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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. Shinbone Posted: August 07, 2006 at 12:44 AM (#2129556)
How about a trip to Kansas City?
   2. OlePerfesser Posted: August 07, 2006 at 12:49 AM (#2129563)
OK, so sure--this hasn't been the greatest week. A few badly-timed ouchies have coincided with some good moves out of the MFY FO. BFD.

Everybody has a bad week now and then. But we've got a lot going for us, including:

The schedule. 29 remaining home games vs. 23 road, the next 3 in KC before a nice homestand that starts with 3 against the O's, so things could get better fairly quickly. 9 games against the MFY! Our destiny's our own!

Our deadline acquisitions are Wells, Javy Lopez, and possibly Foulke. The first two have been working out some kinks this week, but there were some signs of life in Wells; Javy hit .280/.325/.435 pre-All-Star and has been in a funk since, but being in a race will get him going, and he'll be a useful bat even when 'Tek gets back in Sept.

The kids. Lester is already contributing in a big way; Hansen and Delcarmen will get better and better as they get their feet on the ground. Wily Mo will be an upgrade over Trot. Pedroia will get called up soon and add energy and depth in the middle IF.

Mr. Sunshine remains confident.
   3. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: August 07, 2006 at 01:21 AM (#2129662)
"Tek" was sucking a fat one before he got injured, Lopez may end uo being a big upgrade.
   4. Passed Ball Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:53 AM (#2129825)
From the outside, those acquisitions look pretty weak. Compare to the Angels "acquisitions" - Kendrick, Weaver, Saunders.
   5. sunnyday2 Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:01 AM (#2129843)
Hey, Passed Ball...don't you play for the Royals?
   6. Dave Cyprian Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:08 AM (#2129855)
This team still has a fighting chance Darren. Obviously it has its issues too and our amazing honeymoon where we led both the AL East and the Wild Card is over for now. But this week we play KC while the NYY play CHA and MIN plays DET. And we control our own destiny against the Yankees like OleP said. It is not neccessary that we are pythag heros to get a playoff spot in 2006. Go Big Papi!!!!
   7. Passed Ball Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:23 AM (#2129865)
Yeah, so do my cousins - Balk, Error, Swing, and Miss.
   8. tfbg9 Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:24 AM (#2129866)
The real problem with the Red Sox lately, is of couse, that plain fact that the Yankees seldom lose anymore.

I'm with you , Ole P.! I just dunno why...
   9. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 07, 2006 at 09:31 AM (#2129956)
I want to stab myself.
   10. baudib Posted: August 07, 2006 at 10:47 AM (#2129966)
It'll be nice to see a playoffs without the spectre of Yankee-Red Sox nonsense.

Go AL Central teams!
   11. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 07, 2006 at 01:45 PM (#2130027)
The Sox haven't won a game by more than 1 run in forever.

Lopez looks awful. Timne for another cycle.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:01 PM (#2130037)
The Sox have only three good relievers at the moment. Francona has set up his strategy so that he comes into as many games as possible with all three available - one inning outings preserve availability for the next game. I don't see that this reasonable strategy has hurt the team more than it has helped.

What has hurt is (a) the starting pitching sucks, badly, (b), the front of the bullpen has been only mediocre instead of lights-out, and (c) the Yankees won't lose. The problem here is that the team needs to be nearly perfect with the Yankees finally playing up to their payroll, and the team doesn't have the starting pitching to get close to that.

The failures here are, (a) the failure in pre-season evaluation that found that Dinardo and co were worthy backups for the rotation, which led to the Arroyo trade, and (b) the failure to make a mid-season acquisition that could help. I would put Francona something like 7th on the list of problems.
   13. scotto Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:07 PM (#2130041)
Mnookin's book suggested that the original plan was for this season to be transitional, with the ramp up for the playoffs to begin next season. That is, until Lucchino decided the future is now and made the trade for Beckett. I figured they'd end up the season around .500, and I'm surprised they've done as well as they have.
   14. The Original SJ Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:10 PM (#2130046)
Sox have lost 7 of 10 in Tampa this year. Tampa is doing to the Sox what it did to the Yankees last year. The Rays won the season series against the Yanks and very nearly knocked them out of first place.

It appears they have set their eyes on the Red sox this season.
   15. Dave Cyprian Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:10 PM (#2130048)
Beckett isn't exactly a rent a player we have to win now with.
   16. The Original SJ Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:11 PM (#2130049)
That is, until Lucchino decided the future is now and made the trade for Beckett.

He is 25, isn't that a trade for the future and the present?
   17. scotto Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:11 PM (#2130050)
Hmm, I was more optimistic than I thought. I predicted 88-74 for the season. That's hardly .500, but not enough to make the playoffs.
   18. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:19 PM (#2130063)
It'll be nice to see a playoffs without the spectre of Yankee-Red Sox nonsense.

Go AL Central teams!


Thanks for stopping by Sox Therapy. Hope to see you again soon!
   19. The Original SJ Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:24 PM (#2130070)
It'll be nice to see a playoffs without the spectre of Yankee-Red Sox nonsense.

The National League has playoffs too.
   20. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:29 PM (#2130081)
The Red Sox WILL make the playoffs.

They're better than the White Sox and Twins.
   21. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:29 PM (#2130082)
I agree with OleP, by the way. Bad week, sure, things don't look good at the moment. A week or two ago things looked peachy. 52 games remaining, more than not at home, and plenty against the Yankees.

Half a game out of the wild card, 2 back in the division. On the way into KC. The sky is hardly falling.

Compare to the Angels "acquisitions" - Kendrick, Weaver, Saunders.

Not particularly relevant. Has *any* team added that much value from within their organization down the stretch? - far more of an exception than the rule. OleP's point seemed to be more of the "remember, it's not like we didn't add *anybody* coming down the stretch." Two of the three of those guys will do more to help win games for the Red Sox down the stretch than the guys they are replacing would have. (I say 2 of 3 because at least one of those guys seems likely to come back useless - only a guess, of course). It's also not relevant because the Angels and the Red Sox are not in any sort of race. The Angels only have a chance in the AL West. If they were even remote Wild Card contenders, or say, the Yankees, then that would be of issue to the Red Sox.

Give it a few weeks, and just relax. If the Sox are 3-5 out of each race at the end of August, then it's time to worry.
   22. OlePerfesser Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:33 PM (#2130086)
More reasons things will improve shortly, from assorted news notes:

Third baseman Mike Lowell hit off a tee yesterday and said he felt enough improvement in his sore left foot that he expects to play tomorrow...

Mirabelli said the swelling in his ankle has decreased significantly and wouldn't rule out returning to the lineup tomorrow, though that's probably a long shot. ``I wouldn't say it's crazy," he said...

Lenny DiNardo said he was greatly encouraged by a bullpen session Saturday and hoped to be ready by the time the Yankees arrive with all their lefthanded hitters at the end of next week...

I'd even put a positive spin on these notes:

One major league scout who watched David Wells pitch Saturday night said that while he thinks Wells might still help the Red Sox this season, he wasn't particularly impressed. ``Not enough fastballs," he said, ``and they started waiting on his breaking ball."

Dustin Pedroia started at third base for the second consecutive game in Pawtucket. Pedroia, who has only played second and short in the minors for the Sox, is getting a crash course at third to give the Sox more depth at the position in light of Lowell's foot problems.

So all Pantload has to do is rebuild some arm strength to get the fastball back in shape. And Pedroia is, indeed, going to be an IF supersub fairly soon. Can't wait to see him.

--Mr. Sunshine
   23. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:38 PM (#2130095)
The National League has playoffs too.

In the same way as the NFC had playoffs this past season.
   24. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:53 PM (#2130114)
Hey, Passed Ball...don't you play for the Royals?

I thought he was traded to the Padres to get Belli back...
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:54 PM (#2130116)
The reasons I'm not totally ready to join the Sunshine Brigade are threefold.

1) Natural temperament. I was brought up to believe that public displays of optimism will be punished harshly by an angry god.

2) The starting pitching. From Rudy Pemberton at SoSH, here are the Sox runs allowed in this recent stretch:

4, 4, 5, 9, 3, 5, 5, 8, 6, 10, 8, 6, 5, 7, 2, 8, 7

Most of that is starting pitching, though the bullpen helped yesterday. I don't see much evidence to believe that Beckett, Wells and Johnson can be expected to win games down the stretch without huge offensive help.

3) The competition is good, much better than the last two years. It seemed for a while like the Yankees might finally see bad management catch up to them, but that clearly won't be the case, and the Twins and White Sox are excellent teams.
   26. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:58 PM (#2130119)
the Mets can be just as good as any AL team.
   27. bunyon Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:58 PM (#2130121)
Third baseman Mike Lowell hit off a tee yesterday and said he felt enough improvement in his sore left foot that he expects to play tomorrow...

after recording a four over 76 today.
   28. The Original SJ Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:05 PM (#2130125)
the Mets can be just as good as any AL team.

Right.
   29. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:09 PM (#2130131)
the Mets can be just as good as any AL West team.

Fixed that for you.
   30. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:10 PM (#2130133)
We're in an "ebb" period right now. We could be very soon back in a "flow" period. It's part of the beauty of the game.
   31. Fat Al Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2130142)
If the Red Sox don't win 4 of their 6 games this week, then you can worry. Otherwise, this angst is very premature. Chicago and Minnesota are good teams, but they are not as good as the Red Sox and Yankees.
   32. The Original SJ Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:20 PM (#2130145)
And its always flowing in Kansas City.
   33. villageidiom Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:39 PM (#2130172)
The only thing depressing right now is that Alltel class action suit ad. The hand gesture and the facial expression of the guy in the picture combine to suggest he is simultaneously giving and receiving a prostate exam.

The current situation with the Red Sox is only depressing if you declare last week as a trend, not an isolated incident. If you trend forward, they'll finish 24 games out of first place and with a record 58 players on the DL simultaneously by the end of September. Their entire roster will be made up of whatever waiver dumps the Devil Rays let them have, and Rudy Seanez will not only be our best pitcher, but our best hitter.

Nice strawman, eh? If your options are to believe that or to be optimistic, you don't really have a choice. Actually, now that I think of it, I think "The Strawman" would make for a nice nickname for Rudy Seanez. He inaccurately represents the idea of a major league pitcher, and when he is used in that role the opposition lights him up.

Anyway... The problem now is not the bullpen, but the starters. Because of injury, youth, or just general crappiness, the starters aren't pitching deep enough into games. With a rotation of pitchers for whom 6 IP is a major accomplishment - whatever the reason for it - the bullpen will not perform well.

In 2006, here are the average IP per start for the Red Sox by month, culled from the ESPN.com game logs:
6.1 April
5.8 May
5.9 June
5.7 July
6.1 August

Here's what we have for 2004 from the top 5 starters (who, combined, started 157 games):
6.4 April
6.4 May
6.3 June
6.5 July
7.0 August

If you assume nine innings of pitching in general, here's the increase in bullpen workload from then to now:

+16% April
+21% May
+13% June
+33% July
+44% August


I'm not sure that things would be OK even if they maintained the pace of April-June; they could probably maintain a higher workload over a short span but not an entire season. In 2004 the starters began pitching deeper into ballgames in August and September, and things started to click. This year the holdovers (Schilling and Wake) are averaging about 1/3 an inning less than two years ago; the replacements are averaging 2/3 an inning less than their counterparts; and several pitchers are throwing a smaller share of total IP than intended due to injury, with ill-prepared-to-go-deep-into-games spare parts taking on the remainder.

Can they go deeper into games? Possibly. Jon Lester is building up and progressing well, and if Wells comes back to his usual form we should be able to take a (pant)load off the bullpen. If Wake comes back, the same goes. But that recipe for success requires players to come back from injury, and I don't like to rely on that. (It's also an open question how the loss of Varitek will affect how deep starters go into games. I certainly don't know.)
   34. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 07, 2006 at 04:12 PM (#2130205)
They're also carrying 12-13 pitchers this year vs. 11 (I believe) for most of 2004. The 2004 bunch was probably even more reliant on a few top relivers than the current squad. Lest we forget, outside of Foulke (83 IP), Timlin (76.1 IP), and Embree (52.1 IP), only Ramiro Mendoza threw 30 innings out of the pen (he threw 30.2). 2004 team.

I think the overall workload on the pen (outside of Paps) is probably reasonable. Tito has thrown a combined 100 not-low-leverage-enough innings at the Gruesome Twosome so far. Hansen's got 63 total innings (inflated b/c of the "stretching out" in the minors), Delcarmen has 52 IP, on pace for 77 (his previous seasons were 73 and 69 IP).

There's a case to be made that the team as constituted is less able to address multiple consecutive close games b/c of the inability to trust Seanez, Tavarez, Snyder, etc...but it doesn't look they're driving over the cliff of imminent bullpen demise.
   35. Josh Posted: August 07, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#2130286)
The RS were a 95ish win team at the begining of the season and a 95ish win team now. (In fact, they are on pace for 96 wins, despite cherry picking at the end of a losing streak.) Again, the middle of August stretch will be very difficult. Again, this is a 162 game season - the same team that won 12 in a row also loses games in a row. Neither that period nor this one is the True Talent level of the team over 162 games.

If ~95 wins doesn't get you in the playoffs it is somewhat hard to figure out what to do better. 95 wins - that is a fantastic season.
   36. villageidiom Posted: August 07, 2006 at 06:01 PM (#2130304)
They're also carrying 12-13 pitchers this year vs. 11 (I believe) for most of 2004.

Following the transactions on soxprospects.com, between the start of the season and 8/31 (the last day of the 25-man roster), about 40% of the 2004 season featured 12+ pitchers on the Sox staff (not counting Dave McCarty). They've carried 12+ pitchers for 50% of the 2006 season to date. I believe neither number supports the distinction as being as black-and-white as your sentence reads. Ultimately, in both seasons they've carried 12 pitchers for a significant period.

The 2004 bunch was probably even more reliant on a few top relivers than the current squad. Lest we forget, outside of Foulke (83 IP), Timlin (76.1 IP), and Embree (52.1 IP), only Ramiro Mendoza threw 30 innings out of the pen (he threw 30.2).

This makes my point somewhat. The bullpen as a whole threw many fewer innings in 2004 than they're being asked to do in 2006. If in 2004 you were already maxing out usage of your top 3, an increase in workload for the whole pen realistically must fall on someone other than the top 3. This is not a problem with allocation of bullpen resources as much as it is a problem with overburdening of the whole bullpen. And that, in turn, comes from starters not going deep into games.

The average number of relievers was 11.4 in 2004, and 11.5 in 2006, an increase in staffing by a little less than 1%. Bullpen innings have increased by 15-20% in the first half, and 35-40% in the second half so far. The bulk of those extra IP will go to the worst pitchers in the pen.

I'm not saying the Sox will collapse because of the pen. I'm saying that the 2004 rotation stepped things up in August and September, and we're going to need that kind of performance over the stretch run for things to fall into place. If there's one thing I want to see, it's for the starters to pitch deeper into games.
   37. Dave Cyprian Posted: August 07, 2006 at 06:06 PM (#2130311)
Josh, #35, I hope your right. About today being the end of a losing streak.
   38. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 07, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#2130340)
vi, as I'd only scanned the transactions in both years, I overestimated the amount of staffing increase for this year's club. So fair point. Further, since outside the top 4 relievers, no one seems to be able to get an out in a key situation, they're vulnerable to one of MDC/Hansen turning into a pumpkin. By the end of 2004, they had Leskanic and Mendoza turning in reasonably reliable innings, plus Myers effective in a limited role. It would ne nice if Seanez could be trusted (or at least tried) in the 6th - 7th inning.
   39. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 07, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#2130357)
Seanez could be trusted (or at least tried) in the 6th - 7th inning.


And failed
   40. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 07, 2006 at 07:45 PM (#2130464)
outside the top 4 relievers, no one seems to be able to get an out in a key situation

How many teams have shutdown 10th and 11th guys out of the bullpen?
   41. AROM Posted: August 07, 2006 at 08:00 PM (#2130481)
(It's also an open question how the loss of Varitek will affect how deep starters go into games. I certainly don't know.)

Is there any evidence at all that having Varitek means anything to the pitching staff?

The staff was nothing special last year. This year the only decent starter is Schilling, who prepares so much he doesn't need a catcher thinking for him. Hard to argue Varitek is helping Beckett at all (he should stop signalling for the gopherball) though you might make an argument for Lester. Varitek is nothing special as far as throwing goes.

CERA (a flawed measure to start with) in this case won't tell you anything other than how Wakefield compares to the other pitchers.

But the media says he's a leader and just like Jeter, wears a "C" on his jersey. So who needs evidence?
   42. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 07, 2006 at 08:11 PM (#2130496)
How many teams have shutdown 10th and 11th guys out of the bullpen?

Well, no one, really, that wasn't the point. They don't need to be shutdown guys, but it would be good if you could use these guys with a 4-run lead against a low-scoring office. Combine vi's point about starters failing to pitch deep into the game with a bullpen of: (a) a rock star, (b) a 40-year-old who has struggled since coming off the DL, (c and d) two rookies who are on pace to surpass their professional career highs for innings, and you might think about whether you want to spread some more innings around.

Is the drop-off from Hansen/MDC to Seanez really that extreme that he can't be used under any circumstance save a 5-run plus deficit? Maybe Foulke will give them that support. My concern would be that the rookies are less effective than they could be b/c they've been overworked unnecessarily. Certainly Tito/Nipper know much more about the way he's throwing to be able to make the right call here...but though they've in general been good, it's not like the rooks have been lights out anyway.
   43. The Original SJ Posted: August 07, 2006 at 08:24 PM (#2130516)
I don't think Jeter wears a C on his chest.
   44. Sean McNally Posted: August 07, 2006 at 08:28 PM (#2130525)
But the media says he's a leader and just like Jeter, wears a "C" on his jersey. So who needs evidence?


Jeter also doesn't play hockey. Which is the only acceptable use of the "C."
   45. Toby Posted: August 07, 2006 at 08:32 PM (#2130529)
Is there some rule that we have to whine about the team? Every freaking July-August? It's a good team. Even the losses are entertaining. It's looking like every game this season is going to be meaningful, right to the end of September. We're in good shape for next year. The wins are coming in on time and on budget.

This year's team features the greatest clutch hitter in history, one of the greatest hitters in history, a dazzling defensive shortstop, the emergence of Youkilis, the bounceback of Lowell, an astonishing young pitcher having one of the greatest relief seasons in history, a promising rookie lefty, several other promising young arms, ... what's not to like? The starting pitching has been real shaky, but the flip side to that is that it has a lot of upside.

There's nothing about this team that is depressing. If the Yankees weren't playing so well, everything would be dandy. Sure it's aggravating that they are playing so well, but that's out of our control.

And please, can we have a moratorium on griping about Varitek's game-calling and Tito's bullpen usage. I seriously doubt either of these things has cost us more than a game, if it has cost us anything at all. This obsession is so tired it's off-putting. So Varitek is a mediocre game-caller and Tito is a mediocre handler of the bullpen. So what?
   46. The Original SJ Posted: August 07, 2006 at 08:33 PM (#2130532)
McNally, you coming to the Dial meetup Friday night?
   47. villageidiom Posted: August 07, 2006 at 08:41 PM (#2130549)
Is there some rule that we have to whine about the team? Every freaking July-August?

We don't. Just Darren.

The rest of us are here to bring him out of his depression - or in my case, to refocus it.
   48. OlePerfesser Posted: August 07, 2006 at 09:25 PM (#2130625)
BProsp's Christina Kahrl posted a Sunshiney summary of the Javy acquisition, BTW:

Well, thank you Birds for the assist in the universal fight against the Evil Empire... I'm sure voting Mike Flanagan a playoff share would be a lovely gesture. Anyway, having gotten Lopez for nothing and sorted out that you'd rather have Corky Miller as a third reserve than the entirely punchless Huckaby, the Red Sox have a pretty good catching situation for all of their troubles. Lopez isn't a great catcher, and his .253 EqA this season is exactly the same as that of all catchers collectively, and who knows what he'll do with the Monster and meaningful at-bats. To compensate for his defensive limitations, Miller's a good catch-and-throw type, and at any rate, Doug Mirabelli's ankle injury seems to be likely to fade by Thursday or so. Credit Theo Epstein for getting a nice plug. Unlike the situation in the rotation, where waiting on various injuries to heal (or not) has the Sox suffering down the stretch with David Wells, Kyle Snyder, and Jason Johnson, the catching situation was something that was able to be fixed up quickly and relatively cleanly.

On the rotation remark, I'd point out that the plan now might be to use "4-IP Snyder" in a suitable role in long relief; the remaining question is whether Pantload and Johnson will provide some quality starts down the stretch (about which I am very optimistic)... or whether somebody like Livan, who was moved today, would've been a better bet. Then there's Wakefield's possible return...
   49. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 07, 2006 at 09:42 PM (#2130652)
On the rotation remark, I'd point out that the plan now might be to use "4-IP Snyder" in a suitable role in long relief; the remaining question is whether Pantload and Johnson will provide some quality starts down the stretch (about which I am very optimistic)... or whether somebody like Livan, who was moved today, would've been a better bet. Then there's Wakefield's possible return...I read that Theo wants to use Papelbon as a traditional closer but have Snyder as the 'relief ace'. This used to be called 'fireman' as well.
   50. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 07, 2006 at 10:27 PM (#2130690)
This year's team features the greatest clutch hitter in history, one of the greatest hitters in history, a dazzling defensive shortstop, the emergence of Youkilis, the bounceback of Lowell, an astonishing young pitcher having one of the greatest relief seasons in history, a promising rookie lefty, several other promising young arms, ... what's not to like? The starting pitching has been real shaky, but the flip side to that is that it has a lot of upside.
Obviously, what's not to like is that they're not running away with the division. With better starting pitching, they could be. You can say we're spoiled, I guess, and that no fans should ever assume the playoffs as a birthright, but that hardly means we should sit back and be happy as the Sox' chance of making the playoffs drops by about half.

The shakiness and upside of the starting pitching are pretty easily separable, IMO. Beckett is the embodiment of both shakiness and upside. Lester, however, has been very good, not shaky. And Schilling, Johnson, Wakefield and Wells may have less upside (as compared to current performance) than any other trio of pitchers in baseball. The shakiness is greatly the fault of Johnson, Wells and Wakefield, and no one expects them to develop into better pitchers than they are now.

I'm actually growing a bit annoyed about this criticism. Do you really watch the Red Sox lose and enjoy it? I sure don't. I don't think there's anything wrong with that reaction.
There's nothing about this team that is depressing. If the Yankees weren't playing so well, everything would be dandy. Sure it's aggravating that they are playing so well, but that's out of our control.
Unlike the rest of baseball, which is wholly under the control of random internet fans?
   51. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 07, 2006 at 10:29 PM (#2130692)
And I added Wakefield to the above group of pitchers after calling them a "trio", thus making my sentence all wrong.
   52. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 07, 2006 at 10:49 PM (#2130705)
I don't think Jeter wears a C on his chest.

Not only does he have that, he has "666" on his scalp.
   53. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 07, 2006 at 11:11 PM (#2130722)
Not only does he have that, he has "666" on his scalp.

Supposedly Jeter and Varitek ended up at consecutive urinals at a bar one night and Varitek looked over and said, "Hey, I notice you have a W and Y tatooed on your pee-pee. I'm dating a girl named Wendy and she made me get her name there on mine. You must be with a girl named Wendy, too!"

Jeter looked askance and said
   54. Count Posted: August 07, 2006 at 11:20 PM (#2130729)
the ARISTOCRATS!
   55. Count Posted: August 07, 2006 at 11:22 PM (#2130730)
Anyways, apparently Corky Miller is 1 for his last 55 in major league at bats. I didn't realize it was possible to be that bad.

I'm glad for this thread, I was getting pretty depressed as well. There's still a lot of cause for hope.
   56. Darren Posted: August 08, 2006 at 12:07 AM (#2130759)
I'm surprised you guys are as positive as you are. But I look at the White Sox and I see a better bullpen, better rotation, and similar lineup. The Red Sox may beat them but I don't think they're the favorite right now.

And yes, I have to complain about the team every August. Especially Tito.
   57. Toby Posted: August 08, 2006 at 01:57 AM (#2130867)
I don't enjoy watching the Red Sox lose, but I enjoy watching them put up a fight in the games they do lose.

The thing is, we are going to lose at least four out of every 10 games, on average. I accept that. I also accept that the Yankees are going to win 95-100 games and I don't get bent out of shape when they do. When I say the Yankees are out of "our" control I mean the organization's control.

Happiness is a choice. I choose to count my blessings. With all that's gone wrong this year, we are still right there in the thick of it. As I said, the wins are being delivered on time and on budget, and that's a hell of a nice thing. I'm not saying you are spoiled, but your expectations are on the high side.
   58. OlePerfesser Posted: August 08, 2006 at 01:58 AM (#2130870)
Especially Tito.

Speaking of CWS, did you see Ozzie leave Buehrle in until the 7th inning blew up completely tonight? If Ozzie was our manager, I couldn't find a ray of sunlight.
   59. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 08, 2006 at 02:13 AM (#2130886)
I assume the White Sox still won, though, right?
   60. Darren Posted: August 08, 2006 at 02:51 AM (#2130921)
I assume I'd go crazy if Ozzie was our manager. I think that, like Tito, he got lucky during his championship run. Stupid crap he did either got lauded as genius or swept under the rug, just like Tito.
   61. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 08, 2006 at 03:07 AM (#2130942)
I'm taking Toby's viewpoint on this one. I get stressed during the games and all but think we could still make the playoffs.
   62. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 08, 2006 at 12:43 PM (#2131097)
I assume I'd go crazy if Ozzie was our manager. I think that, like Tito, he got lucky during his championship run. Stupid crap he did either got lauded as genius or swept under the rug, just like Tito.
I don't think so, thought people who watch the White Sox regularly can correct me. From what I've seen, Ozzie is really, really good at managing the bullpen and pulling his starters at the right time. I think you'd be pretty impressed. Ozzie's not only a lunatic, I think he's one of hte best managers in baseball. Other than Walter Alston, pretty much every great manager was a total nutjob.
   63. OlePerfesser Posted: August 08, 2006 at 03:24 PM (#2131287)
Today's episode of Reasons for Optimism:

The MFY pitchers have been very fortunate, and that's about to turn. Some BABIP numbers:

Villone .253
Mussina .270
Rivera .271
Proctor .274
Wang .278
Myers .291
Johnson .294

Their defense ain't that great, folks; it's pure luck. Only Farnsworth (.323) and Wright (.340) have been getting worse-than-average luck on balls in play. Mussina and Wang have been awesome, but they're due for a rough patch; The Unit's rough patch is due to get rougher.

By the Spirit of Voros, let the Yankee pitching crumble!
   64. The Original SJ Posted: August 08, 2006 at 03:29 PM (#2131294)
I think that BABIP is probably high for Rivera's career average.
   65. CONservative governMENt Posted: August 08, 2006 at 03:35 PM (#2131309)
The MFY pitchers have been very fortunate, and that's about to turn. Some BABIP numbers:

Is there a comparable list of Boston pitchers so we can tell if the Red Sox will suffer a similar correction?
   66. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 08, 2006 at 04:00 PM (#2131332)
Ask and you shall receive...

Papelbon .208
MDC .392
Schilling .308
Lester .303
Timlin .279
Seanez .338
Snyder .341
Tavarez .313
Johnson .340
Wells .350
Hansen .357
Beckett .265

I don't know how useful this is, other than to point out that Beckett's been disappointing this year.
   67. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 08, 2006 at 04:00 PM (#2131333)
Papelbon    .193
Wakefield    .255
Beckett        .258
Timlin        .276
Foulke        .302
Schilling    .308
Lester        .318
Clement        .322
Seanez        .325
Tavarez        .326
Snyder        .347
Hansen        .360
Delcarmen    .390
   68. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 08, 2006 at 04:05 PM (#2131342)
hmm...slight discrepancies...mine's from BPro...
   69. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 08, 2006 at 04:18 PM (#2131371)
Hansen and Delcarmen have been giving up a ton of line drives, so using Exp BABIP = LD% + .12, there aren't so many outliers (Luck below is ExpBABIP - BABIP, so negative luck is unlucky):

Sox       BABIP    LD%   ExpBABIP    Luck
Dinardo   .400    17.90%    .299    -.101
Delcarmen .390    23.60%    .356    -.034
Clement   .322    17.00%    .290    -.032
Tavarez   .326    18.30%    .303    -.023
Snyder    .347    20.80%    .328    -.019
Schilling .308    17.50%    .295    -.013
Hansen    .360    22.80%    .348    -.012
Lester    .318    19.30%    .313    -.005
Wakefield .255    14.10%    .261    .006
Seanez    .325    21.40%    .334    .009
Beckett   .258    15.30%    .273    .015
Foulke    .302    21.00%    .330    .028
Timlin    .276    19.70%    .317    .041
Papelbon  .193    13.00%    .250    .057
                
Yankees   BABIP    LD%   ExpBABIP    Luck
Rivera     .271    11.80%    .238    -.033
Johnson    .294    14.90%    .269    -.025
Chacon     .313    18.30%    .303    -.010
Farnsworth .323    19.90%    .319    -.004
Wang       .278    16.30%    .283    .005
Wright     .340    22.70%    .347    .007
Proctor    .274    16.60%    .286    .012
Mussina    .270    17.10%    .291    .021
Villone    .253    16.60%    .286    .033



So actually Mariano has been unlucky this year. Overall both teams have similar
LD%, so Boston's BABIP should improve somewhat (depending what you believe about both teams' defense).
   70. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 08, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2131373)
Mine are from redsoxstats.com. The site appears to be updated as of 12.49am, so it might be more up-to-date.
   71. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 08, 2006 at 04:24 PM (#2131381)
btw, on an aggregate basis, the Sox are -.008 "unlucky" in BABIP based on LD%, the Yankees are .002 "lucky".

So sign me up for the optimists' kool-aid!
   72. Dave Cyprian Posted: August 08, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#2131544)
Reason #2 for optimism: Liriano is likely looking at a DL stint. As phenomenal as he has been, you have to like what that does for the Red Sox WC chances, not to mention Papelbon's BBWWA awards.
   73. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 08, 2006 at 06:30 PM (#2131550)
I still want to stab myself
   74. Nasty Nate Posted: August 08, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#2131560)
go for it
   75. Mattbert Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:21 AM (#2132146)
Lingering questions...

1. And Pedroia is, indeed, going to be an IF supersub fairly soon. Can't wait to see him. Does it make that much sense to recall Pedroia with both Loretta and Gonzalez performing about as well as could be expected of them? If it turns out Lowell is hobbled for an extended period, then perhaps a recall is justifiable. Otherwise, you're gambling a roster spot that Pedroia will step in and immediately play significantly better than Alex Cora, who has been pretty darn solid this season in his backup role. Once we were past July 31st and both starting middle IFers were still with the team, I no longer expected Pedroia to make much of an impact at the major league level this season. That's not to say he isn't ready, just that the impetus for giving him a shot isn't there like it was when Gonzalez and Loretta were both struggling in the first several weeks.

2. Hard to argue Varitek is helping Beckett at all (he should stop signalling for the gopherball) though you might make an argument for Lester. What's the argument for Lester? In the starts of his I've watched, including one in person here in Seattle, Varitek appears to be taking direction from the dugout before each pitch. I don't know if they're calling specific pitches or what, but Varitek certainly wasn't quarterbacking on his own out there when Lester was on the hill.

3. What's the punchline to #53? Or did I just not get it?

4. Am I just a curmudgeon if I hate Tito's bullpen management as much as Darren does? This is going to warrant its own post...
   76. Mattbert Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:46 AM (#2132233)
Tito's bullpen management...

The series in Seattle in July put me over the edge on this; maybe it was just because the frustration is more acute in person. Anyway, in the first game of that series on July 21st, Snyder had to come out after cramping up while taking his warmup tosses in the bottom of the 6th. The score at that point was 8-2 Red Sox.

Tito uses Hansen, Delcarmen, and Timlin to finish the game, which the Sox win 9-4. Hansen had already been warming in the pen well before he had to come in on short notice for Snyder, so that's somewhat defensible. What's not defensible is why he was warming in the first place. When do you use the back end of your pen if not in the late middle innings of a game you lead by 6 runs? Tavarez (and Seanez for that matter) hadn't worked since July 16th. Those are tailor-made conditions for bringing in the long man, especially against a woeful offense like the Mariners'.

Tito missed another opportunity to get some low leverage work for the scrubs in the bottom of the 7th, at which point the Sox still led 8-2, instead electing to stick with Hansen, who got into trouble and had to be bailed out by someone reliable, necessitating the use of Delcarmen, who'd worked the night before against Texas and thrown two innings in the win over KC on July 17th. Timlin pitched the 9th with a 5-run lead. Tavarez and Seanez never even warmed up in this near-blowout, but had to be used in a tie game the following evening, with predictably frustrating (or frustratingly predictable) results.

Thankfully there were no obvious gaffes on Sunday, though the Sox lost anyway, in the thrilling fashion we all love, I guess. The only questionable move on Tito's part, I thought, was having Timlin pitch the 9th in a tie game instead of Papelbon. I think that was a mild mistake, magnified by the fact that Papelbon hadn't worked in 2+ days and that the Sox were on the road. I would probably have played it the way Tito did if I were the home team, but when your opponent has "sudden death" rights, I think you have to roll with your best and then go to Timlin in the 11th if you can't win it before then.
   77. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 09, 2006 at 03:43 AM (#2132941)
I want to kill somebody.
   78. OlePerfesser Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:07 PM (#2133124)
OK, so there went a wasted opportunity. Could been 1 GB the MFY, and still tied for the WC. Their kid pitcher looked pretty good; ours lacked command.

On the plus side, Lowell played, Javy got a couple hits, <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060808&c>Dave Wallace is back</a>, and the key elements of the 'pen have two 2 days off.

Batting Euclis in the 5 hole is puzzling, given that Wily Mo is .304/.367/510--but in Tito we trust, right Darren?
   79. baudib Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:21 PM (#2133128)
I'm rooting for the Sox to get back in first, thereby setting up a devastating collapse.
   80. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:58 PM (#2133139)
3. What's the punchline to #53? Or did I just not get it?

You haven't seen "The Aristocrats", I take it?
   81. AROM Posted: August 09, 2006 at 01:09 PM (#2133142)
What's the argument for Lester? In the starts of his I've watched, including one in person here in Seattle, Varitek appears to be taking direction from the dugout before each pitch.

I wasn't making one, just trying to give Varitek every benefit of the doubt while I question how much his game calling means to the team. Without watching most of his games, I see 1) young pitcher having success 2) Maybe veteran catcher team captain has something to do with it.

If Varitek's game calling is nothing special, what does that leave? He's not much of a thrower. His OPS is only slightly higher than Javy Lopez.
   82. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 09, 2006 at 01:09 PM (#2133144)
I'm rooting for the Sox to get back in first, thereby setting up a devastating collapse.

Once again, thanks for your contributions to Sox Therapy. You should have quit after you called the Marlins WS win in July of 2003.
   83. The Flying Monkey Posted: August 09, 2006 at 06:14 PM (#2133560)
well,
i think people here have gotten the main points. i want to say, in regards to lester, other people seem to be much higher on him than i am. the kid has major control issues--issues that followed him through the minor leagues. his major league k/9 to bb/9 now sits at 6.8/4.5. that is bad. i'm not saying he won't be good, but he's not ready yet. i am more optimistic about wells. he looks to be tiring by about the 4th or 5th innings. a couple more starts under his belt, and he should be back to being a pretty good pitcher. i know what people are saying about snyder, but i wouldn't mind him trading spots with lester to see what happens. his k/bb is nice and his BAPIP is .341

in regards to tito, i think his handling of the relievers has been poor. i'm a big fan of the "hot hand," and tito kills any hope of this every night with the way he manages that pen. if delcarmen is pitching well, why not leave him in? it makes more sense than to bring him back the next night, where he has a chance to have an off night. i think tito's handlng of the starters has been just as bad. he is almost always reactive, never proactive.
   84. Nasty Nate Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:58 PM (#2133787)
Foulke's coming back soon. Any hope for him? Or should I expect nothing?
   85. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:04 PM (#2133798)
Foulke's coming back soon. Any hope for him? Or should I expect nothing?

Set the bar low, maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised. And given his most recent two outings in Pawtucket, you may wish to set that bar very low. Like on the ground.
   86. OlePerfesser Posted: August 09, 2006 at 10:54 PM (#2133935)
What's happened lately, Hipo? According to BA, Foulke has pitched 4 innings between Lowell and Pawtucket, allowing 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 BB, 5 K.
   87. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: August 09, 2006 at 11:03 PM (#2133940)
What would be far worse is for them not to get the Wild Card, for which they should be the perennial favorite.

What's the difference between the most tormented fans in baseball and the most annoying? Apparently, about 8 wins:)
   88. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 10, 2006 at 12:00 AM (#2134028)
BA's one outing behind. His back to back starts were (IIRC):

Tues: 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 BB, 18 pitches, only 7 strikes (2 4-pitch walks, I think)
Wed: 1 IP, which went: triple, sac fly, double, hard line drive into DP

I was exaggerating a bit in #86, but his 1.80 ERA in 5 pawtucket innings is not as solid as it sounds.
   89. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 10, 2006 at 08:01 AM (#2135011)
KILL ME

KILL ME

KILL ME

PLEASE KILL ME
   90. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 10, 2006 at 12:55 PM (#2135046)
I don't think I'm going to watch for a week or so. Consider me moved from the optimists to the pessimists very quickly.
   91. Nasty Nate Posted: August 10, 2006 at 01:18 PM (#2135060)
Will you guys hate me if I tell you that we need to . . . Cowboy Up!
   92. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: August 10, 2006 at 01:18 PM (#2135061)
C-Wok, I notice you've moved from suicidal to homicidal over the past two days. Anything we can do for you?
   93. Count Posted: August 10, 2006 at 01:30 PM (#2135068)
That was a horrible game. Missed opportunities and a blown save (that could have been prevented with better defense) against a horrible team.

Wow.

Reasons for optimism? Anyone?
   94. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 10, 2006 at 02:49 PM (#2135195)
The Red Sox are only 4 games over .500 (49-45) against AL teams.

They've now lost back-to-back series to the Rays and Royals. And they have the Tigers, White Sox, Yankees, Angels and A's coming up.

This is not a good team. They are playing like ####. They can't pitch, the bullpen suddenly stinks, the offense is moribund, and the defense is reverting back to the mean.

Can anyone look at this team and see a serious playoff contender? I can't. They've got exactly 1 1/2 decent starting pitchers (Schilling and the "good" Beckett). The bullpen is a complete disaster right now. With Papelbon reverting to form the team can't hope to win all those 1 run games anymore.

They've lost SIX AND A HALF GAMES in the standing over the last 3 weeks. Right now, they're a terrible baseball team.

I don't think they're going to make the playoffs, as awful as that sounds. They're not good enough.
   95. veer bender Posted: August 10, 2006 at 05:08 PM (#2135436)
Re: Foulke, I wouldn't expect anything at all. I don't want to bore everyone by going on at length about it again, but I submitted an article a while ago describing a deliberate change in Foulke's mechanics, intended to reduce stress on the elbow by shortening his arm motion. Basically that means Keith Foulke, the man, might be coming back, but Keith Foulke the pitcher doesn't exist anymore. On the bright side, this new guy (who throws like everyone else and comes with closer mentality built in) might turn out to be a useful pitcher, but I wouldn't put the odds of that much higher than anyone we could pick up off the waiver wire.
   96. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: August 11, 2006 at 09:20 AM (#2136968)
Are we proper ###### yet??

Who knows - look on the bright side. If we make the World Seried we get to play a NL team!!!
   97. veer bender Posted: August 11, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#2137240)
Oh, and by "shortening" I meant "lengthening." Subtle difference.
   98. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 12, 2006 at 12:55 AM (#2137622)
C-Wok, I notice you've moved from suicidal to homicidal over the past two days. Anything we can do for you?

Let me bone somebody's sister/girlfriend/wife
   99. villageidiom Posted: August 12, 2006 at 03:21 AM (#2137803)
flip
   100. villageidiom Posted: August 12, 2006 at 03:34 AM (#2137810)
OK, as I noted back in post 33, the Sox need to get more innings out of their starters, and Wells - if he comes back healthy - could help the cause. Tonight's effort, though against Baltimore, is certainly what I was talking about.

Schilling's outing last night, not so much... Obviously we want starters to go 7+ and to pitch well. He'd thrown 89 pitches through 7 IP, so it wasn't unreasonable to send him back out there for the 8th, but he defied expectations and imploded nonetheless. Let's call it a fluke and move on.

The next three starts are Johnson (not likely to go deep into the game), Lester (same), and Beckett (depends on which Beckett shows up), and the pen is generally rested thanks to the last two games. If some of those three can step up, keep their pitch counts low, let their league-leading defense do most of the work, and stay out there through 7+ innings, we should see some quality coming through those bullpen doors again.

Having said that, FWIW I'm not about to give full credit to Wells for tonight. He deserves a great deal of credit anyway, what with both his curve and his change working well. But part of the credit goes to Baltimore, and we don't get to play them every day.
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