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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. PJ Martinez Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:14 AM (#3273369)
I haven't been following the Sox as closely this year -- the team just hasn't pulled me in, really, and my interest was drifting more and more toward basketball even before the Manny trade (which struck me as a good baseball decision, but made the team much less interesting to me).

Anyway, it's been -- I say without, I hope, any sense of superiority -- somewhat amusing to witness usual midseason Sox-fan hysterics from (relatively and metaphorically speaking) some distance. I mean, they're what, 3 1/2 back, and July isn't over? Somehow winning the division is "very unlikely"? If Texas and Tampa Bay are serious threats for the Wild Card, isn't Boston a serious threat for the division?

Also, the "play your best lineup" complaint comes up ever year. Not quite as much with Francona as it did with Jimy Williams, perhaps (with reason), but it still comes up every year. Maybe it costs a game here and there, and that could matter. But most likely it's not the difference between getting to the playoffs and not.

(And as a sometime Sox fan hysteric, I do understand, of course.)
   2. robinred Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:20 AM (#3273373)
the division is very unlikely at this point


Their RF/RA is about the same as the Yankees, and they are only 3.5 out. "Very unlikely" is an overstatement.
   3. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:31 AM (#3273381)
seriously? stop the pants pissing.
   4. Hugh Jorgan Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:50 AM (#3273394)
seriously? stop the pants pissing.

Here, here, I concur. 3 days ago everyone was whinging that we couldn't score, not there's runs aplenty. One Paps implosion and one Penny reversion to normal do not make a trend.

I'm still confident of the usual 95 win season followed by some success in the playoffs.
   5. Mattbert Posted: July 30, 2009 at 08:33 AM (#3273438)
This looked like a pretty standard Stack the Order With RHBs Against the LHP lineup. I think the criticism of Tito's house money lineups does have some merit on occasion, but this occasion isn't one of them.
   6. RollingWave Posted: July 30, 2009 at 08:50 AM (#3273440)
Their RF/RA is about the same as the Yankees, and they are only 3.5 out. "Very unlikely" is an overstatement.
i think they mean to say that it's very unlikely for the Rays. who are now 7.5 games out of the division.

The would need to be on a 21 games or better pace over a full year for the next 1/3 of the season than the Yankees to over take them. which is nearly impossible barring a Mets style meltdown AND a Rockies like hot streak.


The Red Sox is still in serious play for the division of course. depending on what you think about the Yankee / Red Sox matchup. are the Yankees doomed to lose the next 10 as well or does Boston winning the first 8 means that they're due to lose quiet a few of the remaining games . taking out head to head matchups. the Yankees are obviously blowing away the Sox .

As for the wild card. I think this is a reason for Boston or Tampa to make a play in the next couple of days. particularlly the later. who's window of opportunity is nowhere near as consistent as the Yankee / Red Sox year in and year out.
   7. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: July 30, 2009 at 08:56 AM (#3273441)
Oh, Darren. Never change please.
   8. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: July 30, 2009 at 12:46 PM (#3273481)
seriously? stop the pants pissing.

They've lost 6 1/2 games in the standings over the last 12 days. If that's not a good reason for pants-pissing, nothing is.

While somewhat unlikely, it's very possible that this team will miss the playoffs. They are an extremely flawed, old team. They play horrible defense, have no depth in the starting rotation and their big names in the lineup aren't producing (Drew, Bay, Papi). And Papelbon does a mean Joe Borowski impersonation.

They have gone 3-3 on a homestand comprised entirely of last-place teams. They have an upcoming road trip to BAL, TB, and NYY, and the way they are currently playing it's tough have have confidence in them on such a trip.
   9. villageidiom Posted: July 30, 2009 at 12:57 PM (#3273495)
Do I think the Red Sox have the playoffs locked up? Hell, no.

Do I think they had the wrong lineup last night? Hell, no.

Do I think the lineup was the reason they lost last night? If by "lineup" we mean "starting pitcher", then yes. Otherwise hell, no.

Boston's lineup has averaged just under 6 runs per game on this homestand. The pitching staff (and defense) has given up 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, and 9 runs in those games. Guess which ones they won, and which they lost.

Boston went on a road trip during which the pitching was fine but the hitting was weak. Now they're home, and the reverse is happening. I don't think any of this is something we should expect to persist. It sucks to watch it now, but now is not forever.
   10. Deacon Blues Posted: July 30, 2009 at 01:01 PM (#3273501)
The Yankees are better than the Red Sox right now. That much is clear. Since they've gotten A-Rod and straightened out the bullpen, it frankly hasn't even been all that close.
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: July 30, 2009 at 01:18 PM (#3273519)
don't falter, any aught-seveners out there!

the team is slumping badly, and the yankees are hot. that could plausibly reverse in august
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: July 30, 2009 at 01:20 PM (#3273522)
Since they've gotten A-Rod and straightened out the bullpen


do you think this bullpen-straightening will be sustained? obviously Mariano will continue, but the other guys?
   13. Deacon Blues Posted: July 30, 2009 at 01:22 PM (#3273524)
I think Hughes is the real deal. Coke is solid, and I think Aceves is good.
   14. Marc Sully's not booin'. He's Youkin'. Posted: July 30, 2009 at 01:29 PM (#3273530)
don't falter, any aught-seveners out there!

Aught-Seveners know better...
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 30, 2009 at 01:30 PM (#3273531)
I can see why Sox fans would think the Yankees are better right now, and despair of winning the division, but you're really worried about beating Tampa and Texas?
   16. villageidiom Posted: July 30, 2009 at 01:39 PM (#3273546)
I can see why Sox fans would think the Yankees are better right now, and despair of winning the division, but you're really worried about beating Tampa and Texas?
No. I'm neither confident nor worried. There's a lot of baseball to play, and a lot can happen.
   17. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 30, 2009 at 01:41 PM (#3273548)
No. I'm neither confident nor worried. There's a lot of baseball to play, and a lot can happen.
Well, that's taking a stand.

I'd put Boston at...60-40 to make the playoffs. Which is probably the best odds of anyone outside the Yankees, Dodgers and Phillies.
   18. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 30, 2009 at 01:43 PM (#3273551)
And this is a side point, are you really neither confident nor worried? I don't think I've ever existed in a state of neutrality about the Yankees like that. I probably should sometimes, but never have.
   19. Joel W Posted: July 30, 2009 at 02:39 PM (#3273611)
I think as a baseball fan, if you're not confident, you ought to be worried. I'm worried they won't make the playoffs, even though rationally I think they will. These are not inconsistent statements. As for the theme of this post: stop the pants pissing. The Sox playoff odds on BPro are 54%, and the PECOTA adjusted ones are in the 80s. I think it's likely somewhere in between.

In June and July of 2007, the Red Sox went 28-26. They went to Kansas City and lost 2 of 3 in late July. We got frustrated. Our lead dwindled from 11 games to 1.5 before eventually winning the division. In 2004, the Red Sox went 25-26 in June and July. In 2008, the Red Sox went 27-24 in June and July. So, the best 3 Red Sox teams in recent memory, under Terry Francona, are a collective 80-76 in June and July.

Perhaps this whole "keep players rested, and don't always put the best lineup on the field" thing is a conscious decision that has worked out for them in years past. In August, btw, those 3 teams are 55-29.
   20. Joel W Posted: July 30, 2009 at 02:41 PM (#3273613)
The decision to leave out September wasn't a selective endpoint btw, but instead was chosen because they have coasted in September because they have locked things up. Despite that, they were 50-31 in September over that period, or 105-60 in September and August.
   21. Joel W Posted: July 30, 2009 at 02:58 PM (#3273633)
To fill in the data, because I just find it interesting: 2006 Red Sox were 32 and 21 in June and July and 22-35 in August and September. 2005 Red Sox were 31-22 in June and July and 35-21 in August and Setempber. Adding it all up Terry Francona is 143-118 in June and July for a .547 WP. In August and September he is 162-112 for a .591 WP. Is it significant? Repeatable? I don't know. Still, given the complaints that we all have about their lineups in July, maybe it is actually deliberate, and the Red Sox take a longer view than we are able to as fans.
   22. Deacon Blues Posted: July 30, 2009 at 03:04 PM (#3273638)
I think sometimes people try and read too much into Theo and company. There is nothing planned or deliberate about Papelbon blowing saves, the team being unable to hit, and Penny sucking as he's supposed to.
   23. Joel W Posted: July 30, 2009 at 03:50 PM (#3273673)
Oh I'm not saying that it's all planned, but I think complaints about the lineup that is being used are misguided given the recent past. Also, Papelbon has blown 3 saves. Penny has not sucked, Smoltz has sucked. Penny has a 92 ERA+ and has been an above average pitcher outside of April. The pitching simply has not been an issue outside of Smoltz, and in July has been as good as it was in June, and better than it was in April and May.

The team just can't hit right now. Whether or not they need another bat is a question, but it's really not on the pitching.
   24. Deacon Blues Posted: July 30, 2009 at 03:55 PM (#3273679)
brad penny is sucking plenty in July.
   25. Joel W Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:00 PM (#3273688)
Brad Penny in July: 17 Ks, 7 BBs, 3 HRs, in 27 IP. He's given up 7 doubles in July, same number he gave up in June. He's given up 4 more singles in July than in June, that's it. This is a long-winded way of saying small sample size.
   26. Deacon Blues Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:02 PM (#3273689)
yes. all months are by definition small samples sizes. His best month, May, was also a small sample size. In aggregate this year, Penny has basically been mediocre at best.
   27. RollingWave Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:06 PM (#3273698)
The Yankees do have some flaws, they're starting Mitre for one thing, which means that if anything else happens to a starter they are royally screwed. because at the moment their AAA situation is so thin, that Kei Igawa (Mr . all time Scranton win record holder) is pitching CC Sabathia Brewer edition style. (all their starters that you would classify as prospects are on the DL)

As long as Boston don't implode the remaining 10 games against the Yankees 2006 style, they should probably do alright. beyond this year though. they need some serious readjustments
   28. Joel W Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:10 PM (#3273701)
Normally I'd basically agree. However, given that Penny was coming back from an injury, I think April is clearly different from May and beyond. You can see here http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfxo.aspx?playerid=535&position=P&pitch=FA that his fastball velocity is quantitatively different since the beginning of the season. Going forward, I expect Penny to pitch more like the aggregate of his May-present than his April to present.
   29. villageidiom Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:35 PM (#3273733)
And this is a side point, are you really neither confident nor worried?
Yes. I'm neither confident that they'll make the playoffs nor worried that they won't.

I am confident that:

- neither individual games since the ASB, nor the collection of those games, makes for a projectable trend.

- this team is certainly capable of making the playoffs, and is in a good position to do so.

- July is too early for me to be confident about October.

- if they don't make the playoffs, life will go on.

I save my worrying for more important things.
   30. Dave Cyprian Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:36 PM (#3273735)
Well, Sox fans, don't be too surprised to read this:
Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the sluggers who propelled the Boston Red Sox to end an 86-year World Series championship drought and to capture another title three years later, were among the roughly 100 Major League Baseball players to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the results.


Also don't turn on sports radio until Brett Favre unretires.

NYT report
   31. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:38 PM (#3273741)
Well that sucks.
   32. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:40 PM (#3273750)
Ortiz and Ramirez Said to Be on 2003 Doping List
Color me shocked.

Yes. I'm neither confident that they'll make the playoffs nor worried that they won't...I save my worrying for more important things.
That's a different point. Obviously I don't really worry about the Yankees the way I worry about important stuff, but that's not the same as confidence or worry insofar as it relates to the team. It seems hard to believe you're not optimistic or pessimistic on the team in general.
   33. Darren Posted: July 31, 2009 at 01:26 PM (#3275321)
Thanks for all the ad hominems--you guys never disappoint.
   34. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: July 31, 2009 at 09:35 PM (#3276268)
Thanks for all the ad hominems--you guys never disappoint.


ad hominem would be attacking you personally. calling you a pants pisser is just speaking the plain truth. :)
   35. Darren Posted: July 31, 2009 at 10:08 PM (#3276306)
So's your mom.
   36. Spivey Posted: August 01, 2009 at 01:12 AM (#3276513)
I'd put Boston at...60-40 to make the playoffs. Which is probably the best odds of anyone outside the Yankees, Dodgers and Phillies.

The Rangers have been playing well lately, and I think their offense has definitely underperformed to date. If Kinsler and Hamilton start improving, and I think it's reasonable to expect they will - then I think the Rangers will be right there. Tampa's RF/RA numbers suggest they're basically as good as Boston. So, honestly - I really don't see why they wouldn't be worried.

Sure, they're the favorites to win the Wild Card, but it's not even close to approaching a lock.
   37. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: August 01, 2009 at 04:03 AM (#3276638)
the more i look at the vmart trade and the kotchman pickup, the more i like them. vmart's a bigger upgrade than i initially thought. his wOBA is 57th (i think) overall (better than drew), in top 3rd of qualified hitters, and WAR ranks him similarly: around 50th. both WAR and wOBA dislike laroche and WAR in particular sees kotchman as the better player by about half a win.

his defense is apparently very good at catcher, aside from his arm. i'm not worried about him catching wakefield. the best lineup going forward will probably have vmart in every day, and will see (alternately) tek and lowell sitting on the bench. i'm getting kind of excited to see him in a sox uniform.
   38. PJ Martinez Posted: August 01, 2009 at 04:56 AM (#3276650)
Tek, Lowell, and some days off for Ortiz. And the Sox were even kind enough to pick up another game in the standings before he had a chance to start a game.

I like the Kotchman move, too, assuming he's as good with the glove as they say.
   39. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 02, 2009 at 01:36 AM (#3277061)
I've been away - it has kept me calm and my pants have never been cleaner.

Yankees love losing in bunches - strange season all round
   40. villageidiom Posted: August 02, 2009 at 01:25 PM (#3277274)
It seems hard to believe you're not optimistic or pessimistic on the team in general.
There's a huge difference between optimism and confidence. At least there is for me.
   41. John DiFool2 Posted: August 02, 2009 at 02:21 PM (#3277298)
I hope Reddick gets some more ABs, even tho he likely isn't quite ML ready.
   42. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 02, 2009 at 11:11 PM (#3277825)
They've lost 6 1/2 games in the standings over the last 12 days. If that's not a good reason for pants-pissing, nothing is

So pants-pissers, where are you now? 5 days ago the above quote was written and we were 3 1/2 out. Now 1/2 game out, we've got a nice addition to the lineup, Beckett and Lester are doing their thing and all we really need to do is squeeze a win out of the other 3 starters each set of 5 games. Take 3 out of every 5 games and end up on 95 or so wins. Voila, simple stuff.

I am confident of the 95 win season and a berth in the playoffs, after that should be fun.
   43. tfbg9 Posted: August 02, 2009 at 11:20 PM (#3277828)
Speaking of pants pis$ers, anybody see Clay today?
   44. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 03, 2009 at 01:01 AM (#3277888)
anybody see Clay today

Shame we couldn't have thrown together a Buchholz, Penny et. al for Halliday package. Happy with v-mart so far though. Got to give some raps to Theo and FO for trying to get some stuff done to keep the team going forward...
   45. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: August 03, 2009 at 02:13 AM (#3277929)
shootyidiom? I don't wanna know.

How about Putting in the Best Lineup?

Isn't that what Don Zimmer did back in '78?
   46. Answer Guy Posted: August 03, 2009 at 02:27 AM (#3277939)
Speaking of pants pis$ers, anybody see Clay today?


I was in attendance today in B'more. He caught some bad breaks in that some balls found holes in the defense. Still he was very hittable and walked a lot of guys. He walked the worst guy in the lineup by far with one out and of course that started a 6-run inning.

The offense really stepped it up, to put it mildly, and te Sox pen is better than Baltimore's. But today didn't exactly fill me with confidence.
   47. Darren Posted: August 03, 2009 at 02:31 AM (#3277943)
Isn't that what Don Zimmer did back in '78?


Ask Bill Lee.
   48. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 03, 2009 at 02:47 AM (#3277956)
####### Clay - how many more chances is he going to get - who walks crumbs with a huge lead??

Only ####### Dice it seems - jesus - glad I slept in
   49. chris p Posted: August 03, 2009 at 02:59 AM (#3277966)
####### Clay - how many more chances is he going to get - who walks crumbs with a huge lead??

he really needs to learn how to pitch with runners on. i thought they should have put him in the bullpen (in AAA to start maybe?) and tell him he has to pitch out of the stretch until he figures it out. if he can figure that out, he's going to be really good.

as for daisuke, i miss that guy! who knows how he did it, but he was damn effective last year. if he's healthy, he's the 3rd best starter on the team.
   50. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 03, 2009 at 12:17 PM (#3278099)
This is the exact same #### we saw from Buchholz last year. Implosions with runners on, no ability to bear down and get out of jams, shitty location on the fastball, abandoning of his curve.

He's been given numerous chances to contribute and has ###### them all up. It's time to consider how much rope he really should be given. People keep saying "he's going to be good" and I simply don't see it. He's been consistently awful at the major league level for over a year now. He's not 22, he's almost 25 (only 7 months younger than Lester) and the shine is coming off of him in a big way. At some point he needs to produce positive results.
   51. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 03, 2009 at 01:09 PM (#3278121)
I had the same thought. I had assumed that the trade for Victor would involve Buchholz. He's looking more and more like a change-of-scenery guy every day.
   52. chris p Posted: August 03, 2009 at 01:16 PM (#3278129)
Implosions with runners on, no ability to bear down and get out of jams, shitty location on the fastball, abandoning of his curve.

i wonder if he can even throw a decent curve from the stretch. he's got that extreme over the top 12-6 curve ... can he get that arm slot without a full windup? if you think about it, the only guys that feature that 12-6 curve are lefties with a big leg kick in their stretch delivery.
   53. jmurph Posted: August 03, 2009 at 02:51 PM (#3278228)
I had the same thought. I had assumed that the trade for Victor would involve Buchholz. He's looking more and more like a change-of-scenery guy every day.


There's like an 87% chance he'll be pitching in SD next year (as part of the impending winter deal for Adrian Gonzalez), right? Assuming he finishes the year with a sub-6 ERA...
   54. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 03, 2009 at 03:58 PM (#3278325)
Buchholz, to my eye, lowered his armslot this year. I think he's changed the slot in order to get more movement and sink on the fastball, but it's cost him a plus curve. The "abandoning" of the curve looks more to me like changing his pitching patterns to reflect that his curve isn't very good anymore. This year, the curve has been at time an above average pitch, but it's not the same thing.

By the way, what's the deal with Reddick? I haven't been able to watch the games this weekend, but on the highlights, the ball just jumps off his bat. My quickie understanding of his prospect status was major league power, can't hit major league curveball - is this probably just a fluke run before hte league figures him out?

jmurph - I doubt the Sox would go after Gonzalez after acquiring Martinez, unless they plan on playing Martinez everyday at C next year, which I didn't think was the plan.
   55. jmurph Posted: August 03, 2009 at 04:10 PM (#3278336)
I doubt the Sox would go after Gonzalez after acquiring Martinez, unless they plan on playing Martinez everyday at C next year, which I didn't think was the plan.


Oh I definitely see them going after him. If SD really does decide to trade him, I don't see anyway the Sox sit that one out.

On Reddick- I was at the game Saturday and he does not look like a very big guy, so the power was surprising to me. I see he's listed at 6'2, but that seems like a stretch.
   56. JB H Posted: August 04, 2009 at 10:54 AM (#3279337)
I'm liking Reddick a lot. The biggest surprise for me is his speed. He looks like he has CF speed. Sean Smith's defensive stats don't like him though (on minorleaguesplits.com, don't know how to link to his player page)

I'm starting to kind of give up on Buchholz. I would still feel fine if he was slotted at the back end of next year's rotation, but the promise he showed in 07 has all but faded away for me.
   57. JB H Posted: August 04, 2009 at 10:58 AM (#3279338)
Do we even know that they lust after Gonzalez? The Seattle papers have had a lot of talk about Theo trying to get King Felix, using Gonzalez as the main piece. It might be that they never seriously considered keeping Gonzalez.
   58. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 05, 2009 at 05:37 AM (#3280912)
There's like an 87% chance he'll be pitching in SD next year

Funnily enough, I reckon Buchholz would do really well in SD. Its a pretty relaxed place overall and that cavernous park will help, but he definitely needs a change of scenery.
   59. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 05, 2009 at 11:11 AM (#3280939)
Maybe Buchholz can take Masterson's spot. He's been decent in the early innings.

Bring on Bowden. Let's see what he has.
   60. Textbook Editor Posted: August 05, 2009 at 04:07 PM (#3281154)
#59, I could not agree more. Bowden would be hard-pressed to do worse than Smoltz or Buchholz of late... Heck, even if he only provided Penny-like production that would be an upgrade on what Smoltz/Buchholz has been doing.
   61. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 05, 2009 at 10:36 PM (#3281733)
We're ready to write off the division on 7/29, 3.5 games back? Wha? Huh? Who? Where? Why?

This is as ridiculous as anything I've ever read here. The division lead can change 8 more times before the season ends, and not just flip flopping Boston and NY. Seriously. Every year, some people act as if they're witnessing their first pennant race.
   62. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 05, 2009 at 10:54 PM (#3281750)
The division lead can change 8 more times before the season ends,

Whilst I agree, my point for the past few years has been that it doesn't really matter if we win the division. The FO builds a 95 win team, we make the playoffs and go from there. This FO and Tito have clearly shown in the past that winning the East title is secondary to winning the series. It may seem an obvious point but the Sox have clearly not panicked in the past when the season approaches the business end keeping their eye on the ultimate prize. Sure the east title is nice, but such trinkets pale in comparison to the world series title.
   63. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 05, 2009 at 10:59 PM (#3281757)
I was just responding to the idea that the division is out of reach. Whether winning it is significant, that's another story.
   64. Answer Guy Posted: August 06, 2009 at 01:11 PM (#3282165)
The FO builds a 95 win team


I do not see a 95-win team here. Sure they are on pace to win 95 games, but I look at the rest of this schedule and how they've been playing lately and don't see them keeping that pace. They're not going to do much better than .500 as long as the bottom three spots in the rotation suck this much. Not to mention that the lineup has a bunch of older declining players.
   65. villageidiom Posted: August 06, 2009 at 01:29 PM (#3282175)
Sure they are on pace to win 95 games, but I look at the rest of this schedule and how they've been playing lately and don't see them keeping that pace.
How many times in a season must we play the "if they keep playing how they've been playing lately..." game?
   66. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 06, 2009 at 01:36 PM (#3282183)
Every year, <strike>some people</strike> Darren acts as if he's witnessing his first pennant race.


Yes, I've noticed this, too.
   67. Answer Guy Posted: August 06, 2009 at 01:39 PM (#3282186)
How many times in a season must we play the "if they keep playing how they've been playing lately..." game?


We just got done with a month where the team barely cleared the .500 mark despite playing mostly at home and, other than Texas, almost entirely against teams either out of contention or falling out of contention.
   68. karlmagnus Posted: August 06, 2009 at 01:43 PM (#3282192)
I don't see them making the playoffs. They're 2 pitchers short from where they should have been -- neither Smoltz nor Penny are more than makeshift 5th starters, and nor's Buchholz, though he has upside. Youkilis and Pedroia are damn good players, but with Ortiz mediocre and no Manny their offense is no more than moderately good. VMart helps, but they need another Manny/peak Ortiz caliber player or preferably 2 and I don't see where they'd get him. This is a tough division -- they missed the playoffs in 2000 with Pedro and Nomar both having record breaking seasons (their supporting cast is a little better now but not much -- they had peak Varitek and Lowe and a younger Wake.)

Eventually the Renteria/Lugo mistakes and the trade-Hanley short term decisions catch up. Even with all their money, it may be 2012 before they're competitive again, though probably no longer than that. Even to achieve that, they need to be much more open in their tolerance of high caliber but high maintenance players like Pedro and the two Ramirez's
   69. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 06, 2009 at 01:47 PM (#3282196)
Hey, get a new schtick, all right? This one has gotten boring.
   70. karlmagnus Posted: August 06, 2009 at 01:50 PM (#3282199)
Voxter, nothing wrong with fanboyism, but one should avoid mindless fanboyism.
   71. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 06, 2009 at 01:53 PM (#3282206)
Karl is fun. "2012 before they're competitive again." I almost forgot they had a three game lead in the Wild Card.

There are obviously concerns but what strikes me is this is a team that has lost several either/or type games in the last several weeks. They've lost three extra inning games, and overall are 4-10 in 1&2;run games since July 3rd. If they were getting routed regularly I'd be more concerned but that isn't the case.

Oh, and Karl, you're right about 2000. Theo Epstein did an embarrassingly poor job of surrounding those two superstars with talent that year.
   72. Answer Guy Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:20 PM (#3282254)
It will not be "2012 before they are competitive again." They're competitive now. I just don't see them making the playoffs this year with the players they currently have at the level they are likely to play at going forward.
   73. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:20 PM (#3282255)
So pants-pissers, where are you now?

Looks like they are starting to drift in. By tonight, a parade of prominent, pants-pissing posters may pour in.
   74. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:23 PM (#3282265)
If they were getting routed regularly I'd be more concerned but that isn't the case.

Since July 1 they're 1-8 against teams with winning records. (And since Brawl Day last year, 9-19 against Tampa Bay).

I dunno, this team knowingly went into the year needing to depend on a bunch of old players or injury risks. A 35 year old 3rd baseman, a 37 year old catcher, a 43 year old knuckleballer, a 42 year old pitcher coming off shoulder surgery, and a 33 year old fat DH with wrist and knee issues. It's hardly a shock that the team is playing like dogshiit in the second half of the season: they are worn down and injured.

Rotation depth was supposed to be a strength but that's turned out to be a mirage. The depth that's been called upon to fill in with Wakefield and Dice K injured has been awful (Smoltz: 7+ ERA while starting mostly against bad teams, Buchholz: 6+ ERA and a WHIP over 2). Penny has pitched like a 5th starter but at this point he's their #3. It's difficult to feel confident that the Sox can put together a good playoff run given the current state of the club.

Things look grim at this moment in time. They go into the NY series having to start Smoltz and Buchholz in two of the games. (Fun fact: Smoltz has allowed a .397 average to LHB this year. The Yankees have a bunch of LHB. And a short RF porch. Fans in the RF upper deck are advised to wear helmets tonight.) Bay is going to miss tonight and tomorrow with a hamstring issue. The Yankees are beating the hell out of everyone of late (including Halladay, who shut down the Sox when they visited just after the ASB). They may be 3 up in the WC, but it's tough to feel too good about their playoff chances over the course of the season given the way they've been playing and the current state of the team.

I'll probably be happy if they simply manage to avoid being swept in NY this weekend. The Sox badly need one of their struggling starters to put together a very good start. Not sure if/when that will happen.
   75. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:26 PM (#3282268)
On the plus side: Paul Byrd!

Ugh.
   76. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:27 PM (#3282269)
They're 2 pitchers short from where they should have been

Yeah, the team with the most pitching depth in the league really should have gone into the season with more eight starters who projected to be average or better. I bet if they had two more good starters, they'd be first in the AL in ERA+, instead of first like they are now.

And really, karl, given your affinity for all things that spend "more days in first place", do you really want to discuss the roster construction of the 2000 Red Sox?

I'm with Voxter - your schtick is old. How about a treatise on the hitting aptitude of Jake Beckley next time instead?
   77. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:29 PM (#3282270)
I can see it now: Paul Byrd vs. Russ Ortiz with the division on the line September! Feel the excitement.
   78. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:32 PM (#3282275)
Yeah, the team with the most pitching depth in the league really should have gone into the season with more eight starters who projected to be average or better.

That depth consisted of a lot of question marks, though. Penny, Smoltz, 60 year old Wake, Buchholz. They got #### luck with Dice K crapping out, but it's not like they were stacked with great bets.
   79. Nasty Nate Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:36 PM (#3282280)
I dunno, this team knowingly went into the year needing to depend on a bunch of old players or injury risks. A 35 year old 3rd baseman, a 37 year old catcher, a 43 year old knuckleballer, a 42 year old pitcher coming off shoulder surgery, and a 33 year old fat DH with wrist and knee issues.


I disagree.

They didnt go into the year depending on those guys. Those guys collectively have been so-so, but the team has a good record. They went into the season needing to depend on Pedroia, Youkilis, Ellsbury, Bay, Drew, Beckett, Lester, Pap/Okie. This is the core and who they counted on, and it doesnt seem like a bad plan given the good results, although they are playing like stale ass right now. They can't win a close game in that shitty dome to save their lives.

And doesn't getting Martinez solve a big chunk of the problem of Lowell/Tek/Ortiz ?

edit: I'm no blind optimist, and am as frustrated as the rest of you. It sucks that this big series happens now when the team is scuffling. 2-2 at the new stadium will be a success if they can do it.
   80. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:42 PM (#3282288)
2-2 at the new stadium will be a success if they can do it.

Funny, I think the Yankeee fans would agree with this. They should just make a deal!
   81. karlmagnus Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:43 PM (#3282290)
The 2000 team got very unlucky with injuries too. Ramon Martinez was done at 32 -- not obviously the case a priori. Saberhagen, a HOM pitcher who had been great in 1999, was injured for the whole season. Gordon, excellent in 1999, was out for almost the whole season. Jurassic Carl was a perfectly decent pickup for that year. There was also sheer stupidity by Williams/Kerrigan, in putting Wake in the bullpen instead of #3 starter. But overall that team looks better than this one.
   82. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:46 PM (#3282293)
That depth consisted of a lot of question marks, though. Penny, Smoltz, 60 year old Wake, Buchholz. They got #### luck with Dice K crapping out, but it's not like they were stacked with great bets.

That depth also consisted of Justin Masterson (who they turned into Victor Martinez) and Michael Bowden (who pitched a couple of big innings against the Yankees this year, IIRC, even if he has disappointed somewhat).

But the bigger point is: it's PITCHING! No one has enough!
Here's an exhaustive list of the teams who, entering this season, had seven or eight starting pitchers who could have been expected to be near-average or better and carried only minimal injury/age risk:



Now I'll do a list for all teams since 2000:
   83. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:47 PM (#3282294)

The 2000 team got very unlucky with injuries too


They really could have stolen that division with even a mildly decent run in September.
   84. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:50 PM (#3282299)
Is it possible Masterson would have been a better choice in the rotation right now than Buchholz? Not that I wouldn't have done that deal--it was a great deal--just thinking out loud.
   85. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:52 PM (#3282303)
And doesn't getting Martinez solve a big chunk of the problem of Lowell/Tek/Ortiz ?

Only if Tito has the conviction to play VMart every day, and at the catcher's position quite a bit as Tek's play has dropped off considerably.

Lowell and Papi should be platooning at DH at this point. Lowell's range in the field has gotten so bad they could probably play Ortiz there with similar results. It's utterly painful to watch. And he's under contract for another year.

although they are playing like stale ass right now.

It's more than right now. They've been playing like crap all of July (13-12 against mostly unimpressive competition) and particularly since the ASB (8-10). At some point this moves beyond "just a bump in the road" and more towards "holy shiit this team isn't very good, is it?" scenario. I'm not sure when that point arrives, but if they don't show something this weekend that point could well arrive next Monday.
   86. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:54 PM (#3282306)

It's more than right now. They've been playing like crap all of July (13-12 against mostly unimpressive competition) and particularly since the ASB (8-10). At some point this moves beyond "just a bump in the road" and more towards "holy shiit this team isn't very good, is it?" scenario.


I remember pretty similar sentiments in 2007. Remember when the Yankees went from 14.5 games out to 1.5 games out?

Make the playoffs, go from there. Nothing else matters.
   87. SoSH U at work Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:54 PM (#3282307)
They really could have stolen that division with even a mildly decent run in September.


And after the shrewd acquisitions of Dante Bichette and Mike Lansing for the stretch drive, it looked like a sure thing.
   88. Nasty Nate Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:54 PM (#3282308)
13-12 is a winning record!
   89. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:55 PM (#3282310)
Also, one of the Yankees or Red Sox should have signed Pedro. Certainly I'd rather have him than Paul Byrd or Russ Ortiz.
   90. Nasty Nate Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:56 PM (#3282312)
But overall that team looks better than this one.


karl, what would your opinion of the 2 teams be if Duquette was GM of this one and Epstein was GM of the 2000 one?
   91. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:58 PM (#3282315)
13-12 is a winning record!

We're supposed to be impressed with it? 7 games came against a bad Oakland team, 5 against a horrible BAL team, 4 against KC. They went 2-7 against the .500+ teams in July (SEA, TOR, TEX).

Thank God for the Orioles (11-2 vs. BAL this year).
   92. Marc Sully's not booin'. He's Youkin'. Posted: August 06, 2009 at 02:59 PM (#3282319)
ZOMG! They lost two straight by 3 runs total on the road against the defending AL Champs!

This has been a tough stretch but the Red Sox are good. I'd say they're one of the 5 or 6 best teams in baseball and positioned to make a run at the post-season.

There will be more brutal defeats, more losses where it seems inconceivable that this team is going anywhere. But the wins will come too. It's a great time of year.
   93. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 06, 2009 at 03:01 PM (#3282321)
This has been a tough stretch but the Red Sox are good.

Honest question (non-snarky division): Does this "good" label still apply when they're running Penny, Smoltz, and Buchholz out there at the end of the rotation to take their usual beatings?

As for "the wins will come too": I'd love to see that happen. Preferably against some .500 or better teams. Lately they haven't been playing well against good clubs.
   94. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 06, 2009 at 03:01 PM (#3282322)
The 2000 team got very unlucky with injuries too. Ramon Martinez was done at 32 -- not obviously the case a priori. Saberhagen, a HOM pitcher who had been great in 1999, was injured for the whole season. Gordon, excellent in 1999, was out for almost the whole season. Jurassic Carl was a perfectly decent pickup for that year. There was also sheer stupidity by Williams/Kerrigan, in putting Wake in the bullpen instead of #3 starter. But overall that team looks better than this one.

Ramon Martinez hadn't been healthy in years and was coming off a major rotator cuff injury. Saberhagen was 36, had missed basically all of 1996-97 with injuries, and had to be coddled through 119 innings in 1999. Tom Gordon (!?) threw 17 innings in 1999 with a 5.6 ERA, and was oft-injured throughout his career - not sure what you were going for by mentioning him.

That team did have a good pitching staff - but a TERRIBLE offense. Let's look at what they got from some positions offensively:

1B: .250/.351/.419
2B: .248/.318/.327
3B: .251/.291/.354
LF: .252/.311/.392
RF: .271/.358/.417
DH: .242/.318/.440

...in a .281/.355/.452 environment, no less. Lazy, karl.
   95. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 06, 2009 at 03:01 PM (#3282324)

Thank God for the Orioles (11-2 vs. BAL this year).


And the Yankees.
   96. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 06, 2009 at 03:02 PM (#3282327)
They lost two straight by 3 runs

4 runs, but yeah.
   97. Nasty Nate Posted: August 06, 2009 at 03:02 PM (#3282328)
We're supposed to be impressed with it?


no, but there is middle ground between playing like crap and impressive play.

maybe frustrating water-treading?
playing okay?
mediocre stretch?
   98. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 06, 2009 at 03:03 PM (#3282329)
BTW, some of you guys will always find a reason to panic over a few weeks worth of games, won't you?
   99. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 06, 2009 at 03:04 PM (#3282331)
And the Yankees.

Point taken, but 5 of those games took place when ARod was out.

New York is 21-10 since July 1. Suffice it to say this ain't the same team the Sox kicked the hell out of back in April and May.
   100. Marc Sully's not booin'. He's Youkin'. Posted: August 06, 2009 at 03:06 PM (#3282335)
As for "the wins will come too": I'd love to see that happen. Preferably against some .500 or better teams. Lately they haven't been playing well against good clubs.


You do realize there's ample precedent for a .500ish 40, 50, 60 game stretch for playoff, LCS and WS-winning teams, right?

I thought Penny looked good last night. He made a few mistakes that were just brutalized. I would say the same of Smoltz of late. His mistakes are getting crushed. Buchholz has been bad but there's reason to believe he will improve. And Wake will help.
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