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   1. ekogan Posted: November 04, 2007 at 05:40 PM (#2604976)
Tito made all the right moves in the postseason, but 22-9 overstates his ability. It's more a function of the teams he had and playoff luck. If (when) he makes it back into playoffs, his postseason record will regress to the mean.
   2. PJ Martinez Posted: November 04, 2007 at 06:19 PM (#2604993)
Yeah, I'm hesitant to attribute too much of that to Tito (or any manager). That said, he made the switch to Ellsbury when he needed to (I know many people think he should have gone with Ellsbury from the beginning, and so would see that as a negative; but I think he gets credit for changing course, at least), he used Papelbon pretty aggressively. He resisted the temptation to use Beckett on short rest, and that worked out.

And he seems to manage egos pretty well (crucial for a big-spending team, obviously, as Joe Torre can attest) and keeps the clubhouse loose. I'll be happy when they announce his extension.
   3. Toby Posted: November 04, 2007 at 08:06 PM (#2605026)
um, his 2004 team pulled off the greatest postseason comeback in baseball history and his 2007 team pulled off a comeback from a 3-1 deficit against very steep odds.

The 8-0 run in 2004 was, IIRC, the first time any team had ever won 8 straight postseason games and the 7-0 run in 2007 is, therefore (I presume), tied with a handful of other managers for second-longest postseaon winning streak of all time.

Just want to be sure that doesn't get overlooked.

What's clear to me is that Tito is a different manager in the postseason than in the regular season. He does not panic and he seems to make all the right moves and his players seem to respond very well.

So I do think the reputation is deserved. The only knock against it is sample size. That's a serious knock, sure, but for how many managers do you ever get a larger sample size? That's more postseason games than most Hall of Fame managers ever had, I suspect.
   4. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 04, 2007 at 08:16 PM (#2605036)
22-9 overstates his ability. It's more a function of the teams he had and playoff luck.

manager quiz: who am I?

postseason record, first 5 years: 46-13

next 7 years: 30-33

(yeah, I know it's too easy--so: luck or talent?)

(or being lucky enough to have talent?)
   5. Margo Adams FC Posted: November 04, 2007 at 08:21 PM (#2605041)
The post-season is a crapshoot, as anyone who's looked at the likelihood of the weaker team winning a series has to acknowledge. Francona's in-game bullpen management in the post-season is only marginally better than his regular-season in-game management, because even he can't justify going to the sixth-best reliever while down a run or two in the playoffs. But let's face it, he's no Earl Weaver.

On the other hand, his ability to handle the media circus while retaining the respect of his players is a big asset during the regular season, when managers really earn their pay. Plus he's not afraid to bench a veteran to play the hot rookie, to stick with a cold rookie or to redo a sub-optimal batting order after a while. On balance, Francona's strengths more than compensate for his weaknesses, and are a good match for the unique situation in Boston. But it has nothing to do with the Red Sox playoff record under him. I continue to believe that the 2004 ALCS was the equivalent of a blind man winning the Daytona 500 (having a self-steering car helped, of course.) Does anyone really believe Francona could never have pulled a Grady Little? Though I think he may have learned something with his timelier hooks this postseason...
   6. ekogan Posted: November 04, 2007 at 08:24 PM (#2605043)
(or being lucky enough to have talent?)


Bingo. Joe Torre is not a bad manager, though he's worse than Francona in the postseason. But he's going to be major disappointment in LA because the fans will expect him to walk on water.
   7. Toby Posted: November 04, 2007 at 08:32 PM (#2605048)
I'm sure there are criticisms that can be made of Francona, but the fact is that a lot of that is of the "I, in my armchair, am smarter than Tito" variety. We need to judge him not against ourselves but against other managers. The fact is, most other managers in the postseason appear overmatched. TLR in 2004 and Clint Hurdle in 2007 both seemed to start from the premise that their teams were not going to win.

Perhaps, as with clutch hitting, there is no such thing as great postseason managing. But perhaps there is. I don't know if the evidence we have proves that there is great postseason managing, but I think it does *tend* to show that if there is such a thing, Tito has done it.
   8. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 04, 2007 at 08:34 PM (#2605051)
Does anyone really believe Francona could never have pulled a Grady Little?


I still can't believe Grady Little pulled a Grady Little, so I'm going to work under the premise that no other sentient being is capable of such idiocy.
   9. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: November 04, 2007 at 08:41 PM (#2605057)
I think that advanced scouting plays a large role in Boston's postseason success. I have nothing to base it on other than remarks from Schilling, Epstein, and others but I still think it is a factor. Francona, unlike his predecessor, appears to use that intel.
   10. Darren Posted: November 04, 2007 at 09:13 PM (#2605071)
Watching a Yankees classic today, I saw in Game 3 of the ALCS that in the 1st, they had Clemens struggling. 1 out, Manny on 1st, two runs in. Grady calls a hit and run and they get a strike/throw out DP. I don't miss Grady.

--Tito gets big credit for pulling his starter at the right time in 12/14 games this postseason for certain, and debatably the right time in a 13th. The 14th was the Beckett blowout in the rain, sending him back out after 20 minute 5th with a 12-run lead.

--I still disagree with them not going to Beckett in game 4 of the ALCS.

--He seemed to miss a double switch chance that would have allowed Timlin to stay in game 4 longer.

--He did make a good move by going to Ellsbury but sticking with Lugo. And there wasn't any complaint from Coco, which reflects well on the player and manager.

I see him as good, but he probably looks like a genius compared to his regular season self.
   11. Hugh Jorgan Posted: November 04, 2007 at 10:30 PM (#2605101)
Darren you were very diplomatic...lets see what Wok thinks?
I don't think you'd ever describe Tito as an in game genius. What he does well is manage the individuals on the team. The players that we currently have seem to really respond to him when its crunch time(i.e. the playoffs).
I think he keeps a congenial clubhouse and even the loss of several stars(Damon and Pedro in particular) after 2004 didn't seem to rock the boat. Other than an injury riddled 2nd half of 2006, Tito has pretty much been in charge of the best team in baseball the last 4 years. Is that a function of the players in the squad or the guy who's keeping everyone happy...I reckon a bit of both.
He is simply the right guy for the team we have now.
   12. plink Posted: November 04, 2007 at 11:37 PM (#2605113)
Watching a Yankees classic today, I saw in Game 3 of the ALCS that in the 1st, they had Clemens struggling. 1 out, Manny on 1st, two runs in. Grady calls a hit and run and they get a strike/throw out DP. I don't miss Grady.


While that does seem egregious now, I remember that play, and it was justified at the time. IIRC (and I really don't know how to check this), Ortiz to that point had struck out in maybe 1 of 15 chances with the runner going from first and 2 strikes. Does anyone know what the break-even point is on that play?

I remember regular-season and postseason Grady as begin average; that is, he made the same number of baffling moves as every other team's manager. And he was clearly not that good at handling his team. I do remember his pre-Game 7 bullpen usage as being very good (though that might be results-based, given the performance of Timlin, Embree and Williamson in 2003).

Francona's strengths are three-fold, as far I can tell: He manages the personalities on the team very well, he makes fewer baffling moves than most (especially dealing with the post-season or hitting), and he doesn't panic. This last is a trait I have seldom, seldom seen in a manager, and could be his greatest strength.
   13. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 04, 2007 at 11:54 PM (#2605121)
I agree with Toby. Playoff Tito is a different animal from regular season Tito. Playoff Tito goes for the jugular much more and much better. For all the talk about his just being lucky in 2004, check out that bullpen usage. He was terrific in utilizing his guys for best leverage.
   14. Hugh Jorgan Posted: November 05, 2007 at 12:33 AM (#2605133)
Of course you need to consider managing in the playoffs in context with the regular season. In the playoffs you can bring in Paps for 4-5 outs a couple of days in a row. During the regular season, you just wouldn't do it.
One game doesn't really make a huge difference in the regular season so if someone(I'm talking to you Gagne) blows one or two, then so be it.
In the playoffs, your pitching staff literally shrinks to 5-6 guys, 3-4 best starters, 2-3 best relievers. You simply don't need to overmanage it and you only use the other 5-6 guys on the staff in situations which aren't critical. And if you do get stuck(see game 2 AlCS), well then your f***ed(see Gagne...again)
   15. Valentine Posted: November 05, 2007 at 12:38 AM (#2605136)
What are the primary responsibilities of a manager, anyways?

* Keep a lid on the inevitable conflicts that arise. Preferably without creating a media frenzy.
* Don't overwork the starting pitching, esp. the young arms.
* Don't overwork the relief pitching, esp. the aces.
* Put the best bullpen arms in the key spots. Put the weakest relievers in positions where they can't hurt you.
* Give players appropriate rest at appropriate times. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
* Put the right guys on the field in situations where they are most likely to succeed.
* Don't do anything incredibly stupid to prevent your team from winning the game.

Yeah, Francona's a pretty good manager. I might occasionally quibble with some of his tactical moves, but that is very minor compared to the points above. In fact the biggest complaints I had with his management this season all involved a certain chunky Canadian reliever who will hopefully never again be seen in a Red Sox uniform. And even there, I admire his (misplaced) loyalty.
   16. Darren Posted: November 05, 2007 at 12:45 AM (#2605141)
While that does seem egregious now, I remember that play, and it was justified at the time. IIRC (and I really don't know how to check this), Ortiz to that point had struck out in maybe 1 of 15 chances with the runner going from first and 2 strikes. Does anyone know what the break-even point is on that play?


What kind of sample is 15 chances though? Ortiz had rarely hit into DPs and had struck out quite a bit. Plus, it's Manny on the basepaths, so he's pretty much guaranteed to be thrown out.
   17. A Fatty Cow That Need Two Seats Posted: November 05, 2007 at 01:02 AM (#2605149)
The 8-0 run in 2004 was, IIRC, the first time any team had ever won 8 straight postseason games and the 7-0 run in 2007 is, therefore (I presume), tied with a handful of other managers for second-longest postseaon winning streak of all time.


Chicago won eight games in a row from the ALCS through the World Series in 2005.
   18. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 05, 2007 at 04:21 AM (#2605229)
Hideki Okajima's arm disagrees.
   19. Dave Cyprian Posted: November 05, 2007 at 06:29 PM (#2605667)
I had to wait a few days to post here because "post-season genius" threw me and I had to think about it.

A "post-season genius" he probably is not. That sounds more like a proverb-wielding megalomaniac who successfully deploys someone like Snyder in a save situation against three tough lefties. Or a manager who cryptically activates Brandon Moss, bats him 5th the whole playoffs, and watches him hit .340 with 4 HRs.

Perhaps this will make you laugh or angry- Is Tito a "clutch" manager, one whose decisions revolve around season-end results and whose methodology smartly shifts in high leverage situations (playoffs)? Francona-as-poker player, with a daily 9-inning ante, and only so many innings of his fragile relievers, precocious outfielders, and slugging-impaired infielders to bid with.

Tito was hired to guide the Red Sox to the post-season and assure that they are prepared to succeed once arriving. He has done the former three out of four years, and the latter two out of three years. While the former has a lot more to do with the general manager and the roster, you have to love what Tito has coaxed out of them in '04 and '07. The Sox played their best baseball when it counted.

I think Francona is a great manager and he has earned a contract equal to the richest in baseball, but I can go no farther than that.
   20. villageidiom Posted: November 05, 2007 at 07:10 PM (#2605711)
Part of the reason Francona appears to be a postseason genius is because of how we all react during the regular season when he pinch-hits with Lugo, but never seems to pinch-hit for Lugo. Or when he leaves a starter in past his effectiveness. Or when he uses Gagne with a 5-run lead or less. None of these actions, if carried into October, suggest any degree of success.

But that's just it: he doesn't do that in the postseason. He starts the rookie CF who can obviously outplay the guy he replaces. He has relievers warming at the right time, and is quick to pull the trigger. He makes defensive substitutions late in the game. He makes the best use of his best relievers. In the playoffs he is quick to make the same moves everyone bellyaches about him not making over the six months prior.

We, as fans, obviously want the team to win the game we're watching at the moment. When Francona doesn't appear to make the moves to win that game in the regular season, he gets called all kinds of names, most of them meaning the opposite of "genius". But that's exactly what he's supposed to do. In the long run, the calm, rational, patient approach wins out; but the playoffs are not the long run. Francona recognizes that.

In short, I think he appears to be a postseason genius simply because we spend all summer lowering our expectations of him. When he shifts into "win now" mode, he far surpasses our expectations.
   21. Darren Posted: November 05, 2007 at 11:10 PM (#2605943)
We, as fans, obviously want the team to win the game we're watching at the moment. When Francona doesn't appear to make the moves to win that game in the regular season, he gets called all kinds of names, most of them meaning the opposite of "genius". But that's exactly what he's supposed to do. In the long run, the calm, rational, patient approach wins out; but the playoffs are not the long run. Francona recognizes that.


I think you're going way too far with this. I think pretty much all of us who criticize him do so in the context of a 162 game season, not just wanting them to win the game at hand. I can also think of many decisions that were not rational or patient. I think there are a fair number of reasonable criticisms about the way he manages in the regular season. I think there are few such criticisms of his postseason work.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: November 05, 2007 at 11:19 PM (#2605955)
interested in people's opinions:

Francona is the best Red Sox manager since ________ ___________ ? (with NO qualifiers to the question OR to the answer)
   23. Hugh Jorgan Posted: November 05, 2007 at 11:52 PM (#2605976)
Francona, best since Joe Cronin. There's alot of fodder on that list of managers....
   24. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: November 06, 2007 at 12:43 AM (#2606002)
Francona is the best Red Sox manager since Ralph Houk.

A more interesting question would be, who are the best post-season managers? Sure, Dick Williams bluffed Johnny Bench into thinking that he was going to be intentionally walked and Connie Mack rested Howard Ehmke for weeks before having him start Game One of the '29 WS and Dick Howser got Bobby Cox to pull his left-handed sluggers in the 1985 ALCS, but is that type of cleverness the most important criteria?
   25. tfbg9 Posted: November 06, 2007 at 03:36 AM (#2606138)
Francona is a great manager. Great. That's how I feel about him.

IIRC, Michael Holley wrote an article that described how Theo and the crew were absolutely blown away with his tactical genius when they set up a simulated ballgame full of tricky twists and turns and asked him to manage it, and desribe/defend his reasons for everything. According to the piece, he destroyed the test. Killed it.

He's a very bright man. He's led the Sox to 2 WS titles. Therefore I love him.


Francona is the best Red Sox manager since ________ ___________ ?



Ed Barrow.
   26. karlmagnus Posted: November 06, 2007 at 04:05 PM (#2606575)
I agree with tfbg9 for a change, though Dick Williams must be close. I think the all-time list is Barrow 1 Francona 2 Williams 3. McCarthy would be up there overall, but was truly lousy in his Sox stint. The only sleeper I'm not sure about is Bill Carrigan, who looks a genius for 1915-16 but a dunce for 1927-29 -- he didn't have the horses, but Red Ruffing's in the HOF and he never got him to be effective.
   27. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 07, 2007 at 02:58 PM (#2607805)
IIRC, Michael Holley wrote an article that described how Theo and the crew were absolutely blown away with his tactical genius when they set up a simulated ballgame full of tricky twists and turns and asked him to manage it, and desribe/defend his reasons for everything. According to the piece, he destroyed the test. Killed it.

Can somebody post the test without giving away what Terry does?

it would be REALLY REALLY cool to have the Therapy people run the test. We can use this instead of SAT scores from now on!
   28. Joel W Posted: November 07, 2007 at 03:23 PM (#2607838)
I found this through some googling.

http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?s=89959ab96c52a0d4f4dc266a09b85928&showtopic=22707&view=findpost&p=1198507

In one of his sessions with the Sox, Francona's day began at 10 a.m. at Fenway Park. It ended with dinner inside the Atlantic Fish Company on Boylston Street around 11 p.m. Between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m., Francona was quizzed on several managerial subjects.

For strategy, he had to sit in front of a flat-screen television and manage a simulated game. General manager Epstein and several of his advisers created the "game."

They dissected the entire season of the 2003 Oakland A's - for whom Francona was a bench coach - and selected several of what they referred to as the "most interesting innings." They arranged those innings into a game and asked Francona to quickly tell them what he saw.

Not only did he explain what he wanted to do with the situation in front of him, he mentioned relievers he had warming up in the bullpen for matchups that were three or four moves away.

Several times Thursday, Epstein said he was "blown away" by Francona's interview. Francona's preparation had a lot to do with that statement. The candidate came to Boston with information on the major league and minor league rosters. He was able to speak intelligently on where the Sox are, as well as where they could be with their minor leaguers in the next few years.
   29. tfbg9 Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:08 PM (#2607925)
kevin, I just happened to Holly on the radio the other day talking about Francona's interview, and something he wrote about it back then.

I believe Francona was an Academic All-American?

My Tito playoff quibble, as I've posted before, was when he left Schilling in to face Helton in the WS. I thought he shlould have removed Schill at the time. We won the ballgame, as Oki came in after the Helton AB and threw the best innings of his life.

It really strains credulity when you posit criticisms like that.


He's painted himself into a corner, our Darren. It's the classic paint yourself into the corner bit. Francona is a great manager, Boston is lucky to have him.
   30. tfbg9 Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:22 PM (#2607954)
would be REALLY REALLY cool to have the Therapy people run the test.


I'd suck at it.
   31. Darren Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:27 PM (#2607965)
for instance, you criticism of why Beckett wasn't pulled earlier because it was raining, on the basis he might pull a hammy or something fielding a bunt on the wet grass. It really strains credulity when you posit criticisms like that.


With all due respect, straining credulity with the guy who wanted to rely on Bryce Cox and Craig Hansen in 2007 does not bother me.

The chance that Beckett would get hurt was small. But the chance that keeping him in the game would help the Red Sox was even smaller. The same was true when Tito sent Schilling back out for the 7th of an 8-1 game in the 2004 playoffs after Schilling had aggravated his ankle injury earlier in the game.
   32. tfbg9 Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:43 PM (#2607993)
The chance that Beckett would get hurt was small. But the chance that keeping him in the game would help the Red Sox was even smaller.


Somebody speculated at the time that Beckett needed to get stretched out a little, in case he had to go ~120 pitches later in the World Series--so getting him back into the game for one more inning and up to, what?, 95 pitches ?, was done with that at least partly in mind. The idea being it would have been better to go 95-120 instead of 80-120. But they swept anyhow. (!)
   33. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:44 PM (#2607995)
I'd suck at it.


You should see some of the decisions I have made in DMB.
   34. Darren Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:53 PM (#2608017)
But they swept anyhow. (!)


And they got swept in 2005! Did that mean Francona managed the series badly? Of course not.

Somebody speculated at the time that Beckett needed to get stretched out a little, in case he had to go ~120 pitches later in the World Series--so getting him back into the game for obne more inning and up to, what?, 95 pitches ?, was done with that at least partly in mind.


Somebody speculated wrong then. Beckett threw only 80 pitches in game 1 of the ALCS then pitched just fine in (read: dominating) in game 5 for 109 pitches. I've never heard of the idea that a starter needs to be stretched out in one game to be able to go long in the next. It's a completely made-up idea, used to justify an action after the fact, AFAICT.
   35. tfbg9 Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:05 PM (#2608049)
And they got swept in 2005!


Are you saying you'd be a better manager for the Red Sox than Terry Francona?

/Mike Francesa bit

I had no problem with Beckett's usage in the 2007 Postseason, and I'm a chronic worrier. YMMV.
   36. The Essex Snead Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:06 PM (#2608052)
The chance that Beckett would get hurt was small. But the chance that keeping him in the game would help the Red Sox was even smaller.

Well, it helped keep the bullpen fresher for the rest of the series (& given how they were utilized in the rest of the series, that freshness was very key). I imagine that was Tito's main concern - given how the non-Beckett starters had pitched down the stretch & especially the ALCS (getting through the 5th if they're lucky), the bullpen was going to be used a lot, and there was no reason to go to them in the first game of what looked to be a nip-and-tuck series if the starter had only thrown 70+ pitches through 6, regardless of the score.
   37. Darren Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:11 PM (#2608062)
Essex,

Kyle Snyder could have pitched a couple innings in a 12-run game. He wasn't used the rest of the series either.
   38. Nasty Nate Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:13 PM (#2608064)
Darren, do you have an answer for my question in #22 ?
   39. Darren Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:16 PM (#2608073)
I don't know. Joe Morgan? He had a nice little run? :)

I'm not particularly knowledgeable on the subject of Red Sox managers. They've had some lousy ones, though.
   40. The Essex Snead Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:42 PM (#2608128)
Kyle Snyder could have pitched a couple innings in a 12-run game. He wasn't used the rest of the series either.

Using Snyder like that in the very first game of the series doesn't sit well with me (or Tito, it seems). If it was a blowout later in the series, then Snyder's definitely the go-to guy. But in the 1st game, you don't know if you'll need Snyder to mop-up in, say, the 4th inning of Game 2 after Schilling lets up a grand slam on pitch 60 to put the Rockies up 7-2. There's still a lot up in the air, series-wise, and to go to your long reliever that early in the series when A) you're up by a wide margin, and B) your starter's only thrown 70 pitches through 6 just seems like (and this is going to sound silly) a misallocation of resources, especially if you're not going to come back w/ Beckett on short rest (as Tito had planned).

Now, of course, it's a totally different thing if the Red Sox end up losing Games 2 & 3, and have to decide whether they want Lester or Beckett on the mound in Colorado to either even up the series or go down 3-1 - then second-guessing can run rampant about what that extra 15-20 pitches in the first game blowout means for Beckett on short rest, & whether it changes the Red Sox's plan of attack. Thankfully, it didn't come to that.

As for the 2005 canard - they were beaten by a better team that was homer-happy, pitching strong, and ready to jump on every opportunity the pitchers & fielders gave them. Managing don't mean dick when your players don't perform.
   41. Nasty Nate Posted: November 07, 2007 at 06:17 PM (#2608201)
I'm not particularly knowledgeable on the subject of Red Sox managers.


...explains your evaluations of Terry ..hehe
   42. Darren Posted: November 07, 2007 at 06:20 PM (#2608205)
But in post #42 you're protecting your mop-up man so that he's ready to mop-up later in the series. Isn't that about the lowest priority in the world? Isn't Beckett's health about 100 times more important, especially given that he reportedly had back tightness during the ALCS?
   43. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 07, 2007 at 06:57 PM (#2608251)
Hey, whatever happened to Hansen? Is he dominating in some sort of alternate reality where he and J. Brent Cox own the league but Papelbon and Joba are minor league flame outs? Or did he suffer a more ordinary injury?
   44. chris p Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:02 PM (#2608259)
Hey, whatever happened to Hansen?

sleep apnea.
   45. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:20 PM (#2608287)
The 8-0 run in 2004 was, IIRC, the first time any team had ever won 8 straight postseason games and the 7-0 run in 2007 is, therefore (I presume), tied with a handful of other managers for second-longest postseaon winning streak of all time.

The Yanks won 10 straight from 1937-41. And 12 straight from 1927-32.

My uneducated hunch is that there's something to what Francona's doing (especially the unprecedented 2004 comeback) but it's still no record.

White Sox won 8 straight in 2005.
   46. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:22 PM (#2608289)
Yanks won 11 straight in 1998-9
   47. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:23 PM (#2608291)
But let's face it, he's no Earl Weaver.

Given that Earl Weaver's teams tended to underachieve in the postseason, I dunno if that's a compliment or insult.
   48. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:28 PM (#2608302)
Yanks won 11 straight in 1998-9
I think it was 12. 3 in the ('98) ALCS, 4 in the WS, 3 in the LDS, 2 in the ('99) LCS. I imagined the Sox number refers to games in one postseason, however.
   49. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:29 PM (#2608306)
I think that advanced scouting plays a large role in Boston's postseason success.

The reports musta got lost in the mail during the 2004 ALCS. And 2007 ALCS.

Here's one thing I can so for Francona's teams: they don't panic in the postseason. They fall down 0-3 or 1-3 and they remain calm, and Francona doesn't start overmanaging like some do (putting A-Rod in the #8 hole; pulling Zambrano in a tie game to rest him for a start that never comes). The pressure on a team down 0-3 must be intense and can/should lead to some pressing. (Normally a team can always say they'll get them tommorrow, but not then). And God knows doing it all in Boston isn't going to lessen the pressure and attention put on everyone. That he's maintained an atmosphere where people can stay positive without trying to do too much is most certainly a feather in his cap. Without it, Boston's still looking for it's first ring since 1918.

Francona is the best Red Sox manager since ________ ___________ ? (with NO qualifiers to the question OR to the answer)

According to the Birnbaum database, Boston had the worst managers overall from 1960-2001.
   50. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:38 PM (#2608322)
A more interesting question would be, who are the best post-season managers?

From 1927-53, the Yanks won 15 out of 16 post-season series. There's something extraordinarily amazing about that factoid. Here's what happend:

Swept
Swept
Swept
Won in 6
Won in 5
Swept
Swept (so yes, not only were teams unable to win 4 games in one World Series against the Yanks, put over the combined length of 7 World Series, they didn't lose four times)
Won in 5
Lose in 5
Won in five
Went the distance (FINALLY) - won in 7
Won in 5
Sweep
Won in 6
Went the distance - won in 7
Won in 6.

By managers:
Miller Huggins (8-0) (But in earlier years they lost 3 of 4 Series)
Joe McCarthy (29-9; 28-5 outside of 1942); include his 1929 Cubs WS and he's a measly 30-13).
Bucky Harris: 4-3 (11-10 career)
Casey Stengel: 20-7 (30-18 as Yankee manager)
   51. Toby Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:53 PM (#2608349)
the 8-0 postseason thing is "in the same postseason". Sorry I wasn't clear on that.
   52. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:59 PM (#2608357)
Okay, Dag, but what was the New York Four's expected won loss record? It wouldn't surprise me if McCarthy was the best postseason manager, seeing how he was the best regular season manager, but (I expect to get pilloried for this) I wonder if there was some sort of DiMaggio effect on his teams like A Barra has suggested in some places.

According to the Birnbaum database, Boston had the worst managers overall from 1960-2001.


Phil forgot to adjust for the Green Monster.
   53. The Essex Snead Posted: November 07, 2007 at 08:10 PM (#2608380)
But in post #42 you're protecting your mop-up man so that he's ready to mop-up later in the series. Isn't that about the lowest priority in the world? Isn't Beckett's health about 100 times more important, especially given that he reportedly had back tightness during the ALCS?

I'm guessing that the tightness was a non-issue, & was only brought up (potentially as a red herring?) because of the possibility of him starting Game 4 on three days' rest. Kinda like how Crisp didn't start Game 1 of the WS because of his knee.

Anyway, now I'm just totally BSing - I just went down this path because I was just trying to think a semi-legitimate reason why Tito might throw Beckett back out there in the 7th.
   54. Darren Posted: November 07, 2007 at 08:10 PM (#2608382)
Pardon me? When did I say that?

Pedroia and Ellsbury, Darren. Remember what I said about them?


Blind faith in prospects means you'll be right about the ones that do well and wrong about the ones who don't. Look back at your comments about the pen and it's all there.
   55. The Essex Snead Posted: November 07, 2007 at 08:16 PM (#2608391)
For the record, I'm still holding out hope for Brian Rose & Kevin Morton.
   56. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 07, 2007 at 10:24 PM (#2608597)
Okay, Dag, but what was the New York Four's expected won loss record?

I dunno, but from 1927-39 they went 28-3. I dunno what the expected win/loss record should've been, but I gotta figured it was under .903. That's a better pace than the 35-5 Tigers had in early 1984.

Joe McCarthy's Yankee W/L World Series winning percentage was .763. That's exactly the same as the 1906 Cubs team winning percentage (just four times as many decisions, that's all). Expected W/L record. Again, dunno, but really - when playing a quarter of a season against the pennant winners, shouldn't you do worse than the most successful regular season squad of the 20th century? I think so.

Joe McCarthy's career World Series winning percentage was .698. That works out to 113 wins over 162 games - in other words only one game worse than the 1998 Yanks. That's in OVER FORTY games against pennant winning squads. Expected W/L record? I dunno, but lower than that. At least a .697.

When does a small sample size cease to be a small sample size? The new BP article has a study to figure that WRT fast starts, and (purely from memory) it's somewhere around 25-30 games. McCarthy had weeeeellllll over that, and he still obliterated any reasonable expectations.

but (I expect to get pilloried for this) I wonder if there was some sort of DiMaggio effect on his teams like A Barra has suggested in some places.

I'd agree with this, but note: the Yankee stretch predated DiMaggio. In fact, all the guys on the 1927 squad were gone by the 1939 World Series, and all the guys in the 1939 World Series were gone by 1952. So the entire roster flipped over at least twice.

Also, the same point can be made about the Red Sox with Ortiz & Schilling.
   57. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: November 07, 2007 at 10:27 PM (#2608601)
oh wait - by "New York four" you meant the four managers, not 1936-9? Well . . I figure McCarthy & Stengel overachived, not the others. Heck, every Series Bucky Harris ever managed went 7 games.
   58. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: November 07, 2007 at 10:51 PM (#2608620)
I meant Huggins McCarthy, Harris, and Stengel.

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