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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Panic on the Streets of Boston, Panic on the Streets of Arlington

So much for the idea of a relaxing week of baseball.  A division title that looked wrapped up 60 hours ago suddenly looks, or at least feels, dicey at best.  So how much should the Sox fans be panicking?

The case against panic;

- The lead is still three games and despite two ugly games the Sox have been excellent for awhile now.  At 15-8 the Sox have been playing great baseball in September and you can push that back to the trade deadline where they have the second best record in the AL.  Simply put this is a good team that should be expected to play well.

- One good day.  That’s all they need.  An old SABR friend used to describe the three states of being a Red Sox fan;

*Pure Joy - Sox win, Yankees lose
*Null Set - Sox and Yankees match results
*Pure Sadness - Sox lose, Yankees win

The Yankees need three more days in the next five like the last category just to catch the Sox.  By contrast if the Sox get one “pure joy” day then the Yankees need the other four days to go their way or the Sox win the division.

- For all the ups and downs this September the lead has been stable for a long time now.  The Sox have done a good job of avoiding losing streaks over the course of the season.  They have five good starting pitchers to pitch these final five games and should expect solid starts regularly.

- Chris Sale has been on a pitch well/pitch poorly roll so having him lingering for Sunday coming off a short outing is actually encouraging.

The case for panic;

- The Yankees are cooking with gas.  As good as the Sox have been in September the Bronx Bombers have been a bit better at 17-7.  The big fear here is that the Yankees run the table these final five games.  If that happens it is hard to imagine the Sox not being in a one game playoff that would take place in the Bronx.

- As good as the Sox have been they are not the team they have been.  Injuries have suddenly cascaded on this team in the worst way with Pomeranz, Mookie, Pedroia and Nunez suddenly unavailable and/or ineffective.

- The matchups the rest of the way favor the Yankees.  Even an Astro team with minimal amounts to play for are still tough to beat and tonight’s Porcello vs. Estrada matchup is not one to feel good about.  And when you look at the probables is there a game in there you would expect the Yankees to lose?

Probable Matchups:

WED: Porcello vs. Estrada/Severino vs. Andriese
THUR: Rodriguez vs. Peacock/Gray vs. Faria
FRI: Fister vs. Morton/Tanaka vs. Biagini
SAT: Pomeranz vs. McHugh /Sabathia vs. Stroman
SUN: Sale vs. TBD/Montgomery vs. Anderson

So what do we think?  I will freely admit I do not feel particularly confident.  The problem is that a one game playoff would likely be a Severino vs. Porcello game which…no thanks.  So for me the Sox really need to wrap this up by Sunday.  One of the hallmarks of the John Farrell era, like the Terry Francona era, has been an ability to bounce back when the time came.  They will need to do that over the next five days to lock this thing up.

Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 27, 2017 at 10:01 AM | 119 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: September 27, 2017 at 03:21 PM (#5540321)
I'm confident they will win the division, and I'm confident they will be out in the first round unless the rotation gets its act together.
   2. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2017 at 03:31 PM (#5540328)
And when you look at the probables is there a game in there you would expect the Yankees to lose?

Yes, the Yankees should be favored to lose when Tanaka and Sabathia are on the mound. Which doesn't mean they will, obviously.

2-3 seems like a reasonable expectation for the Sox, in my mind. Porcello doing it tonight would make me feel a lot better about things.
   3. villageidiom Posted: September 27, 2017 at 03:34 PM (#5540331)
Cameron: Boston Should Be Worried About Drew Pomeranz

As if we didn't know this already.
   4. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 27, 2017 at 03:47 PM (#5540336)
I'm confident they will win the division, and I'm confident they will be out in the first round unless the rotation gets its act together.


This is why wrapping things up this week rather than this weekend is so meaningful. Give Pomeranz and Sale meaningful time off and I feel very confident in their postseason starts. If this goes to Sunday, or god forbid Monday, then it's going to be tough to do anything.
   5. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 27, 2017 at 04:31 PM (#5540354)
It's over. It's always been over.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 27, 2017 at 05:03 PM (#5540381)
. . . and tonight’s Porcello vs. Estrada matchup is not one to feel good about.

I've been mostly mildly amused by the Return of the Pants Pissers. They were gone for too long, unfortunately. But it might be a race if tonight is a "Pure Sadness" result. The odds favor the Red Sox, but perhaps they will make it interesting. I'm coming around to the idea that we're owed a Game 163. More Baseball!
   7. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 27, 2017 at 05:21 PM (#5540397)
I do what I can to amuse.
   8. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2017 at 05:25 PM (#5540401)
I've been mostly mildly amused by the Return of the Pants Pissers. They were gone for too long, unfortunately.

Luckily for you guys, though, this is also an opportunity for the concern-trolling Yankees fans were doing earlier in the year about Farrell deserving to be fired.
   9. ajnrules Posted: September 27, 2017 at 05:50 PM (#5540424)
I'm confident they will win the division, and I'm confident they will be out in the first round unless the rotation gets its act together.

Astros fans have been saying something similar for a while now, so I guess it's a wash?
   10. Textbook Editor Posted: September 27, 2017 at 06:22 PM (#5540442)
The one problem with a WC game is that you'd have EdRod/Johnny Wholestaff and not Sale or Pomeranz.

Ideally this would be wrapped up by Friday so Pomeranz and Sale can do short outings to prep for ALDS starts... but yeah I'm just not feeling great.

On the plus side, we'd host the WC game...
   11. Textbook Editor Posted: September 27, 2017 at 07:42 PM (#5540489)
Rick Porcello is as Rick Porcello does.

Honestly if you offered me a ham sandwich to take Rick Porcello I'd say do the deal.

   12. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 27, 2017 at 10:17 PM (#5540685)
OK, that’s a big ol’ exhale. Still nothing certain but a LOT easier. Really puts the pressure on the Yankees to be perfect.

This ####### team man. For a team that is not great offensively they have been doing a great job coming back lately. A healthy Mookie this weekend would be a nice thing.
   13. Bad Fish Posted: September 27, 2017 at 11:14 PM (#5540703)
We don't have to hang the DJ, just yet anyway.
   14. Chip Posted: September 28, 2017 at 12:23 AM (#5540722)
Still think we might need to burn down the disco, though.
   15. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 28, 2017 at 02:26 AM (#5540731)
Still think we might need to burn down the disco, though.


This goes without saying though, right?

I said weeks ago 93 wins will do it...and I stick by that.
   16. Phil Coorey. Posted: September 28, 2017 at 02:40 AM (#5540732)
Panic on the Streets of Boston, Panic on the Streets of Arlington



Now I'm on a Smiths binge !

This season is gonna kill us all - been fun though
   17. dave h Posted: September 28, 2017 at 10:21 AM (#5540829)
Okay, this is what has to happen for the Sox to not play in the ALDS:

1. They lose at least 3 of 4 to an Astros team with nothing to play for - more likely they would have to be swept.
2. They lose a one-game playoff to the Yankees.
3. They lose the wild-card game.

Teams can have bad stretches followed by good stretches all the time, but if all that happens then do we really think they would have gone anywhere in the ALDS (against a team that they're likely to face in a best-of-five?) Yes, even a few more Sox games before winter hits us would be fun, but a team good enough to do something meaningful in the playoffs is plenty good enough to finish this off.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: September 28, 2017 at 10:24 AM (#5540835)
I will be getting tickets to the game Friday night. Which should I root for:

(A) The Sox to clinch division outright tonight to get it over with, which will also allow me to obtain tickets at a reduced price in the secondary market, although I would likely be seeing a scrub-o-matic lineup on Friday.
(B) The Sox clinch a tie tonight, giving me a decent chance of being in the park if/when they clinch. However, this scenario leaves the possibility open for a Sox/Yankees tie after 162 games, and also the ticket prices would not be reduced.

Obviously, I'm not hoping for option (C) or (J)
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: September 28, 2017 at 10:27 AM (#5540840)
an Astros team with nothing to play for
I think this factor is not that big, for a couple of reasons. First of all, they might be playing for homefield/WC opponent in the AL playoffs. Also, they don't want to go into the playoffs completely flat. In addition, they won't sit their starters for all 4 games, and they are a deep team so even their backups are talented.
   20. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: September 28, 2017 at 10:37 AM (#5540850)
Luckily for you guys, though, this is also an opportunity for the concern-trolling Yankees fans


Yeah, well, I agree with clapper. Pants pissers. Take a nap, everything will be ok.
   21. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2017 at 10:42 AM (#5540857)
I think this factor is not that big, for a couple of reasons. First of all, they might be playing for homefield/WC opponent in the AL playoffs. Also, they don't want to go into the playoffs completely flat. In addition, they won't sit their starters for all 4 games, and they are a deep team so even their backups are talented.

Yeah I'm stuck on that last point- Houston is just good, even if they're not going all out. Losing 3 out of 4, even at home, wouldn't exactly be a shock. Getting swept would legitimately shock me, I think, but anything other than that seems reasonable.
   22. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 28, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5540862)
I'll relax when we are across the line. The big thing is the Sox are finishing strong panic notwithstanding. Unless your cutoff is Sunday night the Sox have played well for awhile now. 9-3 in their last 12 and 34-17 since the break. Getting Pedroia back last night and Mookie tonight is a confidence booster. That lineup Tuesday was bleak.
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 28, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5540870)
Luckily for you guys, though, this is also an opportunity for the concern-trolling Yankees fans were doing earlier in the year about Farrell deserving to be fired.

I think you're confusing us Yankees fans with a Red Sox fan named Ray, who was calling for Farrell to be fired in the middle of the 2013 World Series.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This season is gonna kill us all - been fun though

Sure as hell has, and it'd be even more fun to see the Yanks and the Sox have it out in the ALCS.
   24. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 28, 2017 at 10:56 AM (#5540872)
Well this is encouraging. I eyeballed this but this is the record of teams that had clinched but were playing teams that still were fighting for something in the two Wild Card era. None of the five instances I found had the team that had clinched winning the series.

2016:
BOS vs TOR - 1-2
LAD vs SFG - 0-3

2015:
TEX vs HOU - 1-2

2012:
CIN vs. STL - 1-2
SFG vs. LAD - 1-2
   25. Textbook Editor Posted: September 28, 2017 at 11:08 AM (#5540884)
Can we at least all agree Porcello should not start any game in the playoffs?

   26. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 28, 2017 at 11:20 AM (#5540901)
Yeesh, he hasn't helped his cause these last two starts has he? He certainly looks like the odd man out.

Incidentally his postgame interview last night he said all the right things; "I'll do whatever John wants" etc...
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: September 28, 2017 at 11:22 AM (#5540903)
I'd rather see Porcello than Fister start a playoff game. Although, I will note that Jim Leyland always chose Fister of the two.
   28. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2017 at 11:32 AM (#5540912)
I'd been on the "Porcello will be fine" side of things, but yeesh, I was in panic mode the first few innings last night. He "battled" as we say about pitchers who suck, so that was nice. But now I don't know.

Totally impossible to stretch out Price? Was that the right call?
   29. villageidiom Posted: September 28, 2017 at 11:41 AM (#5540924)
Totally impossible to stretch out Price? Was that the right call?


At this point, based on what we know, stretching Price seems like a great idea.
   30. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2017 at 11:44 AM (#5540927)
Yeah definitely. But I'm forgetting: was this doctor's orders, essentially, or a choice that perhaps might look bad in hindsight? I don't remember the specifics of the decision at the time.
   31. villageidiom Posted: September 28, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5540964)
Yeah definitely. But I'm forgetting: was this doctor's orders, essentially, or a choice that perhaps might look bad in hindsight? I don't remember the specifics of the decision at the time.
I didn't think it was doctor's orders as much as it was that Sale, Pomeranz, Porcello, Rodriguez, and Fister were all doing pretty well when Price came off the DL. Had one of them been tanking consistently they might have stretched Price out in the minors for another week or something, then had him join the rotation.
   32. Textbook Editor Posted: September 28, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5540972)
Price only throwing 1.1 IP (21 pitches), after taking forever to warm up last night, means either:

(a) he was taking longer than usual to get loose, and therefore they wanted to limit his outing, or
(b) Because Farrell dithered in taking out Porcello, Price essentially burned effort in the bullpen over the 2 innings he was warming up, limiting his outing, or
(c) they wanted to keep the IP down to try him on back-to-back days tonight while giving him enough days to rest over the weekend if it takes a big toll out of him

I have no idea which option is true. I think it's too late to stretch him out longer than, say, 50-60 pitches, but that *could* get you 3-4 IP if you started him, and with the rest of the bullpen & the off days, I think you could cover the other 5-6 IP depending on the circumstances. AND if is the case he takes 2 innings to warm up... there's only limited situations he'd be a useful bullpen cog, and so you might as well start him. (I'd rather have his 3-4 IP at the start of a game to Porcello's or Fister's.)

If you let Fister know ahead of time that he'd be piggy-backing Price's start, he could start his warm-up process however he needed to in-game and be ready for inning 4 or 5 to come in. Going from Price to Fister also is a nice change of styles for opposing hitters.

I think there's very little chance of Price starting a game--I think a Game 4 is going to either Fister or Porcello, but I truly hope that if last night were a playoff game, Porcello would have been gone after the 2nd inning with Price in to pitch the 3rd-5th innings as a bridge to the bullpen.

Porcello's a sunk cost. At best going forward he can be a Wakefield-ish, innings-eating #5 guy who doesn't embarrass you, but the CY season was built on an unsustainably low HR rate and BABIP that simply aren't going to repeat again. If you could find someone to take the contract, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
   33. Textbook Editor Posted: September 28, 2017 at 12:24 PM (#5540982)
(I'd rather have his 3-4 IP at the start of a game to Porcello's or Fister's.)


I'd add that in a playoff game especially you simply can't have the kind of trainwreck 1st innings that Porcello and Fister seem to deliver almost every start of late. But, again, there's no way Boston thinks outside of the box enough to do this--I just don't see any evidence they'd ever start Price instead of Fister/Porcello.
   34. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2017 at 12:38 PM (#5541001)
Porcello's a sunk cost. At best going forward he can be a Wakefield-ish, innings-eating #5 guy who doesn't embarrass you, but the CY season was built on an unsustainably low HR rate and BABIP that simply aren't going to repeat again. If you could find someone to take the contract, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Now I have to go back to defending him. The BABIP I'll give you, but he's had 4 other seasons with the same or better HR/9. This year looks like the outlier, not last year.

The luck on balls in play looks like it was a real thing, but the larger point is he doesn't need to be CYA good to be worth the contract, he just has to be pretty good, and eat innings, two things he's perfectly capable of doing. I don't think it's reasonable to expect that he will lead the league in H and HR allowed again every year.
   35. Nasty Nate Posted: September 28, 2017 at 12:43 PM (#5541006)
At best going forward he can be a Wakefield-ish, innings-eating #5 guy who doesn't embarrass you, but the CY season was built on an unsustainably low HR rate and BABIP that simply aren't going to repeat again.
Baseball amnesia?
   36. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 28, 2017 at 12:46 PM (#5541011)
Sept. 28:

1923 NYY crush Boston & Howard Ehmke, who nerly no-hit them 17 days earlier, 24-4
1923 Howard Ehmke allows 16 ER, last time anyone's done that: 6 IP, 21 H, 17 R, 16 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, GaSc: -34
1929 1,000 games as manager: Bill Carrigan, 486-500
1936 Heine Manush released by BOX
1941 Ted Williams begins day at .39955 - in DH gets 2 hits in G1, 4 hits in season finale. AL's 1st .400r since '23.BOX-PHA d-header
1941 last game: Lefty Grove
1947 Joe Cronin manages his last game
1951 Allie Reynolds tosses his 2nd no-hitter of the year. With 2 outs in the 9th, Ted Williams foul PO - Yogi Berra drops it. Williams fouls again, Berra gets it. NYY 8, BOX 0
1960 last game: Ted Wiliams. "Gods don't answer letters"
1996 last game: Mike Greenwell. Him? Yeah, he probably answers letters
2008 Mike Mussina, after five different 18-19 win seasons, finally wins #20. NYY 6, BOX 2
2011 last game: J. D. Drew
2011 BAL 4, BOX 3. BOX epic wild card collapse to TBD. Led 3-2, allow 2 in btm9th: K, K, 2B, Grnd-rule 2B, 1B. Carl Crawford bad spot
2012 Scott Podsednik gets leadoff bunt single in 1st for BOX - and that's it. Chris Tillman (8IP) &Troy; Patton 1IP w/ 1-hitter. BAL 9-1

   37. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 28, 2017 at 01:09 PM (#5541032)
I'd add that in a playoff game especially you simply can't have the kind of trainwreck 1st innings that Porcello and Fister seem to deliver almost every start of late. But, again, there's no way Boston thinks outside of the box enough to do this--I just don't see any evidence they'd ever start Price instead of Fister/Porcello.


I don't think there really are options. If you want to go for three innings of Price you are sacrificing him as a bullpen weapon for the rest of the series in all likelihood. If they get to a game four and he hasn't pitched yet then fine, roll him, but don't manage to that point.

The other thing about Fister/Porcello is we are heavily working off small sample sizes. Porcello isn't great but his last ten starts by runs allowed; 2, 3, 1, 11 (ugh), 1, 7, 2, 1, 4, 5. There's plenty of good in there. I think the big thing is that Farrell has to be aggressive in terms of yanking him. I think we saw that a bit on Friday in Cincinnati and last night probably would have made an earlier move if he didn't have the lead to play with.
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 28, 2017 at 01:14 PM (#5541040)
Sure as hell has, and it'd be even more fun to see the Yanks and the Sox have it out in the ALCS.

Getting past the Indians or Astros looks to be a tough assignment, and I'm going to be more than a bit surprised if neither makes it out of the ALDS. Still, Yankees - Red Sox is the match-up folks want to see.
   39. Textbook Editor Posted: September 28, 2017 at 01:22 PM (#5541058)
but the larger point is he doesn't need to be CYA good to be worth the contract


Well... If innings-eating #4/#5 starters go for $20 million a season across the board, then I suppose this is correct. But I'd still trade him for cannon fodder if someone would take on the full contract.

It's also true that is GB% has dropped this season to 39.2% (last year it was 43.1, 2015 it was 45.7, 2014 it was 49.0, 2013 it was 55.3, 2012 it was 53.2...). In fact, with the Tigers it was never under 50% and has pretty much dropped every year with the Red Sox. His 2013, 2015, and 2017 HR/FB rate were all over 14%; two of those 3 years were with the Red Sox.

So while the HR/9 might be an outlier for this year, it's combined with an overall trend of (a) giving up more FB in general, and (b) having a HR/FB rate that--other than last year and 2014--has been over 14% in 3 out of the past 5 years. If the GB rate continues downward, he'll give up more FB and thus even if the HR/FB rate goes down a bit, he'll still wind up with a lot of HRs because of the increase # of FB.

I'm not saying he can't help someone--perhaps one of the expansive west coast park teams should kick the tires on him--but in Boston I think he still has more room for collapse and I'd expect 2018 to be as ugly as this season. I'd trade him in a heartbeat.
   40. Textbook Editor Posted: September 28, 2017 at 01:27 PM (#5541064)
1923 Howard Ehmke allows 16 ER, last time anyone's done that: 6 IP, 21 H, 17 R, 16 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, GaSc: -34


There has to be a fascinating story behind this... even then, I would imagine no one would normally take that kind of beating without getting replaced.
   41. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: September 28, 2017 at 02:04 PM (#5541095)
Yankees - Red Sox is the match-up folks want to see.


Yeah, folks in Boston and NY.

The two best teams are Cleveland and Washington.
   42. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2017 at 03:56 PM (#5541178)
Well... If innings-eating #4/#5 starters go for $20 million a season across the board, then I suppose this is correct.

I'm not sure there is such a thing as an innings-eating 4/5. Honestly I think you're just greatly exaggerating how bad he is, or underestimating how bad the league is. He's 42nd in fangraphs WAR this year among qualified starters. 36th in xFIP, 44th in FIP.
   43. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2017 at 03:58 PM (#5541180)
Yankees - Red Sox is the match-up folks want to see.

Yeah we went through this in another thread the other day - it really depends on how you define "folks." I think this is possibly, even probably true for the casual fan, definitely not true for the hardcore fan (outside of those two fanbases).

Also not true for me, as a Red Sox fan.
   44. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 28, 2017 at 04:07 PM (#5541189)
Interesting take on the Porcello/Fister thing (with a note about Edgar as well).

This of course assumes we win the division etc...etc...(yes, I'm still worried dammit. It's my default position).
   45. Chip Posted: September 28, 2017 at 07:32 PM (#5541339)
E-Rod joins the “train wreck first inning” brigade.

Pretty sure it’s not a good trend that the entire rotation has decided to throw up suckass starts as preparation for the playoffs.
   46. Textbook Editor Posted: September 28, 2017 at 08:06 PM (#5541347)
Yup we suck. I'm expecting nothing but misery now.
   47. Chip Posted: September 28, 2017 at 09:04 PM (#5541369)
Sonny Gray auditioning for a spot start with the Sox.
   48. Textbook Editor Posted: September 28, 2017 at 09:57 PM (#5541378)
It's as if every pitcher took suck pills this week.
   49. John DiFool2 Posted: September 28, 2017 at 11:06 PM (#5541414)
Thank Og for 7 run innings out of nowhere.
   50. Textbook Editor Posted: September 28, 2017 at 11:28 PM (#5541421)
You have to wonder if the NYY would play the next 3 days as must-win, pull out all the stops, blow out the pen, etc... just to get to an AL East playoff game, followed by (potentially) a WC game. Were I in the Yankees shoes with the Red Sox, I'd get guys work to keep them sharp, but I'd absolutely rest Sale and Pomeranz, and just make sure I was ready to throw a fresh Sale + the kitchen sink into the WC game... but I suppose YMMV.

But Jesus Christo the pitching staff has stunk this week. The bed-shitting has reached epidemic proportions.
   51. Nasty Nate Posted: September 28, 2017 at 11:43 PM (#5541423)
Overall, the day's results are good. Big relief to have at least tie clinched.
   52. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 29, 2017 at 12:01 AM (#5541428)
You have to wonder if the NYY would play the next 3 days as must-win, pull out all the stops, blow out the pen, etc... just to get to an AL East playoff game, followed by (potentially) a WC game.

Hopefully, it won't be necessary to "blow out the pen" to win the next 3 games - and it's a pretty deep bullpen. As long as there is a chance to tie for the AL East, it makes sense to go for it, although it's not like the Yanks will pitch Severino in relief. Why go for a single elimination game which could propel you to the ALDS when you could have two such games, and only need to win one?

EDIT: That's not to say catching the Red Sox is the most likely outcome. A little cooperation would help - still time for an epic end to the season!
   53. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 29, 2017 at 12:37 AM (#5541433)
Today is a big relief. Even if Friday goes tits up Saturday is supposed to have rain so I suspect the Astros won’t play many regulars and Sunday without sale against a team with nothing to play for, while potentially terrifying, is a game I’d feel good about.

A few bad games is annoying but as I said to my father on the way out tonight if they can get it out of their system and get right for the playoffs I’m ok with that.

One game from a first repeat division title!
   54. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 29, 2017 at 08:02 AM (#5541453)
This is the most uninteresting, unmemorable playoff team I have seen in Boston since the 1990 Red Sox.

On July 1st, the Red Sox won, putting them 2 games up in the division. They were 46-35.
Since July 1st, they have been between 2 and 5 games up every day except for: July 25th and August 1st, where they were between 1 game up and .5 games back; and August 13th, when they were up by 5.5 games for one day.

They have rarely been a serious threat to move up to the #1 or #2 seed. They have even more rarely been at risk of missing the playoffs. It is hard to feel drama during the season when the "stakes" are "be on the road for round one" vs. "make the wild card game for the right to be on the road for round one".

Also, the lineup has been incredibly...average. Here are the OPS+ of the most frequent starters: 95, 96, 102, 94, 116 (in 54 games), 105, 91, 107, 94. Sale and Kimbrel are appointment watching. Devers, because of his youth and upside, is also really fun to watch. His addition into the lineup to fill the gaping hole with above-average play is probably one of the two biggest reasons the Red Sox have not had to sweat it out more (the other being Pomeranz being healthy all year).
   55. Morton's Fork Posted: September 29, 2017 at 08:16 AM (#5541455)
Barring a total disaster the Sox pretty much know where they're seeded. Managing rest and rehab for these guys, with three days off immediately prior to the playoffs and plenty of bruises and fatigue, will be a complicated problem - and it will be interesting to see how the Sox handle it.
   56. Answer Guy, outhacking you by a mile. Posted: September 29, 2017 at 08:24 AM (#5541457)
This is the most uninteresting, unmemorable playoff team I have seen in Boston since the 1990 Red Sox.


In one sense, but in another sense...they make things happen on offense - putting the ball in play, taking extra bases, etc. They have a ridiculous number of comeback wins.
   57. Morton's Fork Posted: September 29, 2017 at 08:36 AM (#5541460)
Wow, Steve, I'm sorry but I think that's just nuts. This is the best Sox OF I've ever seen, way more fun than Rice/Lynn/Evans. And how about the catching? Two guys who can really call a game and like to throw the ball around - accurately. You've got a GM who had a glaring problem at 3B, canned a guy making huge money and tried 19 others before settling on the biggest 20-year-old since Conigliaro. Chris Sale's season? Remind you of Pedro at all? And there's never been a better Sox bullpen. The whole team gets stronger as the game goes along, are never out of it, and win late. They're fast and aggressive, which we've not got to see in Boston, ever. To me it's the most fun team since '04.
   58. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 29, 2017 at 08:43 AM (#5541463)
I have to disagree with SBPT. They have been a hell of a lot of fun to watch and are vastly different from any other Red Sox team in my lifetime. While acknowledging my pants pissing moments the reality is that the only team in baseball with a better record than the Sox since the deadline had a 22 game winning streak and oh yeah, the Sox beat that team in 4 out of 7 head to head games. One of the reasons for the lack of drama has been the relentless consistency of this team. They faced The Gauntlet§ and rolled through that at 14-11 including winning series against Cleveland, New York (twice) and St. Louis. Then, with the Yankees bearing down on them seemingly winning every night the Sox said \"#### that" and ripped off an 8-1 road trip that featured 4 comebacks in games they were down by 3 or more runs.

This reminds me SO much of 2007. A bit of a slog at the end but generally just a team warding off their foes over the course of the season. On top of that they have played well against the playoff teams for the most part.
   59. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 29, 2017 at 08:47 AM (#5541466)
And once more by ten game increments;

5
6
5
5
6
6
6
6
6
4
6
8
4
6
7
6 (with one game left)
   60. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 29, 2017 at 08:49 AM (#5541468)
If 2012, 2014 and 2015 taught me anything it's to appreciate these seasons. Winning a division ain't easy (and it's not over yet but the situation is very good).
   61. villageidiom Posted: September 29, 2017 at 09:15 AM (#5541472)
I have to disagree with SBPT. They have been a hell of a lot of fun to watch and are vastly different from any other Red Sox team in my lifetime.
The Indians and Astros are also very fun to watch, and I suppose from a dispassionate view so are the Yankees. And it would be fun to see the underdog Twins on a roll, for that matter. The AL postseason looks like it's going to be a lot of fun.
   62. Darren Posted: September 29, 2017 at 09:32 AM (#5541478)
This is the best Sox OF I've ever seen, way more fun than Rice/Lynn/Evans.


Whoaaaaa.
   63. Nasty Nate Posted: September 29, 2017 at 09:51 AM (#5541490)
I'm not sure (or interested at this moment) how this team ranks against other Sox playoff teams, but right now I'm excited about them and ready for some playoff baseball. The way they got here is interesting: contact and speed in a year in which MLB set the HR record. The only other playoff team below league average in homers is Colorado (of all teams).
   64. jmurph Posted: September 29, 2017 at 09:58 AM (#5541493)
I also love the team. Really I just still can't believe we have a guy like Mookie, I feel like the Sox never have that kind of player and I'm always a little jealous.
   65. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 29, 2017 at 10:05 AM (#5541500)
Really I just still can't believe we have a guy like Mookie, I feel like the Sox never have that kind of player and I'm always a little jealous.


It's remarkable. I never fell for Ellsbury like I have for Mookie. I don't know why and I don't think I'm alone but there is something about Mookie.
   66. jmurph Posted: September 29, 2017 at 10:23 AM (#5541517)
Hmm, that's a good comparison, and I agree. Obviously his one great year was fun, and I can't deny I loved all those stolen bases. But it seemed more fleeting with him, maybe, like we knew he wasn't on that level? Practically anything seems possible for Mookie.
   67. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 29, 2017 at 10:23 AM (#5541518)
Sept. 29:

1946 last game: Pinky Higgins
1947 Joe McCarthy's coming out of retirement & will manage BOX
1956 last game: Mel Parnell
1968 last game: Elston Howard
1969 Rico Petrocelli becomes 1st AL SS to hit 40 HR in a year
1977 Executors of Tom Yawkey's estate pick a 13-member group to buy the BOX. Includes Haywood Sullivan and others
1980 last game: Bernie Carbo
1990 Tom Brunansky, BOX, hits 3 HR in one game

   68. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: September 29, 2017 at 10:48 AM (#5541539)
They have rarely been a serious threat to move up to the #1 or #2 seed. They have even more rarely been at risk of missing the playoffs. It is hard to feel drama during the season when the "stakes" are "be on the road for round one" vs. "make the wild card game for the right to be on the road for round one".

I don't get this. The difference between winning the division and going straight to round one and having to play a one-game play-in is huge -- much bigger than the difference between getting home field advantage or not.
   69. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 29, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5541546)
I don't get this. The difference between winning the division and going straight to round one and having to play a one-game play-in is huge -- much bigger than the difference between getting home field advantage or not.


Yup. To each his own and if SBPT isn't really loving this team fair enough but winning the division is HUGE in my opinion. The Sox have never repeated as division champs and they have been the best team in the division for 159 games. I really want to bring it home.

To me winning the division makes the season a success. I'll be a lunatic during the playoffs of course but like last year it would still be in my opinion a great season. It's not like they've held off a crummy team, the Yankees have been great and so far the Sox have done what they've had to do.
   70. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 29, 2017 at 11:04 AM (#5541547)
As a side note I adored that 1990 team. That team had zero business winning the division and to pull it out, especially the way they did was just nonsense. Such a gratifying season in my mind.
   71. Nasty Nate Posted: September 29, 2017 at 11:10 AM (#5541555)
Not related to anything, but the 1990 playoffs were in the middle of when the franchise lost 13 consecutive playoff games (and 18 of 19, I think).
   72. Textbook Editor Posted: September 29, 2017 at 11:18 AM (#5541565)
As a side note I adored that 1990 team. That team had zero business winning the division and to pull it out, especially the way they did was just nonsense. Such a gratifying season in my mind.


I've probably shared this story before (if so, my apologies), but I was in college, a hanger attached to a radio antenna, trying to pick up WEEI from 400 miles away to listen to the clinching game... And the signal cut out as Brunansky was going back for the catch, and it was (at the time) the worst 30 seconds of my life trying to get the signal back to find out if he had made the catch. I have a soft spot for the 1990 team.
   73. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 29, 2017 at 11:22 AM (#5541572)
My mother got our family obstructed view seats for that game. We were in two separate rows. Before the ninth inning I moved by then 10 year old brother down with my parents so I wouldn't be responsible for him. As luck would have it our seats were on the third base line but with a view straight down the right field line. Despite being "obstructed view" (because we couldn't really see the pitcher) it turned out I had about as good an angle as anyone in the ballpark for the catch. I knew about 3 or 4 steps before he got there that he was going to get there and it was just a matter of hanging on. He did and some monster of a guy in a Harley Davidson leather jacket and I were hugging each other.
   74. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: September 29, 2017 at 11:28 AM (#5541579)
It's remarkable. I never fell for Ellsbury like I have for Mookie. I don't know why and I don't think I'm alone but there is something about Mookie.


He's little
He plays 150+ games a year
He is always smiling
He clearly is a superlative base runner
He is a very very good outfielder
He has the ability to win a game by himself
He's young
He's a good all-round hitter

Or, to put it another way - is there any reason to NOT like Betts? Do people who don't like the Sox also dislike Betts? Or is there a bit of grudging "I guess he's ok" going on (same goes for Judge)?
   75. Textbook Editor Posted: September 29, 2017 at 11:55 AM (#5541619)
#73--that's a great story!

I think the thing with Mookie I love is that he runs the bases with such intelligence + wild abandon that (to me) he's what people always said Jackie Robinson was on the bases--so to me he's as close as I'll get to seeing Jackie Robinson at work... I just love the way he runs the bases.
   76. Bad Fish Posted: September 29, 2017 at 11:58 AM (#5541624)
I like this team also. I like the young core and the opportunity it represents, I love the defensive outfield brilliance, I like the dominant starting pitching, I like the blue collar get-'er-done bull pen, I love the surliness of Chris Sale, I love the never quit attitude that frequently pulls victory from the jaws of defeat and I really like that this team has had no real losing streaks. This team has been one of the best baseball teams in all of MLB since the break, all the underselling does this team a huge disservice. They are tough and they are grinders, they can go toe-to-toe with any team.

That said, baseball is a game of momentum and I am a little worried about this recent streaker of sourness,as well as the bone crunching roll that both Cleveland and New York have been on, but everything ends and hopefully some normalization will occur by early next week.
   77. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: September 29, 2017 at 06:17 PM (#5541820)
I like this team, too, but if the Yankees add SP to Judge, Sanchez, Bird, Hicks, Castro and Gregorius the Red Sox had better add SP and another RH power bat.
   78. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 29, 2017 at 06:59 PM (#5541833)
That said, baseball is a game of momentum and I am a little worried about this recent streaker of sourness,as well as the bone crunching roll that both Cleveland and New York have been on . . .

The Yankees won this afternoon, which, unfortunately, just reinforces their tragic failure to hold a lead last night. Could have been only a 1.5 game lead before Fister even toed the rubber tonight. That would have been fun! Much more difficult now, but the optimist in me says that if the Yankees somehow manage to thread the almost impossibly small needle, it will be worth all the disappointments along the way.
   79. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 29, 2017 at 07:04 PM (#5541834)
I like this team, too, but if the Yankees add SP to Judge, Sanchez, Bird, Hicks, Castro and Gregorius the Red Sox had better add SP and another RH power bat.

Don't forget Clint Frazier. The nearly-infallible Absurd Jose is on record that he will be the greatest Yankee of the current crop.
   80. Bad Fish Posted: September 29, 2017 at 08:06 PM (#5541847)
Man, Fister is so binary, almost like a knuckler. I'm willing to take the good with the bad.
   81. Textbook Editor Posted: September 29, 2017 at 08:31 PM (#5541855)
They won't even win the WC game at this rate.

Welp. It would clear up my October evenings at least.
   82. Textbook Editor Posted: September 29, 2017 at 09:20 PM (#5541866)
And I'm sorry but if they blow a 5 game lead and lose the AL East playoff and then the WC that would pretty much be a choke. Maybe not quite as epic as 2011 but close.
   83. Bad Fish Posted: September 29, 2017 at 09:33 PM (#5541870)
It would be worse than 2011. I almost think if you have to go into a playoff you concede the game, at least there you control your destiny, to a degree.
   84. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: September 29, 2017 at 09:43 PM (#5541876)
Judge, Sanchez, Bird, Hicks, Castro and Gregorius


One of these things is not like the others.

I wouldn't be surprised much at all if Castro is trade bait at the end of next season.



   85. Chip Posted: September 29, 2017 at 09:44 PM (#5541877)
Brock Holt running them out of the 8th on a ball in the dirt that never quite got away sums up this stretch.
   86. Chip Posted: September 29, 2017 at 09:46 PM (#5541879)
I wouldn't be surprised much at all if Castro is trade bait at the end of next season.


Right, isn’t 2nd being reserved for Torres?
   87. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: September 29, 2017 at 09:55 PM (#5541884)
Right, isn’t 2nd being reserved for Torres?


Yes, with Andujar for 3rd.

Torres clearly would have gotten a shot at 2nd this year when Castro went down, had he not suffered that bizarre season-ending (non-throwing arm) TJ injury.
   88. Textbook Editor Posted: September 29, 2017 at 09:59 PM (#5541889)
Yup. Yup. Yup.

Yeah this'll hurt worse than 2011 for sure.

Ah well.
   89. Chip Posted: September 29, 2017 at 10:02 PM (#5541891)
The 8-1 road trip has sure been negated by this homestand performance.

   90. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 29, 2017 at 10:14 PM (#5541898)
Don't worry, Hubsies, the Yanks are starting Garcia tomorrow. This Garcia.
   91. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 29, 2017 at 10:21 PM (#5541900)
I also love the team. Really I just still can't believe we have a guy like Mookie, I feel like the Sox never have that kind of player and I'm always a little jealous.

Mookie is great, but Mookie can also break your heart.
   92. Chip Posted: September 29, 2017 at 11:39 PM (#5541921)
The MLB schedulers giving Toronto an off-day in NYC the end of their lost season was certainly a disappointment. They destroyed Tanaka last time they saw him, but today it looked like they had colllectively been on an all-day Thursday drunken bender before they realized first pitch was at 1:05
   93. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 29, 2017 at 11:56 PM (#5541922)
This is all just a cunning plan by the Red Sox to get NY to continue to play a full strength squad under the guise they have a chance to win the division. They will be totally burnt out and then get smoked by the Twins in the WC game...it's pure genius.
The Sox will get their 93 wins, win this thing and enjoy the couple of days off whilst NY fails miserably. <insert evil genius laugh here>
   94. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 30, 2017 at 12:08 AM (#5541925)
I was pissed tonight but right now I'm strangely confident that tomorrow is the day. I liked that they rallied today. I think Saturday is the day.
   95. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 30, 2017 at 07:39 AM (#5541959)
I was pissed tonight but right now I'm strangely confident that tomorrow is the day. I liked that they rallied today. I think Saturday is the day.

It sure as hell should be, given that Lance McCullers hasn't even had one of those watered down "quality starts" since June 8th, and when you look at his game logs, you have to wonder why he's even pitching today with the Astros still in the mix for the best AL record. It's almost as if they'd rather play the Red Sox in the DS.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have their 13-8, 3.06 ERA ace pitching against the train wreck known as Jaime Garcia. By all odds the Red Sox should be 3 games ahead by the end of the afternoon. It's always been over.

OTOH if it comes down to tomorrow, think of all the fun and drama. It couldn't get any better than that.
   96. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 30, 2017 at 11:03 AM (#5541995)
Sept. 30:

1903 season's contracts expire for BOX. Owner offers 2-week extention to ward off strike so his players will play in World Series
1924 Nick Altrock becomes oldest man (since 1920 at least) to hit a triple: Age 48. BOX 13, WAS 1. Only MLB game scheduled
1972 Ted Williams announces he's stepping down at TEX manager
1984 Ralph Houk's last game as maanger
2009 last game: Pedro Martinez (plus postseason, I suppose). Yes, I know he was a Phillie at the time.
2011 Terry Francona & BOX part ways


   97. Nasty Nate Posted: September 30, 2017 at 11:29 AM (#5542007)
Are the Sox (and the Yankees ) even going to play today? No one wants a doubleheader tomorrow, but the weather is pretty bad.
   98. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: September 30, 2017 at 11:30 AM (#5542008)
I was pissed tonight


Don't you mean "pants pissed"? Wheeeeeeeee.

Reacting to every game must be exhausting. What's their winning % since the break? Over 60, isn't it?
   99. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 30, 2017 at 11:50 AM (#5542019)
Are the Sox (and the Yankees ) even going to play today? No one wants a doubleheader tomorrow, but the weather is pretty bad.

The Weather Channel says "Generally cloudy. Slight (20%) chance of a rain shower" in NYC and 80% chance of showers in Boston. Probably means they'll both play, but the Red Sox game might take 5 or 6 hours to finish instead of the usual 3 1/2.
   100. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 30, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5542032)
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have their 13-8, 3.06 ERA ace pitching against the train wreck known as Jaime Garcia. By all odds the Red Sox should be 3 games ahead by the end of the afternoon. It's always been over.

OTOH if it comes down to tomorrow, think of all the fun and drama. It couldn't get any better than that.

C. C. Sabathia is going to start for the Yankees, with a chance - just a chance - to do something legendary. The Baseball Gods may be lining something up here. We mere mortals could get some extra baseball Monday. It's a long shot but . . .
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