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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

This Is Fun

Unbelievable.  All of us, and yeah I’m part of that, have underestimated this team all year and they showed us all what they can do.  Facing the presumptive AL Cy Young winner they chased him in exactly the same amount of time as Roger Clemens in the “Where is Roger?” Game.*. Xander Bogaerts who has been struggling of late came to life with the big homer and the hot Alex Verdugo did it again with a three RBI night including getting a good bounce in the corner that had Tony Clark saying “why does he get that bounce?”

* hat tip Chad Finn

And hey, how about the complaints (again including mine) about the trade deadline? Kyle Schwarber, check! Hansel Robles, check!  And of course the Rule 5 pick Garrett Whitlock.  Hey where did the Sox get him from?

Nathan Eovaldi continues to be a post-season stud.  He has delivered so often for the Sox in big spots and tonight he was magnificent.  Then as he tired working on short rest Alex Cora who is showing himself to be a wizard with the bullpen in big games did not wait around and pulled the trigger and the beleaguered bullpen got the job done.  Part of that was with some help from an absolutely textbook relay by Kike Hernandez, Xander Bogaerts and Kevin Plawecki.

This could not have been more fun.  So much to say, we’ll worry about Tampa tomorrow night but for now it’s party time.  The Sox are onto the American League Division Series and it won’t be an easy task but dammit THIS IS FUN!!!

Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 05, 2021 at 11:29 PM | 124 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 05, 2021 at 11:46 PM (#6043909)
I mean come ON! No JD, no problem.

And someone tell Giancarlo Stanton this isn’t cricket, you have to run when you hit the ball.

I think Jim Rice might be happier than anyone.
   2. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 05, 2021 at 11:57 PM (#6043910)
Well above expectations and some really fun players to follow. Funnily enough, with the Schwarber and Robles additions, along with pre-season gets Renfroe and Enrique, the team does have a Rays vibe to it and even though they look like clear underdogs, might surprise us.
   3. Monadnock Posted: October 06, 2021 at 12:07 AM (#6043911)
I was ready to tell myself all the right things if they lost tonight: How entertaining the year was; how much they'd exceeded expectations. But I really wanted them to win this game. I remember being a freshman at UNH in 1978--how still and silent the Quad was during that playoff game. Avenging that loss feels like a lasting gift from the 2021 Red Sox. Thanks!
   4. Rough Carrigan Posted: October 06, 2021 at 12:25 AM (#6043912)
I agree, Jose. I was surprised at how bubbly Rice was. Well, good for him. No matter what happens from here on out, this season was a success.
   5. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 06, 2021 at 12:28 AM (#6043913)
Ending "The Curse" talk required more than just beating the Yankees once, or winning one World Series. It really required coming back from 3-0 to win the ALCS in truly dramatic fashion, followed by four WS titles in the next 15 years. Nobody talks about The Curse anymore.

The 1978 Bucky F**king Dent game would still come up in a different context, but tonight's game helps put that to bed 43 years later. A one-game playoff in Fenway in early October, turn the tables, blah, blah. It feels awesome.

My older daughter is now in college, and when I tell her about 2003, 1986, 1975, 1967, 1946, etc., 2003 and 1946 are pretty much the same thing, as far as she's concerned. All she knows, as a native New Englander born in 2003, is that our sports teams up here are supposed to be awesome pretty much every year. I never thought there would come a day where that would be true!
   6. Vailsoxfan Posted: October 06, 2021 at 01:54 AM (#6043920)
Do you think when cora saw how the game was going he flipped robles and whitlock just to play mind games with NY?
   7. Adam Starblind Posted: October 06, 2021 at 07:05 AM (#6043923)
Hansel Robles?
   8. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 06, 2021 at 08:29 AM (#6043928)
Can we talk about the fact that a young woman born in 2003 is now IN COLLEGE? This is wholly unacceptable.

As much as seeing Whitlock get the final out was just wonderful I suspect he wanted Whitlock for the big righties.

Adam - Robles has been great down the stretch for the Sox.

Man ESPN was working HARD on that Bucky Dent angle. I found it hysterical myself. I kind of wanted Derek Lowe to show up in the booth and say "hey guys, 1978 isn't the most recent winner take all game between these teams."
   9. Charles S. is not doing chainsaw bears any more Posted: October 06, 2021 at 09:38 AM (#6043945)
Jose, you should have been watching Jason Benetti on ESPN2 Statcast. Much less of that kind of crap.
   10. villageidiom Posted: October 06, 2021 at 09:42 AM (#6043946)
Can we talk about the fact that a young woman born in 2003 is now IN COLLEGE? This is wholly unacceptable.
Unlike Jose, I believe young women should be allowed to go to college.
   11. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 06, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6043947)
Jose, you should have been watching Jason Benetti on ESPN2 Statcast. Much less of that kind of crap.


Mercifully I was watching without sound. But man they played the video nonstop. I've got a double TV system, Sox on the small TV without sound to limit the likelihood that I want to stab someone from the inanity and the big screen gets something I've already seen before as a bit of a mood leveller, usually british. At the moment I'm on a Good Wife/Doctor Who/Top Gear sequence though last night I rolled a series of Doctor Who episodes after my one Good Wife episode.

Unlike Jose, I believe young women should be allowed to go to college.


Libtard. Next you'll be letting them vote and have jobs and stuff.
   12. villageidiom Posted: October 06, 2021 at 09:58 AM (#6043951)
All of us, and yeah I’m part of that, have underestimated this team all year and they showed us all what they can do.
They are a good team. They are capable of greater things (they swept Tampa Bay earlier in the year!) and much much worse things (they got swept at home by Baltimore!) but they are a legitimate playoff team. They are also in that sense indistinguishable from the Yankees, Mariners, and Blue Jays - but of those four they are the only one still standing. They are all good teams, capable of beating anyone on a good day. Can they beat the Rays? Yes.

Will they? I mean, probably not. The Rays didn't get to the WS last year, and the division title this year, by accident. They are a well-playing, well-coached, well-run team. But they can be beat by a good team, and Boston can be that team.

Like, every stage here is nothing to lose, from a Boston fan's perspective. They *should* lose this series. If they win, they *should* lose the ALCS. If they win the pennant, they *should* lose the WS. This is the house money season.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 06, 2021 at 10:01 AM (#6043955)
Congrats to the Red Sox and their fans!
   14. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 06, 2021 at 10:10 AM (#6043957)
Like, every stage here is nothing to lose, from a Boston fan's perspective. They *should* lose this series. If they win, they *should* lose the ALCS. If they win the pennant, they *should* lose the WS. This is the house money season.


It was weird, I wasn't particularly nervous about losing pregame, then was incredibly tense as the game went on but when Stanton hit the ball in the 6th that I thought tied the game the emotion that went through me was more "oh well" than anything else. They've given us the ride.
   15. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 06, 2021 at 10:11 AM (#6043958)
The Red Sox will be underdogs in every series from here on out, but it's a lot better than being 26 players taking 26 airplanes to go to 26 different destinations after they wake up this morning.
   16. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 06, 2021 at 10:13 AM (#6043959)
Like, every stage here is nothing to lose, from a Boston fan's perspective. They *should* lose this series. If they win, they *should* lose the ALCS. If they win the pennant, they *should* lose the WS. This is the house money season.

Yeah, that's the perfect perspective. Given the pre-season predictions, pretty much everything about this Red Sox season was a bonus for its fans.
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: October 06, 2021 at 10:21 AM (#6043960)

The Red Sox will be underdogs in every series from here on out, but it's a lot better than being 26 players taking 26 airplanes to go to 26 different destinations after they wake up this morning.


I imagine they'd be fairly evenly matched against the Cards or Braves, in the highly unlikely event both the Sox and one of those teams got to the WS.
   18. villageidiom Posted: October 06, 2021 at 10:24 AM (#6043961)
Yeah, that's the perfect perspective. Given the pre-season predictions, pretty much everything about this Red Sox season was a bonus for its fans.
I get to claim the moral high ground of having had the most preseason optimism - don't anyone think I'll stop saying that! - but they even outperformed my expectations.

I mean, one could say there was a great chance they would have nailed my expectation had Eovaldi been injured to his usual degree. That's a huge difference. Eovaldi has always been a "great if healthy" guy, with a big emphasis on "if". He was their rock this year. Some players did better than expected, some worse, but IMO the biggest impact was Eovaldi being healthy.
   19. dave h Posted: October 06, 2021 at 10:33 AM (#6043963)
It was weird, I wasn't particularly nervous about losing pregame, then was incredibly tense as the game went on but when Stanton hit the ball in the 6th that I thought tied the game the emotion that went through me was more "oh well" than anything else. They've given us the ride.


My son played a postseason golf tournament this summer. At the start of the day, I was just taking in the most serious youth athletic event we'd been involved in, happy to be there, etc. Then I found out after their round they had a serious chance of moving on, but we had to wait for more teams to finish. At that point I was totally invested and would have been mildly devastated if they didn't make it. There's a lot to be said for the impact of expectations.

Also worth noting, somehow there are still tickets available for a Sunday playoff game at Fenway. $280 for two tickets in the rear RF boxes, but still a long way from the early 2000s.
   20. Darren Posted: October 06, 2021 at 10:37 AM (#6043965)
Then as he tired working on short rest Alex Cora who is showing himself to be a wizard with the bullpen in big games did not wait around and pulled the trigger and the beleaguered bullpen got the job done.


Who was on short rest? Eovaldi previously pitched on 9/29, so this was with 5 days rest, right? I was flabbergasted at his removal, just completely shocked given how he was pitching. I was even more surprised to see him go to Brasier. I guess knowing that Brasier would induce a line drive that would break the sound barrier and disorient Nevin so that he'd send Judge is what makes Cora a wizard here. :)

Fun to see Verdugo come through again, but I think maybe he gets a little too excited. He came close to costing them a run with that terrible baserunning... again!


   21. Darren Posted: October 06, 2021 at 10:47 AM (#6043966)
I've got a double TV system, Sox on the small TV without sound to limit the likelihood that I want to stab someone from the inanity and the big screen gets something I've already seen before as a bit of a mood leveller, usually british. At the moment I'm on a Good Wife/Doctor Who/Top Gear sequence though last night I rolled a series of Doctor Who episodes after my one Good Wife episode.


A frightening peek into the world of a Thinking Sox Fan.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: October 06, 2021 at 10:59 AM (#6043968)
Eovaldi previously pitched on 9/29, so this was with 5 days rest, right? I was flabbergasted at his removal, just completely shocked given how he was pitching.
Ditto. I was also surprised at Cole's removal.
   23. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 06, 2021 at 11:52 AM (#6043975)
Who was on short rest? Eovaldi previously pitched on 9/29, so this was with 5 days rest, right?


Ah, I had the timing on when he had pitched previously wrong.

As for Cole I think that was a good job by Boone to recognize that Cole didn't have it. Any other situation you roll with him but down 3-0 and one swing from effectively game over you make the move.
   24. pikepredator Posted: October 06, 2021 at 11:55 AM (#6043976)
I was ready to tell myself all the right things if they lost tonight: How entertaining the year was; how much they'd exceeded expectations. But I really wanted them to win this game


Me too. When they won last night, I felt like the season was complete. I'd been holding my breath hoping they'd make the playoffs, and then REALLY wanted them to beat the Yankees. Now, everything really is gravy. Of course I've been telling myself that since mid-August and I expect, once the ALDS starts, I'll be just as caught up in the possibility of them winning. But I am breathing easy today, this season was a total success.
   25. Bad Fish Posted: October 06, 2021 at 12:05 PM (#6043980)
I actually think this team plays up in the playoffs....Sale, Eovaldi, Pivetta, and Edro are a very solid starting rotation and the addition of Houck really strengthens and lengthens the pen in ways other teams won't get from their 5th starter. It doesn't hurt that 2018 Brasier knocked on the door. I think they can hammer with anyone, defense is suspect.
   26. bunyon Posted: October 06, 2021 at 12:07 PM (#6043981)
I imagine they'd be fairly evenly matched against the Cards or Braves, in the highly unlikely event both the Sox and one of those teams got to the WS.

The Sox (both of them) are far superior to the Braves. The Braves won't win the pennant but, if they do, they'll be underdogs in the World Series.
   27. pikepredator Posted: October 06, 2021 at 12:09 PM (#6043982)
Also: is there a quick way to find out how many times this season the Yankees drew zero walks? If it was covered at some point during the radio broadcast, I missed it. Maybe it happens more often than I'm thinking it would, but that was the one stat that struck me last night.
   28. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 06, 2021 at 12:10 PM (#6043983)
They did it ten times and went 3-7 in those games.

Go to BBRef
- Yankee page
- Batting
- Game Logs
- Sort by BB
   29. The Mighty Quintana Posted: October 06, 2021 at 12:13 PM (#6043985)
I like Houck & Whitlock out of the bullpen. Everyone else has me walking the tightrope, to quote Leon Russell.
   30. John DiFool2 Posted: October 06, 2021 at 12:51 PM (#6043994)
Who was on short rest? Eovaldi previously pitched on 9/29, so this was with 5 days rest, right? I was flabbergasted at his removal, just completely shocked given how he was pitching.


There were only 50 complete games in the entire majors this year. Cora seems determined to stick with his "no 3rd time through the order" strategy, no matter how well the starter is going (or how gassed the guy he is bringing in is). Obviously during the heyday of the complete game (talking 60's to 80's) managers weren't the least bit concerned about 3rd/4th trips through the order. Obviously something has changed, even if it is just the perception that starters are less effective the later in the game they go (self-fulfilling prophecy thing too; if they don't get their stamina built up to do so, they'll be less likely to do well later in the game).

Has anybody studied this comprehensively? A confounding selection bias factor exists of course: like I said, is that only those starters perceived to have the stamina and wherewithal to go the distance (without losing effectiveness) will be expected to do so.
   31. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 06, 2021 at 02:45 PM (#6044025)
Back to the Eovaldi quick hook last night:

1) Eovaldi dominates the Yankees through five innings, then goes strikeout looking to start the 6th. After the Rizzo HR, he quickly goes to 0-2 on Judge, overpowering him with two fastballs. Then he hits a dribbler, and...that's it, after 71 pitches. If Cora is going to pull a pitcher in that situation, then is there any situation where he would let them go longer? If it had been 7-1, would he have let him go further? It was a clear message to any Sox starter this coming series: You are out at the first sign of trouble.

2) I was not happy about the early hook, but it obviously worked out. The fact Eovaldi only threw 71 pitches would seem to bode well for his next start against Tampa, right? I wonder if that is any part of the thought process for Cora there (I hope not much, because if they lose last night, it doesn't matter!)

3) On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel as a Red Sox fan about Robles getting important playoff outs? Me? About a 4 - I feel like he often has no idea where the ball is going when he throws it. I would have had Houck throw two innings, instead of Houck/Robles, but (like the Eovaldi low pitch count note above), if you can get by with an inning of Robles, it has the effect of saving Houck and/or Whitlock on a night like last night, when you would have expected one of those two guys to give multiple innings.

4) I never thought I would have this much more confidence in Eovaldi than Sale at this point. It's not fair to expect peak Sale after TJ surgery like this, at least not yet, but it may well be that Sale is the *least* reliable of the four likely starters over the next few weeks. That's crazy!
   32. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 06, 2021 at 02:56 PM (#6044029)
Robles scares the crap out of me but I can't argue with the job he's done. He's got some Scott Williamson in him. He misses a lot of bats and he walks a lot of guys. That lends itself to long terrifying innings but he can survive if he avoids the big contact.
   33. villageidiom Posted: October 06, 2021 at 04:23 PM (#6044044)
Has anybody studied this comprehensively?
The third-time-through-the-order penalty? Yes, extensively. MGL says it exists and isn't explained by other factors, and is so strong you'd have to be stupid to ignore it. Russell Carleton says it doesn't - that when you control for stuff we know like batter quality it's really a pitch count (fatigue) effect and nothing more.

I'm of two minds about it.

1. In my own studies I've found stuff similar to Carleton, though I was approaching it in a different way than he did. So I feel like it didn't exist - at least not as a familiarity-with-the-pitcher thing. There is a fatigue aspect, and obviously there's selection bias: the fact that a pitcher was removed is correlated with his not pitching well just before being removed.

2. Now that the notion that it's real has pervaded MLB, it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Pitchers (and managers, and fielders) get nervous when the pitcher faces the lineup a third time, and the hitters get more confident, because of what they've been told about pitchers facing a lineup the third time through. It's possible that nervousness and/or confidence actually impacts performance. Even if there had been no difference, there might be one now.
   34. villageidiom Posted: October 06, 2021 at 05:00 PM (#6044057)
1) Eovaldi dominates the Yankees through five innings, then goes strikeout looking to start the 6th. After the Rizzo HR, he quickly goes to 0-2 on Judge, overpowering him with two fastballs. Then he hits a dribbler, and...that's it, after 71 pitches. If Cora is going to pull a pitcher in that situation, then is there any situation where he would let them go longer? If it had been 7-1, would he have let him go further? It was a clear message to any Sox starter this coming series: You are out at the first sign of trouble.
The only reason he could go to the bullpen after the K, the HR, and the dribbler is because he had two relievers warming up the whole time. They started the inning with a 3 run lead and two relievers up in the pen. He brought someone in with a 2-run lead and the tying run at the plate. And yes, Eovaldi is the best pitcher they have, generally speaking. But in a winner-take-all game I like that he's taking pitchers out a batter too early than a batter too late.

To be clear, the bullpen pitched 3.2 innings, giving up just 2 hits - both crushed by Stanton, who already demonstrated earlier he could crush Eovaldi's pitches, too. They walked none. But keep in mind, the only reason they could take Eovaldi out one batter after the first sign of trouble (the Rizzo HR) was that they had two relievers warming to start the inning. You don't have two relievers warming to start the 6th inning, with Eovaldi doing that well, unless your plan was to remove him.

Part of this, too, is the lineup. Relievers must face 3 batters. At that moment they had R-L-R coming up, but the lefty was Gallo. That's one of the best times to bring in a new pitcher, because when they lose the platoon advantage against the lefty at least it's only Gallo.
   35. The Mighty Quintana Posted: October 06, 2021 at 05:10 PM (#6044059)
Any word on Taylor? I though he really made strides this year, and would be my first choice in there against Lowe.
   36. John DiFool2 Posted: October 06, 2021 at 10:04 PM (#6044158)
The third-time-through-the-order penalty? Yes, extensively. MGL says it exists and isn't explained by other factors, and is so strong you'd have to be stupid to ignore it.


Then managers 40-50 years ago were stupid to have ignored it as well, but they somehow got away with it. So what has changed? Starters throwing as hard as they can from the very first pitch? [Feeling like they HAVE to do so to succeed at all]
   37. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 07, 2021 at 09:05 AM (#6044407)
Any word on Taylor? I though he really made strides this year, and would be my first choice in there against Lowe.


He was on the WC roster (and actually warmed up) so I assume he's fine.

Then managers 40-50 years ago were stupid to have ignored it as well, but they somehow got away with it. So what has changed? Starters throwing as hard as they can from the very first pitch? [Feeling like they HAVE to do so to succeed at all]


What has changed is managers don't want to get criticized. I attended a SABR presentation about a decade ago that talked about the fact that with all the reliever patterns changing the likelihood of winning at different stages of the game really hadn't. Now things have changed since then but I'm skeptical of any major changes in recent years. I think the only change is the manager is worried about two things; first is if he rides a pitcher too long and the pitcher gets hurt and second is if a "fatigued" starter loses the game. Either of those things is bad for job security.

Any news on JDM yet? From what I read yesterday it didn't sound great.
   38. bunyon Posted: October 07, 2021 at 09:10 AM (#6044410)
Yeah, “thinking fans” screamed for years that starters were kept in games too long. Now we’re screaming that they’re pulled too early.
   39. Nasty Nate Posted: October 07, 2021 at 09:31 AM (#6044418)
What has changed is managers don't want to get criticized.
When did they want to get criticized?
   40. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 07, 2021 at 09:37 AM (#6044420)
I guess more accurately it's not that they don't want to get criticized it's that what they have to do to avoid that criticism has changed.
   41. villageidiom Posted: October 07, 2021 at 10:50 AM (#6044442)
THEY NEED TO SCHEDULE THE MONDAY (if necessary) GAME AT 11 AM PLEASE MLB MAKE THIS HAPPEN THEY'RE RUNNING THE MARATHON THAT DAY LET'S GO
   42. Textbook Editor Posted: October 07, 2021 at 11:01 AM (#6044444)
Wow. No Barnes on the ALDS roster. That's a bit surprising. Santana instead of Duran. No Wong. JD makes the roster.

   43. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 07, 2021 at 11:02 AM (#6044446)
Seconded vi.

Roster released. JDM on the roster though I suspect we don't see him in Tampa. Bold are players who were not on the WC roster, italics are players removed from the WC roster;

Pitchers: Brasier, Davis, Eovaldi, Houck, Ottavino, Perez, Pivetta, Richards, Robles, Rodriguez, Sale, Taylor, Whitlock...Barnes

Catchers: Plawecki, Vazquez...Wong

Infield: Arroyo, Bogaerts, Dalbec, Devers, Shaw...Arauz

Outfield: Hernandez, Martinez, Renfroe, Santana, Schwahbah, Verdugo...Duran

Don't love taking Perez. I'd rather have Barnes or if you need a lefty Darwinzon. The upside there is better and it's not like Perez gives you certainty. With 13 pitchers length shouldn't be a concern. Santana in and Duran out I suspect is based on Martinez not being available to play the field at any point in the series. I'd rather have Duran though, he gives you a weapon that Santana doesn't. Obviously someone has to go to make room for Sale and Arauz probably makes sense. I'd rather have him than Santana but Santana is a bit more versatile and, I mean when you start quibbling over Jonathan Arauz or Danny Santana, it does not really make much of a difference.
   44. villageidiom Posted: October 07, 2021 at 11:14 AM (#6044448)
I think Santana's versatility comes in handy for a game if someone gets injured mid-game. If they need to be put on the IL then you bring in Arauz or whoever, and then you return Santana to the bench.

Perez might be the same concept, except on the pitching side.
   45. villageidiom Posted: October 07, 2021 at 11:18 AM (#6044451)
I wonder on Barnes... Like, he was doing great this year, and really well in prior years. It's almost like he fell apart as soon as he signed the contract extension. Without an injury coming to light, maybe because of the contract he's setting higher expectations, then pressing too much, and ending up in a downward spiral of doubt begetting bad performance begetting doubt. If that's his mental state, then hoo boy he should be nowhere near a playoff roster until he's right again. (I have no idea if that's his mental state.)
   46. Textbook Editor Posted: October 07, 2021 at 11:30 AM (#6044457)
I would not at all be surprised if the Red Sox drop a guy mid-series in the ALDS or ALCS (a guy can dream) for one of Duran or Barnes. If Martinez collapses in the box when he starts to run out a ball, I'd guess Duran gets the nod. If a reliever goes down, Barnes would get the nod.

Who's the emergency catcher on the roster? I vaguely recall a story after we got Schwarber that he was definitely NOT in the mix as emergency catcher.
   47. John DiFool2 Posted: October 07, 2021 at 12:43 PM (#6044476)
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-math-behind-pulling-nathan-eovaldi/

[and]

https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/65453/veteran-presence-the-third-time-through-the-order-penalty-has-always-been-there/


"A huge chunk of that third-time penalty comes in the form of extra home runs; if an extra 0.4% of random plate appearances turned into home runs, average wOBA would go up by seven points, close to the eight-point penalty cited above. In a spot where a home run is the worst possible outcome and one of the best home run hitters in the game is at the plate, I can see why the Red Sox opted to fight that penalty."

Maybe that is the difference between then and now. If 25% of all runs are scored on homers, maybe you can afford to stick with the starter unless he really start to lose it. When in our 44% runs scoring via the home run era, one swing can change the game completely, you have to have a shorter leash.
   48. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 07, 2021 at 01:25 PM (#6044490)
I wonder on Barnes... Like, he was doing great this year, and really well in prior years. It's almost like he fell apart as soon as he signed the contract extension. Without an injury coming to light, maybe because of the contract he's setting higher expectations, then pressing too much, and ending up in a downward spiral of doubt begetting bad performance begetting doubt. If that's his mental state, then hoo boy he should be nowhere near a playoff roster until he's right again. (I have no idea if that's his mental state.)


Saw this on Twitter today from Chris Mason of Mass Live and...well it's not dissimilar (though more dramatic) than Gerrit Cole;

Opposing batter OPS against Matt Barnes:

Pre Jun. 3: .413.
Post Jun. 3: .802.
   49. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 07, 2021 at 01:28 PM (#6044492)
Who's the emergency catcher on the roster? I vaguely recall a story after we got Schwarber that he was definitely NOT in the mix as emergency catcher.


I assume Santana though it wouldn't shock me if Travis Shaw were the guy. Grew up with a dad who pitched, bit of a baseball rat with a history of bouncing around the field. He strikes me as the type who would get back there happily (and frankly Santana is the same, both seem like guys who follow the adage "any uniform is good if it's a big league uniform").
   50. villageidiom Posted: October 07, 2021 at 01:38 PM (#6044493)
Season through June 3: .413 (2.63 ERA, 1.46 FIP)
June 4 to contract extension: .664 (2.77 ERA, 3.09 FIP)
Contract extension to now: .873 (6.11 ERA, 5.66 FIP)

EDIT: in full transparency, "contract extension" and "all-star break" are concurrent.
   51. Darren Posted: October 07, 2021 at 03:16 PM (#6044525)
Doesn't Barnes always wear down as the season goes on? This year was much worse than usual, of course.
   52. villageidiom Posted: October 07, 2021 at 05:47 PM (#6044573)
OPS against, by month, career: 553 / 650 / 724 / 578 / 902 / 709

So... maybe? Like, if you ignore April that looks like random variation. (Ignoring points to fit a pattern isn't advisable, even though I just did it.)
   53. karlmagnus Posted: October 07, 2021 at 08:03 PM (#6044614)
Given the postseason is now such a large part of the whole, if you have a pitcher who wears down, it may make sense to give him an extended vacation until August 1, then bring him in fresh for the stretch drive and the playoffs. Provided you're not paying him $30 million a year, this could make sense for all concerned.
   54. coppermist72 Posted: October 07, 2021 at 09:18 PM (#6044664)
The third time through the lineup should get used as a caution (yellow light) and not a stop sign. For example , Lance Lynn in game 1 of the ALDS for the ChiSox today: Larussa had relief warming up as Lynn not only was getting hit, he looked visibly exhausted. That is a clear example of a red flag but surprisingly he was kept in!

Contrast that with Hauck's outing where he was perfect (or the WS Game in 2020 with Snell) - "Yellow light" but would need a couple of hits before warming anyone.


This year, Eovoldi during the WC was a yellow light for me, but I figured relief would warm-up after that first bomb. However, I understand Cora's thinking as there was clear thought behind it and when he made the switch, I was surprised yet I agreed with it if that makes sense.
   55. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 07, 2021 at 10:35 PM (#6044687)
This has not been as much fun.
   56. villageidiom Posted: October 08, 2021 at 12:21 AM (#6044705)
Given the postseason is now such a large part of the whole, if you have a pitcher who wears down, it may make sense to give him an extended vacation until August 1, then bring him in fresh for the stretch drive and the playoffs. Provided you're not paying him $30 million a year, this could make sense for all concerned.
What if he's getting paid $30 million, but it's $20 million now and $10 million deferred until 2036?
   57. pikepredator Posted: October 08, 2021 at 08:12 AM (#6044714)
I take heart that they were hitting the ball hard last night. Pivetta saving bullpen arms was key. Sox are still in this!
   58. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 08, 2021 at 08:23 AM (#6044715)
Yeah the swings were good, lot of "atom" balls.
   59. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2021 at 09:20 AM (#6044721)
Pivetta saving bullpen arms was key.


That was a key to last night, to be honest. That and Richards, Taylor, and Ottavino all threw under *6* pitches each. So does Perez start Game 4, or do you bring back EdRod considering he threw only 41 pitches? Or do you start Houck and go bullpen game?

They *sort of* got away with keeping the game within reach without really blowing out the bullpen (considering they'll likely need it again tonight for the Sale start). I'm not sure how aggressive you are with the bullpen tonight to avoid going down 2-0. The off day helps, so you probably do approach it as a do-or-die and don't give Sale much rope.

Oddly, last night kind of gave me hope--the Rays didn't really tattoo good EdRod pitches; he just didn't have it and nibbled his way into constant trouble. And sure they hit the HRs off Pivetta but they didn't light him up; they didn't make us exhaust our bullpen. A real juggernaut curb-stomps you when your starter only gives you 1.2 IP. They really didn't. I think we have a chance.

Take away all games against Baltimore and the Rays have 82 wins and the Red Sox 79. There's not a tremendous difference between the two teams. Should they get a win tonight, the series looks a bit different. But, hell, they're playing with house money, so I'm not going to get too upset.
   60. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2021 at 09:31 AM (#6044725)
Given the postseason is now such a large part of the whole, if you have a pitcher who wears down, it may make sense to give him an extended vacation until August 1, then bring him in fresh for the stretch drive and the playoffs. Provided you're not paying him $30 million a year, this could make sense for all concerned.


Isn't this essentially what NBA teams are doing with stars on good teams that will basically make the playoffs--picking spots for days off, not having stars play back-to-back games, etc. I wouldn't at all be surprised to see this start happening. Heck, if you have 8 starters like the Dodgers had this season, it makes sense to maybe only pitch Kershaw starting in May maybe once a week and then slowly ramp him up so that by August/September he's at full strength and only has to pitch full out for 3 months (Aug/Sept/Oct). It's not really *that* crazy an idea.
   61. bunyon Posted: October 08, 2021 at 09:39 AM (#6044727)
I'm sure last night wasn't fun for Sox fans but traditionally, the road team only looks to win one in the opening set away. Still can do that.

Kind of hope so. I mean, I root against wildcards as a rule. But I also root for long series. So, hoping you guys can go home tied.
   62. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 08, 2021 at 09:51 AM (#6044731)
Yeah, I'm not particularly bothered by last night. The Sox hit a bunch of balls hard right at people and get out of Dodge with a split would be fine. Pivetta keeping the bullpen from overuse is pretty big too.
   63. The Mighty Quintana Posted: October 08, 2021 at 12:23 PM (#6044776)
I'm a Dalbec fan, but he looked overmatched last night. Hopefully Martinez can DH and slot into 5th spot, as I like Schwarber at 1B in 2nd hole. EdRod looked gassed from the get-go.
   64. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2021 at 12:46 PM (#6044786)
#63--perhaps I have low expectations but he looked better than I thought he'd be. He did put a sting into some balls he hit. Still, if JD can DH he's the odd man out as you have play Schwarber at 1B. I'm not even sure I'd put Dalbec in as a defensive replacement at 1B unless it was like a 4 run lead and just for the 9th, because to me the drop off with losing Schwarber's bat is so high.

If Martinez DH's, has an AB and re-injures the ankle running to 1B, I guess Dalbec is the guy who slots in to be the DH?
   65. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 08, 2021 at 01:18 PM (#6044797)
If Martinez DH's, has an AB and re-injures the ankle running to 1B, I guess Dalbec is the guy who slots in to be the DH?


Wouldn't it be a safer play be to put in Shaw as the DH?
   66. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 08, 2021 at 01:20 PM (#6044800)
I'm a Dalbec fan, but he looked overmatched last night.


I thought quite the opposite. His first time up he hit the ball hard for the DP, next time a rocket line drive but right at Diaz, then a fly out to the warning track. He wasn't missing by much. I thought he looked good.
   67. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2021 at 01:26 PM (#6044802)
Wouldn't it be a safer play be to put in Shaw as the DH?


Well... I suppose, except Dalbec is arguably a better hitter than Shaw and given that Martinez would hit 5th I'd hate to give TB an easy out between 1-4 and 6-8.
   68. Darren Posted: October 08, 2021 at 02:24 PM (#6044819)
It's really easy to overanalyze a single game in the postseason. The Rays pitched well and hit well (and stole home!!!); the Sox didn't. Win tonight and we're tied up going back to Fenway.

It sure seemed like Cora was trying to be a little tricky by letting E-Rod go once through the order and then putting in a righthander. I'm not sure that it's a great idea, as I think E-Rod's a better pitcher right now, but who knows?
   69. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 08, 2021 at 02:29 PM (#6044822)
I don't think he was being tricky, I think he just felt EdRod didn't have it.
   70. Nasty Nate Posted: October 08, 2021 at 02:35 PM (#6044825)
The potential Game 4 is now listed to start at 7pm. It's a little strange that it went from TBA to 7pm without any further information about how many games will be played that day.
   71. Darren Posted: October 08, 2021 at 02:35 PM (#6044826)
Fair enough. I read something on Fangraphs that called it "COra's Gambit." You could be right, though, for sure.
   72. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 08, 2021 at 02:51 PM (#6044836)
Understanding that the Red Sox are outmatched in several ways, he opted to try to outmaneuver the Rays instead. Rodriguez wasn’t especially good during his 41 pitches and five outs recorded, but getting pulled after going once through the order wasn’t based entirely on how he pitched, if it was at all. This became apparent when Cora used Richards to get one out — and one out only — in order to hand a clean third inning to erstwhile starter Nick Pivetta, a right-hander who suddenly had a bit of an extra edge facing a lineup still stuffed with platoon pieces like Luplow and Díaz who are best deployed against a lefty.


So it's an interesting piece that I hadn't seen. I'm not sure why using Richards to get one out is seen as evidence of it. Richards is, for the Sox at the moment, a reliever so letting your true reliever get out of the inning with someone on base makes some sense then turn it over to your starter-in-the-bullpen to give you length. Presumably Cora didn't want to blow out Richards because he's a guy Cora wants available tonight in a key spot while Pivetta isn't pitching again until Monday.

Rodriguez faced nine batters, 4 of them reached (albeit one on a little dribbler) but 2 of the outs, the Lowe line drive to right and the Zunino drive to center were crushed. He didn't have it. In July you let him find his way and hope he figures it out. In game one of a playoff series, particularly a five gamer, getting him out of there makes sense to me. I could be wrong but watching the game last night it didn't have the field of something preplanned, just something that presented itself.

The other thing about it is that Cora may be thinking that he was Rodriguez to start game four and holding him to 41 pitches makes that more reasonable.
   73. Nasty Nate Posted: October 08, 2021 at 06:36 PM (#6044898)
Barnes back on the roster.
   74. Nasty Nate Posted: October 08, 2021 at 06:37 PM (#6044899)
I would not at all be surprised if the Red Sox drop a guy mid-series in the ALDS or ALCS (a guy can dream) for one of Duran or Barnes.
Hey, a correct prediction!
   75. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2021 at 07:51 PM (#6044905)
So who would replace Sale on the roster?

   76. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2021 at 07:57 PM (#6044908)
I’m going to suggest we not start Sale again. But the point might be moot.
   77. nick swisher hygiene Posted: October 08, 2021 at 09:03 PM (#6044920)
So the 3rd time through the order discussion seems like it’s over, but just in case, one thing I wonder about: If pitchers now know they’re gonna get pulled based on times through the order rather than pitch count fatigue, doesn’t that in effect incentivize them to nibble? No point in conserving pitches if you’re gonna get the hook 3rd time through anyway!
   78. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2021 at 09:12 PM (#6044923)
Maybe this Houck fellow should start a game this postseason.
   79. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 08, 2021 at 09:47 PM (#6044931)
Well this is a little nuts. I was coaching tonight and following the score…what in the hell?
   80. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2021 at 10:08 PM (#6044935)
Houck saved our ass is what happened.
   81. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 08, 2021 at 10:40 PM (#6044938)
I declare this as fun.
   82. villageidiom Posted: October 09, 2021 at 08:18 AM (#6044961)
I saw someone express concern* in the omnichatter that Boston's bullpen isn't good enough to absorb back to back short stints from their starter. And, like, they are a really good bullpen. They got burned out in July and COVIDified in August, and just around when I was whining that Cora needed to have a slower hook to give them a break he did so.** I don't know if they can keep it going - as good as Boston's bullpen is the Rays are a better team - but they have a lot of very good arms out there. I mean, we are two games in, and their supposedly shallow bullpen hasn't yet used Whitlock, who is arguably their best reliever. They have three*** pitchers out there who are converted starters, and they have used only two of them so far to handle much of the emergency workload. One might say Boston's bullpen has EXACTLY the depth to handle this scenario.

*His concern is noted.
**Correlation is not causation.
***Pivetta, Houck, Perez. They had a fourth, in Richards, before removing him the other day.
   83. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 09, 2021 at 11:07 AM (#6044973)
If you believe in Robles, and he's been great the last few weeks, then between him, Brasier and Whitlock you've got three guys dealing out there. As you note with Pivetta and Houck they have people they can trust to give them innings. Perez can give them innings though I'm not as confident he can give them good innings like Pivetta and Houck can.

The other thing is with a division series you've got two off days. Barring rain there is no chance the Sox will need to have anyone pitch three days in a row. With the off days the Sox can piggy back starters like they did in games one and two. Ideally Eovaldi can get relatively deep on Sunday.

The bigger problem with the short starts is the fundamental thing where we are giving up a bunch of runs early. In a short series you can get away with a couple of short starts. If this were seven games or a rain out bunched games up it would be different.

Alex Speier made a good point last night. He noted that game was reminiscent of game two of the 2008 ALDS where the Sox had the early lead and looked like they were taking the series to the Rays but Tampa rallied and turned the series around. That game had that same feeling.

If my math is right this is the 14th Division Series the Sox have played and only the third time they've been 1-1 after two games. The other two were 1998 where they came home and lost two in a row and 2018 where they went to New York and won two in a row.
   84. The Mighty Quintana Posted: October 09, 2021 at 12:12 PM (#6044977)
Verdugo is locked in. I like his chances against anyone right now: lefty, righty, submariner. Getting sort of a Mark Grace/Will Clark vibe on that "lefty you don't wanna face in playoffs" list.
   85. Textbook Editor Posted: October 09, 2021 at 03:07 PM (#6045013)
I honestly think they don't have much choice but to start EdRod in Game 4--especially if you win Game 3. Pivetta would be on 3 days' rest and threw more pitched than EdRod and could definitely tandem with him, but I think not starting him would be best (unless maybe EdRod would work better in a 2 IP, empty-the-tank-type situation. Unless Perez starts Game 4, I'm not sure what the other option is, especially because...

I think Sale looks a bit gassed. His FB velocity seemed a bit down, even for the post-TJ starts, and I think asking him to get 12-15 outs may just be too much at this point. Flip-flopping Houck and Sale for a possible Game 5 I think I'd be in favor of--although obviously if you need Houck in Game 4 to get to Game 5 I think you have to use him and worry about Game 5 the morning of Game 5.


   86. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 09, 2021 at 06:58 PM (#6045060)
Someone made the point that Sale is a different guy since he got COVID. I’d still start Sale with Houck behind him if things get sticky. I really have no interest in seeing Perez in a competitive game.
   87. Textbook Editor Posted: October 10, 2021 at 08:51 AM (#6045121)
#86–and if that were actually the case, the team would be quite reluctant to share or express that, as then they’d be seen as wandering into a political situation. So we’ll never know the truth. But I have wondered over the past 9 months if/when you’d see a star athlete effectively have his career ended because of COVID-19, and how the sports world would react to that, especially if the player was unvaccinated. Not saying that’s the case with Sale—I meant just in general.
   88. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 10, 2021 at 03:04 PM (#6045132)
On that subject Sale is available out of the pen today per Cora.
   89. Textbook Editor Posted: October 10, 2021 at 03:33 PM (#6045134)
88–that tells me that saving Sale for a possible G5 is not something they’re worried about... possibly because they’ve decided to start Houck if they don’t need to use him in G3 or G4.
   90. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 10, 2021 at 03:54 PM (#6045136)
Yeah I had the same thought about Houck. Frankly I suspect Cora is looking at this whole series (and postseason if it goes on) as pretty much bullpen games all the way through.

Getting back to your point in 87 Eduardo Rodriguez missed last year with the combination of COVID and the related heart issue and came back this year as a much lesser pitcher. That’s a small sample size (1) obviously but it’s worth considering.
   91. PJ Martinez Posted: October 10, 2021 at 05:34 PM (#6045158)
Schwarber is fun.
   92. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 10, 2021 at 09:28 PM (#6045236)
This remains fun. FWIW;

From the 2021 MLB Rule Book;

Rule 5.05(a)

(8) Any bounding fair ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over or under a fence on fair or foul territory, in which case the batter and all runners shall be entitled to advance two bases
   93. villageidiom Posted: October 10, 2021 at 09:38 PM (#6045248)
So... Martin Perez, Game 4 starter? I mean, at this point why not?

EDIT: I mean, I know why not. But, like... So what?
   94. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 10, 2021 at 09:40 PM (#6045252)
Non Red Sox fans look away;

I am ####### LOVING the sour grapes right now. I try not to engage in schadenfreude but no matter what happens I ####### LOVE the number of people I’m already seeing on Twitter and elsewhere here talking about “fucking Red Sox get the breaks again” and how the Sox never die. It’s like the way we used to feel about the Marlins…I mean Yankees (I mix up those one time champs this century). God we are so ####### lucky. This is so much fun!!!
   95. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 10, 2021 at 09:44 PM (#6045257)
Vi - Why not EdRod with Houck for game five?

Pitches;
Eovaldi 85
Taylor 9
Brazier 11
Davis 8
Robles 19
Whitlock 17
Pivetta 67

Ottavino, Barnes, Sale, EdRod, Perez, Houck all 0

That’s not bad for tomorrow. None of the true relievers should be unavailable tomorrow.
   96. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 10, 2021 at 09:48 PM (#6045265)
Speier says that per Cora “probably” Rodriguez tomorrow.

Also Robles apparently walked into the dugout after leaving the game and promptly threw up so he may not be available tomorrow.
   97. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 10, 2021 at 09:59 PM (#6045279)
Gonna keep talking to myself but two things about Vazquez;

1. I think he deserves a lot of credit for settling Pivetta down after the terrible call on the weird play where Lowe bunted and missed and it wasn’t ruled strike three.

2. For a guy who doesn’t hit a lot of homers it seems like Vazquez hits a substantial percentage of big homers.
   98. Textbook Editor Posted: October 10, 2021 at 10:34 PM (#6045320)
Other than Eovaldi and Pivetta (and probably Robles, due to illness), I would assume everyone is available for at least 1 inning tomorrow. Taylor/Brasier have not really been taxed at all, and Whitlock essentially threw about an inning's worth of pitches. As long as EdRod doesn't get completely lit up, they're in decent shape tomorrow.

And I'd argue in a Game 5 Eovaldi could probably give you an inning and maybe even Pivetta. I'd try if at all possible to hold Houck out tomorrow.

Considering the circumstances, they're in decent shape for Games 4 & 5. And if they can manage to win tomorrow... They can really re-set things for the ALCS in an optimal way.
   99. Jay Seaver Posted: October 11, 2021 at 12:25 AM (#6045350)
I am ####### LOVING the sour grapes right now. I try not to engage in schadenfreude but no matter what happens I ####### LOVE the number of people I’m already seeing on Twitter and elsewhere here talking about “fucking Red Sox get the breaks again” and how the Sox never die.


I had to laugh at it on the way home from the game, especially when I saw the tweets saying "rigged". Like, c'mon, how do you rig it so that happens? Like, do the umps and replay officials have standing orders to give the Red Sox the benefit of the doubt when something bizarre happens? And if it was rigged, uh, not to bring up the 2019-2020 offseason, but...

Anyway, absolutely crazy game which may be in my top 5 all-time attended. If they win tomorrow then... Well, geez, who knows what the ceiling is?
   100. Textbook Editor Posted: October 11, 2021 at 12:45 AM (#6045353)
Anyway, absolutely crazy game which may be in my top 5 all-time attended. If they win tomorrow then... Well, geez, who knows what the ceiling is?


If they can somehow manage to win tomorrow night they'd have a whopping 3 days off before the ALCS and could more or less reset the rotation however they wanted/needed to. Winning tomorrow is probably the most crucial piece to winning a potential ALCS. With 3 off days, then 2 games-off-3 games-off-2 games there's a lot of potential rest in there. Hell, you could even start Pivetta in Game 1 of the ALCS on normal rest if you won tomorrow night--almost nothing would be off the table.

As for the ceiling? Who knows. I know I wouldn't want to face LA, simply because they have the starters and bullpen to really grind you down and that's before you even get to the offense. But I don't know that SF scares me quite as much (or Milwaukee). And if it was Milwaukee, at least there'd be 2 decent outcomes--we'd either win or Milwaukee would get the first WS title since 1957.

But it really is all gravy from here on in. I'd hate to lose the series with two defensively horror show games, but really anything else is fine. This has all been pretty unexpected and a happy accident.
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