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   1. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 21, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3931883)
Just as an informational tidbit, the errors over the last ten games;

Youk
Varitek (3)
Scutaro (2)
Bard
Pedroia (2)
Beckett
Aviles (2)
McDonald
Anderson
Atchison
Reddick

On an unrelated note I had Ramon Ramirez last year, John Lackey this year, when I post from Spring Training next year it is possible I am going to cost someone his life at this rate.
   2. tfbg9 Posted: September 21, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3931886)
slumps and choking events can end, human beings can get themselves together, and events can turn out ok.


Yes.
   3. Mattbert Posted: September 21, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3931887)
Could you just go with Lackey again next spring, Jose? Thanks.
   4. tfbg9 Posted: September 21, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#3931890)
But, if the Sox lose tonight's game to friggin' Baltimore, with Beckett on the hill, with Vegas giving them a 75% chance (it went up-the line moved a little), they are cooked. Unless TB blows both games...which is about a 30% type-thing.
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 21, 2011 at 03:33 PM (#3931893)
Could you just go with Lackey again next spring, Jose? Thanks.


I don't know. I think I'm going to hang around Tampa and come back with a glowing report on Mariano Rivera. Let's see how much power this thing really has.
   6. Dale Sams Posted: September 21, 2011 at 04:05 PM (#3931925)
On an unrelated note I had Ramon Ramirez last year, John Lackey this year, when I post from Spring Training next year it is possible I am going to cost someone his life at this rate.


What? Ramon Ramirez won a World Series that year.
   7. dave h Posted: September 21, 2011 at 04:13 PM (#3931932)
The defense has been the most painful part of this whole thing. I was at Sunday's game and it would have been more awful to watch if the game were closer. I am thankful I wasn't in front of the TV when Reddick did whatever he did last night, as I can only imagine how horrific it must have been to watch.
   8. Dave Cyprian Posted: September 21, 2011 at 04:51 PM (#3931961)
This ... is ... painful.

Sox Therapy's nomenclature is meaningful again after 6+ years of b****ing about 5th starters and bad LOOGIES...

STILL TIME TO REBOUND THOUGH!
   9. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: September 21, 2011 at 05:05 PM (#3931972)
McDonald only got charged with one error? I thought he dropped two balls?
   10. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: September 21, 2011 at 06:12 PM (#3932039)
I don't know. I think I'm going to hang around Tampa and come back with a glowing report on Mariano Rivera. Let's see how much power this thing really has.
If you're going to pick a Yankee, I'd go with CC, Cano, or Granderson over Mo.
   11. tfbg9 Posted: September 22, 2011 at 04:16 AM (#3932837)
If Slim Gaillard were asked about the Red Sox' last few weeks, he'd undoubtedly respond: "Gag-job-arooni!"

I half hope they don't get in at this point. I'm mad at them. If they fire Tito over it, I'm gonna walk away from the whole baseball nerd bit, maybe, and root for the Bills.
   12. Dan Posted: September 22, 2011 at 05:28 AM (#3932867)
I half hope they don't get in at this point. I'm mad at them. If they fire Tito over it, I'm gonna walk away from the whole baseball nerd bit, maybe, and root for the Bills.


I'm beginning to think he will resign if they miss the playoffs. Maybe I'm reading too much into this stuff, but it really seems like this is getting to him. I don't think I've ever seen him zip out of the dugout and up the tunnel immediately after the game ends like he did tonight. And his tone in the post-game pressers has been incredibly downbeat. With all the health issues he has had, I don't know that he can handle the stress of blowing this. It's not hard to see him resigning if they do indeed blow this, citing his health.
   13. tfbg9 Posted: September 22, 2011 at 12:55 PM (#3932924)
Pete Abe says Aceves was told to "not throw a strike" to Vladdie. Alfredo threw one that was taken, then another that was lined for the 2 run single. Hmm.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:05 PM (#3932934)
Yowza. The (entirely unsourced) accusation in question:
With the score tied, 4-4, he had put runners on second and third with one out. In came Alfredo Aceves, who was given specific instructions not to throw a strike to free-swinging Vladimir Guerrero. He threw strike one and Guerrero, amazingly, took it. He threw another strike and Guerrero rifled it into center field, driving in two runs.
People over the offseason talked about the Yankees getting fed up with Aceves, about Aceves generally being a bonehead, and whatnot. This seems like our first taste of that, and I can understand why a team would consider giving up on a reasonably good pitcher who would #### up like that.

This also raises the question, who the hell told Abraham that? What's going on in the clubhouse that someone thought it would be a good idea to throw our third best reliever to the rabid dogs of talk radio? Aceves needed to be disciplined, needed to be yelled at, but the immediate leak to the press suggests real dysfunction in the clubhouse.

Further, it raises the question, how do Young and Francona not have the authority to tell someone what to do? What was Varitek calling for? Why didn't someone do something after the first strike? It sucks when a player doesn't follow orders, but it's the damn job of the manager (and the pitching coach and the captain, after him) to make sure the he does in the first place.

These last two weeks have seen management failures up and down the line. I think Francona deserves really significant blame for the collapse. If the club rights itself and makes the playoffs, he should get some credit for that, but he will have done a very poor job in September overall. There are slumps, and there are clubs that are playing the game wrong. This is both, and the latter has to be on the manager.
   15. tfbg9 Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:12 PM (#3932943)
The guy's idol is Dennis Rodman.

And yes, many of those questions occurred to me as well.
   16. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:20 PM (#3932952)
This seems like our first taste of that


It's at least our second. Early in the year he was called for a balk against Minnesota (I think it was the Twins) when he took an almost windup like position as his stretch and moved his foot. It was something that the Sox had supposedly talked to him about and he did not change.

This also raises the question, who the hell told Abraham that? What's going on in the clubhouse that someone thought it would be a good idea to throw our third best reliever to the rabid dogs of talk radio? Aceves needed to be disciplined, needed to be yelled at, but the immediate leak to the press suggests real dysfunction in the clubhouse.


This is the most damning thing I've seen regarding Francona's performance. I think the in-game stuff gets overblown and this is the big stuff. This is bad if it's systematic.
   17. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:21 PM (#3932954)
How do you bring in a new pitcher and tell him not to throw strikes? The guys is trained to throw strikes. If you want to talk him, walk him.
   18. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:22 PM (#3932956)
One other thing. A failure of execution does not necessarily mean a failure of intent. If we assume that "do not throw him a strike" meant "throw something tempting but out of the zone" and for the same reason guys do not throw strikes 100% of the time it is more than possible that Aceves tried to throw something at Vladdie's eyes but just got it down a bit lower.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:26 PM (#3932963)
How do you bring in a new pitcher and tell him not to throw strikes? The guys is trained to throw strikes. If you want to talk him, walk him.
This isn't weird stuff. You have a free-swinger up, a base open, one out, tie game - pitch around him and see if you can get him to chase is a perfectly normal request.
   20. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:26 PM (#3932964)
Why dump on Aceves now? The guy's been kickass out of the bullpen? If we make the playoffs he might be one of the biggest reasons why.
   21. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:31 PM (#3932967)
People over the offseason talked about the Yankees getting fed up with Aceves, about Aceves generally being a bonehead, and whatnot. This seems like our first taste of that, and I can understand why a team would consider giving up on a reasonably good pitcher who would #### up like that.
Do we have any particular reason to believe that Aceves willfully ignored the directive, rather than just missing his location?
   22. Textbook Editor Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:31 PM (#3932969)
Well, they wouldn't have had the problem had it been Bard they brought in instead of Aceves.

You know, I'm beginning to think along the lines of #12--that there's a non-zero chance Francona resigns. It's also possible he gets fired if they miss the playoffs, but really (as I've said in other threads) the problem becomes: Who on earth do you get? I want no part of Bobby Valentine, I doubt very much Dierker would be in the mix (he's 64 and hasn't managed in 10 years). I mean... there just aren't good names that leap to mind. And one of the plusses of Francona (and believe me, there are negatives too) is the sort of "steady as she goes" approach that players in general seem to like.

I still don't see him getting fired without a replacement ready, waiting, and all but signed up... But of course if this all compels Theo to walk to the Cubs, all bets are off and it could be mayhem in the front office in the off-season, which we haven't seen in a long, long time.
   23. RobertMachemer Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:34 PM (#3932974)
How do you bring in a new pitcher and tell him not to throw strikes? The guys is trained to throw strikes. If you want to talk him, walk him.
If true, it makes perfect sense to me. Guerrero chases pitches, especially in pressure situations. No reason to throw him a more hittable pitch in the strike zone if you think he'll swing at less hittable pitches out of the strike zone.

But the fact that we know all this is a problem, though not one I'd lay at Francona's feet. (Francona has never shown the inclination of playing whispering games like this. I'd assume he'll -- privately -- chew out whoever did say it to the press). And given the nature of the information, the first places to look would be Varitek or the pitching coach.

Still, it's just frustration spilling over. Worse things like this are said much more routinely in lots of other places; the fact that we're surprised by the gossip is a testament to how rare this stuff is in Boston.

And, losses aside, the Red Sox's lead is back to 2.5 games. That's a good thing.
   24. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:38 PM (#3932979)
But the fact that we know all this is a problem, though not one I'd lay at Francona's feet. (Francona has never shown the inclination of playing whispering games like this. I'd assume he'll -- privately -- chew out whoever did say it to the press). And given the nature of the information, the first places to look would be Varitek or the pitching coach.
The buck stops with the manager. If other folks in the clubhouse are doing things he told them not to do, that's on him. If, again, a pitcher doesn't follow an order, that's not just on the pitcher, it's also on the manager. His job is not just to tell people to do things, but to have the authority and the relationships to make them do things.

The team's playing tight in the field, they're not following the manager's orders on the field, and someone's now leaking this frustration to the press. Francona's got to get a handle on his players and on his clubhouse. He has two days.

BGG - I think the fact that it got leaked to the press the same night is good evidence that it wasn't just a missed location. (Two consecutive missed locations.)
   25. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:44 PM (#3932990)
Missing location on two consecutive pitches is far from unheard of. Hell, Bard did it on about 10 consecutive pitches in the Toronto game at Rogers Centre.

My mother made a comment as we left that game that she liked Francona but thought it was time for him to go if the guys aren't playing hard for him. We had a brief conversation about the issue TE brings up, who do you get? And the name that came to my mind was Ozzie Guillen.

Look, I don't WANT Ozzie, but it seems to me that if you are making the move away from Francona then you go after Ozzie because why get rid of Francona just to bring in another Francona (e.g. John Farrell). I don't think the Sox are going to do better than Francona while staying in type so if you're going to make a change then I think Ozzie is the guy. I'm sure there are others out there like him but I think that's what you have to do if you fire Tito.

Resignation is a different story of course. If he walks away voluntarily then it makes perfect sense to bring in someone similar.
   26. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:45 PM (#3932991)
Oh, and if Tito leaves, plan on reading/hearing a LOT of "Jason Varitek for manager" stories.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:46 PM (#3932995)
I feel compelled to add, Francona "getting a handle on his clubhouse" could happen in a lot of ways. It could happen by Francona's specific intervention, whether yelling or holding meetings or getting everyone their favorite hookers and blow, or whatever. It could happen because the players manage to get themselves right. It could happen because a few bounces break the Red Sox way and they win a game and guys start feeling better. Nothing builds clubhouse chemistry like winning. Hell, they could keep sucking and back into the playoffs if the Rays and Angels don't start playing better.

So I'm not blaming Francona for everything, and I'm not saying that he is the lone man who can save the season or anything like that. But I think he deserves significant blame for how things have played out in the last two weeks, as the Red Sox have had numerous opportunities to right the ship, and instead have kept playing not merely ineffective baseball, but bad baseball full of errors and mental mistakes. The manager is supposed to be the guy who keeps that from happening. If he's not managing the clubhouse well, that could be one of the causes of the poor play and lack of turnaround.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 22, 2011 at 01:48 PM (#3932997)
I'm sure there are others out there like him but I think that's what you have to do if you fire Tito.
I've always liked the idea of hiring a red-ass after the Sox have been managed by nice guys for years, but it's not going to happen. Theo Epstein prizes most of all his working relationship with his manager, and there aren't a lot of red-asses out there who will happily work with Epstein in the way Francona does. Ozzie certainly won't.
   29. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: September 22, 2011 at 02:02 PM (#3933009)
BGG - I think the fact that it got leaked to the press the same night is good evidence that it wasn't just a missed location. (Two consecutive missed locations.)
I think it might be good evidence that someone *thinks* it was intentional, which doesn't mean it was.

And, also: that blurb is pretty brief. Isn't there a chance that Abraham asked someone something like "That Guerrero hit was the back breaker, what happened there?" And the answer was along the lines of "Well our plan was to not give him anything to hit, see if he'd get himself out--Tito told Alfredo "Don't throw him a strike" when he gave him the ball--but it didn't work out that way."
   30. Textbook Editor Posted: September 22, 2011 at 02:06 PM (#3933016)
I can't see Guillen, for the reasons MCoA points out in #28.

I mean, maybe you pry Maddon away from the Rays (though they'd demand compensation, and it's not at all clear he'd be interested); otherwise I'm not sure there's a current manager I could see working out well.

Dierker is the only name I can see from the retread file that would interest me (and who is reasonably young enough to do it), but he's 64 and hasn't managed in 10 years... It's entirely possible he wouldn't be interested at all.
   31. tfbg9 Posted: September 22, 2011 at 03:25 PM (#3933089)
I wouldn't fire him. I think he's a top manager. Everybody on the inside says this as well. That's important, I think.

But if the Sox fail to win the WC, and have another bad start in 2012, they ought to find a new man. Pains me. I love Tito. maybe he's far too loyal to his boys, but I have been through the Zimmer years (degenerate gambling fool), the McNamara years (drunken jerk0ff), Butch (clueless), Jimy (prick), Grady(dunce). I'm leaving some bad skipper out, but can't care right now.

BTW--Does the losing of 27 straight Spring games this March take on any...any...meaningfulness knowing what we know now?

On the bright side, tonight has roughly a one in four chance of being a good night (Rays and Angels lose) for us.
   32. Dan Posted: September 22, 2011 at 07:17 PM (#3933257)
People over the offseason talked about the Yankees getting fed up with Aceves, about Aceves generally being a bonehead, and whatnot. This seems like our first taste of that, and I can understand why a team would consider giving up on a reasonably good pitcher who would #### up like that.

This also raises the question, who the hell told Abraham that? What's going on in the clubhouse that someone thought it would be a good idea to throw our third best reliever to the rabid dogs of talk radio? Aceves needed to be disciplined, needed to be yelled at, but the immediate leak to the press suggests real dysfunction in the clubhouse.


Varitek seems like the obvious answer, but we'll likely never know.
   33. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: September 22, 2011 at 07:53 PM (#3933308)
Francona certainly deserves a huge helping of blame for this collapse. It's a real black mark on a manager's record when a good team plays this badly for this long. Francona's ultimate responsibility is to get the team playing good baseball, and that is not happening.

That said, the Red Sox are averaging 6.31 RA/G in September. It's not all on Francona that Lackey, Wakefield, Miller, and Weiland are really, really ridiculously bad at pitching. The FO hasn't been able to find even a replacement-level starter to stop the bleeding, despite the obviousness of the problem.
   34. Darren Posted: September 23, 2011 at 01:03 AM (#3933659)
If you were looking for a name of a good manager for the Sox back in 2004, you probably would not have thought of Francona. I'm sure there are other candidates out there now who would be a good fit that we can't think of right now either.
   35. Answer Guy Posted: September 23, 2011 at 01:34 AM (#3933696)
It's not so much that Francona is a fundamentally bad manager. He's just settled into some very bad habits. Too much loyalty to his stalwarts. Too much indifference to avoidable losses. It may be that he's just been managing the team too long, or perhaps that he feels too secure in his perch.
   36. Guapo Posted: September 23, 2011 at 01:45 AM (#3933704)
Brad Mills. Still under contract with the Astros, but the new ownership might be willing to let him go and bring in their own guy.
   37. tfbg9 Posted: September 23, 2011 at 03:24 AM (#3933782)
Darren. :-)
   38. J. Sosa Posted: September 23, 2011 at 03:45 AM (#3933797)
I do think there is something to the notion of the team tuning Francona out. Grady scarred me for life though, so most days I am of the mind of better the devil you know and all that.

All this talk of Francona has reminded me of the exact moment I realized that managing a major league baseball team has very little to do with following the numbers. And that I would be terrible at it. It was 05/30/08. Sitting in the upper deck at Camden. Witnessed Francona use Delcarmen, Javier Lopez, Craig Hansen (for an inning and 2/3!!!), and Timlin from the 9th inning onwards in a tie ball game on the road. At first it infuriated me, surely Francona can't be that dense right? By the time he wheeled Hansen out there for a second inning I had an epiphany of sorts. It was all about Papelbon's ego. Non save appearances in the playoffs are one thing, but Francona is bright. It had to be Papelbon's ego. Papelbon did eventually get the save that night (in a 5-2 ballgame which was fitting given the type of leverage they used Hansen for). I figured, not to worry, playoff Tito would play the numbers when it counted. He's a good manager, that must be part of how he motivates the troops to play hard, by pandering to the ego and the arbitration stats. But playoff Tito was coming.

Except...He didn't. I really soured on Tito in the 2008 ALCS. The team had some injuries, and some of his actions with Lowrie make more sense knowing in retrospect that Jed was hurt, but playoff Tito died that year. I haven't seen him since. It might be time for a fire breather.
   39. Darren Posted: September 23, 2011 at 01:13 PM (#3933908)
Sosa, the scenario you described makes sense, even aside from ego, if he knew Pap was only available for 1 IP that day. If he knows he can get only 1 IP out of Pap, then using him before you get the lead risks using a valuable Pap IP in a game that is eventually going to be blown by a lesser pitcher. Better to use your other pitchers first, see if they can hold on, and then go to Pap if you get the lead.

Craig Hansen's name makes me think of my new theory that Carl Crawford has circadian rhythms issues, because he hits so much better during the day. Someone alert Mr. Van.

CC day:
CC night:
   40. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 24, 2011 at 09:18 PM (#3935174)
The second inning this afternoon was September in microcosm. Terry Francona has failed in the most basic of a manager's responsibilities - preparing your club to play professional baseball well. If they don't turn it around, he has to go.
   41. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 24, 2011 at 09:28 PM (#3935193)
Am I the only one not seeing anything in the "CC Day" and "CC Night" columns of Darren's post?
   42. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: September 24, 2011 at 09:52 PM (#3935227)
I don't see anything either, Jose.
   43. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 24, 2011 at 09:55 PM (#3935232)
Oh, and if Tito leaves, plan on reading/hearing a LOT of "Jason Varitek for manager" stories.


As the captain, Francona's recent failures are his as well. He has been both a player and a leader on an underachieving (or whatever you want to call it) club. I can't conceive a scenario where Francona goes and is replaced by a longtime Sox stalwart.
   44. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 24, 2011 at 10:01 PM (#3935239)
To be clear, I think Francona should probably go if this team wheezes to a halt either just short or just past the regular-season finish line, but it's for the same reason that it was time for Torre to go from New York. Sometimes it's just the right thing to do - make the players feel badly that a good guy lost his job because of them. Let people know that there's some accountability there; a shakeup can dislodge some bad habits and some comfort.

To the new guy, David Ortiz (for example) gets a complete clean slate at the beginning of next year; with Francona there is some well-earned good feeling; Ortiz has produced when the team really needed it over the years.
   45. Darren Posted: September 25, 2011 at 01:13 AM (#3935381)
Crawford's been so bad, his numbers don't even show up. Actually, I tried to delete them but the edit "wouldn't take" for some reason.

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