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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox
Tag: Sox Therapy
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Jon Lester: Why Isn’t He Good?
For the last few years, Jon Lester has been a consistently good but lightly frustrating ace, a pitcher with the stuff to truly contend for Cy Youngs who ended up merely winning 15 games with a 3.30 ERA in a hitters’ park. Last summer, he failed to pick up the Red Sox down the stretch when the rest of the rotation dissolved into a glistening cone of jelly with a 6.5 FIP. He pitched well enough to win in Game 162, but two runs in six innings was his first quality start in three weeks and not ...Read More...
Sunday, July 22, 2012
The Selling Deadline
I have always felt that the labels of “buyer” and “seller” used at the trade deadline are too simplistic. Every team should approach trades as “buyers” with the understanding of what they are buying for.
I do not think “blow it up” is a wise mantra as this team should expect to compete in 2013 (if not still this year despite the way it feels today). For that reason the goal should not be a simplistic “unload veterans” but to begin the work of constructing the best 2013 roster ...Read More...
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
The Personal is the Pythagorean
I’ve been arguing all over the damn place about Pythagoras. The Red Sox expected record by runs scored and runs allowed is 47-39, which puts them in the top tier of ballclubs in the American League. It is generally accepted that estimates of team quality based on component numbers such as RS/RA and runs created statistics are better predictors of team quality than raw wins alone. (See eg, Clay Davenport, “Playoff Odds Report, Redux”)
So, we shouldn’t evaluate the Red Sox as a .500 ...Read More...
Monday, July 09, 2012
86ing the First Half
The Sox have played 53.08642% of their season and are sitting at a nifty little .500 record. There is good and bad in the 43-43 mark and no shortage of talking points. I have a few thoughts on the first 86…
1. 3 games.
After an awful lot of bad news in the first half the Sox are only 3 games out of a playoff spot, 2 games out if you dismiss Baltimore (I’m not sure we can do that anymore). Being .500 is not a lot of fun but given that the Sox played the majority of the season with 4-5 ...Read More...
Friday, July 06, 2012
Another Medical Failure
When Dustin Pedroia injured his thumb at the end of May, the Red Sox tried to help him rush back. He got a special brace fitted, he took swings in the cage within a day or two of the injury, and he was back on the field within the week. Since then, Pedroia has hit like a disappointing version of Nicky Punto (210/280/305). And now there is word that Pedroia has re-injured his thumb and will have to go on the disabled list. Who could have predicted it?
I don’t have a lot to offer her ...Read More...
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Minor League Mid-year Update
Our last minor league thread is over a month old so I figure there is no time like the present to get a new one rolling. Both John Sickels and Baseball America have released updated prospect lists and between those independent sources and any look at the performance of the minor leaguers 2012 is a great year so far for the minors.
Sickels; Bogaerts #11, Bradley #36, Barnes #41, Lavarnway #59, Swihart, #90, Jacobs #105, Owens #119
BA: Barnes #13, Bogaerts #31, Bradley #32, Lavarnway “also ...Read More...
Friday, June 29, 2012
Petit Object a(aron cook)
The Red Sox season has been characterized by lack and shortage, up to this point. Like the desiring subject in Lacan’s psychoanalytic economy, the Red Sox have recognized themselves as incomplete, and sought from all sources those objects of desire that they imagined could make the team complete. This process got so perverse that they eventually attached themselves to Scott Podsednik for three weeks.
Many scholars have pointed out that Lacan’s desiring subject not only lacks what will ...Read More...
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Remembrance of things not yet past
I love baseball for lots of reasons. I was reminded of one today when 30,000 fans in Fenway Park demanded an opportunity to say their goodbye to Kevin Youkilis, who likewise treated this curtain call as a farewell. People sometimes criticize baseball movies for sentimentality, but I think such films are trying to re-create something entirely read about the game. Baseball is unmatched for its ability to produce honest moments of mass collective sentimentality. I’ll remember this one, and ...Read More...
Saturday, June 16, 2012
The Red Sox are nowhere close to done for the season. I am hoping that come July 15th, I look dumb (er than usual) for this post.
This post is about the failure of Ben Cherington’s offseason plan. Even if the Sox do come back and put together a legitimate stretch run, I think there will be reason for criticism of Cherington (and the owners, and to a lesser extent Bobby Valentine). If the Sox do come back, it will not be a function of the late-breaking success of Cherington’s offseason ...Read More...
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Meditations in something less than an emergency
The Red Sox didn’t play particularly poor baseball in the last week. They played close games and were only outscored by a couple of runs in the aggregate. It’s hard to say they should have played much better – the Sox have gotten very lucky with their depth, and you can’t expect Scott Podsednik to keep hitting the cover off the ball. Perhaps the starters should have done better, but they kept the club in close games. They just lost.
According to the numbers on the internet, the Red ...Read More...
Sunday, June 03, 2012
Red Sox Draft Thread
I recently completed my traditional draft prep of ignoring amateur baseball entirely for 363 days out of the year, and so with the first rounds scheduled for tomorrow, I went and looked at some talent rankings and mock drafts. The Sox have two late first-round picks this year (their own 24th pick and the Phillies’ 31st) as well as a sandwich round pick (the 37th), which is also Papelbon compensation.
The establishment of tough new slotting rules means that the Sox will have only about $350k ...Read More...
The rumor of the week is that the Sox are looking to trade Kevin Youkilis. I certainly support the Red Sox trading Kevin Youkilis for better players, and I oppose the Red Sox trading Kevin Youkilis for worse players. The details are what matter. The Sox have some very peculiar needs, and they can’t be sure exactly which needs they’ll have in two months.
The one thing the team could really use right now is an outfielder better than Byrd and Podsednik – someone who can cover right or ...Read More...
Thursday, May 24, 2012
A Winning Ballclub?
A lot of weird stuff is going on with the Sox right now. Daniel Nava is our best hitter, Felix Doubront is good and Daniel Bard is not, the bullpen is effective, Adrian Gonzalez is not, and Scott Podsednik started a game and hit a crucial home run. But what does it add up to? With all the ridiculous moving parts, is this club any good?
On first appraisal, I’d say yes, they’re pretty good. I plugged some rough estimates of team quality into my log5 spreadsheet – one part BPro 3rd ...Read More...
Saturday, May 19, 2012
The Two Dan Bards
I think something is wrong with Daniel Bard. It could be any number of things – a nagging injury, fatigue, scouting reports getting around – but he looked bad last night, and he looked bad in his start before that. You can draw a line at the end of April and see two quite different pitchers on either side of the line.
Through three starts in April, Bard had struck out 19 batters in 19 innings against 9 walks, allowing just one homer. You could even make the case that Valentine’s ...Read More...
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The Red Sox have been unexpectedly watchable of late, and it’s greatly thanks to three people. One of them is Adrian Gonzalez, a .gif of whom is linked in the comments. The other two are the kids on hot streaks, Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava.
You might say that it’s not a good idea to write a blog post about two kids with a combined 70 PA in the majors, Dr. Jinxtable. While I can’t deny the extent of my nefarious mind powers, Middlebrooks and Nava were hitting just as well in ...Read More...
Monday, May 14, 2012
Minor League Thread: 150 PA Prospects
I like to look at minor league numbers about 150 PA into the season because this is when a few of the component numbers start to stabilize. For strikeouts especially, and to a lesser degree walks and some of the power stats, we’ve got enough of a sample to begin to make some claims. And I’m claiming that there are a bunch of good things going on in the system right now. This is particularly fun because the Sox drafting and development has been in a slump with the last few drafts in ...Read More...
Thursday, May 10, 2012
A Losing Ballclub
I thought 9-6 was a reasonable expectation for the road trip, and a 10-5 run that put the Sox back on track was within reach. In that stretch, instead, they have been outplayed by the Orioles and A’s, and failed to outplay the Royals. The pitchers didn’t turn in a single well-pitched game, and the offense could not find a game-winning hit despite loads of opportunities.
I have a lot of trouble believing this club has strained its clutch muscle, and I expect the hits will start ...Read More...
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Almost There (Again)
Two weeks ago, it looked like the Red Sox were back to normal. They came home after a tough road trip and won three straight against Tampa. A win in the Patriots’ Day game would bring the Sox back to .500. Given the difficulty of the early season schedule, a .500 record would have been just about the expected record for a projected 90ish win Sox club. They were almost there.
Instead of picking up that last win to get back to .500, they dropped a game in which the bats went silent and ...Read More...
Monday, April 23, 2012
The Wages of Losing
Some days, I don’t want to talk about baseball on the internet. Sunday was one of those days. I still don’t feel like recapping why.
I have been annoyed at some of the more histrionic proclamations of doom and gloom for the Sox, but I’ve come around to thinking that a moderate level of gloom and or doom is appropriate. The Red Sox are 4-10, and a 90-95 win Sox team should have gone 7-7 or 8-6 over this period. That’s a 3-4 game drop.
Those three or four games matter particularly ...Read More...
Monday, April 09, 2012
Bullpen Hijinx 2: I don’t want to talk about it
I don’t really want to re-live that loss. The Sox lost two games in four days on the last pitch, and sandwiched a sleepwalking blowout loss in between. It’s bringing up memories of September ’11 I’d rather avoid. The rational response to these games takes up what Dan has been repeating in the other thread – three games are not a predictive sample, and a whole bunch of competing clubs have started very slow this weekend. I was not feeling terribly rational last night. This morning I ...Read More...
Friday, April 06, 2012
Minor League Thread: Jose on the Roster Assignments
When clubs announce their roster assignments for the minor leagues, they provide un-spun, objective information about their own evaluations of their minor league players. You only get that level bump up to AA if the club really believes that you have the skills and talent to succeed at the higher level. Along with the release of the prospect rankings, it’s one of the best collections of information we’re going to pick up.
Jose very helpfully ran through the roster assignments as listed ...Read More...
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Game 1: Bullpen Hijinx
For the most part, it was a good game. When a merely human pitcher entered the game, the Sox offense showed what they can do. Jon Lester battled impressively against an excellent lineup and allowed only one run despite fighting his command all afternoon. The club looked ready for the season.
The bullpen lost the game. For the most part, it’s just one game. No one looked terrible - well, Melancon’s command was way off, but he’s the one guy back there whom I’m willing to give some leash if ...Read More...
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
What do we watch when we watch Opening Day?
Baseball’s about to start. That’s so great. I had some ideas about running numbers to project the Sox or compare them to the Yankees, but other people have already done a better job of that. (One small note – Jacoby Ellsbury projects as something like a 2-3 win player in most of the statistical systems. If he’s healthy and a star, the Sox run even with the Yankees.) And anyway, I’m excited that baseball is back more than I’m excited about the particular projections of this Red ...Read More...
Thursday, March 29, 2012
The Crazy Fanboy Projection System had a tough offseason. The first time I tried to run the engine back in January, it just broke down crying. While the Bayesian engines that power PECOTA and ZiPS are incapable of true feeling or thought, the CFBPS engine is the world’s only Freudian projection engine, and it was still in mourning. The lost beloved of the 2011 season had entirely overwhelmed the engine’s ego, and its reality principle was unmoored. The second run of the CFBPS produced ...Read More...
Monday, March 26, 2012
(General?) Manager’s Decision: Roster Controversy!
The Soxblog firestorm of the weekend arose from a couple reports that Bobby V and Ben Cherington disagree about roster composition. I have some thoughts on the final spots on the Sox roster, which I’ll get to. I’m also interested in the underlying question of the authority of the manager, GM, and team president in Boston.
During the Theo years, even though Theo and Tito always said that Tito had input in every major decision, it was clear that the Moneyball model** was in place. ...Read More...
Monday, March 19, 2012
Jose’s Spring Training Reports #1 and #2
ST’s own Jose Can You Seabiscuit has made his annual spring training jaunt to Florida, and he has decided to tempt fate, the gods, and the horrific certainty that attends to an observation over an n of 2. He sends spring training reports. This is the first report:
I am back for another year of destroying dreams and ruining careers. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to see the minor leaguers work out but I have seen quite a bit of the big boys.
Bobby Valentine - The issue of the ...Read More...
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Shortstop by the Numbers
The Red Sox shortstop position is apparently still open. Before spring training, I ran some quick numbers and found that Nick Punto projected as the best shortstop on the roster, and Mike Aviles would make a reasonable platoon partner. In spring, all the talk has been about Jose Iglesias and his wonderglove. Those Iglesias stories usually have a little caveat that while Iglesias has stolen the hearts of all who have caught a glimpse of him, Mike Aviles is “almost certainly” going to be ...Read More...
Sunday, March 04, 2012
Bobs’ Decision: Back of the Rotation
The Red Sox took a big risk this offseason with their pitching staff. Instead of signing or trading for established starting pitchers to cover the innings behind Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz, they decided to fill the positions internally and backstop the young guys with some scrap-heap arms. The remaining rotation slots project to be taken by two of Bard, Aceves, Doubront, Miller, and Padilla. The Sox are hosting a real spring competition for at least one rotation slot, which means that ...Read More...
Monday, February 27, 2012
Manager’s Decision: Shortstop
New manager Bobby Valentine made a headline or two this week by banning alcohol from the clubhouse. I don’t have a particular comment on this – if it helps the team play better, it’s good, if it hurts the team, it’s bad. Which it is depends on lots of things I don’t know. Hopefully it’s the former.
In the spring, I like to look at a different set of decisions facing the manager, ones we can more usefully analyze. On a club like the Red Sox, many of the manager’s decisions ...Read More...
Friday, February 17, 2012
The Best Shape of His Life
Those spring puff pieces about the right fielder who added ten pounds of muscle and the fourth starter who trained harder than ever and is experimenting with a new grip on his slider, they’re a running joke in baseball. But I love ‘em. There are two reasons – first is that spring training is when fans are supposed to start imagining what could happen if Ryan Sweeney finally developed the power scouts projected or if Dan Bard made a seamless transition to starting. Puff pieces and ...Read More...
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