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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Sunday, April 04, 2021

I Declare That Not A Good Start

So I don’t think I’m out on a limb there with that title.  Still, rather than try to dig into assorted cliches, justifications or excuses let’s just try to break it down a bit.

Stuff That We Were Worried About That Went OK;

JD Martinez - The Sox need the big DH to be an offensive star if they are going to do anything this year.  The early returns after a fairly mellow spring are very good.  6 for 12, 3 RBI and the club’s only homer is definitely doing his part.  Very good news indeed.

The Bullpen - Maybe this needs to be somewhere else because I’m not sure if people were concerned about the bullpen or not.  I think it was more an unknown than anything else.  Having said that I think the performance this weekend was very encouraging.  Hirokazu Sawamura in particular impressed but Matt Barnes, Austin Brice, Garrett Whitlock and Philips Valdez all threw well.  Josh Taylor obviously was terrible on Sunday but otherwise the bullpen looked good. Matt Andriese had some struggles finding the zone on Friday though Lou Merloni fairly made the point that having missed the last week of Spring Training some rust was to be expected.  His outing looks a lot different if Kike Hernandez plays that double play ball cleanly though.

Some of the Starters (yeah I know) - The fact is that both Not That Nasty Nate and Tanner Houck pitched very well in their first starts.  Had the defense backed them up a bit better their lines would have even looked better.  If Eovaldi can be healthy I think he should be expected to be effective and Houck looked very promising as the depth starter he is being asked to be for now.

Stuff That We Were Worried About That Went Not OK;

The Defense - The most glaring weakness on this team was exposed in the worst possible ways.  Not only was it a rough weekend it was a rough weekend at inopportune times.  It’s one thing to make errors, it’s another to make them when you can end innings with runners on base in close games and that is what happened both Friday and Saturday.

Strikeouts - Even those of us who feel the offense can be productive have to recognize the Sox are going to be prone to the strikeout.  That is going to lend itself to the slump particularly when they pile up.  Bobby Dalbec (0 for 10, 5Ks), Hunter Renfroe (0 for 7, 3Ks), Franchy Cordero (0 for 5, 3Ks) (h/t Jay) did not exactly hit the ground running.  It’s like a lineup of Brian Daubachs, when they roll it’s going to be fun, when they don’t it’s not.

Some of the Starters - Oh yeah, him.  Garrett Richards did not come out firing on all cylinders which was not what the Sox needed after dropping the first two games of the series.  It’s one start but he struggled in Fort Myers particularly with his control and the Sox can’t afford to be giving away too many starts.

Stuff We Felt Good About That Went Not OK;

Hitters Not Named JD Martinez - Mabye the biggest problem this weekend was the absence of offense. Xander Bogaerts, Kike Hernandez, Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers combined for two hits.  The Sox aren’t winning many games if those five guys contribute nothing offensively.  The only remotely optimistic note is that Kike drew a couple of walks continuing an improvement he showed in March.

So anyway, it’s one ugly weekend to be sure but it was only one weekend.  It won’t get easier with Tampa coming to town.  159 to go.

Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 04, 2021 at 05:50 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jay Seaver Posted: April 04, 2021 at 07:05 PM (#6011582)
Franchy Cordero (0 for 4, 5Ks)

I opted to go to a movie this afternoon, but did he reach base on a passed ball or something? I mean, I'd believe it.
   2. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 04, 2021 at 07:07 PM (#6011583)
Oops, 0 for 5 with 3 Ks.
   3. UnclePab Posted: April 04, 2021 at 08:25 PM (#6011597)
The rational side of me says, "it's just one series." The rest of me says, "oh, I guess they suck again this year." Big oof, especially against the Orioles.
   4. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 04, 2021 at 08:33 PM (#6011600)
Yeah, that’s about where I am too Pab. It’s a strange feeling. I’m not particularly bothered if they suck again, I’ve seen four World Series titles. They just gotta straighten it out. If it’s a year where I don’t have to live and die I’ll enjoy watching baseball with no pressure.

What really would frustrate me isn’t so much if they aren’t good as if they are dull again. If they go 71-91 but Dalbec hits 30 homers and Verdugo blossoms into a star and some pitcher has a big year I’m ok with that. It was the absence of being interesting last year that really grated.
   5. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 05, 2021 at 03:49 AM (#6011652)
but Dalbec hits
....er....anything would be good.
   6. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 05, 2021 at 07:12 AM (#6011653)
From the win totals thread back in Feb:

17. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: February 16, 2021 at 02:49 PM (#6005361)
I'm taking the under on the Sox. Feels like now is their opportunity to go scorched earth and trade off anybody old or anybody with a contract (outside of Bogaerts) if they are out of the playoffs after July (which they will be due to a 3-9 record against the Orioles).
   7. UnclePab Posted: April 05, 2021 at 08:31 AM (#6011657)
At least Whitlock looked good, so there's something.
   8. pikepredator Posted: April 05, 2021 at 10:23 AM (#6011676)
After last year's bizarre abbreviated season that I just couldn't get into (in large part because of real life distractions and stresses occupying most of my time), I don't think I could be more excited for a game four after a crappy three-game sweep. I'm so happy to have baseball back, be getting my first shot next week, and for spring to be here . . . we'll see how long it lasts.

I'm glad there are some fresh young faces in the lineup and pitching staff. That always brings hope.

Bring on the Rays!
   9. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 05, 2021 at 05:03 PM (#6011774)
It's funny - if this were the NFL or NBA, I'd be rooting for a Tank-a-thon season, where young guys play all year, the team goes for a top draft pick, and we really start working for a good team next year. But in baseball, the idea you'd basically tank for a 162-game season so that you could get some high school SS or something who might be on the team in three or four years, and is (by the numbers) ore likely to be Royce Lewis, Dansby Swanson, or Tim Beckham than Carlos Correa or ARod or something. In baseball, I think I want the Red Sox to maximize young player development and playing time, and try to win as many games as they can within that framework. If they are pretty much out of it in July, then keep trading the players who won't be part of the next championship team for young talent to build up the minor-league system.
   10. pikepredator Posted: April 06, 2021 at 08:39 AM (#6011923)
That's more like it! Top to bottom production. I could get used to this.
   11. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 06, 2021 at 04:06 PM (#6012060)
The 1-3 start is bad enough, but those hideous yellow and powder blue alternative jerseys will still be polluting the air in August. Talk about adding insult to injury.
   12. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 06, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6012063)
The worse news is that all 30 teams will be rolling them out over the next two years.
   13. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 06, 2021 at 04:20 PM (#6012064)
Ottavino is quickly someone I'm confident in. When Darwinzon decided not to throw strikes I felt really good about Ottavino coming in in that spot. That slider is a hell of a lot of fun and he seems like he's got a really good idea of what he's doing.

Andriese is weird. He's not throwing enough strikes for me but he's been snakebit. Kike booted the double play ball against Baltimore that would have ended the inning then last night another inning ending DP blew up when the ball hit the bag. Still feeling good about the bullpen.
   14. Jay Seaver Posted: April 06, 2021 at 05:04 PM (#6012076)
I kind of like the Marathon-inspired unis; they're all-in on something while the home whites with "Boston" on the front hit the uncanny valley for me.
   15. villageidiom Posted: April 06, 2021 at 07:15 PM (#6012104)
Still feeling good about the bullpen.
I agree with you on Ottavino's slider. It's like he's playing whiffle ball out there.

I'm liking the lack of good contact Sawamura is getting with both his splitter and his slider.
   16. . . . . . . Posted: April 06, 2021 at 08:20 PM (#6012128)
I agree with you on Ottavino's slider. It's like he's playing whiffle ball out there.


Speaking from experience, this is both feature and bug. Great movement, has no ####### clue where its going. It's all fun and games until he hits one of his wild patches and he's unplayable while he works it out, except in mop up.
   17. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 06, 2021 at 09:20 PM (#6012145)
From the link in 11:
The radical design for MLB is part of Nike's first venture into designing alternates for baseball, known as the City Connect series, meant to push the boundaries of uniform design.

MLB already "pushed the boundaries of uniform design." Nike's are almost as dumb and pointless.

Having RT(entire)FA now, egad, it's like a transcript of Marketing douches congratulating each other on how bold and brilliant and synergistic they all are.
   18. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 06, 2021 at 11:39 PM (#6012179)
Well, that’s a little better.
   19. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 06, 2021 at 11:47 PM (#6012180)
Random weird observation; Philips Valdez is kind of a weird Rich Garces. Guy with a really distinctive look, in Valdez’ case crazy thin, but pretty good.
   20. pikepredator Posted: April 07, 2021 at 11:35 AM (#6012216)
Blowout and a nail-biter never-say-die win against the Rays. That washed away that early sweep FAST!
   21. The Mighty Quintana Posted: April 07, 2021 at 12:39 PM (#6012221)
Random weird observation; Philips Valdez is kind of a weird Rich Garces. Guy with a really distinctive look, in Valdez’ case crazy thin, but pretty good.


El Flaco?!
   22. jmurph Posted: April 07, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6012226)
The marathon uniforms are good, it is you all who are bad (just kidding on the second part).

I'm not an alternate uniform fan in general, especially for baseball, but I like these a lot. Just as a one off tie-in with the marathon, if they're a regular thing I won't be into that at all (although the fact that the marathon got moved this year makes it a little more complicated).

That said I 100% agree that the marketing language in the articles is the worst.

   23. UnclePab Posted: April 07, 2021 at 03:58 PM (#6012250)
This has been much more fun than the Orioles series.
   24. Bad Fish Posted: April 07, 2021 at 05:02 PM (#6012276)
Well, if JD stays on his RBI trajectory, it may be a good year.
   25. UnclePab Posted: April 07, 2021 at 06:54 PM (#6012303)
if JD stays on his RBI trajectory, it may be a good year.
"On pace" for for 162 doubles for the year!
   26. pikepredator Posted: April 08, 2021 at 12:29 PM (#6012371)
even the defense turned itself around. It's a totally different team.

Is it too late to edit the thread title?
   27. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 08, 2021 at 01:12 PM (#6012380)
Let's see if they can beat the Mighty Orioles first. Haven't been real good at that for a couple years now.

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