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   1. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 05, 2012 at 11:06 PM (#4124474)
Something I should have added in the "What's Right That Will Become Wrong" section is that the way the year has started it certainly looks like the bar for that second wild card spot is going to be lower than any of us predicted at the start of the year. The American League is one big crapfest so far.
   2. Dan Posted: May 06, 2012 at 12:09 AM (#4124494)
Lowrie now has a .979 OPS playing SS everyday while we trot out Aviles and Punto.
   3. Dale Sams Posted: May 06, 2012 at 12:43 AM (#4124500)
When they underperform my most pessimistic projections...thassa no goood.
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:26 AM (#4124539)
Nice post, Jose.

I think it's worth dividing up the pitching and the hitting. Despite all the injuries, the Sox have a 110 OPS+ as a team. I don't think there's really much to complain about on offense, even after this mini-slump. Cherington did a good job acquiring depth talent, and it's kept the offense afloat even through some nasty injury luck.

The pitching has been terrible, in ways that I just don't see as likely to repeat. (If the pitching is this bad, or even close to this bad, the Sox are going to miss the playoffs.) Right now, the ERA leaders in the rotation are Daniel Bard at 4.38 and Josh Beckett at 4.45.

Here's one way of getting at the problem. The 2011 Red Sox starters had a 4.49 ERA. If the 2012 Red Sox had a 4.49 starter ERA - if they'd just been as good as the 2012 rotation that cost the club the playoffs - they'd probably have two more wins than they've got right now, and they'd be sitting at .500.

The club doesn't have much margin for error, because they aren't a 95-win roster. But I think it's still more likely that they're a high-80s win club than that they're a bad team with egregiously poor starting pitching.
   5. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:50 AM (#4124543)
If it helps anything, the Yanks aren't an especially impressive team this season, especially if the starting pitching keeps up like this. The Orioles, on the other hand, could run away with the division!
   6. Repoz Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:58 AM (#4124545)
Lineup construction, yadda/yadda...but Nick Punto is now down to .176 as a career lead-offul hitter.

Keep trotting him out there tho...
   7. Dale Sams Posted: May 06, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4124558)
.176 as a career lead-offul hitter.


Heh. Because "lead-awful" just wasn't clever enough.
   8. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 06, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4124578)
Beckett, Lester, Buchholz are healthy and effective = good 2012 Red Sox team.

None of the three are currently BOTH healthy and effective.
   9. Dan Posted: May 06, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4124583)
Don't worry, Andrew Miller is back! Our problems are solved!

Cook to the DL in a corresponding move.
   10. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: May 06, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4124601)
Beckett, Lester, Buchholz are healthy and effective = good 2012 Red Sox team.

None of the three are currently BOTH healthy and effective.
But that's never happened, right? The only time Buchholz has been healthy for a full season was 2010 and Beckett was dreadful (and hurt) that year. I think your first statement is correct, but it seems like a risky move for a team to be more-or-less counting on something which has never occured.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 06, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4124605)
I think your first statement is correct,
Well, it's correct insofar as the equal sign doesn't mean "if and only if". The Sox could easily have an above average staff with only two of those guys healthy and effective.

If the Red Sox staff were just a step better than the 2011 rotation, they'd be at .500 or maybe a game above, and no one would be worried. They don't need to be world-beaters for this team to win.
   12. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 06, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4124619)
Nice post, Jose.


That's what she said.
   13. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 06, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4124664)
Cody Ross has been almost exactly what was expected; lots of Ks, good power, his defense has been a bit wanting I think though.


Ross makes Manny look like the Bill Mazeroski of left field. He has been unbelievably bad in the field (including today jumping for a ball he should have played off the wall).

Edit: Cody Ross exposes a flaw in the BB-REF dWAR calculation, I think. He's at 0.0 WAR. That cannot be right. In the limited number of chances he has ###### up so many playable balls. He's not merely neutral. He's had a net negative effect on the defense.
   14. Dan Posted: May 06, 2012 at 07:48 PM (#4124980)
Fück Adrian Gonzalez and #### this whole team. They should be ####### embarrassed to draw major league salaries.
   15. Dale Sams Posted: May 06, 2012 at 07:54 PM (#4124984)
7-20
Blow 9-1 lead to Yanks

...and this.

I'm so glad my team is the most embarrassing team in baseball. SO glad my team has been providing yuks for the MLB Network and the nation since September 1st.
   16. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 06, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4124987)
Bobby V sounds destroyed right now.

Good, fire him. THe Sox needed to get three more outs then try and get something off Davis there. You can't give the game away like that.

And I noted it in the game thread, it kills me that Dale, Dan, MCoA and everyone else here is more pissed off about this shitshow than the players are.
   17. Dan Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4124989)
What did Valentine have to say, for those of us who are outside of the Boston market?
   18. Dan Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:04 PM (#4124990)
Also, I agree: whether it's his fault or not, Valentine just needs to be fired now. Anything that can be done to turn this around has to be done, before it's another (the third consecutive) lost season.
   19. Answer Guy Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:05 PM (#4124992)
I think I've seen enough now. It just ain't happening this year.
   20. DKDC Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:09 PM (#4124994)
I'll confine any razzing to the gamethread, but as someone who's not emotionally invested let me just say: the Red Sox will be fine. They just as easily could've won the 2 extra inning games, and that's with a decimated lineup and unimpressive starting pitching. Valentine is not my kind of manager but managers really don't matter that much.

I'm confident the Os will be fighting for 4th and the Sox will be fighting for a wild card by September.

It was fun chattering as always.
   21. Dan Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:10 PM (#4124997)
This team has the talent to get a wild card spot, but the clubhouse, morale, mentality, and relationships among the team are just completely ######. We are watching the rare case where the chemistry is actually bad enough to get in the way of the talent on the field.
   22. bobm Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:12 PM (#4125000)
[7]
.176 as a career lead-offul hitter.

Heh. Because "lead-awful" just wasn't clever enough.


I think the word should be spelled lead-offal.
   23. Answer Guy Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:12 PM (#4125001)
This team has the talent to get a wild card spot, but the clubhouse, morale, mentality, and relationships among the team are just completely ######.


Nah, this team isn't as good as people thought they were. The injuries, though, are the reason why there's a good chance they finish sub-500.
   24. Darren Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:39 PM (#4125016)
Wow, I'm glad I missed that. At least the relief pitched well!

I have to say, though, it's frustrating to see them do things like bring up Cooke and Miller, bat Punto leadoff, etc. There's no urgency--I thought that was supposed to change.

Fire Valentine, though? Please, stop.
   25. Dan Posted: May 06, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4125023)
Miller at least has potential upside as a hard throwing lefty in short relief. Cook had no purpose except throwing away a game.

As for Valentine: he was hired to come in and change the losing atmosphere, and has failed spectacularly, while also appearing rusty from his years out of the game, alienating his players, and just generally looking less than competent. I have no issue with them handing him a pink slip.
   26. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 06, 2012 at 09:26 PM (#4125046)
I'm confident the Os will be fighting for 4th and the Sox will be fighting for a wild card by September.

Maybe so, but for now this is what makes baseball such a great sport: Team ERA+ through yesterday:

Nats 164
O's 147
Yanks 99
Red Sox 78

Throw in Jeter's 169 OPS+ and Pujols' 46, and I'm ready for the ####### funny farm.
   27. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 06, 2012 at 10:20 PM (#4125092)
Firing Valentine? Whatever. This just in - when your team:

1) Rotates four outfielders named McDonald, Sweeney, Ross, and Byrd; and
2) Has a rotation with five guys who ERA+, at the moment, are 91, 94, 48, 81, and 96;
3) Has a closer with an ERA+ of 58;

you're not going to win more than half your games...things will get better.
   28. Dale Sams Posted: May 06, 2012 at 11:28 PM (#4125122)
things will get better.


When they start playing teams like the O's or A's right? At home at least?

18-37.
   29. Jittery McFrog Posted: May 06, 2012 at 11:39 PM (#4125132)
Firing Valentine? Whatever. This just in - when your team:

1) Rotates four outfielders named McDonald, Sweeney, Ross, and Byrd; and
2) Has a rotation with five guys who ERA+, at the moment, are 91, 94, 48, 81, and 96;
3) Has a closer with an ERA+ of 58;

you're not going to win more than half your games.


Isn't making sure the players are playing to their potential and not playing with their heads up their asses part of the manager's job? Or does that argument only work after disappointing Septembers?

(BTW I'm not actually in favor of firing Valentine, at least not yet. But he, like the rest of the team, has sucked so far.)
   30. Dale Sams Posted: May 07, 2012 at 12:36 AM (#4125149)
Yeah, THE TEAM has sucked so bad, that I can't point fingers just at Valentine.
   31. Dan Posted: May 07, 2012 at 12:43 AM (#4125152)
I agree that he's not the primary problem or anything, but I just agree with the sentiment that he's apparently not part of the solution, so why not look for the guy who might be able to start working toward the solution?
   32. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 07, 2012 at 08:40 AM (#4125191)
Overreaction time...the Sox should do the following;

1. Call up Linares and put him in center.

2. Pick one; send down or disable Buchholz. He's either hurt or sucks and the Sox have to figure out which and make the appropriate move.

3. Put Aceves in the rotation. It's where he wants to be and frankly the bullpen is one of the few parts of the team that is getting the job done. If my math is right their group ERA is 1.01 since the Yankee game (not counting innings pitched by outfielders).

4. New lineup;

Sweeney
Pedroia
Ortiz
Gonzalez
Aviles
Middlebrooks
Saltalamacchia
Ross
Linares

I don't know that this will have any impact but there is a "do something" aspect to this right now that has to happen.

5. Fire Valentine, Bring back Tito (OK, probably not going to happen but if this keeps up I'm going a full karlmagnus on Tito).

   33. Dale Sams Posted: May 07, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4125197)
Replace Salty with Lavarnway in the above scenario.
   34. karlmagnus Posted: May 07, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4125204)
Can't they teach Lavarnway to play LF in a few days? He can't be worse than Ross.

And yes, Tito is on the way to joining Dan Duquette on my list of Great Lost Leaders. Pity they didn't coincide.

No point Duke hiring him in Baltimore though as Showalter is another of my faves (he had the decency to not win with the Yankees in '95!)
   35. Answer Guy Posted: May 07, 2012 at 09:13 AM (#4125212)
Not sure what Francona would be doing differently that would help. They didn't play for him down the stretch last year and that was a significantly better team, at least on paper. They did this poorly under Francona at the start of last year too, again with a better team. Not one starter is pitching well, and you're not going to win many games as long as that condition persists.

I wish being right about this team being incredibly overrated felt better. I am starting to wonder if we're looking at a team that's merely on its way to a disappointing season or one that's going to be spending multiple years in the wilderness before things start to come back around.

   36. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 07, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4125219)
Dear Incontinence Nation,

Your Depends Adult Underwear have collectively malfunctioned. The urine is pouring straight out onto the floor and it's ankle deep around here.

Sincerely,

Depends Technical Support and Sales
   37. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 07, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4125226)
I don't think a bit of bladder relief is unwarranted at the moment.
   38. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 07, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4125228)
On a semi-related note if one more co-worker comes into my office and wants to either discuss the weekend with me or just ##### about how much "my" Red Sox suck I may punch someone.
   39. Dale Sams Posted: May 07, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4125235)
Depends Technical Support and Sales


Thank you, do they come with the complimentary rose-tinted glasses?

   40. Famous Original Joe C Posted: May 07, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4125240)
I don't think a bit of bladder relief is unwarranted at the moment.

I skipped the pants pissing and went straight to taking a massive sloppy crap in my drawers. I felt it much more apropos for the current situation.
   41. Answer Guy Posted: May 07, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4125259)
I think I'm near thinking about this season like it were 1993 or 1997 where the losses just don't matter enough to soil ones undergarments about. Of course in those days it was easier to ignore breaking sports news.
   42. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 07, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4125264)
I get being worried about this club. I don't get the idea that the solutions to the club's problems are currently in AAA. All of the depth that Cherington acquired is already contributing at the everyday level.

If the Sox want to upgrade the club, they need to trade prospects for talent.

(Also, everyone freaking out about Ross is being silly. He's been fine, even with a couple misplays, and he projects to be fine, and he'll continue to be fine.)
   43. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 07, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4125279)
(Also, everyone freaking out about Ross is being silly. He's been fine, even with a couple misplays, and he projects to be fine, and he'll continue to be fine.)


I don't think he's just in some defensive slump. He really is not good in the field. I'm not freaking out about the team, but I don't think that Ross is good enough in the field to warrant everyday play. He's nearing double digits in messed up plays through only 27 games. Manny never looked as bad as the defensive stats say he was, and Ross doesn't look as good.

How many runs is each out saved worth? And when does his bad play become too much to sustain?
   44. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 07, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4125287)
I disagree that Manny never looked as bad as the stats said, he looked awful. Ross' defense is disappointing but .258/.308/.485 looks about right offensively. I'd like a bit more in AVG/OBP but he's been fine.

The problem in the outfield is that the Sox are getting 12-15 plate appearances a day from these guys rather than 4-5. The loss of Ellsbury and Crawford is a killer.
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 07, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4125296)
I haven't been watching as many games as usual the last two weeks - probably for the best, mentally - but has Marlon Byrd actually looked bad at the plate? The times I've watched him hit, I haven't seen a shell of a player at the plate. By the batted ball numbers, he's hitting pretty normal amounts of flies and liners for a medium-power type.

I guess it's possible that Linares is actually good, and I shouldn't dismiss him, but I think the dismissal of Byrd looks premature.

The club's batting numbers are still perfectly fine, especially given the injuries they've faced. The bullpen is now sitting at about league average, which is a bit better than they projected, and really is all you could ask for given that no one there is making more than $1-2M. The rotation has been utterly awful, and if they just pitch up to projections, this is a contending club. I don't really know what can be done, other than waiting for the pitchers to pitch good.
   46. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 07, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4125310)
I disagree that Manny never looked as bad as the stats said, he looked awful.


-35 runs bad? That's his UZR/150 for 2006. That's just insane. Total Zone has him at a much more reasonable -18. I'm not saying he was good, at all. He just wasn't "worst of all time" bad. On the other hand, Ross does not look average in the field. His bat has been fine. For what it's worth, UZR/150 has Ross at -9.1 so far this year after -8.1 last year for the Giants.

Also, the loss of Crawford is not a loss. This LF/RF combo is still a net positive gain over last year's bunch. Last year was -0.8 BB-REF WAR. This year so far it's 1.4 WAR.

Edited: removed word for clarity.
   47. Textbook Editor Posted: May 07, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4125327)
I am starting to wonder if we're looking at a team that's merely on its way to a disappointing season or one that's going to be spending multiple years in the wilderness before things start to come back around.


Yup, had this same thought last night. I don't mind a year or two in the wilderness if there is a plan and youth coming up. For now, I'm clinging to the thought that at least the Red Sox' time in the wilderness will be quicker/faster than the Phillies' will be... (I hope)
   48. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 07, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4125332)
I haven't been watching as many games as usual the last two weeks - probably for the best, mentally - but has Marlon Byrd actually looked bad at the plate? The times I've watched him hit, I haven't seen a shell of a player at the plate..., but I think the dismissal of Byrd looks premature.


I agree though I still want to see Linares but that's more fanboy than logic.

-35 runs bad? That's his UZR/150 for 2006. That's just insane. Total Zone has him at a much more reasonable -18. I'm not saying he was good, at all. He just wasn't "worst of all time" bad. On the other hand, Ross does not look average in the field. His bat has been fine. For what it's worth, UZR/150 has Ross at -9.1 so far this year after -8.1 last year for the Giants.


I think Manny was a mess out there. The best thing about going to lots of games is you can watch defense in a way that TV doesn't allow. Manny was very bad out there, I'll never be convinced otherwise. If you put up a string of 1.000 OPS seasons you can be that bad but any idea that he wasn't a bad defensive outfielder is something I'm always going to disagree with.


Also, the loss of Crawford is not a loss. This LF/RF combo is still a net positive gain over last year's bunch. Last year was -0.8 BB-REF WAR. This year so far it's 1.4 WAR.


I think a healthy Crawford paired with a Ross/Sweeney platoon in right would be superior to Ross in LF/Sweeney in RF this year. I didn't (and still don't) expect Crawford to repeat 2011 in any phase of the game. That -0.8 from last year is largely based on J.D. Drew (-1.0) not Crawford who was solidly replacement level (wheeee!!!).
   49. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 07, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4125361)
I think Manny was a mess out there. The best thing about going to lots of games is you can watch defense in a way that TV doesn't allow. Manny was very bad out there, I'll never be convinced otherwise. If you put up a string of 1.000 OPS seasons you can be that bad but any idea that he wasn't a bad defensive outfielder is something I'm always going to disagree with.


Of course Manny was a mess. The -18 TotalZone rating reflects that. -35 UZR/150 reflects something else that bears no relationship to reality.

I think a healthy Crawford paired with a Ross/Sweeney platoon in right would be superior to Ross in LF/Sweeney in RF this year. I didn't (and still don't) expect Crawford to repeat 2011 in any phase of the game. That -0.8 from last year is largely based on J.D. Drew (-1.0) not Crawford who was solidly replacement level (wheeee!!!).


Well, at this point, "healthy" Crawford in 2012 is just wishing. Apparently the plasma injection is not working (per Rotoworld). He was apparently not injured last season and sucked. The wrist only flared up as a problem at the end of the season. At least those were the reports. So I don't know what to expect from a healthy Crawford. All I know is that I've seen enough of Ross in the OF. He's not suited to RF in Fenway and has looked pretty miserable in LF.
   50. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 07, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4125398)
Of course Manny was a mess. The -18 TotalZone rating reflects that. -35 UZR/150 reflects something else that bears no relationship to reality.


I'm not spending time trying to determine precision with defensive numbers, if the -35 UZR/150 reflects that he was the worst LF in baseball, I'm fine with that.


Well, at this point, "healthy" Crawford in 2012 is just wishing. Apparently the plasma injection is not working (per Rotoworld). He was apparently not injured last season and sucked. The wrist only flared up as a problem at the end of the season. At least those were the reports. So I don't know what to expect from a healthy Crawford. All I know is that I've seen enough of Ross in the OF. He's not suited to RF in Fenway and has looked pretty miserable in LF.


I'm comfortable expecting a healthy Carl Crawford to do something relatively similar to what he's done in his whole career. I have no reason to believe he just has completely lost it at age 29. Maybe he has, but I'll assume he hasn't.
   51. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 07, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4125418)
I'm not spending time trying to determine precision with defensive numbers, if the -35 UZR/150 reflects that he was the worst LF in baseball, I'm fine with that.


Fine. I'm putting Ross in the worst LF in baseball category too. He has been brutal out there. And one thing that you miss watching a lot of games in person are replays that show outfielders blowing plays they should easily have made like yesterday's idiotic leap at the ball at the wall. He's not making good decisions or taking good routes.
   52. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 07, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4125424)
What are you arguing? I said Ross' defense had been a disappointment. I haven't seen enough of him to say conclusively that he's been the worst in baseball but yes, he's been bad. I don't think anyone is disputing that.
   53. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 07, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4125729)
What are you arguing?


I don't know anymore. Upthread I made some comment about Manny and Bill Mazeroski. It doesn't matter as long as we agree that Ross sucks (= "is disappointing") defensively. Offense has been fine, as you say.
   54. Dan Posted: May 07, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4125737)
And no roster moves to add fresh relief pitching after the bullpen was decimated all weekend. The roster management this season has been just awful.
   55. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 07, 2012 at 07:31 PM (#4125768)
How bad does Tazawa have to be to not be on this roster today? Everybody tallks about Madden is able to put together a good bullpen with new characters every year, but at its source, the ability of the starters to consistently pitch well allows relievers to avoid overuse, injury, and poor matchups...
   56. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: May 07, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4125784)
I'm not convinced that Ross is worse than average defensively...
   57. Mattbert Posted: May 07, 2012 at 08:14 PM (#4125794)
I hope the explanation is that Tazawa and Melancon have just thrown a bunch of innings the past 2-3 days in Pawtucket or something. Otherwise, I'm not sure how much better they can possibly pitch in AAA to warrant a recall.
   58. Dan Posted: May 07, 2012 at 10:35 PM (#4125982)
Cross posting from chatter: So Valentine didn't bat Sweeney for DMac or Byrd or Salty for Shoppach with 2 RISP, leading to no insurance runs, and now he's leaving Doubront in to blow the lead with his slow hook (yet again). I'm sorry, but he's got to go. He's just not the guy we thought he was.
   59. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 08, 2012 at 12:33 AM (#4126113)
I'm sorry, but he's got to go. He's just not the guy we thought he was.


If this act wasn't getting so silly I'd have to say it was ignorant.

How bad does Tazawa have to be to not be on this roster today? Everybody tallks about Madden is able to put together a good bullpen with new characters every year, but at its source, the ability of the starters to consistently pitch well allows relievers to avoid overuse, injury, and poor matchups...


Right now the bullpen looks fine. Who would you replace? The bullpen in may (35 IP, not including tonight I think) has a 1.78 ERA. And how do you open a roster spot for them?
   60. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 08, 2012 at 12:37 AM (#4126114)
I'm not convinced that Ross is worse than average defensively...


If Crawford last year was replacement level (which is below average), Ross will most certainly be below that.
   61. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 08, 2012 at 12:41 AM (#4126116)
My big gripe with Ross is that I thought the Sox were getting a backup CF. Someone who could fake it. He's not faking it in LF. The Sox acquired Byrd because they didn't trust Ross in CF (and didn't trust Darnell as the everyday LF).
   62. L. M. Gumby Posted: May 08, 2012 at 06:30 AM (#4126157)
Weird quote from valentine on espn about why they decided not to bring up some fresh arms from AAA on Monday: "“I wasn’t thinking all that clearly,” Valentine said before Monday's game, “but you know it would have meant taking somebody who doesn’t deserve to go down.”

Sincerity or senility?
   63. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 08, 2012 at 07:49 AM (#4126165)
How bad does Tazawa have to be to not be on this roster today? Everybody tallks about Madden is able to put together a good bullpen with new characters every year, but at its source, the ability of the starters to consistently pitch well allows relievers to avoid overuse, injury, and poor matchups...


Right now the bullpen looks fine. Who would you replace? The bullpen in may (35 IP, not including tonight I think) has a 1.78 ERA. And how do you open a roster spot for them?


I agree with you that the bullpen has been outstanding lately - I literally meant Tazawa for one day, to provide lots of innings if Doubront couldn't get out of the third or something. Buchholz has options - I would've sent him down for whatever the minimum is (48 hrs?) to let Tazawa be up in Boston...but I wouldn't replace anybody in the bullpen on a permanent basis...
   64. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 08, 2012 at 08:03 AM (#4126169)
The minimum is ten days. I assume that was the problem - also, I figure Mortensen was available for long relief if needed.
   65. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 08, 2012 at 08:43 AM (#4126177)
102. Dale Sams Posted: May 08, 2012 at 08:28 AM (#4126174)
For anyone who cares....last night's Kiss Cam ended on Beckett and Bard in the bullpen. Which made me groan...till Beckett noticed and started to kiss Bard.


Posting this from the Kiss Cam thread because it's interesting. Why were Beckett and Bard in the bullpen last night? Were they the emergency plan? Beckett is usually in the dugout on his non-start days.
   66. Nasty Nate Posted: May 08, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4126185)
Posting this from the Kiss Cam thread because it's interesting. Why were Beckett and Bard in the bullpen last night? Were they the emergency plan? Beckett is usually in the dugout on his non-start days.


I'm going to guess that he meant dugout and not bullpen.
   67. Dan Posted: May 08, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4126354)
I should probably refrain from posting in here during and immediately after games while I'm still in a reactionary mood, but I still maintain my position on Valentine. I was a fan of his hiring; I was not among the haters who despised him from the moment he was hired. I was excited by the possibility of a manager who'd make the moves to win today's game, and be more aggressive in playing matchups and using pinch-hitters, but he's been very hit and miss on that. In games like last night, he's had situations where McDonald has been at the plate with a chance to add some important insurance runs, and instead of using Sweeney to pinch hit, gaining the platoon advantage and replacing a player who has a history of being absolutely TERRIBLE against RHP, he's let McDonald flail away, wasting the chance to put the game away. In last night's game it didn't end up mattering as WMB added insurance later on anyway, but that wasn't given. If that game had stayed 7-5, we might be looking at a very different final outcome, and we'd almost certianly have seen more relievers used instead of letting Padilla finish out the game. On top of losing the chance for the insurance runs, if you put Sweeney into that game to pinch hit, you upgrade the defense as well, with Ross shifting to LF and Sweeney taking over in RF. The same applies for letting Shoppach hit in the 7th inning instead of bringing in Salty. And a few days ago, he had Salty hit for Shoppach against a left-handed pitcher. He's not managing like a guy who is conscious of the data and the splits. He's managing like some old-school manager who has "gut feelings".

Perhaps LL and/or Cherington didn't have this expectation of Valentine and aren't as disappointed as I am, but to me he's just not been the manager I thought we were getting.
   68. Dan Posted: May 08, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4126368)
What do people think of playing WMB or Youkilis in LF when Youk gets back healthy?
   69. Dale Sams Posted: May 08, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4126403)
I'm going to guess that he meant dugout and not bullpen.


That's right, my bad.

It was just the way Beckett did it, that was hilarious. One, I've never seen Beckett be the slightest bit humorous except to be very sardonic. (Ala' "They gave a friend of mine a free ticket,I don't give a ####\"-2007 ALCS)....and he didn't try and stick his tongue down Bard's throat, he just pursed his lips ever so slightly and moved in.

I was more flipped out about letting Byrd bat then McDonald. Byrd shouldn't be allowed on the field ever again in a Sox uniform.

Youk in LF is a complete no-go.
   70. Mattbert Posted: May 08, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4126407)
when Youk gets back healthy

I think we worry about that when it happens. If it happens.
   71. Dan Posted: May 08, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4126410)
What about Middlebrooks in LF though? He's younger, a better athlete, etc. My only thought about playing Youkilis out there is that he'd be saved from having to dive for groundballs, which seems rough on his hip and possibly back. I imagine Middlebrooks to the OF might make more sense anyway, but I think you have to consider sticking one of them out there to get both into the lineup when the alternatives are guys like Byrd, McDonald, and Repko, especially against RHP.

If you hit for Byrd, then Yost can bring in a lefty. McDonald was the first hitter faced by Herrera, so he'd have had to face Sweeney if Bobby had sent him in to PH.
   72. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: May 08, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4126431)
What do people think of playing WMB or Youkilis in LF when Youk gets back healthy?


Seems like a bad idea for either of them - Youkilis seems like he might have a nervous breakdown if he had to play the OF again, and Middlebrooks is still adjusting to major league pitching - it seems unfair to ask him to learn a new position too. Still, if Middlebrooks continues hitting like an insane person, it's hard to take his bat out of the lineup. They'll probably give Youkilis a lot of time to get healthy, and Middlebrooks will eventually have a couple 0-4, 2 Ks days in a row, and he'll get sent back down.
   73. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 08, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4126454)
Still, if Middlebrooks continues hitting like an insane person, it's hard to take his bat out of the lineup.


Let's not get too excited that WMB will continue to hit like Babe Ruth (or better, like Kevin Maas's first 92 at bats). He has exactly 21 AB. When Youks comes back, WMB will probably go back to Pawtucket. He'll continue to get regular at-bats, which is what he needs to continue his development. They're not gonna throw him into a new position in the majors.

To put this into perspective, he's on a 122 HR, 324 H, 203 K pace for the season. It will not continue. He's also made two horrible throws to first in 4 games. I think his early success is good, but it's WAY TOO EARLY TO TALK ABOUT PUTTING HIM AT 3B PERMANENTLY RIGHT NOW. ;) AND HE'S NOT GONNA PLAY LEFT, EITHER.

Edited: for clarity, and added more shouting for good measure.
   74. Dan Posted: May 08, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4126462)
Who said he's going to or has to hit like Babe Ruth? He only has to out hit Cody Ross, Marlon Byrd, and/or Darnell McDonald to make it a worthwhile consideration. But no, let's argue against the strawman of the people who are arguing that he's going to be the best hitter in the league.
   75. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: May 08, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4126468)
What do people think of playing WMB or Youkilis in LF when Youk gets back healthy?
I don't know about WMB, but this article--admittedly a bit old--makes it sound like Youk is not a likely choice:

Youkilis last played the outfield for the Sox in a game in Yankee Stadium in 2009, and struggled with routes on a couple fly balls in left. Since that contest, he has said on several occasions that he has no interest in playing the outfield again
   76. SoSH U at work Posted: May 08, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4126482)
He only has to out hit Cody Ross, Marlon Byrd, and/or Darnell McDonald to make it a worthwhile consideration.


By ZiPS, he wasn't projected to outhit any of those guys. Toss in a position switch at the big leagues, and that's probably not a recipe for success.

   77. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: May 08, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4126501)
WAY TOO EARLY TO TALK ABOUT PUTTING HIM AT 3B PERMANENTLY RIGHT NOW. ;) AND HE'S NOT GONNA PLAY LEFT, EITHER.


Then we are in agreement!
   78. tfbg9 Posted: May 08, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4126503)
An old friend has some Fenway tix he's trying to unload...I told him I'd see if any of you characters were interested. Email ME if you are...



FWIW Here are some Fenway tix for May 25th I'll be selling in case you know someone who may be interested.


2 tix together in row 10 of section 27 at 3rd base in grandstand. Nice seats. $130/pr


2 Standing room tix on green monster same game, May 25th Friday night. $130/pr


Thanks!


Pete
   79. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 08, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4126744)
Who said he's going to or has to hit like Babe Ruth? He only has to out hit Cody Ross, Marlon Byrd, and/or Darnell McDonald to make it a worthwhile consideration.


I guess we can pretend that it wasn't the hitting that made you think of it in the first place. Let's say it was the amazing defensive show he's put on (2 very wild throws!). I just don't know why this would occur as a good idea. AND ONCE AGAIN, if you think WMB/LF/3B/Youkils is the solution, then you don't understand the problem. If you think Ross, Byrd, McDLT are the problem, then you don't understand the problem.

To paraphrase Bill Clinton: It's the pitching, stupid.

Also: Dan, I don't think you're stupid. I like you, in fact. Don't take the "stupid" as referring to you. I mean it in the sense implied by Clinton, retrofitted to the entire Red Sox nation.
   80. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 08, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4126746)
2 Standing room tix on green monster same game, May 25th Friday night. $130/pr


Is that what standing room goes for on the Monster these days? I paid $25 in 2004 I think. Someone wants people to pay $65 for the privilege of standing for 3 to 4 hours?
   81. Nasty Nate Posted: May 08, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4126752)
Is that what standing room goes for on the Monster these days? I paid $25 in 2004 I think. Someone wants people to pay $65 for the privilege of standing for 3 to 4 hours?


If you buy a pair of monster SRO's from the Sox via web, it would cost about $40-$45 per ticket after they get you with the fees. For the IF GS, it would be $63 per ticket after the fees. If you got them straight from the box office, the costs are $35 and $55, respectively.
   82. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 08, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4126755)
Just FWIW I've got two tix on "Tim Wakefield Night" that I've been trying to unload for a couple of weeks on StubHub for face value ($50/ticket, grandstand) and nothing. I have no doubt that the sellout streak exists but the secondary market has shriveled up and died.
   83. Dan Posted: May 08, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4126784)
AND HE'S NOT GONNA PLAY LEFT, EITHER.


Michael Silverman's twitter:

Valentine: The idea of 3B Will Middlebrooks playing in the OF has been discussed internally by #RedSox. Good idea.


Well the Red Sox apparently don't find the idea as ridiculous as you do.


Obviously Middlebrooks hasn't shown enough in MLB or AAA to commit to him fulltime or anything crazy like that, but I think he's earned a shot at everyday ABs until he shows he can't do it. The stuff on places like SOSH talking about dumping Youkilis are ridiculous, of course, but I think it'd be a mistake not to give Middlebrooks a real shot now, hence trying him in LF to get both he and Youkilis into the lineup when the latter comes off the DL.
   84. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 08, 2012 at 10:10 PM (#4126956)
If the sox think that, they also don't understand the problem.
   85. Dan Posted: May 08, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4127061)
So because the pitching has been bad, optimizing the offense is a bad idea? How does trying to get Middlebrooks' bat into the lineup at the same time as Youkilis' preclude improving the pitching?
   86. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 08, 2012 at 11:49 PM (#4127075)
This is a pointless argument. This ain't ####### hard, Dan. The Sox have scored 159 runs. 4th in MLB. They have allowed 161. Last in MLB. Optimizing the offense makes no ####### difference. They're already 8 runs behind the #1 team in baseball in runs scored. They're 80 runs behind the best pitching team in baseball. They can't optimize the ####### offense anymore. Call it diminishing returns. I'm starting to think that you don't even bother to look at numbers at all, because if you did, you'd recognize that Bobby ####### Valentine, Will ####### Middlebrooks, and the rest of the ####### offense has nothing to do with the problem. Scoring 7 runs in a game generally wins you a game. ######## about McDonald is pointless.

I just don't know what to say anymore. This place has become weird. And wrong. And not fun.
   87. Dan Posted: May 08, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4127077)
Miller as a reliever has been encouraging. I was saying all last season that they should at least give him a shot in short relief where he could just throw his fastball hard and try and blow people away. Obviously he's not going to keep going this well, but he's looking at least like he might be a useful lefty strikeout reliever to spot in the 6th and 7th innings. I'm sure he'll have days where he comes out and just walks the world, but I think he might just be useful enough to merit keeping a spot in the bullpen.
   88. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 09, 2012 at 12:07 AM (#4127088)
Now you're talking. That ############ can throw. Eck said it in the game though: he needs to figure it all out. MCoA was asking earlier in the year who else had a cutter like Lester. Miller is the one. It is a ####### frisbee up there.

(Thank you.)
   89. Textbook Editor Posted: May 09, 2012 at 12:15 AM (#4127095)
Optimizing the offense seems possible. Optimizing the pitching seems... well, seems a tall order, and not something that will happen anytime soon. And so we focus on what might be fixable over what can't immediately be fixed.

Look, if Buchholz is going to suck all year, and Lester/Beckett alternate good/awful starts, we're simply not going to do a whole lot on the pitching side of the ledger, unless Bard/Dubront really go nuts for the next 4.5 months. There are no obvious answers on the pitching side that I can see happening before the trade deadline (aside from--maybe--the return of Dice-K and other hurt pitchers), so all I feel like we're left with is just shrugging and hoping for better results/a run a good luck.

This year doesn't feel like fun because last year ended so awfully and now after a bad 1st month we're 2 months into watching what seems like an average team. I haven't felt the Red Sox had this many holes in the roster since maybe 2002/early 2003. I just wish I knew what the overall plan was. Part of me hopes it's "play the kids" at this rate, simply because that would be fun to watch. Watching a 81-81 team isn't really inherently fun, but you can certainly find fun things to watch to make time pass more pleasurably while lamenting the 81-81ness of your favorite team.
   90. tfbg9 Posted: May 09, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4127180)
I have no idea what he ought to be asking, price-wise, for his tix.

Has there ever been a team that has played as badly as the Red Sox have since 09/01/11: 19-37, either in-season or between two seasons as the Sox have, that _didn't_ , ya' know, subsequently, simply suck?
   91. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 09, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4127182)
Optimizing the offense makes no ####### difference.


I disagree with this. Look, I'm not disputing that the offense has been good enough to win more games than they have but at some point you have to deal with the pitching issue. The optimal way of doing that is to have the pitchers (esp. Buchholz and Lester) stop trying to pitch with their heads shoved up their asses, that's a good step. Failing that the other way is to maximize the offense and try to win a bunch of 9-8 games. It's not ideal but given the current roster construction I think it's the best short term plan. The problem here is that these losses matter. If the Sox keep losing by the time Lester (definitely) and Buchholz (hopefully) stop sucking we will be too far back for it to matter.

That the pitching sucks doesn't mean the Sox should ignore other problems.
   92. jmurph Posted: May 09, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4127214)
That the pitching sucks doesn't mean the Sox should ignore other problems.


Yes to this. The point is to score more runs than the other team, whether it's 9-8 or 1-0. I think most of us prefer 5-3 or something close, with a great offense and great pitching/defense, but who really cares how they get there? That Pedroia, Gonzalez, and Ortiz are excellent hitters shouldn't preclude the team from seeking better bats elsewhere if they're available.
   93. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 09, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4127304)
Hypothetically, sure, the Sox should score more runs. Let's say we increase the offense from an 888 run offense to a 1000 run offense or, even better, an 1100 run offense. What would be the expected impact on their record to date?

Their expected W/L is now 14-15. Increase them to a 1000 run offense and it's 15-14 (or 16-13 if you round up). Increase to a 1100 run offense and its 17-12. Much better. But to get there you need 112 to 212 extra runs of offense over the course of the season. WMB over Ross right now adds 0, exactly zero, to the expected win total. That's because he projects to provide less offense than the current players on the roster. So, unless you have actual suggestions of people who would add more offense than the current crew, you're not talking about "optimizing the offense." You're dreaming. And as we all know, teams don't always conform exactly to their expected W/L. The Sox right now are 3 games worse than expectations. And they seem perpetually to underperform expectations on W/L.

I can think of all kinds of players the Sox should get to make the team better. My guess is that if the Sox could have had them, they would have.

Before the season we were talking about how to get the most out of this offense: platoon advantages, L/R matchups, etc. Now we're pretending we can "outlast" the pitching problems by adding a few runs to the offense. In order to turn this team back into a 94 win team, that is, if this staff continues to pitch like this, you need an 1100 run offense. At this rate, the pitchers will allow 931 runs. Constructing an offense that can support this staff and still make the playoffs is so unlikely as to be unrealistic. So yes, by all means, let's continue to discuss the wrong solution to the problem.

What does offense optimization look like in this fantasyland? I think we should start with improving LF by 66 runs. Then we need to improve CF by 66 runs. And catcher by 66 runs. Then all we need to do is improve RF by 16 runs. There's our magical 212 runs. Problem solved!
   94. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 09, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4127338)
I don't think anyone is saying the Sox can "outlast" their pitching problems over the course of the season. But in the short term they should be trying to do so.

Where I quibble with you (or at least what I think you are saying) is that just because the pitching is catastrophically bad we don't try to fix other problems. Everyone agrees that the number one problem is the pitching. I think most of us believe that there are very real fixes to the pitching problems (specifically Lester and Buchholz pitching better). If that starts happening this becomes a dramatically better team.

But it's erroneous to sit back and say "the pitching sucks, so let's accept these other lesser problems." I agree that Middlebrooks (or Youk) to left is a bad idea. But there are improvements to be made in center, on the bench and in the manager's chair. If you want to argue that improvements in those places are expected by the people currently in those roles I don't agree but fair enough. Ignoring lesser but still meaningful flaws is a bad idea though.
   95. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 09, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4127363)
I agree that Middlebrooks (or Youk) to left is a bad idea. But there are improvements to be made in center, on the bench and in the manager's chair.


Valentine is not the problem. STOP SAYING VALENTINE NEEDS TO BE FIRED, ALL OF YOU. YOU SOUND LIKE MORONS. As I said last night in the Game Chatter, this is BaseballTHINKFactory and "fire Valentine" is not a thinking man's thought. Cut the crap already.

I'd like to see Ellsbury back in center. That would solve whatever problem you seem to think Byrd is the cause of in CF. Byrd is an interim solution and for that purpose, he's as good as can be expected. Linares or whatever flavor-of-the-day you want to choose will not be meaningfully better in the short term. There's no point of trading for a great, very good, or even good CF because you have an all-star coming back in a few short weeks.

The bench could use a righty with some pop, but WMB is not the answer because he needs regular at-bats. So, if that's "optimizing the offense," then yes, the bench needs a righty bat with some pop. That will make everything better.

   96. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 09, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4127406)

Valentine is not the problem. STOP SAYING VALENTINE NEEDS TO BE FIRED, ALL OF YOU. YOU SOUND LIKE MORONS. As I said last night in the Game Chatter, this is BaseballTHINKFactory and "fire Valentine" is not a thinking man's thought


I fail to see how thinking Valentine has been a problem is not considered a "thinking man's thought." I don't think it is at all unreasonable to note the many mistakes Valentine has made already, his age and his extended period away from MLB and think that the game has passed him by.

Is it a snap judgment that could be proven wrong? Perhaps. But you are dismissing it out of hand with no evidence whatsoever that Valentine has been anything other than poor. We have a team with multiple people performing below expectations and several questionable moves on the tactical front. This isn't "Jon Lester sucks and should be released", there is a track record there, Valentine has no such track record of any relevance.
   97. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: May 09, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4127436)
Whatever. If you think it's reasonable after 29 games to have a discussion about firing the manager, then you're an idiot. If you think it's reasonable after 29 games of horrible starting pitching--that has nothing at all to do with the manager--to talk about firing the manager, then you're an idiot. If you think it's reasonable to infer that after 29 games the manager needs to be fired because the game has passed him by, then you're an idiot.

And if you're an idiot for thinking this after 29 games, then I'm an idiot for trying to have a discussion with you about it. But more importantly, if you're an idiot and you have keys to the place, then the lunatics are running the asylum.

One of the things I loved about Sox Therapy, and I said this a few weeks ago, was that it was eminently reasonable. Mostly I guess that was just MCoA that I was referring to. You people are ruining this place. It's turning into Sons of Sam Horn with all this bullshit about Valentine and Linares and WMB. Absolutely ruining it. It used to be that I knew the exact dividing line between SOSH and Sox Therapy. And in a few short weeks, I can't see it anymore. Insane.

So, I guess I'm done with Sox Therapy for a while.
   98. Nasty Nate Posted: May 09, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4127444)
Post 97 is a crazy over-reaction to a sane post. You might need a break, bro.

Also, I don't know why you think the quality of starting pitching automatically has nothing to do with the manager and coaching staff.
   99. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 09, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4127453)
It is certainly possible that I'm an idiot, and if so I'll acknowledge it when it is shown to be true. Hell, there have been plenty of things I have been very wrong about; my Spring Training updates are an open source of amusement for all (Ramon Ramirez! John Lackey!) and so far Jed Lowrie is making me look bad (though I am optimistic that he'll contract leprosy soon). I thought they should have released Ortiz at the start of 2010 when he looked like he was cooked and there are many many more wonderful examples of me being an idiot.

You keep telling me I'm an idiot re: Valentine but you have said nothing in Valentine's defense. You have noted (correctly) that he is not the primary problem. That does not absolve him of his many mistakes. I do not understand why you seem so personally offended by this. If a player who hadn't playing in the Majors for many years was starting in center field and hitting .143 I think we'd probably assume he was done. Valentine has been away from the Majors for a long time, so far he has not done anything to make me believe he hasn't lost his fastball. I hope I'm incredibly wrong and he's holding a shiny new trophy in October but I don't see it.

For what it's worth I agree on Middlebrooks, it's far too early to anoint him as the next big thing.
   100. Jittery McFrog Posted: May 09, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4127490)
For what it's worth I agree on Middlebrooks, it's far too early to anoint him as the next big thing.


Middlebrooks doesn't have to be the next big thing. Sox fans just need something to be hopeful about right now. It might as well be Middlebrooks. As long as the team doesn't do anything irrevocably stupid in response (like trading Youk for magic beans) I fail to see the harm.
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