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   1. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 18, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4109667)
I think this will cause some pants pissing, but through 11 games, the Sox big three starters are not just bad, but are 3rd, 9th, and 11th worst in ERA in the majors. Hilarious. Also the Nats have the best pitching in baseball. I love April.
   2. Chip Posted: April 18, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4109681)
Lester normally sucks in April so last night seemed like just reverting to form after his unexpectedly good pitching to start the year.
   3. Dan Posted: April 18, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4109708)
Agree with Chip. Lester usually sucks in 3 or 4 April starts, so if he can get it down to 1 or 2 shitty April starts that will be an improvement.
   4. jmurph Posted: April 18, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4109719)
Also the Nats have the best pitching in baseball. I love April.


It's certainly not unreasonable to think that might continue- in fact I wouldn't expect them to fall out of the top... 5 maybe? 7 or 8, to be more conservative, considering Strasburg will be shut down at some point? Gio, Strasburg, and Zimmerman form a very, very good top 3, with Edwin Jackson as an excellent 4.

   5. AROM Posted: April 18, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4109721)
Also the Nats have the best pitching in baseball.


You say that like it's unexpected. This is not like say, the Orioles or Royals having the best pitching in baseball. If Strasburg and Zimmerman stay healthy the Nats have a deep and talented rotation that's probably as good a bet as any to stay at the top of the league.
   6. Dan Posted: April 18, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4109737)
Yeah, mark me down as another who didn't understand the Nats comment in that context.
   7. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 18, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4109769)
I guess what I meant is that they have an ERA of 1.91 as a team. My computer is broken and I am using my wige's iPad so expect a lot more shorthand and stupid comments from me for the next few weeks. They won't be the best pitching team at the end of the year and by such a wide margin. That was hard to type on this stupid thing. Ugh.
   8. SG Posted: April 18, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4109797)
If you use log 5 and average pre-season projections the Red Sox are about 2 games behind where they should be at this point (should probably be about 6-5). If they can take the next two games they'll be back to about 1 game back. It doesn't take much to make up that ground.

Whether they're as good as they projected to be in the pre-season is a different question.

Also the Nats have the best pitching in baseball.


The only team I had projected to allow fewer runs than them was San Francisco. The Angels projected better relative to league, but I'm with jmurph and AROM. The Nationals are probably going to be one of the top five pitching teams in baseball this year.
   9. Dale Sams Posted: April 18, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4109830)
Melancon down, Tazawa up.
   10. Dan Posted: April 18, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4109833)
Melancon down, Tazawa up.


Good.
   11. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 18, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4109860)
Ben Cherington's first trade is not going down particularly well so far.
   12. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 18, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4109865)
Tito will be there on Friday.
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 18, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4109868)
The starting pitching is a positive so far in my mind.

Insanely small sample size, but still....

ERA+ for the 5 starters:

Lester 73
Bard 75
Beckett 93
Buchholz 44
Doubront 80
   14. Dale Sams Posted: April 18, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4109877)
Lester: Gets it done
Beckett: Up and down, still a decent or lucky pitcher
Buchholz: ?
Bard: Has 1 A pitch, a B pitch and a work in progress. But I like him.
Doubront: Stays out of big innings.

That's my forecast for the season. That's a lot better than most pitching staffs. MUCH better than last year when I was screaming to let Papelbon or anyone start over Wake and Lackey.
   15. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 18, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4109880)
Insanely small sample size, but still....

ERA+ for the 5 starters:

Lester 73
Bard 75
Beckett 93
Buchholz 44
Doubront 80


I was talking about a projection standpoint rather than a results so far standpoint. Like I said I haven't seen anything from Lester or Beckett that makes me feel like either guy is appreciably different from what he has been. I think Bard and Doubront have both looked competent which is all the Sox need. Neither guy has looked overmatched. Only Buchholz is of concern, coming off the injury the first two starts are a bit troubling but I'm willing to see a couple more starts before I panic on him.

I didn't get into it but I think the fact that guys like Cook, Ohlendorf and even Alex Wilson are doing well in Pawtucket is also part of the equation.

EDIT: Or what Dale said much more succinctly in #14.
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 18, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4109884)
The starting pitching is a positive so far in my mind.

Insanely small sample size, but still....
This is sort of the point. The Sox have had three disaster starts out of seven for their top starters, and we're all rather convinced those guys are actually good. Bard has been better than his runs allowed, and I think Doubront has too. The question here is what do fans expect from the next 150 games, not what were the results from the first 11. And when the answer to the former question diverges as widely from the latter as you show, fans get a bit optimistic.

As Andy (inadvertently) points out, the only thing that's really wrong with this club right now is their starting pitching. If they start getting results to match the "positives" we see, the Sox will be just fine - better than fine, they'll be big time contenders.
   17. Dan Posted: April 18, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4110001)
Buchholz pitched well last time out other than the first inning. And even the first inning was really just 1 bad pitch that Luke Scott hit for a 3 run homer.
   18. villageidiom Posted: April 19, 2012 at 04:02 AM (#4110319)
Looking through it I feel like there is reason to be concerned versus where we were 13 days ago. I see at least one area meaningfully worse (outfield) and one probably so (bullpen).
Realistically, how would you have assumed these games would have gone had they been at full strength to start the season?

3 on road vs. Detroit
3 on road vs. Toronto
4 at home vs. Tampa
3 at home vs. Rangers

I'm thinking at best 3-3 on the road games, maybe 3-4 at home (2-2 Rays, 1-2 Rangers). Instead of 6-7 they're 4-8... and they're 0-3 in one-run games. And they aren't at full strength. All things considered I'm OK with where they are.
   19. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 19, 2012 at 08:34 AM (#4110350)
I'm thinking at best 3-3 on the road games, maybe 3-4 at home (2-2 Rays, 1-2 Rangers). Instead of 6-7 they're 4-8... and they're 0-3 in one-run games. And they aren't at full strength. All things considered I'm OK with where they are.


My issue is not so much where they are as where they are headed. I don't think we should overreact to early season action but it is new data that should be considered. The outfield, simply by the loss of Ellsbury is likely to be worse than we thought and I think the bullpen is shaping up to be less than we anticipated as well due to performance (Melancon) and injury (Bailey). What I am not seeing is anyone who has stepped up and vastly overachieved in a way that makes me think it's going to continue.

Despite some of my ravings during the game chatters I'm not saying the Sox are suddenly a 75 win team but if we knew when the season started some of what we now know I think the projections might have been a couple games less than they were. In this year's American League, that's important.
   20. Guapo Posted: April 19, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4110382)
Don't forget to join the "Save Our Team: Varitek For Manager" group on Facebook.
   21. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4110522)
Buchholz pitched well last time out other than the first inning. And even the first inning was really just 1 bad pitch that Luke Scott hit for a 3 run homer.
And other than that, Ms. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the start?
   22. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 19, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4110545)
Is Salty worrisome at this point? I was never really sold that he is a good major-league hitter, and his swing looks way too long.
   23. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 19, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4110581)
I think he's worrisome but not any more than he was at the start of the year. He is what he is, a long swinging slugger who will go through bad stretches. Selective endpoints and all but he was 1 for 14 and 4 for 29 to start last season. With Shoppach and Lavarnway I think the Sox are pretty well suited if Saltalamacchia does the full Gedman on us. What's a bit disappointing is that Valentine has kept him limited to righties almost exclusively (23 of 25 PA) and he's still not hitting.
   24. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 19, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4110617)
I don't expect Salty to sport a .420 OPS the rest of the way, or even for very much longer. 25 PA is way too small a sample size to get much mileage out of.
   25. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 19, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4110623)
Well, I didn't say (and didn't try to imply) that he'd be exactly this bad over a full season. Given what we know of Salty's defense and the in-house replacements, what would he need to OPS in order to be worthy of being the everyday catcher?
   26. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 19, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4110639)
Given what we know of Salty's defense and the in-house replacements, what would he need to OPS in order to be worthy of being the everyday catcher?


He was .737 last year and I think I'd take that neighborhood plus or minus a bit. The problem is I'm not sure how confident the Sox should be in Lavarnway. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Lavarnway wasn't a top ten hitting catcher right now but I wouldn't be surprised if he was limited like Shoppach to mashing lefties and occasionally flipping one over the Monster, I just don't feel like I can say either way with confidence.

I hate Saltalamacchia's defense. He often looks out of position, he cost the Sox a run in Toronto because he was wandering around 3 feet in front of the plate and there have been other moments during his time here. I have not seen nearly as much of Lavarnway but I have never watched him and thought he was overmatched defensively at all. He's not Johnny Bench but he's not helpless either.
   27. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: April 19, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4110640)
Salty's still only 27, and the defense on the in-house replacements isn't much better. His BABIP is .059. He'll get a lot of slack before he isn't at least a part-time catcher. If anything they'll probably work in Shoppach more while he's hot.
   28. villageidiom Posted: April 19, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4110703)
My issue is not so much where they are as where they are headed.
Where they're headed is toward an easier schedule. (Not immediately, of course.)
   29. Pingu Posted: April 19, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4110705)
Salty is part of the problem, not the solution.
   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 19, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4110722)
Salty batting just against RHP - and Valentine's been strict with the platoon - should be a perfectly acceptable player. Last year, for instance, he hit 304/481 from the left side. So far this year he's just got a fluky low BABIP.
   31. Dan Posted: April 19, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4110752)
Salty has a 27.8% LD rate and a .059 BABIP so far. He's just had shitty luck, he's actually been hitting the ball pretty well.
   32. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 19, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4110757)
I don't think one can hit a ball harder than he did in the ninth last night. Two feet to the left and it's a double.
   33. Textbook Editor Posted: April 20, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4111179)
Rosenthal takes it up a notch

There's some hedging, but basically the article's point is: THIS IS A DISASTER!

I think the jury is still out on that, but I suppose I wouldn't take the over of the line on Valentine's tenure was 1 year exactly.

My question: who, exactly, do people think we'd get as manager if we ####-can Valentine? Bogar? Magadan? The return of Francona?
   34. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4111244)
Rosenthal is a moron.

I read the article, and this is what passes for evidence:
The Red Sox, rival players say, started bristling under Valentine in spring training. One opponent says that the team does not seem as unified and cohesive as in the past. A rival executive noticed the team’s coaches sitting apart from Valentine on the bench, literally keeping their distance.
He might as well have hired the US Magazine body language expert.

If the Sox have a bad season, I doubt Bobby V stays. The question is, how much evidence do we have that the Sox are actually a bad team that won't win bunches of games and contend for the postseason? I think we still have very little.
   35. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 20, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4111252)
Rosenthal also spends a third of the article breaking down tactical decisions, as if that's the cause of the Sox' struggles so far.

If the Sox indeed have a bad season under Valentine, he'll deserve a portion of the blame, and there's a good chance he'll be fired. All the people who hated the hiring can say they were right and I was wrong. But the Red Sox have only played twelve games so far. I have seen very little in the field that would change my pre-season opinion that the Sox have a playoff quality roster. If they make the playoffs, this will all look rather silly. That's why I'm not rushing to judgment.
   36. Answer Guy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4111270)
I don't see a playoff quality roster here. I see a team that could definitely contend if things break right. But so much went right last year and they still fell short. And they're playing a Pawtucket-grade outfield for the next couple weeks.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4111281)
But so much went right last year and they still fell short.
Because they underperformed expected runs and expected runs allowed by about 10 games. A lot went right with the players last year, but it was balanced out by team failing to turn hits and walks and homers those players produced into runs, and then those runs into wins at normal rates. (And equally on the pitching side.)

They projected around 91-93 wins coming into the season. The injuries suck, but if Bard and Doubront keep pitching like they have, that will balance it out relatively easily. The big scary thing through the offseason was SP depth, and that's suddenly looking like a strength.
   38. Nasty Nate Posted: April 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4111296)
But so much went right last year and they still fell short.


I find this thinking ... bizarre. 2011 was things NOT going right.

... from Lebwoski: "NOTHING IS ######???!?! THE GOD-DAMN PLANE HAS CRASHED INTO THE MOUNTAIN!"
   39. Answer Guy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4111340)
Perfect time for a series in the Bronx. If it somehow goes well, there's no way it doesn't get called a "turning point" even it they struggle for another couple weeks like last year after winning 2 of 3 in NY around the same time.
   40. Answer Guy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4111352)
Yes, lots of things went right last year. I would bet against Ellsbury ever being that good again. I don't think we're going to see another season from Ortiz like that. They got outstanding seasons from Pedroia and Gonzalez. There's half your line up right there, and everyone who matters except Youkilis and the still-sidelined Crawford.

On the pitching side, I wouldn't be shocked if Beckett falls significantly short of his 2011 stats. And that bullpen...yikes.
   41. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 20, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4111369)
Perfect time for a series in the Bronx.

I'm pretty sure they're holding the 100th Anniversary Celebration for Fenway in Boston.
   42. Answer Guy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4111402)
Forgot to look...not often that random off days happen during homestands. I miss New England.
   43. Nasty Nate Posted: April 20, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4111411)
Yes, lots of things went right last year. I would bet against Ellsbury ever being that good again. I don't think we're going to see another season from Ortiz like that. They got outstanding seasons from Pedroia and Gonzalez. There's half your line up right there, and everyone who matters except Youkilis and the still-sidelined Crawford.


That's 4 guys out of 25 (or out of the 49 total they used), and really only 2 of them were possibly out of line with what could be expected in 2012. But as I think MCoA was saying, the good individual performances didn't translate into as many wins as you would expect.
   44. Answer Guy Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4111454)
I didn't go thru the pitching. Beckett had a good year I wouldn't count on again. Lester I think could duplicate his 2011 or maybe even improve a little. I suppose it'd be hard to do worse than Lackey/Wakefield/Miller were last year. This makeshift bullpen seems like a disater though.

I didn't go thru every hitter since I don't expect big things from the rest of the lineup. Reddick was an OK fill in but he's gone. They're not going to get significantly more offense wise at SS or C than last season.
   45. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4111477)
To judge the need for worrying over the team's record you must apply what I call the "Oriole test". It's pretty simple to do. Bring up the current MLB standings and look at the AL East. Is the word Baltimore occupying the first or second spot like it annually does in April? If so then it must be really early and no meaning can be taken from teams' records so far.
   46. villageidiom Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4111491)
Rays fan smack-talking Orioles fans. Just another example of how Sox Therapy brings everyone together!

EDIT: But seriously... Your point is valid.
   47. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 20, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4111505)
AG -

The Sox projected about 70-100 runs worse (offense and defense combined, measured in component runs) than 2011. I don't disagree with anything you're saying about the 2011 club. But the question is, what is the baseline from which you're subtracting those runs? You're working at the level of individual performance, so we should use component runs. By component runs, the Sox were a 100 win club, so normal regression drops them into the low 90s. that's a playoff contending team.
   48. Textbook Editor Posted: April 20, 2012 at 10:17 PM (#4111959)
I wonder: how bad does it have to get before the "Fire Valentine" vibe becomes overwhelming?

I also wonder: would it really be awful to bring back Tito? I know it has 0% chance of happening...

Sorry, sentimentality is setting in...
   49. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 20, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4111991)
The more I read the more I see media simply crediting/blaming Valentine because that's what they expect. All winter we heard the beer and the fried chicken was this big problem, well Bobby took care of that but they still suck so now Bobby's being mean is the problem?

The players on this team need to start playing well. If they want to ##### and cry that Bobby V. hurt their feelings they can go back and watch the way the ###### up last September and understand why they are stuck with this guy.

One thing my buddy noted today. As Buchholz kept giving up home runs there was never a time when anyone from the infield went in to talk to him on the mound. It seemed like he was out there by himself. Maybe it's something, maybe it's nothing, but while Valentine has made some bad moves the problem is the players. Per Buster Olney the Sox starters' ERA since September 1 is 6.72. Honestly I'm stunned it's that low. The fact is you could have Casey Stengel managing this club with Dave Duncan as pitching coach and Jesus Christ playing shortstop and you'd have a tough time winning with that kind of "effort."
   50. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 20, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4111992)
I also wonder: would it really be awful to bring back Tito?

See, Martin, Billy.

Today would have been the day for it.
   51. Dale Sams Posted: April 21, 2012 at 12:03 AM (#4112001)
As Buchholz kept giving up home runs there was never a time when anyone from the infield went in to talk to him on the mound


Please...that's something the evil empire would do.

It took Tito a good long time before I would scream "What are you doing???", and those playoff appearances kept resetting my clock with him. It took Valentine about 10 days. I mentioned before ARod's HR how stupid it was to keep a guy out there who obviously cannot keep the ball down. He's not going to magically find his stuff in the fourth or fifth inning.

I'm reminded of Bugs Bunny in "Baseball Bugs"...."Wham A homer! Wham another homer! Wham Another homer!"
   52. Nasty Nate Posted: April 21, 2012 at 02:27 AM (#4112018)
...Jesus Christ playing shortstop and you'd have a tough time winning...


You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?
   53. John DiFool2 Posted: April 21, 2012 at 06:44 AM (#4112035)
I wondered why nobody was posting in this thread:

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/maybe_red_sox_just_arent_very_good_nytimes.com

Until I realized that it wouldn't let me post (either). The Sox sux so bad they're breaking the forum software.
   54. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 21, 2012 at 07:41 AM (#4112041)
If the Sox project as a 91-93 win teams, with this stretch--independent of how much, if any, you should factor it into the projections--wouldn't they now be projected to win less than 90 games? Obviously that's less of a problem than it might be as the Yankees, Rays and Angels aren't exactly living up to (nevermind exceeding) their projections.
   55. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 21, 2012 at 08:04 AM (#4112043)
4-9 is not an unusual stretch for a 91-93 win team. I think the greater factors are things like Buchholz pitching like crap, the bullpen being a disaster and the outfield injuries. Things that would go into that 91-93 win projection are coming out in the wrong direction so far. That they've got a 13 game stretch of 4-9 is not meaningful unless (as I do) you believe there are some things we've learned that make this team less than what we thought they were.

I was looking at the schedule yesterday and after the Yankees finish off this sweep the Sox schedule really is a cream puff for about a month. Now if this team is any good they should be able to occasionally beat good teams but it wouldn't shock me if they rip off a hot stretch against the weak teams. If they do that and right the ship they should be fine. Unfortunately they have put themselves in a position where that is necessary rather than useful. If they can't do a 14-8 or something like that between now and the road trip to Tampa and Philly then they are in trouble. I'm willing to wait but it's getting frustrating to have this conversation every ####### year.
   56. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 21, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4112045)
With the full--and obvious, hopefully--disclosure that there's no real number crunching behind this, my thought is that at the end of this weekend's series, the Sox "should" be 8-7. Whereas right now the best they can do is 6-9. (The difference is that I think you would have expected them to win one of the games in Detroit and one of the games against Texas.) So for a tough stretch of the season, when a lot has gone wrong, only being two games behind a reasonable scenario is not that bad.

   57. Swedish Chef Posted: April 21, 2012 at 08:27 AM (#4112046)
That they've got a 13 game stretch of 4-9 is not meaningful unless (as I do) you believe there are some things we've learned that make this team less than what we thought they were.

No, but it is meaningful that their record is 4-9, that means that they're off the pace and is predicted to finish lower by a couple of games even if their true strength is estimated the same.
   58. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 21, 2012 at 09:23 AM (#4112060)
They're probably off the pace by a couple games. Which sucks. Probably costs a dozen or more percentage points in playoff odds. But I think "off the pace by a couple games" is being reacted to by some people as "dead and buried in the ground."
   59. toratoratora Posted: April 21, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4112061)
Hey, 4-9 is worlds better than 1-10. We have improvement!
   60. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4112074)
Obviously that's less of a problem than it might be as the Yankees, Rays and Angels aren't exactly living up to (nevermind exceeding) their projections.


I've been pessimistic about this club since last season ended, but the two things that lead me to believe the Sox will contend is that there really aren't many teams in the AL that look like they'll be in the Top 5 mix, and only two of them are playing well anyway.

   61. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 21, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4112076)
They're probably off the pace by a couple games. Which sucks. Probably costs a dozen or more percentage points in playoff odds. But I think "off the pace by a couple games" is being reacted to by some people as "dead and buried in the ground."
I think that's just the nature of both emotional fandom ("That team sure did suck last night. They just plain sucked! I've seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked") and media ("Will Bobby V. Last the Season? Call in to WEEI and let us know what you think!"). Which means you're right, of course, that people are overreacting, but that happens whether results are good or bad.
   62. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 21, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4112084)
Today would have been the day for it.


No, it's not. If you hire Bobby Valentine, you give him more than two weeks to show results. The time will be the All-Star break if the Sox are still struggling.

And Girardi brought in a just-called-up kid in the ninth with a four-run lead. I don't remember anyone doing this sort of thing in a meaningful game in Fenway in... forever. It really shows how much confidence Girardi had in his team's position and how much "no lead is safe in Fenway" was not a factor.
   63. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 21, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4112090)
It really shows how much confidence Girardi had in his team's position and how much "no lead is safe in Fenway" was not a factor.
Dude gave up one single and got pulled for Rivera. This seems a tad overstated.
   64. toratoratora Posted: April 21, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4112123)
From a Verducci column a few weeks back. Scary stuff...

"No matter how you define a collapse, the 2011 Red Sox and 2011 Braves rank among the five worst pennant race folds of all time. One list for SI.com last year by Cliff Corcoran removed teams that played decently while blowing a big lead, such as the 1951 Dodgers (26-22 down the stretch) and 1978 Red Sox (25-22). Other teams turned red hot and passed them.

I like the idea of sticking with teams that blew a big lead and played poorly to define the worst collapses. So here is that list of the teams that suffered the biggest collapses -- the Red Sox and Braves would slot as the third and fourth teams on the list -- and I've added what happened to those teams the next year. As you can see, none of them made the playoffs in the year after the collapse and all but one of them posted a worse winning percentage:

Team Next Year's Record +/- WPct. Playoffs?
1995 Angels 70-91 -.103 No
2007 Mets 89-83 +.003 No
1969 Cubs 84-78 -.049 No
2010 Padres 71-91 -.118 No
2005 Indians 78-84 -.093 No
1983 Braves 80-82 -.049 No
1964 Phillies 85-76 -.040 No
2009 Tigers 81-81 -.028 No
1921 Pirates 85-69 -.036 No"

   65. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 21, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4112162)
Cafardo says the Sox are "closing in" on a deal for Marlon Byrd. He projected to about a 95 OPS+ before the season, and both TZ and UZR rate him about a league average defensive CF the last few years. He's also 3-for-43 to begin the year and due $6.5M this season. Is this where the Sox are going to spend their Oswalt money?

Byrd, so long as he isn't toast, is a big upgrade over Repko and McDonald.
   66. booond Posted: April 21, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4112183)
Sadly, this is the type of player who ends up with 75-win teams not 95-win teams.
   67. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 21, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4112186)
That's crazy talk. Byrd projects about league average.
   68. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 21, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4112208)
Today would have been the day for it.

No, it's not. If you hire Bobby Valentine, you give him more than two weeks to show results.

After the Yankees fired Billy Martin (for the 1st time), they announced his rehiring (for the following season, or was it the one after?) only a few days later as Martin was introduced on Old Timers Day. If the Red Sox wanted to give Francona the full-Martin treatment, the Fenway 100th Anniversary would have been pretty close. Which is not the same as saying it would have been a good idea.
   69. booond Posted: April 21, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4112241)
That's crazy talk. Byrd projects about league average.


It's not crazy talk and he's on the bad side of league average. Byrd, if he's not toast, is eighth or ninth man on a good team. He's not a revelation nor a good addition; he's a tiny drag on progress at 95-OPS+. Right now, he'll be a major improvement. That's not good. I'm not saying they shouldn't get him but he is what he is and next year he's more likely a part-timer on a good team or a starter on a bad team.
   70. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 21, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4112290)
It's extremely rare for a team to be above average at eight positions. Bill James wrote an essay about maybe one or two teams in all of baseball history have been above average at every position.

Byrd projects about league average. Average players are never a "drag on progress", unless you're the '27 Yankees.
   71. Mattbert Posted: April 22, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4113270)
Marlon Byrd is at the age where I put a lot more stock in the fact that he's played like absolute garbage for the last little while than I do in the projections.

Put me down as thinking this is another crap trade.
   72. Textbook Editor Posted: April 22, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4113332)
Put me down as thinking this is another crap trade.


Watch Bowden go 7-0 or some nonsense for the Cubs. Blech.
   73. Textbook Editor Posted: April 22, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4113338)
In the "there is a god" category:

Jason Repko (shoulder) will go on the 15-day disabled list on Monday. Lars Anderson has been called up. He has been playing some outfield for Triple-A Pawtucket.


Why the hell not? See if Anderson can hit his way into the lineup and play LF.
   74. Darren Posted: April 22, 2012 at 09:20 PM (#4113367)
I loved Byrd and wanted him signed 2 years ago, but I also loved Bowden in the past. I'm torn but maybe if Theo is giving up on him (and likes Bowden, his doppleganger), it's a good sign for us.
   75. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:14 PM (#4113384)
2 thoughts:

1) Yay rainout!
2) Yay Lars.

Also, 1 other thought:

1) Boo Bard to bullpen, even if just for a couple of games.
   76. Darren Posted: April 22, 2012 at 10:44 PM (#4113406)
Why exactly would Lars hit now?
   77. booond Posted: April 22, 2012 at 11:06 PM (#4113417)
Why exactly would Lars hit now?


This is my take, too. I hope he hits but he hasn't hit for any real stretch since 2008. If he can mimic his AAA line with decent OBP and mediocre power he'd be fine for a short term. Of course, that is if he can play the outfield.
   78. Chip Posted: April 23, 2012 at 01:20 AM (#4113461)
I have no problem with them skipping the 5th starter's spot and keeping the rest of the rotation on sked because of the rainout, if thst's all this is for Bard. A way to keep his innings down, and gods know the putative Big Three don't need another excuse ("oh, I hadn't pitched in a week") for why they're sucking.
   79. Dan Posted: April 23, 2012 at 01:26 AM (#4113463)
If this ####### results in Bard permanently losing his rotation spot, Valentine can do suck a dick. For now I'll take it at face value I guess, but I am concerned.
   80. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 23, 2012 at 07:48 AM (#4113500)
It doesn't sound like anything more than a turn skip, which makes sense given the innigns limit.

   81. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 23, 2012 at 07:56 AM (#4113504)
Why exactly would Lars hit now?


I think the ship has sailed on Lars as a middle of the order guy but I think he has a pretty good chance to be a Lyle Overbay type. Yeah the strikeouts are a concern but he walks a lot so I could see a useful OBP with a bunch of doubles.
   82. AROM Posted: April 23, 2012 at 09:35 AM (#4113528)
Dude gave up one single and got pulled for Rivera. This seems a tad overstated.


Girardi didn't even wait for it to develop into a save situation. He would have had to let the kid allow one more baserunner for that to happen. Looks like the right choice in the circumstances though. If you ignored save situations and only brought Rivera in for a high leverage situation, the only way that can happen is if the kid allows multiple baserunners, probably a run or two in, and now you've got to face the good hitters, Pedroia-Gonzalez-Ortiz, in a situation where any of them can tie or win the game.

Good call to make sure it never got to that point.
   83. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4113547)
Pitching matchups for the trip to Minnesota. I'm not saying a sweep is necessary but boy if they can't win this series my already low level of confidence is going to take a pretty serious hit.

Monday: LHP Jon Lester (0-2, 5.82) vs. RHP Jason Marquis (1-0, 7.20), 8:10 p.m., NESN

Tuesday: RHP Josh Beckett (1-2, 5.03) vs. RHP Nick Blackburn (0-1, 5.56), 8:10 p.m., NESN, MLB Network

Wednesday: RHP Clay Buchholz (1-1, 9.00) vs. RHP Liam Hendriks (0-0, 3.86), 8:10 p.m., NESN
   84. booond Posted: April 23, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4113578)
I think the ship has sailed on Lars as a middle of the order guy but I think he has a pretty good chance to be a Lyle Overbay type. Yeah the strikeouts are a concern but he walks a lot so I could see a useful OBP with a bunch of doubles.


Lyle Overbay was a .900 -.950 OPS guy in the minors. He wasn't a Lyle Overbay type. Unless Lars can make a seamless statistical leap from AAA to MLB he'll make Overbay look like Pujols.
   85. Dan Posted: April 23, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4113721)
I have to say it slightly annoys me that they ditched Bowden without even really giving him a trial despite having almost no arms they can count on in the bullpen. It wouldn't surprise me if he put up a season for the Cubs that would've made him the Red Sox 2nd or 3rd best reliever. Damning with faint praise, I know, but it just seems weird to me that despite the carousel of ineffective relief appearances, Bowden really didn't even get to pitch.

Lyle Overbay was a .900 -.950 OPS guy in the minors. He wasn't a Lyle Overbay type. Unless Lars can make a seamless statistical leap from AAA to MLB he'll make Overbay look like Pujols.


What do you think a .900 OPS in Tucson translates to at Pawtucket? Probably not far off of Lars's numbers, honestly.
   86. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 23, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4113732)
I have to say it slightly annoys me that they ditched Bowden without even really giving him a trial despite having almost no arms they can count on in the bullpen. It wouldn't surprise me if he put up a season for the Cubs that would've made him the Red Sox 2nd or 3rd best reliever. Damning with faint praise, I know, but it just seems weird to me that despite the carousel of ineffective relief appearances, Bowden really didn't even get to pitch.


Agreed and I really don't think much of Bowden. At this point I'd rather have Bowden and just throw Linares in center and see what happens.
   87. UnclePab Posted: April 23, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4113994)
just throw Linares in center and see what happens.

Except Linares has been having trouble staying healthy of late - Juan Carlos Linares missed his second straight game due to a strained groin, but he’s feeling better and is expected to return to games within the next few days.
Doesn't sound terribly serious, but what would they have done between now and then? For the record, I thought for sure they would have DFA'd Justin Thomas rather than Bowden. Having a "situational lefty" is only helpful if he can actually get anyone out.
   88. TomH Posted: April 25, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4115610)
Lyle Overbay was a .900 -.950 OPS guy in the minors. He wasn't a Lyle Overbay type

maybe a Roberto Petagine type? :)

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