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   1. tfbg9 Posted: April 14, 2011 at 12:50 PM (#3796682)
I think Dice gets one more really bad start, but that's just a guess.
If he goes 5 with 5 earned, they'll use him twice, that sort of thing.
Another one like the last, he gets dropped.

He's on a short leash.
   2. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 14, 2011 at 01:00 PM (#3796688)
I would not be shocked to see Alfredo Aceves start the Patriots Day game on Monday.

I like Aceves a lot. In fact, when the laundry was different, you and I had a real disagreement about whether he would even be an effective reliever long-term. I don't think he has the stuff to be a big league starter, at least, not in the AL East. He's really smart on the mound and gets a lot out of what he has to work with, but I don't see him making it through a lineup three times each time out. Of course, Ivan Nova fakes starting well enough without being able to do this either.

I'm also not sure how he would react physically to being in the rotation for an extended period of time. He hasn't started regularly since 2008.

For the record, I still wish he was on the Yankees.
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 14, 2011 at 01:05 PM (#3796691)
I agree with everything MCoA said except the bit about Aceves. If Lackey and/or Matsuzaka rebound the Sox should be fine. The problem is they are rapidly reaching the point where the hill is just too damned tall.

I think people are jumping on Matsuzaka to be booted to the curb far too quickly. He had one OK start and one horrendous start. The combination of money invested in him and his track record says to me that he is going to get a lot more than one or two chances. It seems like the "Daisuke annoys Red Sox brass" story gets written on an annual basis but despite some less than stellar results the Sox keep rolling him out there.

Obviously if he completely collapses the Sox will pull him but I don't think his demise is as imminent as being reported.

On a related note, is Aceves really the guy who would step into the rotation first? I would prefer it be Doubront and Aceves has not started much the last couple of years.
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 14, 2011 at 01:40 PM (#3796712)
In fact, when the laundry was different, you and I had a real disagreement about whether he would even be an effective reliever long-term.
I have to admit to only the vaguest recollection of this disagreement. I think I remember changing my mind on Aceves at some point, probably during one of his several shutout appearances against the Sox. But anyway, I think he can manage averagishness against most opponents.

It's certainly possible that DiceK can do that, too. I'm not saying I think DiceK is toast. I'm saying that he's exhibited enough signs of not being right that it wouldn't shock me if the Red Sox do determine he shouldn't be starting. Sudden DL trips for only loosely specified shoulder ailments have been common during his Red Sox tenure.

From what I've seen of them, I think Aceves is the best of the 6th starter options, and he's been used more aggressively than either Wake or Doubront. I could be wrong about that, though - the Sox may see Aceves as possibly their 4th reliever rather than their 6th starter.
   5. Darren Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3796726)
An impartial observer might say the Sox are panicking with the constant lineup shuffling and already skipping their #3 starter. I would never say that, of course....

Aceves will be a fine choice if they need a 6th starter. He doesn't need to be their 4th reliever--they have Atchinson, Okajima, and other options there.

After Aceves, I'd like them to go to Bowden, who I think they really messed up when they tried to make him add a slider. I think Doubront's ahead of him, though, and he's a good choice too. Wake has not been a good pitcher for a while now--I don't want to see him pitch meaningful innings.
   6. tfbg9 Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3796727)
If the next Dice start is a disaster, it'll be a while before they let him have another. There. I said it again.

Aceves will take his place. It would have been Wake, but he's been as bad as can be.
   7. tfbg9 Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:03 PM (#3796731)
Also, if Wake has another crappy mop-up appearance, he will be demoted in some way shape or form. You watch.
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:10 PM (#3796738)
After Aceves, I'd like them to go to Bowden, who I think they really messed up when they tried to make him add a slider. I think Doubront's ahead of him, though, and he's a good choice too.
Bowden's been pitching in relief in the minors for about a year now. I don't know what went wrong with him after 2008 - he looked like a great prospect, then suddenly he's a glorified org guy. He should not be anywhere near an MLB starting rotation now.
   9. Darren Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:11 PM (#3796741)
I'll say it: if the Sox in any meaningful way demote Dice or Lackey before the end of April, they're being silly. Both were perfectly fine #3-ish starters last year and both finished the year stronger than they started. Dice has also started a new, team approved, workout regimen, and it would only make sense that they give it some time to work out the kinks.
   10. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:12 PM (#3796744)
An impartial observer might say the Sox are panicking with the constant lineup shuffling and already skipping their #3 starter. I would never say that, of course....
Eh. An "impartial" observer could call the reverse complacency. My guess is that an actually impartial observer would say it probably doesn't matter whether they're doing lots of low-leverage things or very few low-leverage things, because all of those things are low leverage.

EDIT: To respond to #9, a demotion for Dice or Lackey would be high-leverage, and would be fairly classified as panic if it weren't fully justified or didn't turn out well. I would expect, though, that any demotion would take the form of a loosely specified DL trip, which isn't quite the same thing.
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3796749)
Eh. An "impartial" observer could call the reverse complacency.


haha I was going to post the same thing. Sometimes it's damned if you do and damned if you don't with these impartial observers.

Amy I the only one who thinks that Wake would get starts if/when Matsuzaka loses them?
   12. RobertMachemer Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:17 PM (#3796751)
The problem is they are rapidly reaching the point where the hill is just too damned tall.
No no no. This just isn't true. I know it feels awful to have lost this many of the first few games of the season, but it's still ridiculously early.

Would you be panicked if the Sox were 4.5 games back on August 1st? No, of course not. (Or, I certainly hope not). Not even if they were 4.5 games back and looking up at the entire division. It's not ideal -- you'd rather the Sox be 4.5 games up than 4.5 games back -- but it's far from being an insurmountable deficit. Any panic is the result of not liking the current slope of the hill (of thinking that if they don't ever win a game, they're not going to come back -- this IS true), it has nothing to do with the hill itself (which suggests that they are too far back to catch up even if they do start winning games).
   13. Darren Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:22 PM (#3796757)
haha I was going to post the same thing. Sometimes it's damned if you do and damned if you don't with these impartial observers.


And for some people, it's praised if you do and praised if you don't. Keep the same lineup? You're not panicking. Shuffle constantly? You're mixing things up and keeping them loose. Joe Torre was treated this way for a very long time.

EDIT: To respond to #9, a demotion for Dice or Lackey would be high-leverage, and would be fairly classified as panic if it weren't fully justified or didn't turn out well. I would expect, though, that any demotion would take the form of a loosely specified DL trip, which isn't quite the same thing.


I agree that a DL trip would not qualify as the kind of demotion I was talking about. They could claim a physical issue and we'd have no way of knowing how serious it was.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3796760)
And for some people, it's praised if you do and praised if you don't. Keep the same lineup? You're not panicking. Shuffle constantly? You're mixing things up and keeping them loose. Joe Torre was treated this way for a very long time.


Fair enough. But was there really anyone on this site agreeing with Torre when he dropped A-Rod to 8th (or whatever) in the playoffs?
   15. tfbg9 Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3796763)
When I've seen Bowden pitch in the Bigs, maybe 2-3 times IIRC, I have been seriously underwhelmed with how good his stuff looks on TV.

He's the closer at PAW now, no?
   16. Jay Seaver Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#3796766)
Am I the only one who thinks that Wake would get starts if/when Matsuzaka loses them?


Well, there's probably karlmangus (or is it karlmagnus?).

One thing I wonder about, looking at this team, is if it might be a good idea just to throw out the idea of a starting rotation. Figure out what sort of schedule works best for each individual pitcher, and try to hold them to that. Matsuzaka excelled in Japan pitching every 6-7 days and throwing a whole bunch of pitches, so maybe it's time to stop trying to put him on a five-day schedule and the same ~110-pitch count that the rest of the team is on. On the other hand, Lester and Lackey might be able to handle pitching a little more often. Figure out which starters out of the available pool are the best for a given series and schedule them, instead of just going in order.

(Not that I imagine any team will ever do this - the managers and GMs who cover their butts by using relief pitchers based on the save statistic will never expose themselves like that).
   17. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3796773)
Would you be panicked if the Sox were 4.5 games back on August 1st? No, of course not. (Or, I certainly hope not). Not even if they were 4.5 games back and looking up at the entire division. It's not ideal -- you'd rather the Sox be 4.5 games up than 4.5 games back -- but it's far from being an insurmountable deficit. Any panic is the result of not liking the current slope of the hill (of thinking that if they don't ever win a game, they're not going to come back -- this IS true), it has nothing to do with the hill itself (which suggests that they are too far back to catch up even if they do start winning games).


The difference is in team quality. I still believe this team is a 95 win caliber team.

However, if they are 65-50 on August 1st but 5 games back, no biggie, they have shown they are a 90-95 win team. This team is now 2-9, at some point it becomes fair to question if this team is legitimately as good as we thought. We are not there yet but already they have to play at a 95 win pace to win 90 games. If this gets to 4-15, well, the Sox are using up virtually all of their wiggle room before Patriots Day.
   18. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:52 PM (#3796780)
No no no. This just isn't true. I know it feels awful to have lost this many of the first few games of the season, but it's still ridiculously early.

Would you be panicked if the Sox were 4.5 games back on August 1st? No, of course not. (Or, I certainly hope not). Not even if they were 4.5 games back and looking up at the entire division. It's not ideal -- you'd rather the Sox be 4.5 games up than 4.5 games back -- but it's far from being an insurmountable deficit. Any panic is the result of not liking the current slope of the hill (of thinking that if they don't ever win a game, they're not going to come back -- this IS true), it has nothing to do with the hill itself (which suggests that they are too far back to catch up even if they do start winning games).


Agree 10,000%
   19. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:55 PM (#3796784)
Fair enough. But was there really anyone on this site agreeing with Torre when he dropped A-Rod to 8th (or whatever) in the playoffs?
Well, it wasn't a great move. But I don't think it was as awful a move as everyone else. A few years before that, he had dropped Giambi to 7th in the '03 ALCS and he promptly hit 2 HRs off Pedro. Now we can debate--not unreasonably--if that was related but I don't think it was as horrible a move as consensus does.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#3796786)
So far, BP/PECOTA says the Sox are still 70% to make the playoffs, a decrease of only about 14 percentage points from their preseason peak. If that's the case, any "hill too high" panic is a wild overreaction.

RLYW had the Sox dropping somewhat more, though they didn't give new playoff odds. My guess is the RLYW odds would put the Sox about 40% for the playoffs, but their simulations were very different from BP's, and the starting point was around 65% for the Red Sox.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: April 14, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3796787)
I always thought that the Giambi HR's were evidence that it was a bad move... but I could see how the other way could be argued.
   22. Darren Posted: April 14, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3796808)
Well, Giambi's HRs were both solo shots. If he was batting cleanup, he might have had a few guys on for them. The effect on his psyche is unknown, of course.
   23. Textbook Editor Posted: April 14, 2011 at 03:17 PM (#3796809)
Matsuzaka excelled in Japan pitching every 6-7 days and throwing a whole bunch of pitches, so maybe it's time to stop trying to put him on a five-day schedule and the same ~110-pitch count that the rest of the team is on.


I've wondered for a while if/when the Sox would try to do something along these lines, even if it's just a last-ditch attempt to salvage any kind of value out of him before they are forced to eat most of the contract and trade him.

My guess is it would not be easy to swing this, and you might even need a 6th starter on staff to occasionally fill-in/fix it so no one else started on less than 4 days' rest... But then the rest of the staff would face getting jumbled and sometimes pitching on 4 days' rest and sometimes pitching on 5 days' rest... It would be a bit of a nightmare to organize, and all for 4 starts a month out of Dice-K.

Now, if you knew that letting Dice-K operate as a "Sunday starter" would get you 7-8 IP and a sub-3.00 ERA effort from him, maybe you give it a try if the other starters are willing to deal with the jumbling and you have a good 6th starter you can rotate in/out as needed... but this seems like a stretch.

I confess in my head I've already written off Dice-K as basically a 5th starter who we'd be lucky to get 28 starts and a 5.00 ERA out of. It's Lackey who worries me more, in that I was counting on him to at least be a league-average innings-eater, and he seems poised to do neither of those things...
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 14, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3796826)
So far, BP/PECOTA says the Sox are still 70% to make the playoffs, a decrease of only about 14 percentage points from their preseason peak. If that's the case, any "hill too high" panic is a wild overreaction.

RLYW had the Sox dropping somewhat more, though they didn't give new playoff odds. My guess is the RLYW odds would put the Sox about 40% for the playoffs, but their simulations were very different from BP's, and the starting point was around 65% for the Red Sox.


Those odds seem way, way too high for the favorites: NYY 82%, Bos 71%, CWS 56%, Tex 84%, Phi 72%, SF 70%.

Meanwhile TB is only 10%?
   25. tfbg9 Posted: April 14, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3796828)
It's Lackey who worries me more, in that I was counting on him to at least be a league-average innings-eater, and he seems poised to do neither of those things...


That's what he was last year, except a little better than average, with an bit of an unlucky strand rate, and some poor OF defense behind him.
Heck, if Ells catches that ball in his first start, we're looking at an ERA of only 9!

Serioulsy, he's had two starts: Texas at home, the NYY's in Fenway. Those are tall orders. Most non-aces are gonna get knocked around in starts like that.
I'm hopeful.
   26. tfbg9 Posted: April 14, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3796833)
Meanwhile TB is only 10%?


Farnsworth closes games for TB.
   27. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 14, 2011 at 03:41 PM (#3796836)
Would you be panicked if the Sox were 4.5 games back on August 1st? No, of course not. (Or, I certainly hope not).


4.5 games back of the Wild Card? With more than three teams between me and the goal? Yes, I'd think my team is in serious, serious trouble.
   28. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 14, 2011 at 04:01 PM (#3796868)
For the record, I still wish he was on the Yankees.


I do too, but there have been a fairly long series of moves like this (and moves that I disagreed with) that the Yankees have made in which it turned out that they were right and I was wrong.

I remember them releasing Aaron Small. What?!?! Some other team will plug him into their rotation and he'll be league-average.

I remember them releasing Chien Ming-Wang. WHAT?!?!?! He'll beat up on us for years and years!

This looks like one of those moves. The Yankees knew that he had an option left, and they knew what kind of pitcher he could be when physically right. And they knew their own starting pitcher situation. Yet they let him go. It's entirely possible that it was a mistake. But I think it's more likely that they knew something about him, or thought they did.
   29. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 14, 2011 at 04:04 PM (#3796872)
I remember them releasing Aaron Small. What?!?! Some other team will plug him into their rotation and he'll be league-average.
People thought that after Small put up an ERA over 8 in the majors and over 5 in the minors? He was never going to sniff a major league contract after 2006.
   30. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 14, 2011 at 04:07 PM (#3796879)
Maybe I'm the only guy who thought that way, and my perception certainly may be colored by what he did for the team in 2005. That's why I'm a guy who talks about baseball for free on an anonymous message board and not a professional, paid, talent evaluator for a big-time organization.
   31. tfbg9 Posted: April 14, 2011 at 04:07 PM (#3796880)
And they knew their own starting pitcher situation. Yet they let him go.


Didn't they let him go when they figured they were gonna have at least one of Lee/Battle Cat?

Also, I read somewhere that they were not 100% happy with the way Aceves approached his injury rehab.
   32. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 14, 2011 at 04:12 PM (#3796892)
Didn't they let him go when they figured they were gonna have at least one of Lee/Battle Cat?


Even so, it doesn't make sense on its face. They could have put him on the Scranton shuttle if they had wanted; even if the Yankee starting pitching situation had shaken out the way they wanted it to, they'd be thin there. SP depth is always of value.

Also,I read somewhere that they were not 100% happy with the way Aceves approached his injury rehab.


I did too. But rather than seeing that through the prism of a "get this guy outta here!" fit of irrational pique, that could also be part of why the Yankees clearly made a negative evaluation of that player. As I understand these things, someone in the Yankee decision chain made the determination that Aceves simply isn't worth the money, and the organization would be better off putting those resources someplace else.
   33. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 14, 2011 at 04:15 PM (#3796897)
Yeah, when Small got cut that was a little sad but pretty much inevitable. Wang was iffy, but so far they've looked smart. I tend to think it will be health rather than effectiveness that Aceves will battle in the future, but perhaps I'm wrong.
   34. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 14, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#3796898)
But I think it's more likely that they knew something about him, or thought they did.

I don't think it is at all like Small. He was a fluke, I didn't think there was a question about that. He was terrible his entire career except for one year and went right back to being terrible.

I think its also different from Wang in that Wang didn't pitch last year, Ace is already on the mound for the Sox, being fairly productive. For them to punt on Ace because of health reasons and then sign Feliciano seems silly. Hector Noesi, or Alfredo Aceves Jr. was the first bullpen call up this year.

I don't know what they saw over the winter, but its clear the Yanks are willing to take health risks on some pitchers, not even great ones. At the time, before we knew whether he would be able to pitch, dumping Aceves looked strange. Now that they dumped a guy for injury concerns and he opened the season pitching well for their rival is enough for me to think they ###### up.

I don't think Ace would be a great option for sixth starter, but this is the kind of team that with Hughes, Nova, and Garcia could use two long men. They can burn 40 man spots on Ryan Pope (24 and underwhelming in AA) and Kevin Russo but not on Aceves, who if hurt, they could throw on the 60 day DL? That seems like lousy roster management to me.

Btw, thank you Sox Therapy for having a baseball discussion today, unlike the rest of the board.
   35. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 14, 2011 at 07:18 PM (#3797258)
I think Aceves was a bit of an attitude move on the Yankees part. Based on what I read it seemed they were displeased with his rehab habits and decided to punt. I like Aceves but I doubt he is going to be especially meaningful either as a loss to the Yankees or a gain to the Red Sox. I have no doubt he'll help the Sox but if he is an important pitcher in 2011 the Sox are probably screwed. Basically he's the 2010 Scott Atchsion.
   36. Pingu Posted: April 14, 2011 at 07:56 PM (#3797314)
Jose, I know what you are saying, but Aceves is a lot better of a pitcher than Atchison.
   37. Pingu Posted: April 14, 2011 at 07:57 PM (#3797315)
..better stuff I should clarify.
   38. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 14, 2011 at 11:19 PM (#3797596)
if the Sox in any meaningful way demote Dice or Lackey before the end of April, they're being silly. Both were perfectly fine #3-ish starters last year and both finished the year stronger than they started.


This isn't really true. Matsuzaka missed a third of his starts and ran an ERA+ of 93 -- "fine" for a #5 starter, pretty crappy for a #3 dude. Lackey was more reliable and somewhat better, but I still think you'd want better than a 99 ERA+ out of your #3 guy.

I think it's pretty clear that Matsuzaka, whatever he was in Japan and his first season in Boston, is no longer a very good pitcher. He walks way too many dudes, gives up too many dingers, and misses too many starts. Maybe he needs a change of scenery or a return to Japan, but I have no faith that he'll ever be much more than roster dross for the Red Sox.
   39. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: April 15, 2011 at 02:41 AM (#3797724)
What's up with Crawford's stance? Is it more open than it was when he was with Tampa?
   40. Dan Posted: April 15, 2011 at 04:13 AM (#3797767)
As far as I can recall, Crawford always had the super open stance.
   41. ptodd Posted: April 15, 2011 at 07:22 AM (#3797794)
Last year the Red Sox started off 4-9 and then went 39-19. Look for them to beat up on the Blue Jays and win 3 games, or maybe even sweep them.

If they lose 3 of 4 or worse, then folks can panic, but thats not going to happen, it just is not going to happen.
   42. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: April 15, 2011 at 10:52 AM (#3797808)
My intuition tells me that many teams have 2-9 stretches during the course of a season. Hopefully, they won't have another stretch like that this year.
   43. villageidiom Posted: April 15, 2011 at 11:46 AM (#3797817)
They have a two-day non-losing streak!
   44. Dan Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:06 AM (#3799093)
I've been trying to stay rational and stay optimistic, but I've had enough. My ability to stay rational disappeared in about the 6th inning of today's game. This team isn't going to win anything. It would be a miracle if they got to 90 wins. I can't remember any team in any sport failing their expectations like this, especially without even having any injuries or anything. Just an all-time disaster.

I'm sure Francona will continue to avoid blame from anyone besides me and Darren, despite the shitty lineups he's been using (particularly tonight's). No way a lineup with McDonald, Cameron, Varitek, and Lowrie could have scored 1 more run against a lefty starter, right??? Or even any of them? (I do understand starting Salty, Varitek and Buchholz don't really work together well, and Varitek is probably slated to catch Beckett tomorrow).
   45. tfbg9 Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:34 AM (#3799108)
44-that is some first rate pants pissing, mi amigo.
   46. Dan Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:39 AM (#3799109)
Sorry, but I guess 2-10 was my breaking point.
   47. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:42 AM (#3799113)
All I want to know is why.
   48. Darren Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:53 AM (#3799117)
bottom of the ninth really did it for me. 10 pitches, took 1 ball, swung at 5 balls, watched 4 strikes. And that was from the top of their lineup.
   49. Darren Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:55 AM (#3799118)
At the beginning of 2007, I wrote a little Sox Therapy entry along the lines off "Go Team, Meet Expectations!" It was a result of the horrible feeling that everything that could possibly go wrong would, which is what had happened in 06. I've got that feeling again.
   50. Darren Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:57 AM (#3799120)
Would it be possible for the Red Sox to acquire a star player who actually steps in and just plays like a star player? Would it have been so wrong for Crawford to be hitting .300 with some power and Gonzalez to have hit a few HRs?
   51. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:59 AM (#3799123)
All I want to know is that these guys felt as shitty as I did leaving the park tonight and have the decency to still feel like #### when they wake up in the morning. I'm with Dan and Darren, I'll still root, I'll still hope but I think we have to come to grips with the reality that this team is not what we thought they were.
   52. Dale Sams Posted: April 16, 2011 at 04:03 AM (#3799126)
Well, the good news is, when they blow up the team, they should get something good for Papelbon. Seeing how he's been re-establishing his value...if they trade Lowrie though, I'll suspend them for the rest of the year.
   53. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 16, 2011 at 04:12 AM (#3799128)
Incidentally, I'm fine blaming Francona for some of this, I just can't see him as the primary or even secondary cause. This pitching staff is a disgrace and other than Pedroia is there a hitter who is not a complete ####### mess?

####### Buchholz tonight sucked. The guy couldn't throw a strike to save his life and holy ####### crap he gets behind Corey ####### All Star Patterson 2-0 and bang, 2 run triple.

And then Jesus ####### Christ how about a ####### break? Of course on the hit and run the ball goes right where Scutaro was. Of course the guy who has been throwing BBs comes out of the pen and pitches like ####. Darren is right about #### going wrong. Every ####### game one player seems to step up and #### things up.

I swear I'm more pissed now than I was after 19-8. At least then I could say "hey, great year, Schilling got hurt at a crappy time, Yankees have a great team." This year, no, we're losing to ####### Jayson ####### Nix and Travis ####### Snider and Sam ############# Fuld and Josh Who The #### Is This Guy Tomlin. Bullshit.

Sorry about anything the nanny missed but I'm pissed (obviously) and I had to vent or I wasn't going to sleep tonight.
   54. Darren Posted: April 16, 2011 at 04:19 AM (#3799131)
We're still men.

Yes, we're men. Men is what we are.
   55. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: April 16, 2011 at 04:25 AM (#3799134)
All I want to know is that these guys felt as shitty as I did leaving the park tonight and have the decency to still feel like #### when they wake up in the morning. I'm with Dan and Darren, I'll still root, I'll still hope but I think we have to come to grips with the reality that this team is not what we thought they were.

If it helps, I felt that bad leaving the park tonight.

Also, I can see the clock from my seats, but not from the 2 other places I watched games this week.
   56. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: April 16, 2011 at 04:29 AM (#3799136)
Also, why the #### did it take them 4 hours to suck that badly?
   57. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: April 16, 2011 at 04:30 AM (#3799137)
If anyone's interested in commiserating with me, I will be at An Tua Nua on Beacon Street at 9:30 on Monday morning, watching the game and the race. And probably drinking too many bloody marys and screwdrivers.
   58. Dan Posted: April 16, 2011 at 04:34 AM (#3799138)
This team would need to play .587 (95 game pace) baseball from here on out just to win 90 games. .620 (100 game pace) baseball to win 95.
   59. rr Posted: April 16, 2011 at 05:07 AM (#3799146)
I have only seen them play twice, but I don't see Boston as being in trouble yet. New York is only 7-5 and just DL'd Hughes. Tampa Bay is 5-8. Minnesota is 4-9 and DL'd Mauer. Cleveland and KC are 9-4.

If TB were 11-2 and NY were 10-2 it might be a different story, even this early.

It is early, but 90 wins may mean something different in this year's AL East than it usually does.
   60. madvillain Posted: April 16, 2011 at 05:36 AM (#3799152)
This team would need to play .587 (95 game pace) baseball from here on out just to win 90 games. .620 (100 game pace) baseball to win 95.


It is early, but 90 wins may mean something different in this year's AL East than it usually does.


The first quote illustrates the problem they will have even trying to get to 90. They have to start playing well. Now. Winning 2/3 series. Now. I wouldn't write them off, but they have dug quite the hole from themselves. It's not like they have been unlucky either. Their 3rd order wins suck almost as much as their actual record.
   61. Dan Posted: April 16, 2011 at 05:40 AM (#3799153)
RR is probably onto something. While 2-10 sucks hard, TB is 5-8 and lost their cleanup hitter for the entire season. NYY is 7-5, but their #2 starter has been even worse than Lackey, and is down 4 MPH on his fastball. And now they've put him on the DL without even really identifying what his problem is. So all 3 teams have their own personal disasters I suppose.

But even though no one is running away with the division (or the wild card), the Red Sox still need to get on a hot streak soon.
   62. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: April 16, 2011 at 09:32 AM (#3799161)
For a while I thought it was just bad luck, but now things are starting to look seriously bad. I'm beginning to wonder how much longer the team can keep playing this badly and Francona not start feeling some heat. I can't really justify why, though. I don't think he's doing anything wrong exactly, but something's gotta give at some point, right? Most of the stuff he's doing is at least defensible, if maybe not optimal from a non-insider's POV, and I get the sense he and the front office are in pretty close agreement about things. But what would it take? 5-20? 12-36? At what point does the FO think about further moves? Should Francona bench Crawford a little? Send him to the DL with phantom shoulder pain? Bat Pedroia leadoff? Start screaming at everybody? Cut Dice-K? Set Buck Showalter's hair on fire? WTF do you do with your fairly limited managerial options?

I'm actually curious, because I don't have a lot of managerial experience with this kind of thing, and I wonder if this sort of situation might come up. These are some highly motivated, serious professionals. I don't get the sense that anyone isn't trying hard on this team. What do you do with a seriously underachieving group of established professionals?
   63. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 16, 2011 at 10:56 AM (#3799168)
Take away a quirk or two in early scheduling, and all of the Big Three ALE teams would be in the same boat. Batting slumps come and go, but no team is going to win any 90-100 games with the sort of aging and patchwork rotations that the Yanks and Sox have.** You can't project three weeks onto an entire season (duh), but it's hard not to have looked at the Rangers and not see that the relationship between them and the ALE that existed in the late 90's has essentially been reversed. The Rays are probably best positioned to snap out of it, since they don't have the backs of their rotations saddled with a nest of albatrosses, but all of these teams have a LOT to prove over the next few months.

**At some point you just have to call a spade a spade. Those two teams combined have 5 dead men walking in their rotations (3 in NY, 2 in Bos), and anyone who thinks that Burnett is already "back" is kidding themselves---he's been a slightly better version of last year's Ivan Nova, with plenty of nasty stuff but command that goes on and off like a light bulb during a hurricane.
   64. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM (#3799171)
What the ####? An Tua Nua? Are you a 22 year old frat boy? At least go across the street to Audobon Circle.
   65. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: April 16, 2011 at 02:01 PM (#3799210)
What the ####? An Tua Nua? Are you a 22 year old frat boy? At least go across the street to Audobon Circle.

ATN, from 8pm till close, is the worst bar in the city. Before a Sox game, and before 11:30 on Patriot's day, it's a shockingly average bar, where I know the bartender and I get the occasional free drink. They also have those windows that open in the front, and are on the correct side of Beacon for marathon watching.

Edit: Also, because of the more downscale reputation compared to Audubon Circle, it gets more of a gameday crowd. On a game day, I appreciate that.
   66. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 16, 2011 at 02:31 PM (#3799218)
What do you do with a seriously underachieving group of established professionals?


You get rid of one or two. Not that they've done anything wrong, per se, but it's clear that the mix is not working. That's in a normal organization with at-will employees that you can fire or find ways to help them vacate to other departments. When you have something like a big-league club with guaranteed contract employees that can't simply be moved to other parts (Salty as the most highly-paid accountant of all time as the guy who gives Fenway tours to fourth-graders squats behind the dish), I think the only move is to fire the manager.

Due to his previous historic success, I think Francona has survived longer than any other manager with this group of players and these results would have. But I think that Theo and crew are foolish if they're not even considering letting him go, or at least pushing him upstairs. The Yankees of twenty years ago would fire the hitting coach or some such nonsense; I don't think that ever has any real effect.
   67. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 16, 2011 at 02:51 PM (#3799225)
If firing Francona will revert Lackey and Dice-K into Major League pitchers again, then go for it. Hell, why not hire Jack Welch or Larry Ellison if you think that the manager is the problem, or use the early Steinbrenner era Yankees as your role model.

As a Yankee fan it's no skin off my back what the Red Sox want to do, but as a Yankee fan I can also remember all too well the poisonous effect of scapegoating managers, and one of the many things about the Red Sox that I've come to respect is the way that they've avoided that.
   68. Dale Sams Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3799241)
Sox could 2-160 and Francona isn't getting fired. He gets at least a season long pass, and frankly the idea is pretty damn silly. I mean, he *is* the most successful RS manager in history isn't he? Wasn't it only 13 regular season games ago*, people were saying he should get Manager of the Year?

*Yes, he drives me nuts. Too loyal to vets, closes the barndoor one batter too late, doesn't think outside the box enough. But results are results and he should get at least one losing season. I mean so what if it's going to be a stretch of at least 4 years since the Sox won a playoff game? Right?....ok, fire him.
   69. chris p Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:35 PM (#3799250)
and other than Pedroia is there a hitter who is not a complete ####### mess?

lowrie. he needs to start playing every day.
   70. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:39 PM (#3799252)
if you think that the manager is the problem


Somebody may indeed think this, but this somebody is not me. But I think that practicality dictates that you don't DFA players signed to major-league contracts, particularly those who will most likely perform in a way consistent with the numbers on the back of their baseball cards. Carl Crawford will be a big part of the next great Red Sox team. Hell, I assumed that it would be this year, but at this time, it probably won't. Accountability should be given to the decision-makers who signed Dice and Lackey and who figured that a Salty/Tek job-sharing program would get 'er done. But honestly, a decisive move against mid-level executives in the Red Sox FO will not have the dramatic, earth-shattering, potentially game-changing effect that may be necessary to get this group of players to begin performing in an acceptable way.

What does that leave you with, practically? Considering an action against the manager.

He's done a lot of great things, and should never have to pay for his own drink in a bar again. But you won't find a lot of successful managers in the modern era who have held onto one job for longer than Terry.

When it comes down to it, the Red Sox are an entertainment organization, and they owe their ticket-buying fanbase a competitive team. With respect to Dale, at some point in a 2-160 season, they are not competitive anymore, and people will stop buying tickets.
   71. Swedish Chef Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:46 PM (#3799254)
What does that leave you with, practically? Considering an action against the manager.

They could fire Bill James, an empty gesture* that would make a big splash.

*) Don't tell me he is vitally important for the RS FO.
   72. Nasty Nate Posted: April 16, 2011 at 03:53 PM (#3799259)
Lowrie leading off today, Crawford on bench
   73. Darren Posted: April 16, 2011 at 04:11 PM (#3799271)
Cut Wakefield, that will shake things up AND make the staff better.

Wasn't it only 13 regular season games ago*, people were saying he should get Manager of the Year?


Not everybody. Francona may be the most successful Sox manager, but just about every manager ends the same way, no matter what their success.
   74. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 16, 2011 at 04:43 PM (#3799300)
TVerik, you say that you don't think that the manager is the problem, but that you have to fire him anyway, in order to "have the dramatic, earth-shattering, potentially game-changing effect that may be necessary to get this group of players to begin performing in an acceptable way."

If you really think that a new manager can do all that, then it seems as if you think that a new manager is the solution, even if the old one wasn't the problem. I may be just dense (won't be the first time), but it's kind of hard for me to reconcile those two thoughts.

Of course firing whoever decided to spend all that money on Dice-K and Lackey might not work, either, since the barn door is already locked and the horses have escaped, plus it's always easy to have 20-20 hindsight and sometimes even the smartest people can make some pretty dumb moves. Quiet as it's kept, it's even been known to happen to the Yankees.

EDIT: If that "starting nine" doesn't brighten your day, nothing will. (smile)
   75. Textbook Editor Posted: April 16, 2011 at 04:51 PM (#3799310)
The only big move I can see them making in the near term is to make Varitek the primary C and to use Salty more in a backup role, at least until the pitching staff settles down a bit.
   76. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 16, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3799332)
If you really think that a new manager can do all that, then it seems as if you think that a new manager is the solution, even if the old one wasn't the problem. I may be just dense (won't be the first time), but it's kind of hard for me to reconcile those two thoughts.


No, the act of a job change would potentially have the effect I'm looking for. Make the players feel personally responsible for a good man losing his job, particularly if they feel that he should not have.

Sometimes good folk just don't work well together for reasons that are not apparent to outsiders, and a change of one of them could impact the whole group's performance. In this case, I don't think the manager is the problem. But don't you think Ortiz (for example) would be differently motivated knowing that he doesn't have a long, successful track record with the new guy?
   77. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 16, 2011 at 05:39 PM (#3799383)
If you really think that a new manager can do all that, then it seems as if you think that a new manager is the solution, even if the old one wasn't the problem. I may be just dense (won't be the first time), but it's kind of hard for me to reconcile those two thoughts.

No, the act of a job change would potentially have the effect I'm looking for. Make the players feel personally responsible for a good man losing his job, particularly if they feel that he should not have.

Sometimes good folk just don't work well together for reasons that are not apparent to outsiders, and a change of one of them could impact the whole group's performance. In this case, I don't think the manager is the problem. But don't you think Ortiz (for example) would be differently motivated knowing that he doesn't have a long, successful track record with the new guy?


If you think that the main problem lies with motivation rather than with more tangible (and in most cases temporary) factors, then I can see your point. I still think the long range problem for both EEs is much more in the fragility of the rotation than in their motivation, but admittedly I spend much more time directly observing the Bronx side of the equation. Just be grateful that you're not counting on Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova and Mystery Man to go out there for 60% of your games.
   78. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: April 16, 2011 at 06:28 PM (#3799442)
Dice has also started a new, team approved, workout regimen, and it would only make sense that they give it some time to work out the kinks.

I heard that Jeff Francoeur has a new approach at the plate this season. Can you confirm?
   79. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: April 16, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3799577)
I agree with 75. I wish they went after Olivo when he was available. They could have gotten him relatively cheap, and he's better than what they have there now.
   80. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: April 16, 2011 at 08:35 PM (#3799644)
I also agree with 75. Tek's not good, but he's caught 2 of the 3 wins, and both good pitching performances. You have to stick with what is sort of working.
   81. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 16, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#3799689)
To me Tito is the right guy. As frustrating as this has been if this team truly is as good as they are supposed to be riding it out and letting the talent do it's job is the correct move. As someone noted above unless you think Tito is to blame for Lackey and Matsuzaka's performance (and he could be) I think thisis on the players.

I think Varitek should be in ahead of Saltalamacchia but I was never a believer in Saltalamacchia. I'd like to see more of Lowrie too but that's more a "hot hand" thing than anything, I'm not one of the BBTF believers in Lowrie.
   82. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 16, 2011 at 09:18 PM (#3799709)
if this team truly is as good as they are supposed to be riding it out and letting the talent do it's job is the correct move

Well then wouldn't you be pretty peeved at a manager who was constantly juggling the lineup and rotation?
   83. chris p Posted: April 16, 2011 at 09:50 PM (#3799733)
I'm not one of the BBTF believers in Lowrie.

what does he have to do for you to become a believer? i mean, i think it's pretty clear that the guy can hit!
   84. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 16, 2011 at 10:09 PM (#3799750)
what does he have to do for you to become a believer? i mean, i think it's pretty clear that the guy can hit!


Based on what? He was OK in 2008, awful (in very short time in 2009) and very good last year in less than half a season. I'm not sold on his glove and I think his swing is long enough that as the season progresses he will be exposed.

Well then wouldn't you be pretty peeved at a manager who was constantly juggling the lineup and rotation?


Yup. I think it's clear that Francona, who to me has always appeared hyper-prepared, has looked a bit unprepared for his team this year. I think a lot of that is the pitiful job the players are doing though. I'm not comfortable being too critical of the manager when the players are so badly underperforming any set of reasonable forecasts.
   85. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 16, 2011 at 10:43 PM (#3799775)
Tito has always, always, always juggled lineups constantly. In 2004, he used 123 (!) distinct lineups. It's just more visible this year.
   86. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: April 16, 2011 at 10:57 PM (#3799791)
Based on what? He was OK in 2008, awful (in very short time in 2009) and very good last year in less than half a season. I'm not sold on his glove and I think his swing is long enough that as the season progresses he will be exposed.
Lowrie's career line now stands at 263/344/438 in 603 PA, which I think is the minimum of what to expect going forward. I'm especially encouraged that he's kept the low K rate from last season -- only one in 22 ABs so far and 13.5% in over the last two years. Put me in the "he's for real" camp.
   87. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 17, 2011 at 12:20 AM (#3799862)
Start Lowrie until/unless he gets exposed.

I was at the game today. Who wants to buy me tickets so that the team will keep winning?
   88. Dan Posted: April 17, 2011 at 12:30 AM (#3799874)
Lowrie for everyday SS and leadoff hitter!
   89. John DiFool2 Posted: April 17, 2011 at 01:20 AM (#3799932)
And Beckett isn't nearly as washed up (or at least past his peak) as some here painted him to be, is he?
   90. villageidiom Posted: April 17, 2011 at 01:23 AM (#3799937)
I was at the game today. Who wants to buy me tickets so that the team will keep winning?
They are also 1-0 when I attend... And my attendance was so powerful an effect that it got John Lackey the W.
   91. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 17, 2011 at 01:26 AM (#3799939)
Lowrie for everyday SS and leadoff hitter!


I'm happy with that. Let us play the guys who are helping our team win right now. Make 'em earn it. This means Lowrie every day, and Varitek as long as the staff pitches well with him behind the plate.
   92. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 17, 2011 at 01:27 AM (#3799941)
You guys got nothing, my father is 2-0
   93. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 17, 2011 at 01:28 AM (#3799944)
Yeah but Lackey was terrible that day...
   94. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: April 17, 2011 at 01:28 AM (#3799946)
I'm 0-3, having attended the last 3 before today.
   95. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 17, 2011 at 01:30 AM (#3799950)
You guys got nothing, my father is 2-0


Okay, we're gonna pay HIM to go to the games. Can we ply him with beer?
   96. Darren Posted: April 17, 2011 at 02:23 AM (#3799989)
Lowrie will probably start tomorrow but Francona won't be able to just leave him at SS. He will have him play 3B with Youk DH'ing or give Pedroia a day off or play Gonzalez in LF or something.
   97. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 17, 2011 at 02:25 AM (#3799991)
Okay, we're gonna pay HIM to go to the games. Can we ply him with beer?


How do you think mom got him to marry her?
   98. Dan Posted: April 17, 2011 at 02:55 AM (#3800001)
Lowrie will probably start tomorrow but Francona won't be able to just leave him at SS. He will have him play 3B with Youk DH'ing or give Pedroia a day off or play Gonzalez in LF or something.


Yeah I'm expecting something stupid like that.
   99. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 17, 2011 at 06:53 AM (#3800082)
And Beckett isn't nearly as washed up (or at least past his peak) as some here painted him to be, is he?


Since I'm probably his main detractor around here, nope, he's looking great. Hope it continues and he doesn't revert back to the dumbass pn the mound he's too often resembled.
   100. RollingWave Posted: April 17, 2011 at 08:06 AM (#3800089)
tomorrow's the dread Dice-K start though right...?
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