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Sox Therapy
— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. Darren Posted: April 27, 2009 at 04:28 AM (#3154208)
Just wanted to add: Hatcher Zone.
   2. Joel W Posted: April 27, 2009 at 05:01 AM (#3154228)
Papi looked a bit better, but I still need to see him pull a ball and have one of those crushed moon shots to feel better. It's just not there right now.

The thing I'm feeling best about with this team is definitely the pen.
   3. Xander Posted: April 27, 2009 at 05:01 AM (#3154229)
What are the encouraging signs for Ortiz? He still can't turn on a fastball. At least give me a ball to the warning track or something. I have no doubt that he can serve balls 315 feet the other way until he's 45. But he won't ease my fears until I see him put a ball into the Fenway pen.
   4. Dave Cyprian Posted: April 27, 2009 at 05:49 AM (#3154233)
Its nice to see a nine-game winning streak and a +30 differential. The apparent pitching depth is a strength. Good early season indicators.
   5. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 27, 2009 at 05:53 AM (#3154234)
Ten-game winning streak, Dave!
   6. Hugh Jorgan Posted: April 27, 2009 at 06:46 AM (#3154243)
Firt of all, good to see a Sox Therapy sighting! Needless to say a series which included a walk off, catcher's interference, steal of home, coming from 6 down and the nice Joba balk in game one had everything...well except the elusive Papi homer.
The pen, though at times put guys on bases, never really cracked. Masterson has been great for 2 starts and most of the bats are back. Yes, I was for one hoping for Ells to be in the 9 spot and yes, I am slowly changing my mind, also the homer in game 2 was nice.
and as Biff said "10 game winning streak" woo-hoo.............
   7. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: April 27, 2009 at 10:58 AM (#3154264)
I'm mildly optimistic. It's only April, but tehre's nothing wrong with winning in April
   8. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 27, 2009 at 11:35 AM (#3154275)
I'm with Temple on Ortiz. He had a bunch of extra base hits this week but I don't think a single one hit more than 10 feet up the Wall. He's not driving the ball at all.
   9. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: April 27, 2009 at 01:13 PM (#3154324)
What's wrong with Ortiz serving balls the other way for the time being? At least he's hitting the damn thing, which is more than he was doing on the opening road trip of the season. I'd be fine if he winds up trading some HRs for doubles to left. At least it shows he's not completely cooked yet.
   10. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 27, 2009 at 01:25 PM (#3154332)
The problem is that 320 foot fly balls to left aren't going to be anything other than "F-7" in the scorebook when the Sox are somewhere other than Fenway. It's not like he's hitting these balls on a line or 2/3 of the way up the wall. It's like watching a guy go 3 for 4 on two broken bat flares and a 45 foot grounder, it's nice but hardly makes you believe that a hot streak is imminent.
   11. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: April 27, 2009 at 02:00 PM (#3154360)
Agreed, and obviously that approach will not work as well on the road. But baby steps is where I'm at. Get him getting hits first, then maybe we can talk about him trying to yank the ball into the RF seats.
   12. Joel W Posted: April 27, 2009 at 04:01 PM (#3154508)
Just noticed on the Hatcher Zone, which I suppose I had forgotten, that Billy Hatcher stole home on my ninth birthday. I definitely remember him stealing home, but I'm quite certain I don't remember that being on my birthday.
   13. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: April 27, 2009 at 04:52 PM (#3154543)
Great weekend. I'm not hopeful on Papi yet.

Is there an explanation for Beckett's crappy performance?
   14. Joel W Posted: April 27, 2009 at 05:09 PM (#3154560)
Is there an explanation for Beckett's crappy performance?

The Yankees have a really good lineup?
   15. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: April 27, 2009 at 05:11 PM (#3154563)
No, that's not it.
   16. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 27, 2009 at 05:17 PM (#3154568)
The gun at Fenway had his fastball harder than usual (97-98 rather than 95-96). Not a lot but I wonder if he was overthrowing and it straightened out as a function of that.
   17. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: April 27, 2009 at 05:21 PM (#3154570)
He did say he felt "too good" or some such thing. Maybe he was throwing Slocumb heat, as you suggest.
   18. Joel W Posted: April 27, 2009 at 05:25 PM (#3154576)
In terms of "too good" is it possible he warmed up and threw the same way he normally would this early in the season, but it was 30 degrees warmer than normal, making him too loose?

Still, I chalk it up to just a bad day meets a good lineup.
   19. dave h Posted: April 27, 2009 at 05:27 PM (#3154577)
Ortiz hit one on Wednesday (7th inning of the first game) that was just a couple feet from being over the monster, and likely would have been out of other parks. Doesn't necessarily change things, but it's not literally true that he didn't hit any more than 10 feet up the wall.
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: April 27, 2009 at 06:28 PM (#3154634)
fwiw, the double-play that Ortiz lined into last night was a laser beam, if my memory serves me.
   21. Joel W Posted: April 27, 2009 at 06:53 PM (#3154648)
One other concern, and this may just be small sample size worrying early in the season, but I can't be the only one worried that Papelbon just doesn't look right. I'd be ok with the walks, if it still seemed like he was striking guys out at will, but Teixeira notwithstanding, he doesn't seem to have it so far.
   22. jmurph Posted: April 27, 2009 at 07:11 PM (#3154661)
One other concern, and this may just be small sample size worrying early in the season, but I can't be the only one worried that Papelbon just doesn't look right.


I've kind of settled into a place with him where I just accept he's going to put a guy or two on, go to a couple of 3-2 counts, and still get the save. I don't love it, but it's something. Whether it's command of his breaking stuff that he's worried about, or it's related to injury-avoidance, he's throwing too many fastballs. Luckily for us and the team, his fastball seems to be a pretty difficult pitch to hit.

So, basically, I'm glad they're going year to year on his contract.
   23. Hugh Jorgan Posted: April 27, 2009 at 11:06 PM (#3154857)
One other concern, and this may just be small sample size worrying early in the season, but I can't be the only one worried that Papelbon just doesn't look right.

Agreed. He doesn't seem to have that out pitch any longer. I'm too lazy to look it up but what's his K rate right now? And yes he seems to go 3-2 on every hitter. What happened to the 0-2 splitter? I'm I stuck in 2006?
   24. Joel W Posted: April 28, 2009 at 02:06 AM (#3155324)
How did Paps look tonight? From Gamechatter it seemed like he struggled, but he did K 2 and walk none.
   25. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: April 28, 2009 at 02:19 AM (#3155358)
Joel - he gave up three hard hit singles but settled down (and was helped by a gift CB Bucknor special to get Peralta).

He threw a nasty splitter to get Shoppach and got a pop up to end it (Francisco i think)

Such a shame that Bay could not handle 5 tonight...
   26. Hugh Jorgan Posted: April 28, 2009 at 02:47 AM (#3155402)
he gave up three hard hit singles but settled down

True, but its still 3 hits and a run. 19 pitches, but he did throw 11 strikes. Are our expectations unreal? Sure he had some wriggle room here with a 3 run lead courtesy of mister just go about you business, but still 3 hits is 3 hits. I didn't see the game, were the balls hit hard? flares? Maybe we are being picky, he hasn't blown a save and is currently supporting an ERA below 2, so early numbers seem o.k without delving too far into more telling stats.
   27. Josh Posted: April 28, 2009 at 02:57 AM (#3155419)
They were hard hit. He didn't get good movement on many of his FBs. I'm not overly worried about it yet, but I tend to worry went its too late.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 28, 2009 at 05:16 PM (#3155880)
On Papelbon, Amalie Benjamin has a good article in the Globe. (It seems to me that Benjamin is taking the spot left open by Rob Bradford as the Boston reporter who actually goes and does reporting that is interesting to actual baseball fans.)
"I've changed my delivery, kind of added a little bit more power to it," Papelbon said. "When you make adjustments in this game, you're going to have to take the good with the bad, and maybe right now I'm throwing a little bit more pitches than I have in the past. To me, I'm still not overworking myself because by changing my mechanics, it's able to take some of that pressure off my arm. So throwing 15 pitches the old way is the same as throwing 25 the new way."

But what might be most troubling is that batters simply aren't swinging and missing as they once did. Since 2006, the first full year Papelbon spent in the bullpen, no pitcher made batters swing and miss at a higher rate. Batters whiffed on 27.6 percent of their swings, followed by Rudy Seanez at 27 percent, and Eric Gagne at 26.2 percent.

Now? It's not so automatic. Batters have swung at 85 of Papelbon's pitches this season, and missed 18 times for a 21.2 rate. That leaves him tied with Manny Delcarmen for 29th in baseball.
It's hard to read anything predictive into those numbers, but they seem to reflect pretty well what we've all seen - Papelbon's pitching like a good reliever, not a freak. Apparently the cause is that he tweaked his windup to take some strain off his arm - I'd guess he's dropped his arm slot slightly. I wonder if the change in arm slot is related to the switch from the splitter to the slider - it seems like it'd be easier to throw from a more overhand slot.

Also, on Papelbon's 2nd K last night - Remy called the strikeout pitch a slider. I didn't get a chance to go back and look at the replay, but if it was a slider, it was unlike any slider I've seen him throw. The pitch had a nasty bite and looked like just as good a strikeout pitch as the splitter used to be. So either it's a new, positive incarnation of the slider, or it was just one of the good splitters that Papelbon seems to uncork a couple times a week.
   29. Josh Posted: April 28, 2009 at 05:38 PM (#3155900)
Yeah, that one baffled me when I was watching too -- it looked like the spin of a slider but the ation/fade of a splitter. Oddly great pitch.
   30. villageidiom Posted: April 28, 2009 at 05:59 PM (#3155918)
Agreed on Benjiman.

From her article:
"I don't think his location is where it will be," manager Terry Francona said. "I think the power behind his fastball is probably better than it was last year. I just think he's not quite locating yet. Some good hitters are making him work really hard. His ERA is good. It's not like he's walking people. He's got some deep counts because they are fighting balls off. When he locates and he gets ahead, then he elevates, then he can throw this, it will fall back into place quicker."
The thing is, he IS walking people. He walked 8 of 273 batters last year. This year he's walked 5 of 42. Maybe Francona is saying Papelbon isn't walking them on 4 pitches or such, and he'd be correct; three of Papelbon's BBs were on a full count.

I'm not worried; the above is a SSS, and I can understand if he's working through new stuff right now. I can also understand if he comes into a 5-run lead and isn't lights-out, because he never really was like that in non-save situations. I hope it leads to good stuff in the end.

Regardless, the bullpen has two closers and three setup men. Can't we just enjoy the bullpen for once? We've been waiting for this forever.
   31. tfbg9 Posted: April 28, 2009 at 06:13 PM (#3155933)
Now eleven in a row, best record in the AL...at least for one brief shining moment. And Wakefield's weaving his ol' Spring Magic like its 1995!

Ah yes--Timmy! My Boy!
   32. Mattbert Posted: April 28, 2009 at 10:24 PM (#3156173)
Welcome to the Wake Bandwagon, Teddy. Not to worry, plenty of room for everyone. We don't go very fast, but we get there eventually.
   33. Tripon Posted: April 28, 2009 at 11:17 PM (#3156225)
Ellsbury .ISO at the moment is .075 for 2009, his wOBA is .316. He's the new Juan Pierre.

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=4727&position=OF
   34. Hugh Jorgan Posted: April 29, 2009 at 01:16 AM (#3156524)
Ellsbury .ISO at the moment is .075 for 2009, his wOBA is .316. He's the new Juan Pierre.

boo, Tripon with your blatant negativity. Just as MCofA and idiom were making me feel better about Paps, you throw cold water on my warm feeling....boo.

As for Wake, do I recall a year or 3 ago when he started like 5-0 with a Gibsonesque ERA around a buck-fifty? Then of course reverted to his usual 6.2 innings, 4.40ERA for the rest of the season, good mind you, but not Gibsonesque.
   35. Darren Posted: April 30, 2009 at 03:01 AM (#3158618)
You know what I was thinking at the end of last season? I was thinking, "I sure hope the Red Sox can fix that Papelbon guy. Changing his mechanics should be priority #1! And after the fantastic results that got with Buchholz, I'm sure they'll improve on Papelbon's mediocre performances!"

Geez, who the hell decided to mess with him?
   36. Joel W Posted: April 30, 2009 at 03:49 AM (#3158653)
I suppose there's something we don't know, there were reports of arm fatigue last year, but what do you do when you have a guy whose success depends on a motion that causes arm fatigue?
   37. Darren Posted: May 01, 2009 at 02:13 AM (#3159906)
I suppose there's something we don't know, there were reports of arm fatigue last year, but what do you do when you have a guy whose success depends on a motion that causes arm fatigue?


I dunno, maybe you sure up your bullpen with a bunch of other good options, so you don't have to use him as much.

I can't believe you guys are all so happy about giving up Hanley Ramirez for this Beckett guy.
   38. tfbg9 Posted: May 06, 2009 at 03:39 PM (#3167080)
I can't believe you guys are all so happy about giving up Hanley Ramirez for this Beckett guy.


Just get Hanley back?
   39. Joel W Posted: May 09, 2009 at 04:59 PM (#3172192)
Dan Bard's numbers in Pawtucket now:

16 IP, 29Ks, 5 BBs, 2 HRs, 2 ERs, 6 hits. The 29Ks in 16 IP number is even more absurd when you think of it as batters faced, it's 29 Ks in 59 batters.
   40. Joel W Posted: May 10, 2009 at 04:36 PM (#3173092)
Bard called up!

http://www.projo.com/redsox/content/projo_20090510_red_sox_bard.10e5f5b9.html
   41. tfbg9 Posted: May 10, 2009 at 05:16 PM (#3173119)
Wonder what the roster moves will be? The link sez they'll have to drop somebody from the 40 man roster?
   42. Joel W Posted: May 10, 2009 at 05:27 PM (#3173127)
Yeah, Lopez DFA'd?
   43. Darren Posted: May 10, 2009 at 05:49 PM (#3173146)
Holy cow! That's cool. 29 K in 15 IP.

Besides dropping Lopez, they could DFA Velazquez or Van Every. Hope it's Lopez. Too bad they weren't able to trade him coming off 08.
   44. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: July 28, 2009 at 05:51 PM (#3270523)
Ellsburied!
   45. Darren Posted: July 30, 2009 at 02:52 AM (#3273314)
A little late!
   46. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 27, 2009 at 05:18 PM (#3333896)
Are the Yankees Ellsburied yet?
   47. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: September 27, 2009 at 06:21 PM (#3333931)
They certainly have proven to be a spectacular regular season team.
   48. Darren Posted: September 27, 2009 at 08:09 PM (#3333989)
The headline referred to that series.

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