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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. DavidC Posted: August 08, 2007 at 05:10 AM (#2476590)
Is it just me, or does it seem like on every close play at the plate when we are on the bases is an out, and every close play at the plate when we are in the field is safe? Did Wendell Kim return or something?
   2. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 08, 2007 at 05:14 AM (#2476596)
Is it just me, or does it seem like on every close play at the plate when we are on the bases is an out, and every close play at the plate when we are in the field is safe?


It's not just you.
   3. Xander Posted: August 08, 2007 at 05:31 AM (#2476608)
Seriously. And it's the little things. It's Lugo not going 1st to 3rd yesterday on Pedroia's single. It's Moss's throw to 3rd instead of 2nd. It's the unnecessary throws homes which allows the baserunner to advance to 2nd. It's very frustrating.
   4. Chip Posted: August 08, 2007 at 05:55 AM (#2476619)
Play a clean game tomorrow and win, and the last two days can be forgotten pretty quickly.
   5. plink Posted: August 08, 2007 at 06:00 AM (#2476622)
Last two games are nothing; they're fine. And goodness me, I'm *very* glad we don't have Clemens.

It's the pattern of the Yankees' season that is affecting our mindset. They're on a ridiculous streak now - either it continues and there's nothing we can do about it, or it won't.

I'm happy to play the optimist here: they've been playing well (overall) recently and I still think they'll win the division comfortably. I give you my personal guarantee that Manny and Ortiz will starting hitting again, the offense will perform respectably again, and the pitching will be ok.
   6. Dan Posted: August 08, 2007 at 06:13 AM (#2476626)
I'll just be glad when I never have to see WMP in RF again, and we have Kielty to hit vs LHP when Drew rests.
   7. Dan Posted: August 08, 2007 at 06:16 AM (#2476629)
ALthough having any call go our way would be nice, it just seems like since that Drew "double" off the top of the monster, the umps have had it in for the Sox. The foulball "double" yesterday irked me as well. But even on accurate calls, all close plays DO seem to be going in favor of the other team lately. If I believed in God, I really think I'd say that he didn't want the Red Sox to win this division. But since I don't, I'll just say that this club better start hustling more and playing better fundamental ball, and MAYBE, just MAYBE having good ABs after they get pitchers into a tough spot, instead of making first and second pitch outs when pitchers can't find the plate.
   8. plink Posted: August 08, 2007 at 07:14 AM (#2476642)
Also, Lugo since the All-Star break: .320/.359/.433

(though to be fair, he does have an 642 OPS over the last 2 weeks)
   9. villageidiom Posted: August 08, 2007 at 12:24 PM (#2476705)
They're playing .667 ball over the last 2+ weeks. Yeah, they'd better make winning a priority.

The problem is that while Boston has gone 12-6 in that time, the Yankees have gone 14-4. A big piece of that is schedule, and over that span - heck, over the last five games - the schedule is heavily tilted in New York's favor.

Wily Mo plays rightfield with Mr. Flyball Tim Wakefield on the mound.

2007 2007
G/Fb OF_FB% Pitcher

0.43 52.7% Lester
0.94 37.7% Matsuzaka
1.01 37.6% Schilling
1.01 35.7% Wakefield
1.32 32.2% Beckett

Pena OPS vs. LHP: 847 in 2007, 814 career
Drew OPS vs. LHP: 634 in 2007, 790 career

You're reaching.
   10. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 08, 2007 at 01:11 PM (#2476735)
I leave for less than 48 frakking hours and we collapse.

Awesome.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 08, 2007 at 01:15 PM (#2476739)
Sox took two of three at Seattle over the weekend. Two losses to Anaheim, at Anaheim, are not the end of the world.

The problem is the Yankees playing out of their minds, which, well, is what it is.

Wakefield is more of a FB pitcher than he's been this year, but the platoon advantage of Wily Mo should even out the defensive difference close enough.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 08, 2007 at 01:19 PM (#2476744)
July: 15-12
August: 4-3

An extra win or two would be good, but I just don't see the overall problem that would justify demanding that they try to win. June sucked, but since then they've been playing fine.
   13. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 08, 2007 at 01:40 PM (#2476755)
It's the pattern of the Yankees' season that is affecting our mindset.

It's also the pattern of the Red Sox' season. And of course, the respective patterns of the two teams' seasons affect the mindset of Yankee fans as well. Boston started 36-15 for Christ's sake. It would have been silly to really believe that they were a 114 win juggernaut. It would have been equally silly to think that New York would lose 94 games. You guys should probably just relax and remind yourselves that the 36-15 is in the bank, and will likely be enough to let them coast into the post-season, no matter how badly they play for a particular week or month the rest of the way.
   14. The Essex Snead Posted: August 08, 2007 at 01:52 PM (#2476768)
Yeah, the Sox can't do anything about the Yankees beating the crap out of the dregs of the American League - up until Monday, they haven't played a team w/ a record over .500 (and, seeing how the BJs are faring, I'm not sure Toronto qualifies as over-.500, either). Of course, the Red Sox have had a whopping 9 games against winning competition since the All Star Break, and are 5-4 after last night's debacle. (Can someone please misplace Julian Tavarez for the next few weeks?) That they're somewhat scuffling against the same teams that the Yankees are pasting - losing a game in each series, & losing 2 to KC @ home right before the Royals gladly sit out their following series against NYY - can't help but make the situation seem more dire.

And, yeah, the dinky mistakes are annoying (like Schilling failing to cover first on the ground ball to Youkilis on Monday), & if there's any reason to panic, that's it. But what's worse is that seemingly - and it's really a matter of perception - the mistakes they make are coming back to bit them on the tushie (such as that Angels' rally for 2 runs right after Schilling's brain fart). The Yankees, meanwhile, in addition to playing the worst of the worst, seem to be in one of those zones where every line drive they hit gets over someone's glove, and every line drive the other team hits is right at someone. (Sh)it happens.

The next / first writer that attributes the Yankees' surge to the invigorating presence of "kids" like 27-year-old Shelley Duncan should be hit in the head with a batting donut. And the next guy to go "OMG 1978" should be forced to EAT the donut.

And the simple fact is, even with the Yankees playing out of their minds, and Boston scuffling a bit (and, again, it's all relative), NYY is still 5 games back.
   15. chris p Posted: August 08, 2007 at 01:59 PM (#2476779)
i'm ready for the jed lowrie era to begin.
   16. Artie Ziff Posted: August 08, 2007 at 02:05 PM (#2476786)
Uh, we all knew New York would make a streak for the East title. I doubt Boston can hold them off, but they should win the fourth playoff spot by seven or eight games.
   17. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 08, 2007 at 02:54 PM (#2476816)
The Yankee game today is on a re-run on TV. My mom (who doesn't really know baseball) was asking me why the guy "was so angry". I told him that that was A-Rod (Mom: so THAT'S A-Lod (her English is funny)) and why everybody hated the d-bag.

Then my mom said something along the lines of "Why is the Toronto team so angry? Why did they have to argue TWICE?"

I responded with this: "Argued Twice? That being nice, after all, Toronto depiste being the taint of Canada is still Canada, and we Canadians are nice people. If this was against Your son's Boston Red Sox, A-Rod wouldn't have made it to 1st base"
   18. Dave Cyprian Posted: August 08, 2007 at 08:36 PM (#2477185)
Lay it on him vi, amen to #9.

Darren, they did go out and rent Gagne, there's the perfect win-now move. Sox are chugging along just fine.
   19. Srul Itza Posted: August 08, 2007 at 08:47 PM (#2477201)
You guys are so funny.

Last I looked, BoSox had the best record and the biggest division lead in baseball.

Get a grip.
   20. Mister High Standards Posted: August 08, 2007 at 09:11 PM (#2477231)
Uh, we all knew New York would make a streak for the East title. I doubt Boston can hold them off, but they should win the fourth playoff spot by seven or eight games.


Its amazing how much better a teams record is when they are playing the underbelly of the league. I was fairly certain the Yankees would close the gap between the All star break and the first week of August. They did. Not because the team is really any better, but because their schedule was a lot easier. The Yankees made up some ground, but it is unclear if they made up enough considering these are the teams they each have on the schedule (excluding the 3 h2h):

The Sox not only have a 5 game in hand lead, a 2 game lead in the season series but a play a .461 schedule the rest of the way while the Yankees play a .498 schedule (not including h2h).

Thats a tough road to hoe, this thread is usual Darren overreaction.
   21. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 08, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2477248)
The Yankees made up some ground, but it is unclear if they made up enough considering these are the teams they each have on the schedule (excluding the 3 h2h):
It's actually 6 head-to-head, which is the only reason the division race is even worth discussing. If there wasn't a (very, very) slim chance the Yankees would go 5-1 in that series or something, it'd be a bore. Even with those games, however, this is basically the Yankees' version of the Sox mid-August run from 2004.
   22. Mister High Standards Posted: August 08, 2007 at 09:35 PM (#2477270)
Even with those games, however, this is basically the Yankees' version of the Sox mid-August run from 2004.


I'm actually afraid of that.
   23. Darren Posted: August 08, 2007 at 09:57 PM (#2477286)
Am I the only one who thinks playing .500 for sixty games and seeing the lead shrink from 14.5 to 5 is a bit alarming? Are you all still confident that the division is in the bank? As confident as you were a month ago? Did you feel this way in August 05 as well?

Where does all this confidence come from? Do you realize that the Red Sox are being pursued by a $200 mil. juggernaut that has several Hall of Famers on the roster?

Granted, the Sox have played pretty well over the past 2+ weeks If you want to go by that rather arbitrary endpoint. But they probably could have won more over the past 2 months if they played with a little more sense of urgency. This means bringing up the best pitcher, not the next one in line. It means using Schilling in the ML because he's going to throw 80+ pitches anyways. It wouldn't hurt to use your ace reliever a bit more. Etc. etc.

But I'm glad to hear that everyone here is absolutely certain the Red Sox will stave off a team with a historically great offense and win the division.
   24. Dave Cyprian Posted: August 08, 2007 at 10:05 PM (#2477291)
Darren, if the historic Yankee juggernaut plays out of its mind the rest of the way and storms ahead in the division race,the Sox already like +4 in the wild card race. The combined odds still say that if the Sox take care of business with a reasonable winning %, they will be fine.
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 08, 2007 at 10:51 PM (#2477331)
Am I the only one who thinks playing .500 for sixty games and seeing the lead shrink from 14.5 to 5 is a bit alarming? Are you all still confident that the division is in the bank? As confident as you were a month ago? Did you feel this way in August 05 as well?
If I were told in the preseason that the Sox would have a 5 game lead in early August, I would have taken it no questions asked.

I was never on the Biff bandwagon of proclaiming the race over, so I can't speak for him on when it's no longer "in the bank." It's still likely, but less likely than it was before. I'm a firm believer in the non-totalizability of reality, so I don't care much for the claim that X event has definite probability Y which is so low as to be worthless. I'm still happy about the season, but less happy than I was at 8 games, and at that time I was happier than I was at 11, and so on.

The thing it comes down to, for me, is that I'm confident this is a world series quality team. They've got the best bullpen in baseball, and a front of the rotation as good as anyone's. They've got good tablesetters and good RBI men in the lineup, and they score runs at a perfectly reasonable clip. I honestly have not seen anything in the last two months to disabuse me of my confidence in the talent of the Red Sox.
   26. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 08, 2007 at 11:15 PM (#2477357)
Don't be bed wetters. Jesus. 4, 5, 9, 13, 14, 19 have it right. Off the ledges. The Yankees aren't that good. They've been pounding the AAAA teams lately.
   27. villageidiom Posted: August 08, 2007 at 11:41 PM (#2477409)
Am I the only one who thinks playing .500 for sixty games and seeing the lead shrink from 14.5 to 5 is a bit alarming? Are you all still confident that the division is in the bank? As confident as you were a month ago? Did you feel this way in August 05 as well?

In order:

No.

I never thought it was in the bank. I recall saying back when the lead was as big as it was, that few teams had ever come back from such a deficit because few teams in such a deficit had nearly as much talent as the 2007 Yankees had. I was pretty sure the lead would shrink, and knowing that sometimes the Red Sox will be on the road against good teams while the Yankees would be playing crap at home, I figured there would be periods during which the lead would shrink faster than I'd like. Every time that has happened this year, the schedule eventually reversed, and so did the trend in the standings.

No. I'm certainly less confident now, but "less confident" and "not confident" are two different things.

No, but admittedly I don't recall how confident I was back then. I still like this team's chances, though. They're not perfect, but they're certainly good enough to get it done.
   28. villageidiom Posted: August 08, 2007 at 11:54 PM (#2477450)
That said, Darren, I think we all know where you're coming from. There's been a lot not to like over the past couple of months, even the last couple of weeks despite the 12-6 run. It's starting to gnaw at one's emotions. When they have a particularly ugly loss, you usually come here with a doom-and-gloom post where your head tries to rationalize what your heart is telling you.

What would Theo do? Well, he'd trade Bard and Meredith for Mirabelli. So let's not ask him.

Today began with Boston up 5 games, and that gives them at least an 80% chance at the division title - yes, even considering how both teams are playing. It's no guarantee, it's no lock.
   29. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 09, 2007 at 12:00 AM (#2477467)
It's pretty close, VI. After this week, the schedule is in their favor.
   30. Darren Posted: August 09, 2007 at 12:16 AM (#2477509)
28 is good stuff. Pretty good description of the situation. The BPro stuff still has Boston at 90% chance of the division, but I liked it better when it was 95. It sure doesn't feel like 90.
   31. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 09, 2007 at 01:11 AM (#2477637)
#19, I couldn't agree more. We still have the best staff and one of the best lineups in baseball. We will win 96-98 games, if the Yankees are good enough to match that, then so be it. In a playoff series though, I am seriosly liking Beckett, Dice-K and Schilling against anyone, anytime...and our pen rocks.
Stop panicking, you are all paranoid.
   32. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 09, 2007 at 01:15 AM (#2477657)
Also, don't we play Baltimore and TB like 22 times in the next 7 weeks? Don't we spend most of Sept. at home? After this series, the only tough away games we have are 3 in NY. And the MFY are getting hammered today as their real pitching staff shows up.
   33. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 09, 2007 at 02:16 AM (#2477893)
Edit: Withdrawn, upon further reflection
   34. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 09, 2007 at 02:59 AM (#2478016)
Also, don't we play Baltimore and TB like 22 times in the next 7 weeks?

Of course, the Yankees still have 12 more against those teams, and another series against KC to boot. New York's schedule gets a bit tougher for the next three weeks. Then it gets pretty soft again.
   35. robinred Posted: August 09, 2007 at 03:25 AM (#2478067)
This is not snark, but, reading this, (I rarely read ST threads, to no one's dismay) I can see better now why Darren gets twitchy about the payroll issue and plays up the underdog thing. It fits with this kind of attitude on a number of levels.

There are a lot of things to consider--the Yankees' huge loss with Wang on the mound today being one of them. I would say if Wang gets hammered again next time out, there will be some major talk/analysis/back and forth about it. But, from my outsider's POV, the key fact is that NYY has had two sustained hot streaks and the Red Sox are still 5.5 up. And, if they get swept in Anaheim, well, the Angels are a quality team in their own right.

To me, the key players down the stretch are:

Clemens, Hughes and Chamberlain
Schilling and Drew

These guys, to me, represent the biggest potential + or - situations in Aug and Sept.

The Yankees can catch up if they get high-level work from those three--but that is a 45 year-old and two rookies with almost no AAA exp, albeit all gifted pitchers.

I may be starting to believe, as much as I hate to say it, the negative flak about Drew--a signing that I endorsed from the Boston POV. Yes, the AL is better, but ####. Maybe he is a dog. Still, I think he is capable of a big hot streak. Schilling has lot of pride, a history of stepping up, and is playing for his 2008 payout.

There is almost no chance, as 24 said, that the Red Sox will miss the post-season.

Am I the only one who thinks playing .500 for sixty games and seeing the lead shrink from 14.5 to 5 is a bit alarming?


I think the ".500 for 60 games" while frustrating for Boston fans, is just the Red Sox regressing to what IMO they are: a 95-98 win type team. I do not see it as a big deal. They are still 68-45.

And they are now up 4-3 in tonight's game, helped by a big hit by Drew.
   36. Chip Posted: August 09, 2007 at 03:51 AM (#2478110)
And they are now down 5-4, after Lester gets knocked out - or more accurately, knocks himself out after being handed the lead, as after a leadoff K he cannot close out Manny Aybar, despite being ahead 0-2, and walks him in an 11-pitch PA. And walks Willits. And gives up a double to Figgins.

That's three pretty bad starts in a row, isn't it? Time to consider other options?
   37. robinred Posted: August 09, 2007 at 03:52 AM (#2478112)
Manny Aybar


Cool typo.
   38. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 09, 2007 at 05:36 AM (#2478304)
The best way for the Red Sox to get out of this mess to utterly crush the Yankees in the 6 games left against them, but it won't happen becasue we have an idiot manager and a sackless offense.
   39. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 09, 2007 at 05:39 AM (#2478313)
It's Wakefield that's killing the team right now. He needs to step up and have a good last month and a half, especially if Schilling is only a 4.50 ERA guy now.

I had a really vivid dream last night that Steinbrenner died. I thought it was true all day till I read some baseball news and saw--with real relief, actually--that it wasn't.
   40. Chip Posted: August 09, 2007 at 05:46 AM (#2478324)
Wakefield won three straight starts before losing last night, and 8 of his last 10.
   41. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 09, 2007 at 06:00 AM (#2478349)
Yeah, but in most of them he gave up 4 or more runs. It was the offense that won those.
   42. Chip Posted: August 09, 2007 at 06:08 AM (#2478359)
Yeah, but in most of them he gave up 4 or more runs. It was the offense that won those.


He worked at least 6 innings in the last 8 of those. He didn't even kill the bullpen, let alone the team, whatever the run support he got.
   43. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 09, 2007 at 06:10 AM (#2478365)
The Boston Red Sox will win the 2007 World Series.
   44. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 09, 2007 at 07:49 AM (#2478381)
The Boston Red Sox will win the 2007 World Series.

You just watched 3 games of ass pitching, a bottom of the pen that does nothing but pour barrels of petroleum on forest fires, a sackless offense, and the most retahded baserunning in the history of baseball.

Where did you get that from?
   45. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 09, 2007 at 08:03 AM (#2478383)
I'm guessing having Dice-K and Beckett pitching the next two games will have BoSox fans feeling better about life.
   46. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 09, 2007 at 02:54 PM (#2478517)
I'm guessing having Dice-K and Beckett pitching the next two games will have BoSox fans feeling better about life.

Against Bedard?

No
   47. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 09, 2007 at 03:15 PM (#2478541)
Bedard's going to pitch back-to-back games? That's certainly innovative.
   48. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: August 09, 2007 at 04:19 PM (#2478645)
The Boston Red Sox will win the 2007 World Series.

You just watched 3 games of ass pitching, a bottom of the pen that does nothing but pour barrels of petroleum on forest fires, a sackless offense, and the most retahded baserunning in the history of baseball.

Where did you get that from?


Pessimism is more rampant among Angel fan Primates than Red Sox fan Primates. Nothing is in the bank, but I feel fairly confident. There is no Platonic ideal of a team out there this year. They all have holes The Tigers have bullpen trouble. Just ask LAW about the Angels. Seattle has Jeff Weaver in the rotation. NYY have pitching quesstion marks. Cleveland? As bad as Drew has been this year, he's no Trot Nixon.

Yeah, if you focus on the flaws things look dark, but everyone's got them.
   49. The Marksist Posted: August 09, 2007 at 05:11 PM (#2478778)
It's Wakefield that's killing the team right now. He needs to step up and have a good last month and a half, especially if Schilling is only a 4.50 ERA guy now.


I'm not sure how Wake can "step up." He is utterly at the mercy of his strange (and to my mind, wonderful) signature pitch. If it's working, he's nasty. If not, he's not.

And put me in the "not panicing by any means, but definitely not comfortable with our lead right now" column. Unfortunately, that's the life of a fan: when you've got a lead you worry about losing it and when you're trailing you worry you'll never catch up.

j
   50. Joel W Posted: August 09, 2007 at 05:39 PM (#2478860)
Does it feel better at six? I say yes certainly. There are 48 games left in the season. Using the trusty "If the sox go .500" method the yankees will have to go 30-18 over those games, which they can certainly do, but it's definitely good baseball to play that clip. I just don't think the Red Sox will go .500, even if they just go 26-22 over that stretch, it would force the yankees to have to play 32-16, which is damn good baseball. I just don't see it.

The Yankees also have at Cleveland, home v. baltimore, home v. detroit, at LAA, at Detroit coming up. I think that's a stretch where they'll win fewer than they have been. At least I hope. Sox have 6 v. Tampa bay, and 4 v. Chicago in that stretch. I'm hoping it'll be 8 by the time we face them at the end of the month.
   51. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 09, 2007 at 10:17 PM (#2479429)
The division is still in the bank.
   52. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 09, 2007 at 10:50 PM (#2479456)
#50, counldn't have put it better myself. It becomes a numbers game. With nearly half our games against TB and Baltimore AND 26 of them at home, we will easily win at least 25-26 games which puts us around 95 wins. Yes, I'd love to see us win another 30 and get closer to 100, however, as you said, the Yankees need to take 32 out of 48 just to get to 95, much less seeing 100 wins this season. The Angels are good and I was happy to take 1 of 3 there. We could have quite easily taken the Schilling game and then the Angels caught the back end of our rotation at the end of a West Coast swing. I'll say it again, in a short series with Beckett, Dice-K and Schilling along with selected members of the pen(Oki, Gagne and Paps) we can shut anyone down AND that is assuming the offense is only scoring 4 or so a game.
   53. Darren Posted: August 10, 2007 at 01:39 AM (#2479611)
This is not snark, but, reading this, (I rarely read ST threads, to no one's dismay) I can see better now why Darren gets twitchy about the payroll issue and plays up the underdog thing. It fits with this kind of attitude on a number of levels.


The payroll difference is real, substantial, and relevant. Any time I see people here trying to pretend that any of those three things aren't true, I remind them that they are. If that opens me up to psychoanalysis by someone who decides $60-$70 mil is irrelevant based on gut feeling, so be it.

Does it feel better at six? I say yes certainly.


Well of course you'd say that. You're a certified optimist! :) Where's your pal Mr. Sunshine?
   54. robinred Posted: August 10, 2007 at 01:50 AM (#2479628)
The payroll difference is real, substantial, and relevant. Any time I see people here trying to pretend that any of those three things aren't true, I remind them that they are. If that opens me up to psychoanalysis by someone who decides $60-$70 mil is irrelevant based on gut feeling, so be it.

I have explained this more than once. You can disagree of course if you want to, but it is based on a hell of a lot more than "gut feeling." And, we differ more on HOW relevant it is. I would say you see it as "Extremely relevant and more important than almost any other factor and a really big deal" whereas I see it as "A little bit relevant, but to be evaluated in the context of several other factors and not a very big deal."

As far as the "psychoanalysis" crap, check out 5, 9, 18, 19, 20 and 24.
   55. Darren Posted: August 10, 2007 at 02:01 AM (#2479640)
I would say you see it as "Extremely relevant and more important than almost any other factor and a really big deal" whereas I see it as "A little bit relevant, but to be evaluated in the context of several other factors and not a very big deal."


No, you see the Yankees $60 mil advantage over the Red Sox as "a little bit relevant," but the Red Sox $40-$50 mil advantage over other teams as an "extremely big factor." You make this distinctions without ever making a solid case for it.
   56. robinred Posted: August 10, 2007 at 03:07 AM (#2479709)
No, you see the Yankees $60 mil advantage over the Red Sox as "a little bit relevant," but the Red Sox $40-$50 mil advantage over other teams is an "extremely big factor." You make this distinctions without ever make a solid case for it.


I think payroll as an indicator of probable team quality in general is somewhat overrated. If I didn't communicate that before, that is my fault. I don't ever recall using "extremely big factor" in other contexts about payroll. Here are two good examples:

The DBacks and the Giants
The White Sox and the Indians

The DBacks opened 2007 at about 53M, and their highest paid player, Randy Johnson, was useful but was widely seen as a bad acquisition and is now of course gone for the year. The Giants started at about 90M, but since the Giants have so much money committed to Zito and Bonds, as well as assorted 30+ mediocrities, there was almost unanimous agreement that the DBacks would be better than the Giants, as in fact they are (at least according to the real standings if not the Pythag ones).

The White Sox started 2007 at about 108M, while the Indians began at 61M. But there was no serious belief that the White Sox were going to be a lot better than the Indians. PECOTA, of course predicted the White Sox would go 72-90, and while I think few agreed with that, I didn't see a lot of pre-season talk to the effect that the big-money White Sox would crush the Indians. Yes, the White Sox won the 2005 Series, but were never a powerhouse team.

As far as the "gut feeling" issue, it is my opinion that, as is often the case, you see a diminishing utility once your spending passes a certain threshold. MLB is a closed, controlled market with a lot of variables, so it is hard to validate that. But, I tend to believe that if you are going up to 200M it means you don't really have much young talent and are overpaying for some of your vets. The Yankees are still a good team in spite of all of their holes and geezers in large part because of Wang, Cano and Cabrera, who have tightened up the rotation and the defense and helped solidify the bottom of the lineup. If they had say, Barry Zito, Adam Kennedy and Jacque Jones, instead, their payroll would be a lot higher, but they would be a worse team. Similarly, three of the Red Sox most valuable assets are Papelbon, Youkilis and Pedroia, while Drew and Lugo are problems right now.

Why do I think this is the case? In spite of what people say, I don't think you can really buy a prime star for every position, no matter how much money you spend. Players will want to play in certain cities, someone can always outbid you, you may not have a position open, no prime stars may be available at a given position in a given winter. And players other than big, young stars go up and down, have injury and performance problems, etc. quite a bit. So, no, I am not convinced that those dollars going from 150 to 200 are that big of a deal since you probably can't, in practical terms, spend all of it on exactly the young or prime stars you need.

To look at it in simpler terms, you point at absolute dollar figures all the time, but there are also percentages to consider. If we put the Red Sox at 150M and the Yankees at 215M, 150 is 69.7% of 215. The Tigers, at about 96M, are spending 64% of what the Red Sox spend, even though the dollar difference is less. As to the teams you seem to be thinking about--White Sox, Angels (109) Mets (115) Cubs (100) where the percentages are around 70 or above--no, I do not see those teams as being at much of a disadvantage in trying to beat the Red Sox. I see little evidence in the case of those teams that they cannot acquire talent if they want to. I do believe that it is likely that the realities of the market mean that money at 150-200 does not go quite as far as money at 100-150, and that the money at 50-100 is really decisive, but I can't prove it.

Why not?

Partly because we are only dealing with 30 decision-making entities, so outliers can have a disproportionate effect. As such, I think quality management is really crucial--and may be harder to identify than we think. The keys are

1. Recognizing who the stars are that are really worth paying BIG money for
2. Developing in-house talent, both to use and trade
3. Filling holes cheaply with adequate players

The Yankees in recent years have thrown money at some very questionable investments and made some outright mistakes, so get mixed reviews on #1. They have had some nice boosts from #2 lately as I mentioned but their best teams had that big-time and they were weak there in the early 00s. They are very bad at #3, although Cashman seems to be getting this (Betemit instead of Cairo, Molina instead of Nieves). They have to an extent covered that with their money, and that is an advantage they have--but if it were a huge advantage, I think they would be putting better teams on the field than they are. The Red Sox are starting to see some real dividends in terms of #2, are pretty good at #3, but have had a little trouble with #1. in that the Red Sox were able to go out this off-season and invest big money in a starter, a shortstop, and an outfielder--in part because they covered 2b, 1b and closer with the homegrown talent, and have 3b and CF covered reasonably cheaply (although Lowell'c ontract was seen as an albatross by many at the time. However, Drew and Matsuzaka have not been quite as good they'd hoped (Drew is way off.) And, through shrewd management, they have Ortiz, whereas the Yankees have Giambi.

So, in deciding how good a shape a team is at a given moment, I look at:

Pre-arb high-level talent
High-level premium-pay talent
Management's track record in filling holes
Tradable pieces on the farm
Payroll

All as a mix. I do not think many Red Sox fans would trade rosters, systems or management teams with the Yankees.
   57. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 10, 2007 at 03:25 AM (#2479722)
- The Boston Red Sox will win the 2007 World Series.

You just watched 3 games of ass pitching, a bottom of the pen that does nothing but pour barrels of petroleum on forest fires, a sackless offense, and the most retahded baserunning in the history of baseball.

Where did you get that from?


The Red Sox aren't perfect, but I think they're the best team in baseball. They're better than us. They're better than Detroit and Cleveland.
   58. robinred Posted: August 10, 2007 at 03:36 AM (#2479730)
The Red Sox aren't perfect, but I think they're the best team in baseball.

I tend to agree, after the Gagne acquisition.
   59. chris p Posted: August 10, 2007 at 02:27 PM (#2479916)
a bottom of the pen that does nothing but pour barrels of petroleum on forest fires,

i've always thought this was the purpose of the back of a bullpen. it's just like fighting big fires. water isn't going to work. you have to starve the fire of oxygen. so, with the back of the bullpen, the strategy is to get them to get so many hits that the end up with 5 or 6 guys on base at a time and then we can tag them out easily!
   60. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 10, 2007 at 04:35 PM (#2480034)
Pessimism is more rampant among Angel fan Primates than Red Sox fan Primates

WHAAA?????????????

This might be true if Darren was actually taking his medication, but judging from his Therapy posts, probably he's missed a few doses.
   61. Darren Posted: August 11, 2007 at 02:53 AM (#2480845)
It must be nice being a Yankees fan these days. Not only do they have obscene amounts of money to spend, every single player they bring up dominates immediately. Need a 2B because Womack was terribly stupid? That's okay. Just bring up Cano, who's generally been mediocre in the minors. Need a SP because Pavano's a bust? Bring up Wang, who's also mediocre in the minors. They'll both dominate! Damon sucks for 4/52? Throw Melky in there--he'll be better than you hoped Damon could be. Trade away your crappy setup men and bring up Joba. He started the year in A ball but he'll simply destroy major league hitters. Hughes too! And Shelley Duncan!

The Yankees either have the most unique and amazing minor league system (so much so that they don't trust it themselves until they're desperate) or they are incredibly lucky.
   62. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 11, 2007 at 02:54 AM (#2480847)
F!@# YOU ERIC GAGNE

Go back to Quebec, the armpit of Canada.
   63. Darren Posted: August 11, 2007 at 02:55 AM (#2480848)
Also, it would be nice if a couple acquisitions could work out for the Red Sox within a year of getting them. Could anyone have been as far below expectations as Drew, Lugo, and Gagne since they joined the Red Sox?
   64. Darren Posted: August 11, 2007 at 02:56 AM (#2480849)
And I want to thank everyone for talking sense into me the other day. You were so right that the division is completely locked up! How foolish of me to worry!
   65. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 11, 2007 at 02:57 AM (#2480851)
Great loss, you won't see me near a fukking screen watching this team till Monday.

EDIT - My Grandmother WHO never saw a game in her life, was telling me that Gagne should be pulled when Huff arrived at the plate.

Funny how SHE IS DEAD ALSO!!!
   66. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 11, 2007 at 02:58 AM (#2480853)
Also, it would be nice if a couple acquisitions could work out for the Red Sox within a year of getting them. Could anyone have been as far below expectations as Drew, Lugo, and Gagne since they joined the Red Sox?

Gagne apparnetly stands for Suppan in French.

it's not the worst translation though. If you translate it into Spanish it becomes Seanez.
   67. Answer Guy Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:13 AM (#2480860)
OK, the only reason I am not in full blown panic mode is that I am making the voice from the part of my brain that thinks about baseball to just say "12 games left with Tampa" over and over and over again.

How exactly does any team that isn't Tampa Bay lose a bullpen battle to the Orioles anyway?
   68. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:15 AM (#2480862)
"12 games left with Tampa"

Equals four games left with Kazmir
   69. Answer Guy Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:21 AM (#2480864)
Equals four games left with Kazmir

Not necessarily.

And worst case scenario do with Kazmir what you sorta did with Bedard. Take pitches, take pitches, take pitches. Foul off more 2-strike pitches. Take a couple of called third strikes even. Get into that middle relief. Or hell, they have a closer who's not all that great either.

Their manager has already shown he's not going to strain his ace to win what would be for them a meaningless game.
   70. Darren Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:27 AM (#2480867)
Gagne's looked awful. Wouldn't it be fun if Joba outpitched Gagne from here on out? That'd be a nice big fun kick in the teeth.
   71. Answer Guy Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:29 AM (#2480869)
Gagne's looked awful. Wouldn't it be fun if Joba outpitched Gagne from here on out? That'd be a nice big fun kick in the teeth.

I know. I didn't want him. I wanted another bat, preferrably a right-handed one. Not that I thought that Gabbard or Murphy were all that much to give up, mind you.

After tonight I really have that sinking feeling. All these road games have been just brutal.
   72. Darren Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:36 AM (#2480872)
Here's my prediction on the Clemens suspension: Torre has Wang take his place on short rest and, being as Joe Torre is blessed, Wang pitches well and wins.
   73. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:37 AM (#2480873)
I know. I didn't want him. I wanted another bat, preferrably a right-handed one. Not that I thought that Gabbard or Murphy were all that much to give up, mind you.

I never thought I'd actually miss Kason Gabbard and David Murphy.
   74. Darren Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:38 AM (#2480874)
The Red Sox and their vaunted bullpen are now 17-17 in 1-run games and still a game off their pythag.
   75. Darren Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:41 AM (#2480876)
Another fun thought: if Gagne doesn't turn it around, he'll certainly not be a Type A, negating half the reasoning behind his acquisition.

I don't know why I thought any trade or acquisition would work out for the Red Sox as expected. I should have known he would immediately fall apart without warning.
   76. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:42 AM (#2480877)
It's because he's from the part of Canada even Canadians don't like.

Edit: Apparently, he's not the biggest flop out of Texas. George Bush still wins!
   77. robinred Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:53 AM (#2480883)
Diamond Mind projections going into tonight, FWIW:

Bos W-98.0 L-63.9 WIN DIVISION: 90.8% WIN WILDCARD 7.4% REACH PLAYOFFS: 98.2%

NYA W-91.8 L-70.1 WIN DIVISION: 9.2% WIN WILDCARD 67.5% REACH PLAYOFFS: 76.7%
   78. Answer Guy Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:54 AM (#2480885)
I don't know what to do. They're too easy for good starting pitchers to shut down, can't really win without a quality start anymore, and now the bullpen is failing too?
   79. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 11, 2007 at 05:12 AM (#2480898)
And the only AL team that's nearly as good as them is the Yankees. It seems like a recipe for post-season disaster. (Well, okay, the Angels are somewhere in the rear-view mirror, too.)
   80. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 11, 2007 at 06:28 AM (#2480918)
W-98.0 L-63.9

Good luck with that.
   81. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 11, 2007 at 07:02 AM (#2480922)
Jesus F!@# The Japanese Media is reporting that Okajima was sent up to the mound without A WARMUP.

YOU IDIOT FRANCONA
   82. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 11, 2007 at 07:22 AM (#2480927)
Relax. This was a tough loss, but our lead is still five games, we'll win the next two in this series, and the Indians probably won't continue to roll over for the Yankees like they did tonight.
   83. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 11, 2007 at 08:42 AM (#2480939)
Mussina tomorrow, so I would think not.
   84. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 11, 2007 at 10:31 AM (#2480945)
Gagne's looked awful. Wouldn't it be fun if Joba outpitched Gagne from here on out? That'd be a nice big fun kick in the teeth.

Hmmmm, maybe Cashman isn't so dumb after all....
   85. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 11, 2007 at 11:40 AM (#2480947)
In #61, Darren went on about how Yankee minor-leaguers have stepped in for underperforming vets. Which is true enough. But then in #63 (two minutes later), he says:

Also, it would be nice if a couple acquisitions could work out for the Red Sox within a year of getting them. Could anyone have been as far below expectations as Drew, Lugo, and Gagne since they joined the Red Sox?

While he's no Cano, Pedroia has shown me that he's a player. But I think the lesson here is that big-ticket acquisitions have not worked out for either team recently, which makes good minor-leaguers necessary. Are we arguing that the Yankee system has provided more and tastier fruit than the Sox's system over the last few years? I stipulate to that.
   86. JC in DC Posted: August 11, 2007 at 01:54 PM (#2480959)
It must be nice being a Yankees fan these days. Not only do they have obscene amounts of money to spend, every single player they bring up dominates immediately. Need a 2B because Womack was terribly stupid? That's okay. Just bring up Cano, who's generally been mediocre in the minors. Need a SP because Pavano's a bust? Bring up Wang, who's also mediocre in the minors. They'll both dominate! Damon sucks for 4/52? Throw Melky in there--he'll be better than you hoped Damon could be. Trade away your crappy setup men and bring up Joba. He started the year in A ball but he'll simply destroy major league hitters. Hughes too! And Shelley Duncan!

The Yankees either have the most unique and amazing minor league system (so much so that they don't trust it themselves until they're desperate) or they are incredibly lucky.


The pressure's getting to you, Darren. Cano and Wang were both highly regarded prospects, though I do grant I didn't expect quite what we're getting from either. I think, though, your first postulate is correct: The Yankees don't (or haven't, until recently) trusted their farm system. The league is littered with guys that looked like decent Yankee prospects that they gave no chances to (think of Thames and Juan Rivera as examples).

Oh, and Joba was simply a great draft. He's a stud. I've watched him pitch and he's just got a great demeanor: he wants to succeed, he's disciplined (the knock against him was his weight, and he's done nothing but condition himself and workout apparently with Clemens, his idol [his uni # is 62, as in '62, the Year of Our Clemens]). That's not luck, that's good scouting.

Boston and NY are settled in for a long, good rivalry, it seems, and all us fans should be thankful. Both teams have $$, good young talent, and good front offices. This should be a blast. Can't wait 'til NY gets into the new stadium.
   87. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 11, 2007 at 02:47 PM (#2480993)
Oh, and Joba was simply a great draft. He's a stud. I've watched him pitch and he's just got a great demeanor: he wants to succeed, he's disciplined (the knock against him was his weight, and he's done nothing but condition himself and workout apparently with Clemens, his idol [his uni # is 62, as in '62, the Year of Our Clemens]). That's not luck, that's good scouting.

That game last night was something to watch: Two 21-year olds who're built like the young Roger Clemens, who fire away like the young Roger Clemens, who have strikingly similar motions to the the young Roger Clemens, with the apparent work ethic of Roger Clemens, and who are being coached by Roger Clemens himself.

Only difference being that they're both wearing the uniform of the aging Roger Clemens---ta da!

Meanwhile, the Yanks seem to have pawned Farnsworth off to the Red Sox, under the alias (and a makeshift goatee) of "Eric Gagne," with strict instructions to.....do I need to spell it out? It almost doesn't seem fair.

Boston and NY are settled in for a long, good rivalry, it seems, and all us fans should be thankful. Both teams have $$, good young talent, and good front offices. This should be a blast.

Yeah, maybe that Cashman fellow isn't so dumb after all. But I have to admit I didn't expect for it to begin falling in place until next year. And realistically, the Red Sox are still near-prohibitive favorites with that rotation of theirs.
   88. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 11, 2007 at 03:19 PM (#2480999)
You mean with taterific, can't-miss-a-bat Curt Schilling as the third starter?

It's the second best rotation in the division and the third best in the league, though; plenty good enough.
   89. chris p Posted: August 11, 2007 at 06:12 PM (#2481054)
Oh, and Joba was simply a great draft. He's a stud.

joba was pretty highly regarded, but fell due to concerns over his injury history, weight, and $$$ demands. so, it's not luck ... not saying it is ... it's good scouting, but with guys like joba the yankees are only competing against the wealthier teams. in recent years the red sox have drafted a bunch of these types late in the draft, but they either didn't sign (pedro alvarez, matt laporta) or have sucked (rozier, hansen, bard) ... lars looks like a player though. it seems like the red sox have done well with the rest of the draft, but have sucked in this department.
   90. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: August 11, 2007 at 06:29 PM (#2481059)
I might be wrong, but I'm fairly certain Joba's fall wasn't $ related. Teams just thought he was fat and a huge injury risk.
   91. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 11, 2007 at 06:33 PM (#2481062)
matt laporta

Why didn't we just hand him the bucket of cash instead of giving it to frakking Lugo?

rozier, hansen, bard

Bust-a-trio.

Seriously, Jason Place 27th overall 1.3 mil signing bonus what the frak.
   92. JC in DC Posted: August 11, 2007 at 11:17 PM (#2481401)
I'm with you on Joba's fall, Fabian. It wasn't money, IIRC. It was concerns about weight and injury. The notion the Yankees are only competing against the other few rich clubs for players like that is what the "poor" clubs feed their fans to console them when Joba shuts them out. Anyone could've taken a flyer on him.

I still can't believe how quickly Joba flew through the minors.
   93. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 11, 2007 at 11:33 PM (#2481449)
Here are the bonuses for the players drafted around Chamberlain:

Rasmus $900k
Huff $900k
Johnson $850k
Chamberlain $1.1M
Perez $800k
Evarts $800k
Clay $775k

He's clearly above slot, but not way above slot. He was the #41 pick, and he got paid like the #31. Seems the Yankees' cash helped, but it wasn't the only or determining factor.
   94. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: August 12, 2007 at 12:14 AM (#2481501)
This might be true if Darren was actually taking his medication, but judging from his Therapy posts, probably he's missed a few doses.


Darren is who he is. Frank Grimes to the Yankee's Homer Simpson. "I'll put Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon into the rotation because I am Homer Simpson." I can't be like that, but I wouldn't have Darren any other way.

What's the deal. Jose Molina is 2 for 2?
   95. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 12, 2007 at 12:30 AM (#2481520)
the Indians probably won't continue to roll over for the Yankees like they did tonight.

Interesting theory.
   96. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 12, 2007 at 12:44 AM (#2481552)
If the Yankees are going to continue to bulldoze over teams along the lines of Cleveland, Detroit, Anaheim, and Seattle, then the Red Sox may be looking at a wild card berth again, even if the Red Sox sack up and keep winning ball games consistnetly (which we really really really need to start doing again)

We need a prolonged winning streak or a big streak of series wins to probably even make the Wild Card.
   97. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 12, 2007 at 12:50 AM (#2481568)
I don't think even these Red Sox could lose out to Detroit and Seattle for the wild card.
   98. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: August 12, 2007 at 01:41 AM (#2481676)
I don't think even these Red Sox could lose out to Detroit and Seattle for the wild card.

The Red Sox are a good team. Not a great team, maybe not even a very good one, but certainly good. They are probably the best team in either league. They have a sizable lead on the Tigers, who looked like a merely pretty good team before recently falling apart. They also have a large lead on the Mariners, who aren't a good team at all. They are a lousy team with a very good bullpen.

All of which is to say that the Red Sox are a lock for the playoffs. In all likelihood, they are winning the division. At the very least, they will certainly take the Wild Card.
   99. tfbg9 Posted: August 12, 2007 at 02:00 AM (#2481711)
I honestly will be surprised if the Sox hang on to the Division. I don't care what BP or Diamond mine says, or any of that crap. There's a, what, 60?, game trend that points to the NYY's sailing right past the Sox like they're standing still. Unless somebody really important gets hurt and is out for the season for the NYY's, which never happens BTW, they are a mortal lock.
   100. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 12, 2007 at 02:42 AM (#2481760)
Good to Cleveland putting in a stellar effort vs. the Yankees.
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