starting pitching has given up 15 runs in 15.2 innings. So there's that, too.
   8. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4101085)
We want to get on Bobby V's case. But the reality is that the pitching sucked all series. That was what lost the series, not lineup or bench shenanigans. The individual pitchers need to own up to it.
   9. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4101108)
I don't think anyone here is getting on Bobby V's case. I know I wasn't or at least I wasn't trying to make the point that letting Shoppach hit was a particularly egregious error. I think generally Bobby did fine in all three games, the players just failed him.
   10. Dale Sams Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4101110)
If Melancon had only given up tying runs, and the Sox took the lead again would we have seen Bard or Lester in a \"#### it, you guys made this happen" move?
   11. The District Attorney Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4101112)
Not trying to start trouble here, but if Bard does in fact end up closing, is that gonna become (in the public eye, and/or in reality) another chapter in the "Valentine vs. Cherington power struggle" story?

EDIT responding to #12:
I think you're saying that if he "ends up" in the bullpen, it might be evidence of BV vs BC.
Yeah. (Although I do find it hard to believe that, even without "permission", Valentine would be fired for bringing Bard into one game in relief... of course, he would be fired if he removed him from the rotation altogether without permission... but anyway, that wasn't what I was contemplating.)
   12. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 09, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4101117)
Not trying to start trouble here, but if Bard does in fact end up closing, is that gonna become (in the public eye, and/or in reality) another chapter in the "Valentine vs. Cherington power struggle" story?


If Bard shows up in the bullpen tomorrow and doesn't throw a pitch as a starter and Bobby V does it all on his own, he'll be fired. The organization has mapped out a role for Bard, and Bobby V has to be on board with it. If Bard shows up in the bullpen, it'll be because the whole organization agrees that it's the best move to make for Bard and the Red Sox.

Edit: Actually, I think I misinterpreted your comment. I thought you were saying that if Bobby just sends Bard in for relief in a surprise move. I think you're saying that if he "ends up" in the bullpen, it might be evidence of BV vs BC. I think my point above stands in this case as well. It'll be because the organization has decided as a whole that it's better for Bard and the team.
   13. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4101160)
I think there is a realistic chance that Daniel Bard will never start a game for the Boston Red Sox. If it's 4-3 in the 9th tonight and the Jays have Escobar, Johnson and Bautista due...
No way.
   14. Dale Sams Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4101163)
No way.


They could start Lester tomorrow on normal rest and let Bard throw game 3. But I admit the odds are very slim...I mean, I'd do it..but..
   15. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4101166)
If Melancon had only given up tying runs, and the Sox took the lead again would we have seen Bard or Lester in a \"#### it, you guys made this happen" move?


Justin Thomas was still out there so he was next up. I think if it went long enough Bard would have been the guy with Lester starting (on normal rest) on Tuesday.

If Bard does move to the bullpen it will DEFINITELY be seen as a "Bobby vs. Ben" thing. That's a crappy reason not to do it but that will be the sports radio talking point du jour. There are valid reasons for leaving Bard in the rotation and for moving him to the bullpen right now.
   16. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4101174)
Also: Rich Hill and Andrew Miller pitched in a minor league game yesterday, in Greenville.

Hill pitched one inning and struck out the side. Miller pitched one inning, 2H, 2K. Help is on the way, even if it's not the best in the world. The Sox have some options.
   17. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4101184)
If Bard does move to the bullpen it will DEFINITELY be seen as a "Bobby vs. Ben" thing. That's a crappy reason not to do it but that will be the sports radio talking point du jour. There are valid reasons for leaving Bard in the rotation and for moving him to the bullpen right now.


Not if he moves back in July after stinking it up in the rotation. It'll be a Bobby vs. Ben thing only as long as that reporting cycle is still in the back of the MSM minds. If there are any more issues that are regarded as disagreements by the MSM, then that'll keep that topic alive that much longer. When I really think about it, I guess it could and probably will be construed by the media as BV vs BC, but I'd guess that such a construction by talk radio (and its print equivalent, CHB et al.) will not have all that much impact on how the games are played, how they're managed, or how the roster is constructed.
   18. Dan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4101199)
I think Miller could be a pleasant surprise as a short reliever. He can be effective when his fastball is in the mid 90s, but he just can't throw that hard and maintain it as a starter or a multi-inning guy.
   19. Mattbert Posted: April 09, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4101285)
It also helps if Miller knows where his mid-90s fastball is going. I'm less sanguine about that part.
   20. Dan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4101370)
Back to a more conventional lineup for tonight's game. Looks like Valentine is more concerned about lefty relievers here than he was in Detroit, since he's split AGon and Ortiz up again:


1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
2. Dustin Pedroia (R) 2B
3. Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
4. Kevin Youkilis (R) 3B
5. David Ortiz (L) DH
6. Cody Ross (R) LF
7. Ryan Sweeney (L) RF
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (S) C
9. Mike Aviles (R) SS
   21. Dan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4101394)
Speaking of Bullpen Hijinx: Papelbon's first appearance in Philadelphia, he gives up a home run to Austin Kearns, of all people. Phillies are now 1-3, as they lose 6-2.

Jays lineup for tonight:

1. Yunel Escobar (R) SS
2. Kelly Johnson (L) 2B
3. Jose Bautista (R) RF
4. Edwin Encarnacion (R) DH
5. Adam Lind (L) 1B
6. Brett Lawrie (R) 3B
7. Rajai Davis (R) LF
8. J.P. Arencibia (R) C
9. Colby Rasmus (L) CF
   22. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 09, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4101418)
Speaking of Bullpen Hijinx: Papelbon's first appearance in Philadelphia, he gives up a home run to Austin Kearns, of all people.


And didn't I just read that they decided not to go to him in the 8th two nights in a row, and lost both games?

Edit: And the stupidity of that decision is now apparent. They had to use him tonight when they were losing by 3 runs just to keep him fresh, didn't they?
   23. Mattbert Posted: April 09, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4101428)
Piehole (#22), you are correct on all counts.
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: April 09, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4101431)
Piehole (#22), you are correct on all counts.


Except for the fact that their loss in Saturday's game had nothing to do with not going to Papelbon in the 8th inning.

   25. Nasty Nate Posted: April 09, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4101436)
And didn't I just read that they decided not to go to him in the 8th two nights in a row, and lost both games?


Not the 8th, but the 9th (and 10th in one of the games) in road games. I will never understand that convention. Why did the Phillies pay so much for an elite reliever if they won't even use him with the game on the line?
   26. Dan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4101447)
Pretty sure that homer got Papelbon booed.

After facing his first batter at his new home park.

Still think Boston fans are "more intense, less knowledgeable" than Phllly phans, bud?
   27. Mattbert Posted: April 09, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4101458)
Except for the fact that their loss in Saturday's game had nothing to do with not going to Papelbon in the 8th inning.

Oops, yeah - more the 9th or extras on that one. Anyway, larger point stands. Manuel didn't use Paps in two straight late and close situations in Pittsburgh and therefore felt compelled to let him get some work in today, in a game the Phils were already losing by three runs.
   28. Dale Sams Posted: April 09, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4101459)
They had to use him tonight when they were losing by 3 runs just to keep him fresh, didn't they


Ahh...the good ol days.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: April 09, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4101476)
I don't know what mental contortions in managers' minds results in the belief that pitching with no room for error is easier than pitching with a cushion, and is the spot you want to RP's with less supposed mental toughness etc...
   30. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 09, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4101479)
Ahh...the good ol days.


I'd like to see a system like in European soccer where a team can "loan" a player to another team for awhile. The Sox could have used some bullpen help the last few days. Paps would have been perfect. :)
   31. AROM Posted: April 09, 2012 at 04:44 PM (#4101530)
"Pretty sure that homer got Papelbon booed."

If it didn't then I'd have to assume the park was filled with something other than fans. They boo. It's in their nature.
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: April 09, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4101559)
Quote from the Phillies' pitching coach about bringing Papelbon into a tie game: "It's hard. We have nobody else to close the game. Now if we had somebody else to close, like [Jose] Contreras behind, we might think about doing it."

I just don't understand this.
   33. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 09, 2012 at 05:11 PM (#4101572)
I just don't understand this.


I love the idea of spending a gazillion dollars on a pitcher who can enter a game under only very exact conditoins. I wonder if the front office intended him to be used solely in save situations.
   34. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 09, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4101582)

I love the idea of spending a gazillion dollars on a pitcher who can enter a game under only very exact conditoins. I wonder if the front office intended him to be used solely in save situations.


Probably. It's not like the Phillies are unusual in this usage pattern. Closers close, anything else is gravy. Other than those of us on sites like BTF the majority of fans and media are content to see the closer only come in in closing situations.

Remember, closer by committee was a stupid idea. That's why it was so imperative for the Sox to name a closer when Bailey went down. With that out of the way they were able to lock down a couple of games this weekend.
   35. The District Attorney Posted: April 09, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4101610)
Quote from the Phillies' pitching coach about bringing Papelbon into a tie game: "It's hard. We have nobody else to close the game. Now if we had somebody else to close, like [Jose] Contreras behind, we might think about doing it."

I just don't understand this.
Contreras has NINE career saves, while Bastardo for instance only has eight. C'mon, use your head!
   36. Nasty Nate Posted: April 09, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4101614)
Remember, closer by committee was a stupid idea. That's why it was so imperative for the Sox to name a closer when Bailey went down. With that out of the way they were able to lock down a couple of games this weekend.


Heh. What's odd is that using a closer in a tie game in the 9th/10th inning would mesh just fine with the belief in the famed closer mentality, the need to have one and only one anointed closer, and the refusal to use the closer before the 9th inning. Heck, managers use closers all the time in tie games at home. But apparently the thought of a possible save situation later in the game to deal with without the closer is terrifying.
   37. Squash Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4101656)
Also: Rich Hill and Andrew Miller pitched in a minor league game yesterday, in Greenville.

Holy crap I had forgotten completely about Rich Hill, and had no idea he pitched for the BoSox last year. And pretty damn well, apparently.
   38. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4101662)
Yeah, I'm hopeful about Hill. He looked really good in the two weeks or so before his elbow blew out. Those numbers weren't flukes - he was locating his fastball and his breaking ball was nigh unhittable, especially for lefties. If he can come back in that form, he can be a good late inning reliever.
   39. Dan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4101663)
Holy crap I had forgotten completely about Rich Hill, and had no idea he pitched for the BoSox last year. And pretty damn well, apparently.


He's a submarining LOOGY now, FYI.
   40. Chip Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:14 PM (#4101665)
Eck telling people to mellow out about the relief pitching on the pregame, give them time to sort things out.
   41. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:27 PM (#4101683)
Eck is right.

But I remain firmly freaked out.
   42. Dan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4101691)
Eck telling people to mellow out about the relief pitching on the pregame, give them time to sort things out.


What the hell does that guy know about relief pitching?

The Red Sox fans freaking out and saying Bard needs to close obviously have a better grasp on the situation.
   43. Dale Sams Posted: April 09, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4101727)
Closers need to be able to strike people out. Don and Jerry were hee-larious yesterday. (Paraphrased) "Do we have..do we have ANYONE in the pen that you have confidence in getting someone out?"

When the game is on the line and the other team is pulling every trick in the book to tie or win RIGHT NOW...do you answer with failed starter with no stuff?
   44. Dan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 07:08 PM (#4101735)
Almost all closers are "failed starters".
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4102330)
Just got home. Had the game on the radio - Aceves was going to be the guy in the 9th no matter what. That's not the call I expected, but Aceves came out throwing (and locating) four different pitches, actually looking like someone who can get leveraged outs.
   46. Dan Posted: April 09, 2012 at 10:47 PM (#4102346)
People are saying Aceves is overthrowing to get that 95-96 MPH on his fastball, but I really don't agree. Well, at least not to the extent that it means his fastball is straight. It's still got great movement despite the added velocity. He's costing himself some command, but if he can throw it that hard while mixing in the cutter and curve he'll miss his share of bats. The biggest problem is Detroit was that he was just throwing fastball after fastball. Apparently he thought inheriting Papelbon's job also meant inheriting Papelbon's stupid fastball only mentality.
   47. Darren Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:14 PM (#4102369)
He looked great and I thought he mixed it up well.
   48. Dale Sams Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:26 PM (#4102375)
Almost all closers are "failed starters".


And almost all closers have some kind of 'stuff'. Hence the qualifier.

Aceves had some stuff tonight instead of a flat Gagne (Red Sox version natch)-like fastball.
   49. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 10, 2012 at 12:57 AM (#4102408)
He looked great and I thought he mixed it up well.


Just rewatched the inning. He got lucky on one pitched that missed badly to the first batter. Salty was setting up outside and the pitch ran in on the RHH. He missed badly on the swing, so it was OK. you can make mistakes with a 95MPH fastball with movement. The rest of the pitches to the next two batters were pretty excellent. The final batter, there were 3 pitches down the middle, but with great movement again. If this is our closer, he's gonna be awesome.
   50. Dan Posted: April 10, 2012 at 02:47 AM (#4102418)
you can make mistakes with a 95MPH fastball with movement


...unless you're facing Miguel Cabrera. That's the exact pitch he hit out.
   51. Dan Posted: April 10, 2012 at 05:00 AM (#4102424)
   52. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: April 10, 2012 at 06:52 AM (#4102433)
That is a sensational throw
   53. Textbook Editor Posted: April 10, 2012 at 08:34 AM (#4102455)
#51-Wow.
   54. tfbg9 Posted: April 10, 2012 at 08:49 AM (#4102463)
4th outfielders need to be able to throw.

/runs away
   55. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 10, 2012 at 08:55 AM (#4102467)
He is sporting a .263 OBP.

I want Reddick to do well, and it would be fun if he could be 2011 Josh Reddick for good now. I'm rooting for him, but he still projects as something like half pre-2011 Reddick and half 2011 Reddick, and that's much more a bench player than a contributor to a playoff club.
   56. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 10, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4102498)
I want Reddick to do well, and it would be fun if he could be 2011 Josh Reddick for good now. I'm rooting for him, but he still projects as something like half pre-2011 Reddick and half 2011 Reddick, and that's much more a bench player than a contributor to a playoff club.


And a guy who hits like that is a bet winner!
   57. Joel W Posted: April 10, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4102572)
Wow that throw, and the tag frankly.
   58. Dan Posted: April 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4102707)
Rays get to play the Tigers today. Should be interesting. Matt Moore vs Porcello.
   59. Dan Posted: April 10, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4102967)
Austin Jackson 2.0 kills the Rays too, apparently. Just tied it up 2-2 in the 7th off of Moore. He's apparently really working the count now, remains to be seen if he's just seeing the ball well at he moment or if it's a permeant adjustment. 3-2 count K in the first, followed by 2 walks, followed by 3-2 solo home run to LF.
   60. Dan Posted: April 10, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4103617)
Really wish that BV would have gone to Morales instead of Thomas with runners on the corners and 0 outs in the 6th. That changed the complexion of the game.

Bard pitched well and had basically everything possible go poorly on balls in play. He tired a bit early after coming out throwing so hard, but that's probably attributable to being a little overamped in the first few innings of his first MLB start. Only walk came when he was tiring late, and he kept almost everything on the ground. And 6 Ks in 5 innings. Pretty strong debut, even if it will do nothing to stop the idiots in the MSM and on talk radio for clamoring for him to return to the pen.
   61. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: April 11, 2012 at 08:51 AM (#4103716)
Bard now leads the pitching staff in fWAR at 0.3. A 10.8 k/0, 1.8 bb/9, 0 hr/9, and 64.7 GB% will do that for a guy. Like Bobby V said, I'll take my chances with that over the course of a season.

I don't think Justin Thomas is long for the roster. He's a good bet to get optioned in a few days when Miller is ready, and if they need a 40 man spot later he's not someone I'd worry about losing on waivers. He currently holds the title of Guy On The Sox I Least Look Forward To Seeing Pitch.

This short bench is starting to bug me. The Sox really could have used a lefty bat with some pop to pinch hit for Ross, either in the 7th with a man on second and no out, or leading off the 9th. Both times Ross struck out against tough righties. Lars would have been perfect, especially if he can fake it in left for a couple innings. A few weeks of sporadic playing time in the bigs until Crawford comes back shouldn't affect his development and as long as Ross is starting, you need a decent lefty on the bench.
   62. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 11, 2012 at 09:00 AM (#4103723)
I thought Bard improved as the game went on. I think the last couple of innings he seemed to be "pitching" more than "throwing" and started using the change up. It's going to take awhile for me to change my mind on him, I still think he's better suited to the bullpen, but last night was more of a step forward than a step back as far as I'm concerned.
   63. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 11, 2012 at 09:17 AM (#4103734)
Dan Bard is fast becoming one of my favorite players on the Sox. His comments after the game were, well, these were his comments after the game:
Of the eight hits [Bard] allowed, five were on two-strike pitches. Two of the hits were infield singles. Four others were ground balls.

“Let’s say half of those get fielded, which is a probably a normal night, if we catch three or four of those and get outs on them, that’s probably three runs and about 30 pitches and I’m pitching into the seventh and giving up two runs,’’ Bard said.
...
“I honestly felt like I pitched pretty well,’’ said Bard, who threw 65 of 96 pitches for strikes.
Recent Red Sox starters have generally been arrayed on a continuum from arguably-baseball-smart to dumb-as-a-bucket-of-tar, so it's great to see someone in the rotation with Bard's intelligence. I'm really hopeful about his pitching, the more I see him. I agree with Jose that Bard came out of the gate too pumped up, relying too much on overthrowing his fastball, but I was impressed with how well he calmed down, and how after a little while he started pitching backwards off his slider about every 3rd or 4th hitter. That's good pitchin'.

He's going to be learning on the job, but last night Bard showed the stuff to pull it off, and I think his mental approach will serve him extremely well.

The same article has Bobby V cementing that "new age Charlie Dressen" description:
Thomas walked Thames to load the bases. Valentine had righthander Matt Albers warmed up but let Thomas stay in the game. J.P. Arencibia dropped a two-run single into center and Colby Rasmus followed with a sacrifice fly as Toronto took a 6-1 lead.

“Just a dumb move,’’ Valentine said, smacking his hand on his desk.

Albers throws a sinking fastball that could have induced a double play. But Valentine was hoping Thomas would keep his changeup down and get a grounder. Instead Thomas left a pitch up and Arencibia added to Toronto’s lead.

“I don’t like being dumb. I like doing what I’m supposed to do,’’ Valentine said.
I don't think Thomas is long for this roster, and the Sox should give Valentine another offensive weapon on the bench.
   64. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 11, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4103737)
CBS Sports has a slightly longer version of Bard's take on his pitching - same concept, plus an obligatory "it stunk":
"It's easy to look at results," Bard said. "If you can look past that, I think they had six or seven groundball hits. Say half of those get fielded, which is probably a normal night -- that's probably three runs and about 30 pitches (saved). So, I'm probably pitching into the seventh, giving up two runs. It's a totally different game. I'm looking at it that way.

"The results obviously stunk. I recognize that, and I'm frustrated with it. But I wouldn't change the way I threw."
I'm working on renoobulating CFBPS to allow rest-of-season projections, and Bard's pitching last night and comments afterward look like exactly the sort of data we can test run with CFBPS.

The same article also has Valentine echoing Bard's comments:
Bobby Valentine ... labeled Bard's outing "good enough to win."

"His pitches were good, very good," Valentine said. "Not quite the results we're looking for, and he's a little disappointed. You take that 30 times a year, you're going to get a lot of wins out of it. I'll bet anything on that."
   65. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 11, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4103744)
Once through the rotation;

Lester - Outstanding
Beckett - Horrible. not sure if I want to know he was hurting or if I want him to have been healthy
Buchholz - Not great but considerably better than the numbers.
Doubront - WYSIWYG. Nothing special but if that is our 5th best starter I feel OK.
Bard - Pretty good. The way he adjusted as the game went on is I think the most important thing. According to Peter Abraham he got 18 swing and misses last night, only Beckett with 20 in one of his starts last year had more.
   66. Nasty Nate Posted: April 11, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4103778)
Those Bard comments .... I don't know, I don't really like them.
   67. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 11, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4103779)
The club so far has a .338 BABIP allowed. And unlike everything else that's wrong with the club's collective stats, it can't be blamed on Josh Beckett - he actually allowed only two hits on 14 balls in play.

The left side of the infield defense is not going to be an asset this year, but I think that number has to be chalked up much more to flukes than to anything else. It's about a 3-4 run difference in expected runs allowed, which could have turned a game along the way.
   68. jmurph Posted: April 11, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4103784)
I didn't see much of the Sox late last year, so I don't think I'd seen Aviles hit until this weekend. Let's just say that batting stance and shenanigans at the plate did not increase my excitement about starting a utility infielder at SS on purpose.
   69. Joel W Posted: April 11, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4104234)
Well, here we are again. Somehow I'm trying to remain optimistic. Lots of #### has gone wrong, hitters will hit, and at least the rotation looks like we could really have something. 1-5 is better than 0-6, right?
   70. Dan Posted: April 11, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4104250)
1-5 is better than 0-6, yes, but the next opponents for this team are Tampa Bay, NYY, and the Rangers. If they don't figure things out fast, they could very well be buried in a hole too deep to climb out of. Just because last year's team decided to spend May-August playing like a 120 win team doesn't mean this team will be able to do the same thing.

The Red Sox are extremely fortunate that the Yankees have also been slow out of the gate, but it would've been nice if Mark Reynolds didn't hand them a win last night.
   71. Dan Posted: April 11, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4104264)
So how ugly is Opening Day at Fenway going to be? It's the first time the Sox will be at home since last year's collapse, and it's now buttressed by a 1-5 start to this season. On top of that, they're playing the team that took their playoff spot last September!

I'm sure the Boston media will have a field day. Shaughnessy is probably having to change his underwear once per hour.
   72. Nasty Nate Posted: April 11, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4104275)
So how ugly is Opening Day at Fenway going to be? It's the first time the Sox will be at home since last year's collapse, and it's now buttressed by a 1-5 start to this season. On top of that, they're playing the team that took their playoff spot last September!


...and the game is being started by Beckett who, without Lackey around, is in the running for most disliked active player.
   73. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 11, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4104296)
Only once in the last eight years have the Sox been above .500 after six games (2006).

Right now I feel a lot more pessimistic than I did at this time last year. I feel like I'm watching an 85 win team.

My one bit of optimism is that right now they are showing signs of being a "victory from the jaws of defeat type team." Thursday, Sunday, today and even yesterday all featured some level of comebacks that were one hit away from being incredible wins. The problem is the AL is too deep to give games away like this.
   74. Dan Posted: April 11, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4104301)
Meanwhile, the Rays rally from a 2-0 deficit after being 1 hit by Verlander through 8 to take a 9th inning lead.
   75. jmurph Posted: April 11, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4104313)
I feel like I'm watching an 85 win team.


Right now I would bet the under. I feel like I'm watching a team starting 3 bench players (2 of whom would be starting with a fully healthy roster, amazingly) and crossing their fingers 2.5 out of 5 days in the rotation.

Obviously the more optimistic take is that 1-3 in the rotation are well above average-to elite, and Crawford comes back healthy and returns to form and Youk somehow stays healthy.
   76. Nasty Nate Posted: April 11, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4104331)
to reprise something from upthread - the Cards lost a game in the bottom of the 9th today while their closer sat idly by, being reserved by the manager for a stat-accumulation chance that never came.
   77. Dan Posted: April 12, 2012 at 01:08 AM (#4104699)
Apparently the Red Sox already sent out an email to ticket buyers trying to shame them into not booing:

They say home is where the heart is. For us, our heart is our fans and our ballpark (and boy do we need it!). For newcomers like Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney, and Mark Melancon, Friday's home opener will be like none they've ever experienced. There's nothing bandwagon about Red Sox fans. You're either a Red Sox fan in good times and in bad, or you're just not a Red Sox. .....


It goes on; that's just an excerpt.

Good luck with that.
   78. Dale Sams Posted: April 12, 2012 at 01:26 AM (#4104702)
Wow. That's diabolical.
   79. toratoratora Posted: April 12, 2012 at 02:17 AM (#4104706)
Maybe I've reverted to pre-Theo/Francona thinking, but I look at this team and it frightens me badly. I see a team with no SS, a 3B who misses 40 or so games a year, platoons in right and left (With Crawford returning off a wrist injury as the Joe DiMaggio heroic coming off the bench candidate-uh-huh,righto),an anorexic bench, an "ace" who is, to put it kindly, erratic, the oft injured Buch, Lester (The one guy I believe in), question marks at 4 and 5, and a bullpen by committee led by a guy on the DL.

I see a team that, if everything breaks right, can win 95 or so games.
But this is baseball and how often does everything go right?

This also looks like a team that could be an injury or two and a few bad breaks away from a real debacle. I can easily see this team winning less than 85. With the talent level in division and the ascendency of competition outside the division (Angels, Tigers, Rangers), it wouldn't shock me at all to see the Blue Jays finish ahead of the Sox.

Or maybe the way last year ended combined with this start has me reverting to type, that doomed pre-04 mentality where I go through the season waiting for the shoe to drop. I sure hope so, else it's gonna be a long, long summer followed by a miserable fall.
   80. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 12, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4104782)
Huh, I see a team that has MVP potential at 1st, 2nd and CF. They have all star potential at 3rd and LF. RF and C have a cromulescent flavor - teams have won with much less. SS will cost a game or two no doubt, but there has to be a least valuable position somewhere.
Pitchers #1 has Cy Young potential. Pitcher #2 and #3 have all star potential. Pitchers #4 & 5 have potential which is not always the case. There are pitcher options in the minors for #6 & #7. A potential meh #4/5 will be coming back to the team after injury in the middle of the season (yes, Dice-K can be an acceptable pitcher, just don't watch his games - it's much better to read about them the next morning).
The bullpen could use some work.
The bench is a bench is a bench. No team wants to use their bench.

I see a team that, if everything breaks right, can win 95 or so games.
But this is baseball and how often does everything go right?

This also looks like a team that could be an injury or two and a few bad breaks away from a real debacle.


This applies to pretty much every team in the top half of the league. NY, Boston, Tampa, Detroit, Texas, LA, Toronto, etc, etc. Cabrera already got a ball to the face, what happens when it happens again and he is out for a while? Drop Sabathia or Weaver from their rotations for a few starts and see how many wins rack up. Bautista goes back to being Bautista and see how scary the Jays really are. Tampa has much larger holes in their offense, again, etc, etc.
   81. Nasty Nate Posted: April 12, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4104805)
I see a team with no SS, a 3B who misses 40 or so games a year, platoons in right and left (With Crawford returning off a wrist injury as the Joe DiMaggio heroic coming off the bench candidate-uh-huh,righto),an anorexic bench, an "ace" who is, to put it kindly, erratic, the oft injured Buch, Lester (The one guy I believe in), question marks at 4 and 5, and a bullpen by committee led by a guy on the DL.


I don't necessarily disagree w/ your pessimism, but just for fun I will do the same thing for the Yankees.

I see a team with slow aging players at 3B and SS, a 1B who gets worse by the year, a bulimic bench, a left-fielder with no power, no real DH, an "ace" who has been killed in his first 2 starts and can't pitch in the postseason, question marks at 2,3,4 and 5, and a bullpen led by a 42 year old who has already blown a save and walked 25% of his walk total from last year.

Anyone want to do the Rays?

P.S. Every team in the league has a "bullpen by committee"
   82. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 12, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4104806)
I think jacksone is right but for the third straight year the Sox are taking their wiggle room and throwing it in the trash before Patriot's Day. #### is going to happen over the course of 162 games and you only get so many 2-8, 3-10 stretches and the Sox are burning one right away.
   83. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 12, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4104820)
Anyone want to do the Rays?


I see a team with a weak offense heavily reliant on a 35 year old first baseman and gaping holes at 2nd, short and behind the plate, a bullpen needing near career years from three mid-30s journeymen relievers, a rotation anchored by a pitcher one year removed from an ERA over 5.00 who got pounded in his first start, a talented but unproven pitcher with one MLB start and a guy ripe for a BABIP regression and not likely to have the financial resources to make meaningful moves as the season progresses.

(OK, not as good as Nate but I did my best, who's got Anaheim?)
   84. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 12, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4104826)
the Sox are taking their wiggle room and throwing it in the trash before Patriot's Day. #### is going to happen over the course of 162 games and you only get so many 2-8, 3-10 stretches and the Sox are burning one right away.


This I agree with 100%.
   85. Dale Sams Posted: April 12, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4104838)
Nate, I think the Yanks are in 'trouble' too.

Sox are in big, big trouble. There's a reason we looked at the schedule and went "ahhh, crap. The Tigers, Jays, Rays, Rangers and Yankees???" Because 3 of those teams are simply better than the Sox. And the Yanks and Jays arn't the A's. Other teams are younger, and hungrier while the Sox keep finding ways to lose. 8-25 and counting.

Sox are playing like a team waiting for key components to come off the DL. Except the guys on the DL are named Crawford, Dice-K and Lackey.
   86. Nasty Nate Posted: April 12, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4104849)
Sox are playing like a team waiting for key components to come off the DL. Except the guys on the DL are named Crawford, Dice-K and Lackey.


Ouch.

The Sox usually feast on the Patriot's day homestand (with last year as an exception), let's see what they can do this year. I'm going to game #2 and am very curious as to the vibe around the ole yard, especially if they lose again tomorrow.
   87. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 12, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4104869)
Nate, I think the Yanks are in 'trouble' too.

Sox are in big, big trouble. There's a reason we looked at the schedule and went "ahhh, crap. The Tigers, Jays, Rays, Rangers and Yankees???" Because 3 of those teams are simply better than the Sox. And the Yanks and Jays arn't the A's. Other teams are younger, and hungrier while the Sox keep finding ways to lose. 8-25 and counting.

Sox are playing like a team waiting for key components to come off the DL. Except the guys on the DL are named Crawford, Dice-K and Lackey.


Damn man, just how big is that urine stain on your pants? Have you gone through every pair of pants you own yet?
   88. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4104890)
Damn man, just how big is that urine stain on your pants? Have you gone through every pair of pants you own yet?


Some things never change, except the size of the urine spot on the carpet. Every year it gets a little bigger.

Anyway: Since there's still so much talk about moving Bard to the pen, I was trying to figure out the break even point for Bard. That is, how poorly does he have to pitch in the rotation over say 200IP to simply be worth more as a reliever?

In 2010, Bard had 3.2 BB-ref WAR. That would have been equivalent to last year's Shaun Marcum. 200IP, 3.54 ERA 158K/57BB. (Or, something like 2009 John Lackey. Ugh!)

In 2011, he had 1.6 BB-ref WAR. That's more like Jason Vargas's 2011. 201IP, 4.25 ERA, 131K/59BB.

I don't really see Bard possibly ever being as good as Shaun Marcum in 2010, and maybe not as good this year as 2011 Vargas. I mean, I hope he's as good this year as Vargas was last year. That would help the Sox out a lot.

But if he provides, say 1.3 BB-ref WAR this year, he'd be a net-positive gain over Lackey's 2011. That's like Mike Pelfrey 2011: 193.2IP, 4.74ERA, 105/65. That seems much more possible, but that's a net loss, -0.3 WAR for the team by converting him to starter.

Am I wrong? And if I am, please tell me how I'm wrong.
   89. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4104907)
But if he provides, say 1.3 BB-ref WAR this year, he'd be a net-positive gain over Lackey's 2011. That's like Mike Pelfrey 2011: 193.2IP, 4.74ERA, 105/65. That seems much more possible, but that's a net loss, -0.3 WAR for the team by converting him to starter.


I think this is pretty accurate across the board but it becomes an issue of team building;

1. What role is Bard likely to be meaningfully better than that ~1.3 WAR figure? - My answer: Reliever since he's already done that (2010).

2. For 2012 do you think the Sox are more likely to find a starter or a reliever who could make up that WAR difference? - My answer: Reliever. Starters are just tough to find and I think Doubront or Michael Bowden or Franklin Morales or Alex Wilson or some guy on the waiver wire is more likely to step in and fill the void in the bullpen. Finding someone to give you 50 innings is easier than finding a starter.

3. For 2013-2015 are the Sox better off with Bard as a starter or a reliever? - My answer: Starter for all the reasons I laid out above (assuming he can be a 1.3 WAR starter).

Thinking that through quickly I think the Sox would need to be quite certain that Bard would be able to be a very good to great reliever in 2012 to make the move. I think the right move should have been to keep him in the bullpen and sign Edwin Jackson or someone of that ilk but that particular ship has sailed.
   90. Dale Sams Posted: April 12, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4104956)
Damn man, just how big is that urine stain on your pants? Have you gone through every pair of pants you own yet?


How bout you tell me how many wins you honestly think the Sox will get. And unless you lowball me, I'll take the under and you can buy me a new pair of pants in October.
   91. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 12, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4104982)
How bout you tell me how many wins you honestly think the Sox will get. And unless you lowball me, I'll take the under and you can buy me a new pair of pants in October.


Heh. As Marge Simpson once said, "Oh, it's that pair of Dockers you wanted. Forty-eight waist with the balloon seat, right?"
   92. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 12, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4104994)
How bout you tell me how many wins you honestly think the Sox will get. And unless you lowball me, I'll take the under and you can buy me a new pair of pants in October.


Eh, if I had to GUESS it'd be 92 wins. Which gets them into the playoffs 2/3 - 3/4 of the time. And from there, near as I can tell they would have a 10% chance to win the WS. Seems like a ####### fantastic outlook for a team to have pretty much every year for a decade. Ask a Pirates fan how they feel about their team. Or an Orioles fan. Or the Mets. Or the Marlins. Or the Padres. Or the Astros. Etcetera.

And no, I do not want to bet. I honestly don't care about the exact final number of wins. If they make the playoffs with 90 wins, awesome. If they miss the playoffs with 95 wins, ####.
   93. Dale Sams Posted: April 12, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4104997)
If they miss the playoffs with 95 wins, ####.


That would be a hell of a season from a perspective of 'baseball fan'!
   94. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 12, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4105008)
Why? It could mean there are more shitty, shitty teams.
   95. Dale Sams Posted: April 12, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4105016)
Why? It could mean there are more shitty, shitty teams.


5 playoff spots and a 95 win team sits down? It's still going to be a hell of a playoff run. But yeah...there would be more than a few 100 loss teams to make that happen.
   96. toratoratora Posted: April 14, 2012 at 03:00 AM (#4106429)
####,####,####,#### (Channeling my inner Phil Coorey as the possible extent of Ellsbury's injury becomes clear)
I shoulda added glass MVP candidate CF in my pessimistic prognosis.

This sucks. Right now, pin me down, ask me to reveal my heart of hearts, and I'd say that I have serious doubts as to whether the Sox are going to make the playoffs. Not so much because I'm pants-pissing at Ellsbury getting hurt, but because, my original fear all along, this team is so thin. They have just no capacity to withstand injuries at all and it's mucho mal to lose such a big piece so early.

I hope I'm wrong here, but a Ross,McDonald, Sweeney OF isn't going to cut it in the AL East...and heaven help the Sox if one of them should get hurt. If Jacoby is out for any extended period of time this could get ugly indeed.

Remember the way back days of 09 when 8 out of 9 positions were set, the bench was full of minimally cromulent players such as Martinez, Baldelli, Gonzales and, this hurts so much to write, Lugo,as well as kids like Reddick, Kotchman and Lowrie, and people were talking crazy talk, uttering aloud things like, "The Sox have too much pitching."

Cripes, I got spoiled during the last run.

Color me turning the DefCon level from frightened to very, very scared.

   97. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 14, 2012 at 08:10 AM (#4106471)
When is the last time this team caught abreak on an injury? God forbid Ellsbury just get a bruise, no, it's gotta be a serious injury.

On October 1 last year I think we would've pegged the starting outfield as Cawford, Ellsbury and Reddick/Kalish. April 14 and one was traded and the other three are on the DL.
   98. Answer Guy Posted: April 14, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4106546)
Eh, if I had to GUESS it'd be 92 wins.


Try 84.

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