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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 Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 11, 2021 at 10:40 PM | 195 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Textbook Editor Posted: October 17, 2021 at 10:24 PM (#6047051)
#100--Richards? I mean, probably not but outside of Barnes he's the only other guy I could think of.

Like I said, gotta win 8-6 games.
   102. Monadnock Posted: October 18, 2021 at 09:11 AM (#6047110)
Is the most likely outcome of the World Series now Red Sox over Braves? (Not to get ahead of ourselves.)
   103. bunyon Posted: October 18, 2021 at 10:39 AM (#6047131)
102: Certainly seems that way. The Astros pitching is a wreck and Boston has homefield. I think LA is still capable of coming back on ATL but odds are against it.

Boston would have HFA in the WS and is a better team.

But that outcome still isn't anything like 50%.
   104. SoSH U at work Posted: October 18, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6047133)
Boston would have HFA in the WS and is a better team.


So if the Braves meet the Red Sox, Atlanta would only have HFA against the team that won 106 games, but lose it to one division winner and one wildcard, each of whom had 10-plus fewer wins than the Dodgers.
   105. bunyon Posted: October 18, 2021 at 11:06 AM (#6047140)
Yep
   106. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 18, 2021 at 11:06 AM (#6047141)
We are a LONG way from any of that. The Braves are in good shape but as Darling noted after the game last night all they've done is win their home games. As Bob Ryan says a post-season series doesn't start until the road team wins a game.

I also quibble with the Sox being better than the Braves. I think in general people are sleeping on the Braves, they are a really good team. I think they are better than their record this year. The lineup is deep and the rotation is really good.
   107. bunyon Posted: October 18, 2021 at 11:07 AM (#6047142)
The playoffs are much more about who is hot and healthy than long term team talent. So those seeds aren't wildly off.

Basically, what we learn, is that the regular season means #### all if you get to the playoffs.
   108. bunyon Posted: October 18, 2021 at 11:09 AM (#6047143)
I also quibble with the Sox being better than the Braves. I think in general people are sleeping on the Braves, they are a really good team. I think they are better than their record this year. The lineup is deep and the rotation is really good.

Maybe, but they won far fewer games than anyone else in the playoffs and were in one of the weaker divisions. They're playing well right now, as are the Sox. I don't think either of them are in hailing distance of being the best team this year but Braves/Sox would probably be the most entertaining WS we could still get. Houston and LA seem to be losing wheels on the regular.
   109. villageidiom Posted: October 18, 2021 at 02:04 PM (#6047185)
I think in general people are sleeping on the Braves, they are a really good team. I think they are better than their record this year. The lineup is deep and the rotation is really good.

Maybe, but they won far fewer games than anyone else in the playoffs and were in one of the weaker divisions.
I think you could make a decent case that the 2021 Braves are a bit like the 2014 Royals, in that they really became their "real" selves in the last couple of months of the season. There was a lot of talk back then that the Royals were really just a fluke, but not only did they play well enough to win the pennant that year they won it again the next year. (They are the most recent back-to-back pennant winner in the AL. Huh.)
   110. bunyon Posted: October 18, 2021 at 04:40 PM (#6047234)
Sure. I guess the thing I don't get about all the focus on short parts of the season (or even shorter series in the playoffs) about how this is now the "real" team is that the one thing we've learned over the years is that we need really large samples to measure things in baseball. I think it's a lot more likely the Braves really are a ~90-ish win team who has played well at the right time than that they are some sort of juggernaut just coming together.

And, you know, 90-ish win teams are good. I'm not saying they're not. If the Braves win two more games, they have a very good chance of being World Champions. They had a decent chance at the start of the playoffs just by being in the playoffs. I don't think we can learn more than that. Sure, if they win 105 games next year, maybe they were better than an 88 win team at the end of 2021.

In the end, though, I'm more impressed with winning 92 games in the AL East than 88 in the NL East. I think both Boston and Atlanta, if lined up against their LCS opponents with both teams at full strength and healthy, would be underdogs. That's not how things worked out.
   111. SoSH U at work Posted: October 18, 2021 at 05:22 PM (#6047240)
Sure. I guess the thing I don't get about all the focus on short parts of the season (or even shorter series in the playoffs) about how this is now the "real" team is that the one thing we've learned over the years is that we need really large samples to measure things in baseball


True, but it's also undeniable that teams can change considerably from April to September, for a variety of reasons (injuries, trades, call-ups, etc.). That the Braves had the least impressive season of the teams in the playoffs and may be much better right now than an 88-win team can both be true.
   112. villageidiom Posted: October 18, 2021 at 05:46 PM (#6047246)
I think it's a lot more likely the Braves really are a ~90-ish win team who has played well at the right time than that they are some sort of juggernaut just coming together.
Absent any information, yes.

Of the Braves' 66 at-bats in the NLCS so far, players they acquired in July (Pederson, Rosario, Duvall) have accounted for 33% of their at-bats, 42% of their RBIs, and 50% of their hits. That's a two-game sample and not meaningful nor projectable and blah blah blah. But it's illustrative of the fact that the Braves team playing right now is a materially different team than the one that was around before they "played well at the right time". They have a much deeper lineup than what they fielded for close to four months.
   113. villageidiom Posted: October 18, 2021 at 05:48 PM (#6047248)
I mean, the main point is that I don't think Boston's chances are that great against the Dodgers or the Braves, but if we ever get to find out how Boston would fare it would be because they will have made it to the World Series, and that would be awesome.
   114. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 18, 2021 at 06:19 PM (#6047250)
Is the most likely outcome of the World Series now Red Sox over Braves?


Whoa son, everybody slow the f*ck down. I'm probably one of the more positive thinking Red Sox fans out there, but this is getting waaay ahead of ourselves. You can pretty much guarantee that Astro's lineup with put up 4-5 runs per game. The Sox still have to score enough to beat these guys. It's a big ask. Sure their pitching appears brittle, but you can have a game or 2 where the team will cream the ball and make like 10 loud outs. It happens. The Astro's defense catches a lot of balls. If the Astros hit the ball hard...well our defence...not so good.

Some players on the Dodgers are scuffling a little bit at the dish, I do not expect that to last. Also, for a team that appeared to have a set playoff rotation, outside of Walker, the usage so far is odd. Bringing in Urias yesterday seemed strange to me and only using Max for 4 and a bit, seemed a waste. Guy hangs one breaking ball, pays the price and you eventually remove him after 70 odd pitches? Dude is a horse and really should've been allowed to keep going until he got into serious trouble. Then you feel you need to bring in Urias to cover more innings? It was odd managing.

I expect to see the Dodgers in the WS.
   115. bunyon Posted: October 18, 2021 at 07:02 PM (#6047256)
I expect to see the Dodgers in the WS.

I think the Sox fans are definitely ahead of themselves at 1-1. Yes, it looks good, but long way to go.

I won't be shocked if LA comes back but it's a tall order. They're banged up and have weirdly blown their biggest advantage. I think predicting a 2-0 comeback is underestimating Atlanta. And I'm the Braves fan who has been consistently predicting their doom.
   116. villageidiom Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:01 AM (#6047347)
I read somewhere this evening that there have only been 13 grand slams in ALCS history. Boston has 8 of them. The first five were in 2004, 2007, 2013 (x2), and 2018. I think those years have something else in common.

Just for fun, can you name the five players?
   117. Textbook Editor Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:01 AM (#6047348)
Well, to use the phrase the kids are using these days, that was fun.
   118. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:02 AM (#6047349)
Fun continues!
   119. John DiFool2 Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:02 AM (#6047350)
Make that 2-1.

I love the 3-0 go by Schwarb.
   120. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:03 AM (#6047351)
Damon, Drew, Ortiz, Victorino, Bradley
   121. John DiFool2 Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:03 AM (#6047352)
I know Damon was 2004. Drew 2007. Others escape me at the moment.
   122. villageidiom Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:11 AM (#6047353)
Jose got them, in the proper order.
   123. Textbook Editor Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:30 AM (#6047354)
I was attending a very rare "get a babysitter, the parents are going out!" party when Drew hit the grand slam; it was on the TV and I immediately turned to my wife and said "I think everything regarding Drew is now forgiven for eternity in Boston."

Fun to consider the alternate universe where the Yankees get Schwarber and the Red Sox get Rizzo. Something tells me the Red Sox got who they wanted and the Yankees got who they wanted. It's interesting how it's worked out.

Years like this I always think about the various statements Bill James has made over the years to the effect that while considering the "numbers" etc. certainly goes into player acquisition, a fair bit regarding clubhouse dynamics is also considered. Sure, when teams are winning it's hard to know whether it's just the players being good or some mystical clubhouse energy that's giving that extra little edge... but I've always felt it was interesting that James does seem to make mention of this quite a bit.
   124. Textbook Editor Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:32 AM (#6047355)
I love the 3-0 go by Schwarb.


I missed the stat the TV was saying--something like Schwarber was 0-15 when swinging 3-0... but I didn't catch whether that was for the season or for his career... If the latter, that's just amazing. If the former, I'm somewhat surprised he swung at 3-0 pitches 15 times in 2021; that seems like a high number to me.

In any case, it seemed like an interesting stat either way. I would have guessed most MLB'ers would swing 3-0 only a handful of times per season (on average).
   125. Jay Seaver Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:46 AM (#6047356)
a fair bit regarding clubhouse dynamics is also considered. Sure, when teams are winning it's hard to know whether it's just the players being good or some mystical clubhouse energy that's giving that extra little edge...


I mentioned in the Chatter that I really hope they find a way to keep Iglesias around next year, because he really did seem to fit into the group extremely well, which is not exactly what I expected (I seem to recall stories of attitude problems in previous stops). Maybe a lot of that is Cora - they gush over him in the broadcasts, but he really does seem to know how to keep everyone pointed in the right direction.
   126. villageidiom Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:53 AM (#6047357)
I was attending a very rare "get a babysitter, the parents are going out!" party when Drew hit the grand slam; it was on the TV and I immediately turned to my wife and said "I think everything regarding Drew is now forgiven for eternity in Boston."
I was in the bleachers that night, and yelled out "all is forgiven if you hit it out right now" as he was coming to the plate. So, uh, yeah.
   127. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:15 AM (#6047359)
I would have guessed most MLB'ers would swing 3-0 only a handful of times per season


True. IIRC, Walt pulled stats on this before and hitters usually do exceedingly well when swinging on 3-0. I'm not good at pulling data, but someone else here might find it easily or we could use either Walt or one of those bobm charts to help us out.

This team man, this team....
   128. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: October 19, 2021 at 06:34 AM (#6047362)
I missed the stat the TV was saying--something like Schwarber was 0-15 when swinging 3-0... but I didn't catch whether that was for the season or for his career... If the latter, that's just amazing. If the former, I'm somewhat surprised he swung at 3-0 pitches 15 times in 2021; that seems like a high number to me.

PAs that ended on the 3-0 count, Schwarber was 0 for 0 with 14 walks. Never put the ball in play on 3-0. Think that must have been what they were going for. He has 30 PA total that went to 3-0. Not sure what percentage of the remaining 16 he swung at, but doubt it was 15 of them.
   129. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 19, 2021 at 07:45 AM (#6047367)
The Red Sox strike me as the guy in boxing who has his opponents on the ropes, and is basically a big punch away from knocking the opponent out.

The bullpen couldn't be a lot more rested:

Last night, the three bullpen innings were by two guys that aren't going to see a meaningful inning the rest of this year (Perez and Sawamura) and a guy who is probably not much better (Robles).
The day before was an off day.
The day before that, four relievers were used: Hernandez isn't getting near a meaningful inning; Ottavino threw 18 pitches; Brasier threw 4 pitches; Whitlock threw 33 pitches.

So Houck hasn't pitched since Friday; Whitlock could throw at least an inning tonight; Brasier has thrown 11 pitches since October 11th, total. Taylor hasn't pitched in a while; Ottavino (who seems sort of rejuvenated?) can throw an inning tonight.

If Pivetta can give them even 4+ good innings tonight, you have to feel good about their chances to make a lead stick, because they can use their three best relievers (Whitlock, Houck, Brasier) for four innings tonight, if needed. Then they can use Taylor and Ottavino to cobble together another inning or so. After that, the bullpen gets sketchy pretty quick...but because of the last two games, that lack of depth in the bullpen has not been challenged.
   130. bunyon Posted: October 19, 2021 at 08:16 AM (#6047370)
Momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher…

Yeah, the stros are cooked.
   131. Textbook Editor Posted: October 19, 2021 at 08:57 AM (#6047373)
I actually think Greinke is gonna pitch better than most people anticipate. I don’t suspect this will be easy by any stretch. And really we don’t know which Pivetta is going to show up.

Lotta variables over the next 4 games. I feel good about Eovaldi and EdRod so we should have multiple cracks at getting 2 more wins but man I’d really prefer not to have to go back to Houston.
   132. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 09:20 AM (#6047379)
I'm with TE, Greinke is a bad matchup for the Sox right now. The Sox are turning around fastballs like it's BP. A scenario where Greinke twists them into knots isn't hard to imagine and Nick Pivetta is Nick Pivetta.

I feel really good about where the Sox are obviously. They are playing great right now. At the same time the same people declaring that the Sox have this in the bag are by and large the same people who were declaring they had no chance 5 days ago. This series is 2-1, it can turn around fast.
   133. villageidiom Posted: October 19, 2021 at 09:23 AM (#6047381)
Greinke is a wild card to me. There are a lot of reasons to think he can make this work. There are a lot of reasons to think he won't last past the first inning. So instead I go back to the original prognosis: Boston will probably lose this series. But they could win it...
   134. bunyon Posted: October 19, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6047385)
Everyone gets to be the fan they want to be.

But, you've seen your team win 4 world series in the last 17 years. They've won a lot of other postseason series and they've consistently competed for the division. They've outscored Houston 21-8 the last two games. If you can only must "they could win it" at this point, I wonder if you can ever really be happy (with the team).


Greinke hasn't been right since he had covid. I think there is a better chance of another Sox grand slam tonight than Greinke having a strong outing.
   135. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 10:27 AM (#6047391)
I'm not sure what makes you think "they could win it" doesn't indicate immense happiness. I can honestly say;

1. I generally agree with vi's sentiment (though I'd disagree with "probably lose this series")
2. I am enjoying this probably more than any other playoff run probably because of that mindset.

Would you rather us blathering on about how the Cheating Astros are toast and the only question is if the Sox are going to sweep the World Series or win it in five? Arrogance is not a good luck IMHO. I'm enjoying the hell out of this, I feel confident that the team is playing great. I'm also realistic enough to know that things change, fast, in a post-season series. Has any team ever looked more dominant than the 2004 Yankees that had a 3-0 lead after a 19-8 win? How about the 2007 Indians who were up 3-1? Or the 2011 Red Sox who were in first place on a 100+ win pace on August 31?

If you think Sox fans aren't happy right now I can assure you that you are wrong. There is a positivity around this team that I don't remember for a very long time, if ever.
   136. villageidiom Posted: October 19, 2021 at 10:33 AM (#6047395)
Greinke hasn't been right since he had covid.
The same sentence has been uttered multiple times this season about the pitcher who gave Boston a quality start within the last 15 hours.
If you can only must "they could win it" at this point, I wonder if you can ever really be happy (with the team).
I am incredibly happy about this team, and if they don't win another game this year I will still be incredibly happy about this team. I'm just saying if Greinke can conjure up a win this series can take a really quick turn, and although Boston clearly has a big advantage with a 2-1 lead it takes just one Houston win for the Astros to retake home field advantage. Houston is an exceptionally good team, and Boston *can* beat them, and certainly has the opportunity. But "can" and "will" are very different things, even now.
   137. Darren Posted: October 19, 2021 at 10:44 AM (#6047396)
If you can only must "they could win it" at this point, I wonder if you can ever really be happy (with the team).


This you?:
I think the Sox fans are definitely ahead of themselves at 1-1. Yes, it looks good, but long way to go.


14 hours ago we were getting ahead of ourselves by looking forward to the World Series matchup, now we're not happy enough if we say 'they could win it.'


Hard to keep up! :)

   138. Nasty Nate Posted: October 19, 2021 at 10:49 AM (#6047398)
In conclusion, Sox Therapy is a land of contrasts.
   139. pikepredator Posted: October 19, 2021 at 10:59 AM (#6047402)
There's way too much history in my head to look at "Grienke v. Pivetta" and think "Sweet, the Sox TOTALLY have the upper hand tonight." A once-great pitcher always has the potential for a fantastic start . . . especially one like Grienke, who has so many different kinds of ways to pitch well. He's a tricky pitcher to scout . . . I could see him having the Astros faux-scout him, and then pitch backwards from that just to mess with expectations.

I feel great about the way the Sox are hitting, about the loose way in which they're playing and agree that this attitude has transferred to the fans, who (at least the batch I know) are enjoying every inning as it comes and appreciating how unlikely it is that the Sox are in this position. The bullpen is ready to jump into action and throw a lot of innings if need be over the next two games. And my fiancee is buried with work - which sucks, but means I can once again sink into to Castiglione calling tonight's game while I chop pears and process other fruits of our outdoor labors (pun most definitely intended).


   140. Textbook Editor Posted: October 19, 2021 at 11:28 AM (#6047407)
and Nick Pivetta is Nick Pivetta.


My nephew is a Phillies fan, and based on some of his past comments on the Nick Pivetta experience, I'm sure he feels like he's in bizzaro-land right now with the way Boston feels about Nick Pivetta, Slayer of Batters.
   141. Textbook Editor Posted: October 19, 2021 at 11:32 AM (#6047409)
Has any team ever looked more dominant than the 2004 Yankees that had a 3-0 lead after a 19-8 win?


I can assure you that post-Game 3 2004 ALCS was the lowest point of my entire Red Sox fandom stretching back to the early 1980s. Lower than after Game 6 of the 1986 WS. My dominant thought was that perhaps, like Billy Beane, our #### was never going to work in the playoffs. Life can change on a dime.
   142. Bad Fish Posted: October 19, 2021 at 11:54 AM (#6047412)
Even if Grienke is the reincarnation of Bob Gibson he is only stretched out to 40 or 50 pitches, so he can't be good for more than 3 or 4 innings, tops.

Yesterday was the litmus for Astro's starters and they failed, right now we have a non-trivial pitching advantage relative to both starters and relievers, and one more win.

Anything can happen, but we are in a very good position to be in the WS in a few days.
   143. Darren Posted: October 19, 2021 at 11:59 AM (#6047414)
There's way too much history in my head to look at "Grienke v. Pivetta" and think "Sweet, the Sox TOTALLY have the upper hand tonight." A once-great pitcher always has the potential for a fantastic start


This is how I feel, especially since Greinke isn't some Steve Carleton type hanging around way too long--he was actually quite good as recently as the first half of this season!

   144. villageidiom Posted: October 19, 2021 at 11:59 AM (#6047415)
I can assure you that post-Game 3 2004 ALCS was the lowest point of my entire Red Sox fandom stretching back to the early 1980s.
My brother and I stayed at Fenway for the entire game. It was miserable. We also made the mistake of taking the T to the game. What they do on the T is for the last run of the night they had trains sitting at the downtown stations waiting for all inbound green line trains to arrive, and all passengers to make their transfers, before they depart. We sat on an orange line train to Oak Grove at Downtown Crossing waiting for 45 minutes before the train started moving. After that horrible game it just made things worse to be delayed that much. We didn't get home until something like 2 hours after the game ended.

We didn't take any chances for Game 4. We drove and parked on a street in Brookline. Surely that game wouldn't run long.
   145. Nasty Nate Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:02 PM (#6047418)
Even if Grienke is the reincarnation of Bob Gibson he is only stretched out to 40 or 50 pitches, so he can't be good for more than 3 or 4 innings, tops.
Hypothetically, I suppose they had time after beating the White Sox for him to throw a lot in practice or a simulated game. They knew pretty much right away that McCullers was hurt.
   146. Monadnock Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:52 PM (#6047444)
I don't think it's unreasonable to say that the prospects of the Red Sox have shifted a bit since the League Championship Series began. When they beat the Yankees, the consensus was that the team had already given us more than we could have reasonably hoped. It was great that they were still playing, but Tampa Bay, Houston, and Los Angeles were all significantly better teams that stood between them and a championship. Now the first of those teams is gone, and the other two are in positions of disadvantage. The chances of the Red Sox winning the pennant and moving on to face a more or less equal opponent in the World Series are greater than they were last week. There's certainly no guarantee that those things will happen. Unlikely things frequently happen, and likely things fail to happen, and the margins of probability (which a lot of people on this site are better able to calculate than can I) are slim. But I think it's reasonable that my hopes and expectations have shifted in a small but qualitative way along with the fortunes of the team. And since, in this case, my expectations can hurt no one other than myself, I'll willingly get ahead of myself, if that's how people want to characterize it.
   147. Textbook Editor Posted: October 19, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6047446)
Surely that game wouldn't run long.


God, as they say, laughs at our "plans."

Looking at the box score again for Game 3... I am struggling to recall why Alan Embree would have been used in that game. It was 13-6 at the start of the 7th inning and somehow one of the 3 best relievers makes it into the game? I honestly blacked out much of that game, but that was puzzling to me looking at it again, as it seems insane you'd even warm up Embree at that point, let alone use him.

And looking back again, I did not recall Mike Meyers soaked up the last 2 innings of Game 3, plus appeared in G4 & G5... I recalled the latter 2 games, had completely forgotten about G3. Much is made of Wakefield soaking up innings in G3, but Meyers also helped as well.

It wouldn't at all surprise me for Greinke to eephus-pitch his way through 5 innings allowing only 2 runs and for Pivetta to go pumpkin. 'Tis the season for NARRATIVE.
   148. bunyon Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:02 PM (#6047452)

Anything can happen, but we are in a very good position to be in the WS in a few days.


Yes, that seems the appropriate feeling. To me "they could win it" is what you say at 1-1 or 0-0 or 2-2. At 2-1 with your opponent's pitching in tatters, you're a lot better off than "they could win it". I get that it's all gravy and it feels like they've overachieved, but I'd have to think not reaching the WS at this point would be a disappointment.

I'm a Braves fan and share a lot of the sentiment you guys have. I've discounted the Braves all year. However, up 2-0 in the LCS, I think they should go to the WS (where they will be heavy dogs to the juggernaut from the Northeast).

Situations change. Yes, the Astros could come back. But there is no way the Sox aren't favorites now.
   149. bunyon Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:05 PM (#6047454)
And, in case it's not clear from tone, I'm not annoyed or judging anyone. It's conversation. There isn't a Braves room (I don't think?) and I like talking baseball, especially this time of year.

I wonder which feels better? Blowing your opponent out in stunning, historic fashion or winning two walkoffs in a row?
   150. Nasty Nate Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6047455)
Looking at the box score again for Game 3... I am struggling to recall why Alan Embree would have been used in that game. It was 13-6 at the start of the 7th inning and somehow one of the 3 best relievers makes it into the game? I honestly blacked out much of that game, but that was puzzling to me looking at it again, as it seems insane you'd even warm up Embree at that point, let alone use him.
I guess it was either him, Timlin, or a position player to combine with Myers for the last 7 outs. They had already used Mendoza etc.
   151. Darren Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6047456)
And, in case it's not clear from tone, I'm not annoyed or judging anyone. It's conversation. There isn't a Braves room (I don't think?) and I like talking baseball, especially this time of year.


Totally understood and I feel the same way, just having a fun conversation about our teams.
   152. Darren Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6047457)
Looking at the box score again for Game 3... I am struggling to recall why Alan Embree would have been used in that game. It was 13-6 at the start of the 7th inning and somehow one of the 3 best relievers makes it into the game? I honestly blacked out much of that game, but that was puzzling to me looking at it again, as it seems insane you'd even warm up Embree at that point, let alone use him.


Wrong game, sorry.
   153. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:14 PM (#6047458)
Looking at the box score again for Game 3... I am struggling to recall why Alan Embree would have been used in that game. It was 13-6 at the start of the 7th inning and somehow one of the 3 best relievers makes it into the game? I honestly blacked out much of that game, but that was puzzling to me looking at it again, as it seems insane you'd even warm up Embree at that point, let alone use him.


The Sox had already burned Mendoza, Leskanic and Wakefield at that point and presumably didn't want to use Arroyo in case he was needed to start (I don't think anyone at that point knew what Schilling could or could not do). So the options there were; Foulke, Myers, Embree and Timlin. So Wake came out with the score 13-6 and two outs in the 7th. Obviously not a likely comeback but you takes your chances. Ideally Embree comes in, gets the last out and if you don't come back it's Myers to absorb the last two. Instead Embree got slapped around but only threw 14 pitches. Myers hadn't pitched 2.1 innings since 1999 so the Sox were probably thinking they were going to need a couple of outs from one of the three main relievers there.

Hadn't looked back at that game in awhile. What a wild one that was.
   154. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:16 PM (#6047460)
I wonder which feels better? Blowing your opponent out in stunning, historic fashion or winning two walkoffs in a row?


Probably the walk offs. It's such a cathartic release. You'd rather win in the blowout but when it's over the walkoff/tight game is better. It's like 2004, I would have much preferred the Sox sweeping the first four with no game closer than six runs but having gone through it, that was the best possible way to beat the Yankees.
   155. pikepredator Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:18 PM (#6047461)
I'd have to think not reaching the WS at this point would be a disappointment.


I can see why you'd think that . . . for some reason, it just isn't like that for me. I keep wondering if/when expectations will creep into my thinking, and so far it just hasn't happened. I'm still 100% enjoying each game as it comes. I'm not trying to sound like some neo-Buddhist or anything; I'm surprised by my own level of satisfaction with what has happened and lack of concern for what's to come, come what may.
   156. Nasty Nate Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:18 PM (#6047462)
The Sox had already burned Mendoza, Leskanic and Wakefield at that point and presumably didn't want to use Arroyo in case he was needed to start
Also, Arroyo had started that game!
   157. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:21 PM (#6047463)
Right, also a good reason not to use Arroyo.
   158. Darren Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:53 PM (#6047469)
I get that it's all gravy and it feels like they've overachieved, but I'd have to think not reaching the WS at this point would be a disappointment.


In a sense, sure. But you sort of alluded to why most of us aren't particularly disappointed in your earlier post. 4 championships in 17 years, and the success this year has been a surprise. If they lose at this stage, yeah, I wish they had made it further. But we're already spoiled. It's hard to get too upset with our lot as fans.
   159. Textbook Editor Posted: October 19, 2021 at 01:58 PM (#6047474)
The status of Lowe going into G4 of the 2004 ALCS is not unlike Greinke in Game 4 tonight; I think that's why to me it still feels like anything could happen.
   160. bunyon Posted: October 19, 2021 at 02:13 PM (#6047480)
Anything could definitely happen. Part of me thinks Greinke should just let up even more. 88mph fastballs, 75 mph changeups. Take it easy, aim to go 7. He definitely can't blow it by anyone.
   161. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 02:25 PM (#6047485)
In a sense, sure. But you sort of alluded to why most of us aren't particularly disappointed in your earlier post. 4 championships in 17 years, and the success this year has been a surprise. If they lose at this stage, yeah, I wish they had made it further. But we're already spoiled. It's hard to get too upset with our lot as fans.


I think the one other thing is that this team feels like the beginning rather than a culmination. Bloom is looking like he's a keeper and Cora obviously is too. The farm system is thriving and the Sox look like they are hitting a window of serious competitiveness. One of the things that made 2003 so heartbreaking and 2004 look that way until it wasn't is that that team as constructed was about to get blown up due to contracts and age. This team has a 2007 feel (hopefully with the same ending) of a team starting its run (and the Sox followed up with 95-95-89-90 wins the next four years).
   162. Textbook Editor Posted: October 19, 2021 at 02:29 PM (#6047486)
#160--I confess I'm darkly fascinated at the idea of him throwing multiple eephus pitches, etc.--just using a range of options from 45 mph to 88 mph and basically fully embracing junkballer status. It would be fun to see what a red-hot offense does against someone completely unpredictable pitch to pitch.

Side Note (for a Sox Therapy thread): I can't be the only one who thinks the Dodgers are in a whole heap of trouble, right? I know, I know, last year they came back blah blah blah... But their pitching is in almost as bad a state as the Astros' is, and they're running out of margin to sort it out.
   163. bunyon Posted: October 19, 2021 at 02:45 PM (#6047489)
But their pitching is in almost as bad a state as the Astros' is

They're way better off than the Astros. They can get two more starts out of Buehler and one from Scherzer. The Astros are hoping Greinke can be a pale imitation of his old self and then...bullpen for the rest of the series.

But by pulling Max after four innings and running through the rest of the staff, including Urias, they definitely built up the obstacles they face.

ETA: But, yes, being down 2-0 is a heap of trouble, no matter who is starting for you.
   164. Bad Fish Posted: October 19, 2021 at 03:11 PM (#6047497)
I wonder which feels better? Blowing your opponent out in stunning, historic fashion or winning two walkoffs in a row?

One of the things that baseball does better than any other sport is to create tension, the pace of the game - normally a pain - works in it's favor in tight late games. Winning a close game in walk-off fashion is easily more entertaining and as Jose said cathartic when you win, but sitting 8-0 or whatever in the 2nd or 3rd inning is much easier sledding, mentally.
   165. Jay Seaver Posted: October 19, 2021 at 03:40 PM (#6047503)
I'm kind of fond of both, but part of the beauty of the postseason is the ability to have some of each. I really don't need every game to be like Sunday, for instance, and it's kind of nice to have the blowouts after a game like that. Like, we got through the gauntlet and now the team is rolling.

Of course, there's also something kind of satisfying about blowout/change of fortune/walk-off. Not that we need to force baseball to fit into a narrative.
   166. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 04:03 PM (#6047506)
Side Note (for a Sox Therapy thread): I can't be the only one who thinks the Dodgers are in a whole heap of trouble, right? I know, I know, last year they came back blah blah blah... But their pitching is in almost as bad a state as the Astros' is, and they're running out of margin to sort it out.


I concur with Bunyon that the Dodgers are better off than the Astros but a 2-0 hole is tough no matter what. One of the things that has always stuck with me from 1986 is Bob Lobel talking about how the Mets had to win 4 out of 5 games to win the World Series. That's hard to do against a good team. The problem becomes one of math. To use the Sox Therapy approved logic from the regular season, even if the Dodgers win tonight the Braves just have to play .500 the rest of the series to win the pennant. A win tonight the Dodgers have to play .750 baseball. Doable, but hard. They've used up any wiggle room.
   167. bunyon Posted: October 19, 2021 at 04:42 PM (#6047525)
I wonder who I'd rather be right now: the Dodgers or the Astros? I mean, the Astros are only down 2-1. The Dodgers are hoping to get to 2-1. On the other hand, geez, who pitches next for the Astros? I suppose there is some chance that by midnight the Astros will be even and the Dodgers down 3-0. So I guess I'd rather be the Astros at 4:40pm.

I still think the Astros should have just made a farce of it when down 9-0 (both times) and had a bench player lob batting practice. They've really taxed their pen all to lose two games they were never in. Of course, there isn't much point in saving your relievers when your starters can't seem to avoid giving up a grand slam per inning.
   168. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 05:07 PM (#6047535)
I still think the Astros should have just made a farce of it when down 9-0 (both times) and had a bench player lob batting practice. They've really taxed their pen all to lose two games they were never in. Of course, there isn't much point in saving your relievers when your starters can't seem to avoid giving up a grand slam per inning.


How much have they truly taxed their bullpen? I don't follow the Astros that closely but Pressley, Javier and Graveman haven't pitched the last two games and there was an off day in there too. Stanek threw 12 on Saturday and 14 last night so I guess he kind of comps Embree from the discussion earlier. The big problem as you note is that if their starters keep getting knocked out in the second inning you really stop being able to compete in any meaningful way.
   169. Jay Seaver Posted: October 19, 2021 at 05:19 PM (#6047538)
I still think the Astros should have just made a farce of it when down 9-0 (both times) and had a bench player lob batting practice. They've really taxed their pen all to lose two games they were never in.


They were behind like that so early, and they're so good, that there was no reason to give the game away at the time, and at what point do you go, well, it's getting late and we're still behind, so now it's time to throw in the towel. In the playoffs, wins and losses are so valuable, that I don't know that there's really a moment when it makes sense to throw a game away.

Also, not to give that sort of thing too much credence, but it feels like the sort of thing that can destroy a clubhouse at a point where there's not much time to recover, and absolutely tank any chance Baker has of being extended for next year.
   170. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 19, 2021 at 05:31 PM (#6047540)
Put me in the "who knows how well Greinke will go" camp. That cat is smart, been around a long time, and even with apparently average stuff can continue to get outs via pop ups, dribblers, etc.

This where having someone like Schwarber leading off is super fun. He's patient and will get a good look a few of Greinke's offerings to start the game.
   171. bunyon Posted: October 19, 2021 at 10:09 PM (#6047654)
169: Your last paragraph is no doubt the key one. As for the first paragraph, 9-0 in the second is not a lead you come back from. I mean, sure, the Astros have MLB's best offense. But the Sox get to bat 7 more times, too. There really are no good options once you're down 9-0 and if they had two more starters with some oomph, maybe you take your chances. But they pitched a lot of innings with no hope of winning.

I mean, I'm glad they didn't just give up. I just think it was the rational play.
   172. Jay Seaver Posted: October 19, 2021 at 11:32 PM (#6047687)
As for the first paragraph, 9-0 in the second is not a lead you come back from. I mean, sure, the Astros have MLB's best offense. But the Sox get to bat 7 more times, too. There really are no good options once you're down 9-0


See, that's the way that the people who don't have the level of talent and confidence in it to make a major-league roster think. Those who do are thinking "we've just seen that the other team can score nine unanswered runs and we are better at baseball than they are". And as a person watching the games, we want them to think that way.
   173. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 11:57 PM (#6047703)
That was fun for seven innings.

The 8th was not a lot of fun.

The 9th was an inning of baseball that was played.
   174. bunyon Posted: October 19, 2021 at 11:57 PM (#6047704)
It’s definitely more entertaining for them to think that way and, as I said, I agree that for morale, they probably couldn’t surrender. But I’m not making it up that teams don’t come back from down 9.

And I’m also working from yhe idea that the Astros pitching is borked.

Which may not be entirely accurate.
   175. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 19, 2021 at 11:58 PM (#6047705)
Back to Bunyan’s point if you go back to game 2 the Astros were one big swing from getting it to 9-5 or 9-6 in the middle innings. Things get interesting if that happens.
   176. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 20, 2021 at 12:02 AM (#6047708)
The good news is that they don’t have Javier tomorrow. That’s an important reliever for them. Sox are still in good shape for tomorrow. Whitlock threw 26, he may or may not be available which isn’t ideal but other than that the bullpen is fully available and I wouldn’t be shocked if Whitlock were available to get out of a jam for an out or two at some point.
   177. Textbook Editor Posted: October 20, 2021 at 11:24 AM (#6047760)
I very much doubt Whitlock gets in tonight, unless maybe you need a K in the 9th. Robles or Brasier is likely getting closer duties if there's anything to close.

The real problem with committing to Eovaldi for the 9th last night is that you really don't then know what effect it will have on him in the now-necessary Game 6. Maybe instead of 6 he gives you 5 or 4 innings instead. I think last night was sort of too clever by a half.

I'm sure Houck is the caddy for Sale, but if things really blow up you're in a situation where you likely burn Houck until a (hopeful!) Game 7 and Johnny Wholestaff. Leaving you with... Eovaldi and (maybe) Whitlock for an inning or two in Game 6 + Brasier/Taylor + ?.

It's less than ideal. Yes, yes, hindsight etc. But would Brasier really have been awful to bring in for 1 IP instead of Whitlock for 2, especially if you were committed to the idea Eovaldi was pitching the 9th no matter what? It would have allowed Whitlock to be able to go today.

Bah. Luckily I'll be unable to watch today's game.
   178. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 20, 2021 at 12:23 PM (#6047781)
Yeah, I had the same thought about Brasier last night but at the time I was fine sticking with Whitlock. It didn't work but he's almost certainly our best reliever right now so I won't complain too much about staying with him.

As for Eovaldi he's gone 5.1, 5 and 5.1 innings in his three starts. I'm not worried about 25 pitches last night impacting Friday night.
   179. Darren Posted: October 20, 2021 at 04:39 PM (#6047863)
So I feel a lot worse about the Red Sox odds now, after that game. Using Eovaldi is a bold move there and I approved at the time it was made. However, you were up 2-1 and did something that teams tend to do when they are desperate. Now you've taxed your game 6/7 starter in a game that you lost anyway. The advantage seems to have really shifted back to the Astros for this series.
   180. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 20, 2021 at 08:47 PM (#6047946)
That was not so much fun. Pitching matchup should be good for the Sox though of course two in a row on the road is a tall order.Hitters need to step up and the defense finally got us tonight. It’s been good all post-season but Schwahbah had a tough night.

This has felt a bit like 2008 in reverse. Early blow outs one way then a comeback win turns the series. Hopefully the Sox can rally like Tampa did though of course winning two on the road is tougher than winning one at home.
   181. villageidiom Posted: October 20, 2021 at 09:10 PM (#6047957)
...Houston should win this series. But Boston could win it...
   182. bunyon Posted: October 20, 2021 at 09:17 PM (#6047958)
That’s a very accurate description of the series, vi.
   183. Textbook Editor Posted: October 21, 2021 at 09:22 AM (#6048043)
Well we’ve arrived at the “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” games.
   184. John DiFool2 Posted: October 21, 2021 at 09:26 AM (#6048047)
Amazing how different things look after just 11 more innings. Sox set a postseason record for most games with 10+ hits-then suddenly stop hitting.
   185. Nasty Nate Posted: October 21, 2021 at 09:43 AM (#6048050)
I think this is the 4th time they head to a game 6 needing win both on the road. They did win out in '04, but not in '03 and '08. They won game 6 all three times. None of this has predictive value, of course. The franchise overall has been excellent in game 6's, and presumably all exceptions have been minor and forgettable.
   186. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 21, 2021 at 09:51 AM (#6048053)
Here's something meaningless but interesting (to me anyway) that I realized the other day. Since the 7 game LCS was introduced the Sox have played in 11 such series. Of the previous 10 only two, 2003 and 2013, were tied 2-2 after four games;

1986 Down 3-1
1988 Over
1990 Over
1999 Down 3-1
2003 2-2
2004 Down 3-1
2007 Down 3-1
2008 Down 3-1
2013 2-2
2018 Up 3-1
2021 2-2

They've only led after four games once (won that series), split the two series they were tied, but of the five series they were down 3-1 they won two of them, should have won a third and forced a game seven in a fourth.
   187. Darren Posted: October 21, 2021 at 12:24 PM (#6048075)
181. villageidiom Posted: October 20, 2021 at 09:10 PM (#6047957)
...Houston should win this series. But Boston could win it...
182. bunyon Posted: October 20, 2021 at 09:17 PM (#6047958)
That’s a very accurate description of the series, vi.


So the people who were "only" thinking that the Red Sox "could win it" a couple days ago were... right?
   188. bunyon Posted: October 21, 2021 at 12:30 PM (#6048076)
My last post was an attempt at self-deprecating humor.
   189. Darren Posted: October 21, 2021 at 01:00 PM (#6048083)
Ah ok.
   190. bunyon Posted: October 21, 2021 at 01:26 PM (#6048094)
That is to say, explicitly, I'm glad I'm not a gambling man who was in Vegas after game three. I whiffed badly on where the series was.

And, having said that, will now likely watch the Sox win two blowouts. I started the postseason insisting that only a fool would predict the outcome of a short series and within a week was making predictions. Serves me right.

   191. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 22, 2021 at 04:17 PM (#6048352)
Minor lineup changes; Renfroe down to 8th, Arroyo 7th, Plawecki for Vazquez and batting 9th;

Schwarber 1B, Hernández CF, Devers 3B, Bogaerts SS, Martinez DH, Verdugo LF, Arroyo 2B, Renfroe RF, Plawecki C.

Honestly this is probably the right mix of dealing with a struggling guy and having your best team out there. Hopefully Hunter gets going tonight.
   192. pikepredator Posted: October 22, 2021 at 05:28 PM (#6048364)
split the two series they were tied


It was the worst of times, and the best of times.

I'm nervous about tonight's game. Nothing specific. Just generally feeling antsy and wishing it were already 8:08.

Re: Line-up. Batting JD sixth was kind of bad-ass. It might not've been the best decision and I'm glad he moved up a spot, but it did give the impression that "all these guys can RAKE".
   193. Textbook Editor Posted: October 22, 2021 at 08:21 PM (#6048392)
Wouldn’t one option simply be to have everyone whistle in the Red Sox dugout during each Astros AB?
   194. Textbook Editor Posted: October 22, 2021 at 11:43 PM (#6048500)
   195. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 22, 2021 at 11:50 PM (#6048507)
Oh that’s a great website!
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