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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Surveying the Wreckage I: Introductory Thoughts, Injuries

The Red Sox escaped the Orioles series without a sweep, but also without a meaningful chance at making the playoffs.  After starting off the decade with two seasons that ranged from boring to painful, the Red Sox have topped (bottomed?) themselves with a truly dire 2012.  I am generally the sort of person who responds to bad sports outcomes by going and doing something else, but in this case, I think the crapulence of 2010-2012 is an interesting intellectual problem.  These clubs were ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 18, 2012 at 01:19 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Now What?

I imagine for a lot of us the interesting portion of the 2012 Boston Red Sox season came to a screeching halt right about the time an Esmil Rogers fastball smashed into the wrist of Will Middlebrooks.  While it feels like the good news is gone there is still quite a bit of importance to come.

The fact is that the 2013 Red Sox are heavily represented on the 2012 club and that club should be expected to compete.  With that in mind a few things I think are important to pay attention to the next ...

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Jose Remains The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 12, 2012 at 07:06 PM | 61 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Long Nothing

The Red Sox currently stand five games out of the second wild card slot.  Previous to today’s game, BP gave the Sox an 11% chance at making the playoffs.  This number is slightly misleading, though, because most of that 11% chance is comprised of the 10% chance the Sox have of making the wild-card play-in game.  I don’t think most fans would consider a one-and-done in the play-in game to be a particularly worthy goal.  So if you give the Sox a roughly 50% chance at winning the play-in game, ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 08, 2012 at 06:51 PM | 127 comment(s)
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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Minor League Update

The trade deadline cameth and wenteth and while the Sox were generally (and prudently) inactive we can now rest assured that the guys on the farm are going to be there the rest of the year.

The impetus for the Sox’ moves seem to have been freeing up some room on the 40 man roster.  With that in mind I spent a bit of time at www.soxprospects.com looking at players who would need to be protected this coming winter.  Among their top 40 prospects the Sox feature three players who will need to be ...

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Jose Remains The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 02, 2012 at 09:43 PM | 40 comment(s)
  Related News: minor leagues, red sox, sox therapy


Monday, July 30, 2012

Trade Deadline Precriminations

After blogging the Sox for a few years, I’ve noticed a few flaws in my analysis that I’d like to fix.  The biggest problem is that I have a tendency to like Red Sox moves after the fact that I would not have supported or advocated for before the fact.  My partial embrace of the Crawford contract after saying he wasn’t worth more than $90M is tops on the list, my “eh” reception of the Reddick trade is second.  I’m pretty sure I’d have liked the Lackey contract and been entirely ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 30, 2012 at 09:56 AM | 146 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, 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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 24, 2012 at 01:51 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Jose Remains The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 22, 2012 at 07:03 PM | 106 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 10, 2012 at 06:33 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Jose Remains The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 09, 2012 at 12:38 AM | 131 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 06, 2012 at 07:17 AM | 131 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Jose Remains The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 05, 2012 at 02:16 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Related News: minor leagues, red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2012 at 10:23 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 24, 2012 at 05:12 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Precriminations

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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 16, 2012 at 08:42 AM | 117 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 13, 2012 at 09:29 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 03, 2012 at 05:08 PM | 65 comment(s)
  Related News: minor leagues, red sox, sox therapy


Trading Season

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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 03, 2012 at 01:38 PM | 102 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 24, 2012 at 08:12 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 19, 2012 at 09:14 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Kids

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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 15, 2012 at 08:40 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM | 86 comment(s)
  Related News: minor leagues, red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 10, 2012 at 06:55 AM | 157 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 28, 2012 at 10:03 AM | 224 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 23, 2012 at 06:03 PM | 162 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 09, 2012 at 07:36 AM | 98 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 06, 2012 at 11:44 AM | 141 comment(s)
  Related News: minor leagues, red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 05, 2012 at 04:21 PM | 222 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 04, 2012 at 11:07 AM | 386 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Thursday, March 29, 2012

CFBPS 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 ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 29, 2012 at 01:39 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sabermetrics, sox therapy


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.  ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 26, 2012 at 07:18 PM | 234 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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