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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox
Tag: Sox Therapy
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Managers have expiration dates
The monthlong unpleasantness has unified fans against a common enemy – Tito Francona. At this point, with a playoff spot still technically possible for the Red Sox, one can imagine scenarios in which Tito keeps his job, or perhaps even in which he deserves to keep his job. But it’s getting really hard for me to see. He’s lost the clubhouse so entirely, so evidently has no standing to lead this team out of their funk, that I have trouble imagining how he could get it back. Even a team ...Read More...
Friday, September 23, 2011
I learned how to write a Monte Carlo sim in Excel
Who says nothing good came out of the epic Sox collapse of aught-eleven?
Here’s your data. To make things a little cleaner, I’m not using as many different team quality scenarios. I have the pessimistic scenario, wherein the Sox are a terrible club (.48 ExpWP), and the Rays and Angels are very good (.6 and .57 ExpWP), I have the BPro W3% scenario, where the Sox at .61 lead the Rays and Angels at .57 and .53, and a parity scenario where the Sox at .55 are a bit behind the Rays and Angels at ...Read More...
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I’m of the opinion that the Red Sox have actually gotten tight and have actually been affected by the pressure. As per the post a week ago, I don’t think that this means the team is screwed - slumps and choking events can end, human beings can get themselves together, and events can turn out ok. I’m still confident that these are professional baseball players who are likely to play professional baseball well when they take the field.
But I think that out on the field, the Red Sox have been ...Read More...
Monday, September 19, 2011
The Red Sox may lose the Wild Card
I don’t foresee myself having a lot of time to talk baseball in the next week, so y’all ought to have a thread. The chance of the Red Sox losing the Wild Card to the Rays is now somewhere 15 and 25%, and a lot of it depends on how well the Yankees play in their seven games with the Rays and three with the Sox. Today we are all Yankee fans. So even if the Sox do hang on, this has happened, and it is horrible.
Here are the numbers from the old log5 for the remaining schedule spreadsheet. I’m ...Read More...
Monday, September 12, 2011
In which I listen to Theo Epstein’s public statements
Theo gave an interview to WEEI this morning, helpfully transcribed at the Globe Extra Bases blog. I like what he had to say about the losing streak.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
So you say you want to piss your pants, well, you know (pt 2)
I’ve recently been posting some aggressively optimistic things about the Red Sox, even as they stumble awkwardly down the stretch like some sort of drunken Kevin Youkilis. I’d like to explain myself in a bit more detail, after yet another ugly loss.
There have been numbers tossed around in the other threads which were clearly based on a poorly calibrated PNOOMA system. 75% chance the Sox make the playoffs. No, it’s 85%. All while the BPro numbers still hold around 99%. One of the ...Read More...
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Call me Dr. Cliff Jinxtable
Today the Red Sox playoff odds on the BP postseason report broke over 99.95% and are listed at 100%. I think it’s time to start talking about the playoffs.
There are a lot of different topics worth covering, and this isn’t meant to cover all of them. We can do playoff roster and bench player stuff later, it’ll be fun, but the outcomes probably won’t matter much. What will probably matter is who pitches in a Game 4 and who pitches in the 7th inning. The big problem with the Red ...Read More...
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
A Series of Imaginable Significance
Unlike Terry Francona and Joe Girardi, I care who wins the American League East pennant. The three-game series between their clubs, which begins tonight in Boston, will shape that pennant race in important ways. This would be a bigger deal if either the Red Sox or Yankees, as organizations, appeared to care about the outcome of the race. With both teams secure in their playoff berths, barring historic meltdowns, we are unlikely to see three games managed with any particular intensity. But I ...Read More...
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The Full LaRussa, or, One Month to Solve the Bullpen
The Red Sox have a relief problem. It’s not the worst relief problem a team has ever had, but it’s a peculiarly difficult one. (If by some chance the Sox make the playoffs), with Bard setting up Papelbon, we should have as good a 1-2 punch for the playoffs as any other team in the majors. However, the Red Sox are highly likely to have two starters in their rotation who can’t be expected to get through the 6th inning, let alone the 7th. And I have absolutely no idea who should be ...Read More...
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Tim Wakefield in comparative perspective
Tim Wakefield has been on the Red Sox for seventeen years now, an integral part of the club during the golden age of Red Sox baseball. Other than his first season with Boston in 1995, when Wakefield pitched a Moneyball avant la lettre side into the playoffs, Wakefield has been an innings eater rather than a star. There were several years, while I was living in Boston, when every time I got Sox tickets it seemed like Wakefield was starting. The first time I got tickets for a Wakefield start, ...Read More...
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
August is the 500est month
Counter to the happy expectations coming into the month, the Red Sox have failed to keep winning at a historically impressive rate. If you select your endpoint one week earlier, following that nice sweep of the Mariners, the Sox are 12-10 in their most recent stretch. This Red Sox team has been succeeding all year despite what appears on paper to be a very shaky pitching staff, and while one might expect the pitchers would be to blame, they aren’t. The staff has a perfectly solid 4ish ERA ...Read More...
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
the villageidiom stretch-run thread
Longtime therapudlian villageidiom has put together his high-expectations quickie forecast for the Red Sox down the stretch this season. I think this is a thing that is worth a thread. This is what he calls the “strawman forecast”, with one very small change that I will explain shortly:
1 vs. KC
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
The Red Sox have a very good defense
First the numbers. Fangraphs UZR has the Red Sox as the best defensive team in the AL with 38 runs saved above average, ahead of the Angels and Rays who are tied at +25. B-Ref’s TZ places the Sox in a dead heat for second with the Angels and Rays (all at about 28 runs saved above average), trailing the league leading Indians by about ten runs. The Red Sox have the 4th best Defensive Efficiency rating in the league, a .715 mark that places them in the middle of a crowd with the Indians, ...Read More...
Thursday, August 04, 2011
So, Jacoby Ellsbury
He’s been one of the few most valuable players in all of baseball this year. 5.1 or 5.6 WAR already going by Chone and Fangraphs. His power spike is really astounding - I always thought he had potential for medium power, a bunch of doubles and triples and a few homers. With tonight’s walk-off bomb, Ellsbury’s isolated power is nearly .200. He’s even walking a little more as pitchers are starting to be a bit more careful. I have to admit I’m skeptical that Ellsbury is really this big a ...Read More...
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Trade Deadline Thread
The Red Sox are “inquiring on” or “hard after” or “basically stalking” about seven different pitchers at this point, but no reports so far have them “close” or “making progress” or “violating the court-mandated 50 yard zone of protection” with any of them. All of Hiroki Kuroda, Ubaldo Jimenez, Eric Bedard, and Rich Harden would be upgrades on Tim Wakefield, and those four pitchers, as well as most of the California Penal League, would be upgrades on Andrew Miller. The question is what sorts ...Read More...
Monday, July 25, 2011
Winning without pitching
I made a joke a few weeks ago, after Jon Lester got injured, about the Red Sox looking into a radical new model of starting pitching, in which they rolled out a starting rotation composed of Josh Beckett. I was trying to emphasize how bad the Red Sox’ remaining starting pitchers were, and draw some levity from what was likely to be three weeks of losing way more baseball games than anyone wants to. But here we are, having gained 3.5 games in the standings since Lester last pitched. The Sox ...Read More...
Monday, July 18, 2011
When evaluating a team halfway through a season, you have to account for over- and under-performance, and put together a rough guess as to who can be expected to play better or worse in the next couple months. Since that discussion is ongoing in other threads, I thought it would be useful to give the discussion its own thread, and to provide some statistical baselines for conversation.
I took the preseason ZiPS projections, and I figured each player’s projected runs created. I adjusted ...Read More...
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
All-Star Break Content II: Streakin’
The first half was by any reasonable standard a very successful one for the Red Sox. They stand in first place by a game, with a winning percentage a little over .600. Under Theo, the Red Sox have had three first halves this strong – 2009, 2007 (hey, this sounds pretty good…) and 2006. So obviously it’s no guarantee of a division win or a world series, but the Red Sox have, in the aggregate, done everything you’d expect from a club that was supposed to be the best in baseball at the ...Read More...
Monday, July 11, 2011
All-Star Break Content I: Makin’ Moves
The All-Star break means there’s no baseball, so I’m going to do a bit more writing about baseball than I usually do to try to fill up the sports-shaped hole in my soul. The first thing I want to talk about is the upcoming trade deadline. The Red Sox have three weeks to improve the roster for the stretch run, and while surely Theo is working the phones and trying to put together a seven-team, eighteen-player blockbuster that brings Hanley Ramirez back to Boston, I want to focus on trades ...Read More...
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
One out of five ain’t good
The initial reports on Jon Lester’s injury could be worse. Sean McAdam reports it’s a lat strain that will cost Lester two weeks. Thing is, Buchholz was supposed to be out for the minimum, too, and now he’s heading to see a back specialist in North Carolina. Daisuke Matsuzaka was supposed to be on the active roster. And, of course, John Lackey was supposed to be a major league pitcher and not a curse visited upon the first-born.
The Red Sox will have to try to keep pace in the AL ...Read More...
Sunday, July 03, 2011
Is Andrew Miller the new Wade Miller?
Theo Epstein has made something of a practice of taking high-upside pitchers off the scrap heap, rehabbing them, using them poorly, and releasing them after they lose a bunch of baseball games. The list from Wade Miller and Matt Mantei to Brad Penny and John Smoltz records a litany of his greatest failures as GM. That’s the thing with cheap high-upside pitchers – if there weren’t a real good chance they’d suck, they wouldn’t be cheap.
Andrew Miller, who won his second game with the ...Read More...
Saturday, June 25, 2011
I’ve been wanting to write something up about the midseason decisions that precede the trade deadline. Tito and Theo and the rest of the organization need to determine which positions will require upgrading, and which players in the organization deserve a shot to help out before the team looks outside its own system and considers selling its prospects. Even a very good club has multiple areas where it could make an upgrade, so to keep this short(ish), I want to consider just the question of ...Read More...
Friday, June 17, 2011
That was supposed to be hard
This last nine-game stretch was one of the toughest of the season. Nine games on the road against the Red Sox’ toughest competitors in the AL East. Nine games on the road against teams that would be in contention in any division in baseball. If I had run a log5 analysis on these series on June 6th, using BPro’s W3% at the time, I would have found the expected record for the Red Sox to be .500. A 5-4 trip would have been a legitimate success. The chance of the Red Sox winning eight or ...Read More...
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Minor League Thread: Where Prospects Come From
I was putting together a midseason review of the top ten prospects, but it was getting depressing. In its place, here’s a happy topic – the Red Sox have a significant number of kids who weren’t in contention to be top 10 prospects last year, who have done a lot of good stuff this year. A couple of these guys are having the sorts of seasons that get you into the next Baseball America, and a couple are having seasons that could get them onto a major league roster.
Darren already ...Read More...
Friday, June 10, 2011
Today in Inconclusive Ramblings: Josh Beckett
I’d like to start these inconclusive ramblings with my one firm conclusion. Josh Beckett is a good pitcher if any only if he is commanding his curveball. Beckett’s curve is one of the great pitches of our era, the perfect platonic form of the hard breaker. I think we don’t appreciate the pitch as much as we should because it looks like we think every curveball should look – except no one else throws one exactly like it. The point is, that curve is such a dominant offering that ...Read More...
Thursday, June 09, 2011
The Wonderful Two Months of Jacoby Ellsbury
Has anyone been playing around with the WAR leaderboards at Fangraphs or B-Ref? I hadn’t really grasped just how good a season Ellsbury has been having until I saw it compared to the rest of league. Ellsbury’s 366/473 slash line is good – and better than it looks because of the return of 1980s offensive levels to baseball – but when you combine it with his defense and baserunning, he’s an elite player right now. Chone WAR has Ellsbury 10th in the league and 3rd on his team (behind ...Read More...
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Minor League Thread: The Draft
The compensation structure of baseball’s amateur draft is basically broken. The Red Sox are one of several teams that have figured out how to beat the system. You use your financial advantage to acquire high-quality players, then when you let them go, you take the compensation picks. Though you may lose a compensation pick for acquiring your own good player, it’s not hard to collect more compensation picks than you give up. At the same time, because there is no hard slotting of draft ...Read More...
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Regression to the Mean
Regression to the mean is that phenomenon in which continued observations will bring a measurement closer and closer to its predicted mean. What the Red Sox have been doing over the last six weeks isn’t exactly regression to the mean. Since their 2-10 start, the Red Sox have been playing .700 ball. Since their little stagnation 8-9 run that I complained about in an earlier thread, the club has won 11 and lost 2. The Red Sox, for the full season, and now on a 92-win pace, not meaningfully ...Read More...
Monday, May 23, 2011
On Terry Francona… or, Jose Stirs the Pot
This is a guest post from Jose Is The Special Seabiscuit nee Can You Seabiscuit.
Earlier in the season, when the Red Sox were struggling and Terry Francona was taking his share of the blame for the club’s struggles, I spent some time reflecting on why I like and defend Francona as a manager as much as I do. Having done this I realized that there a few things that lead me to give Terry Francona more rope than perhaps others do. He is not perfect, but I think he continues to be the right man ...Read More...
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Bad Pitchers Hurt, New Pitchers Needed
The Red Sox had a dilemma a few days ago. Their #4 and #5 starters were both under contract for many millions of dollars, and they were pitching extremely poorly. They’ve solved that problem, in the last two days, by sending both pitchers to the disabled list. This creates a new dilemma. While it’s bad when your 4th and 5th starters aren’t pitching well, it’s also bad when 40% of your games are in the hands of your 6th and 7th starters.
Alfredo Aceves and Tim Wakefield have been ...Read More...
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