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   1. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: March 02, 2011 at 04:57 PM (#3761385)
It's definitely encouraging that this team seems to have a whole passel of 'good problems' this season. It adds a little zing of excitement for Opening Day too, I think, to finally see how everything plays out over the first week of the season.

Also, I saw this yesterday: http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2011/03/photo_day_flubs.html
Out-takes from players filming promos and TV drops and so forth. Funniest thing I've seen all week.
   2. villageidiom Posted: March 02, 2011 at 08:18 PM (#3761630)
Quoting Jimy Williams in the header. Love it.

In addition to the roles you mention, Francona must also start evaluating Salty. He won't have a playing-time decision to make - Salty's the starter even if he spends spring training handing out al Qaeda leaflets - but he needs to start looking for patterns to monitor as they get into the season. If Salty isn't going to cut it as a starter, or just needs more time like Ortiz last year, Epstein needs to know ASAP, which means Francona has to be ready to tell him as early in the season as possible. Theo won't move quickly, so the more lead time the better.

This is, I grant you, one of the lesser things he has to monitor.

(EDITed for clarity.)

- - - - -

This is an aside, but I have to share it. For my son's 10th birthday I bought him Strat-O-Matic, with the full set of 2010-season cards. I had the game when I was younger, and he's about the right age where he can handle it. We played last night and he LOVED it.

For those who haven't played it before, each player card has three columns of possible play outcomes (in the basic version). You roll one die to determine which column (1-3 are on the hitter's card, 4-6 are on the pitcher's card) and two dice to determine which outcome in that column. The more probable events tend to be near a roll of 7, the freakish stuff at the less common rolls of 2 or 12. And the freakish outcomes are sensibly freakish: for example, "lineout into as many outs as possible", or "groundout, plus injury".

In one column of Jacoby Ellsbury's 2010 card, "groundout, plus injury" happens on a roll of 7. I couldn't stop laughing when I saw it.
   3. tfbg9 Posted: March 02, 2011 at 10:57 PM (#3761869)
For my son's 10th birthday I bought him Strat-O-Matic...and he LOVED it.


You are a lucky man, vi. A lucky man.
   4. Pingu Posted: March 03, 2011 at 02:16 PM (#3762267)
In addition to the roles you mention, Francona must also start evaluating Salty. He won't have a playing-time decision to make - Salty's the starter even if he spends spring training handing out al Qaeda leaflets - but he needs to start looking for patterns to monitor as they get into the season. If Salty isn't going to cut it as a starter, or just needs more time like Ortiz last year, Epstein needs to know ASAP, which means Francona has to be ready to tell him as early in the season as possible. Theo won't move quickly, so the more lead time the better.

This is, I grant you, one of the lesser things he has to monitor.


I think this is one of the bigger things that Tito has to monitor. I also dont think its a forgone conlusion that Salty is the starter. How do we know he wont have a recurrance of the yips? He could very well not hit, and then its a choice between bad and worse and Varitek gets more starts. If he flounders completely, offense and defense both being unacceptable, I dont think Theo should or will wait all year to start pursuing replacements.

I’m hoping for some sort of job-sharing arrangement at short supplemented with regular games where Lowrie platoons Papi against lefties (with Youkilis moving to 1st and Gonzalez to DH).


Also, I've read on two separate occasions Youkilis talking specifically about how he doesnt want to jump back and forth btw 1st and 3rd IN SEASON anymore. That he is fine playing one or the other, but would like to be able to prepare for one only. If thats still the case, then Lowrie at 1B, Gonzalez at DH to spell Ortiz could be a less than ideal option.
   5. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 03, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3762285)
That's good parenting there VI.

Also, I've read on two separate occasions Youkilis talking specifically about how he doesnt want to jump back and forth btw 1st and 3rd IN SEASON anymore.


That makes sense to me particularly when you remember he is not the youngest guy in the world anymore.

And just to make people jealous, my flight for the 80 degree weather of Ft. Myers leaves at 7:55 tonight. I'm going to games Saturday, Monday and Tuesday and then the following Saturday. I have a ticket for Wednesday night's game but I'm going to play that by ear.
   6. Jon T. Posted: March 03, 2011 at 02:47 PM (#3762306)
and Lowrie can also just play 3b and have Youkilis DH against LH pitchers
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2011 at 03:38 PM (#3762358)
How do we know he wont have a recurrance of the yips?

Has anyone with a severe case of the yips been "cured" without a position switch? Or occasional relapses? Might need a Plan B in case some batter saying "Hey Salty, good to see you. Are you over the yips yet?", triggers a recurrence.
   8. dave h Posted: March 03, 2011 at 03:55 PM (#3762401)
Barney in How I Met Your Mother was cured, though I don't know if Salty's willing to go to the same lengths.

Off-topic (I don't know if it's more or less than the first sentence), what do people think about the RF Roof Deck? I "won" the lottery to be able to purchase tickets, but they're much steeper than I usually pay (right now I have tickets in the bleachers for another game). Is there any reason to even consider buying tickets there?
   9. Pingu Posted: March 03, 2011 at 08:46 PM (#3762807)
Never been, but heard good things (however good things were said without consideration of price)

Dont they give you a beer and a dog with the tickets or something? Or that may have been a long time ago and now defunct....

Pretty excited to have won the lottery for when the Cubs come to town....no you may not so please dont anyone ask. :)
   10. Jay Seaver Posted: March 03, 2011 at 09:07 PM (#3762838)
They don't "give" it to you; you have to buy a four-person table and a certain amount of concession credit is included in the price. IIRC, it's about $100 or so - my brother once had standing room nearby, and when the people in one of those sections left, they let him have their seats and the rest of their pre-paid beer, and they did all right by it.

I've never sat in those seats specifically, but have had the standing room right behind them; it's a nice view on a summer day and the service is pretty good.
   11. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 03, 2011 at 09:10 PM (#3762848)
I think this is one of the bigger things that Tito has to monitor. I also dont think its a forgone conlusion that Salty is the starter. How do we know he wont have a recurrance of the yips? He could very well not hit, and then its a choice between bad and worse and Varitek gets more starts. If he flounders completely, offense and defense both being unacceptable, I dont think Theo should or will wait all year to start pursuing replacements.


I'm pretty sure Salty is the starter, although it's alittle unclear how much of a job share it will be. Ff there's a recurrence of the yips though, then Saltalamacchia can't be a major league catcher. The game of baseball doesn't work if the catcher can't throw the ball back to the pitcher. They'd have to take him out almost immediately if that started happening. The Red Sox seem pretty confident in Salty, for whatever reason. He didn't seem to have a big problem with it last year when he was with the team, but it could certainly happen again, and if it does, then it's Varitek. I'm oddly sanguine about hitting from the catcher position, though. Salty could totally suck with the bat, but his projections are acceptable, and I think there's as much reason to think he'll break out as there is that he'll suck. The Red Sox won a world series with a 65 OPS+ from their SS and 83 OPS+ from their CF a couple years ago. They could absorb a lousy performance from C this year and still be a very good team.
   12. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 03, 2011 at 09:52 PM (#3762907)
Off-topic (I don't know if it's more or less than the first sentence), what do people think about the RF Roof Deck?

It's fun, and it's a rip off. You probably won't do it again unless it's on someone else's tab, but you will enjoy it.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: March 03, 2011 at 10:05 PM (#3762915)
It's fun, and it's a rip off. You probably won't do it again unless it's on someone else's tab, but you will enjoy it.


I would agree. Kind of the equivalent of an outfield upper deck at other stadiums in terms of view, but you get waiter service and have plenty of room, and your own table. One of those sections at Fenway for which the novelty/scarcity allows them to charge exorbitant amounts. I don't enter the lottery for those seats.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: March 03, 2011 at 10:10 PM (#3762924)
Pretty excited to have won the lottery for when the Cubs come to town....no you may not so please dont anyone ask. :)


I enter all the ticket lotteries and have never won. Not for yankees games, not for the postseason, not for monster seats. This year I registered and they didn't even bother emailing me to say that I was not chosen.

Are lots of Chicagoans expected to trek to Fenway? Otherwise, I'm not sure why those games were restricted to lottery "winners." Personally, I think the Brewers are the most interesting of the visiting NL teams this year. I got some bleacher seats right next to the CF camera for one of those games.
   15. dave h Posted: March 04, 2011 at 01:45 AM (#3763076)
I care much more about being close to the game, so I think if I'm going to drop $460 ($100 is pre-paid food and drinks) then I'm going to want to be closer than that. Also I don't really have $460 to drop on a baseball game. If I had a good way to pass off the ticket "opportunity" to anyone around here who wanted them, I would. I think I'll just make the trek down to Baltimore for one of the series and get nice seats there. Shockingly, the Sox don't have a weekend series there this year - that has to hurt the O's ticket sales.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: March 04, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#3763358)
I care much more about being close to the game, so I think if I'm going to drop $460 ($100 is pre-paid food and drinks) then I'm going to want to be closer than that. Also I don't really have $460 to drop on a baseball game. If I had a good way to pass off the ticket "opportunity" to anyone around here who wanted them, I would. I think I'll just make the trek down to Baltimore for one of the series and get nice seats there. Shockingly, the Sox don't have a weekend series there this year - that has to hurt the O's ticket sales.


Sox play in Pittsburgh on a June weekend...
   17. tfbg9 Posted: March 04, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3763444)
He's not a "position player", but does Wakefield even make the team out of camp?
Somebody will probably get hurt, but if they don't who gets left off the 25 for Timmy?
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 05, 2011 at 12:14 AM (#3763865)
Teddy - I'll be doing the pitching staff next. Short answer: Aceves

Anyone else watching the Sox/Yankees? Buchholz looks great. Iglesias' actions at short look really impressive.
   19. dirk Posted: March 05, 2011 at 12:33 AM (#3763876)
i'm watching. i know buchholz was lucky last year, but his stuff is so good i think he can take a leap to lester level. that is the fanboy in me. he isn't disappointing tonight, though. iglesias looks pretty deft, and reddick made a hell of a play already too. i'm so excited for this team.
   20. tfbg9 Posted: March 05, 2011 at 12:36 AM (#3763877)
18-if Aceves looks really good, I'd like to see the Old One, as Norm McDonald would call him, on the "DL".
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 05, 2011 at 12:40 AM (#3763879)
There's no reason for Wakefield to be on the roster if he's not 100%. Aceves has an option remaining, though, so if Wakefield is game-ready, he gets first shot.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 05, 2011 at 12:43 AM (#3763886)
I'm totally with you on Buchholz, dirk. His stuff is much better than his peripheral stats. (Buchholz's swinging strike rate was well above league average last year, even though his k-rate was below average.) He won't have a BABIP of .250 or whatever again, but he should be better than his FIP and projections.
   23. Dan Posted: March 05, 2011 at 01:27 AM (#3763911)
Buchholz looked pretty good. His control faded late, but it's still early. Wasn't Buchholz among the league leaders in swinging strike %?

Looking at Fangraphs, it looks like Clay was 13th in Swinging Strike Percentage among pitchers over 100 IP in the AL in 2010. So yeah, that's pretty damn high for a guy with such a pedestrian K rate. Everyone who looks at his 2010 and just says he's going to regress because of the BABIP really isn't looking deep enough at his season. In my opinion there's no reason to expect Clay to continue with the low strike out rate he showed in 2010. Of course it also helps that this expectation fits in well with what we see with our eyes when we look at his "stuff".

On another note, Red Sox ran out quite the lineup tonight! Only 3 position players that will be on the 25 man, and none of them even full-time starters!
   24. tfbg9 Posted: March 05, 2011 at 01:38 AM (#3763920)
Its a new season. And Kay is still a doosh.
   25. tfbg9 Posted: March 05, 2011 at 01:42 AM (#3763923)
Aceves figures to out-pitch Wakefield.
   26. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 05, 2011 at 02:11 AM (#3763936)
Thoughts on Banuelos?
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 05, 2011 at 11:52 AM (#3764070)
NJ - in a word, damn.

Neither of these are good comps, but he reminds me of two of the best young pitchers the Sox have brought up in the last decade. His fastball / curveball combo from the left side is all Casey Fossum - Fossum had the exact same 11 to 5 action on his curve, and the exact same humongous break, and got lots of swings and misses from a mostly straight low to mid 90s fastball. He didn't have a change, though. (Fossum's one of those forgotten prospects, because he blew out his shoulder a month into his rookie season, but he coulda been a front of the rotation starter, or at least an ace reliever, if he'd stayed healthy.)

The mix of fastball / curveball / change reminded me of a young Buchholz. Buchholz' secondary stuff was better, his fastball not quite as good - but similarly pretty straight - but of course Buchholz isn't a lefty. Watching a young kid with three plus pitches who could command all three reasonably well and was confident in all three at any point in the count, though, that's exactly the experience of watching Buchholz in 2007.
   28. Mattbert Posted: March 05, 2011 at 03:11 PM (#3764130)
Also, I saw this yesterday: http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2011/03/photo_day_flubs.html
Out-takes from players filming promos and TV drops and so forth. Funniest thing I've seen all week.


"Hi, I'm Giovanni Ribisi..."

Hilarious.
   29. Dan Posted: March 05, 2011 at 03:31 PM (#3764135)
(Fossum's one of those forgotten prospects, because he blew out his shoulder a month into his rookie season, but he coulda been a front of the rotation starter, or at least an ace reliever, if he'd stayed healthy.)

Everyone remembers the diminished version of Fossum that pitched for Arizona and Tampa Bay and a few other clubs after he bounced around. No one really remembers that he was actually a really good prospect before his shoulder injury. But man he really did look like he was going to be something when he first came up. I remember being so excited to have a lefty with a good breaking ball and a decent fastball that could get up to the mid 90s.
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: March 05, 2011 at 04:17 PM (#3764159)
Everyone remembers the diminished version of Fossum that pitched for Arizona and Tampa Bay and a few other clubs after he bounced around. No one really remembers that he was actually a really good prospect before his shoulder injury. But man he really did look like he was going to be something when he first came up. I remember being so excited to have a lefty with a good breaking ball and a decent fastball that could get up to the mid 90s.


I remember going to a game in 2002, in which Fossum struck out Alfonso Soriano, Jeter, Giambi, Bernie Williams, and Posada to start the game.

Wasn't there some quote by Duquette about how they didn't think much of Fossum until other teams kept asking about him in trade discussions, which led to them calling him up?
   31. Darren Posted: March 05, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3764170)
Before we get too into Buchholz outperforming his projections, let's remember that, as noted in the other ST thread, he's projected to have an ERA between 3.60 and 3.90 by the big three systems. I think that would be a very nice season.

With that said, this talk of his stuff outstripping his results reminds me of two pitchers of recent vintage: Chien-Ming Wang and Fausto Carmona. Granted, Buch's name is not as cool as either of them, but they were also groundball guys with great stuff, great results, and poor peripherals. I recall some talk at the time that Wang's peripherals would catch up to his stuff, but it never did. He just kept chugging along getting good results with really low K/BB rates. Carmona had a 07 that looked a lot like Clay's 10. Then he completely fell apart for 2 years before returning to goodness in 10. He peripherals did not catch up to his stuff either.

The one advantage Clay has over these guys is that he had really great peripherals in the minors, and 2010 may just represent an adjustment period for him. My guess is that he was coached to pitch to contact for some reason. Perhaps that will change with Young in charge.

I look for him to improve his peripherals slightly and have results very similar to what he's projected to have, which would be great news.
   32. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 05, 2011 at 05:15 PM (#3764207)
I don't see the comparison with Carmona or Wang, at all. Those guys threw like 90% sinkers. They each had one plus pitch, but they could just throw it and throw it and throw it. The argument with regard to Wang and Carmona was that because of the way they pitched to contact with a sinker that was difficult to line up properly, they could maintain much lower hit and homer rates than would be expected. Buchholz has three plus pitches that he mixes up, getting lots of swings and misses. The issue with Buchholz is that his "swing and miss stuff" outstrips his k-rate. Neither Wang nor Carmona has ever been described as having "swing and miss stuff". They pitched to contact.

Buchholz isn't a groundball guy. His groundball rate is only a small step above average. Wang and Carmona were the most extreme groundballers in the game.
   33. John DiFool2 Posted: March 05, 2011 at 11:13 PM (#3764355)
My guess is that he was coached to pitch to contact for some reason.


If so, it was an idiotic decision for the long term, even if has worked well for one year (so far). I'd much rather see 9K/9 Clay going forward than 6K/9 Clay (with the same baseline stuff) as strikeout pitchers tend to outlast "contact" pitchers, and are all other things being equal more effective overall.
   34. Darren Posted: March 06, 2011 at 01:22 PM (#3764542)
Buchholz was 9th in groundball percentage last year.
   35. Darren Posted: March 07, 2011 at 11:39 PM (#3765678)
One thing I wanted to point out was the very different ways that Scutaro and Cameron are being handled. Both are veterans who played hurt last year and are on 2-year contracts. Both are in their mid/late 30s and in competition with younger, promising players who have health questions. Both have been pronounced healthy and ready to go. The one big difference that I can see is that Cameron's right-handedness would really balance the team's lineup in a way that Scutaro's wouldn't. And yet, going into spring training Francona has decided to declare Scutaro the starter but to relegate Cameron to the bench (possibly a platoon role). I've seen a few places that the Scutaro move was made to show loyalty to a veteran who played hurt last year, but that falls flat, given the Cameron situation. There must be some other reason.
   36. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 07, 2011 at 11:46 PM (#3765685)
I think the big difference is between Ellsbury and Lowrie - Ellsbury has two years under his belt as an MLB regular, while Lowrie has none. Lowrie still has to earn a job, Ellsbury already earned his a couple years ago. (You can read that sentence with scare quotes around "earn" and "earned" if you like.)

I get the sense there's still a good bit of skepticism of Lowrie's glove in the Red Sox organization. I don't have much (any) evidence for this, beyond a feeling that no one on NESN seemed to think Lowrie was a true shortstop, and the fact that Lowrie's played all over the infield this spring.

EDIT: I also wonder what Lowrie will have to do to earn a job. Every time I see a spring game, he's hitting frickin' lasers all over the field. The Sox can't keep him on the bench too long if he keeps hitting like he did last fall.
   37. Darren Posted: March 07, 2011 at 11:54 PM (#3765687)
That's a good explanation MC. I think you're probably right on all fronts.
   38. ptodd Posted: March 09, 2011 at 07:23 AM (#3766961)
Cameron has had trouble hitting RHP'ers for a few years now, and at 38 can hardly be trusted to stay healthy for a full season. Ellsbury on the other hand is a proven commodity over a couple of full seasons, unlike Lowrie.

If Lowrie hits like last year, I can see him winning the starting job before the end of the year, unless the concerns about his range at SS are real. Of course, with Iglesias waiting in the wings, he won't be the Red Sox starting shortstop for long. He best get used to his utility role until he is traded, or takes over for Youks at 3B in 2013 (if the Red Sox do not pick up Youks option after 2012).

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