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   101. Joel W Posted: September 16, 2009 at 02:53 AM (#3323118)
Well that should do it. 5.5 with 19 games. So are we excited about the playoffs, or does this feel a bit like 2005?
   102. villageidiom Posted: September 16, 2009 at 03:17 AM (#3323139)
So are we excited about the playoffs, or does this feel a bit like 2005?
...asked the optimist.

When Beckett was going through his lull, and Wakefield's back wasn't holding up, and Buchholz was looking like 2008 Clay, it felt more like 2005. But now... Everything is looking up. Without V-Mart and Youk, and with Dicey on the mound, they beat their potential first-round opponent, just after having swept Tampa.

Granted, these were home games, and Tampa isn't the same without Pena - and even with him they weren't the same as a month or so ago. But I like the way the team is playing now. The rotation appears to be coming together, the lineup is producing, and I'd be hard-pressed to find a better bullpen, ever. Right now this is feeling more like 2004, a team that can compete with anyone.
   103. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 16, 2009 at 03:24 AM (#3323145)
So are we excited about the playoffs

Yep, I'm good. I followed the Dice-K outing on the gameday...that seemed to go pretty well, had a no-no through 4 or so, only a couple of walks.
The team definitely has a positive feel about it and it'll take a mighty effort for someone to beat us in a playoff series. What I do like now with Dice-K is that we have 4 playoff starters...there's just no way you can throw Wake out there to start in the playoffs. Lester is awesome and Buccholz has looked good in his last several starts. Beckett finding his groove again and the pen is just brilliant(as posted above). V-mart just gives you that other great stick in the lineup that was missing...kind of like having another Youk. The 2009 Red Sox are good....very, very good.
   104. Joel W Posted: September 17, 2009 at 02:54 PM (#3324694)
Since my stupid brad penny predictions got some crap from Darren I thought I'd at least toot my own horn on this:
To fill in the data, because I just find it interesting: 2006 Red Sox were 32 and 21 in June and July and 22-35 in August and September. 2005 Red Sox were 31-22 in June and July and 35-21 in August and Setempber. Adding it all up Terry Francona is 143-118 in June and July for a .547 WP. In August and September he is 162-112 for a .591 WP. Is it significant? Repeatable? I don't know. Still, given the complaints that we all have about their lineups in July, maybe it is actually deliberate, and the Red Sox take a longer view than we are able to as fans.


needless to say the sox have been quite good in august and September so far.
   105. DirtyWater Posted: September 17, 2009 at 04:02 PM (#3324796)
Even better than the Sox hitting the ball with consistancy over the past few weeks, the Yanks are burning out thier arms trying to cover for the likes of Joba, Mitre and Gaudlin. Thier pen is already stretched. AJ and Andy are fatigued.Can't count on a 9th inning HR to win everygame...
   106. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: September 18, 2009 at 12:39 AM (#3325441)
I've found 2 things that greatly improve my mood during bad games:

1. Turning the sound down so that the announcers are inaudible (bad commentary exacerbates things).

2. Staying the hell out of game threads.


The first point I agree with - the second I do as well - but I love chatter and won't get out of there in hurry.
   107. Bad Fish Posted: September 21, 2009 at 03:09 AM (#3327488)
I'll say it now, I think the Sox overtake the Yanks.
   108. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: September 21, 2009 at 03:34 AM (#3327505)
Okay, I'll say it now: You're crazy.
   109. Joel W Posted: September 21, 2009 at 03:39 PM (#3327809)
Crazy? No. The PECOTA-adjusted playoff odds reports has the Red Sox with about a 6% chance of overtaking the Yankees. The Sox are 4 back of the Yankees in the loss column, and 6 back in the win column. The play the Yankees three times, and then their 11 other games are against Kansas City, Cleveland, and Toronto. They Yankees by contrast see the Angels and the Rays for 6 games, and KC for 3. So essentially we see Cleveland and Toronto when they see two playoff teams. I'd expect to pick up a game at least from those differences. They'd obviously need a sweep against the Yankees to have a real chance, but assuming 50/50 games (obviously w/ home field this isn't true) they'd have a solid shot, and that's a 1/8 possibility.

Not hanging my hat on it, but they could certainly give them a scare.
   110. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 21, 2009 at 03:52 PM (#3327830)
They probably won't catch the Yankees but if they keep playing well they have a decent shot at doing something they haven't done since 1946 and that's to win 100 games. 11-3 against KC (4), NY (3), Toronto (3) and Cleveland (4) is not out of the question.
   111. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 21, 2009 at 03:57 PM (#3327836)
I'll re-post what I just said in the other thread:

Take this as a troll or a mosh if you will---can't blame you if you do---but IMO I can't see the Red Sox as much less than a postseason lock at this point, whether or not they win the East and get HFA.

Lester. Beckett. Buchholz. Dice-K. Fine tune the order if you want.

Who's going to match that after game 1?

Okay, maybe Burnett and Pettitte might. But those Sox starters are still looking a lot better than anyone else's starters at this point.
   112. Joel W Posted: September 21, 2009 at 04:10 PM (#3327844)
As an aside, the Red Sox finished 16-2 against the Orioles, and that included the worst loss of the season, where the Red Sox blew the 10-1 lead to lose 11-10.

As to our top starters, here's a question I don't know how to answer easily: what are the records of all the playoff teams in games not started by their top 4 starters? The Red Sox would still look worse on this score than I think they do right now, given Dice-K, but between Smoltz and Penny we had some real stinkers out there. I'm not sure if they're any worse than other teams #5s though.
   113. SoSH U at work Posted: September 21, 2009 at 04:12 PM (#3327847)
I'll say it now, I think the Sox overtake the Yanks.


I'd say it it would be far more likely if the front office and Francona showed any inclination that overtaking the Yankees was a priority. But past seasons have showed that Sox management cares very little about HFA/division titles. Considering how well they've played in the postseason in the Theo/Tito era, I can't really find fault with their priorities.

But I'll echo what Dirty Water said. I do feel that this team is really hitting its stride while the Yankees' pitching staff seems to be stretched pretty damn thin at the moment. Hope it continues into October.
   114. Answer Guy Posted: September 21, 2009 at 04:15 PM (#3327851)
Crazy? No. The PECOTA-adjusted playoff odds reports has the Red Sox with about a 6% chance of overtaking the Yankees.


It does seem like this regime places little value on the division title and so will probably not go all-out to win it. This is significant this year because with Tampa gone and Texas fading into the rearview mirror, it seems like it's more likely the team would be under a directive to rest players more often the closer they get to clinching the WC berth. (This wouldn't be an issue if there were another WC contender who was closer but barring a major Rangers hot streak that possibility is just not in the cards this year.)
   115. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 21, 2009 at 05:10 PM (#3327931)
Take this as a troll or a mosh if you will---can't blame you if you do---but IMO I can't see the Red Sox as much less than a postseason lock at this point, whether or not they win the East and get HFA.


Troll!!!!

OK, not so much. I think the problem for the Sox in October is that they are not a good defensive team, even with Gonzo out there. Playing against an Angel team that has an offense based in part on a high BABIP is not a good matchup.
   116. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 21, 2009 at 05:21 PM (#3327944)
OK, not so much. I think the problem for the Sox in October is that they are not a good defensive team, even with Gonzo out there. Playing against an Angel team that has an offense based in part on a high BABIP is not a good matchup.

Maybe so, but in all honesty the only way I can see the Sox going down in October would be if the games go past midnight and Buchholz's and Dice-K's pumpkins and glass slippers disappear. I hate to say it, but at this point Buchholz looks like everything he was advertised to be, and Dice-K's not far behind. That's a rotation depth that no other team comes close to matching.
   117. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 21, 2009 at 05:32 PM (#3327956)
The Red Sox don't have a great defense - not with Lowell and Bay out there - but it doesn't look like a particular weakness. CF and 2B are plus defense, SS and 1B and RF are solid, and 3B and LF are bad. (When Youks plays 3rd and MArtinez plays 1st, the defense is a bit better.)

Now, UZR and RZR both think Ellsbury sucks. I find that basically impossible to believe.
   118. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 21, 2009 at 05:44 PM (#3327977)
at this point Buchholz looks like everything he was advertised to be, and Dice-K's not far behind
To me, Buchholz looks way, way short of everything he was advertised to be, and way short of the potential he showed in the majors in 2007. He had an above average fastball and two utterly dominant secondary offerings. Now he has a plus change and he messes around with a breaking ball that isn't plus by any measure. Buchholz looks like he can probably maintain a 95-110 ERA+ in the majors, which is a very valuable thing in a pre-arb starter, but he's going to need to make qualitative strides forward to be any more than a #3 on a good team.

The Red Sox will have a run prevention advantage over anyone they face in the AL half of the playoffs, but that's because of their 1-2 starters and bullpen.
   119. Joel W Posted: September 21, 2009 at 08:27 PM (#3328237)
MCoA:

Over the past month, Clay has basically had one of the best fastballs and sliders in baseball among starters. That's basically been the period, I think, that St. Nick was talking about: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=30&type=7&season=2009&month=3
   120. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 21, 2009 at 08:41 PM (#3328250)
"Pitch value" is all about outcomes, as I understand it, and it is clear from Buchholz' game logs that his outcomes have been good over the last month. The question is whether he's going to keep pitching that well, and I am very skeptical. I think he can be an averagish starter with this stuff, but I really don't see anything more than that right now, let alone a pitcher with a more effective one-two punch than King Felix.
   121. Textbook Editor Posted: September 21, 2009 at 08:59 PM (#3328269)
So... When does the Postseason Roster Thread get opened up so we can argue about that?

Here's the only path by which I can see the Red Sox giving a rat's ass about the division title:

(1) The Yankees get swept by Anaheim while
(2) The Red Sox sweep KC

If this happens, the Red Sox would be 2 back with 11 to play, with the next 3 against the Yankees. If Friday night Lester beats Sabbathia, they'd be 1 back and then--and only then--do I think they care about the division, and perhaps manage the last 2 games against the Yankees (and the rest of the season) accordingly.

There is, to me, a material difference to playing the Tigers with HFA, and then playing the winner of the Angels/Yankees with HFA, and it is insane to think otherwise. (The alternative is playing the Angels in the ALDS and (most likely) the Yankees in the ALCS withOUT HFA...) But the likelihood of the Red Sox getting to Saturday in a position to actually win the division seems rather remote.
   122. SoSH U at work Posted: September 21, 2009 at 09:07 PM (#3328280)
There is, to me, a material difference to playing the Tigers with HFA, and then playing the winner of the Angels/Yankees with HFA, and it is insane to think otherwise.


I'd agree, but I'm not sure the Red Sox FO would. Considering the way they played down the stretch in both 07 and 08, HFA and divisional titles just don't seem that important to them.
   123. Nasty Nate Posted: September 21, 2009 at 09:08 PM (#3328282)
Since 2003, I think they are 17-8 at home and 17-12 on the road in the playoffs. I assume the difference is even more pronounced for regular season games this decade. Like everyone else, I get frustrated that the Sox don't seem to care about it.

Of the 3 non-HFA league championship series that they have played, they survived 2004 by the skin of their balls, but lost close tough ones in the other 2 game 7s. Who knows, maybe they win won of 03 or 08 if its at home.
   124. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 21, 2009 at 09:25 PM (#3328295)
I don't think there's any way to make the difference between 17-8 and 17-12 meaningful, statistically, above and beyond normal HFA. It seems pretty clear that the Red Sox think that trying harder to win the division only adds a couple points of expectation toward winning the division, which in turn only adds a couple points of expectation toward winning the world series. If we're just talking about a percentage of a percentage, I can see why they'd rather focus on having everyone healthy, rested, and ready for the playoffs.

And right now, with a magic number still at 7, the Sox won't be giving Joey Gathright too many starts in CF during the Yankee series, so the difference probably won't be notable, I don't think. Next week, if things go well enough this week, is when we might start to see a difference between trying to win the division and trying to have everyone at their best for the playoffs.

I get annoyed about this because my desires as a fan are not identical to the Red Sox' goals as an organization, not because I think the Red Sox are making a huge mistake in calculating how best to achieve their goals in this situation. I haven't been nearly as involved in the team since the division title fell out of reach, and here I am back on ST the morning after the Yankees lead is cut to five. The Red Sox don't seem to put any weight on winning the division beyond how much it increases your chances of winning the WS, and that's where we differ. I mean, maybe the Red Sox are weighting things wrong and should try harder to win the division, but I'm skeptical, and it would be nearly impossible to show. What value do you give to "trying harder" during the season? what value do you give to resting your players? I guess we should run off the log5s to get the baseline numbers on the playoffs - I call not it.
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