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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Grind On

It wasn’t pretty but the Sox picked up consecutive series victories by surviving a fairly harrowing afternoon tilt on Thursday to push the lead back to 3 1/2 games.  The 6-2 score is a bit flattering as this one was tight until the 7th and even in the ninth Kimbrel was less than impressive.

I will freely admit I’m in total pants pissing mode right now but this game is an example of why the logical portion of my brain (which is very very very tiny, about 1/100th of a Pedroia) is confident in this team.  The last few competitive Septembers have seen the ongoing concern about “another 2011” and while a collapse is doable I think this underrates how terrible 2011 was.  Twelve games into the month and the 2017 edition has already won as many games as the 2011 team did all month and the big difference is the pitching staff.

This Doug Fister thing has been terrific, and frankly I expect him to bounce back with a good performance next time out because he is a decent pitcher.  Beyond him though the Sox just have a strong rotation so on days like Thursday when the bats are a bit sleepy they stay in the game long enough to pick up the victory.  My fears generally are that the Yankees are going to steamroll their competition rather than the Sox playing poorly.  But if the Sox can keep winning the series the Yankees are going to need to be nearly perfect. A 9-8 record gets the Sox to 92 and the Yankees need to go 13-5 to get there.  The Sox don’t need to get hot, simply warm probably gets them there.

A few random comments;

- I am really really growing to fear this bullpen.  Kimbrel has been outstanding of course but other than him who do you trust?  Addison Reed is doing nothing for me, Matt Barnes is unreliable and Joe Kelly is a bespectacled, right handed Aroldis Chapman.  Am I crazy for wanting more of Brandon Workman and Austin Maddox in key spots?  I think you keep rolling Reed out there, he has a track record of being better than this, but more Workman/Maddox please.

- Speaking of the bullpen, I am unreasonably excited about the David Price reliever era.  David Price airing it out for an inning or two at a time should be tough and with all due respect to Robby Scott I’d rather see him facing a tough lefty in a key spot.

- Christian Vazquez man.  I wish I remembered where I saw it (maybe Baseball Prospectus Boston) but someone recently noted that his (at that time) five MLB homers were all the most important play of the game by WPA.  I don’t know if his game tying homer today met that criteria but to come back after the A’s had taken the lead and tie the game on the second pitch of the bottom of the inning felt awfully important.  I get why Farrell wants Leon in there with Sale but other than that right now I want Vazquez as my every day catcher.  He has been excellent in the second half.

- Raise your hand if you owe Dave Dombrowski an apology for last June.  I despised the Drew Pomeranz trade but it is one of many moves that DD has made that have paid huge dividends.  He hasn’t been perfect as GM but he has been awfully good and that one is as big as it gets.  With Price hurt and Porcello slumping Pomeranz has been huge.  He can’t get 20 but he can get 19 and boy oh boy would I have signed up for that at the start of the year.

- It’s a little thing but I love that the guys are doing that point to their wrist where a watch would be in celebration.  It has not been ubiquitous but a few guys, JBJ and Vazquez most notably, have done it and I love it.  Whether the Sox should or should not have done that* I love that they have a little chip on their shoulder.

* they should not have

Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 14, 2017 at 04:56 PM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Dag Nabbit at Posted: September 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM (#5532354)
Sept. 15:

1912 Smokey Joe Wood ties Walter Johnson's league record w/ his 16th straight win. BOX 2, STB 1
1935 300 homers: Jimmie Foxx (just 4 years, 2 months and 16 days since #100
1947 MLB debut: Chuck Stobbs
1950 Ted Williams returns to BOX after 7/11 ASG injury
1961 Yaz hits walk-off HR in btm 10th off of (starting pitcher) Milt Pappas. BOX 3, BAL 2
1963 Carl Yastrzemski hiting streak at 16, his best. 20-for-55, 4 2B, 8 R, 2 RBI (!). .364/.500/.436
1966 1,000 hits: Carl Yastrzemski: 893 games
1974 Luis Tiant's worst start: 2 IP, 5 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 5 BB, 4 K. Game Score: 9. He allows his first grand slam. Gorman Thomas hit it. 2103 IP before Thomas's swing
2000 DET-BOX use 42 players in 7-6 DET win
2016 BOX 7, NYY 5. BOX scores 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th to win (after scoring 1 in the bottom of the 8th)

   2. Dale Sams Posted: September 15, 2017 at 04:42 PM (#5532647)
I'm in pants pissing mode cause the Yanks won't stop winning. Except when they do, but then they rip off five in a row again.
   3. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 15, 2017 at 05:14 PM (#5532693)
Yeah, other than the Indian series they haven't lost consecutive games in nearly a month and I think we can forgive them those games. The good news for the Sox is that we are still playing well enough to force the Yankees to keep winning and with the three game lead really even a modest stumble, 3 out of 4, by the Yanks probably finishes it.

I'll relax when we get there. vi mentioned in one of the threads that the next week is huge. The Yankees are home and we have tough road series against Tampa and Baltimore who give us trouble.
   4. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 15, 2017 at 09:28 PM (#5532834)
Tonight is not helping my mood.
   5. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 15, 2017 at 09:58 PM (#5532846)
I love the Red Sox, but I've got good news and bad news:

1) Because of the 2nd Wild Card slot, they are going to make the playoffs no matter what the Yankees do.
2) Boston just isn't that good, especially compared to their competition in most playoff scenarios. If Chris Sale is not The Man, this is a .500 team.
   6. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 15, 2017 at 10:30 PM (#5532856)
This is why I love this team. No matter what happens they keeping fighting.
   7. Chip Posted: September 15, 2017 at 10:58 PM (#5532863)
Sale right now is not The Man in the midst of his career-typical late season decline. When they slip to the second wild card, it may actually be a blessing if he's not in line to pitch the play-in game.
   8. Chip Posted: September 16, 2017 at 01:07 AM (#5532890)
All due credit for resiliency through 15.

They win a Sale start even when he can't produce a Quality Start effort!
   9. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 16, 2017 at 01:30 AM (#5532893)
Had 'em all the way.
   10. John DiFool2 Posted: September 16, 2017 at 07:30 AM (#5532904)
ONCE AGAIN I go to bed thinking I'll wake up to see the division lead erode, only to find that I'm sadly f. mistaken.

This is getting to be a habit.

I do think the offensive talent on the team is greater than their overall performance.
   11. Dag Nabbit at Posted: September 16, 2017 at 10:51 AM (#5532954)
Sept. 16:

1903 PIT and BOX agree to a postseason world series
1903 BOX 14, CLE 7: BOX scores in each of the 8 innings they bat in
1965 Dave Moorehead throws no-hitter. BOX 2, CLE 0. 1 walk, 8 K (Rocky Colavito walks)
1966 WPA's favorite Yaz game: WPA 0.966. 3-for-5, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 Run, 3 RBI, 1 GIDP. Box 5, Cal 4
1972 MLB debut: Dwight Evans
1976 WPA's worst Carlton Fisk game: -0.404
1992 BOS 2, MIL 1 (15). Walk-off error
2005 Tim Wakefield walks leadoff batter. Never does it again: 150 GS left. Only time in his last 223 GS he does it
2005 Manny Ramirez receives walk-off HBP from Keiichi Yaub of A's. Btm 12th, 1 out, score 2-2

   12. Bad Fish Posted: September 16, 2017 at 11:52 AM (#5532971)
I've always thought that trading sub-AA prospects for established performance is always a good bet, I don't think Dombrowski was clairvoyant about Pomeranz, I simply think he was on the right side of the come-line. The thing that impresses me is the decision between Devers and Moncada.
   13. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 16, 2017 at 02:50 PM (#5533041)
One thing about Dombrowski's history is that for all the trades he has made of prospects over the years he hasn't given away much in the way of talent. Someone (probably Speier) did an analysis of his trading history and the end result has been big wins all around for his teams. Not perfection, but very good. Dude knows what he is doing.
   14. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 16, 2017 at 05:15 PM (#5533095)
If Chris Sale is not The Man, this is a .500 team.
[eye roll]

   15. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 18, 2017 at 11:54 PM (#5534143)
Wow. Just wow. This ####### team just keeps finding a way.
   16. Chip Posted: September 19, 2017 at 12:37 AM (#5534154)
And another day checked off the schedule.
   17. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 19, 2017 at 08:42 AM (#5534200)
The thing about last night that allows for a bit of an exhale is even if we lose two in a row we will be in sole possession of first place leaving Baltimore. This series has worried me for awhile. We have a bad track record with these guys.
   18. villageidiom Posted: September 19, 2017 at 10:03 AM (#5534249)
The thing about last night that allows for a bit of an exhale is even if we lose two in a row we will be in sole possession of first place leaving Baltimore. This series has worried me for awhile. We have a bad track record with these guys.

Meanwhile in the Bronx we're getting three previews of the play-in game (based on current standings). The AL team that has the most tenuous playoff status is playing the team they'll eventually need to beat if they want the playoffs to last more than one game. That's not an easy path for NY, even at home.

The worst part of the near-term schedule for Boston, where they had Tampa Bay on the road while NY had Baltimore at home, is in the past. The current set of series is much more even.
   19. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 19, 2017 at 10:21 AM (#5534264)
Well I'll nitpick that it's not in the past yet. Still two more games but even a split leaves us two games up with as you say pretty comparable schedules.

If the Wild Card game is Twins at Yankees would it just be easier to call it a walk over like Olympic boxing?
   20. Chip Posted: September 19, 2017 at 12:19 PM (#5534401)
Yeah really. Maybe having a one-game situation means they don't conform to same rule of non-competitiveness the Twins have brought to playoff series vs. NYY?
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: September 19, 2017 at 12:31 PM (#5534406)
In their last 4 LDSs against the Yankees, the Twins were 2-12, and were oustcored 69-36.

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