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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chris Sale Is A Terrible Person

I mean it’s the only excuse right?  The four runs they got on Thursday is the highest total they’ve gotten in one of his starts.  He is probably lucky to be 1-1 despite a 0.91 ERA with that kind of run “support.”  In games he has started the Sox have actually scored more runs in extra innings (6) than they have in innings 1-9 (4).  The only explanation is that he is a terrible person and everyone on the team hates him.  With that out of the way I figured I’d throw up a few random thoughts as the Sox enjoy the always pleasant experience of going through customs en route to Baltimore;

- It is way too early but this series mattered.  I am not saying this kills Toronto or anything but winning the series and building a 6.5 game lead off the team that most observers felt was the Sox’ biggest division rival this year is a nice early cushion.  Every team gets a few slumps every year but as the 2011 Sox showed, using one up right out of the chute can have ramifications no matter how well you play the rest of the year.

- Can I go back to Chris Sale for a moment?  Despite the fact that he is the worst person since Chris Truby I am just loving this.  I am trying to think of the last acquisition who came to the club with such high expectations and delivered right away.  Manny Ramirez was an absolute God the first two months (and hey, most of the next 7 1/2 years) of his Sox career…am I missing anyone?  Matsuzaka, Porcello, Lackey, Cameron, Lugo, Drew, Hanley, Fat Panda…I guess Matsuzaka started pretty fast before fading at the end of 2007.

- It was interesting to see Craig Kimbrel pitch the bottom of the 10th.  I wonder if Kimbrel lobbied for that to make up for the homer.  His outing highlights the rough life of a closer.  Say what you want, and he frustrates the heck out of me, but the dude faced seven batters and fanned five of them.  One bad pitch shouldn’t detract from that.  Having said that I have been knocking this around in the omnichatters and I want to throw it here;

Kimbrel…
w/Leon - 3.16 ERA…3.07K/BB…3 homers…25.2IP
w/Vazquez - 1.74 ERA…5.00K/BB…0 homers…20.2IP

As the inning totals show you the sample sizes here are close to useless (and “close to” may not belong in that sentence).  I just thought watching the game on Sunday when he blew away the bottom of Tampa’s order with Vazquez behind the plate that he looked more comfortable.  We are a long way from any conclusions to be drawn but I’m mildly intrigued.

- The bullpen is still a work in progress.  After starting well Matt Barnes has scuffled a bit walking batters in four consecutive outings.  The Sox need more strikes out of him.  I wonder if even with the lobbying Kimbrel might have been lifted had Barnes been a bit more reliable.  I think this is going to be an ongoing issue not just with Barnes but with the whole bullpen.  Right now I feel more comfortable with Hembree than Barnes and Joe Kelly has apparently been buried.  I was shocked to see Fernando Abad in there Tuesday night and after seeing him give up three hard hit balls I’m content to not see him again unless it’s in Terminal C at Logan waiting for a JetBlue flight* anywhere else.

*the official airline partner of the Boston Red Sox

- Just a random note: Andrew Benintendi has quickly moved to the top of my personal list of guys I feel confident in.

- Per Baseball-Reference the 18 strikeouts on Thursday tied for the 6th highest total in Red Sox team history by the pitching staff.  Of course two of the five higher totals belong to just one pitcher.

- No minor league thread yet so it’s worth noting a few things;

* 3B Michael Chavis had a three homer game on Wednesday for Salem.
* 1B Josh Ockimey was named South Atlantic League player of the week last week.
* 3B Rafael Devers is off to a fast start in Portland hitting .375/.390/.550 in ten games.
* LHP Jay Groome (everywhere seems to refer to him that way so Jay it is I guess) had a disastrous first start then left with a lat strain.  It’s not expected to be a long term thing.

So now if Chris Sale can just stop the Satan worship and animal sacrifice in the clubhouse things should be fine.

Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: April 20, 2017 at 03:46 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: April 20, 2017 at 08:06 PM (#5439335)
I've got a different set of splits with Kimbrel. These are 2017 numbers through today's game, so an even thinner sample, but...

Batter   Noof   Pitches  Strikes
Faced    Batters    
/PA   /Pitches    AVG   ISO   OPS
  1         8       4.8      58
%     .286  .571  1232
  2
+       26       4.2      70%     .042  .000   157 


(FWIW I had to do a lot of manual work to get these numbers. Not looking for pity; just saying I probably won't be compiling it again.)

Kimbrel doesn't seem ready when he first comes into the game. The good news is that he adjusts; the bad news is that until he does he sucks. His first matchup upon entering each appearance this year:

Josh Bell doubles to deep LCF (7 pitches)
Jordy Mercer reached on E5 (5 pitches)
Ian Kinsler walked (5 pitches)
Adam Frazier singled to RCF (5 pitches)
Rickie Weeks struck out swinging (6 pitches)
Daniel Robertson popped out to C behind home (2 pitches)
Corey Dickerson struck out swinging (6 pitches)
Kendrys Morales home run (2 pitches)

Jose mentioned on opening day that when Kimbrel can't locate his curve he has more trouble. Without doing the further legwork on curves-for-strikes in the above matchups, I'm going to guess that Kimbrel has trouble throwing the curve for strikes when he first comes in. Hitters let them go by, and figure he'll throw them fastballs to get ahead again.

Regardless, I think we can conclude that Kimbrel is having trouble because Chris Sale is a terrible person. I laughed when I saw the thread title.
   2. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: April 20, 2017 at 08:31 PM (#5439356)
I just spent most of a cross-country flight watching the game, and now that I'm on the subway there's already this big long post about it for me to geek out on. Yay inflight MLB network, yay Sox Therapy.

Edit: oh and it was a JetBlue flight, of course!
   3. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: April 21, 2017 at 08:21 AM (#5439583)
That's interesting vi. For what it's worth his track record on first batters including last year is consistent with the rest of the hitters he faces. Glad you liked the title. I had been joking with some friends via text as the game went on about why they couldn't score for him.
   4. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: April 21, 2017 at 09:00 AM (#5439600)
With that out of the way I figured I’d throw up

Who died and made you Rich Folkers in the bullpen?
   5. villageidiom Posted: April 21, 2017 at 09:05 AM (#5439605)
Who died and made you Rich Folkers in the bullpen?
You misspelled "2004 Tom Gordon".
   6. Fancy Pants with a clinging marmoset on his Handle Posted: April 21, 2017 at 09:15 AM (#5439610)
Can I go back to Chris Sale for a moment? Despite the fact that he is the worst person since Chris Truby I am just loving this. I am trying to think of the last acquisition who came to the club with such high expectations and delivered right away. Manny Ramirez was an absolute God the first two months (and hey, most of the next 7 1/2 years) of his Sox career…am I missing anyone? Matsuzaka, Porcello, Lackey, Cameron, Lugo, Drew, Hanley, Fat Panda…I guess Matsuzaka started pretty fast before fading at the end of 2007.

Adrian Gonzalez? Threw up a 7 win season in his first with the Sox.
   7. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: April 21, 2017 at 09:23 AM (#5439618)
Oh, that's a good call.
   8. AROM Posted: April 21, 2017 at 09:24 AM (#5439619)
am I missing anyone?


Schilling?

Pedro sure slumped in his first season with the Red Sox. I mean, most people would take a 19-7, 2.89 ERA but Pedro was coming off a 1.90, and his next 2 years were 2.07, 1.74.
   9. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: April 21, 2017 at 09:26 AM (#5439620)
Schilling's a good one too. I knew I missed people.
   10. AROM Posted: April 21, 2017 at 09:27 AM (#5439622)
That's looking at full season results. Pedro through his first 4 starts of 1998:

3-1, 0.84, 32 IP, 16 H, 7 BB, 44 SO, 1 HR
   11. bigglou115 Posted: April 21, 2017 at 09:43 AM (#5439631)
I don't even know if you can say Kimbrel threw a bad pitch. 97 touching the outside black and in the lower third isn't gonna get hit out with any regularity. It seems more likely he just got caught by a guess and supplied enough velocity on his own to put a solidly hit ball over the fence.
   12. SandyRiver Posted: April 21, 2017 at 09:43 AM (#5439632)
I've got a different set of splits with Kimbrel. These are 2017 numbers through today's game, so an even thinner sample, but...


Batter No. of Pitches Strikes
Faced Batters /PA /Pitches AVG ISO OPS
1 8 4.8 58% .286 .571 1232
2+ 26 4.2 70% .042 .000 157


Frazier's single makes it even worse: .429 .571 1.500

Didn't Larry Andersen do well that first (and only) Red Sox season? (ducks...)
   13. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: April 21, 2017 at 09:54 AM (#5439647)
Jose's #### List;

Pablo Sandoval
Sandy River
Wes Gardner
Chris Truby
   14. Fancy Pants with a clinging marmoset on his Handle Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:05 PM (#5439755)
Not quite as hyped when they joined:
Beltre was freaking outstanding in his one season with the Sox.

Mike Napoli was pretty pretty good.
   15. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:14 PM (#5439758)
Bill Mueller won a batting title his first year in Boston.
   16. villageidiom Posted: April 21, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5439768)
Not quite as hyped when they joined:
Well, if you're going down this path I don't know how you don't start the list with Koji Uehara.
   17. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: April 21, 2017 at 01:05 PM (#5439811)
Yeah, those guys definitely were terrific (how about a Mike Lowell shoutout while we're at it) but I was focusing on the big name big hype guys.
   18. Jose is El Absurd Bronson Y Pollo Posted: April 26, 2017 at 09:22 PM (#5443291)
So my next piece is going to be Rick Porcello is a Terrible Person right?
   19. villageidiom Posted: April 27, 2017 at 01:34 PM (#5443647)
Nah, sometimes his lack of wins is earned.

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