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   1. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 03, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3816490)
I've been pleased with Albers so far. He doesn't look dominant but he looks like he is quite capable of doing the job that Wheeler was brought in to do. Papelbon looks ridiculously good. With the way he is using all his pitches I can see how he could have succeeded as a starter.

Bard has been the victim of bad timing. Small samples but leadoff hitters had a .364 OBP against him and those guys were coming around to score (Adam Everett the best example). He's going to be fine.

You are right that Jenks is the big story. If he can get whatever is flummoxing him straight the Sox should be OK out there.

The way this is shaping up I feel like we are going to see Doubront and maybe Bowden by June 15th. I just don't see Wheeler and the LOOGY of the week lasting at this rate. Doubront especially seems like a guy who just is too talented to leave in Pawtucket while the Boston bullpen flops around.

And did Rich Hill run over Theo's dog in Spring Training or something? Given what we have seen from our LOOGYs he seems to be doing a good enough job to warrant a look. Lefties are just 2 for 20 against him and Okajima is toast.
   2. Pingu Posted: May 03, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3816512)
Meanwhile, Ramon Ramirez has been lights out. Does anybody doubt that when the time comes, the Red Sox will DFA the wrong reliever?

Okajima shouldnt have a leash. You need to hold him directly by the collar at this point. I dont think he's got anything left to offer, but I can only partly fault them for giving him one last shot.

The best case scenario for Wheeler is starting to look like a Albers/Atchinson level of marginal usefulness (I'm actually a bit more optimistic for Wheeler than that though). But between those three, you've got a back end of the bullpen that should be decent enough. So I agree with all that the key is Jenks.

And I think its already past time to give Bowden a shot.
   3. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: May 03, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#3816590)
Jenks says he has detected a mechanical flaw. He says he was coming off the ball, which affected his control.
   4. Dale Sams Posted: May 03, 2011 at 04:08 PM (#3816647)
Thank god for Jonathan Papelbon, that’s all I got


Thank God for contract years!

I think Oki is perfectly "capable" of putting in good performances, as opposed to say 'done' like Mike Timlin was done at the end.

And Aceves was sent down...why? To stretch out and become the 6th starter *in cae* something happens? Plus .500 teams can save closers for save situations, start inferior SS's over superior ones cause you need your super-sub, and send down a perfectly fine reliever over inferior ones just *in case*.
   5. Dan Posted: May 03, 2011 at 06:44 PM (#3816816)
If Papelbon can keep pitching like this, I fully support re-signing him to a 3 year deal or so. There's plenty of money coming off of the payroll, and he looks like he's back to being one of the top 5 relievers in the game. The payroll will probably come down a little, but there should be plenty to pay Papelbon and also fill the other holes.

As for the present, I'd like to see Bowden get a shot, but Atchison doesn't do anything Wheeler can't do. They're both homer prone righties with unimpressive fastballs, except that Wheeler has a long track record of MLB success. Wheeler needs to be kept to facing right-handed hitters, and he'll be useful (yes, I know that righties hit him hard last night, but he has a history of dominant performance against RHH). Hill should probably get a shot; this team could use a real lefty specialist to pair with Wheeler and Okajima definitely doesn't look like he can be that guy.
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 03, 2011 at 06:57 PM (#3816830)
And Aceves was sent down...why?


He has options. Who do you release to keep Aceves on the roster?

Papelbon
Bard
Jenks
Wheeler

aren't going anywhere yet, though I suspect Wheeler's rope is a bit shorter.

That leaves Wake, Albers and Aceves. I think for now the Sox are better having all three in the organization and seeing things play out before letting go of someone potentially useful. Wake did a great job in a spot start the other day and Albers has pitched well.

start inferior SS's over superior ones cause you need your super-sub


I don't know if you've noticed but Jed Lowrie is the Red Sox starting shortstop.
   7. Dale Sams Posted: May 03, 2011 at 09:16 PM (#3817002)
now.
   8. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 03, 2011 at 09:23 PM (#3817007)
Really, the 12 games it took before Lowrie took over is that big a deal?
   9. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 04, 2011 at 03:00 AM (#3817474)
Papelbon looked like crap tonight. Couldn't locate much, but he did have some zip on the fastball. Going 3-2 to the first batter he faced got my hackles up.
   10. Dale Sams Posted: May 04, 2011 at 03:11 AM (#3817485)
Really, the 12 games it took before Lowrie took over is that big a deal?


Nahhhh..2-10. Not a big deal at all*. And you forgot Oki on your list. I think.

Maybe it was 3-9. I don't remember.

The point is, it's been since 2008 that the Sox won a playoff game. Tito's used up all his rope with me. The irrational devotion to vets (1). The not thinking outside the box. The saving a closer until a save situation on the road,... unless he hasn't pitched in awhile, then he'll burn him up and make him not available for the next day. And now it actually appears Bard is being saved for Holds. Though that appears to be less slavish.

(1) "Tito, is there a battle for shortstop this spring?" "What? F*** no."

*And you know..YOU KNOW if Lowrie hadn't been blasting the cover off the ball, if he were *just* batting .270, Scoots would still be the starting SS.
   11. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 04, 2011 at 04:06 AM (#3817534)
The Sox likely would have been 2-10 with Lowrie in there every day to start the season. They were getting crushed pretty regularly. Maybe having him in there would have left them 3-9. I know he's God's gift and the second friggen coming of Honus Wagner but are we allowed to point out that he's got a .260 OBP since that tear it up home stand? Just because Tito said there wasn't a battle for shortstop doesn't change the fact that it took him about 15 minutes to come to the conclusion to yank Scutaro. The idea that Francona entered this season 100% committed to Scutaro as his stating shortstop is pretty strongly belied by his actions.

What vets are getting jobs that should be given to kids? As noted, Lowrie got the starting job pretty quickly and during the Francona years many kids have been promoted; Youkilis, Pedroia, Lester, Papelbon, Buchholz, Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia is being given every chance to earn the catching job. Who is being blocked? Are we going to revisit Roberto Petagine again? Is he the "young" player who Tito screwed?

I didn't mention Oki because whether it's him or someone else, you know there's going to be a lefty out there. I'd be fine not having one but I would wager that every team in baseball has one even at the expense of superior righties. I can't condemn Tito for something that every team in baseball does. I think there is a pretty strong argument to be had that Aceves being stretched out at Pawtucket is probably more valuable in the long run than having him pitch an inning once a week in Boston.

Beyond that, it's Alfredo Friggen Aceves. If the Sox season is dependent on Alfredo Aceves, we're done, pack it in, it's over.

Are you really worried that Daniel Bard doesn't get used enough? The guy was fifth in the AL in games last year and is on pace for 75 more this year. In 7 of his 14 outings so far he has entered the game with the score tied or the Sox behind. In each case they were behind it was a 1 or 2 run game so it wasn't just a " get some work" outing.

I'm not nearly as bothered as most by the "wait for the save" in extra innings on the road but fine. Again, that's something just about every manager in baseball does as a general rule.

You're right though. It's been two horrible seasons since we won a playoff game. Life as a Red Sox fan is grueling.
   12. Darren Posted: May 04, 2011 at 01:16 PM (#3817669)
You're right though. It's been two horrible seasons since we won a playoff game. Life as a Red Sox fan is grueling.


This is such a strawman and one that gets brought up EVERY TIME someone dares to criticize the Red Sox management. The Red Sox have a humongous payroll. The bar for them is a big higher than 'not horrible.' Even if that was the bar, it would still be well within reason for a fan to criticize some of the things that they are doing.

Dale has brought up a few specific examples to illustrate what he doesn't like about what the Sox are doing right now. It's easy to wave away any individual criticism with statements like 'that single move would not have changed them from 2-10 to 8-4' or 'if you take away all of Lowrie's good games, he's pretty bad.' But that doesn't mean the criticism is wrong.

On the Lowrie question, though, I think you've mischaracterized how quickly the change was made. Lowrie was much better than Scutaro at the end of last year and was much better in the spring. That's a lot longer than 15 minutes. Then when the season started, not only did Francona stick with Scutaro, Lowrie barely played at all during the first 12 games, putting up 19 PAs.
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 04, 2011 at 01:28 PM (#3817678)
Dale actually said: "The point is, it's been since 2008 that the Sox won a playoff game. Tito's used up all his rope with me." Jose's rebuttal is to that, and it's perfectly on point. That was a bad argument. The rest of Jose's post was a response to the more substantive criticisms.

I likewise really can't see how switching out a veteran shortstop for a rookie after twelve games can be criticized as a slow reaction. There was, as Darren says, a perfectly reasonable case for a job-sharing arrangement. So, over 12 games, Lowrie should have started six or seven games instead of three. It's just an incredibly minor criticism.

EDIT: I'm sure someone's going to quibble with "rookie". "Non-established player" or whatever conveys the same point.
   14. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 04, 2011 at 01:42 PM (#3817688)
The bar is high, but the Sox have made the playoffs in 6 of the last 8 years. I'm sorry if I can't get fired up. They got swept by the Angels in '09, that sucked, but it's not like they are set to miss the playoffs the next five years. Calling what I said a strawman ignores the "haven't won a playoff game since 2008" strawman as if 2009 is a meaningless season. Would 2009 have been better if Jonathan Papelbon threw one more strike to Erick Aybar? I'm fine holding the Sox to a higher standard but unless you think Tito is going to run them to a succeession of missed playoff appearances a streak of one year does not a trend make.

I think the Sox had (and probably still have) concerns about Lowrie's defense. In fairness he has looked pretty solid out there but there seems to be this opinion that this guy is Tulowitzki. I think we need to settle down a bit. I think the Sox wanted/needed to be convinced that his strong second half last year was the "real" Jed Lowrie. For some reason people seem to be ignoring his overall body of work in favor of his most recent performance.

As I noted in a previous thread there are reasons to trust recent performance over pre-2010 performances but you know as well as I do that trusting the most recent results is a great way to get Francoeured.

'if you take away all of Lowrie's good games, he's pretty bad.


Not quite what I said but admittedly, I was going for a bit of snark. It got a bit annoying that every time the guy had a moderately decent day people would start screaming "HE NEEDS TO BE IN THE LINEUP" but the moment he goes in a slump it gets completely ignored.
   15. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 04, 2011 at 01:54 PM (#3817692)
If Papelbon can keep pitching like this, I fully support re-signing him to a 3 year deal or so. There's plenty of money coming off of the payroll, and he looks like he's back to being one of the top 5 relievers in the game. The payroll will probably come down a little, but there should be plenty to pay Papelbon and also fill the other holes.

I don't think the Sox will reduce payroll, or at least it isn't a goal. If they can't find anybody worth spending on it might drop. I thin they are perfectly comfortable spending right up to the LT threshold. The Sox were out in dront escalating their payroll, but pretty much everyone has followed suit. The Phillies are now spending just as much as the Sox, and there are a number of teams spending in the 140's (and that's without the Mets and Dodgers, who should be there too). I see no reason the Sox can't spend in the 160-170 range.

BTW, I would also not mind a 3 year deal for Paps. I mean it couldn't turn out any worse than the Soriano deal for the Yanks ;). Plus keeping Bard from racking up saves probably keeps his arb figure down (sorry Dan). And I've actually liked how the Sox have used Bard. They've brought him in in the 7th several times now, to get out of jams, like in Monday's game against the Angels. Runner on third whom they really needed to keep from scoring, they brought him in in the 7th. So it's not like he's the designated 8th inning guy, they've been leveraging him pretty well so far.
   16. tfbg9 Posted: May 04, 2011 at 01:57 PM (#3817697)
What's the most games Lowrie's ever played?
They were probably thinking they ought to avoid burning him out, but the horrible start by the rest of the hitters made them adjust on the fly, so desperate were they for anybody who could hit at that point.
   17. tfbg9 Posted: May 04, 2011 at 01:58 PM (#3817698)
It'll be interesting to see the actual contibtions per game played for each of the UT men by season's end.

Lowrie seems to make the plays, but my eyes see Scutaro as the better SS.
   18. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3817702)
I think the Sox had (and probably still have) concerns about Lowrie's defense. In fairness he has looked pretty solid out there but there seems to be this opinion that this guy is Tulowitzki. I think we need to settle down a bit. I think the Sox wanted/needed to be convinced that his strong second half last year was the "real" Jed Lowrie. For some reason people seem to be ignoring his overall body of work in favor of his most recent performance.

To be fair, much of his meh performance was after his wrist injury, which are notorious for players needing some time to fully recover from. So it's not like there was no reason to discount that period at least somewhat. Lowrie's pretty much always hit when healthy (and there of course is the rub).
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:01 PM (#3817704)
Papelbon's year-to-year qualitative inconsistency scares me when I think about a multi-year extension. I love the pitcher he's showed up as this year, and the pitcher he showed up as in 2006, 2007 and 2008 were really great, the one is 2009 very good, and only the 2010 version was really a problem. But each one was noticeably different - adding and dropping secondary pitches every year, different arm slots, changes in command and velocity - and I don't love that.

I wonder if Papelbon is the exception to whom "contract year" - otherwise not shown to have utility in projecting baseball players - might apply. If Papelbon has been keeping parts of his game in check to protect his shoulder, he'd have good reason to take a few more risks in his contract year. But I'm entirely making that up. I don't actually know what the causes of Papelbon's qualitative inconsistency are, and they're probably much more complicated that all that.
   20. Dale Sams Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:04 PM (#3817708)
I likewise really can't see how switching out a veteran shortstop for a rookie after twelve games can be criticized as a slow reaction


Meh. You all and your "logic".

Sometimes my brain occupies not only "What Tito is doing now" but also "What Tito would have done if this had occured" combined with the fact that I don't think the Sox are making the playoffs this year, so it will actually be October 2012 before they get a chance to win a playoff game... making it four years between playoff wins.

So yes, I criticize Tito for things he's done, things he might have done and things that haven't occured yet. Such is the curse of my occupying all points on the space-time continuum at once.
   21. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:12 PM (#3817712)
I think Papelbon fits in with the Lowrie stuff. Just as Lowrie had some injury issues impacting his performance we have seen a vastly different Papelbon this year. His arsenal is much different than in the past and if that is a real change, not just a temporary thing, I think there is reason to believe he will be very good moving forward.

I imagine that I will waffle on whether I want to see the Sox re-sign him or not pretty heavily as the year progresses. The combination of Bard/Papelbon out there is pretty potent. Having a strong setup/closer pairing gives the Sox a leg up when putting together a bullpen.
   22. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:13 PM (#3817713)
Dale, I generally think Slowhook McVetfetish has been horrendous this year. But one of the few things I would not criticise him for is how he handled the Scutaro/Lowrie situation. That and his use of Bard, as mentioned above. His game management OTOH... shoot me now.
   23. Darren Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:14 PM (#3817716)
Perhaps I'm overly sympathetic to Dale's point of view, but I read it as something like, 'as long as you're winning constantly, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on all of the things that look like bad decisions. But now that you're not, it seems reasonable to bring them up.' In no way did I read that to mean that the Sox have had two horrible seasons.

This sort of comes back to the question I keep asking: when will it be alright to criticize Francona? When will it be okay to blame him for anything at all? Or do the two world series wins mean he'll have this job as long as he wants it and never be criticized to boot?

I think the Sox had (and probably still have) concerns about Lowrie's defense. In fairness he has looked pretty solid out there but there seems to be this opinion that this guy is Tulowitzki. I think we need to settle down a bit. I think the Sox wanted/needed to be convinced that his strong second half last year was the "real" Jed Lowrie. For some reason people seem to be ignoring his overall body of work in favor of his most recent performance.


How were they going to be convinced with him starting once a week?
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:26 PM (#3817724)
I doubt Papelbon will agree to a 3-year contract...

This sort of comes back to the question I keep asking: when will it be alright to criticize Francona? When will it be okay to blame him for anything at all? Or do the two world series wins mean he'll have this job as long as he wants it and never be criticized to boot?


Sometimes when people disagree with the criticism itself, you react as if people don't think you are allowed to criticize Francona, and there is a difference.
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:26 PM (#3817725)
when will it be alright to criticize Francona? When will it be okay to blame him for anything at all? Or do the two world series wins mean he'll have this job as long as he wants it and never be criticized to boot?
To whom are these questions addressed? I'm one of Francona's primary defenders on this board, and I criticize him all the time. Who has refused to listen to Francona criticisms, and never presented any themselves?

I do think that there's a very different point being made in part of your last question - "do the two world series wins mean he'll have this job as long as he wants it?" On the purely predictive question, yes. Francona looks like a competent manager who works well with his bosses and has maintained good relationships with a rotating cast of players. He's pretty young. It's going to take a real change in how Francona manages and how he works with his bosses in order for him to lose this job.

I assume you were also asking, does Francona deserve to keep this job, and at what point will he deserve to be canned? I certainly do not believe he deserves to be canned. His players have played well for him, he hasn't had any known problems with the front office, he's integrated young players into his rosters, he's platooned, he's built some good bullpens recently - that was one of the main criticisms of Francona early on - and I don't see his tactics as a major issue. He's done well, tactically, in the postseason.

I'd be interested to see actual systematic evidence for either "slowhook" or "vetfetish". I'm open to the idea that Francona leaves his starters in longer than average, but I'd like to see evidence that this tendency (a) exists and (b) has hurt the club in aggregate. I don't see a vet fetish. I'm looking back over Red Sox rosters in the hope of finding even a single example of this tendency.
   26. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3817729)
This sort of comes back to the question I keep asking: when will it be alright to criticize Francona? When will it be okay to blame him for anything at all? Or do the two world series wins mean he'll have this job as long as he wants it and never be criticized to boot?


It's perfectly fair to criticize Francona. I think a lot of the specific criticisms are unfair. Just considering the two most common ones;

Vets over kids - Maybe he could be quicker but a lot of kids have gotten promoted under him, both to the bigs and to important roles. You can say he only does it when guys "earn" it but why should he hand over a starting job to a guy who hasn't earned it when he's being held to the high standard of win now? Maybe I'm missing someone but I genuinely can't think of anyone who wasn't given a fair shot.

Bullpen management - My problems with these criticisms is that they are MLB wide criticisms, not Tito criticisms. I'd like to see relievers all around baseball used differently but I don't think Francona does anything incredibly unusual and stupid. Fancy Pants notes that he has been very good with the way he has used Bard this year, using him in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th innings already.

You had some criticisms of his handling of Crawford early in the year that I think were perfectly valid. I don't know that I quite agree because Tito is in that clubhouse and I'll assume he knows better than I what Crawford's mindset is but you raised a valid question.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3817733)
I will say that if the Red Sox stay reasonably healthy and don't turn it around to get themselves into the playoff hunt, there will be ample room to criticize Francona. His teams have not historically underplayed expectations, but Francona doesn't have a history of outstripping expectations either. If the 2011 Red Sox don't get destroyed by injuries but still miss the playoffs by any kind of significant margin, that will be an incredibly disappointing season and one for which the manager must take blame.
   28. Dale Sams Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3817742)
I'd be interested to see actual systematic evidence for either "slowhook" or "vetfetish". I'm open to the idea that Francona leaves his starters in longer than average, but I'd like to see evidence that this tendency (a) exists and (b) has hurt the club in aggregate. I don't see a vet fetish. I'm looking back over Red Sox rosters in the hope of finding even a single example of this tendency.


The vet thing I've been saying so long, I don't know why I started. I'm sure it has something to do with the rotting carcass of Tim Wakefield and whatever robot double they used of him the other night. But the Scutaro situation in the spring is the only concrete point I have of that.

As for the Slow Hook thing though...I'm pretty sure in games where I've screamed "No, pull him now! Don't wait until this guy gets on!" the batter has a .600 OBP. I'm serious. And it's not selective memory. But it's just me quibbling for the most part. It's a tendency, not a fatal flaw. Now of course, ...except for the 2008 ALCS game 2... I don't have solid evidence. I don't write it down everytime it happens.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: May 04, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3817748)
I think Slow Hook is perfectly fair and accurate. But as Dale says, its usually a tendency not a fatal flaw.
   30. Dale Sams Posted: May 04, 2011 at 03:00 PM (#3817750)
Well hopefully the last two nights are a sign of things to come, and we can get back to the time-honored tradition of bashing J.D. Drew.
   31. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 04, 2011 at 03:09 PM (#3817756)
I feel like the slow hook stuff really got traction with the game Dale brought up. And let's face facts, I love the guy but Francona butchered the hell out of the game that night but I feel like that's where it really got going.
   32. tfbg9 Posted: May 04, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#3817766)
But as Dale says, its usually a tendency not a fatal flaw


And its mostly a regular season tendency to give a vet guy every opportunity to get a W.
It makes sense to me in the big picture way, but I yell at the TV with the rest of you every time it happens when I'm watching.

Darren, btw, pulled the ol' triple reverse Staute of Liberty play, where you pull out a Gheorghe Muresan-sized strawman, while
accusing the other guy of making the strawman arguement:


Or do the two world series wins mean he'll have this job as long as he wants it and never be criticized to boot?
   33. tfbg9 Posted: May 04, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3817783)
Bard, 2011, high lev PA's:



.385 .429 .462 .890

This has perhaps cost the team a game or two, this bad timing right here.
   34. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 04, 2011 at 04:40 PM (#3817844)
I will say that if the Red Sox stay reasonably healthy and don't turn it around to get themselves into the playoff hunt, there will be ample room to criticize Francona. His teams have not historically underplayed expectations, but Francona doesn't have a history of outstripping expectations either. If the 2011 Red Sox don't get destroyed by injuries but still miss the playoffs by any kind of significant margin, that will be an incredibly disappointing season and one for which the manager must take blame.


Why must the manager take the blame? There were/are questions at two positions, not including the bullpen - catcher and SS. Fancona has done fine on the SS front so far, I question the amount of playing time Varitek has gotten, but it's not like Salty has played well either. The bullpen construction so far has been based on who has remaining minor league options, nothing crazy has happened there. So that leaves who actually pitches in the games - has Francona really done much that screams 'bad move'? Any more than any other manager (as #26 notes)?
My point being, why wouldn't you just blame the shitty play of the players? Crawford has been terrible at the plate. Pedroia can't get the ball out of the infield recently. Drew seems to be declining a bit. Both catchers are a black hole. Gonzalez got off to a slow start, with little power. Every starting pitcher has had crappy to downright shitty starts. But it's all Francona's fault? What could he have done differently?
   35. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 04, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3817864)
If the Sox come up short in the way MCoA suggests I think there will be ample blame to go around. Francona probably won't deserve the majority of the blame but just as he has deserved credit for steering his ship to the playoffs in the past I think to come up short with a playoff-caliber team is going to deserve some consideration.

Managers ALWAYS get too much credit and too much blame but if this club fails, everyone should be held to account.

For the first time I'm feeling like that is not going to happen. I watched last night's game with an optimism I had not felt in awhile. Even when they were down I felt like "hey, losing to Haren is nothing to worry about." Seeing the rally obviously boosted my mood considerably.

Incidentally, just looking it up, last night was the first time in 2011 that the Sox had gained a game on the Yankees other than the two head to head meetings. The previous 11 non-Yankee wins had either taken place on a day the Yankees had an off day or had earned a victory.
   36. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 04, 2011 at 05:33 PM (#3817886)
But it's all Francona's fault?
Obviously I never said "all".

Generally, I think a lot of the evaluation of managers should be done holistically and after-the-fact. A big chunk of a manager's job is to get the best performance out of his players, and we don't see him doing that during the season, we just see the effects. Obviously we can't identify which performances were more or less impacted by the manager, but I generally give managers some of the credit when a team overperforms and some of the blame when they underperform. It's the best way, I think, to deal with our lack of knowledge.
   37. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 04, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#3817932)
Scroll down a bit for Jed Lowrie's memories of draft day.
   38. Darren Posted: May 04, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#3818021)
To whom are these questions addressed? I'm one of Francona's primary defenders on this board, and I criticize him all the time. Who has refused to listen to Francona criticisms, and never presented any themselves?


I'm not going to be google boy today (it's not my turn), but there are plenty of examples in ST like this one where someone criticizes Francona (Dale's #10) and is met with talk of 'this one move that you're talking about wouldn't turn the season around on it's own so it's pointless' or 'he won 2 World Series' or some such plus some dismissive comment (#11).
   39. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 04, 2011 at 07:22 PM (#3818037)
I really think you're completely misreading Jose's post. He specifically addressed every single one of Dale's specific criticisms and never said that criticism was illegitimate. (If he thought that, why did he respond to every single criticism?)

Dale said that "playoff wins 2009-2010" was a good metric for evaluating Francona, and the lack of success of the Red Sox under Francona had led him to give up on Francona. Jose responded that the Red Sox have been extremely successful under Francona. (He used a bit more snark than that, but it was the point.)

Jose never said the thing you said he said.
talk of 'this one move that you're talking about wouldn't turn the season around on it's own so it's pointless' or 'he won 2 World Series' or some such plus some dismissive comment
The latter is not a good argument, unless the person you're arguing with is claiming that the Red Sox have not been successful enough under Francona.

The former is not a good argument if the question is, "did Francona make the right call?" It is a good argument if the question is "when will Francona deserve to be fired?" If a move he made is very low-leverage, it should have only a small amount of weight in evaluating whether he's doing a good job.

Entirely dismissing all criticism of Tito is wrong, obviously. I think you're seeing blanket dismissals in a thread where there haven't actually been any.
   40. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 04, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#3818043)
Since 11 is my comment, I'll address that.

I wasn't saying Dale couldn't criticize Francona. All I did was point out as a rebuttal that the criticism exceeded the impact the move would have had. I think if you go through this thread you'll find that most of the back and forth has addressed the specific criticisms by providing responses that demonstrate why we do not think the specific criticisms are valid.

To be quite clear, it is fine if you think Jed Lowrie should have started over Marco Scutaro to start the season but there are two points I would make in response to that;

1. There were valid questions about Lowrie (true talent level, defense, health) that made Scutaro a reasonable starter.
2. The decision to switch to Lowrie was made quite rapidly in the grand scheme of things.

For those reasons I've found the amount of complaining about Lowrie/Scutaro to be in excess of the import of the decision.

And the dismissive comment at the end had nothing to do with Tito and everything to do with what I considered a fairly whiny comment from Dale. Maybe I could have phrased it better.
   41. Dale Sams Posted: May 04, 2011 at 07:59 PM (#3818076)
Dale said that "playoff wins 2009-2010" was a good metric for evaluating Francona, and the lack of success of the Red Sox under Francona had led him to give up on Francona


No, no. Darren is on point with, " 'as long as you're winning constantly, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on all of the things that look like bad decisions. But now that you're not, it seems reasonable to bring them up'"

I didn't say I'd given up on Tito, just that I'm going to be a lot louder critcizing moves like the other night when he brough Wheeler into the Oakland game when down by 1 and Jenks, Bard and Papelbon were well-rested.
   42. Dale Sams Posted: May 04, 2011 at 07:59 PM (#3818075)
Dale said that "playoff wins 2009-2010" was a good metric for evaluating Francona, and the lack of success of the Red Sox under Francona had led him to give up on Francona


No, no. Darren is on point with, " 'as long as you're winning constantly, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on all of the things that look like bad decisions. But now that you're not, it seems reasonable to bring them up'"

I didn't say I'd given up on Tito, just that I'm going to be a lot louder critcizing moves like the other night when he brough Wheeler into the Oakland game when down by 1 and Jenks, Bard and Papelbon were well-rested.
   43. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 04, 2011 at 08:26 PM (#3818104)
It's always reasonable to bring up bad decisions. As I noted, I don't think the decisions you have discussed are without merit. You listed in your original comment three specific criticsms;

1. Aceves being sent down
Response: The Sox are going with a LOOGY so Aceves is the right guy to send down so you don't lose Wake/Albers as over the course of 162 games all three will probably be needed.

2. Closers in non-save situations
Response: Agreed in general but pointed out that every team in baseball acts this way so criticizing Tito is a bit unfair

3. Lowrie/Scutaro
Response: The Sox made the change with less than 10% of the schedule played. The ultimate impact of this would have been tremendously minor AND there were reasons to go with Scutaro to start the season.

I don't see anywhere that I said "Thou shalt not criticize Tito." Perhaps I wrote it that way but I know for certain that was not my point.
   44. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 05, 2011 at 04:14 AM (#3818514)
So, I'm going to bed and I'm assuming (a) the Red Sox will lose and (b) it will be Dan Wheeler's fault and (c) this will be blamed on Tito and (d) this will be what this thread is about tomorrow.

My take is that the problem is much more the bullpen itself than the management of it. Bard had thrown back-to-back days and was probably not available. That means the Sox had to get 4.2 innings out of Albers, Wheeler, Okajima, Jenks, and Papelbon. (I'm assuming they save Wake for extras, since they wouldn't want him pitching otherwise, anyway.)

Once you get two innings out of Albers, you've got to get two innings out of Jenks, Okajima, and Wheeler. I think the right call here was Jenks, hoping he has his good stuff and can go two innings, with Oki as a possible lefty specialist and Wheeler if Jenks' wheels come off. Wheeler looks like the wrong call, but he's a bad call in a universe without much good stuff in it.

The real problem, here, is that the Red Sox are carrying three pitchers who no one wants to see anywhere near a leveraged inning. Dan Wheeler looks entirely toasted, and Okajima basically the same. And Wake is Wake. The Red Sox have too few useful relievers, and almost none of their useful relievers can throw more than an inning. In retrospect, we should have seen that was going to bite them in the ass once one of their starters couldn't get through five innings.

(If it turns out Bard was available, then I'll just straight up blame Tito.)
   45. Dale Sams Posted: May 05, 2011 at 04:19 AM (#3818521)
(shrug) I was kinda hoping someone would mention it, just to talk about it. But you're right for the most part. I'd still try and leave Wheeler out all together since I have more faith in Jenks (somehow) and Oki, than Wheeler. But what can ya do.
   46. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 05, 2011 at 07:23 AM (#3818723)
I think he went to Wheeler because he felt he could only get one out of Papelbon and Bard so he tried to steal one from Wheeler. Obviously be wanted to stay away from Jenks. This is where I think Francona is looking longer term than a lot of folks prefer. Bard for two makes sense on May 4 but he has to save some innings somewhere.

I think the PR for Gonzalez was the right call but running for Ortiz made no sense to me. That more than the bullpen management was the decision I found lacking.
   47. Dan Posted: May 05, 2011 at 07:28 AM (#3818725)
That game was depressing. Pinch-running for Gonzalez and Ortiz was dumb, and then playing Lowrie at first with Youks at third afterwards was dumb too. The defense would be better AT BOTH POSITIONS if they were reversed.

And Tim Bogar has no more business coaching third base than I have performing open heart surgery.



My take is that the problem is much more the bullpen itself than the management of it. Bard had thrown back-to-back days and was probably not available. That means the Sox had to get 4.2 innings out of Albers, Wheeler, Okajima, Jenks, and Papelbon. (I'm assuming they save Wake for extras, since they wouldn't want him pitching otherwise, anyway.)


Bard ended up PITCHING TWO INNINGS IN EXTRAS. Why the hell wasn't he in for the 7th? And then Wake was burned for 2 outs in a game that ended up going 12 innings. The bullpen management tonight was inexcusably awful.
   48. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 05, 2011 at 12:33 PM (#3818767)
Bard ended up PITCHING TWO INNINGS IN EXTRAS. Why the hell wasn't he in for the 7th?


I could be wrong but I would assume that Francona entered the game thinking "stay away from Bard, one inning at the most" but nowhere in his calculations was "13 inning game with 3 hour rain delay after the 4th inning." I think had Wheeler done his job it would have been Wheeler-Bard-Papelbon in the 7-8-9th.

Would you have preferred Francona had Wake pitch the 10th with Papelbon cooling his heels in the bullpen?

I think you HAVE to pinch run for Gonzalez in that spot. 8th inning, two outs, down a run in scoring position. There is a high enough likelihood of a play that would score Scutaro that wouldn't score Gonzalez that you have to do it. As noted above, the Ortiz decision makes no sense to me.

The Sox kind of have to make some sort of roster move today don't they? If nothing else just to get Doubront or Bowden or someone that could pitch a medium leverage 7th inning. I would bet that Papelbon is available for a one inning close and that Jenks will set him up. Beyond that the 'pen looks a bit dicey. Wake for long duty and Wheeler for whatever you might want him for but I don't think anyone is interested in Wheeler today. This might be one where Lackey goes 120 pitches regardless of how he pitches.
   49. Darren Posted: May 05, 2011 at 01:10 PM (#3818783)
I went to bed assuming this one was called because it was not on NESN at 10:30 and there was no "Rain Delay" icon anywhere on the screen. WTF?

So, having not seen it, I'm having a very hard time figuring out the thinking behind most of the pitching moves. You know your pen is burnt but you pull Wakefield in the 10th after 2/3 of an inning? You don't use Pap for the 9th but then use him in the 10th? Worst of all, Dice K? You put yourself in a position where you have to use Dice, pitcher who was pulled from his previous start for injury and pushed back 2 days, a pitcher who has all sorts of command trouble when he is prepared to pitch--that's who you put in the game? I'd have sooner gone to a position player, but they'd all been used up as pinchrunners.

Worse than all of this, of course, is that Dustin Pedroia is now the worst hitter in baseball. 0-6 with 4 Ks--ouch. You'd think that someone that good would not spend a month at a time looking like a pitcher at the plate. And it's just the results--his approach during these slumps is really ugly. He swings at everything he can reach and seems to start every AB down 0-2. You'd think he could pull back a bit (or the hitting coach could) and see that he needs to stop that.
   50. Pingu Posted: May 05, 2011 at 01:22 PM (#3818789)
Wait, did you guys (those on the east coast) actually watch the game last night? I just assumed after seeing Matsuzaka with a L in extras that it was a throw away game. One you'd like to win obviously, but not worth getting worked up about.

Tito has a slow hook. I dont know how anyone could think otherwise. Its not with all pitchers, but guys like Lackey and Beckett esp. he gets it in his head that they are "horses" and can work through jams they have no business working through. Did it with Schilling all the time.

Oh, and a 3 year deal for Papelbon? The same Papelbon the collective Sox Therapy wanted to non-tender for 1/$11M before this season to pay for 2 Wheeler-ish bullpen arms? Strange what a 2nd pitch and 12 innings will do for a guys rep.
   51. Darren Posted: May 05, 2011 at 01:23 PM (#3818790)
I could be wrong but I would assume that Francona entered the game thinking "stay away from Bard, one inning at the most" but nowhere in his calculations was "13 inning game with 3 hour rain delay after the 4th inning." I think had Wheeler done his job it would have been Wheeler-Bard-Papelbon in the 7-8-9th.


Yes, but I don't think his thinking before the game is particularly relevant. Once the rain delay happened, he had to plan for what to do afterward. I think he has to bite the bullet and give someone a few innings, then save Wakefield to finish up if necessary.
   52. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 05, 2011 at 01:24 PM (#3818791)
I think you HAVE to pinch run for Gonzalez in that spot. 8th inning, two outs, down a run in scoring position. There is a high enough likelihood of a play that would score Scutaro that wouldn't score Gonzalez that you have to do it
I'm really skeptical that the numbers work out on this. The likelihood of a single that isn't either directly at a fielder or right into the gap - in which case the runner doesn't matter - is not high. Kevin Youkilis doesn't hit that many singles, and he hits a ton of doubles and homers. The cookie that he got from Rodney could easily have been one he could put off the wall.

What happened with Jenks? I swear I saw him warming at one point, then he went back down. How was Jenks not pitching the 13th? Or, for that matter, the 7th? Are the Sox more down on Jenks than Wheeler? (Scary thought.)

It just seemed like reactive managing. He wanted to stay away from Bard, but he backed himself into a position where he had to throw him. He wanted to avoid using Papelbon or Bard in the 9th, but he ended up burning his long man. Not well done.
   53. Darren Posted: May 05, 2011 at 01:27 PM (#3818794)
Oh, and a 3 year deal for Papelbon? The same Papelbon the collective Sox Therapy wanted to non-tender for 1/$11M before this season to pay for 2 Wheeler-ish bullpen arms? Strange what a 2nd pitch and 12 innings will do for a guys rep.


That's about 4 Wheeler-ish pitchers. It's two Jenks!
   54. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 05, 2011 at 01:27 PM (#3818795)
there was no "Rain Delay" icon anywhere on the screen. WTF?


Yeah, that was an odd bit of programming from a bunch of folks who usually are more than enthusiastic about telling you what will be on and when.

I'm having a very hard time figuring out the thinking behind most of the pitching moves. You know your pen is burnt but you pull Wakefield in the 10th after 2/3 of an inning? You don't use Pap for the 9th but then use him in the 10th? Worst of all, Dice K?


I don't know what you want to do about Wakefield's outing. If you assume Papelbon is going to be stayed away from after working two days in a row you probably don't want to use him on a second straight day when you are losing. Once the Sox tie the game you kind of have to go to him I think.

Just some stuff from Pete Abe;

- Jenks warmed up but his arm "cramped up."
- Answering some of the questions in the chatter about Cameron being in the lineup evidently Drew was having a vertigo issue and was unavailable.
- Aceves is the scheduled starter at Pawtucket and it seems likely that he will be in Boston today.
   55. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 05, 2011 at 01:31 PM (#3818797)
Yes, but I don't think his thinking before the game is particularly relevant. Once the rain delay happened, he had to plan for what to do afterward. I think he has to bite the bullet and give someone a few innings, then save Wakefield to finish up if necessary.


Yeah, I can see that.
   56. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 05, 2011 at 01:33 PM (#3818799)
Wait, did you guys (those on the east coast) actually watch the game last night?


Went to bed after the Bruin game, woke up with Ellsbury up in the ninth. Tried to get back to sleep but by the bottom of the 11th I was up.
   57. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 05, 2011 at 01:39 PM (#3818802)
If you assume Papelbon is going to be stayed away from after working two days in a row you probably don't want to use him on a second straight day when you are losing. Once the Sox tie the game you kind of have to go to him I think.
Which means you have only three innings of relief pitching left in the pen. Tito created the problem by using Wake there. You can't burn your long man in that situation - if you use Wake in the 9th, you have to be ready to use him in the 10th. It's gotta be Papelbon or Bard.

Basically, I think Tito didn't think his plan all the way through when the rain delay came. He had one plan to get 4.2 innings without using Bard, but that plan entailed completely blowing up his bullpen if it went extras. It wasn't the right plan.
   58. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 05, 2011 at 01:53 PM (#3818813)
Basically, I think Tito didn't think his plan all the way through when the rain delay came


Two counterarguments;

1. This is a vastly different thing if Wheeler or Okajima can do their job. Of course it was not entirely unpredictable that they would do what they did but that brings us to...

2. I wonder when Tito was told about Jenks unavailability. Jenks is supposed to be a 2 inning guy. Give him 2 innings of Jenks and this looks different.

Just throwing this out there. From what I saw I think this was the plan;

Ahead tied
Albers 5/6
Wheeler 7
Bard 8
Papelbon 9
Jenks/Okajima/Wakefield 10-??

Behind
Albers 5/6
Wheeler/Okajima 7-9
Bard/Papelbon/Jenks/Wakefield 10-??

EDIT: As I think this through I am more and more curious about Jenks. That's a big change to the way this plays out I think.
   59. Nasty Nate Posted: May 05, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3818826)
Papelbon was warming in the bottom of the 8th, right? If he comes in for the 9th they probably win, right? Why get cute and save him for extra innings that might not happen?
   60. Darren Posted: May 05, 2011 at 02:33 PM (#3818867)
I'm surprised to hear Pap was warming in the 8th and didn't come in for the 9th. After all, that's exactly why he pitched in a 7-1 game the day before.
   61. Nasty Nate Posted: May 05, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3818896)
I was listening to the radio so I'm not sure, but I thought he was warming during the Sox rally and I assumed he would be pitching no matter what because the rain delay had used up a few relievers, so why mess w/ Wake coming off a start or Okie for a 3rd inning.
   62. Dale Sams Posted: May 05, 2011 at 03:15 PM (#3818918)
It would have been funny/not funny if someone had been hurt in say, the 12th inning...."Now playing shortstop, John Lackey."
   63. Dale Sams Posted: May 05, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#3818927)
I have a rough theory that I've never heard of before. Can you take a managers record in extra inning games and use that as a metric of his on-field prowess?

Francona is 38-42 with the Red Sox. Otherwise his record is .574 over 8 years.
   64. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 05, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3818937)
Red Sox made two moves this morning, per Sean McAdam on Twitter:
Dan Wheeler and Bobby Jenks both to the DL to make room for Hill, Atchison.
This puts last night in somewhat different perspective. What the #### were Wheeler and Jenks doing pitching (or warming up) in a tie game in the 7th inning if they were already hurt? What the #### were the Red Sox training staff doing if they didn't know Wheeler and Jenks were already hurt last night?

EDIT: I mean, it's theoretically possible that Wheeler and Jenks have both been basically healthy all season and terrible for unrelated reasons, and then yesterday they both happened to get hurt. That seems exceedingly unlikely.

EDIT2: I guess a possible semi-exculpatory explanation would that the Sox need arms today and both Wheeler and Jenks need time off, so they're being "DL'ed" without actually having particular pressing injury problems. The issue there is, though, if they need time off, they need time off. It's not like Dan Wheeler needed to be on a major league roster, pitching in a major league game, in a high-leverage situation, last night.
   65. SoSH U at work Posted: May 05, 2011 at 03:50 PM (#3818945)
Papelbon was warming in the bottom of the 8th, right? If he comes in for the 9th they probably win, right? Why get cute and save him for extra innings that might not happen?


I suspect the thinking was, why burn him in a game we're going to lose in nine innings?

But I agree with those that say once he went to Wake in the top of the ninth and they tied it in the bottom, you've got to let him go longer than that.
   66. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 05, 2011 at 03:53 PM (#3818950)
Can you take a managers record in extra inning games and use that as a metric of his on-field prowess?


I think that would be heavily weighted against managers with good teams. Given that better teams tend to have lesser records than their overall record in one run games I would expect the same to be true of extra inning games (with ample overlap).
   67. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 05, 2011 at 03:54 PM (#3818951)
I mean, it's theoretically possible that Wheeler and Jenks have both been basically healthy all season and terrible for unrelated reasons, and then yesterday they both happened to get hurt. That seems exceedingly unlikely.


Given the story about Jenks (arm cramping while warming up) I think there is probably some credence to him. Wheeler I wouldn't be surprised to learn has been hurt all year. Why didn't they know? Fair question.

But I have long felt that a high percentage of pitchers "losing it" is undiagnosed injuries.
   68. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 05, 2011 at 04:03 PM (#3818960)
Given the story about Jenks (arm cramping while warming up) I think there is probably some credence to him. Wheeler I wouldn't be surprised to learn has been hurt all year. Why didn't they know? Fair question.

But I have long felt that a high percentage of pitchers "losing it" is undiagnosed injuries.


It does sound like Jenks had issues last night leading to the DL. I'd imagine if asked what was injured Wheeler would say something different than the trainer. It looks like a classic "player having a shitty time, oh look, he's injured, now we get to stash him on the DL while he figures it out instead of going through waivers" move. It happens in every sport with a DL with every team.
   69. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 05, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#3818986)
I'd imagine if asked what was injured Wheeler would say something different than the trainer. It looks like a classic "player having a shitty time, oh look, he's injured, now we get to stash him on the DL while he figures it out instead of going through waivers" move.
Oh, sure, that's more than possible. If it's the case, though, what was he doing on the mound in the 7th inning last night? If he's too messed up to be on the roster, why was he on the roster?

Also, in relation to the earlier debate, Lowrie and Scutaro are both starting today. Lowrie at shortstop, Scutaro at second base. If there was any question about the roles of these two players, it's now settled. Scutaro is a utility guy and nothing more.
   70. Darren Posted: May 05, 2011 at 04:52 PM (#3818997)
Yeah, that's a weird one, MC. I would have thought that, whatever you think of these two guys, everyone pretty much agrees that Scutaro is the better SS. I'd also take this as an indication that Lowrie's the starter now and they want him playing SS as much as possible. Then again, they do tend to shift him to 3B when Youk is out, so....
   71. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 05, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#3819000)
If it's the case, though, what was he doing on the mound in the 7th inning last night? If he's too messed up to be on the roster, why was he on the roster?


Because he's not actually hurt and that was his last chance to pitch well? Because the Sox really need live arms in the pen today?
   72. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 05, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3819001)
Because he's not actually hurt and that was his last chance to pitch well?
This is my point. (I should have made my point by means other than rhetorical questions.)

If the Red Sox were weighing the decision to DL Wheeler, then on May 4th they decided not to DL Wheeler, and they made the wrong decision. They delayed at least a day too long, because Dan Wheeler lost the game last night. If the issue isn't a real injury, then Tito and Theo gave Wheeler too much rope and it cost them a game they could have won.
   73. Textbook Editor Posted: May 05, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3819013)
I suspect the Wheeler DL move is just a precursor to a DFA in 2-4 weeks. He'll be given a chance, probably, to recover from whatever "injury" he has and then given a low-leverage situation or two. If he gets knocked around, you DFA him. I realize he's getting paid more for this season that I'll earn in decades, but his salary is such chump change to the Red Sox the DFA basically is meaningless as far as impact on budget goes...
   74. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: May 05, 2011 at 05:23 PM (#3819033)
Roster shenanigans.

I can't imagine either guy getting DFA'ed yet (or in Kevin Fatcheeks' case, at all). To me this is just to give them time to work out their issues while not blowing leads. Bud should look into this one.
   75. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 05, 2011 at 05:51 PM (#3819073)
If the Red Sox were weighing the decision to DL Wheeler, then on May 4th they decided not to DL Wheeler, and they made the wrong decision. They delayed at least a day too long, because Dan Wheeler lost the game last night. If the issue isn't a real injury, then Tito and Theo gave Wheeler too much rope and it cost them a game they could have won.


Ah, gotcha. I agree. I do think Francona effed up the pen decisions last night.

I suspect the Wheeler DL move is just a precursor to a DFA in 2-4 weeks. He'll be given a chance, probably, to recover from whatever "injury" he has and then given a low-leverage situation or two. If he gets knocked around, you DFA him. I realize he's getting paid more for this season that I'll earn in decades, but his salary is such chump change to the Red Sox the DFA basically is meaningless as far as impact on budget goes...


I agree with this as well. It's a cozy feeling for the Sox to have a few million in dead money kicking around somewhere. It's ashtray money, bro.
   76. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 05, 2011 at 09:27 PM (#3819391)
According to Sean McAdam's Tweet Aceves in for Atchison tomorrow with Wakefield making the start.
   77. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 06, 2011 at 05:32 PM (#3819900)
So what do we have right now? Is it Peter King who does the "I think I think..." schtick? Anyway, I think I think that the bullpen lines up as;

Closer - Papelbon
Set Up - Bard (I suspect this is a bit more strictly going to be defined as "8th inning" in Jenks' absence)
Bridge - Albers
LOOGY - Hill
Mop Up - Okajima
Oh #### - Aceves (basically Aceves is the guy doing what Albers has been doing, pitching in situations of medium leverage that don't fall into one of the above categories)

Not saying I'd necessarily have it structured quite this way but I imagine this is what we will see this weekend.
   78. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: May 07, 2011 at 01:16 AM (#3820413)
Thankfully after this blow out loss to the Twins, I don't have to watch these ####### crumbs play till Tuesday morning local time.
   79. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: May 07, 2011 at 02:21 AM (#3820459)
Man, Wakefield is a serious joke - how much longer to we have to put up with his crap - seriously - when will enough be enough?
   80. karlmagnus Posted: May 08, 2011 at 12:31 AM (#3820974)
Wake was perfectly fine last time and was ripped off by the umpires this. He needs to be put into the rotation while the DFA Laffey, the wasted sunk cost being taken out of Theo's allowance.
   81. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: May 09, 2011 at 04:25 AM (#3821693)
If Wakefield and Lackey lefty - I would not care.
   82. Darren Posted: May 11, 2011 at 10:50 PM (#3824593)
I'd be interested to see actual systematic evidence for either "slowhook" or "vetfetish".


I was thinking last night, after watching Lester implode after barely holding it together for 5 IP, about this. I think it'd be hard to document this systematically. One way would be pitch counts, but really, if I showed you a chart that said Tito left his starter in for higher pitch counts than anyone else, would that convince you? You would probably (rightly) be skeptical because that could mean he has more durable pitchers, they tend to pitch well enough to get to higher counts, etc. The other would be simply observing him every game and then trying to quantify that in some way. And when you were done with that, you'd I have chart that says "Francona left guys in longer than I personally thought he should in 67% of games." That's systematic but probably not anything that would convince anyone.

I feel pretty comfortable saying that Francona has a very slow hook. He starters often start new innings after struggling to get through the previous one. This is compounded by the fact that he tends to do things that completely burn his bullpen, putting him in positions where he is constantly trying to save his pen.
   83. Dan Posted: May 12, 2011 at 02:17 AM (#3824870)
Inexplicable management again tonight. Lackey had no business even starting the 7th inning, yet he's left in after walking the ####### bases loaded. And then Wakefield is brought in when there's an off day tomorrow to rest the bullpen. Francona's ingame managing this year has been beyond terrible. Something has to change here.

John Lackey's ERA is now over 8. He's got to go. He's killing this team. Trade him to the NL, pay 99% of his contract, and get nothing in return. I don't care. He sucks, he has a bad attitude, and he looks like he's an awful teammate constantly blaming fielders for his poor pitching. I can't stand watching this guy any more.
   84. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: May 12, 2011 at 02:17 AM (#3824872)
Great slow hook tonight from Tito...
   85. Dan Posted: May 12, 2011 at 02:54 AM (#3824901)
One more thing: if they can't turn it around this weekend, this team has a legitimate shot at being out of contention halfway through May. I mean even if they get swept this weekend, they could come back and make the playoffs, but it would take a miracle or a run like the 2002 A's. But even losing 2 of 3 in the series would make the situation pretty bleak.
   86. tfbg9 Posted: May 12, 2011 at 12:50 PM (#3825060)
Read the Pete Abe blog for Tito's explanation...
   87. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 12, 2011 at 01:43 PM (#3825096)
I feel pretty comfortable saying that Francona has a very slow hook. He starters often start new innings after struggling to get through the previous one.


This is my perception too and obviously I'm a Francona fan. I wish I had some Retrosheet skills because the study I would be curious to read is how often a starting pitcher gives up a run(s) in his last inning of work. I imagine the number is quite high to begin with but if Francona (or another manager) is especially slow with the hook I would think this would be an area it would show up.
   88. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: May 12, 2011 at 01:51 PM (#3825099)
I can see--sort of--Francona wanting to stay away from Aceves (who had pitched the two days prior), and Albers (who threw 27 pitches the day before) but Bard had only thrown 30 pitches the prior three days (12 on the 8th, 18 on the 10th) and would be off today. I point this out because Girardi did apparently the exact same thing with Joba yesterday (who threw 20 pitches on the 8th, and 9 on the 10th) passing him up in favor of guys like Buddy Carlyle and fresh-from-the-DL Luis Ayala.

So unimpressive bullpen management all around.
   89. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 12, 2011 at 02:11 PM (#3825116)
I can see--sort of--Francona wanting to stay away from Aceves (who had pitched the two days prior), and Albers (who threw 27 pitches the day before) but Bard had only thrown 30 pitches the prior three days (12 on the 8th, 18 on the 10th) and would be off today. I point this out because Girardi did apparently the exact same thing with Joba yesterday (who threw 20 pitches on the 8th, and 9 on the 10th) passing him up in favor of guys like Buddy Carlyle and fresh-from-the-DL Luis Ayala.

So unimpressive bullpen management all around.


I think both Girardi and Francona had defensible positions here though. Both Joba and Bard have been used a lot already and there is a long season ahead of both teams. As frustrating as it is for us as fans to see a game get away over the long haul it is possible, perhaps even likely, that both clubs will be better off for having lost last night by having saved the reliever. Obviously given the respective records the Yankees have more wiggle room than the Red Sox.

There is a lot of strategic stuff that goes on game to game that I think any competent baseball fan can do do as well, if not better, than a lot of MLB managers. It is the stuff like managing the health, egos and sharpness of players that we would fail spectacularly at.

Edited for clarity
   90. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: May 12, 2011 at 03:12 PM (#3825168)
I think both Girardi and Francona had defensible positions here though. Both Joba and Bard have been used a lot already and there is a long season ahead of both teams.
I don't object to Giardi's bullpen management through nine innings. (I actually prefer Robertson to Joba, although if the former keeps walking the ballpark, I may have to reconsider that position.) But in extra innings, I think you should be willing to extend a guy a little bit. Although I am willing to grant that without a day off tomorrow (tomorrow being today, I guess), he can't go crazy.
   91. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 12, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3825175)
Yeah, you definitely get to a point where you have to go to the guy regardless of what you want. Given the specifics of yesterday I think I can understand why Francona stayed away from Bard (while trailing) a bit more than Girardi staying away from Joba (while tied).
   92. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 20, 2011 at 04:33 AM (#3833175)
Denver Post: Sox trade PTBNL for Franklin Morales, DFA Okajima.

This is weird. Franklin Morales is a good-stuff bad-results guy who's out of options. I guess they think they can fix him in fifteen minutes or whatever that meme was.

Hideki Okajima was a great reliever for two years and a good but not entirely reliable one for another season after that. He was incredibly fun in 2007. I remember this game, I think he came back from down 3-1 to ARod and struck him out on back-to-back curveballs. Something like that. I'm sure Okie will catch on with someone else - left-handed relievers don't pass through waivers - and I'll be rooting for him.

EDIT: looked over at SoSH, they think Okajima's 1.5M contract makes him unlikely to be claimed. I still think I'd bet on a claim, but I could be wrong. That's a good bit of money for a bullpen flier.
   93. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 20, 2011 at 04:47 AM (#3833186)
He's already cleared waivers once this year. I wouldn't count on it happening again but I don't think it's a certainty.
   94. Textbook Editor Posted: May 20, 2011 at 05:05 AM (#3833199)
The Phillies sure as hell could use a guy like Okajima, even at that salary--he's at least better than Romero right now, despite his flaws. I find it hard to believe he'd clear waivers.

As for the game mentioned in #92, I will to my dying day believe that was the day on which 2007 turned--I don't care that it was April 20th. Okajima was a complete unknown, came in and got a save to preserve an amazing comeback against Rivera, and in the process became a fan favorite and also gave Tito the sign he could be the 8th inning guy to count on going forward. It was a monumental game in the grand scheme of how 2007 ultimately played out.
   95. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: May 20, 2011 at 05:34 AM (#3833205)
Without looking , I am willing to guess it was the Green Jersey game - remember it well - that was a HUGE WIN!!
   96. Dan Posted: May 20, 2011 at 05:39 AM (#3833208)
He's already cleared waivers once this year. I wouldn't count on it happening again but I don't think it's a certainty.


He didn't clear waivers, he was optioned. Unless he had to clear OAW, but those are usually a formality as there's mostly a gentlemen's agreement not to claim anyone on Optional Assignment Waivers (one of the few gentlemen's rules on waivers that's held up). I think OAW also are revocable. But now they're taking him off of the 40 man, so he has to pass through normal irrevocable waivers.
   97. Dan Posted: May 20, 2011 at 05:42 AM (#3833209)
They also have 10 days (I think, maybe 7?) to trade Okajima before they have to pass him through waivers since they DFAed him. Not hard to envision an NL team working out some kind of trade.
   98. Pingu Posted: May 20, 2011 at 01:33 PM (#3833275)
I dont doubt that someone will give Okajima a shot, but this is the right move.

It was fun while it lasted, but I think he's been done since the beginning of last season. I dont know how anyone can look at Okajima pitch right now or last year and conclude that he could be a reliable reliever. Tough to put a finger on what exactly happened, but when you walk as fine a line as Oki walked, it doesnt take much in the aging department.
   99. Darren Posted: May 20, 2011 at 01:53 PM (#3833289)
I doubt he gets claimed but I bet the Sox eat the money and trade him somewhere for very little.

I don't see Morales as being a better bet, but I know little about him. I do feel confident that the Sox know what they're doing in picking relievers. Wait, confident's not the word--I mean the opposite of that.
   100. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 20, 2011 at 01:56 PM (#3833290)
Heh, as I read your comment I couldn't figure out why you were confident in the Sox reliever picking ability.

I think Morales is a better bet purely by being younger and able to throw harder. I imagine his time with the big club is contingent on the health of Wheeler/Jenks. Rich Hill has done nothing to warrant being sent anywhere other than Boston so far and with Atchison as the nominal long man. I don't see room for him when they return from the DL.
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