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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Sox Therapy ALDS Preview

So here we go.  Before I dig into this a bit let me say this; I have not been looking forward to this somewhat predictable series all year.  I’m sure it will be a great series as both teams are excellent but the ancillary BS that comes with Sox-Yankees saps some of the fun out of it for me.  The lunkheads on both sides come out of the woodwork, the media can’t come up with a story line less than half a century old, the individual games are often routs and even the close games are often aesthetic nightmares.

Anyway, here are the keys to the series as I see them;

1. Chris Sale’s Health - Honestly we may know who wins this series by the third pitch of game one.  If some combination of adrenaline, rest and recovery has Sale sizzle a 99MPH fastball past Andrew McCutchen then the Sox are looking at potentially needing just one win from games 2-4 to feel very good about winning the series.  If Sale flutters up one of those 91MPH Moyerballs he was throwing against Baltimore the Sox are likely to be getting a lesser performance from Sale and a shorter one as well.

2. The Great Mismatch - This year’s Sox team has more than a bit of the 2003 team to it.  They can bash and the rotation is quite good but the bullpen is questionable at best.  Unlike 2003 where the Sox managed to work out the bullpen in the series against Oakland (just) Alex Cora still has no idea who he can rely on as his Mike Timlin to Craig Kimbrel’s Scott Williamson.  Steven Wright seems to be the guy who has shoved his way into that mix and I trust you’ll forgive my reticence at the knuckleballing set up man.  By contrast the Yankee bullpen is awfully good with both a mix of lefties and righties and styles.  Having said that I don’t fear them the way I probably should.  The Sox have gotten to that group a few times the last couple of years (Robertson is the one guy I hate seeing come into a game).  I think this series will have at least one game with a big dramatic comeback and it could come from either team.

3. Judging the Wrist - Aaron Judge has started to come around a bit but he is still just a few weeks out from returning from injury and has not really hit and has fanned in every game.  If the Sox can get his swing wound up like the Astros did last year the big slugger could slump which would be a considerable issue for the Yankee offense.

4. Defense - The mismatch here isn’t as great as it is in the bullpen but it is an area that I feel the Sox have a considerable edge.  The Yankees have a couple of question marks in the corner infield spots with Luke Voit and Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres seems like a guy who sometimes can get a bit lazy (as we see from many young players).  The Yankee outfield defense is decent (Hicks of course is phenomenal) but the Sox are just ridiculously good out there.

5. Who Adapts Best - While this series features two clubs with long institutional memories about the post-season both managers are post-season virgins.  It would not be a surprise to see one of these guys pull a real clanker at some point.  Bench coaches Josh Bard and Ron Roenicke may be important voices as the series goes on.  My father has raised the point that for all the grief Grady Little deservedly took in 2003 for not lifting Pedro that the bench coach (Jerry Narron) should have been the voice in his ear.  I can’t comment on the Bard/Boone relationship but certainly Roenicke and Cora have seemed to have a pretty solid working arrangement.

So here we go.  I would expect this to be a five gamer.  I’ll be honest, I don’t like this matchup for the Sox.  Happ and Sabathia are the types of pitchers the Sox have scuffled with all year and the ability of the Sox’ bullpen to get the job done concerns me.  If Sale is right however that’s a series changer and for no valid reason I feel extremely confident in David Price.  If you don’t already know game one is at 7:32 on Friday and on Saturday at 8:15.  All Sox/Yankee games are on TBS.  If you are a cord cutter you can get a one week “trial” subscription for PlayStation Vue or Sling TV which will offer TBS.  I’ve used both and while I prefer PSVue both work fine.

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 04, 2018 at 09:00 AM | 81 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: October 04, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5760293)
I’ll be honest, I don’t like this matchup for the Sox.  Happ and Sabathia are the types of pitchers the Sox have scuffled with all year and the ability of the Sox’ bullpen to get the job done concerns me.
I've said many times that Severino doesn't scare me vs. Boston, so I'm probably one of the few on the planet who is disappointed Boston doesn't get to face him more than once. What you said is a kinder way of putting it.

I think this series will be a sweep. If Sale is as good as we know he can be, Boston sweeps. If he isn't, New York sweeps. One could infer that I think Price will do fine if Boston is up 1-0 but won't if they're down 0-1. If you infer it I won't confirm, but also I won't deny.

And then if Boston is up 2-0 their bullpen is likely rested and ready to respond to a Porcello implosion in Game 3, whereas they're probably burned out & burned up if Sale and Price can't go deep into their starts. Similar arguments for/against the Yankees. Game 3 will be determined from the domino effects of Games 1 and 2.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 04, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5760320)
I agree about Severino. The Sox have done damage against hard throwers this year, those junkballing lefties have been the guys that slammed the door on them. I think you may well be right about the way the series plays out. I don't see this being an epic like 2003/2004.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2018 at 02:29 PM (#5760345)
I know I'm stating the obvious, but an excellent Chris Sale does not guarantee a Game 1 win (and vice versa).
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: October 04, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5760348)

4. Defense - The mismatch here isn’t as great as it is in the bullpen but it is an area that I feel the Sox have a considerable edge. The Yankees have a couple of question marks in the corner infield spots with Luke Voit and Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres seems like a guy who sometimes can get a bit lazy (as we see from many young players). The Yankee outfield defense is decent (Hicks of course is phenomenal) but the Sox are just ridiculously good out there.
This is one edge that I hope has an impact.

I'm looking forward to some infield gaffe by the Yankees or some rally-killing excellence from JBJ or Betts.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 04, 2018 at 02:54 PM (#5760370)
Aaron Judge has started to come around a bit but he is still just a few weeks out from returning from injury and has not really hit and has fanned in every game. If the Sox can get his swing wound up like the Astros did last year the big slugger could slump which would be a considerable issue for the Yankee offense.

Judge did have a 1.065 OPS against the Astros in last year's ALCS. Sure, we'd like to see him do a bit better, but I think I'd take that now and hope it's enough. Judge looked very good last night - his first real dominant game since returning from injury.

I do agree that Sale might be the key - in the how healthy & how long can he go sense. Lots of other questions on both teams - you wouldn't know both won 100 games for all the worries. Contrary to #1, I think a sweep is the least likely outcome, but you never know.
   6. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 04, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5760415)
Ah, it was the Cleveland series where he got tied in knots. I had it in my head that it was the Astros.
   7. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: October 04, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5760427)
Sale is one key, and Price (at Fenway when the opponent is NY) is the other. And the offense, as always. Those are their strengths
   8. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 05, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5761050)
Per PeteAbe Kelly and Workman are in;

Pitchers: Barnes, Brasier, Eovaldi, Kelly, Kimbrel, Porcello, Price, Rodriguez, Sale, Workman, Wright
Catchers: Leon, Swihart, Vazquez
Infielders: Bogaerts, Devers, Holt, Kinsler, Moreland, Nunez, Pearce
Outfielders: Benintendi, Betts, JBJ, Martinez
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: October 05, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5761059)
So that would mean that the following are out: Pomeranz, Velasquez, Hembree, Johnson.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: October 05, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5761068)
My question is this: If the Sox are up 3-2 heading into the 8th and Sale is gassed, who starts that inning on the mound?
   11. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 05, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5761073)
I suspect it's Wright. That's the way they were rolling the last couple of weeks and he pitched well. I don't love it but...
   12. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 05, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5761082)

My question is this: If the Sox are up 3-2 heading into the 8th and Sale is gassed, who starts that inning on the mound?


Depends on who is up for the Yanks, at that point I'd assume Cora would match relievers to batters, just trying to get one out at a time.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: October 05, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5761089)

Depends on who is up for the Yanks, at that point I'd assume Cora would match relievers to batters, just trying to get one out at a time.
E-Rod as the LOOGY, or is one of the RHP good against lefties, a la El Guapo?
   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 05, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5761093)
I know I'm in hostile territory, but here's my take:

DH: Edge for Martinez over Stanton, but that could change if Stanton keeps his cool and doesn't keep trying to pull everything
C: Sanchez by default and because of the greater upside
1B: Voit over Moreland
2B: Torres easily over Kinsler / Nunez unless he gets the shakes, which I doubt will happen
SS: Bogaerts over Didi, but barely
3B: No contest, Andujar / Hechavarria over Devers**
LF: Benintendi over McCutchen / Gardner on the basis of his past performance against the Yanks
CF: Hicks over Bradley. Too much difference in offense, and Hicks is no slouch defensively
RF: Mookie over Judge, ranging from close to a chasm (News Flash: Judge is streaky, Mookie isn't)

Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Good Sale over Happ, Happ over Bad Sale
Game 2: Price in Fenway over Tanaka
Game 3: Severino over Porcello
Game 4: Sabathia over Red Sox 4th starter unless it's Eovaldi, who's dominated the Yankees all year
Game 5: See Game 1

Relief Pitchers
Yanks have more depth, but a lot depends on how many innings they'll have to log. Betances and Kimbrel are the only two bullpen guys I'd really trust, and even with them you never know

Pick: Red Sox in either 4 or 5 with Good Sale; Yanks in 4 or 5 with Bad Sale, but I'll believe Bad Sale when I see him. And Mookie / Martinez / Benintendi / Bogaerts are just scary scary, fully capable of rescuing Bad Sale with an assist from Good Wright.

And going forward, either of them will beat the Indians but not the Astros.

** What's the story with Devers? He looked so great when he first came up, but now not so much.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 05, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5761103)
E-Rod as the LOOGY, or is one of the RHP good against lefties, a la El Guapo?


Kelly has a .610 OPS against by LHB this year and generally has done well with lefties in his career. Most of the Sox relievers are actually pretty solid against lefties (Wright, Workman, Brasier, Barnes all sub-.700 OPS against) but Kelly is the best.

What's the story with Devers? He looked so great when he first came up, but now not so much.


It seems fairly common with kids. He had ups and downs. As a Sox fan it's been encouraging the last few weeks, he's had much better swings. As a general rule he's a slugger and those guys tend to the streaky. The defense, well, he's not a glove man (not unlike Andujar).
   16. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 05, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5761115)
What's the story with Devers? He looked so great when he first came up, but now not so much.

It seems fairly common with kids. He had ups and downs. As a Sox fan it's been encouraging the last few weeks, he's had much better swings. As a general rule he's a slugger and those guys tend to the streaky. The defense, well, he's not a glove man (not unlike Andujar).


Yeah, it's just that whenever I think back on this, I'm thinking of Superman rather than an ordinary Earthling, let alone a 21 year old.
   17. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 05, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5761167)
Yeah, it's just that whenever I think back on this, I'm thinking of Superman rather than an ordinary Earthling, let alone a 21 year old.


That's the thing though - he's only 21! Just barely older than Torres, almost 2 years younger than Andujar. Pitchers found the holes in his swing, it's up to Devers to fix them, I certainly think he can, but he is going to go through rough stretches.


DH: Edge for Martinez over Stanton, but that could change if Stanton keeps his cool and doesn't keep trying to pull everything
C: Sanchez by default and because of the greater upside
1B: Voit over Moreland


DH - Edge for Martinez? He's got almost 50 points of OPS+ on Stanton, I mean sure, Stanton could obviously get hot, but I am fairy certain that every GM in the game would take Martinez over Stanton for this series.

C - Sanchez may have more offensive upside, but his defensive downside is also precipitous. I think I'd take the Sox C's as a whole rather than the Yanks.
1B - Sorta the same situation at 1st, Voit still probably more impactful, but platooning Pearce with Moreland is huge.
   18. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 05, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5761185)
Good point about Pearce with Happ or Sabathia, which probably evens out the 1B matchup.

I'd certainly take Martinez because of his consistency, but Stanton's perfectly capable of dominating a series every bit as much as JD.

Sanchez or Leon/Vazquez? I think I'll stick with the upside, although Sanchez's pitch blocking problems have been painfully documented.
   19. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 05, 2018 at 02:15 PM (#5761201)
Sanchez or Leon/Vazquez? I think I'll stick with the upside, although Sanchez's pitch blocking problems have been painfully documented.


Swihart is also the defacto PR (he's no Dave Roberts, but he does have above average speed). I am also probably under-rating Sanchez, he's up there with Machado as top 'looks like a petulant #######, and seems to act like a #####' players.
   20. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 05, 2018 at 06:18 PM (#5761410)
Swihart is also the defacto PR (he's no Dave Roberts, but he does have above average speed). I am also probably under-rating Sanchez, he's up there with Machado as top 'looks like a petulant #######, and seems to act like a #####' players.

I can see that with Sanchez, but having followed the Orioles closely from late 2012 to early 2018 I think you've got an outdated slant on Machado. He and Schoop in particular always looked like they were enjoying themselves immensely both on the field and in the dugout. Don't know what he's like in L.A., but for the past few years in Baltimore he was indistinguishable from nearly every other MLB player in his reliance on the Top 10 Cliches in post-game interviews, and never came across as anything close to petulant or uncooperative.
   21. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 05, 2018 at 11:33 PM (#5761562)
Did I mention the bullpen might be a bit of a mismatch? Rather than a new thread I’m just going to throw some notes in;

- Sale was sharp. Not 99 but 95 and the slider was outstanding. Hard to argue there.

- That play by Mookie where he tracked down McCutchen’s fly ball then spun and threw a strike to first base while falling away from the bag was stupid good. The catch itself was a heck of a grab he made look easy. The throw was nonsense.

- The Yankees seem to have a plan to just not swing at off speed stuff from the bullpen and it’s hard to argue with it. None of them could throw a strike with their breaking ball.

- Leon had a tough night but I think a lot of that was on the pitchers. I didn’t think either wild pitch was anything he could have done about and he had a few nice blocks.

- Aaron Judge seems healthy. His home run was actually not that bad a pitch by Kimbrel, it caught a lot of the plate but Judge was off balance but because he’s like those Albanaian guys that used to be on ESPN lifting rocks and stuff he hit it 400 feet.

- Other than that I thought Kimbrel looked good. Some of that I tip my hat to Leon on, his pitch mix looked good.

- The Porcello move was interesting. I expected Wright, be interested to hear what Cora says about that decision.

Not much else to say. It was a hell of a game, well played on the whole but the Sox need to get the bullpen to figure it out. We’ve been saying that since April though.
   22. Chip Posted: October 05, 2018 at 11:48 PM (#5761565)
It was more or less what you expected from this roster at its worst, especially the bullpen, but they won. No runs off the NYY middle relief, especially Lynn, was embarrassing for the offense, but it’s history now.
   23. Chip Posted: October 05, 2018 at 11:50 PM (#5761567)
Also, the Kimbrel pitch to Judge was awful. Ugly middle-middle hanger.
   24. Phil Coorey. Posted: October 06, 2018 at 01:02 AM (#5761579)
I had 15 heart attacks. All were after Sale was lifted
   25. Chip Posted: October 06, 2018 at 05:52 AM (#5761589)
Steven Wright hurt his knee pre-game, likely out until WS, at best.
   26. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 06, 2018 at 07:59 AM (#5761602)
Steven Wright hurt his knee pre-game, likely out until WS, at best.

So that explains it. I was wondering why Wright wasn't used last night, given how well he'd pitched (0.66 ERA) since coming back in September, not to mention his 1.95 career ERA against the Yankees.
   27. Textbook Editor Posted: October 06, 2018 at 09:07 AM (#5761612)
F!@#!

Wright was the wild card guy who you could see going on a run in the postseason to ease the use of the Gas Can Bullpen. And all because they just HAD to pinch run him last season. ARGH. I want to slap around John Farrell every time I think about this.

The question now is: Hembree or Johnson or Velazquez? I tend to lean toward the latter... I think you need length, not another Joe Kelly type, and at the moment I think Velazquez edges Johnson--at least against the Yankees.

Cora did a LOT of strange things last night--almost too numerous to mention... But the main one I said to TE Jr.: What is the point of having Joe Kelly on the roster if you trust him so little you'd bring Porcello (your nominal G3 starter!) into the 8th inning? I mean... is Kelly only there if we're behind? Why have a 1 IP guy on the roster you only trust if you're behind? Argh.

Plus, while the broadcasters were shoveling praise at Leon last night, I thought he was AWFUL. His pitch calling with Braiser/Workman/Barnes was simply awful. Here are three guys who have (arguably) plus fastballs... that they almost never threw; instead they tried to get them to chase sliders and offspeed stuff out of the zone down and away to RHB. Look... that sort of approach worked with Alfonso Soriano in 2003... but it was CLEAR 2-3 batters in that the Yankees were NOT going to bite on those kinds of pitches. They way they laid off them as a group almost made me wonder if they knew they were coming, but the likelihood of 3 straight P tipping pitches seems... small.

In any event, Leon called a horrendous few innings and it almost cost them the game. I'm not sure WTF the point of it was. It drove me batshit crazy watching it. If they do that #### again, they're not going to have the same luck.
   28. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5761615)
TE I’m with you on Velazquez. The guy just gets the job done.
   29. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: October 06, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5761621)
Except for Sale or Kimbrel, you can't beat the Yankees with fastballs unless you mix in lots of breaking stuff that they'll chase. They neutralized Stanton, Andujar and Torryes, and got lucky when Sanchez lined out to Nunez.

I want Devers' bat in there. Nunez looks awful at the plate.

Kimbrel was effectively wild.
   30. Darren Posted: October 06, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5761623)
The absence of Wright is explained now but I still don't get the guys they used over Eovaldi and Rodriguez. The pitchers I least expected to see in a winnable game 1 were, in order: Price, Porcello, and Workman.

The presence of both Nunez and Leon in the lineup still baffles me. Both have been well below replacement level on the year and neither has hit well recently, to put it mildly. I cannot imagine what it is that they are doing that makes a good choice for the roster, much less the starting lineup. Reminds me of Jonny Gomes in the 2013 postseason.

It seemed obvious to me that Voit would tie the game with a 600 foot homer off Kimbrel then win it in the 11th then burn the city of Boston to the ground. Happily surprised that he didn't.

   31. Darren Posted: October 06, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5761625)
We can't know everything about the circumstances, of course, but pulling Sale that early seems like a poor move if it means you end up with Workman on the mound. If he's not hurting, I'd rather see him try to finish the sixth than what happened.
   32. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 06, 2018 at 11:45 AM (#5761628)
Plus, while the broadcasters were shoveling praise at Leon last night, I thought he was AWFUL. His pitch calling with Braiser/Workman/Barnes was simply awful. Here are three guys who have (arguably) plus fastballs... that they almost never threw; instead they tried to get them to chase sliders and offspeed stuff out of the zone down and away to RHB. Look... that sort of approach worked with Alfonso Soriano in 2003... but it was CLEAR 2-3 batters in that the Yankees were NOT going to bite on those kinds of pitches.

Maybe, although Torres chased a ball that was nearly a foot low on a 3-2 count in the most critical AB of the game. But in general they didn't seem to know which Yankees have Soriano tendencies in them and which ones don't.

Or maybe those middle relievers just aren't that good. Wright's the only one who scares me as a Yankees fan.
   33. John DiFool2 Posted: October 06, 2018 at 12:38 PM (#5761634)
In any event, Leon called a horrendous few innings and it almost cost them the game. I'm not sure WTF the point of it was. It drove me batshit crazy watching it. If they do that #### again, they're not going to have the same luck.


I'll give him props for junking Porcello's knuckle curve for c. 12 of the last 13 pitches (tho he got a K out of the one he did throw).

I was going to say they're benching Devers because of a huge platoon split, but he actually has a reverse split, at least in terms of batting average (power shows a sharp drop): [R: .246.303 .458 L: .280 .335 .423]. While Nunez has hit slightly WORSE vs. lefties... ??? Holt is about even, note.
   34. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 06, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5761652)
In any event, Leon called a horrendous few innings and it almost cost them the game.

Not so sure the Red Sox would have done better with more fastballs called. They'll have plenty of time to make that adjustment for the rest of the series if that's what they think will get the Yankees out. Leon saved 2 runs or more by blocking pitches that could have gone to the backstop, which ought to be enough to earn his keep.

In other news:
David Schoenfield, ESPN Senior Writer

Heath Hembree has replaced Steven Wright on Boston's ALDS roster. That means Wright is also ineligible for the ALCS if the Red Sox advance. This puts even more pressure on the Boston bullpen — and remember that Boston is carrying one less pitcher than the Yankees.

Hopefully, we'll see him tonight. Early.
   35. Textbook Editor Posted: October 06, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5761657)
Hembree is not the choice I would make.
   36. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: October 06, 2018 at 03:13 PM (#5761672)
Not so sure the Red Sox would have done better with more fastballs called.


The Yankees just broke the HR record. They can hit fastballs. You don't challenge them with fastballs unless you have upper 90mph wth movement, like Sale, Kimbrel and Barnes and Kelly have. The other guys need to mix it up more.
   37. villageidiom Posted: October 06, 2018 at 08:32 PM (#5761764)
Leon had a tough night but I think a lot of that was on the pitchers. I didn’t think either wild pitch was anything he could have done about and he had a few nice blocks.
He couldn't handle either wild pitch because they were to his side and he tried to backhand them instead of moving laterally. He blocked the one that bounced way in front of the plate and hit him in the chest, but only because he didn't have to move to his side.
   38. Nasty Nate Posted: October 06, 2018 at 09:26 PM (#5761782)
The green-screened purple ad on the CF wall is an abomination.
   39. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2018 at 10:23 PM (#5761804)
Better than the guy running the scoreboard who put “BETTS” on the scoreboard after X’s homer.
   40. Textbook Editor Posted: October 06, 2018 at 11:10 PM (#5761839)
Cora is having a deer in headlights series. It’s awful.

Why the holy hell is Nunez starting over Holt or Devers against a RHP? Why is Kinsler starting? I’m sorry, his substitutions so far have been Little-esque to me.

   41. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2018 at 11:51 PM (#5761865)
TE - I was just about to say the same thing. I hate hate hate referencing Grady, that’s a special level of badness to me but starting Kinsler/Nunez against the RHP is just terrible.

I also think letting Leon bat to lead off the fifth when it was a 3-1 game was an egregious error. You’ve got three catchers, that’s the time to get Swihart in the game for offense. Leading off the inning see if you can make something happen.

Hat tip to Joe Kelly who did a job and Brasier was alright. EdRod gave up the bomb but generally the bullpen did a nice job tonight, that was somewhat encouraging.
   42. Textbook Editor Posted: October 07, 2018 at 07:51 AM (#5761876)
Don’t even get me started about Leon. How do you waste 2 outs on him after the 5th?

More than anything else I thought “playoff Cora” would give us an edge in mitigating the holes we have at 2B and 3B and... he’s been awful. It’s like his panic mode is “trust veterans.”

Holt was also red hot in September and he found a way to have him not get into a game in 8 days.

It’s shocking how awfully managed these two games were. I have zero confidence going forward regardless of the outcome of this series.
   43. Bad Fish Posted: October 07, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5761929)
They should transition Price to a utility role, as least for the remainder of this series. Given his light usage yesterday, he would be available in New York. If he performs well and gets some semblance of his mojo back perhaps move him back to the rotation for the next series, after we beat the Yankees. Or not - 2-3 innings of relief-Price 2-4 times can be a pretty valuable thing.

   44. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 07, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5761959)
You’ve got three catchers, that’s the time to get Swihart in the game for offense.

Swihart hit .229/.285/.328, 65 OPS+. Better than Leon, but not that much. Is the marginal offensive improvement really worth the loss on defense? I thought Swihart had significant challenges there, although I don't recall seeing him behind the plate much, which is pretty telling, too, given his competition.
   45. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 07, 2018 at 02:44 PM (#5761963)
Yes it is. Swihart is considerably better than Leon offensively. Once he started playing semi-regularly after the ASB he hit .250/.306/.400. Leon by contrast .095/.167/.164. Let me put it this way, Neil Walker or Greg Bird even though their numbers were similar?
   46. Textbook Editor Posted: October 07, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5761964)
Swihart in September: 239/300/413 (46 ABs)
Vasquez in September: 182/294/205 (44 ABs)
Leon in September: 056/056/083 (36 ABs)

Leon is a massive, massive offensive black hole, both for the season as a whole and in the last month. They aggressively PH for him in September PRECISELY to prepare for the sort of situation that came up in Game 2 and... Cora proceeded to Grady Little the situation. If you feel you need defense, Vasquez is STILL a massive offensive upgrade on Leon. Leon is an automatic out and should be treated as such if you are behind and the starter is out. Swihart would be a massive offensive upgrade at C.

While we're at it...

Holt in September: 354/456/667 (48 ABs)
Kinsler in September: 190/244/266 (79 ABs)

Kinsler should ride pine the rest of the way. It's malpractice Holt didn't play in either of the first 2 games.

Also... While I can see the argument for Nunez over Devers for defense to start a game, but to have Nunez face a RHP late in the game instead of Devers is awful managing.
   47. Textbook Editor Posted: October 07, 2018 at 02:47 PM (#5761965)
Coke for Jose...
   48. Darren Posted: October 07, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5761977)
I think having Leon and Nunez starting (and possibly Kinsler too) is bad. And the usage of relievers has not been what I'd do. But I can't believe that it's happening because Cora is making some terrible, old-school decision about it. He got this job because the Red Sox got rid of an old-school, less analytic type manager. He won them over with his understanding of analytics and a promise to modernize their approach. And he just went through last postseason as the bench coach of a team that won it all with this approach. I have to believe that Cora's mistakes (assuming they are mistakes) are based on something other than panic and/or traditional thinking.
   49. Textbook Editor Posted: October 07, 2018 at 04:53 PM (#5762005)
Eovaldi to start Game 3.
   50. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 07, 2018 at 05:02 PM (#5762015)
Eovaldi to start Game 3.

Smartest move Cora's made the entire series. 23.1 innings against the Yankees this year with a 1.93 ERA, and an 0.00 ERA in 16 innings against them since he's joined the Red Sox. Kind of like the anti-David Price.
   51. Textbook Editor Posted: October 07, 2018 at 05:26 PM (#5762025)
I do wonder if that means Price backs up Porcello in Game 4. Hard to know but Price is going to pitch again in the series; just a question of when...
   52. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 07, 2018 at 06:14 PM (#5762037)
Eovaldi to start Game 3.

Over the long haul, Eovaldi's stuff always looked better than the results produced. He might do well Monday, or not, he's that kind of a guy. It's a close call, but I think I'd be a bit more comfortable with Severino-Sabathia-Tanaka than Eovaldi-Porcello-Sale, especially when you factor in the bullpens. If the Red Sox can get to Sale at Fenway, they should feel a lot better.
   53. Textbook Editor Posted: October 07, 2018 at 09:01 PM (#5762088)
They had better win G3, because Sabbathia in G4 means Nunez and the husks of Kinsler and Leon will start which means 1/3 of the lineup will be easy-peasy for CC to deal with.

Price won't opt out, alas, and who knows maybe there'll be a Lackey-2013 WS Game 6 moment for him at some point in the future but... it's looking grim.
   54. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5762305)
It's also rather funny a midseason pickup is starting a pivotal G3 over Porcello. Not saying it's the wrong call at all--more that it's an indictment of Porcello. It'll be a happy day when his salary clears the books and someone else is on the hook for his "Cy Young" potential... only to find out it comes with 30+ HRs allowed every other season or so.

And yeah, I'm in a negative mood. I don't have a good feeling about any of this, and even if they make it through half-expect to just get blitzed by the Astros. Bah.
   55. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 08, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5762332)
Over the long haul, Eovaldi's stuff always looked better than the results produced. He might do well Monday, or not, he's that kind of a guy.


I expect a very tough game tonight. Eovaldi's just brutalized us this year: .173/.218/.272

From Mike Axisa over at RAB: To beat the Red Sox in the ALDS, the Yankees will finally have to solve Nathan Eovaldi

As Mike points out in the article, Eovaldi has started throwing a cutter instead of his four-seamer against RHB and the results have been significant.

I sure hope Hicks is good enough to go tonight.
   56. rconn23 Posted: October 08, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5762342)
Not really going out on a limb or anything, but I think the winner of tonight's game wins the series. And then gets throttled by the Astros.
   57. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 08, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5762381)
Not really going out on a limb or anything, but I think the winner of tonight's game wins the series. And then gets throttled by the Astros.

Well, when the Yankees were at full strength earlier this year, they won 5 of 7 games against Houston and looked virtually unbeatable while doing it. But I do agree that the Astros are the best bet to go all the way, regardless of their opponent. Good as the Yankees bullpen has been, I can't see them plugging the dikes for a 7 game series unless the starters begin to go longer than 4 or 5 innings.
   58. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 08, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5762394)
Not really going out on a limb or anything, but I think the winner of tonight's game wins the series. And then gets throttled by the Astros.


See I think quite the opposite. I think this series is going 5 and I like both teams chances to beat the Astros.
   59. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 08, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5762444)
FWIW here's Boswell's answer to a question I posed to him about the World Series winner:
Houston's a fabulous team. Bullpens are great. Read Dave Sheinen's excellent analysis this a.m. But it' also great to have starters like Verlander and Cole.

I like the Brewers vibe. And I want to see Bob Uecker take sole possession of the entire World Series __which he might__ if it's in Milwaukee.

So, I'd pick Astros-Brewers __a TV nightmare__ and an Astros repeat. BTW, trying to pick the WS, even this deep into the playoffs, is still probably like a 10-to-1 shot. It's not EASY when you don;t even KNOW the four final teams yet.

Boston's bullpen is not gonna make it. Yanks can hit HRs and have a great deep bullpen. But that lineup has far too many K's. There will be days when they crush your bones, but days when they get shut down. October may be in Stanton's head already. He's streaky. When he goes cold, it can be ugly.

I like the Braves, but the Dodegrs are SO talented and deep. And Kershaw, often undependable in October, was wonderful in his no-run junk-balling 1st start. He's ticked off that there is no "ace" in front of his name anymore. Maybe that will get him out of his own head and free him up. Even at 90-91, as long as he commands his FB and lives on his great curve and good change, his funky delivery and charisma , he can still have a big Oct.

What I love most is that I thought about this before the chat and have already changed my mind twice while writing this answer. As I mentioned in my column on thrill-vs-fairness in the MLB playoffs, baseball has the most exciting format of any of the major sports. But the hardest to predict.

I do think that winning THREE series in Oct __11 wins__ tests a team's depth. Anybody can advance. But winning the World Series still prove a lot.
   60. rconn23 Posted: October 08, 2018 at 03:24 PM (#5762556)
"See I think quite the opposite. I think this series is going 5 and I like both teams chances to beat the Astros."

Well, I think there's a better chance of the series going five than either team beating the Astros. The Astros have a much deeper rotation than either Boston or NY.
   61. Nasty Nate Posted: October 08, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5762578)
Baseballpress has this lineup for tonight:

1. Mookie Betts (R) RF
2. Andrew Benintendi (L) LF
3. J.D. Martinez (R) DH
4. Xander Bogaerts (R) SS
5. Rafael Devers (L) 3B
6. Steve Pearce (R) 1B
7. Brock Holt (L) 2B
8. Christian Vazquez (R) C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr. (L) CF
   62. rconn23 Posted: October 08, 2018 at 03:45 PM (#5762580)
Crap. I was hoping Cora would be silly enough to start Nunez again tonight. Sigh.
   63. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 08, 2018 at 04:15 PM (#5762601)
On paper, the Yankees should have an edge with the bottom part of the batting order, but that's been Boston's weakness all season, and it sure didn't hurt them much. Tonight might be different. The Baseball Gods can be very patient.
   64. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: October 08, 2018 at 04:22 PM (#5762611)
See I think quite the opposite. I think this series is going 5 and I like both teams chances to beat the Astros.


Even with the Astros pitching rested?
   65. rconn23 Posted: October 08, 2018 at 04:24 PM (#5762614)
No Hicks tonight.
   66. Nasty Nate Posted: October 08, 2018 at 04:35 PM (#5762618)
The Indians aren't dead yet
   67. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 08, 2018 at 04:35 PM (#5762619)
64 - Why not? I'm not saying they absolutely will or even that they should be favored but I think people are just conceding the American League to the Astros in a way that I think is not accurate. I think either the Sox or Yankees is a tossup with Houston.
   68. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2018 at 06:09 PM (#5762676)
The Indians aren't dead yet


They've gone to meet their maker, shuffled off this mortal coil, bereft of life...
   69. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2018 at 06:11 PM (#5762678)
#61--Now if Cora can just set this and forget any other lineups the rest of the playoffs (except plugging Moreland back in against RHP if healthy), it would be nice.

I feel like they have to win tonight, because you just know the hapless RHB will be back in the bottom of the lineup tomorrow against Sabbathia and we seem to stink against him anyway...
   70. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: October 08, 2018 at 07:19 PM (#5762720)
I think either the Sox or Yankees is a tossup with Houston.


I disagree. Houston is loaded.
   71. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 08, 2018 at 11:20 PM (#5762910)
TE - I suspect Holt will be in the lineup tomorrow. Hopefully Devers will too but I won’t hate Nunez.

Full credit to Cora. Don’t be stubborn and stick to a mistake. Man Eovaldi was fantastic. Gotta think he’s in the mix for game 5 if necessary for an inning of relief if we need it.

God, they just said Cora was convinced on Kinsler/Nunez.
   72. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 08, 2018 at 11:21 PM (#5762911)
I’ll add I think Boone really screwed up. Bases loaded no outs in the 4th why go to the starter (Lynn) rather than the real reliever (Green)? I texted that to a friend just before Benny doubled.
   73. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2018 at 11:27 PM (#5762915)
God, they just said Cora was convinced on Kinsler/Nunez.


Oh god he's gonna start them in G4 against the LHP, isn't he? :|

Please please please just use the same lineup tomorrow.
   74. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 08, 2018 at 11:30 PM (#5762916)
I’ll add I think Boone really screwed up. Bases loaded no outs in the 4th why go to the starter (Lynn) rather than the real reliever (Green)? I texted that to a friend just before Benny doubled.


Not only did Boone-y make the same two mistakes he made in the WC ... he managed to add the one above.

He really screwed the pooch in that inning.
   75. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 08, 2018 at 11:54 PM (#5762918)
By the way, I kind of felt bad for Angel Hernandez, I thought both the Torres and Gregorious calls were correct live and only on replay did I realize he missed them. Still, that’s a pretty wretched night by the guy who will have the plate for game four.
   76. Textbook Editor Posted: October 09, 2018 at 04:48 PM (#5763429)
####### Nunez is starting and Holt sitting. WTAF Cora ???

Seriously he has a ####### screw loose. He’s batted .292 against LHP this year in 75 ABs!!

   77. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 09, 2018 at 11:45 PM (#5763804)
HEY AARON, WE NEED THE BOOM BOX!!!
   78. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: October 09, 2018 at 11:51 PM (#5763807)
Nuñez appeared to mercifully injure himself and spare Cora from the decision of having to play him.
   79. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5763887)
Honestly the thinking may have been flawed but his game 4 decisions worked out pretty damn well, didn't they? Kinsler had the one hit, Nunez drove one in and made the nice play to end the game (though he would have likely been in by that point anyway?). Not much to complain about, other than my soiled sofa from Kimbrel's "save."
   80. villageidiom Posted: October 10, 2018 at 12:43 PM (#5764030)
Honestly the thinking may have been flawed but his game 4 decisions worked out pretty damn well, didn't they? Kinsler had the one hit, Nunez drove one in and made the nice play to end the game (though he would have likely been in by that point anyway?). Not much to complain about, other than my soiled sofa from Kimbrel's "save."
And keep in mind, while he subbed for Kinsler and Nunez in Game 3 then reverted back for Game 4, he also subbed for Leon in Game 3 and didn't revert back, despite Vazquez not having caught Porcello in a year. And not only did Vazquez keep Porcello productive in Game 4 but he hit a HR that was rather important in retrospect.

All defensive shifts look stupid until the ball is hit right at a guy. The same kind of thing applies to many managerial decisions: they look dumb right up to the moment when everything works out.
   81. covelli chris p Posted: October 10, 2018 at 04:49 PM (#5764272)
Honestly the thinking may have been flawed but his game 4 decisions worked out pretty damn well, didn't they? Kinsler had the one hit, Nunez drove one in and made the nice play to end the game (though he would have likely been in by that point anyway?). Not much to complain about, other than my soiled sofa from Kimbrel's "save."
agree with the general point. cora's been solid-to-great. however, not pinch hitting for vazquez in the 8th with holt+2 catchers (+devers) on the bench was a big miss imho.

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