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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Boston Red Sox Will Play for the Pennant

In April 15 American League teams began their quest for the World Series.  Three of them are left standing and kids, the Boston Red Sox are one of them after a grinding 6-5 victory over a genuinely terrific Tampa Bay Rays team.  The praise for the Rays can’t be overstated, they are a hell of a team and are worthy of all the salutations.

But for now, the celebration is here with the local nine.  They.  Do.  Not.  Get.  Rattled.  This team has had so many chances to roll over and you know what.  Someone called the Wild Card win a “tee shirt and hat game.”  I like that, win the game, get a free tee shirt and hat.  This was a team victory.  The Rays battled back (shades of the 2004 Angels) but don’t sleep on Garrett Whitlock coming on with a runner on second and no outs in a tie game and not giving up a run.  Something worth noting is that Whitlock only pitched on back to back days once all season, September 11/12 in Chicago and he gave up the walk off homer in the second game.  He wasn’t fazed and got it done.

Oh man, Alex Cora in tears.  Look, the dude made his mistakes and he doesn’t get to run from that.  But to his credit he has always owned it and I don’t expect fans of other teams to applaud him but hey, that’s a group of people whose opinion I couldn’t care less about.

The Sox caught their breaks in this series that’s for damned sure but as they say, luck is the residue of design.  Man, Kiké with his wife/girlfriend, tonight’s going to be a good night for him I suspect.  So many heroes in this wild series.  Nick Pivetta certainly has made himself a very popular dude in Beantown.  Don’t sleep on Eduardo Rodriguez bouncing back from a poor game one start with a gem in game four, a great bunt from Christian Arroyo and Travis Shaw battling a big at bat.

But right now I want to salute us. Well not us, but the crowds at Fenway last Tuesday (is that really only six days ago) and the last two days.  The people who said things would change after a World Series title may have been onto something.  Certainly the crowds were raucous in 2007, 2013 and 2018 but whether it’s COVID or just this team being a genuine out of nowhere contender I don’t know but the crowds for the three playoff games so far have been absolutely insane.

As we said after the Yankee win, there will be time enough to think about the next series.  For now let’s celebrate.  I said it before, I’ll say it again;

THIS IS FUN!!!

Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 11, 2021 at 10:40 PM | 195 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 12, 2021 at 04:36 AM (#6045727)
Jomboy seemed to be relishing that the “nerds” lost, which I thought was a weird take, given that those last two games came down to some key plays that could’ve gone either way.

Also not getting the hot take that the Rays losing in four after winning 100 games constitutes them being obliterated by the Sox. Apparently the score of the games is irrelevant in that sense. To me, a three game sweep or two or three blowouts would’ve fit the “obliterated” label. Certainly not a series where two of the three games won by the series winner came down to the final at bat.
   2. villageidiom Posted: October 12, 2021 at 07:25 AM (#6045733)
Jomboy seemed to be relishing that the “nerds” lost, which I thought was a weird take, given that those last two games came down to some key plays that could’ve gone either way.
Jomboy is an asshat. Like, Boston just over a year ago tweeted a celebration when they got below the luxury tax threshold. There wasn't a lack of nerds on either side. What was it YR used to say? Losers root for winners to lose. Yep, Jomboy.

Also not getting the hot take that the Rays losing in four after winning 100 games constitutes them being obliterated by the Sox.
It's better than the people referring to Boston's game 4 win as their second straight "walk-off win". Danny Santana did no walking, and I don't care if the runner on third was Billy Hamilton there is no such thing as a walk-off sacrifice fly to LF in Fenway. An on-target throw would have been a close play.

I imagine this is where someone will pretend that the term refers to the opponent having to walk off the field, but it never did mean that. It referred to the offense having the luxury of walking the bases if they wanted. A go-ahead HR; a bases-loaded walk or HBP; a hit or even a balk with a runner on 3rd. If the winning run had the option of casually strolling home and then the game ends, that's a walk-off.
   3. villageidiom Posted: October 12, 2021 at 07:30 AM (#6045734)
Oh, and on the substance of the thread... OH YYYYYEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH THIS IS AWESOME they will probably lose in the next round but WINNING IS FUN AND LET'S GO RED SOX
   4. pikepredator Posted: October 12, 2021 at 08:08 AM (#6045739)
I have thoroughly enjoyed each game of the ALDS, knowing that it could full well be the last series of the season and that it is entirely *bonus baseball*, like an encore at a Phish show . . . this morning, I am allowing myself to think about the ALCS. Sox will have a few days off to entirely re-set the pitching staff. Sale as the likely game 1 starter with a chip on his shoulder . . . all the long relievers are going to be fully rested. Meanwhile, the rainout means their opponent will have a compressed schedule - rooting for a game 5 has never been easier! Back-to-back games in two stadia (even though they aren't that far apart) could mean a road-weary opponent for Game 1 of the ALCS, particularly if it goes five and Chicago pulls it out and has to travel back home . . .

I am excited for the ALCS and all my not-looking-ahead has manifested in a lot of excitement for the next round as I sip my coffee this morning.

This season has morphed from "hey, this is an exciting start" to an unforgettable ride with a memorable team.
   5. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2021 at 08:14 AM (#6045741)
Really enjoyed the Robyn celebration in the clubhouse, did not see that coming.
   6. dave h Posted: October 12, 2021 at 09:01 AM (#6045747)
I imagine this is where someone will pretend that the term refers to the opponent having to walk off the field, but it never did mean that.


Apparently Dennis Eckersley half disagrees. He did say it referred to giving up a homer, but given the context I don't see why it wouldn't refer to any time the defensive team loses. If it were referring to the offense, it would have to be jog-off (though perhaps that would be interpreted differently).

Also I guess it shouldn't have surprised me that it was apparently coined by Eck.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: October 12, 2021 at 09:33 AM (#6045753)
The bleachers were lively last night! I must be turning into an old fogey, because everyone seemed so young.

I think the same guy caught the Devers and Franco HRs.

What was Cora arguing about with the umpires near the end of the game?
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: October 12, 2021 at 09:35 AM (#6045754)
"Walk-off" might be used wrong, like "ground rule double," but it shows a need for a suitable word/phrase.
   9. PJ Martinez Posted: October 12, 2021 at 09:52 AM (#6045755)
What was Cora arguing about with the umpires near the end of the game?
Shaw tried to take second base, which was unoccupied, after Choi dropped the throw. But the Rays had called time, which Cora either missed or thought didn't happen in time or shouldn't have been granted or something. (Seemed like the umps had it right.)
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: October 12, 2021 at 10:04 AM (#6045757)
Thanks.
   11. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 12, 2021 at 10:17 AM (#6045759)
My understanding of "walk off" is it describes what the pitcher does dejectedly.
   12. Rough Carrigan Posted: October 12, 2021 at 10:55 AM (#6045762)
Part of what makes the Rays such a great team is the incredible depth of talent they have. But maybe that's not as important in a 5 game series.
Anyway, I'm glad Kike got the run home. But I think I'd have liked it even more if he'd bunted up the first base line. Smoltz was suggesting it on the broadcast. The way the Rays had their defenders set it would have been absolutely impossible for them to defend unless the pitcher made an amazing play.

Congrats to the Sox for a surprising win.
   13. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 12, 2021 at 11:04 AM (#6045764)
Yeah I had the same thought as Smoltz but the way Kike has been swinging the bat I felt good. Off the bat I thought he absolutely crushed it, when I saw where Meadows was set to catch it I panicked a bit. Then there was a small moment of "this is why I hate replay" as they showed Cash just confirming the play before walking off. It just sucked the moment out a bit (though not too much obviously).
   14. Darren Posted: October 12, 2021 at 11:20 AM (#6045774)
Smoltz is usually pretty bad, but I loved the bunt discussion. He mentions it, the other guy says, "you make it sound so easy," and Smoltz replies, "it really is." :)

The pitching decisions on the Red Sox side really confused me:

--Going to Houck two days after he threw 5 innings is something you do when you're desperate, not when you're comfortably ahead and have another game to spare. It was immediately clear that he was not himself.

--Braisier over Whitlock made little sense once Cora made clear he would be willing to use Whitlock for 2 IP. It seems recently that Cora has lost trust in Whitlock generally and went to him out of desperation here. I wonder what his health situation is.

--More generally, what happened to Ottavino? Haven't seen much of him lately.

On the defensive substitution, I can't imagine ever putting Dalbec in to play 1B for his defense. I would think the move there is to go straight to Shaw, if you're going to replace Schwarber at all.

Great game by E-Rod, the 17 pitch at bat was amazing.
   15. Nasty Nate Posted: October 12, 2021 at 11:27 AM (#6045776)
--More generally, what happened to Ottavino? Haven't seen much of him lately.
He was warming in the bullpen in the 9th. Sale was warming up in the 8th. Someone else was also warming up late - probably Austin Davis?
   16. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 12, 2021 at 11:34 AM (#6045781)
--Going to Houck two days after he threw 5 innings is something you do when you're desperate, not when you're comfortably ahead and have another game to spare. It was immediately clear that he was not himself.


Three days not two. I don't think he pitched badly. Cora pretty clearly wanted just one inning out of him and he got it. Unfortunately Franco hit the home run which is going to happen.

--Braisier over Whitlock made little sense once Cora made clear he would be willing to use Whitlock for 2 IP. It seems recently that Cora has lost trust in Whitlock generally and went to him out of desperation here. I wonder what his health situation is.


I'm not sure why you think he's lost trust in Whitlock? He's using him as his closer. Being willing to use him for 2 and wanting to use him for 2 is two different things. As good as Brasier has been I think Brasier in the 8th, Whitlock in the 9th was a Timlin in the 8th, Williamson in the 9th no brainer. Brasier didn't have it.

--More generally, what happened to Ottavino? Haven't seen much of him lately.


He hasn't been very good. He gave up runs in 4 of his last 5 outings in the regular season and simply has been passed by Whitlock, Brasier, Houck, Pivetta and Robles based on merit.

On the defensive substitution, I can't imagine ever putting Dalbec in to play 1B for his defense. I would think the move there is to go straight to Shaw, if you're going to replace Schwarber at all.


I didn't mind going to the defense there. It was the play to win move. Dalbec's not good but he's better than Schwarber. With the two run lead Cora wasn't playing scared, he was playing to finish the series right then and there. Personally I wouldn't have done it but I have no issue with it. Shaw would have been an interesting call. Not sure what his defense is like at first base these days. He's not as svelte as he once was.
   17. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: October 12, 2021 at 11:40 AM (#6045786)
Walk-off clearly means that the defense has to walk off the field. A sac fly isn't such a terrible ending compared to some like a throwing error or an HBP. It's funny to see who the team mobs after one of those.

The Rays left fielder should have gotten behind the throw like Kike had demonstrated twice in this game. It almost looked half-hearted, he didn't behave as if the season depended on it.

   18. villageidiom Posted: October 12, 2021 at 11:43 AM (#6045787)
Part of what makes the Rays such a great team is the incredible depth of talent they have. But maybe that's not as important in a 5 game series.
Tyler Glasnow had a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts, but he is now recovering from Tommy John surgery. Ryan Thompson had a 2.36 ERA in 36 outings, but had surgery on the last day of September. Chris Archer isn't as good as he once was, but he's been on the IL most of the year. Adam Conley had a 2.29 ERA in 17 appearances, and he's on the IL right now. Like, Tampa Bay's depth allowed them to win 100 games despite the injuries they had this year. But many of those injuries came at an inopportune time regarding the playoffs.

I mean, we remember the Red Sox were riddled with COVID cases a couple months ago. Imagine if all that had happened in the past week or so. They'd have been toast, probably swept in this series. No Hernandez; no Arroyo; no Bogaerts; and pretty much no pitching. It wouldn't have taken much for Boston to lose at least games 3 and 4, and maybe even game 2 given how much Hernandez played a part. Tampa Bay was missing a LOT of good players from their roster and they were reasonably close to winning the series despite that. They are a deep team.
   19. villageidiom Posted: October 12, 2021 at 11:53 AM (#6045791)
On the defensive substitution, I can't imagine ever putting Dalbec in to play 1B for his defense.
Dalbec is not anywhere near as good defensively at 1B as Doug Mientkiewicz was. But Schwarber is worse defensively at 1B than Kevin Millar was. THAT is what it takes for Dalbec to be considered a suitable defensive replacement. You need a 1B who is worse than Millar. Schwarber does all the bad things Millar did, and also has screwed up multiple plays where the pitcher is covering first.
   20. Darren Posted: October 12, 2021 at 11:53 AM (#6045792)
Three days not two.


He pitched in game 2, on 10/8. Then he has 2 days rest, then he in game 4, on 10/11.


Cora pretty clearly wanted just one inning out of him and he got it. Unfortunately Franco hit the home run which is going to happen.

I thought they said Houck was getting ready to go back out for a second at one point? Whatever the case, yes, Franco is a good hitter but he's not Bonds. Houck's command/control was lousy that inning--he was not at his best or close to it.

I didn't mind going to the defense there. It was the play to win move. Dalbec's not good but he's better than Schwarber.


I don't mind going to defense, but it's certainly debatable. But they didn't go to defense, they went from a really bad defender to a bad defender. Seems like a poor tradeoff. Then again, imagine a grounder going through Schwarber's legs there? :)

I feel the need to weigh in on walk-off. I always thought it was any win where the offense scores on the last play. I thought of the winning team walking off the field happily after it happened.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: October 12, 2021 at 11:57 AM (#6045795)
I feel the need to weigh in on walk-off. I always thought it was any win where the offense scores on the last play. I thought of the winning team walking off the field happily after it happened.
Well these 2 thoughts are contradictory. The winning team isn't on the field when a walk-off happens (until they run out there).
   22. Darren Posted: October 12, 2021 at 12:15 PM (#6045799)
Well these 2 thoughts are contradictory. The winning team isn't on the field when a walk-off happens (until they run out there).


You're right. I realized this when this discussion came up. My definition doesn't really make sense.
   23. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 12, 2021 at 12:34 PM (#6045803)
He pitched in game 2, on 10/8. Then he has 2 days rest, then he in game 4, on 10/11.


Fair enough, we're saying the same thing though. If he had been a traditional starter in game 2 yesterday would have been his throw day. I don't think it was unreasonable to ask him to give an inning or even two.

That he wasn't great is not particularly relevant. Part of the problem for Cora of course is his options are not exactly magnificent. It's not like the Sox are the 1990 Nasty Boys.

Dalbec is not anywhere near as good defensively at 1B as Doug Mientkiewicz was. But Schwarber is worse defensively at 1B than Kevin Millar was. THAT is what it takes for Dalbec to be considered a suitable defensive replacement. You need a 1B who is worse than Millar. Schwarber does all the bad things Millar did, and also has screwed up multiple plays where the pitcher is covering first.


+1
   24. Rough Carrigan Posted: October 12, 2021 at 12:42 PM (#6045808)
#18. You make a good point. I remembered Glasnow because he was really going to be their ace. But I forgot the other guys.
   25. pikepredator Posted: October 12, 2021 at 12:51 PM (#6045812)
Part of the problem for Cora of course is his options are not exactly magnificent.


When the Sox got up 5-0 my mom texted me to say "this is great but I'd feel more comfortable if they had a few more runs". She nailed it.

That Whitlock appearance in the 8th was clutch city. It really doesn't get any tougher than that, against the heart of the lineup. WPA has its warts but last night Whitlock is entirely deserving of the .4 WPA. Game hung in the balance and he got the job done in amazing fashion.
   26. Darren Posted: October 12, 2021 at 01:02 PM (#6045816)

Fair enough, we're saying the same thing though. If he had been a traditional starter in game 2 yesterday would have been his throw day. I don't think it was unreasonable to ask him to give an inning or even two.


I don't think so. 2 and 3 are not the same. Asking him to go for an inning or two on his throw day is not, in the abstract, unreasonable. But it really is up to the coaching staff to figure out is that's a good idea. From both what we observed and the results, that was a bad decision.


When the Sox got up 5-0 my mom texted me to say "this is great but I'd feel more comfortable if they had a few more runs". She nailed it.


We all think the world of your mom, but yeah, of course a few more runs would be better.
   27. Darren Posted: October 12, 2021 at 01:02 PM (#6045817)
On another note: the Rays are a really smart, well-run team. It's a bummer that this series will result in people saying that they're a bunch of slide-rule nerds.
   28. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 12, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6045818)
On another note: the Rays are a really smart, well-run team. It's a bummer that this series will result in people saying that they're a bunch of slide-rule nerds.


Ignoring stupid people is a nice way to make your life more pleasant.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: October 12, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6045819)
Did anyone else briefly wonder if Hernandez would try a safety squeeze towards 1st in the 9th?

It probably wouldn't have been the optimal strategy, but for a second I wondered if they would try it. Choi was in, but he was far off the line.
   30. Darren Posted: October 12, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6045822)

Did anyone else briefly wonder if Hernandez would try a safety squeeze towards 1st in the 9th?


It seemed to me like they were daring him to do so, and Smoltz seemed to agree (see above). I was hoping for that because it would have been really cool but I think trying to put the ball in the air for a sac fly was a good strategy too.
   31. Darren Posted: October 12, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6045823)
Ignoring stupid people is a nice way to make your life more pleasant.


It's true but I've never learned this lesson. :)
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: October 12, 2021 at 01:11 PM (#6045825)
Oh, now I see the bunt discussion in this thread! Kike has been making such great contact in the postseason that they were right to have him swing.
   33. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: October 12, 2021 at 01:17 PM (#6045827)
On another note: the Rays are a really smart, well-run team. It's a bummer that this series will result in people saying that they're a bunch of slide-rule nerds.

Oh get over it, and take your sabernonsense with you. Noted jock Chaim Bloom's team won with good old fashioned grit.
   34. pikepredator Posted: October 12, 2021 at 03:21 PM (#6045844)
Fair point Darren … I confess to being pretty giddy early in the game. She was the ‘it’s a long way til the 9th’ voice of reason’.
   35. Darren Posted: October 12, 2021 at 03:28 PM (#6045846)
Typical Pike's mom.
   36. Darren Posted: October 12, 2021 at 04:21 PM (#6045858)
Please don't take this as me putting anyone down, but I feel like we need more evidence for the "this team is swinging for home runs on every pitch" pov.
   37. Nasty Nate Posted: October 13, 2021 at 09:07 AM (#6046041)
Lance McCullers might be injured.
   38. villageidiom Posted: October 13, 2021 at 10:42 AM (#6046052)
So it's the Astros again. I don't feel any better about Boston's chances in the ALCS than I did in the ALDS. I'm still repeating my mantra since they got past the Yankees: The Red Sox should lose this series. But they could win. And if they win, they should lose the next series. But they could win.

Just going back to the Rays series for a moment. Here's what the Rays hitters did against Boston pitching. Sorted by regular-season OPS:

PLAYER    AB  H  HR  BB  K   OPS  OPSinRegSeason  
Lowe      18  0   0   0  9     0     863   
<------
Zunino    15  2   0   0  6   333     860   <------
Cruz      17  3   1   1  5   575     832   <------
Arozarena 15  5   1   4  4  1074     815
Franco    19  7   2   0  3  1158     810
Meadows    9  2   1   0  2   889     772
Diaz      15  3   0   1  2   450     740
Kiermaier 14  3   0   2  4   741     716
others    25  6   2   2 11   856     IDK 

Arozarena did Arozarena things, and Franco was Wanderful (is that overused yet?), but look at those top 3 hitters by regular season OPS. They combined for 5 hits in 50 AB, with 20 strikeouts and 1 walk. We'll always have the question of whether this is more something the pitchers did or something the hitters failed to do, but that was an impressive shutdown either way. We shouldn't rely on WPA for anything other than general patterns, but the combined WPA for the series for those 3 hitters was -1.11. Their lack of hitting cost the Rays roughly one win. If the pre-series expectation had been something like 3-2 Rays (and in a 100-win team vs 92-win team matchup that's probably reasonable), those 3 hitters alone would have been enough to tilt the series to Boston.

This is less a question about what if anything Boston did to stop those hitters - although I'd be fascinated to hear it - but more about what it takes to shift the expectations by a win. In a short series, shutting down the top 3 hitters (or 3 of the top N hitters) is enough to swing it. Easier said than done, I'm sure, but my point is this: Maybe for the players it's simpler to reduce the problem to just that. Instead of giving them a matrix of possibilities for every hitter, it's just Lowe is susceptible to the K if you pitch him this way, we can shut him down if you do just this one thing but only for a handful of players. Do these things and you take away their strengths. Everything else is just random variation, and that's fine, they will get hits, or they will get outs, and we'll do our best with whatever happens. But we just need to weaken them enough to buy us 1 win, and if we focus on just these 3 hitters we can do it. Put another way, if the pitchers are told 9 good ways to get hitters out, maybe it's better that it's 3 good ways to get each of the top 3 hitters out than 1 good way for each of the 9 hitters.
   39. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 13, 2021 at 10:58 AM (#6046060)
It's not perfect as an example bu the three guys at the top of that list are also three guys significantly above league average in K rate. Obviously that's not going to be the only indicator (Arozarena is above that rate as well) but I've always felt when you have a guy who Ks a lot you've got a guy who can be pitched too. That doesn't mean it's easy by any stretch but that's someone with a hole in his swing. Zunino had a big hit in game four but he was a guy I never worried too much about (e.g. Joey Gallo) because I knew he could be pitched too.

With all that said, it's 4 games. I think trying to read too much into it other than "over 4 games some guys did well, some guys didn't" is probably a fool's errand. But having said that in a short series (which any playoff series is ultimately) guys who fan a lot are guys I'm going to feel confident I can get out. Obviously you want your better hitters (e.g. Gallo is better than Gardner) but at least when I'm facing High K guys I feel like there is a chance.
   40. pikepredator Posted: October 13, 2021 at 11:17 AM (#6046072)
I feel like we could turn that around on the Red Sox and say "the key to a short series is to take out the other team's best starters in a hurry". Somehow that sorta backfired on the Rays.
   41. Nasty Nate Posted: October 13, 2021 at 11:51 AM (#6046077)
Most frequent Red Sox postseason opponents (including this year's wildcard game and the upcoming ALCS):

Yankees- 5
Indians- 5
Angels- 5
A's- 4
Cardinals- 4
Astros- 3
Rays- 3
   42. Textbook Editor Posted: October 13, 2021 at 12:17 PM (#6046086)
It's sort of amusing that until 1999 the Red Sox had never faced the Yankees in the playoffs (though they couldn't have prior to 1995, of course), but in the 22 years since they they've faced them 5 times.
   43. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 13, 2021 at 01:16 PM (#6046093)
FWIW, the Red Sox worst record against an opponent in 2021 was Houston (2-5, including 1-3 at home against them). But, a few things:

- All seven games were played in a very short time span, May 31st-June 10th. It was almost like a home-and-home set op.
It was a very time for the Red Sox, anyway. For example:
- In the first game, the three relievers used by Boston (Valdez, Andriese, and Brewer) are no longer on the roster.
- In their second game, two of the three pitchers used by Boston are not on the roster (Richards and Sawamura)
- In the third game, two of the four pitchers used are not on the roster (Hernandez and Sawamura)
- In the fourth game, (the only one they won in the four-game series at home), Martin Perez pitched his butt off, having his best start of the season (7.1 IP, 1 ER), and was then relieved by Ottavino and Workman. Perez isn't starting any games; Workman isn't on the team; and Ottavino appears to be buried pretty deep in the bullpen now. (At that time, Ottavino was probably one of the most important players on ther whole team, really being the team's primary 8th-inning setup man for Barnes. Actually, think about that sentence! Neither Ottavino nor Barnes are getting anywhere near a one-run game in the 8th or 9th inning at this point!)

Of course, this was while the Red Sox were generally playing their best ball (they went 54-32, followed by 38-40). When I think back through the first half of the season, though, the games against Houston stand out as some of the least satisfying games of that whole stretch. In fact, I recall local media pointing to these seven Houston games in an 11-day stretch as evidence that the Red Sox were a cute story,,,but would not be able to stand up with the Big Boys when it really mattered. Well, they've "stood up" to the Yankees and Rays so far when it mattered, and if they beat Houston, the Red Sox will certainly have earned their place in the World Series.
   44. Adam Starblind Posted: October 13, 2021 at 01:42 PM (#6046097)
I feel the need to weigh in on walk-off. I always thought it was any win where the offense scores on the last play. I thought of the winning team walking off the field happily after it happened.
Well these 2 thoughts are contradictory. The winning team isn't on the field when a walk-off happens (until they run out there).


I too have always thought it referred to any time the offense scores on the last play, and that "walk off" is just a generic term for the game ending right then and there and everyone leaves. This isn't the kind of thing you analyze with precision. And if it referred to the losing team walking off the field, it wouldn't be called a "walk-off win," it would be called a "walk-off loss."
   45. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 13, 2021 at 01:52 PM (#6046101)
This isn't the kind of thing you analyze with precision.


You've been posting at BBTF long enough to know that ANYTHING will be analyzed with ridiculous levels of precision given enough discussion.
   46. bunyon Posted: October 13, 2021 at 02:03 PM (#6046103)
My understanding was it started as ONLY being a HR. You "walked them off", meaning the defense does, morosely, walk off the field. It then got cleverly extended to other last AB wins until now it's any such play.

This isn't the kind of thing you analyze with precision. And if it referred to the losing team walking off the field, it wouldn't be called a "walk-off win," it would be called a "walk-off loss."

First sentence: don't analyze with precision. Second sentence: analysis with precision. :)
   47. villageidiom Posted: October 13, 2021 at 02:13 PM (#6046106)
With all that said, it's 4 games. I think trying to read too much into it other than "over 4 games some guys did well, some guys didn't" is probably a fool's errand.
Sure sounds like a job for me!

If I take a similar approach with Boston's hitters, here's what I have. I'll just do the OPS:

PLAYER    AB   OPS  OPSinRegSeason  
Schwarber 16   889    928   
Devers    18  1067    890
Martinez  15  1200    867
Bogaerts  18   868    863
Renfroe   17   721    816
Dalbec     6   000    792  
<------
Hernandez 20  1329    786
Verdugo   19   842    777
Arroyo    16   688    769  
Vazquez   16   938    659
others     3   667    IDK 


Like, if what happened to the Rays' top hitters is completely explainable by random variation in a short sample, then we should see similar variation on the Boston ledger as they had a similarly short sample (and played in the same weather/stadium conditions). We really don't. We see a couple regulars (Renfroe and Arroyo) with an OPS drop of around 100 points, which is like 1 hit away from their normal level - and is nothing compared to what happened to the top 3 for Tampa Bay. The only one with a massive drop is Dalbec, albeit on 6 ABs. Again, I can't say how much of this is "Boston hitters did it" or "Tampa pitchers failed to do it", but it's a different profile from what we saw from the Tampa hitters.

To your point it's unclear if the Tampa lineup results were luck or the residue of design. I guess I'm entertaining the notion of the latter and trying to understand if there was a targeted effort to minimize the 3 who had difficulty rather than a lineup-wide thing. I'm not sure how such an approach would work against the Astros.
   48. SoSH U at work Posted: October 13, 2021 at 02:14 PM (#6046107)
And if they win, they should lose the next series.


The NL is halfway to that not being true.
   49. villageidiom Posted: October 13, 2021 at 02:15 PM (#6046108)
You've been posting at BBTF long enough to know that ANYTHING will be analyzed with ridiculous levels of precision given enough discussion.
Well, maybe 97.422% of things.
   50. villageidiom Posted: October 13, 2021 at 02:24 PM (#6046110)
The NL is halfway to that not being true.
If the World Series is Red Sox / Braves, then it will be the first time the Braves play a World Series game at Fenway Park as a visitor.
   51. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: October 13, 2021 at 02:48 PM (#6046114)
Per M-W
Definition of walk-off
: ending a baseball game immediately by causing the winning run to score for the home team in the bottom of the last inning
a walk-off homer
also : won by the home team in the bottom of the last inning
a walk-off win
   52. PJ Martinez Posted: October 13, 2021 at 03:30 PM (#6046133)
Like, if what happened to the Rays' top hitters is completely explainable by random variation in a short sample, then we should see similar variation on the Boston ledger as they had a similarly short sample (and played in the same weather/stadium conditions).
That doesn't really follow logically, does it? Just because there was random variation in one sample doesn't mean there will be random variation in another sample. (Which is not to say that what happened with the Rays' hitters was necessarily random variation! Just that it could be, regardless of what happened with the hitters on the Sox.)
   53. dave h Posted: October 13, 2021 at 04:29 PM (#6046146)
PJ is right that random variation will itself have random variation, so that some sets appear not to have any variation.

Also I feel like you all missed my link to the origin of "walk-off". It was used originally to mean a HR, but the "walking" referred to the losing pitcher. This makes some sense, as no one is walking - even an Ortiz game-winning HR trot was slightly above walking pace. Also, it being appealing and catchy but not 100% sensical is completely consistent with being coined by Eckersley!
   54. bunyon Posted: October 13, 2021 at 04:33 PM (#6046148)
123456789 can be generated by randomly selecting tiles of single digits.

The only way to prove the rays being shutdown in this series is with a larger sample. I get that there is desire to see pattern in short series that “count”. But doing so pretty much throws out everything we’ve learned about the game.

The Sox won. Feel good about it. Enjoy it. No need to imbue the victory with some larger mystical bull.
   55. Darren Posted: October 13, 2021 at 05:15 PM (#6046152)
But I like mystical bull!
   56. Textbook Editor Posted: October 13, 2021 at 05:32 PM (#6046156)
If the World Series is Red Sox / Braves, then it will be the first time the Braves play a World Series game at Fenway Park as a visitor.


And were this to come to pass, they'd be a visitor for Game 1 of the World Series because the Red Sox's winning percentage is higher than Atlanta's. Any other WS matchup would have the Red Sox on the road for Game 1 of the World Series for the first time since... 1946?
   57. bunyon Posted: October 13, 2021 at 05:40 PM (#6046157)
Mystical bull is very satisfying, Darren. No argument there.
   58. villageidiom Posted: October 13, 2021 at 05:42 PM (#6046158)
That doesn't really follow logically, does it? Just because there was random variation in one sample doesn't mean there will be random variation in another sample.
OK, yeah, yeah, I was abusing the term. There is variation in the Boston lineup, but there wasn't significant downward variation. In the Rays' lineup there was upward and downward, but the big downward moves were with their top 3 hitters (by OPS) in the regular season. I'm by no means saying it wasn't luck. I'm just wondering if what we're seeing is possibly the result of a targeted approach. The level of variation in the ALDS among the Rays' top regular season hitters is greater than what we'd see from random variation, and it's all negative. Like, in Lowe's at-bats he fell something like 4 singles, a double, and a HR shy of his regular season OPS. That's not random. It might not be caused by a targeted approach to him by Boston pitchers. I'm just pondering if it was.
   59. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 13, 2021 at 06:02 PM (#6046161)
The Sox won. Feel good about it. Enjoy it. No need to imbue the victory with some larger mystical bull.


Agree. It's a tiny sample of 4 games. The last 2 games could've gone either way and the Sox just made it happen when they needed to. I don't need Primer's insanely granular level of analysis to tell me that they got lucky in a few spots and managed to just get over the top.

That cake is getting frosted with more icing each day and I'm just enjoying that.
   60. Nasty Nate Posted: October 14, 2021 at 09:19 AM (#6046231)
And were this to come to pass, they'd be a visitor for Game 1 of the World Series because the Red Sox's winning percentage is higher than Atlanta's.
This would be awesome!
   61. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 14, 2021 at 09:23 AM (#6046233)
It'd be great to host the World Series but I feel like a Wild Card shouldn't host the WS unless both teams are Wild Cards.
   62. Nasty Nate Posted: October 14, 2021 at 09:41 AM (#6046236)
Wild card teams who had homefield advantage in the World Series against division winners include the 1997 Marlins, 2004 Red Sox, and 2011 Cardinals.
   63. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 14, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6046239)
Like I said, I'll take it but that shouldn't be the case.
   64. Nasty Nate Posted: October 14, 2021 at 09:49 AM (#6046242)
I hadn't really thought of it before, so I don't have an opinion. I was just curious about it happening in the past. Under the new rules, it is less likely.
   65. villageidiom Posted: October 14, 2021 at 11:13 AM (#6046264)
I think that once you win the pennant you've already demonstrated you're worthy. There are enough difficulties being a wild card team as it is, and overcoming those difficulties should not earn them more difficulties.

Nobody deserves HFA in the World Series. You could base it on interleague play results (or the ASG!) but AL teams have a structural advantage over NL teams, so that's not really fair. They should make it so you can't win the Series unless you can win 2 more games than your opponent. With that rule the only way there will be an imbalance of home/road games played is if a team wins 4 games to 1. It also means the potential for looooong Series, but that's just more baseball, which is good.
   66. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 14, 2021 at 11:38 AM (#6046274)
Per Cora Chris Sale will be in the rotation for the ALCS. No news about either team's starters for game one though.
   67. Nasty Nate Posted: October 14, 2021 at 11:47 AM (#6046278)
Random factoid: Chris Sale has more postseason relief appearances that Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina combined.
   68. pikepredator Posted: October 14, 2021 at 12:32 PM (#6046285)
I'm late to this one but a "mystical bull" is a minotaur and I agree that they are awesome. I'm also down with extra frosting on my cake. The random analogies are right up my alley.

I have today off. I work tomorrow. But man, why can't it be Friday today?
   69. Nasty Nate Posted: October 14, 2021 at 01:02 PM (#6046291)
I have today off. I work tomorrow. But man, why can't it be Friday today?
I am going away, and I don't think the rental house has a TV. So I think I will be listening to games 1 and 2 on the radio, old-school.
   70. Nasty Nate Posted: October 14, 2021 at 01:05 PM (#6046295)
Or can I stream them for free on my phone?
   71. Textbook Editor Posted: October 14, 2021 at 01:32 PM (#6046302)
Or can I stream them for free on my phone?


If you have MLB.tv, the radio feed is streamable for the playoffs on your phone, as far as I know/have experienced BUT... it might just be my stupidity or my stupid car, but when I went to connect the phone via USB cord to my car speakers (to run it through CarPlay) it wouldn't work... I suspect that might be because it disables all ability to "throw" the signal (TV or radio) to something else, but, still, it was damn annoying to list to the game on my iPhone's tinny speaker when I could have it playing though the car's...
   72. Nasty Nate Posted: October 14, 2021 at 01:51 PM (#6046310)
I dug out an actual FM radio from my attic. I will be in southern New Hampshire so I can pick up the Concord affiliate if not the actual Boston broadcast.
   73. SandyRiver Posted: October 14, 2021 at 02:04 PM (#6046315)
They should make it so you can't win the Series unless you can win 2 more games than your opponent.

On December 18th Houston wins the 46th WS game 6-1 for their 24th victory, clinching the title.
   74. villageidiom Posted: October 14, 2021 at 03:00 PM (#6046322)
On December 18th Houston wins the 46th WS game 6-1 for their 24th victory, clinching the title.
Exactly. Who wouldn't want 39 more baseball games between two competitive teams? It would be awesome.

If you want to speed up the schedule a bit more, once they get past 11 games played every 2 games thereafter will be held as a doubleheader. Either a team clinches in the early game, or a team takes a 1-game lead going into a travel day.

Or can I stream them for free on my phone?
If you have an MLB.tv subscription, then it's already not free. But if you do, you should be able to stream any game that you could also watch at home through your cable/satellite subscription. I watched most of Rays/Sox Game 4 live on my phone on Amtrak earlier this week. If it's on a network your provider doesn't carry, then the MLB.tv option won't work for watching the game, but at the LCS level I think the games are on channels carried by most providers. Regardless, MLB.tv subscribers can *always* get a streaming radio feed. Sometimes you can get four - any combination of home/visitor and English/Spanish.
   75. Nasty Nate Posted: October 14, 2021 at 03:16 PM (#6046329)
I knew I couldn't watch regular season without MLB.tv, but I didn't know if it was the same for the postseason.
   76. Darren Posted: October 14, 2021 at 03:49 PM (#6046338)
The whole point of the Wild Card, IMHO (I realize this is not how everyone feels), is to allow deserving teams who happen to be in tough divisions to get into the playoffs and compete with less deserving teams in easier divisions. Giving the team that actually won more games the home-field advantage would seem to follow the same spirit.
   77. Nasty Nate Posted: October 14, 2021 at 04:28 PM (#6046357)
3 years ago today was Game 2 of the ALCS vs Houston. Due to several factors, demand was down and I was able to get tickets that afternoon on StubHub for significantly less than face. The rest is history.
   78. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 14, 2021 at 06:15 PM (#6046382)
3 years ago today was Game 2 of the ALCS vs Houston


D*mn, has it been 3 whole years since the last championship? Well waiting any longer for another one is just not acceptable these days for these new-fangled, entitled Red Sox fans...we want more!

Jokes aside, this season has been quite a fun ride and as mentioned before, I'm just enjoying that thick layer of icing now on the 2021 season cake.
   79. Nasty Nate Posted: October 14, 2021 at 07:04 PM (#6046388)
Sale is Game 1 starter.
   80. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 14, 2021 at 07:27 PM (#6046396)
Let’s hope these stories about the Sox figuring out the problem are correct. MLB.com has Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia for games one and two.

Are we thinking any roster changes? The only one I can think of is someone coming in for Perez but I don’t think they will. If they carried him for a five gamer they’ll want someone who could potentially eat innings in a seven gamer.
   81. Nasty Nate Posted: October 14, 2021 at 07:42 PM (#6046399)
I'll be the one to say it: if McCullers is out, it's like Carpenter not being there in aught-four.
   82. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 14, 2021 at 08:13 PM (#6046405)

If you have MLB.tv, the radio feed is streamable for the playoffs on your phone, as far as I know/have experienced BUT... it might just be my stupidity or my stupid car, but when I went to connect the phone via USB cord to my car speakers (to run it through CarPlay) it wouldn't work... I suspect that might be because it disables all ability to "throw" the signal (TV or radio) to something else, but, still, it was damn annoying to list to the game on my iPhone's tinny speaker when I could have it playing though the car's...


That may have been a setting on your phone - when you plug it in to USB typically there are options for what the phone will do - charge only, media transfer, etc. Your phone could have been in charge only mode. Or there's a chance it was the USB cable - as asinine as it sounds, some USB cables charge only, they do not allow for data transfer. Ultimately, USB to phone connects are old school, shitty things, that do not work reliably.
   83. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 14, 2021 at 08:39 PM (#6046410)
The big one in 2004 to me was Steve Kline. Leaving the Cards with one decent LOOGY out there (Ray King) meant it was going to be a lot tougher for LaRussa to match his lefties to deal with Damon, Trot and Papi.

But yeah, that McCullers/Carpenter comp is a really good one I hadn’t considered. Good call.
   84. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: October 15, 2021 at 04:04 AM (#6046613)
Or can I stream them for free on my phone?

I can neither confirm nor deny the existance of ways to stream mlb games for free outside of mlbTV.
   85. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 15, 2021 at 12:58 PM (#6046671)
In terms of Sale, I am not dinging him for his performance coming back from TJ surgery, but his basic stats greatly overstate his effectiveness since his return. First of all, his nine starts have been against 7 below-.500 teams (BAL 3X, TEX, MIN, WAS, MIN) plus two games against Tampa. By far his most impressive outing of the season was on September 1st at Tampa, where he went 6 strong innings against a very good team, and the REd Sox won, 3-2.

In that other Tampa start the following week, he gave up 10 hits in 3+ innings, 4 runs (only one earned, though he was getting crushed).

There were two games where the team really needed him to come through when the playoffs were very much in doubt: at BAL, and then at WAS - and he struggled in both games.

It would not surprise me to see Sale used tonight once through the lineup, and at the first sign of decline, get pulled in the 3rd or 4th inning. Then, they'd use Pivetta or Houck if the game is competitive to try to get to the 7th innings, and then use bullpen guys to cobble together a win.

The dream scenario is for Sale to give them 5-6 good innings, and they could get out of Game 1 with a win without having to use Pivetta at all, and/or using Houck for more than an inning. The worst case reasonable scenario is where Sale just has nothing, and Cora is deciding whether to tryo to get another 5-inning outing from Pivetta or Houck, which would render them basically unavailable for a few games. That's what I call the "WTF is Martin Perez doing warming up in Game 3?!" Scenario.
   86. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 15, 2021 at 01:38 PM (#6046680)
SBPT - I think a big reason Sale is starting tonight is the uncertainty. With the three days off before today's game Cora goes in with a rested bullpen. Now if things fall apart he knows he has Eovaldi and a reasonable expectation of 6 innings tomorrow. Then Sale pitches game five (if it's on rotation) and in that case you have the off day the next day so again, Cora has some wiggle room there.
   87. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 15, 2021 at 01:53 PM (#6046681)
Sawamura and Darwinzon added, Barnes and Davis dropped. Still carrying 13 pitchers. Wouldn't have minded leaving one of Sawamura or Hernandez off and carrying a third catcher just in case.
   88. Textbook Editor Posted: October 15, 2021 at 08:33 PM (#6046752)
Doesn’t seem like Sale found much in that bullpen session.
   89. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 16, 2021 at 11:19 AM (#6046852)
Bit disappointing that one. That was a winnable game. Wasn't expecting a sweep of course so just get at it tonight.
   90. Bad Fish Posted: October 16, 2021 at 12:01 PM (#6046861)
Sale looked like he was getting his feel back by the end of the start...maybe wishful thinking, but he seemed like he was contending more at bats with competitive pitches, especially against righties, so perhaps the start wasn't a lost cause.

They got a little unlucky with the DP's in the first two innings and did a poor job of converting opportunities and mistakes by the Astros, maybe one could make the same observation about Houston. The passed ball in the 1st came at about the worst time, cost them a run and took the DP off the table. I agree with criticism of the Santana substitution, I'd rather roll the dice with Renfroe....a little less so with Shaw, but I suppose Cora has to show confidence in everyone on the bench except Dalbec.
   91. pikepredator Posted: October 16, 2021 at 12:37 PM (#6046866)
Kind of a strange game in that a play here or there could've turned it into a rout for either Houston or Boston. Both teams had plenty of chances to put that game away, but didn't. So on the one hand it's too bad to let a close one get away, but on the other, I'm glad it remained a close one throughout.
   92. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 16, 2021 at 08:38 PM (#6046984)
It remains fun!!!!

Would have been nice to blow it out completely and give Raffy a few innings off but minor complaint there. I really liked Cora going to Whitlock for the 7th. Don’t wait for the Astros to make it squirrely, try to smother the game right then and there. Lot better to go in that order than have Darwinzon give up a couple of runs in the 7th then have to use Brasier and Whitlock in a tighter game.
   93. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 16, 2021 at 08:51 PM (#6046985)
This team man, I don't know, there's something about this team. 2 salamis in the same game, who does that? Oh that's right, no one but us, ever.

That cake keeps getting layers of icing...and I really like icing. Like, for real, I once ate an entire can of that Betty Crocker icing in a tin.
   94. Nasty Nate Posted: October 16, 2021 at 10:00 PM (#6046989)
That cake keeps getting layers of icing...and I really like icing.
Other teams had the buzz. But I say let the bees have the buzz, I want the honey.
   95. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 17, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6047009)
   96. Bad Fish Posted: October 17, 2021 at 02:24 PM (#6047016)
Have to think coming out of Houston tied up and with the Astro's starting pitching in shambles, the RS have a structural advantage moving forward. Game 3 starter is probably Irquidy, and then some combo of 40-50 Greinke pitches and the bullpen, Valdez on short rest, Odorizzi on short rest, or Garcia if his knee isn't bugging him? Crappy options all, when it's win or go home and all those punched tickets reverberate back to Houston, should it go that far. If Irquidy doesn't give them some length tomorrow, they should be on their heals the rest of the way.
   97. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 17, 2021 at 04:19 PM (#6047019)
I see this final four as the supremely-talented Dodgers versus three teams that are trying to survive-and-advance every night, and will figure out tomorrow after tonight's game. In a situation like that, I think the Red Sox have shown the best ability to treat every game like its own adventure, and not overthink two games from now.

Questions I have going forward:
- Do folks here think Dalbec has a role to play in this series? Renfroe seems like the guy in the lineup who is struggling right now, but the Astros have very few lefties who are going to get innings, certainly as starters. Also, an outfield of Schwarber-Kike-Martinez is pretty awful...OK, I'm talking myself out of it. I don't think Dalbec is really any faster than Schwaber, BTW, and I get frustrated when they take out Schwarber in the 7th inning or later if he gets on base for Dalbec as a pinch runner. Is it related to preventing a hamstring injury again, or do they think Dalbec's superior speed and defense is worth the risk of losing Schwarber's bat for a potential additional PA?

- What is the best way to use Sale from here on in? Do they make him a Game 4 or 5 starter, since he has thrown so few pitches lately? He has thrown a total of 153 pitches (over three starts) since September 28th. Or do they just say, "You're our opener. You are going to pitch to no more than nine guys, and then we take you out." The problem there is that the Astros don't have a platoon-heavy lineup - the guys they have are playing, no matter what arm the opposing pitcher uses (unlike Tampa).

- I can't believe I am saying this, but would you now say that Perez is currently no worse than the 3rd-scariest pitcher on the Red Sox, from a fan perspective? Sawamura and Darwinzon Hernandez are indescribably awful right now to watch. Robles is pretty ulcer-inducing, too. Wow - Perez may actually be only the 4th-worse option right now.

Right now it is:
Feeling good: Eovaldi, Whitlock, Brasier, Pivetta
Feeling OK: Taylor, ERod
What should I feel?: Houck, Ottavino (has he gotten enough rest that he's pretty reliable now?)
Feeling not confident: Robles, Perez, Sale, Austin Davis
This is terrible, I cannot watch: Hernandez, Sawamura

   98. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 17, 2021 at 04:42 PM (#6047020)
#97.

I'm not a fan of the Schwarber switch, but with a big lead, it's probably worth it as Dalbec is better with the leather. In a close game, where I might need Kyle's bat again, no way I make the switch. Jose and et al disagree and can offer more insight into their position on this one.

As for the pitching overall, I look at it at like this. Houston is batting Correa, Tucker and Gurriel 5th, 6th and 7th. That is a scary, good lineup and any staff, ever, would struggle against the depth of that. 5 runs is really the key. The Sox just need to score 5 or more runs in each game and they'll win the series as I think Houston is guaranteed to get at least 4 a game.

Houston's pitching is probably the worse of the 4 teams left right now and the way the Sox are hitting, I would not be surprised if they get 7 or more runs in another game or 2.

I would let Sale start another game(maybe he figures some more stuff out) and treat him like an opener, but gee if he's looking solid, let him roll into the 5th if you can.

I am NOT a Perez fan and every time he is on the bump, I see that as white towel in the ring type of thing. Sawamura and Hernandez should not be given the ball unless the Sox are either up or down by 6 or more and it's in the last 2 innings. They are as effective as a position player pitching right now.

   99. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 17, 2021 at 05:14 PM (#6047021)
re: Dalbec - I don’t see he has much of a role right now. To be clear I wouldn’t take out Schwarber to put in Dalbec either, I just understand the thinking and don’t think it’s a terrible move. Dalbec IS faster than Schwarber and more importantly in those situations he IS better defensively than Schwarber which says more about Schwarber than Dalbec.

re: Sale - I think you just keep rolling him out there and accept that he’s not going much more than once through and hope he is adequate. It’s not like he’s pitching so well in his short stints that I think we can expect him to suddenly become a great reliever. It’s a bullpen game with him starting and if he has it going on and goes deeper, great.

re: the pitching I still put Perez last in terms of guys I want to see in a key spot. I’m not sold on Darwinzon or Sawamura right now either but at least they have electric stuff that might work. They are kind of like the pitching equivalent of first half Dalbec. Yeah they aren’t doing well but maybe they hit one 500 feet. Perez is just first half Marwin Gonzalez, he’s not very good. I genuinely don’t understand Sawamura and Hernandez. They have amazing stuff, but they just get creamed.* For me;

Feeling Good: Eovaldi, Whitlock, Brasier, Pivetta, Houck
Feeling OK: EdRod, Ottavino, Robles, Taylor
What Should I feel: Sale
Feeling Not Confident: Hernandez
This is terrible: Perez, Sawamura

re: Astros pitching - I think we should be careful about being too critical. I’m a big Framber Valdez fan and expect him to be good in game five. I get a real Bruce Hurst vibe from him.

* Hernandez and Sawamura remind me of a 10 year old kid I coach only they give up a lot of hard contact. This kid Mason pitched for me Friday night and he had about a two hour inning on the mound. He’s a big kid and throws really hard but is never quite sure where it’s going (not unlike Darwinzon). He throws so hard he couldn’t get a weak grounder because the kids couldn’t make any contact. It just came down to “can Mason throw three strikes in six pitches. In the end he gave up two runs on four walks, two strikeouts and and wild pitch that the catcher tagged the runner trying to score. I could live if Darwinzon or Sawamura would do that but they get hit a lot harder than you’d think they would.
   100. Textbook Editor Posted: October 17, 2021 at 10:22 PM (#6047050)
As long as they don't get cute with Hernandez and Sawamura, I'm fine with them throwing in an 8-0 or 8-1 game (or 9-3 in the 9th inning).

I am somewhat worried the more the Astros see Whitlock/Houck, the more they might be able to tee off on them.

I would guess at this point Pivetta starts Game 4, though given his success out of the bullpen, I could also see them using an opener and going to Pivetta, thinking if he pitches innings 3-7 that might be better than 1-5, but I'm sure they're asking him what would make him more comfortable and just going with that.

If Sale then goes in Game 5, that leaves Eovaldi for 6 and EdRod for 7, though naturally depending on the # of pitches Pivetta could factor into 6 or 7.

But really, from here on out I would assume they with the WS by just outslugging teams, not with stellar pitching.
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