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   1. Joel W Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:32 PM (#3897073)
I feel like the Toronto part of the Strawman forecast would have to be 1-1. I can't imagine they're .750 to win each game, which they'd have to be, unlike the 4 game series where getting to 3 games just requires them to be 65% to win each game, which I can believe.

I'm really hoping the team doesn't take the foot off the pedal as the season winds to a close, other than rejiggering a few starts and giving Youkilis a day here and there. Winning the division and winning 100 games are meaningful even if you don't win a World Series, and I hope they recognize that. (They don't.)
   2. Dale Sams Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:42 PM (#3897079)
Shave a game off the KC series (cause ill be there and its unrealistic for them to win 3 out of 4 with me watching), one off the following Tex series, one off the 4 game away Tor. series and we have a more realistic 98 wins.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3897082)
I'm really hoping the team doesn't take the foot off the pedal as the season winds to a close, other than rejiggering a few starts and giving Youkilis a day here and there. Winning the division and winning 100 games are meaningful even if you don't win a World Series, and I hope they recognize that. (They don't.)


Exactly. I really want to see a 100-win season, though I fear the folks in charge don't care one way or another.
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 10, 2011 at 03:55 PM (#3897087)
I think Lucchino would drive for 100 wins for the PR value but Terry and Theo are more focused on post-season success which of course would have some PR value too.

I don't think there is a lot to be done from a "foot off the pedal" approach. I think there are a couple of moves that might get made in the name of playoff readiness that in fact might make the team better (playing Reddick versus LHP, letting Saltalamacchia catch guys like Bedard he hasn't caught).

Other than the odd day off for the positional guys I think the biggest negative change would be a limiting of Bard's innings and even he is not at a particularly outrageous total (76 IP pace).
   5. chris p Posted: August 10, 2011 at 04:05 PM (#3897095)
what do people make of dan wheeler's transformation back into a good reliever?
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: August 10, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#3897108)
I don't share the same desire for 100 wins, but I really want the division and homefield for the LDS and LCS. But I'm sure Theo/Tito will have their normal indifference towards it.
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 10, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#3897114)
what do people make of dan wheeler's transformation back into a good reliever?


I think it really extends the bullpen. I still wish we had someone a bit more trustworthy behind Papelbon and Bard but I think Wheeler/Aceves/Albers are a nice 3-5 group. I think it allows Francona to be a bit more aggressive with Lackey and Bedard if they run out of steam in the 5th inning or if a game goes 13 innings in the playoffs. One of the nice things is each guy seems to have a slightly different skill set. Albers is the K guy, Aceves is the multi-inning guy and Wheeler is more generic.

I'd love to see 100 wins just because I've never seen it.
   8. Joel W Posted: August 10, 2011 at 04:50 PM (#3897124)
Wheeler's post-Pawtucket numbers have been excellent. 24Ks, 7 BBs, 1 HR in 27.2. Definitely a nice 3rd guy. Like Jose said, Albers in the "guy on 3rd 1 out in the 6th or 7th" role is a nice place for him.
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: August 10, 2011 at 05:11 PM (#3897150)
Wheeler's post-Pawtucket numbers have been excellent. 24Ks, 7 BBs, 1 HR in 27.2. Definitely a nice 3rd guy. Like Jose said, Albers in the "guy on 3rd 1 out in the 6th or 7th" role is a nice place for him.


Aceves is the lucky charm vulture win guy
   10. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 10, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3897213)
what do people make of dan wheeler's transformation back into a good reliever?

I think, as much as anything, it's been pitching enough innings so that his numbers look like a typical Dan Wheeler season - solid K rate, excellent K/BB, a few too many HR.

I agree with Jose - none of the #3 to 5 in the bullpen are awesome, but they are all good, with the bonus of Aceves being able to give you multiple inning stints.

Any chance we'll see Okajima get another shot? He's posted nice numbers in Pawtucket (36/6 K/BB, 3 HR in 39 IP).
   11. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 10, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#3897230)
Any chance we'll see Okajima get another shot? He's posted nice numbers in Pawtucket (36/6 K/BB, 3 HR in 39 IP).


Maybe in September but I'd be stunned if he got anything meaningful. It feels like there is more here than meets the eye but given that the Sox are rolling out Randy Freakin' Williams while Okajima pitches well says to me that for whatever reason, the Sox have no interest in Okajima.
   12. chris p Posted: August 10, 2011 at 11:39 PM (#3897483)
Maybe in September but I'd be stunned if he got anything meaningful. It feels like there is more here than meets the eye but given that the Sox are rolling out Randy Freakin' Williams while Okajima pitches well says to me that for whatever reason, the Sox have no interest in Okajima.

andrew miller should get a shot as well, right?
   13. Darren Posted: August 11, 2011 at 01:17 AM (#3897567)
I think "indifference" is too kind of a word for how Tito (or someone?) feels about 100 wins. I would say that he is downright hostile toward it, looking for ways to avoid it at all costs. Even with that being the case, he could accidentally let them go 28-19 down the stretch.
   14. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 11, 2011 at 01:37 AM (#3897596)
I think "indifference" is too kind of a word for how Tito (or someone?) feels about 100 wins. I would say that he is downright hostile toward it, looking for ways to avoid it at all costs


This is simply ludicrous. I'm not arguing that he doesn't value 100 wins as you or I do but this is ridiculous.
   15. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 11, 2011 at 01:43 AM (#3897601)
This is simply ludicrous. I'm not arguing that he doesn't value 100 wins as you or I do but this is ridiculous.


Just wait 'til the Sox lure Eric Gagne out of retirement for the stretch run beore you go tossing around the ludicrous charges.
   16. Darren Posted: August 11, 2011 at 02:51 AM (#3897696)
This is simply ludicrous. I'm not arguing that he doesn't value 100 wins as you or I do but this is ridiculous.


Are you watching Lester right now?
   17. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 11, 2011 at 03:05 AM (#3897717)
Yes I am. You're 100% right, Tito doesn't like winning, he'd rather lose.
   18. Dale Sams Posted: August 11, 2011 at 03:11 AM (#3897726)
Shave a game off the away series with TB too. Games like today can pump up a team, even if it is the Royals. So now I'm saying 97 wins.
   19. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 11, 2011 at 03:15 AM (#3897733)
Shave a game off the away series with TB too. Games like today can pump up a team, even if it is the Royals. So now I'm saying 97 wins.


That was a pretty hideous way to lose a game for the Royals.
   20. villageidiom Posted: August 11, 2011 at 01:40 PM (#3897883)
Man, I disappear for a day, and the place goes to hell. A thread named for me and based on an objective view of numbers I pulled out of my ass? Really? THIS is what my 15 minutes is being used for? Damn.
   21. Dale Sams Posted: August 11, 2011 at 01:49 PM (#3897893)
Religions have sprung up for more trivial reasons.

"Did he say the cheesemakers?"
   22. Darren Posted: August 12, 2011 at 12:05 AM (#3898408)
Did you think I meant #13 literally?
   23. tfbg9 Posted: August 13, 2011 at 04:39 PM (#3899277)
Which is the bigger "jinx"?

a) Dustin Pedroia on the cover of SI

b) this thread
   24. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 13, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3899281)
22 - yes I did, if you didn't...never mind.
   25. tfbg9 Posted: August 15, 2011 at 12:15 AM (#3899977)
Wakefield sucks.
   26. karlmagnus Posted: August 15, 2011 at 12:21 AM (#3899980)
Tfbg9, you're only allowed to say that at the beginning of a Wake game thread, as a reverse jinx. Actually on this occasion the Sox offense sucked. 8IP for 4ER is a quality start by any standard.
   27. tfbg9 Posted: August 15, 2011 at 12:35 AM (#3899984)
He put the team in a huge hole, as seems usual, km.

At the start of 2011, according to bbref, Timmy had about a .470 lifetime support neutral winning percentage, IIRC.
Something like that. In other words, he was the picture of mediocrity. He's never been as good as his ERA because he gives up craploads of unearned runs.

This year he just sucks. Taking the team down with him a notch the standings as he tries too hard and subsequently fails like eight f*cking starts in a row to get number 200 is classic Timmy Wake. Zero mental toughness.

Screw the f*cking knuckleball--far more trouble than its worth. Take your 9ish Sox postseason ERA and your 199 wins and retire, you f*cking gutless, head-hanging Sad Sack.

/rant
   28. tfbg9 Posted: August 15, 2011 at 12:54 AM (#3899992)
Make that a sparkling .487 S-NW% before today. Mediocre.
   29. karlmagnus Posted: August 15, 2011 at 10:46 AM (#3900115)
S-NW% doesn't take account of the Sox' lousy defense for most of his tenure. Typical statistical gibberish.
   30. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 15, 2011 at 11:15 AM (#3900117)
Karl, congratulations on England's well deserved number one test ranking.
   31. karlmagnus Posted: August 15, 2011 at 11:23 AM (#3900119)
Phil, thank you very much indeed. Did you see Shane Warne's piece (in the UK Telegraph, but probably in the Aussie press also somewhere) comparing this England side and his Aussie side -- said he thought he would "just sneak in" against Swann, which was lovely, I thought (and doubtless v. appealing to a Brit audience.) All the same, this is great fun as I don't really remember the last period of English dominance, which ended when you guys stomped us in 1958-59 -- I became a fan in '61, which you guys also won but we wuz robbed!
   32. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2011 at 12:50 PM (#3900139)
Anyway, the entire reason that Tim Wakefield is in the Red Sox rotation is that we only have three pitchers who are average or above. Pitchers who can give you 180 innings of league average pitching are very valuable indeed - if the Red Sox had one or two of those, they'd have a nice cushion in the AL East.

Really, teddy, I don't know who you're arguing with. No one other than karl thinks Wakefield is either (a) currently good or (b) a Hall of Famer. What Wakefield is right now is better than the crap pitchers the Sox have left, and what Wakefield was was a valuable member of the Red Sox for well over a decade. A .500 pitcher is a good thing to have.
   33. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2011 at 12:54 PM (#3900144)
Also, we've gone over the "gutless" thing a million times. Wakefield's WPA - which, if it is good for nothing else, can tell you how a pitcher pitched in leveraged situations - is actually somewhat better than you'd expect given his runs allowed. Wakefield's won-loss record fits with his run support - it's actually a little bit better than you'd expect.

Your only evidence of "gutlessness" is Wakefield's aggregate postseason performance. If Wakefield is "gutless", this has had absolutely no effect on his regular season performance.

EDIT: The numbers are down in posts 94-98 in this thread from last year. Technically, we've been over this once and not a million times.
   34. tfbg9 Posted: August 15, 2011 at 01:04 PM (#3900148)
It was a rant. One man's "solidly average" is another man's "depressingly mediocre."

Let's just leave it at that. And pray Tito skips over the guy for any remaining NYY games.
   35. tfbg9 Posted: August 15, 2011 at 01:08 PM (#3900151)
And Aceves would be a better option at 5th starter right now!
   36. tfbg9 Posted: August 15, 2011 at 01:11 PM (#3900153)
The remarkably crappy postseason #'s are significant, IMHO. That's a fair ammount of innings.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2011 at 01:12 PM (#3900154)
And Aceves would be a better option at 5th starter right now!
Yeah, I think you're right about that.

Aceves/Wakefield is probably one of the big areas where Theo and Tito are preparing for the postseason rather than worrying about the division. Aceves is more valuable to the Red Sox right now in the rotation, but he's more valuable to the Red Sox in the playoffs if he can be a good #3/#4 option coming out of the bullpen. So they're auditioning him for that role.
   38. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 15, 2011 at 01:23 PM (#3900158)
I think people are being a bit too dismissive of Wake's performance. No, he has not been very good but he's hardly been a disaster. Since joining the rotation on May 1st he has an ERA of 4.83 (ERA+ of about 85) and 8 QS in 17 starts. (the ERA includes 2 shutout innings in relief). Obviously that is not something to be excited about but I think people forget how low the bar is for a fifth starter. AJ Burnett and Wade Davis are both at 4.60, whichever Tiger you assign the #5 spot has been pretty bad and Joel Pineiro was awful before losing his spot.

Just for comparison Aceves has a 5.14 ERA in four starts with two good and two not-so-good starts.
   39. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2011 at 01:30 PM (#3900163)
Fifth starters suck, though. Teams usually have to rifle through the scrap heap for a fifth starter, so you end up with lots and lots of replacement level pitchers taking 5th starter innings. Tim Wakefield has been slightly below replacement level this year - -0.6 WAR. I am dismissive of his performance because it's been at the level that you expect from a random AAAA guy.

Other starting pitchers this year with WAR between 0 and -1: Bronson Arroyo, Brad Bergesen, Wade Davis, Jordan Lyles, Jason Marquis, Jo-Jo Reyes, Javier Vazquez, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells.

I feel confident in saying I'd be dismissive of pretty much any of those guys (Lyles at least is just 20 years old). A 4.90 ERA in the new offensive context is really, really bad.

EDIT: There are some "names" on that list - it's not because they've been good, it's because I set an innings minimum at 80 IP, and the only ways to get that many innings while pitching replacement level ball are to either (a) be an established pitcher or a prospect, or (b) pitch for a really terrible club.
   40. Dan Posted: August 15, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3900179)
Keep in mind that ERA overrates Wakefield, as his catchers are always charged with a ton of passed balls that are inherent in his pitching style, so he gives up a ton of unearned runs. He's given up eleven unearned runs this season, most of which you can easily attribute to him. So figure that 85 ERA+ ends up around a 78 or so if you account for those runs. I just guesstimated that number since I'm on my way out the door, someone can feel free to actually calculate his ERA+ with another 8 or 9 of those runs (or simply just calculate/use RA+).
   41. tfbg9 Posted: August 15, 2011 at 02:44 PM (#3900211)
I was making the same point as 40, but my droid ate my post.

Non-HOF, Grade B Knucklers (think Wake, Hough, Candiotti) seem to underperform vs good teams.

Also-SB attempts lead to errors. Wake is easy to steal on.
   42. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 15, 2011 at 02:54 PM (#3900218)
I'm not convinced the team would be that much better than they are right now unless they acquired a SERIOUS upgrade over what they have now in the back end of the rotation...

When Beckett, Lester or Buchholz starts the game this year, the Red Sox are 37-22.
When anybody else starts, the Red Sox are 37-24.

So, the question as it relates to the 2011 Red Sox is: How many of those 24 losses by non-"Big Three" starters would've likely gone differently had a meaningful better starting pitcher been on the mound?

Lackey's starts account for 9 of the 24 losses. His ERA in those nine games is above 9 - but:
- they include 3 games where the Sox were shut out, and two other games where the Red Sox scored one run. He has games with 6 IP, 1 ER; 6 IP, 2 ER; and 7.2 IP, 2 ER in these games. Most starting pitchers weren't going to win any of these five games, and wouldn't have pitched a whole lot better than he did.
- While he's had three really strong performances in losses, he also got torched six times (ERA of 14.51 in those six torchings!)


The Red Sox are 11-6 in Wakefield's starts. In those six losses, Wakefield has certainly not been great - his ERA in those six games is 5.40. However:
- They include a game where the Red Sox lost 4-0, and Wakefield pitched seven innings, with one ER; another game where the Sox lost 3-1, but he pitched 7 innings, with 3 ER; and yesterday, where he pitched 8 innings, and gave up 4 ER.
- The Sox have not scored more than four runs in any of these six losses, and he's only given up more than 4 ER twice in those six games.
- Bottom line: He pitched excellent ball in two of the six games; he pitched well in two others; and he got lit up pretty good in the final two.

The really problem is in losses started by "the rest":
- Matsuzaka: Three starts that ended in losses, all of them short (11 IP, total), with an ERA of 9.
- Aceves: Three starts that ended in losses, all of them 5 IP. He gave up 1, 6, and 4 earned runs in those three losses.
- Weiland has one start that ended in a loss - he pitched 6 innings, gave up 3 runs.
- Bedard has one start that ended in a loss - 5 IP, 3 ER
- The Red Sox are, amazingly, 7-1 in Andrew Miller's starts. In that one loss, he got torched: 2.2 IP, 7 ER

What's the bottom line? The Red Sox have scored five or more runs in only six of these 24 losses. Pretty much, if the Sox score five runs, they win the game (49-9 this year). Even when the Sox score 4 runs, they're 14-8. When they score three or fewer runs, they are 10-29. The Sox recognize that they if they have #3, through #5 starters who can give them six innings and four ER, they can win most of those games - which is why they traded for Bedard.

Wakefield has been EXCELLENT this year at keeping the team in the game virtually every time.There's only one time this year that Wakefield lost a start where he gave the team zero chance of winning (May 6th), and another time where he made it pretty tough (June 25th, 6 IP, 5 ER).

Lackey has had six starts where the team lost, and gave the Sox little chance of winning the game.

Miller, Aceves, and Matsuzaka have a combined three starts where the team lost the game, and where the starter gave them no chance of getting a victory.

I'm not sure how this compares with other teams, but this strikes me as better combined performance than I would've guessed, especially Wakefield.
   43. karlmagnus Posted: August 15, 2011 at 04:02 PM (#3900276)
The fact that Wake is at minus 0.6 WAR for this season is a HUGE knock on WAR as a metric. WAR takes no account of how many innings pitchers give you per start or in total. A pitcher who gives you 200 innings of replacement-level pitching over a season has a very substantial value because he absorbs so many innings. That's why Wake is more valuable than say Miller; he will generally give you at least 6 innings and often as yesterday 8, which is a big help to the bullpen. One of his characteristics on his good days is pitching efficiency -- 93 pitches for 8 innings is a hell of a performance.

WAR makes no differentiation between a 5-inning pitcher and a 7-8 inning pitcher if they have the same ERA. That makes no sense and greatly undervalues Wake and innings-eaters generally.
   44. konaforever Posted: August 15, 2011 at 04:48 PM (#3900304)
WAR makes no differentiation between a 5-inning pitcher and a 7-8 inning pitcher if they have the same ERA. That makes no sense and greatly undervalues Wake and innings-eaters generally.


It may or may not undervalue him, but "greatly undervalues" him is hard to believe.
   45. karlmagnus Posted: August 15, 2011 at 05:36 PM (#3900351)
Wake's 2011 season has negative value? When he's left the Sox in all but two games, per Steve's trainer's analysis? I stick by "greatly undervalues" -- it's more than a modest error, it's a complete categorical failure -- the methodology in this respect is deeply flawed. If Wake had pitched 50% more innings, he'd have a WAR of minus 0.9. That's's not just a bit off, it's total rubbish.

Another example, the other way. Pedro in 2003 had a WAR of 7.4. Yet by that stage he was little more than a 5-inning pitcher -- the greatest 5-inning pitcher the world has ever seen, but putting a lot of weight on Boston's inadequate bullpen. While his own W-L was 14-4, the team record in games he started was 18-11 In other words he had no decisions in 11 starts of 29, in which the team went 4-7. WAR badly overvalues him.

Team record in Wake starts this year? -- 11-6, or 14-8 scaled up to a full season -- slightly better than Pedro 2003.
   46. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: August 15, 2011 at 05:40 PM (#3900356)
WAR makes no differentiation between a 5-inning pitcher and a 7-8 inning pitcher if they have the same ERA.

Uh, yes it does. Unless they are both exactly replacement level.
   47. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 15, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#3900368)
I agree with karlmangus - Wakefield got the loss in yesterday's game, but how many teams have a fifth starter who is going to give you a performance any better than yesterday's by Wake? The bullpen got full rest, the team was in the game, it's a lineup that usually scores five runs or more, he's making like $2 million this year, and if you ask him to throw a couple of innings in tomorrow's doubleheader if one of the games goes 15 innings, he'll gladly do it.

I'm not even talking about the fact he's been on the team forever, he's a great guy, blah, blah. Frankly, he's been better than Lackey this year, in the sense that Wakefield virtually always keeps the Sox in the game. Think about it - 17 starts, and the team has won 11 of them, and he pitched well enough to win four of the six losses, especially with this offense. He's even been much healthier than I imagined he'd be...what more can you really ask for?
   48. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 15, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#3900387)
WAR makes no differentiation between a 5-inning pitcher and a 7-8 inning pitcher if they have the same ERA.


I don't think this is true, but even if it were, ERA makes no differentiation either. Clearly a junk stat.

I love Tim Wakefield, but let's not go crazy thinking he's better than he is.

EDIT: Also, how dare you besmirch the name of Pedro Martinez! Did you even bother to look at how many innings per start Pedro averaged in 2003 (Hint:more than Tim Wakefield)? I'll answer my own question: No. No you did not. You are full of it.
   49. Dan Posted: August 15, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#3900397)
I agree with karlmangus - Wakefield got the loss in yesterday's game, but how many teams have a fifth starter who is going to give you a performance any better than yesterday's by Wake? The bullpen got full rest, the team was in the game, it's a lineup that usually scores five runs or more, he's making like $2 million this year, and if you ask him to throw a couple of innings in tomorrow's doubleheader if one of the games goes 15 innings, he'll gladly do it.


He gave up 5 runs to a team that averages 3.36 runs per game. Not that Beckett or Lackey were any better this weekend, but no one is trying to say they had good games.
   50. karlmagnus Posted: August 15, 2011 at 06:18 PM (#3900400)
ERA does not purport to measure pitcher's "wins" -- WAR does, and fails miserably at its supposed objective. That's the difference.
   51. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: August 15, 2011 at 06:26 PM (#3900411)
ERA does not purport to measure pitcher's "wins" -- WAR does, and fails miserably at its supposed objective. That's the difference.

I'd take this more seriously, if you had shown even the slightest hint of understanding of how WAR works.
   52. karlmagnus Posted: August 15, 2011 at 06:28 PM (#3900415)
Pedro pitched 6.42 innings per start in 2003, Wake pitched 6.35 innings per start in 2011, team went 18-11 for Pedro and 14-8 (annualized) for Wake. I suggest Wake's starts in 2011 were as valuable as Pedro's in 2003 and the difference between 7.4 WAR for Pedro and minus 0.6 WAR for Wake is sheer lunacy.

I picked Pedro 2003 as an example from my own memory; I'm sure there are bigger WAR errors in that direction, and bigger WAR errors in the opposite direction for innings eaters. The stat is in some ways interesting, but does not meaningfully measure wins, above replacement or otherwise.

Of course, 2003 was by no means Pedro's greatest season -- but then, 2011 isn't Wake's, either.
   53. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2011 at 06:28 PM (#3900416)
Well, let's be clear about the argument.

WAR does see a significant difference between giving up 5 runs in 8 innings and giving up 5 runs in 6 innings. Those two shutout innings add value that is included in WAR or VORP or any stat that uses replacement level as a baseline.

The question is, did Wakefield add value by giving up 5 runs in 8 innings instead of 3 runs in 5 innings? If the club had to use their bullpen for three innings, that's a loss, but the club also had pitchers who project to give up fewer than 2 runs in those 3 innings. I don't really think the effect is all that large - the gain of the pitcher who throws fewer innings is that you get to use better pitchers to fill in the innings he doesn't throw.

If the Red Sox had a peculiarly taxed or peculiarly bad bullpen, then you could make a case based on context that the Red Sox got more value about of Wakefield than WAR suggests. Not a lot, I can't imagine, but a little. I don't think that applies much to the 2011 Red Sox. You could make the case that he added some value during the dead month when everyone was hurt, but that's only about a month, and he didn't pitch well during that month. The rest of the season he's just been replacement level.
   54. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 15, 2011 at 06:38 PM (#3900427)
I suggest Wake's starts in 2011 were as valuable as Pedro's in 2003 and the difference between 7.4 WAR for Pedro and minus 0.6 WAR for Wake is sheer lunacy.


Only if you ignore the massive ERA difference between them. C'mon, dude.

EDIT: Snarkier than I intended.
   55. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#3900429)
team went 18-11 for Pedro and 14-8 for Wake.
The Red Sox have scored 6.3 runs per game in Wake's starts. In 2003 they scored 4.9 runs per game in Pedro's starts.

In your accounting, you're giving "value" to Wakefield for allowing 5 runs in 5 innings against the Yankees, 7 runs in 5 innings against the Orioles, 7 runs in 6 innings against Seattle. Those were bad outings where the great offense won the game, not games where Tim Wakefield did much of anything to secure victory beyond be a warm body to cover innings.
   56. karlmagnus Posted: August 15, 2011 at 06:50 PM (#3900440)
Wake gave up 4 earned runs in 8 innings, the fifth was on an error by Saltalamacchia (not a wild pitch/passed ball) and if you like a botched call by the umpire. That's more valuable than 3 runs in 5 innings.

In general, replacement level pitching that can go 8 innings is substantially more valuable than replacement level pitching that can only go 5 innings. WAR does not catch this and it's a substantial effect, doubtless more pronounced in other examples than Wake 2011/Pedro 2003. If you said this season was 1.5 or 2 WAR for Wake so far, I wouldn't disagree, but that's a big difference from minus 0.6. Over his career, Wake is about 50 "true" WAR -- i.e. shouting distance from HOF but not quite there -- not the mediocre forgettable 32 he's credited with. He's about the 80th best pitcher of all time on career value, not the 198th as WAR has him.
   57. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: August 15, 2011 at 09:16 PM (#3900612)
The Red Sox have scored 6.3 runs per game in Wake's starts. In 2003 they scored 4.9 runs per game in Pedro's starts.

It should also be noted that this undersells the difference in run support. 2003 was a much higher run environment than we have right now...
   58. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 15, 2011 at 09:28 PM (#3900620)
In general, replacement level pitching that can go 8 innings is substantially more valuable than replacement level pitching that can only go 5 innings.


I suppose there's value in just being a body who can throw a ball, since you have to have someone out there for the game to work, but if a dude is replacement level, I'd prefer he pitch as little as possible. A replacement level pitcher pitching 8 innings just means you're guaranteed to get crappy pitching. A replacement level guy going 5 at least gives the team a chance to get a pitcher who doesn't suck in there to limit the damage. To me, a replacement-level pitcher who has a lot of IP just tells me that the team didn't have any better options or is bad in using its pitchers.
   59. Joel W Posted: August 15, 2011 at 09:36 PM (#3900630)
Karl, you're acting like all of those pitchers above Wake weren't also able to go 8 innings at replacement level.

I think Wakefield probably was worth more than his WAR numbers suggest because of his extreme flexibility, including length of start, amount of rest needed, etc. There's also evidence that there is a real hangover effect from knuckleballs, which would help his cause.

On the flip side, his RA is twelve percent larger than his ERA, which is a 4% or so increase over what the average pitcher has.
   60. tfbg9 Posted: August 15, 2011 at 11:35 PM (#3900737)
That and the fact good hitting teams kick his ass.
No Red Sox pitcher since Shiraldi/Stanley has let me down more, strictly from a fan's standpoint.

He's got a runs against plus of freakin' 77, who gives a sh1t if he goes 5 or 8?

What's the team's record in games he's started last three years combined? I'm gonna look it up...
   61. tfbg9 Posted: August 15, 2011 at 11:43 PM (#3900742)
Its 31-26, or .543, which is worse than the team as a whole.
And that's been the story of his career-when he pitches, the team'll win less often than what you're used to that year.
   62. J. Sosa Posted: August 15, 2011 at 11:53 PM (#3900744)
IIRC, I seem to remember Tito going with house money lineups an inordinate amount of the time with Wake because he knew Wake wouldn't complain. It is interesting to see the contrast between tfbg9 and KM in their opinion of Wakefield. Personally, I love the guy, but I think he's heading to Old Yeller territory. I'll miss him.
   63. karlmagnus Posted: August 16, 2011 at 12:00 AM (#3900753)
tfbg9 is one of those guys who kicks kittens because he resents the sentimentality that makes people like them! :-)
   64. tfbg9 Posted: August 16, 2011 at 12:03 AM (#3900756)
I cannot think of a prominent Red Sox pitcher who irritates me more.

He's a good man. He's a crap money pitcher.
   65. karlmagnus Posted: August 16, 2011 at 12:24 AM (#3900765)
Incidentally, tfbg9, in your 61 post you show that even in the last 3 years, at the tail end of his career, Wake is only a little worse than the average of a pitching staff that is paid $80 million a year. I'm sure Wake would regard that rightly as a substantial compliment and an argument for re-signing him next year at a substantial raise, so he can get to 207!
   66. Bad Fish Posted: August 16, 2011 at 01:35 AM (#3900804)
There was a point in his career where I thought his versatility made him one of the most valuable and under-rated pitchers in the game. The thing about Wake that makes it hard to assess his value is his performance variability. Earlier in his career, and he still does it some, you know you could expect a large percentage of games where he would be lights out, top of the rotation good, and a large percentage of games where he would sink the team by the 3rd inning. It seems to me that for a 4 or 5 pitcher, knowing that you are going to get a few of those shut out days is more valuable than a typical 4 or 5 who is going to be consistently crappy and always have you on the edge of losing.
   67. Joel W Posted: August 16, 2011 at 04:25 AM (#3900958)
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/snwl/snwlart/ is a really nice study of the issue.
   68. Joel W Posted: August 16, 2011 at 09:41 PM (#3901714)
Red Sox are 10-8 since VI introduced his strawman projection. IT'S ALL HIS FAULT.
   69. villageidiom Posted: August 16, 2011 at 10:22 PM (#3901750)
Yep, it's me. I did it. I have that kind of power. Don't #### with me.

My original strawman was either 12-6 or 13-5 for that stretch, depending on which Rays game would've been the loss.
   70. OCD SS Posted: August 17, 2011 at 10:51 PM (#3902731)
The bottom line, is that as frustrating as Wake is, he provides decent pitching depth at a reasonable cost. For a team that really wants to have 7 or 8 starters lined up there is no way that the Sox aren't going to retain him for next season if he wants to stay.

Look at it this way, at least the Sox aren't locked into another $36M with their sentimental veteran's meaningless statistical quest.
   71. tfbg9 Posted: August 17, 2011 at 11:03 PM (#3902739)
An ~77 RA+ is not, IMHO, "decent" pitching...far from it.
   72. Hugh Jorgan Posted: August 17, 2011 at 11:29 PM (#3902748)
1 vs. KC (1-0) (0-1)
3 at CHW (2-1)
4 vs. CLE (3-1) (2-2)
3 vs. NYY (2-1)
3 at MIN (2-1)
3 at SEA (2-1) (1-2)
3 vs. TB (2-1) (1-2)

This projects the Red Sox to win 103 games


F*ck, down to only 99 wins now according the Idiom gospel. Irrationally, I want that division!

And I'm with Teddy, watching Wake just sh*ts me. This has nothing to do as to whether he is a swell guy or not.
   73. OCD SS Posted: August 18, 2011 at 12:36 AM (#3902777)
An ~77 RA+ is not, IMHO, "decent" pitching...far from it.


And that's what happens when you remove the key word, "depth", from my sentence. Sure it would be nice if the Sox could have the back of the rotation starters, plus the # 6 - 8 guys, capable of throwing 200 IP at a league average RA+, but that's really not a reasonable expectation. If everyone were healthy he probably wouldn't be in the rotation, but the Sox will still take the innings he gives them for $1 - 2M/ yr.
   74. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 01:17 AM (#3902796)
Number 70, yes you are right-I missed the word "depth"...but it only waters-down what I claimed a little bit-because the Sox have a few guys who project to beat Wake's contributions this year and last. Wake sucked last year too.
   75. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 18, 2011 at 01:32 AM (#3902799)
With Dice and Buchholz out for the year, with Doubront stagnating in AAA and both Miller and Weiland terrible in the majors, the Sox don't have any clearly above-replacement level pitchers in the organization to start every 5th day. I'd rather have Wake out there than Andrew Miller, f'rinstance. This doesn't exactly speak to Wake's value, but I have trouble formulating the argument that I'd want to see him cut or that there's a specific other pitcher I propose should take his innings.
   76. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 01:35 AM (#3902800)
but the Sox will still take the innings he gives them for $1 - 2M/ yr.


What? Are you kidding me? Last two years, he's given them 36 starts at an 85 then a 81 ERA+ clip, and its not nearly even that good, as the guy gives up large bunches of UER's. Wakefield has absolute killed the Boston Red Sox the last 2 seasons. He's massively stunk. There's no other way to describe 260 innings of purely execrable performance. It would suck if he made league minimum.

If he pitches well at all this year, he's got an 9-2 record, and the team's 14-4 or something like that with the RS he's gotten. Gimme a break. Name a SP on a contender who's sucked more in 2010 and 2011. There's a challenge. AJ, maybe, I dunno.

And don't resort the the km "they've jerked him around" argument. You're supposed to be able to jerk him around, remember? That's what people trot out as one of his unique strengths-his flexibilty.

Its Gold Watch time. And I predict he will fail to get number 200 for at least 4 more tries.
   77. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 01:38 AM (#3902801)
MCOA--I have a hard time believing the Sox, with all their resources, cannot come up with a SP who can hang-up a better RA+ than 77. Weiland was given all of two starts, IIRC.

edit-when was the last time the Sox gave 300 innings* to a guy as bad as Wakefield over two seasons?

*projecting to the end of 2011.

re-edited for content
   78. OCD SS Posted: August 18, 2011 at 02:43 AM (#3902819)
What? Are you kidding me? Last two years, he's given them 36 starts at an 85 then a 81 ERA+ clip, and its not nearly even that good, as the guy gives up large bunches of UER's. Wakefield has absolute killed the Boston Red Sox the last 2 seasons. He's massively stunk. There's no other way to describe 260 innings of purely execrable performance. It would suck if he made league minimum.


What can I say, I agree with you, but I expect that you're going to whine and howl in the off-season. I'd love for the Sox to not have to start him, but do let me know when you can I.D. someone on the roster who projects to out-pitch him, and when we have enough of those guys on the roster that you don't expect them to throw a million at Wake just in case.

The problem isn't Wake, it's that because outside of Beckett and Lester, the staff is held together with duct tape that was applied by a two year old. Lackey, DiceK, and Miller have been worse, and Weiland, Tazawa, Doubront, or even Bowden don't really look like answers either right now.

Name a SP on a contender who's sucked more in 2010 and 2011.


Narveson on the Brewers as well as both Duke and Gallaraga on the D-Backs. If you add the third year (when Wake was actually pretty good)there are a bunch of guys. And just scanning back, if you just look at the Yankees, Phil Hughes 2 year average is probably fairly close to Wake. You can also look across whole pitching staffs to account for player turn-over and you'll probably be able to find staffs carrying bad pitching in their rotations across multiple seasons. Frankly, if it weren't for whatever dark sorcery Cashman worked over the corpses of Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia you'd almost certainly be able to add the Yankees to that list (which makes the performance of the Sox's depth so f'ing galling).
   79. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 18, 2011 at 02:49 AM (#3902821)
Weiland was given all of two starts, IIRC.
And he sucked. Kyle Weiland does not have the secondary stuff or the command to be a major league starter right now. It's certainly not obvious to me, and it certainly wasn't obvious to the Red Sox, that he's above replacement level.
MCOA--I have a hard time believing the Sox, with all their resources, cannot come up with a SP who can hang-up a better RA+ than 77.
Well, it depends on what you mean by "resources". I'm sure the Cubs would be happy to give us Carlos Zambrano, but his remaining contract would harm the club's ability to compete for top talent in the free agent market in the future. I'm sure the Astros would be happy to trade us Wandy Rodriguez if we'd include Josh Reddick in the deal, but that would hurt the club in terms of current talent, future talent, and future financial resources. The "resources" of the farm system and the budget are limited, and the present value of acquiring an above-replacement 5th starter isn't obviously greater than the future value of a prospect or financial flexibility.

This isn't to say that a good option doesn't exist. You suggested Weiland, which is certainly one option. Doubront would be another, perhaps Alex Wilson would be a third. None of these pitchers are clearly superior to Wakefield, and each runs the risk of being another step worse. If there's another pitcher on the waiver/trade market you would target, who is it?
   80. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 03:22 AM (#3902837)
Billy Mike Smithson. That's who.
   81. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 18, 2011 at 03:57 AM (#3902857)
Are either the Red Sox or the Yankees even going to care to try when we hit mid September and the playoffs are locked up? Hell, I'd take Texas on the road anyway...
   82. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 12:44 PM (#3902923)
Like I said upthread, there is every reason to think Aceves would've outperformed Wake in 2011.

The last SP to do as much ruination of the Red Sox in the standings was Mike Smithson.

Repeat after me boys:

"Tim Wakefield has sucked in 2010 and 2011. He's killed the Red Sox."

See, that's not so hard.
   83. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 12:53 PM (#3902926)
Aceves is clearly superior to Wakefield. Wakefield is Al Nipper. He's Frank Castillo.
   84. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 01:00 PM (#3902929)
I suppose my complaint is that nobody besides Phil and myself are willing to mention how brutally bad Wake has been 2 years running now, actually one can toss-in his post DL 2009 "excretitude" as well.

If he weren't Tim Wakefield, he'd have been removed from the rotation many losses ago.
   85. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 18, 2011 at 01:25 PM (#3902939)
Do you understand how bad the average 6th starter on an MLB team is? Looking at the sixth best ERA+ on the contending teams;

Phil Hughes - ERA+ 65
Wade Davis - 79
Doug Fister - 65 (with Detroit)
Mitch Talbot - 61
David Bush - 76
Matt Palmer - 67
Tim Wakefield - 85

You act like you have discovered something that no one else in the universe has. Get over yourself. The only legitimate point you've made is Aceves over Wake. It should be pointed out that as starters Wake has a better ERA than Aceves (sample size and difference both not meaningful) and I think the Sox feel they are better served with Aceves in the bullpen. That Wake is going to make 20+ starts isn't by design, it's because two of their five starters will miss over half the season.

No one other than Karl (and he's as crazy as you just in a different way) is saying Tim Wakefield has been brilliant or even good. My comment up thread was "he hasn't been a disaster."

You are fond of pointing out the Sox' record during Wake's games but I notice you have not done that for the 2011 season. Is that because the Sox have a better record when he starts than in other games? I also think there is something to be said for Wake being reliably replacement level. For all the talk about Replacement Level we often see players expected to be at that level perform well below it. Wake for whatever reason seems to kind of hang around that level pretty regularly. For virtually no money the Sox know what they are getting. I think there is some value to that.
   86. chris p Posted: August 18, 2011 at 01:45 PM (#3902945)
No one other than Karl (and he's as crazy as you just in a different way) is saying Tim Wakefield has been brilliant or even good. My comment up thread was "he hasn't been a disaster."

well, as you show, wakefield has been the very best ...

... #6 starter.
   87. Mike Webber Posted: August 18, 2011 at 02:52 PM (#3902984)
Look for me on TV this weekend, I'll be there Thursday, Friday and Sunday!
Tonight I have good seats, about 10-15 rows behind the plate, 30-40 rows up behind the Sox dugout the other two games.
   88. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#3902991)
Since Wake returned from the DL in August 2009* from his back injury, the Red Sox are 18-22 when he starts, 20-42 when he appears.
He's tossed-up a collective, what, 80 ERA+ in those 62 outings? That's in over 280 innings. He's the Loss Man now. He sucks.

*Yes, he was going OK before that happened, his 2009 RA was 4.31 at that moment in time, not bad-but he's not the same guy anymore.
   89. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 18, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3903001)
20-42 when he appears.

What a disingenuous stat to choose.
   90. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 03:15 PM (#3903003)
For virtually no money the Sox know what they are getting. I think there is some value to that.


I beg to differ. There is no value in a 77 RA+. Not even at the MLB minimum salary.
The Red Sox have a good record in Wake's 2011 starts because they were hitting like crazy for him until recently. You know that. But they have have a bad record in his
starts since the 2009 back injury for another reason--he's a shitty ballplayer these days.

I know 6th starters are usually terrible. What I'm saying is the Red Sox' decision to keep giving him starts, hoping he'd come around, since
August 2009 has been a epically bad decision--that's why you have to go back to 1988 to find a guy they made a similarly poor choice, to "wait it out" so long, so damagingly on--Mike Smithson.

Again, YMMV, but the games happened they way they happened, I'm not making anything up.

Anyway, who wants to be the 1st to bet me $5.00 that Wake does not get his 200th win until September? Put up or shut up.
   91. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#3903010)
89 Yeah, Tim Wakefield doesn't suck, he's "awesome" right?
The truth is, with normal run support, Tim would be below .500 lifetime, at least thats what bbref says.
   92. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 18, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3903012)
What I'm saying is the Red Sox' decision to keep giving him starts, hoping he'd come around, since
August 2009 has been a epically bad decision--that's why you have to go back to 1988 to find a guy they made a similarly poor choice, to "wait it out" so long, so damagingly on--Mike Smithson.


You keep saying this like it's meaningful. In both 2010 and 2011 he entered the season as a mop up man/long reliever/emergency starter. Let's say they yank Wake out of the rotation today just to make you happy, who goes in?

I don't get what is up your ass about this guy. He is a replacement level pitcher which unfortunately is better than the other Sox options. Your ######## about him is well in excess of the damage he has done to the Sox. They are 11-6 this year when he starts and only Beckett and Lester have a higher percentage of quality starts. I really don't know what you are expecting from him or who you are expecting the Sox to roll out in his place and you have yet to answer that.
   93. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 18, 2011 at 03:25 PM (#3903016)
89 Yeah, Tim Wakefield doesn't suck, he's "awesome" right?


Which is not at all what he said. You are fighting against strawmen here.
   94. SoSH U at work Posted: August 18, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3903024)
Which is not at all what he said. You are fighting against strawmen here.


Of course it's not what he said. If he addressed the substance of Joe C's comment, he'd have to acknowledge that team record in games Wake appeared is going to be heavily influenced by the dozen or so mop-up appearances he's made at the end of blowout losses when the team's planned starting rotation was intact. But Teddy's been making intellectually dishonest arguments in regards to Wake for years now, so it's not terribly surprising.
   95. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 18, 2011 at 03:44 PM (#3903033)
This is Wakefield's B-Ref similarity list.

Livan Hernandez (901)
Doyle Alexander (900)
Mike Moore (893)
Chuck Finley (893)
Mike Torrez (892)
Camilo Pascual (887)
Mark Langston (886)
Kenny Rogers (883)
Curt Simmons (881)
Fernando Valenzuela (878)

I like the list a lot. These are guys who at their very best could be the ace of a good-not-great staff, but more likely could be the 3rd/4th starter for a pretty good one. They all ended up around .500, with an ERA+ around 100, with a nice pile of wins in a good major league career. Almost all of them sucked at the end.

Wake sucks right now, and this is pretty clearly the end for him. What I object to is mostly the idea that Wake has, over the course of his career, been anything less than a central, important contributor to the best Red Sox teams of our lifetimes. I said this last year during a similar argument. The fact that Wake sucks now does not show that he used to suck, back when he was a solidly average or even above average pitcher. He used to be a solid contributor, and now he sucks.

The other question is which pitcher should be the 6th/7th starter ahead of Wake. Both Miller and Weiland were given shots to take his job, and they both pitched even worse. Millwood couldn't even get AAA hitters out. I am quite confident that Wake would have been shuttled back to the bullpen if even one of the Red Sox depth starters this year had managed to perform above replacement level. None of them did. (The partial exception is Aceves, but the Sox seem to have determined he's more valuable in the bullpen.)
   96. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: August 18, 2011 at 05:42 PM (#3903162)
I suppose my complaint is that nobody besides Phil and myself are willing to mention how brutally bad Wake has been 2 years running now, actually one can toss-in his post DL 2009 "excretitude" as well.
It's because you're irrational about him.

He's not a very good pitcher anymore, but he's not useless, and he came into the season as, as people have pointed out, probably the 7th projected starter. If Buch were healthy, if Dice were healthy, if Doubront were healthy, if Miller hadn't walked *25* guys in 40 IP as a starter, if Weiland had looked a little more ready...if any *one* of those things were true Wake would not be in the rotation now. But they're not, so he is.

(Weiland is maybe your best argument for an alternative -- his second start wasn't bad -- but maybe they're thinking longer term on him and think more development time outweighs their #5 starter.)
   97. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 11:38 PM (#3903448)
He's below .500 with normal support lifetime.
He's hurt the team badly over the years in the postseason.
He's not a good pitcher, he's actually a little below average.
Joe C. said he was "awesome" recently-hence my crack.
You guys are the irrational ones-out of sentimentality, I suppose. I guess I can't get sentimental about a guy who squandered so many oppurtunities to help his team advance in the postseason.
MCoA claims he's solidly average-I think the above shows he's mediocre at best.
   98. tfbg9 Posted: August 18, 2011 at 11:39 PM (#3903450)
Right now he's useless.
   99. tfbg9 Posted: August 19, 2011 at 12:02 AM (#3903459)
And I included the teams record in all Wake appearances only to illustrate how depressing the Wakefield experience has been.

It is not irrational to say Tim Wakefield has hurt the team since August 2009-its true. Its irrational to defend his performance and the decision to allot him so many innings.
   100. tfbg9 Posted: August 19, 2011 at 12:06 AM (#3903462)
BTW-bbref sim lists are useless.
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