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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Has A Corner Been Turned?

Is it finally happening for the 2019 Red Sox? Are they finally starting to pull it together and be the team they should be?  For the third time this season they have won a series against a club over .500 taking two out of three from the best in the AL Twins (and wow is that odd to read).  This coming on the heels of five straight against Texas and Baltimore (the latter of which is very nearly as good as a Major League team) and the Sox are a season best six games over .500.

We have seen this before this year but the voices in the clubhouse are saying it feels like last year for the first time.  Following the games it has seemed similar from a fan’s perspective.  Little things like Marco Hernandez launching a game tying homer in Baltimore and strong work from guys like Josh Smith, Josh Taylor and relievers not named Josh is the first time it has felt like the Sox are getting the team-wide performances that made 2018 so dazzling.

The bullpen remains a concern.  There was a lack of consistency last year as well but it seemed like Alex Cora had a knack for finding the hot hand and riding it.  This year he has often found the cold hand (is that a thing?) and has not been able to get anyone on the kind of run that allows him to build a steady bullpen rotation for any length of time.

Two guys who returned from the IL recently I think can make a big difference.  Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez are not great pitchers but they are productive and reliable as back of the staff pitchers go.  Having those arms should help cover for the absence of Eovaldi and some of the bullpen depth better than the Sox have been able to so far.

Save for Tuesday’s RISP fails the offense is giving off a much more 2018 vibe.  The top to bottom production is getting a lot more consistent.  The comeback on Thursday against Texas was probably about the most encouraging game of the season.  Not only was it a great win against a good team but honestly even when they got down big early I felt like they had a chance to come back.  It reminded me of a game against the Mariners last year where Steven Wright got pounded but the Sox surged back and won comfortably.  I realize that how I feel about things is not really the greatest metric in the world but as a fan writing a fan’s blog….it matters.

A few other things;

- This thing where Jackie Bradley waits until late May to actually start hitting is annoying but since dropping to a .421 OPS on May 19 he has hit .293/.391/.606.  He won’t keep doing that but after reaching his low point last year (also on May 19) he hit .260/.333/.460.  I think that’s not an unreasonable expectation the rest of the way.

- Games with numbers; if they keep playing like they have since the 2-8 start they will finish with 92 wins.

- I’m not sure what to make of Michael Chavis.  After his big slump he has been much more productive over the past few weeks.  Some of that is being fueled by an unsustainable BABIP and the K rate remains high.  At the same time he’s showing an ability to handle the ebbs and flows of big league play in a way Will Middlebrooks never did.

- With 14 games to go before the All Star Break the Sox have twelve against sub-.500 teams; Toronto and the White Sox at home and away at Toronto and Detroit with a two game “home” series in London against the Yankees.  The White Sox are on the cusp of .500 so nothing is given (and I’ve been watching a lot of Toronto and they look better than their record).  But if the Sox are what we think they are there is no reason they can’t make some hay.

Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 20, 2019 at 07:29 PM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 23, 2019 at 02:56 PM (#5855170)
Like most headline questions this can be answered with a “no.”
   2. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 23, 2019 at 08:18 PM (#5855219)
#1, yeah after dropping 2 to the Jays I was thinking you'd had a little premature postulation....

Today's loss was what it was. Losing yesterday's game was a tough one after being up like 6-1 early on.
   3. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 23, 2019 at 09:11 PM (#5855230)
This is the problem with the 2-8 start. You can’t afford games like Saturday and with this bullpen they are going to have more games like this.

I think they still finish between 90 and 95 wins. I’m really coming around to the idea that this is 2002/2003 redux, a great team being sunk by a grim bullpen.
   4. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 24, 2019 at 03:42 PM (#5855435)
I'm not worried, they're gonna be fine.
   5. John DiFool2 Posted: June 25, 2019 at 10:00 AM (#5855622)
Also I think CarGo should be known as No CarsGo while as a cub.

S Car Go.
   6. John DiFool2 Posted: June 26, 2019 at 12:40 PM (#5856049)
Must say, Devers has developed like mad. 2 months of absolutely killing the ball. 3 missiles last night (and one bloop that the LF shied away from).
   7. John DiFool2 Posted: June 26, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5856104)
6 straight hits, 4 doubles.
   8. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 26, 2019 at 05:12 PM (#5856186)
Devers is awesome now. He and Xander have both been fantastic. Very disappointed neither made the top 3 in all star voting.
   9. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 26, 2019 at 09:08 PM (#5856241)
Devers has been something else. Watching him is such a treat.
   10. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 26, 2019 at 09:50 PM (#5856250)
You can’t afford games like Saturday and with this bullpen they are going to have more games like this.

It's like history repeating! Tough to finally get ahead in today's game then give it right back in the 9th and lose.

I'm still confident 93 wins is doable for this team. Maybe they get on a bit of run near the end of the season and carry that into the playoffs where I am hoping luck goes our way.
   11. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 26, 2019 at 10:21 PM (#5856254)
Yeah, I remain confident that 90-95 wins is a reasonable expectation. Presumably the shitshow of a bullpen we see now won’t be what we have come August 1st but we have given away too many games.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: June 27, 2019 at 10:19 AM (#5856325)
I take back whatever good things I said about Sox relievers in the other thread.

Barnes was having an excellent season until that rainy night in NY when his body language suggested petulance at having to pitch in wet conditions, and it's been downhill for him since then. He has doubled his ERA since the start of the month.
   13. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: June 27, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5856330)
Maybe if Barnes didn't have to pitch 2 days in a row he might be more effective. I'll trust Cora that he was best option yesterday, but he pitched on less than 16 hours rest.
   14. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: June 27, 2019 at 03:58 PM (#5856487)
Little side note regarding the comments about Devers. I don't know how new this is but BBRef now has him ever so slightly ahead of Mookie in WAR which leads the team.
   15. Darren Posted: July 07, 2019 at 02:18 PM (#5859626)
What is the point at which the Red Sox decide that Eduardo Nunez is not helping? He's at -1.2 WAR this year after -1.1 last year. He doesn't get on base, doesn't field well, and has no power. His beard is cool, I guess.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: July 08, 2019 at 01:28 PM (#5859907)
What is the point at which the Red Sox decide that Eduardo Nunez is not helping? He's at -1.2 WAR this year after -1.1 last year. He doesn't get on base, doesn't field well, and has no power. His beard is cool, I guess.
Hernandez is better. Holt is better. Lin and Owings are probably better.

Maybe they are just waiting for Moreland or Pearce to be activated so Chavis can start at 2B.
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: July 15, 2019 at 02:52 PM (#5862032)
Nunez has been DFA'd. I don't know the corresponding move but maybe a pitcher was called up, because of the long game last night.
   18. villageidiom Posted: July 15, 2019 at 04:00 PM (#5862052)
Ryan Weber was brought up as the temporary bullpen reinforcement, but Velazquez was sent down to make room for him. The corresponding move for Nunez is Sam Travis.
   19. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 15, 2019 at 07:40 PM (#5862097)
Marly Rivera, ESPN Writer

I spoke to Rafael Devers extensively about his growth as a player, and he gave a lot of credit to Eduardo Núñez and his veteran presence in the clubhouse. Devers is certainly a professional that can take care of himself, but it will be interesting to see what happens now that Núñez has been DFA-d.

Might be headed for a slump, eh?
   20. Darren Posted: July 26, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5865233)
Just want to put Yankee Clapper at ease, I think Devers is going to survive.
   21. jmurph Posted: July 26, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5865241)
Was going to joke that even the CFBPS didn't see this coming from Devers, so I decided to check. From Scott (Anthony Kennedy of BBTF) prior to the season:
Selected CFBPS (tm) Slash Lines:
Rafael Devers - .311/.363/.666

Real life: .323/.376/.569

Not bad!

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