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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. Joel W Posted: September 15, 2008 at 02:10 AM (#2941600)
Small sample size? There was a stretch in May where I thought the same thing, and I've thought it at other times in his career and he's been fine. Maybe they're sitting on him, but maybe he'll be just fine. Also, if he's giving up more hits, it won't lower his pitch count.
   2. Dan Posted: September 15, 2008 at 02:12 AM (#2941607)
I wouldn't worry about it.
   3. John DiFool2 Posted: September 15, 2008 at 02:41 AM (#2941695)
I won't worry about it too much-yet, but that splitter he tried to throw today was as flat as a pancake. It used to dive off the table and he used to get a decent number of his K's off of it.
   4. Darren Posted: September 15, 2008 at 03:18 AM (#2941733)
I don't remember the splitter as fondly as you do. It was good, not great, IMHO. I remember that when he started throwing the slider/cutter last year it seemed to be a pretty decent pitch as well, but again, nothing special. And of course, these don't have to be great pitches, just decent to good ones that compliment his excellent fastball.
   5. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 15, 2008 at 03:52 AM (#2941762)
2.11 ERA and a 72/7 K/BB

In spite of the last couple of mishaps, I'm still delighted with the above numbers.
My only concern would be for tito to overuse him in the chase to win the division. I'd rather everyone be rested and healthy for the playoffs then abusing everyone to win the division.
Look, the playoff spot is just about wrapped up and its been proven in the past that the wc can win this thing just as easily...besides I still reckon we have the best all around team.
In a short series with Lester, Beckett and Dice-K starting; with Wake et. al to fill pen time we are looking very, very strong.
   6. Darren Posted: September 15, 2008 at 03:57 AM (#2941771)
I want the division, dammit!
   7. Joel W Posted: September 15, 2008 at 04:13 AM (#2941779)
I am with Darren, and I don't think the marginal abuse isn't worth the wins. Also, .700 team at home, sub .500 team on the road. That matters.
   8. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 15, 2008 at 04:41 AM (#2941788)
6,7

I can see your point on the division, but not at the expense of overworking a pen that at times is quite suspect.
Yes, the road record is quite poor, but has been better in the last 20 road or so road games. It was fairly poor the first 50 or so road games.
   9. cfrtb Posted: September 15, 2008 at 08:57 AM (#2941838)
Even if BOS wins the division then ANA would have to lose in the ALDS for BOS to not have to go on the road the second round. It doesn't seem worth it to not rest players, particularly Papelbon, Beckett, Papi, Dice-K, and even Delcarmen in order to avoid going on the road for one series. I would love BOS to win the division, and even while resting players, they still might 'backdoor' into it. And, just off the top of my head, after our number three pitcher, the difference between ANA number 4 and BOS number 4 would be fairly significant. I think ANA for the 5 game series might be more to BOS advantage (granted, more luck involved) than a 7 game series would.

If BOS winning the division meant that they would have HFA throughout the entire playoffs, it 'might' be worth a bit of risk.

Also, whatever HFA there might be for having a fan base, LAA (and I imagine TB) are pretty BOS friendly.

craig
   10. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: September 15, 2008 at 10:39 AM (#2941844)
Edit - crappy point - deleted
   11. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 15, 2008 at 01:18 PM (#2941877)
2.11 ERA and a 72/7 K/BB

Says it all.
   12. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 15, 2008 at 01:33 PM (#2941880)
Says it all.
Really. This is just a year for Papelbon in which he's ordinary great, instead of jaw-droppingly great. On the Sox list of problems, the Papelbon Problem has to be down pretty low.
   13. villageidiom Posted: September 15, 2008 at 01:44 PM (#2941886)
By having him throw fewer breaking pitches, aren't they in effect resting him? OK, obviously throwing fastball after fastball will fatigue a guy. But it'll wear down his shoulder. The breaking pitches would affect his elbow, right?

The optimistic side is that they feel confident in the condition of his shoulder, and are just trying to make sure he doesn't blow out his elbow needlessly in September. They are giving him a chance to rest up his elbow before the postseason, while not completely shutting him down for three weeks. This also provides an opportunity to mess with the advance scouts for the Angels and other playoff-bound teams, who might pass along the recommendation to sit on his fastball. In the playoffs he'll be back to normal.

The pessimistic side is that his elbow is hanging on by a thread, and that they can't afford to have him throwing pitches that increase his injury risk and won't help him get batters out anyway. No amount of rest will restore his ability to throw effective breaking pitches in 2008. They're hoping that a two-pitch Papelbon will be good enough, because it's too late to do anything about it.

I tend to lean toward the optimistic side, so I don't see a reason to stop now. While I don't think they're trying to mess with the advance scouts, I do think they're just trying to rest him without shutting him down, by cutting back on the pitches that are the most likely to cause harm.
   14. Answer Guy Posted: September 15, 2008 at 01:46 PM (#2941888)
If BOS winning the division meant that they would have HFA throughout the entire playoffs, it 'might' be worth a bit of risk.


Well, there is also some value in playing the winner of the AL Central in the first round, whether it's the Twins or White Sox, as opposed to the Angels or Rays.
   15. AROM Posted: September 15, 2008 at 01:59 PM (#2941892)
Now that the words seems to be out that, Papelbon is going to have throw another pitch effectively or they will continue to tee off on the fastball.


Replace "Papelbon" and "fastball" with "Rivera" and "cutter" and we've all seen this story before. The word has been out on Papelbon. When he was first asserting his dominance in the early months of 2006, he was throwing mostly fastballs. Sure, he threw a few splitters in there, but he was throwing so many fastballs that hitters had to be expecting them, and they still couldn't hit it. He'll be fine unless his velocity drops.

Everyone has a bad game now and then. I think the best way to beat him is to make sure you never have to face him in the first place. Keep a lead, and let Tito leave him in the bullpen.
   16. Dave Cyprian Posted: September 15, 2008 at 05:15 PM (#2942100)
Agreed with #15 ... When exactly was it that Papelbon REALLY had another pitch? He blew away the league with his fastball and he will pretty much continue to do so.

"Now that the word is out..." I don't mean to get picky but what do you mean by this? Was there ever any other word about MLB Papelbon other than to look out for his 95 mph fastball?
   17. Rusty Priske Posted: September 15, 2008 at 06:55 PM (#2942168)
Good fortune? That is one way to put it.

Terrible officiating is the other.
   18. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 15, 2008 at 07:06 PM (#2942187)
Even if BOS wins the division then ANA would have to lose in the ALDS for BOS to not have to go on the road the second round.

It's not inconceivable for the Sox to win the division and catch the Angels for best record. They'd have to make up 5 games with 13 games left to go (because the Angels hold to tiebreaker), but it is possible.
   19. Dan Posted: September 15, 2008 at 07:12 PM (#2942203)
Old friend Dale Sveum is now the interim manager for the Brewers. Bizarre.
   20. tfbg9 Posted: September 15, 2008 at 07:19 PM (#2942224)
Very.
   21. cfrtb Posted: September 15, 2008 at 07:37 PM (#2942283)
Biff: If BOS wins 9/13 ANA would need to win only 5 games. I am not saying it cannot happen, but I think it is a situation where the chance of it happening, plus the reward (even if it does happen) not necessarily being worth the risks. I am not suggesting that they rest players an unusual amount. I just think when the opportunity arises (like last night) give the player the rest. On the other hand, I do think that BOS winning the division (and hfa) is WAY more valuable with TB out of the playoffs completely (though, as a baseball fan, I wanted them to make it), so a sweep by BOS would be awesome and could potentially set that up.
   22. villageidiom Posted: September 15, 2008 at 08:05 PM (#2942388)
Old friend Dale Sveum is now the interim manager for the Brewers. Bizarre.
Anything to keep him out of the 3rd base coaching box.
   23. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: September 15, 2008 at 08:17 PM (#2942436)
Replace "Papelbon" and "fastball" with "Rivera" and "cutter" and we've all seen this story before.

Rivera did adjust. He's thrown more and more sinkers over the past several years.
   24. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 15, 2008 at 08:43 PM (#2942502)
As I recall, Sveum had a good reputation as a teacher and with defensive positioning in particular. Whether you can immediately read a single into the gap and weigh that against game situation, the right fielder's throwing arm, and the runner's speed isn't all that germane to managing.
   25. chris p Posted: September 15, 2008 at 08:45 PM (#2942505)
yeah but how fast does he get from the dugout to the third base coaching box?
   26. AROM Posted: September 15, 2008 at 08:59 PM (#2942546)
Rivera did adjust. He's thrown more and more sinkers over the past several years.


According to fangraphs he's throwing more cutters (as opposed to fastballs which must include sinkers) this year than any of the last 3. I can't say for sure if the data accurately represents his pitch selection.
   27. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: September 15, 2008 at 09:16 PM (#2942578)
I found those numbers. They look like crap to me. Obviously to any observer, there's a question of interpretation in what type of pitch is being thrown. But there's no way he's throwing twice as many cutters this season as he did in 2006. That just doesn't make any sense. I'd say he's gotten up to about 20-30% sinkers in the past couple seasons. It was something he started throwing maybe around '01 but not with any reguarity. Only in the last couple seasons does he seem to have as much confidence in it as in the cutter. Now, are the remaining 70-80% all cutters? I suppose a few are 4-seamers, especially when he goes up in the zone. Maybe some pitches which I consider cutters that didn't move a lot are 4-seamers. Hard to know. Would be interested in other Yankee fan observations on this (if any dare enter Therapy).
   28. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 15, 2008 at 09:20 PM (#2942581)
Mo has definitely been throwing more low fastballs this year. A lot more. I think it's why he's managed to rebound after last year and simply crush the opposing batters this year. It's helped his K rate a ton. I'm intoxicated far too often to weigh in with any certainty as to whether these low fastballs are cutters, sinkers or four seamers.
   29. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: September 15, 2008 at 09:31 PM (#2942587)
Mo has definitely been throwing more low fastballs this year.

What do you mean by low? At the knees or below? Below the waist? His first couple seasons, his big thing was the high 4-seamer. Since then, I think he's mostly pitched low. I haven't noticed a difference this season but I could be blind.

I'm intoxicated far too often to weigh in with any certainty as to whether these low fastballs are cutters, sinkers or four seamers.

Heh, I may be the same way. But generally the cutters move to the left. The sinkers move down and to the right and he mostly throws them to righties, to the right side of the plate. I guess the question is whether is his straighter pitches are 4-seamers or something else which didn't move as much as intended. But he doesn't throw too many straight pitches.
   30. Darren Posted: September 15, 2008 at 11:56 PM (#2942785)
Mo is rather unique, don't you think? Sort of the exception that proves the rule sort of thing. Just about every other effective pitcher in history at least has another decent pitch.
   31. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: September 16, 2008 at 01:29 AM (#2943074)
Yeah. I'd say his sinker and cutter are distinct pitches, but c. 1999-2003 it was basically all cutters. And he certainly doesn't change speeds at all.
   32. Joel W Posted: September 16, 2008 at 06:04 AM (#2943263)
Darren,

I know Mo is unique and all, but don't you think a guy who has a career 1.76 ERA (and that's inflated, as a reliever, it's less) is starting to border on unique given that he's been doing this with one excellent pitch, and a decent other pitch. Also, his peripherals are better this year than last.

I know it's not Mo like in length, but basically hitters have been looking at this thing for 3 seasons, and he's still getting outs with it, despite having a pretty mediocre second pitch.
   33. villageidiom Posted: September 16, 2008 at 01:49 PM (#2943360)
yeah but how fast does he get from the dugout to the third base coaching box?
That's Wendell Kim you're thinking of.

Would be interested in other Yankee fan observations on this (if any dare enter Therapy).
When the Yankees were successful, they were here (on this site in general, and in ST) a lot more often. I'm sure they'll be back some day.
   34. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 16, 2008 at 02:11 PM (#2943380)
Since then, I think he's mostly pitched low. I haven't noticed a difference this season but I could be blind.

Well, I'm not all that great at these kinds of observations, but I seem to recall Mo throwing high fastball after high fastball the last couple of years when he got to a 2 strike count. This year, he's been, I think, far less predictable in terms of where he's going to throw the ball, K'ing more than a few guys (and I think more than in the recent past) on low pitches rather than going up the ladder on them.

When the Yankees were successful, they were here (on this site in general, and in ST) a lot more often. I'm sure they'll be back some day.

I am pretty sure I post here pretty regularly. It's one of the few places on the site that always discusses baseball. I stick out of the minor league threads, the Tito is an idiot threads, and the Pedroia is a true talent .330 hitter threads, but when the discussion is more general, I weigh in.
   35. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 16, 2008 at 02:18 PM (#2943389)
I am pretty sure I post here pretty regularly. It's one of the few places on the site that always discusses baseball. I stick out of the minor league threads, the Tito is an idiot threads, and the Pedroia is a true talent .330 hitter threads, but when the discussion is more general, I weigh in.


Yup, you've stuck it out. But your brethren are largely gone. And it's too bad, because I thought it made for more lively conversation.
   36. aleskel Posted: September 16, 2008 at 02:22 PM (#2943391)
to my eyes, Mo has been throwing MORE cutters this year. The last 2-3 years he was mixing in a lot of sinkers to RH hitters, but this year it looks like he's been using the cutter a lot more. Of course, Mo's genius is his ability to change the break on his cutter - he can make it work like a 4-seamer or work like a slider - so maybe he's been using a straight fastball more. In any case, Mo's success has been due to his control, which was always excellent, but this year it's almost otherworldly.
   37. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 16, 2008 at 02:24 PM (#2943393)
And it's too bad, because I thought it made for more lively conversation.

Agreed. I love it when Joe C ventures over to RLYW. If the powers that be allow me too, I'd absolutely love to get Count The Rings back on track (without poaching ideas from SG at RLYW). Hopefully that would give the other Yankee fans here a place to post. The newsblog can be a hostile place to post for Yankee fans (not that some of us haven't earned that hostility).
   38. Dan Posted: September 16, 2008 at 07:54 PM (#2943730)
Not related to this topic, but since this is ST:

Theo has agreed to a contract extension with the Sox.
   39. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: September 16, 2008 at 08:15 PM (#2943750)
I still read ST, but...law school and all.
   40. Darren Posted: September 16, 2008 at 11:28 PM (#2943941)
I stick out of the minor league threads, the Tito is an idiot threads, and the Pedroia is a true talent .330 hitter threads,


What else is there? RLYW has killed the Yankee fan presence on this site, and it's a shame. Good to still see a few stragglers.

I know Mo is unique and all, but don't you think a guy who has a career 1.76 ERA (and that's inflated, as a reliever, it's less) is starting to border on unique given that he's been doing this with one excellent pitch, and a decent other pitch. Also, his peripherals are better this year than last.


No, I don't think that's all that unique. He's been great, no doubt about it, and these 2 bad appearances may well be a blip. But I don't think it's a particularly unique thing for a great reliever to have one excellent pitch and one decent one. In fact, I'd say it's the norm.

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