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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Friday, September 17, 2021

It’s A Sprint, Not A Marathon

After 5 1/2 eventful months with more than enough drama and excitement the Red Sox have reached the stage of the season where the age-old adage about a baseball season being a marathon not a sprint has turned on its head.  The Sox now have 14 games in 17 days to determine if they are a playoff team or not. 

In simple terms the 2021 season is already a huge success but the time for postmortems will come as will the time to look ahead.  For now a few random thoughts to kickoff a new thread and gear up for what is to come;

- vi laid out the case for a four man rotation between now and the end of the season.  I’ll direct you to the previous thread for that one.  Long story short I think it makes a ton of sense to approach it that way.  Tanner Houck is a great rotation option but if he is unable or untrusted to go more than twice through the order the Sox should not rely on him as such.  With that said a guy who can go once or twice through the order out of the bullpen (e.g pitchers named Garrett) is a valuable weapon). 

- It’s hard not to feel very good about the schedule.  That said as the Yankees showed by recently going 3-3 against the Orioles just because the schedule looks promising doesn’t mean it will be.  The biggest thing the Sox need to do for two and a half weeks is tighten up the defense.  It was wretched in Seattle in particular.  One thing that seems to be getting to be a small issue is Hunter Renfroe falling in love with his arm.  He conceded a run by making a foolish throw that got away and his dropped fly ball looked to me like a guy trying to make the throw too quickly.  Defense is part skill and part wisdom and the Sox need to be smarter defensively.

- Relievers I trust in no particular order; Garrett Whitlock, Garrett Richards, Austin Davis, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Adam Ottavino.  Matt Barnes has to earn that trust again though I wonder if the enforced break is a blessing in disguise for him.  Hiro Sawamura gives up a lot of hard contact for a guy with a low ERA.

- Thinking ahead to possible win or go home matchups (either Wild Card game or one game playoff) Nathan Eovaldi has been great against the Yankees (2-1, 2.01, .256/.280/.388) and less so against the Blue Jays (0-1, 5.56, .250/.298/.432) while Chris Sale has faced neither club.  I feel good enough about both guys to pitch well when they take the mound that however things play out if the Sox have either guy on the mound for a winner take all that’s a good situation.

14 games, 9 wins to 92 and take their shot.  My prediction is the series in Washington will be meaningless.  I think the head to heads of Boston-New York followed by New York-Toronto will shake things out and the last weekend will see things decided.  Let’s go Sox!

Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 17, 2021 at 03:34 PM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 18, 2021 at 03:35 PM (#6040294)
Not sure how it will play out (it's going well at the moment) but Cora managed today's game like it was a sprint. Pivetta didn't have it and he didn't really linger with him going with Darwinzon and then Houck.
   2. villageidiom Posted: September 18, 2021 at 03:57 PM (#6040299)
Now that they have Houck and the Garretts in the pen, they can use the other relievers to put out a fire and then go to one of them to start the next inning. That is a great luxury which, along with the days off, should keep the pen from being exhausted.
   3. villageidiom Posted: September 18, 2021 at 04:02 PM (#6040300)
Also, let me say that picking the over/under line at 24.5 for Dalbec was genius work by Jose. Damn.
   4. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 18, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6040303)
Make enough predictions you get one right.
   5. villageidiom Posted: September 18, 2021 at 04:26 PM (#6040307)
If they go .500 the rest of the way Boston will end up with 91 wins.
   6. John DiFool2 Posted: September 18, 2021 at 04:47 PM (#6040308)
Thank Og for the existence of the O's.

What's with the goofy yellow uniforms this weekend?
   7. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 18, 2021 at 08:04 PM (#6040350)
“City Connect” uniforms. Every team is getting them the next few years. They are meant to represent something about the local community. In the Sox case it’s the marathon.
   8. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 18, 2021 at 08:20 PM (#6040352)
“City Connect” uniforms. Every team is getting them the next few years. They are meant to represent something about the local community.

They look perfect to pair with the lamentable "local market" caps.
   9. Jay Seaver Posted: September 18, 2021 at 10:20 PM (#6040374)
What's with the goofy yellow uniforms this weekend?


If I had to guess, Nike sent the wrong ones when it was clearly time to break out the green tops for "Halfway to St. Paddy's Day" weekend.
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 18, 2021 at 10:59 PM (#6040378)
What's with the goofy yellow uniforms this weekend?
Homage to the Pants Pissers?
   11. villageidiom Posted: September 19, 2021 at 12:26 AM (#6040381)
In the Sox case it’s the marathon.
You JUST said it was a sprint.
   12. pikepredator Posted: September 19, 2021 at 09:58 AM (#6040392)
In the Sox case it’s the marathon.
You JUST said it was a sprint


Bravo!

Day game . . . Eovaldi pitching . . . Sox good hitters are definitely getting back into their grooves . . . beautiful morning here in VT . . . man, I'm feeling GOOD!
   13. John DiFool2 Posted: September 19, 2021 at 04:19 PM (#6040421)
Like I said, Orioles.
   14. pikepredator Posted: September 19, 2021 at 09:13 PM (#6040460)
Personally, I'd also be cool with just winning the division and thus avoiding the dilemma of who to pitch in a WC game.
   15. dave h Posted: September 19, 2021 at 10:03 PM (#6040468)
First game in a few years and I had forgotten how much I love being there. First 3 hitters reached and looked like it might be a blowout. Oh, and I had no idea Pedro was going to be there, so that was awesome. Stands were emptier but still a great atmosphere, complete with cheers when highlights of the Cle-NYY game were shown.
   16. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 20, 2021 at 09:21 AM (#6040484)
A few notes:
1) This five-game winning streak is the longest they've had since the (sort of?) infamous Ottavino-talking-s**t-to-Ohtani game, which was at the high point of the year back on July 5th. Since that game, they are 32-33.
2) We will look back in 20 years at the 2021 Red Sox BB-Ref page, the number of pitchers that will cause us to say, "Who was that?" or something is getting to be pretty crazy. The following pitchers have pitched less than six innings this year for Boston:

Ryan Weber
Brad Peacock
Michael Feliz
Ryan Brasier
Steven Gonsalves
Eduard Barzado
Connor Seabold
John Schreiber
Brandon Brennan
Raynel Espinal
Kutter Crawford
Colten Brewer
Kaleb Ort
As well as Marwin Gonzalez, Christian Arroyo, Kevin Plawecki, and Jonathan Arauz

3) COVID, Barnes' and Ottavino's ineffectiveness, and other factors have contributed, but have you noticed how little rancor Red Sox Nation is expressing about the lack of An Established Closer right now? On a given night, I have no idea who is pitching the 9th inning of a one-run lead. In fact, I think Cora isn't sure at the beginning of a lot of nights who'd be closing, either. It feels like every night Cora is just trying to slap together 12-18 outs from whoever's arm hasn't fallen off in the bullpen. I mean, Sawamura, Whitlock, Barnes, Ottavino, Taylor - don't they all feel right now like they are running on fumes? I never thought Garrett Richards would be so important to the team in the final weeks of a playoff push, but here we are: Richards has pitched 20.2 innings as a reliever, and hasn't allowed a HR. His K rate is up, BB rate is down, and has allowed only four extra-base hits (all doubles) in those 20.2 innings.

4) It is entirely possible that four teams in the AL East will win 90+ games this year. When was the last time four teams in the same division won 90+ games? I know in the famous 1978 AL East season, four teams won 90 - was that the last time?

5) Whatever happens from here on in, Bobby Dalbec has amazingly played himself back into the conversation as a part of the 2022 team, right? His barrel rate has always been high above average - the problem was the lack of contact. But if his strikeout rate is going to be below 25%, and his walk rate is above 10%, with all that power, do they start 2022 with him at first, and basically use him until Casas is ready? It looks like Cases will get a few weeks in AAA to end the season, and is on track for a late 2022/start of 2023 call up to Boston. I wrote off Dalbec this summer, but I admire that he has stuck with it during some real struggles, and has become a valuable member of a playoff team. It now seems like, at a minimum, Dalbec is going to have himself a legit baseball career.
   17. The Mighty Quintana Posted: September 20, 2021 at 11:42 AM (#6040503)
I think you have to ride Dalbec, especially going into his 27 year. Esasky type of year seems in reach...
   18. Darren Posted: September 20, 2021 at 03:28 PM (#6040550)
We need another minors thread for the end of the year. What are the chances that they move Casas up to AAA for the last couple weeks now that AA is over? Heck, let's get Yorke up there too! :)
   19. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: September 20, 2021 at 03:44 PM (#6040551)


Homage to the Pants Pissers?


HEY!! I have that trademarked. You owe me....three thousand dollars!
   20. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 20, 2021 at 03:47 PM (#6040554)
This from Chris Hatfield in response to a question about Casas;

Chris Hatfield
@SPChrisHatfield
·
16h
I would be more surprised if he doesn't get 2 weeks in Worcester than if he does.

Only reason I can think of not to is if they want to get him a break before the Arizona Fall League (which he must be going to - needs the reps).


My two cents on Dalbec is that as great as he's been it feels disproportionately focused on demolishing bad pitching. I realize no one can really hit good pitchers but with him it seems all or nothing. But I'm comfortable with him going into next year.

Haven't seen anything on Sale. I'd be shocked if he pitched Wednesday.
   21. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 20, 2021 at 03:59 PM (#6040557)
Also, 93;

1-2 @NY 0-3
2-1 vs. Tex 2-1
2-1 vs. Minn 2-1
2-1 @Cleve 2-1
1-3 @TB 2-2
2-1 vs. Cleve 2-1
2-1 vs. TB 1-2
1-2 @CWS 1-2
1-2 @Sea 2-1
2-1 vs. Balt. 3-0
1-1 vs. NYM
2-1 vs. NYY
2-1 @ Balt.
2-1 @ Wash.
   22. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 21, 2021 at 08:06 AM (#6040645)
Casas was officially promoted yesterday.
   23. pikepredator Posted: September 21, 2021 at 08:36 AM (#6040652)
On a given night, I have no idea who is pitching the 9th inning of a one-run lead.


I'm glad it's not just me who feels this way. I keep thinking "wait, did I somehow miss something?"

Maybe closer-by-committee is only socially acceptable if you get thrust into it, rather than announcing it as a strategy.
   24. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 21, 2021 at 11:00 PM (#6040831)
To #23's point, I think nobody blames Cora for throwing his hands up and being like, "Who hasn't pitch in a day or two?" Tonight, the Mets game was getting a little uncomfortable, and (I can't believe I'm saying this), when Cora brought in Garrett Richards to pitch the 8th, I was like, "Yeah, we got this." Unreal.

Then, when Richards comes back out for the 9th, I again was like, "Yeah, I'm into this two-inning stint to finish the game thing". But after he gets the first guy out, with two more righties coming up, Cora takes out Richards, and puts in Darwinzin Hernandez?

Whatever. Six in a row, up two games on NY, 1.5 games on Toronto...and only six behind Tampa? Hey, a guy can dream...
   25. villageidiom Posted: September 22, 2021 at 07:20 AM (#6040857)
If they go .500 the rest of the way, Boston will finish with 92 wins.

I wonder what the road version of the marathon jerseys look like. They've been playing well while wearing the home version.
   26. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 22, 2021 at 08:30 AM (#6040871)
Would a road version have a primary color of the blue, with yellow and white accent colors?

Also, if you had told a Red Sox fan in early April that in late September, the team would be playing in a meaningful game, and needed the bullpen to come through for a struggling ERod, would you believe the guys coming out from right-center field would include:

Ryan Brasier, who got the win
Austin Davis
Hansel Robles
Garrett Richards
Darwinzon Hernandez

Also: Cora really does mix-and-match the bullpen every night. The team needs to cash in these home games to make the playoffs, and he found a way to cobble together 14 outs without using Whitlock or Ottavino. II suspect the dream scenario for tonight is that Sale gets six strong innings, the team scores some runs, and Cora can use Perez or something tonight to get most of the remaining outs. Then, the team gets Thursday off (after having Monday off!), and now he's got a *very* well-rested bullpen for the Yankees series.

Also: Don't look now, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but if you think of the players' seasons as lines on a graph, JD Martinez would be a line that spiked very high in April, and has since very slowly but surely floated downward. Bobby Dalbec would be a line that was generally pretty flat and low for more than half the season - but in the last six weeks or so has dramatically climbed upward. These two trend lines have now been going on long enough that it is no longer simply some SSS thing. This is taking into account most of the season...

Since May 2nd (which represented the high point of Martinez's season, statistically):

Martinez: 112 games, 485 PAs, 18 HRs, 68 RBIs, 38/117 BB/K, .265/.322/.465/.787
Dalbec: 102 games, 351 PAs, 22 HRs, 70 RBIs, 23/118 BB/K, .259/.319/.542/.861

Neither brings value defensively, but one of them makes about $20 million a year less, so there's that. The success of Dalbec in the last few months is one of the most significant stories for the Red Sox of this coming off-season. What was thought to be their biggest positional liability, first base, now has a pretty young guy who is showing an extended period of elite power, and is now making enough contact to be valuable at a very low cost. Meanwhile, the extended "meh" play of Martinez, who will certainly opt-in to his ~$20m for 2022, will increasingly be seen by the fan base as a liability, despite his popularity. And then you've got Casas getting some AAA time now. I keep saying it, but what an interesting, fun time to be a Red Sox fan - lots of moving pieces and transition happening, even as the team appears to be sneaking in a 90+-win playoff season in the midst of the rebuilding.

   27. villageidiom Posted: September 22, 2021 at 09:59 AM (#6040890)
Meanwhile, the extended "meh" play of Martinez, who will certainly opt-in to his ~$20m for 2022
AFAICT Martinez doesn't have an opt-out. He only had them in 2019 and 2020.
   28. Nasty Nate Posted: September 22, 2021 at 10:24 AM (#6040899)
Meanwhile, the extended "meh" play of Martinez, who will certainly opt-in to his ~$20m for 2022
AFAICT Martinez doesn't have an opt-out. He only had them in 2019 and 2020.
According to Cot's website, you are correct. But I see both Sale and Bogaerts have opt outs after next year.
   29. pikepredator Posted: September 22, 2021 at 10:34 AM (#6040904)
It struck me last night that the lineup is incredibly well-balanced. Obviously some guys are running smaller samples than others, but the Sox had 8 guys play last night (top 7 from the startine lineup + Renfroe) with OPS between .787 and .904. They've been one of the top-hitting teams in the majors and the balance from top to bottom makes it much easier to absorb rough patches by some hitters.
   30. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 22, 2021 at 10:37 AM (#6040905)
If the Sox win tonight they control their own destiny even if they get swept by the Yankees. If all three teams win tonight;

BOS 88-65
TOR 86-66
NYY 86-67

Assume a Yankee and Blue Jay sweep this weekend;

TOR 90-66
NYY 89-67
BOS 88-68

The Sox could then win out and get in by winning out. This is of course due to the Yankees and Blue Jays playing next week meaning one team has to lose two of the three. So Boston wins out and;

Yankees win two of three from Toronto, both sweep weekend series
NYY 94-68
BOS 94-68
TOR 94-68

In this scenario the Sox would need to win one of two games against New York and then Toronto to advance to the Wild Card game.

Three-Club Tie for Two Wild Card Spots:
After Clubs have been assigned their A, B and C designations, Club A would host Club B. The winner of the game would be declared one Wild Card winner. Club C would then host the loser of the game between Club A and Club B to determine the second Wild Card Club.

Blue Jays win two of three from New York, both sweep weekend series
TOR 95-67
BOS 94-68
NYY 93-69

It is unlikely for all of this to happen of course but the point remains that a win tonight leaves the Sox in a position where they control their own destiny even if they get swept by the Yankees. That's a pretty good situation.
   31. Darren Posted: September 22, 2021 at 10:38 AM (#6040907)
I believe Cots is the only place that has it that way. Fangraphs says he has one and I believe Boras was recently quoted talking about his opt-out after 2021. I think Cots is wrong, but am not 100 percent sure. It's probably moot, as I don't think he's going anywhere.
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: September 22, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6040913)
I believe Cots is the only place that has it that way. Fangraphs says he has one and I believe Boras was recently quoted talking about his opt-out after 2021. I think Cots is wrong, but am not 100 percent sure. It's probably moot, as I don't think he's going anywhere.
Yeah, I just clicked other news stories and it seems like he has another one.
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: September 22, 2021 at 10:49 AM (#6040914)
If the Sox win tonight they control their own destiny even if they get swept by the Yankees. If all three teams win tonight;

BOS 88-65
TOR 86-66
NYY 86-67
How about the Sox go 9-1, and the Rays go 2-8 including being swept by the Yankees in the last series. The Sox win the division, and the Yankees get one of the wildcards ... but then immediately lose the wildcard game to the Rays.
   34. pikepredator Posted: September 22, 2021 at 11:19 AM (#6040931)
The Sox win the division, and the Yankees get one of the wildcards ... but then immediately lose the wildcard game to the Rays.


I would be rooting full-bore for the Yankees to win that game!! Otherwise I like your thinking.
   35. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 22, 2021 at 08:07 PM (#6041124)
The Iglesias pick up is looking like pure genius. Outside of the fact that he's far and away the best fielder that has stood at 2B this year for the Sox, he's hitting the snot out of the ball(yeah, I know that won't last, but still)

Of course the Schwarber pick up is also looking brilliant, so far a 2 homer game today....
   36. Jay Seaver Posted: September 22, 2021 at 08:27 PM (#6041129)
Iglesias just did that thing where he seemingly redirects ball to where it needs to be without any effort whatsoever and I'm seriously wondering if the rules would let him be added to the postseason roster after Christian Arroyo inevitably gets hurt one game into the ALDS.
   37. Textbook Editor Posted: September 22, 2021 at 10:20 PM (#6041162)
So does Barnes even make the postseason roster? Because I'm guessing no.

My understanding is that Iglesias cannot make any postseason roster no matter what the circumstances because he was not somewhere in the organization prior to 9/1.

If the Red Sox win the WS he's certainly earned a ring and probably a full share the last 22 days. If you could bring him back on a 1/$3-4 mil deal (maybe even 2/$6-$7) it might be worth it just to have a glove guy who can play 2B/SS.
   38. villageidiom Posted: September 23, 2021 at 08:16 AM (#6041206)
Playoff rotation: Sale, Eovaldi, Rodriguez, Pivetta

Playoff bullpen: Ottavino, Sawamura, Taylor, Hernandez, Whitlock, Richards, Houck, Davis, and one more. I assume Barnes would be better than the alternatives.

Playoff non-pitchers: Vazquez, Dalbec, Arroyo, Devers, Bogaerts, Verdugo, Hernandez, Renfroe, Martinez, Plawecki, Schwarber, Duran, and one more. I was going to say Shaw, but one of Dalbec, JDM, or Schwarber will be coming off the bench. Santana?
   39. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 23, 2021 at 10:18 AM (#6041228)
Playoff rotation: Sale, Eovaldi, Rodriguez, Pivetta

Playoff bullpen: Ottavino, Sawamura, Taylor, Hernandez, Whitlock, Richards, Houck, Davis, and one more. I assume Barnes would be better than the alternatives.

Playoff non-pitchers: Vazquez, Dalbec, Arroyo, Devers, Bogaerts, Verdugo, Hernandez, Renfroe, Martinez, Plawecki, Schwarber, Duran, and one more. I was going to say Shaw, but one of Dalbec, JDM, or Schwarber will be coming off the bench. Santana?


In terms of the bench, I'd probably want Arauz, if only to maintain some middle infield flexibility. The best Red Sox lineup is one that keeps Hernandez in CF as much as possible. The difference in defense between a team with "Arroyo at 2B, Kike at CF" and "Kike at 2B, Verdugo in CF" is dramatic, and this pitching staff cannot afford to give away extra bases, runners, or outs.

In terms of the bullpen, keeping mind that you can reset your roster after each round of the playoffs, who would you want for:
1) the WC game
2) the divisional round

Choices for the last bullpen spot are Robles, Perez, or Barnes.

For the WC game, I'd probably choose Robles.
For a series, I'd probably choose Perez, just in case you need somebody in a blowout win or loss who could give you 3+ innings to save the bullpen for the rest of the series. Also, maybe he is useful to get a few lefties out. It is tough, especially after last night, to count on Barnes for anything. You could argue that two of th most important things Cora has to figure out in the final nine games, while trying to clinch a playoff berth, is 1) how to get Arroyo in prime condition for playing 2B every day; and 2) how to get Barnes right, if it is possible, in time for the playoffs.
   40. pikepredator Posted: September 23, 2021 at 11:50 AM (#6041245)
It will be kind of sad if Barnes is left off the postseason roster. He was such a big part of the Red Sox being where they were through July, it's only gone downhill in the last six weeks or so since that weird double-header. It bums me out that the prevailing sentiment (likely true) is that the Sox are better off w/o Barnes on the roster for the playoffs. They most likely wouldn't be there without his work for the first 2/3 of the season.
   41. Nasty Nate Posted: September 23, 2021 at 12:16 PM (#6041252)
If they make the wildcard game, it is almost 2 weeks away. At that time, Barnes might be the hot hand again. Relief pitching changes that quickly.
   42. Darren Posted: September 23, 2021 at 12:43 PM (#6041258)
Barnes still looks rusty. As Nate mentions, I think the next two weeks will tell us a lot about whether he belongs on the postseason roster. For whatever reason, Barnes really does seem like a guy who starts strong, wears down by August, is given some rest, then rebounds a bit in September. Why did they extend him again?
   43. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 23, 2021 at 01:05 PM (#6041266)
You people talking about playoff rosters are KILLING me.
   44. Darren Posted: September 23, 2021 at 01:27 PM (#6041277)
Come on, man. 96.3% playoff chances to make the playoffs. It's a lock!
   45. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 23, 2021 at 01:31 PM (#6041283)
I will stab you with one of those little forks they give you to eat oysters.
   46. pikepredator Posted: September 23, 2021 at 01:31 PM (#6041284)
You people talking about playoff rosters are KILLING me.


I don't believe in jinxes!!
.
.
.
That creates a reverse jinx, right?



   47. Darren Posted: September 23, 2021 at 01:42 PM (#6041296)
When has anyone ever been at 96.3% chance of making the playoffs this late in the season and not made it?
   48. Nasty Nate Posted: September 23, 2021 at 01:48 PM (#6041297)
SAY THE LINE, BART!
   49. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 23, 2021 at 01:59 PM (#6041302)
Come on, man. 96.3% playoff chances to make the playoffs. It's a lock!
Just to clarify, you’re saying “It’s Over”?
   50. pikepredator Posted: September 23, 2021 at 02:08 PM (#6041306)
I will stab you with one of those little forks they give you to eat oysters.


I say you cut his heart out with a spoon. It's dull, it'll hurt more.
   51. John DiFool2 Posted: September 23, 2021 at 02:55 PM (#6041313)
When has anyone ever been at 96.3% chance of making the playoffs this late in the season and not made it?


Come on, man. 96.3% playoff chances to make the playoffs. It's a lock!


Just to clarify, you’re saying “It’s Over”?


Earlier I had perused the end of the 1964 Phillies season. After what happened in 2011 (much less oh, say, 1978) I'm certainly not going to take anything for granted anymore. Esp. if the reward is a single game do or die.
   52. Textbook Editor Posted: September 23, 2021 at 03:06 PM (#6041317)
If you look at the 2011 roster the last 2 weeks of the season and compare it to now... 2011's is just so, so much worse. Fumes, they were running on in 2011. Fumes, I tell ya.

In hindsight it's almost a miracle they took it to the last day, given the roster the last 2 weeks of that season.
   53. Nasty Nate Posted: September 23, 2021 at 03:22 PM (#6041320)
If you look at the 2011 roster the last 2 weeks of the season and compare it to now... 2011's is just so, so much worse.
But I thought this season ended with "a whimper" 9 days ago?
   54. Textbook Editor Posted: September 23, 2021 at 04:13 PM (#6041334)
#53--It did! We're in the dead cat bounce phase!
   55. villageidiom Posted: September 23, 2021 at 04:58 PM (#6041342)
If we're talking playoff roster, let's double down on the jinx and talk playoff rotation schedule!

Let's look at two scenarios: Sale pitches game 162, or Sale pitches the WC game. Right now he's on pace for the former, but it's possible they have the WC home field advantage clinched by then.

IF SALE PITCHES GAME 162:

WC game 10/5: Rodriguez (will have pitched 5 days prior), skipping Pivetta
ALDS game 10/7: Eovaldi (will have pitched 6 days prior)
ALDS game 10/8: Sale (will have pitched 5 days prior)
ALDS game 10/10: Pivetta (will have pitched 9/29, 11 days prior)
ALDS game 10/11: Rodriguez
ALDS game 10/13: Eovaldi, with Sale available if needed

IF SALE DOESN'T PITCH GAME 162:

WC game 10/5: Sale (will have pitched 7 days prior)
ALDS game 10/7: Eovaldi (will have pitched 6 days prior), skipping Rodriguez and Pivetta
ALDS game 10/8: Rodriguez (will have pitched 8 days prior)
ALDS game 10/10: Sale
ALDS game 10/11: Pivetta (will have pitched 9/29, 12 days prior)
ALDS game 10/13: Eovaldi, with Rodriguez available if needed

I think either way they should arrange things so that Eovaldi is available for 2 ALDS games, given his last regular season start would be around 10/1. They will need to have Pivetta start one of the games, and at this point in the season I think he could use the rest. In theory they could align things so Pivetta is scheduled for ALDS Game 4 regardless.

Even if they have WC home field sewn up before game 162 it's possible they keep the same rotation as now - with Sale pitching game 162 - but just have Sale throw 50-60 pitches and give him an early rest. I think I'd prefer he's pitching the WC game, if they can manage it. A fine question would be this: Is it better for Boston to be the 2nd wild card but have Sale pitch the WC game on the road, or the 1st wild card and Rodriguez is pitching the WC game at home? 2014-18 me would rather the former, actually, but I'm not so sure against a good-hitting team the difference between 2021 Sale and 2021 Rodriguez is that great. (Having said that, Boston stands a great chance of winning game 162 no matter who is starting, so it's not like those are the only two options.)
   56. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 23, 2021 at 09:03 PM (#6041390)
Oh my god I hate you so much right now. You people are KILLING ME!
   57. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 23, 2021 at 11:17 PM (#6041414)
So with Toronto losing to Minnesota tonight, the three teams finally have the same number of games left (9):

BOS 88-65
NY 86-67
TOR 85-68

Boston's magic number for a playoff spot is 7; to host the wild card game, 8.

Boston: 3 vs NYY, 3 @ BAL, 3 @ WAS
NYY: 3 @ BOS, 3 @ TOR, 3 vs TB
TOR: 3 @ MIN, 3 vs NYY, 3 vs BAL

Boston has the easiest schedule left, and the fact the two teams chasing them are playing each other helps a lot, too.
NY has by far the toughest remaining schedule, but they also have the most direct control over their destiny, I guess. Also, that Tampa Bay series is unlikely to mean much to Tampa, right?
Toronto probably feels like if they win the Yankees series, they are in good shape to get a playoff spot.
   58. Nasty Nate Posted: September 24, 2021 at 08:56 AM (#6041436)
So with Toronto losing to Minnesota tonight, the three teams finally have the same number of games left (9):
Better make that four. The Mariners have won 5 straight, and are at 84-69, just one game behind the Blue Jays.

They have 3 @ LAA, 3 vs OAK, and 3 vs LAA
   59. pikepredator Posted: September 24, 2021 at 09:29 AM (#6041442)
I haven't been this amped for a Sox-Yanks series in quite a while. Two of the three pitching matchups favor the Sox, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Eovaldi hold his own against Cole.
   60. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: September 24, 2021 at 10:47 AM (#6041460)
If you look at the 2011 roster the last 2 weeks of the season and compare it to now... 2011's is just so, so much worse.


1B - Gonzalez vs Dalbec - 2011 wins
2B - Pedroia vs anybody - 2011 wins
SS - Scutaro vs X - 2021 wins
3B - Lowrie vs Devers - 2021 wins
C - Salty-Monkey-Face vs Vazquez - 2011 wins
DH - Ortiz vs Martinez - 2011 wins (by a lot)
RF - McDonald/Drew vs Renfroe - 2021 wins
CF - Ellsbury vs Verdugo/Hernandez - 2011 wins (by a lot)
LF - Crawford vs Verdugo - 2021 wins

It certainly wasn't an issue with the batsmen. Pitching, yeah, a bit better this year...
   61. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 24, 2021 at 11:02 AM (#6041463)
I haven't been this amped for a Sox-Yanks series in quite a while.


Biggest regular season series between the two since....?

2005 seems to be the answer. Final weekend instead of penultimate weekend with similar situation, both teams fighting with each other plus a third team (Cleveland then) for two spots. If not that you gotta go back to 1978 don't you?
   62. Nasty Nate Posted: September 24, 2021 at 11:17 AM (#6041466)
I hate to say it, but maybe that 2006 August bloodbath. I give extra points of "bigness" for division title implications.
   63. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 24, 2021 at 11:36 AM (#6041468)
I hate to say it, but maybe that 2006 August bloodbath. I give extra points of "bigness" for division title implications.


The problem with that series for me (and the 2018 Sox sweep at Fenway) is that it was in August. That was a big series at the time though. You can make the same case for the late August/early September series in 2011 at Fenway. But for me the stakes in 2005 were so high, both teams had the potential to miss the playoffs.
   64. Darren Posted: September 24, 2021 at 12:48 PM (#6041471)
Okay, I see some of you are still nervous, so I looked back to see if I could find an example of a team not making the playoffs after having a 97% chance. So far, I've gone back nine years and still haven't found anyone. I think that's pretty conclusive.
   65. Textbook Editor Posted: September 24, 2021 at 01:51 PM (#6041476)
Okay, I see some of you are still nervous, so I looked back to see if I could find an example of a team not making the playoffs after having a 97% chance. So far, I've gone back nine years and still haven't found anyone. I think that's pretty conclusive.


I see what you did there. Well done.
   66. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: September 24, 2021 at 02:58 PM (#6041483)
The problem with that series for me (and the 2018 Sox sweep at Fenway) is that it was in August. That was a big series at the time though. You can make the same case for the late August/early September series in 2011 at Fenway. But for me the stakes in 2005 were so high, both teams had the potential to miss the playoffs.


How about the Sept 15-18, 2016 series? The Yankees entered it only 4 games back of the Red Sox for the division and 3 out of both Wild Card spots. That sweep effectively ended the Yankees' division hopes before the Blue Jays destroyed their remaining playoff hopes, while this series jump started the 11-game winning streak to win the division.
   67. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: September 24, 2021 at 03:30 PM (#6041488)
Oh that's a good call. I didn't remember 2016 being that tight. Yeah that's a good one.
   68. Textbook Editor Posted: September 24, 2021 at 11:20 PM (#6041582)
Well, the Blue Jays losing helps a ton.
   69. Darren Posted: September 26, 2021 at 10:59 PM (#6041825)
Everything is fine
   70. Textbook Editor Posted: September 26, 2021 at 11:18 PM (#6041831)
Like I said, dead cat bounce.

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