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Sunday, August 31, 2003

Looking at Shortstops - Defense (What the world needs now, is glove, sweet glove) 




What what? Shortstops play defense too? How about that. Unfortunatly for my exercize, defense is almost impossible to measure objectively. I'm not ready to accept defeat, however. Therefore, here is the chart o' stats. Check out Offense here. And now the stats:


2003 g po a e dp fd% RF ZF WS 1000 gb A% DE
Edgar 131 166 368 15 72 0.973 4.19 0.870 3.62 3.23 1710 0.222 0.7119
Nomar 131 177 386 15 70 0.974 4.38 0.852 5.29 4.64 1792 0.222 0.6973
Jeter 96 128 213 12 42 0.966 3.59 0.780 1.45 1.75 1648 0.180 0.6959
Tejada 136 202 429 16 79 0.975 4.70 0.824 6.01 5.09 1774 0.242 0.7334
C'bera 137 239 392 16 91 0.975 4.79 0.870 6.56 5.65 1733 0.226 0.7121
Furcal 129 196 394 28 86 0.955 4.67 0.812 3.83 3.42 1826 0.226 0.7133



Nuts and Bolts
The obvious numbers are on the left again. Games, Put outs, Assists, Errors, and Double plays are all forms of the accounting I mentioned earlier.

fd% is fielding percentage, which is figured by taking PO+A/PO+A+E. This is an inaccurate metric. Fielding % has alot of subjectivity in it (errors are the only completely subjective stat in baseball. You are penalized for plays the scorer thought you should make.) Errors also happen when you screw up a play that you might have had no business making in the first place.

RF is Range factor, which created a nice little fued between Rob Neyer and Peter Gammons a few years back. This is the ESPN version which is (PO+A)/9. Again, this is inaccurate because it doesn't take pitching staff descrepencies into affect. A strike out, fly ball staff will have less groundballs, which mean less balls hit to shortstop. Less chance for the shortstop to make the play.

ZF is Zone factor, which also has alot of subjectivity involved. This metric, devised by STATS, Inc., measures a "zone" for each defender, and then they track the amount of balls fielded by the player in that "zone". It's nice window dressing, but because the "zones" are never really defined by STATS, they can't be tracked by the player in the stands, and a player with exceptional range can make a play in another player's zone, and he won't get "credit" for the play. If I understand it correctly, which I probably don't.

WS and 1000 are Win Shares, and Win Shares/1000 innings. Both are Jamesian inventions, and Win Shares have been talked about ad nauseum. The reason for adjusting for 1000 innings, is to keep from penalizing a player that only played 500 innings. The best example is above. Derek Jeter missed more time then the other guys, so if I just listed Win Shares, his totals would be terrible. As it turns out, his glove provides enough evidence for that. Something to remember...Win Shares do not measure fielding skill, rather how much the a player's glove work contributes to his team winning. The Win Shares are provided by Baseball Graphs

GB is the amount of ground balls the team's pitching staff had induced. A% is finally my own work. That is figured by taking the Estimated GB each staff has gotten for its shortstop, and then adjusting it for innings by LHP (Lefties get more groundballs to short and third, a faction of more righties in the lineups). Then I simply find out on how many balls each shortstop got an assist on. I hope that this has some accuracy in it since it doesn't penalize shortstops on high strikeout staffs, or high flyball staffs.

DE is Defensive efficiency. This is for the team level. This is simply the amount of times that a team converts a ball in play to an out. I'm not sure who invented this metric, but Baseball Prospectus tracks DE all season right here.

Thoughts
*By any measure of objectivity, Derek Jeter is a good centerfielder waiting to happen.
*Furcal has an almost unholy amount of errors thus far. While 28 isn't quite Offermanesque, it is a great great number.
*Renteria's numbers generally don't hash it out with his reputation as a very good glove man.
*Going by eye, I would say that Nomar has superior range at shortstop. I remember seeing him chasing balls into short left, jumping in the air, and slinging the ball across his body right to the first baseman to beat the runner by a step. That is why you can't go by your eye. Whoever you see most often is the player that you are going to rate higher. Yankee fan Defenders of Jeter say that to appreciate the captian, you need to see him play every day. I would say, if you saw other shortstops everyday, then maybe you would see the obvious hole in the glove. That always pisses off Yankee fans. Try it, it's fun.
*Orlando Cabrera put together the best season in baseball history at shortstop in 2001 according to the Win Shares method with 13.47 shares in 1407 2/3 innings.
*Miguel Tejada is one hell of a defensive player, by eye or spreadsheet.

Sooooo...who is the best defensive shortstop?

Orlando Cabrera is extremely slick with the glove. He plays on a horrible turf in Montreal. Insted of breaking down, or dutfully flopping on the ground in a futile attempt to grab a groudball, Cabrera is where singles go to die. And you know what, because he doesn't embarass himself with the bat, he could fill the job as Everyday Shortstop on a contender, or a team with money (Baltimore are you listening?). Also, I purposely didn't mention Alex Rodriguez simply because he hasn't been in any stage of analysis so far, save for me coming up with clever names to reference him without actually calling him by name. He is a very good defensive shortstop in the Cal Ripken model. Cabrera is more in the Dal Maxvill with Greg Gagne's bat catagory.

The rank:
1. Orlando Cabrera - Montreal
2. Miguel Tejada - Oakland
3. Nomar Garciaparra - Boston
4. Rafael Furcal - Atlanta
5. Edgar Renteria - St. Louis
6. Derek Jeter - New York

One man's opinion of the best shortstops not named ARod:
1. Nomar Garciaparra - Boston
2. Miguel Tejada - Oakland
3. Derek Jeter - New York
4. Orlando Cabrera - Montreal
5. Rafael Furcal - Atlanta
6. Edgar Renteria - St. Louis

Thanks for sticking through me for my first To Be Continued episode...hopefully there will be more on the way.

In case you missed my recent rants, here are all the ones from the weekend that aren't related to shortstops:

8/29 Tale of Two Shortstops
8/29 Manny out
8/29 Sox 10 Yanks 5
8/30 New York 10 Boston 7
8/31 WTF!?!?!?!?!
8/31 A few words of Clemens


A few words on Clemens 




Today, Roger Clemens made his last start regular season start at Fenway Park. As a member of the New York Yankees. A few months ago, I had this conversation with a friend of mine, who is a Yankees fan.

Greg: Clemens is pitching against the Red Sox today.
Me: I know. I can't stand him.
Greg: Why? He's a great pitcher.
Me: Look at it this way. In college you start dating this great girl from Texas. She's smart, funny and attractive. After you have been seeing each other for a while, then you realize that all your friends think she's great too. For a few years, you realize you have the perfect girl for you and you propose. You get married, with a spectacular wedding. Right after you get married, some chinks start to show in the armor. She stops laughing at your jokes, she starts to nag more. She quits her job for a year, and puts on alot of weight. You come to the conclusion that she might be borderline insane. She picks fights over nothing, and starts to act more and more bizarrely. To top it all off, she won't even give you the time of day in bed. So you tell her that you can't deal anymore, and if she doesn't go back to the way she was, then the marriage was over. She said fine, but she could only date you or a guy from home. Meanwhile, shes getting back into shape, as the marriage ends. She starts to work hard again, and she dates the strange Canadian in the same apartment. No matter, you move on to the incredibly hot Dominican girl, that is superior then the ex, and you are happy. All of a sudden, your ex-wife dumps the Canadian dude, and starts dating the loud, obnoxious rich guy that lives above you, and always steals your parking spaces. She is now in better shape then she was in college, and every time you see her, all she talks about is how happy she is with the new guy. Now, you are married to this Dominican girl, but every time you see the ex, she brags about how good the new guy is in bed, and how even we you guys were dating, she really wanted the Rich guy. And she says your dick is small. Suddenly all your friends are telling you how awesome the ex is, and how you should have never let her go. Thats how alot of Red Sox fans feel about Clemens.

I felt that way until the game today. As you can probably tell about my last post, I hated today's game. I was never more pissed off watching a Sox game then I was when I saw the Red Sox fans giving Roger Clemens a standing ovation as he was taken out of the game. Then a funny thing happened. acknowledged the Boston fans for the first time since 1996.

Then an even funnier thing happend. I didn't hate Clemens anymore. I didn't really feel anything at all. Hatred softened into ambivalence. I feel like I grew a little bit just watching that moment.

Before, I said that Clemens should wear a dollar sign cap on his Hall of Fame plaque. One thing I didn't want him to wear was the Red Sox 'B' on it. Now, I'm not so sure. All I can say about Clemens now was that he was a great player, and one of the best pitchers of all time. What I can't say is that I hate him anymore.

Tomorrow, Boston travels to Philadelphia to face the Phillies. Jeff Suppan faces off against Bret Myers.

WTF!?!?!?!?! 




I can not rationally discuss today's Red Sox Yankees game. No analysis really, because this has been a wholey depressing game.

The shortstop defense post comes later tonight.


SHORTSTOP WATCH

8/29 ab r h rbi bb k 2b 3b hr ave ob% slug
Nomar 5 2 3 2 0 2 1 0 1 .600 .600 1.400
Jeter 4 1 2 0 1 1 1 0 0 .500 .600 .750

8/30 ab r h rbi bb k 2b 3b hr ave ob% slug
Nomar 5 2 3 2 0 0 1 1 0 .600 .600 1.200
Jeter 4 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .500 .500 .750

8/31 ab r h rbi bb k 2b 3b hr ave ob% slug
Nomar 5 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jeter 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .250

Series ab r h rbi bb k 2b 3b hr ave ob% slug
Nomar 15 4 6 4 0 2 2 1 1 .400 .400 .867
Jeter 12 4 5 0 1 1 2 0 0 .417 .462 .538


Looking at Shortstops - Offense or:How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Long Bomb 




Somewhere in the journey from Mark Belanger to Alex Rodriguez, shortstops learned to hit. Here is a chart with some rudimentary statistics (accounting) and three columns of SABR worthy statistics (metrics):



2000 ab h 2b 3b hr bb k sb cs RC Est RC/27 Player runs
Edgar 562 156 32 1 16 63 77 21 13 73 4.339 703.0
Nomar 529 197 51 3 21 61 50 5 2 128 9.880 1600.5
Jeter 593 201 31 4 15 68 99 22 4 115 7.446 1206.3
Tejada 607 167 32 1 30 66 102 6 0 102 6.004 972.7
C'rera 422 100 25 1 13 25 28 4 4 49 3.862 625.7
Furcal 455 134 20 4 4 73 80 40 14 72 5.605 908.0

2001 ab h 2b 3b hr bb k sb cs RC Est RC/27 Player runs
Edgar 493 128 19 3 10 39 73 17 4 56 3.824 619.4
Nomar 83 24 3 0 4 7 9 0 1 15 6.485 1050.5
Jeter 614 191 35 3 21 56 99 27 3 111 6.708 1086.8
Tejada 622 166 31 3 31 43 89 11 5 102 5.713 925.5
C'rera 626 173 41 6 14 43 54 19 7 92 5.138 832.4
Furcal 324 89 19 0 4 24 56 22 6 41 4.341 703.2

2002 ab h 2b 3b hr bb k sb cs RC Est RC/27 Player runs
Edgar 544 166 36 2 11 49 57 22 7 97 6.325 1024.6
Nomar 635 197 56 5 24 41 63 5 2 116 6.678 1081.8
Jeter 644 191 26 0 18 73 114 32 3 108 6.150 996.2
Tejada 662 204 30 0 34 38 84 7 2 125 6.984 1131.3
C'rera 563 148 43 1 7 48 53 25 7 64 3.843 622.6
Furcal 636 175 31 8 8 43 114 27 15 83 4.538 735.2

2003 ab h 2b 3b hr bb k sb cs RC Est RC/27 Player runs
Edgar 499 167 39 1 12 45 40 27 5 84 6.163 998.3
Nomar 554 179 34 12 23 32 52 15 5 106 7.216 1169.0
Jeter 396 126 22 3 9 38 74 9 4 70 6.644 1076.3
Tejada 538 147 37 0 23 40 55 7 0 85 5.621 910.6
C'rera 525 155 36 1 17 50 50 21 2 82 5.563 901.3
Furcal 556 159 27 8 15 49 63 22 2 89 5.942 962.7

Total ab h 2b 3b hr bb k sb cs RC Est RC/27 Player runs
Edgar 2098 617 126 7 49 196 247 87 29 311 5.144 833.3
Nomar 1801 597 144 20 72 141 174 25 10 364 7.709 1248.8
Jeter 2247 709 114 10 63 235 386 90 14 404 6.719 1088.5
Tejada 2429 684 130 4 118 187 330 31 7 414 6.104 988.8
C'rera 2136 576 145 9 51 166 185 69 20 287 4.622 748.8
Furcal 1971 557 97 20 31 189 313 111 37 286 5.127 830.6



Nuts and Bolts
Because of Blogger space, I needed to cut some names. Nomar is Garciaparra (duh). Edgar is Edgar Renteria. C'rera is Expos shortstop Orlando Cabrera. Also, the cut off was 2000 because that was the season when all 6 guys became regulars. For the record, and the sake of fairness, Jeter very well could have been the AL MVP in 1999, and Bill James went so far as to call him the best player in baseball that year.

Now, some explaination of the metrics. RC Est is the estimate of how many runs each player contributed to his team's offense. This is a Jamesian invention that went from simply (Times on Base*Total Bases)/Plate Apperences. The formula I use is a James formula that is much much more intense. Also, if you add up the runs created for each player over the course of a few seasons, you will find that it is equal to the amount of runs that the team has scored. It's pretty accurate for 3 seasons and more.

RC/27 is basically Runs created, divided by the Outs the player used up (essentially AB-H+CS+GIDP+SF+SH), multiplied by 27. 27 is of course the amount of outs in a 9 inning baseball game.

Player runs is how many runs a team would score if a 9 player lineup was made of that player, and then played for 162 games. I said play alot in that last sentence. I do it for you, the reader.

Now, what does it all mean? I honestly don't know. Stats are fun though. They tell you things like "Hey, how many times did Jeter walk in 2001?" and "Hey, who hit more home runs in 2000, Cabrera or Furcal?" Analysis comes from drawing conclusions about the accounting that Elias Sports Bureau does for us. As Baseball Prospectus mentions from time to time, stats are just accounting.

Drawing conclusions, however, are much more involved. Essentially to draw an adequet conclusion, you need to toss all the numbers in a blender, and test it for accuracy. Due to being born in 1980 (3 years after the inaugural Bill James' Baseball Abstracts), alot of people have already done the "blender test" for me. The metrics used are pretty accurate. Take Jeff's word for it. That's the second time I did it for you. I'm your stat whore, David Stern.

Thoughts

Now, what are my conclusions?
*The National League guys are in a completely different caste then the AL guys. Sorry St. Louis, Montreal, and Atlanta, but your good shortstops aren't quite so good.
*Miguel Tejada was actually deserving of the MVP award in the AL...if you only count AL shortstops not playing in Texas.
*Derek Jeter is having a pretty good year after 3 years of decline. Maybe he can wrest the Bronze Metal for AL Shortstops back.
*As good as people say Renteria has been this year, very quietly, he had a tremendous 2002.
*Orlando Cabrera goes hot and cold in the four years of this study. He's like the Columbian 6-man version of Bret Saberhagen.
*Some people reading this forget who Sabes was, or only remember him as the oft-injured Boston starter. That is a damn shame.
*Rafael Furcal 's shoulder problems (from sprain in April 01 to the seperation) probably cost him 2 years of good hitting. The legs were willing...

Now down to the real question...who is the best offensive shortstop?
In a word...Nomar.

Garciaparra lost a year to a split tendon in his wrist. He suffered that injury in September 1999 vs. Baltimore. So those numbers for 2000 were compiled with a serious wrist injury. Surgery in 2001, sapped some of his power, but that seems to be back in spades in 2003. Hurt Nomar is still a better hitter then all of these guys. Nomar has faults, but he's the best hitting shortstop this side of Arlington.

The rank:
1. Nomar Garciaparra - Boston
2. Derek Jeter - New York
3. Miguel Tejada - Oakland
4. Rafael Furcal - Atlanta
5. Edgar Renteria - St. Louis
6. Orlando Cabrera - Montreal

Later comes defense...

Saturday, August 30, 2003

New York 10 Boston 7 




Boston pitching was knocked around like a prison bitch by New York's hitters. All and all, it was a depressing game by the Olde Towne Team. Pedro Martinez, who is clearly still fighting off some sickness, was beat up allowing 4 hits in a row, and 5 out of 6 hitters. Martinez only lasted 4 innings in this game, making the third game in a row where the Boston ace couldn't hold a lead against the Yankees.

Then a funny thing happend...Bronson Arroyo channeled Mike Timlin and pitched 3 innings of excellent relief. The last third of an inning, he gave up a hit, and Alan Embree was called in. Embree prompty poured gasoline on the fire and the Yankees went up 8-4. Sox fought back to 8-7 against Nelson and Rivera, but ultimately, Bill Mueller struck out on a eye high fast ball and the rally was dead.

What the might be the most frustrating part of the game happend in the top of the ninth. Byung-Hyun Kim relieves Embree. After retiring Williams, Hideki Matsui hit a nubber up the middle that he beat out for a base hit. Then, on a full count, Kim throws Posada a slider that is right on the black, low and away. Posada swung and missed, on what was almost a completely unhittable pitch.

Except he swung and connected and drove the ball halfway up the stands in centerfield. Posada knocked his second homerun of the game on an excellent pitch, and so the myth that Kim can't beat the Yankees lives on. At least Tim McCarver has something to talk about during games.

All and all, a truely depressing game for Sox fans. Yankees played well and beat the Sox pitching pretty badly. And Fox announcers, which have been nothing short of horrible since they recieved the contract, can do things like call Alfonso Soriano, Rafael (the Seattle Mariners' relief pitcher. Many Yankee fans had never heard of him), and say how Bronson Arroyo is just trying to hang on in his second big league game, despite spending 3 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bad, bad day to watch a Fox game.

As for the shortstop watch...both guys had good games. And as been the case the last 5 years, Nomar had the superior numbers and Jeter's team came out ahead. The offensive breakdown will come tonight or tomorrow morning, with defense coming tomorrow night or Monday morning.

SHORTSTOP WATCH

8/29 ab r h rbi bb k 2b 3b hr ave ob% slug
Nomar 5 2 3 2 0 2 1 0 1 .600 .600 1.400
Jeter 4 1 2 0 1 1 1 0 0 .500 .600 .750

8/30 ab r h rbi bb k 2b 3b hr ave ob% slug
Nomar 5 2 3 2 0 0 1 1 0 .600 .600 1.200
Jeter 4 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .500 .500 .750

Series ab r h rbi bb k 2b 3b hr ave ob% slug
Nomar 10 4 6 4 0 2 2 1 1 .600 .600 1.300
Jeter 8 3 4 0 1 1 2 0 0 .500 .556 .750




Friday, August 29, 2003

Sox 10 Yanks 5 




Red Sox take battle 14 to even the season series at 7 games a piece. Lowe "earned" his 14th win with a gutsy 6 ip, 5 run, 5 hit, and 3 walk performance. Sarcasm aside, the bullpen pitched well again, as the Yankees were held in check from the 6th inning on. Timlin again (yawn) pitched well. Scotty the Left flung at least 6 different kinds of curveballs in keeping the Yankees off the bases. As for Scotty the Right...at least he didn't give up any runs.

Grady still made me scratch my head when he took Sauerbeck out in the 9th with Nick Johnson due up. Johnson is a left handed hitter. Sauerbeck was aquired to face lefties. Christ Grady, this isn't rocket science! Williamson ended up walking Johnson, which is something that Sauerbeck could have done too. Oh well, every dark cloud has a silver lining, and every gold nugget has a speck of shit on it.

As for the Yankees, they really hacked at just about everything up there, with only Johnson, and Jeter looking like they had any semblence of an offensive game plan up there. Also, it was brought to my attention that Jose Contreras looks like Simon Adebisi from OZ. I have visions of Contreras wearing a wife beater, have a hat cocked on the back of his head, sniffing heroin, and raping in the shower. I think it goes without saying that Contreras is now my favorite Yankee.

SHORTSTOP WATCH

ab r h rbi bb k 2b 3b hr
Nomar 5 2 3 2 0 2 1 0 1
Jeter 4 1 2 0 1 1 1 0 0


Manny out 




WBZ's Bob Lobel and WEEI report that Manny Ramirez is out of today's game with a severely sore throat.

ESPN's Peter Gammons reports he is out with a stomach bug.

Eitherway, Ramirez looks like he's out tonight and might be gone for the weekend. Obviously, this puts a damper on the weekend series with the Yankees. Bobby Valentine types might say how important it would be to get Manny back in the dugout/clubhouse "for the team". It is definately more important to make sure that the whole team doesn't end up puking in the Fenway bathrooms.


Tale of Two Shortstops 




The Yankees come into Boston tonight for a 3 game tilt. So far, the Bronx dwellers hold a 1 game lead in the season series, 7-6. Also, word is from the Bronx that the Yankees are still waiting for a Red Sox collapse. Yup, they do every year, so it will happen again. Still waiting…

I have six shortstops for you out there in internet land to look at:

           h   2b 3b hr  bb  k  sb cs   ba   ob   sl rc/27 

Renteria 165 37 1 12 45 40 26 5 .333 .386 .485 6.046
Jeter 124 21 3 9 37 73 9 4 .316 .384 .454 6.623
Nomar 176 32 12 22 32 50 15 5 .321 .361 .545 7.058
Tejada 146 37 0 23 40 55 7 0 .273 .327 .472 5.686
Cabrera 152 35 1 17 50 50 21 2 .292 .350 .462 5.497
Furcal 156 27 8 15 49 63 22 2 .283 .344 .443 5.409


These are generally considered the best six shortstops in baseball this season not named Rodriguez. Just give a thought to which one you want. Who you think will help your team win? If you ask a Yankee fan, what Jeter lacks in numbers, he makes up for in leadership, character, and clutch ability. If you ask a Red Sox fan, Nomar is a better shortstop, period. Offensively and defensively.

Now you have the theme of the weekend. Boston vs. New York, and my attempt to show how much each shortstop is worth to his team, and by Monday, hopefully I can have a definite shortstop ranking.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Framingham Lou is back 




Red Sox reaquired Lou Merloni from the San Diego Padres for Portland (AA) relief pitcher Rene Miniel.

From ESPN.com

Sweet Lou redux

Utility infielder Lou Merloni returned to the Red Sox on Aug. 28 in a trade that sent minor league pitcher Rene Miniel to the Padres. Merloni, who moved back and forth between Boston and Triple-A Pawtucket the last five seasons, had been claimed on waivers by San Diego on March 25. Merloni is a native of Framingham, Mass. Except for playing part of the 2000 season in Japan, he had played his entire career in the Red Sox organization. Miniel, a right-hander, played with Double-A Portland this season.


Just talkin' about Cy Young 




Derek Zemstag at Baseball Prospectus has a free column up talking about the AL Cy Young picture. As usual, the column is pretty good and gives some clear headed analysis. No mention of AL Cy Young Favourite™ Roy Halladay though.

Breaking Balls: AL Cy Young Race

My ballot right now:
1. Tim Hudson
2. Estiban Loaiza
3. Pedro Martinez
4. Mike Mussina
5. AL Cy Young Favourite™ Roy Halladay

Wrong is being right in a totally different way 




Just a quick hit today. Red Sox beat the Blue Jays, thus handing AL Cy Young Favourite™ Roy Halladay a loss. Halladay ended up dropping to 17-6 after giving up 11 hits and 6 runs in 7.1 innings.

Oakland made short work of the Orioles 6-2, and Tampa Bay doubled up Seattle 8-4. Therefore Oakland has taken over first place in the West. If you are a frequent visitor to Dewey’s House, you might remember that on August 19th, I said this:

Oh well, the Sox are 5.5 games behind the Yankees, and with only 38 more games to play, the division might be out of reach for the Boston 9. In the West, Oakland is 4 games behind Seattle, and 4 games is alot to make up in 38 games as well.

In response, all I can say is damn you Billy Beane, damn you to hell.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

A Tale of Two Scottys 




In a 7-7 game in the 8th inning yesterday, Toronto second baseman, and switch hitter, Orlando Hudson led off the inning against Scott Sauerbeck. Due up that inning was Mike Bordick, right handed batter, and Frank Catalanotto, a southpaw. None of these Blue Jays are particularly good at hitting left handed pitching, and Scotty the Left has an appropriate nickname.

If you look at the game logs, you know what happened. Sauerbeck continues to not be able to get anyone out. Williamson comes in and pitches about as well as Rudy Saenez did. After the blow up, Alan Embree comes in and stops the bleeding. The end result is a five run inning, all on the shoulders of pitchers named Scott. That leaves one question?

Why are the team's two best relievers sitting in the bullpen?

Mike Timlin and Alan Embree have been as close to lights out as you can be lately, and they sit in the bullpen seed spitting, while the game burns. Grady Little/Dave Wallace did well to get Suppan in there, as he held Toronto in check for three innings, but why couldn't they tell that neither Scotty is particularly adept at retiring batters? This team brings the frustrating.

On the lighter side, they played Rally Karaoke Guy, and the Red Sox promptly scored five runs. I'm thinking about playing a video of Kevin Millar lip syncing next time a need a few runs in wiffle ball.

Speaking of Millar, in the 9th, he lofted a fly ball to right centerfield. Vernon Wells tracked it down, but it hit the railing on the corner of the Red Sox bullpen. Hilarity ensued as the ball shot past Wells, into left center field. Millar was chugging all the way and ended up with an inside the park homerun. Kevin Millar had an inside the park home run. The best parts were that he didn't look like he needed oxygen and an IV drip in the dugout. Also, where was Frank Catalanotto on that play? As the ball rolled to the scoreboard, he was no where to be found.

I saw one of the funniest ejections of all time last night, as Carlos Tosca was screaming about a close play at second Lou Pinella style. I didn't think the old boy had it in him. Face was red, hat was off, crew chief had to restrain him. Good times.

In parting, I have to say if I saw JP Ricchardi on the streets of New York, I wouldn't buy a watch from him.

Tonight is John Burkett vs. AL Cy Young Favourite™ Roy Halladay

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Adjusted Standings 




Our friends over at Baseball Prospectus have an awfully interesting page over there called Adjusted Standings.

It has the Red Sox in first place in the American League East, about two games ahead of the Yankees in the most important "W3" column. I could explain the way the standings work in more detail but Baseball Prospectus does a much better job of that than I could so I will just let you take a look at their site. In short what it does though is it projects runs scored and runs against based on EQR and EQR against, adjusted for differences in opponents (in the W3 column). Then, it simply applies Bill James' Pythagorean Theory, which without the EQR adjustments and based simply on runs and runs allowed, are displayed in the "W1-L1" column.

So the Red Sox, when adjusted for how well they have pitched and hit based on EQR and EQRA, are the best team in their division. The natural next step is to answer why they have failed to score as much as their EQR would project and furthermore, why they have given up more runs than their EQRA would project.

I think I have some answers, specifically two ways in which the Yankees have outperformed the Red Sox that EQR and EQRA do not measure; pitching with runners in scoring position as well as home run hitting with men on base.

Let's compare the Red Sox and Yankees pitching staffs in terms of OPS against:

Yankees: .722
Red Sox: .746

There are only five teams that separate the two here. The Yanks rank eighth in Major League Baseball, the Sox fourteenth.

How about OPS with no runners on:

Yankees: .722
Red Sox: .691

In this situation, the Yankees remain the same but the Red Sox improve and do so fairly dramatically. This means that the Red Sox are doing their best pitching when they can be hurt the least, with nobody on.

How about OPS against with runners in scoring position?

Yankees: .710
Red Sox: .796

Here is the enormous difference. The Yankees do their best pitching when they can be hurt the most while the Red Sox do their worst pitching in these same exact situations. Obviously, this can lead to an enormous disparity in runs allowed.

On the offensive side, the Yankees have hit 184 Home Runs this season and 99 have been solo shots. That's 54%. The Red Sox have hit 191 Home Runs and 123 have been with nobody on base. That's 64%. It's also been quite costly in terms of total runs scored.

What this all means is that a closer look reveals that a large part of the difference in the actual standings can be attributed to timeliness. As stated, the Red Sox do their worst pitching when they are most vulnerable. In these same situations, the Yankees do their best. Similarly, when a home run delivers the softest blow, the Sox pound 'em out like no other team. With men on, they don't hit the long ball quite so prolifically.

Surely there is some Yankee fan out there that thinks he knows why all of this happens. The Yankees are the Yankees after all and the Sox, no matter how good they really are, still are the Sox. Personally, I think that stuff is bunk. That the Red Sox have had less timely pitching and home run hitting than the Yankees means nothing in terms of actual performance. It is mere happenstance.

That it is unlikely this pattern will continue ought to provide even more reason for hope around the Hub.

Mailing it in 




I promise not to bitch about the media today.

I've found that I've been doing that alot lately, probably because that has been the biggest story swurling around the Red Sox right now, and I won't bitch about them anymore, by cracky. Of course now I am reaching for something to write about.

Oh yeah, the Red Sox swept the Mariners, winning yesterday afternoon 8-1. That makes the scores for this series 6-4, 7-6, 6-1, and 8-1.

Now I know why Shaughnessy is so negitive (I can't talk about this column. It would break my rule. Read it and imagine. Just don't read it around your dog), there isn't much to write about after a four game sweep of a good team, while in the midst of a five game winning streak. I suppose I could file a game report, but Aaron Gleeman did one and it's better then anything I want to put the effort in this morning.

Just some thoughts on the game:
*It was Vermont Day. Congratulations Vermont.
*Bronson Arroyo made his Red Sox debut and notched his first save. Essentially, this appearence renders saves meaningless.
*Ichiro took the collar, 0-4. While Ichiro is a very good hitter, I have no idea why he is being trumpted as the MVP of the American League. Bret Boone is having a better year then Ichiro. Then again, he doesn't have a high batting average and no power.
*Grady Little mananged a good game yesterday. No smarmy remark.

How about that...no media anger. I knew I could do it! Toronto comes to town tonight, Wakefield vs. Hendrickson.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Things are really hotting up now 




Sox win 6-1. 1:05 game today. Rumors of this season's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Thats not the heating up I'm talking about.

Pedro Martinez appearently is leaving Boston after 2004. If we take the statement at its face, then, presumably, this is a responce to the constent beating Pedro took on WEEI after he called in sick with pharyngitis. If we take this statement without context, then Pedro is not only willing to walk when 2004 is over, but seems like he has his mind made up.

In short, Pedro is absolutely right to think that. Boston fans on the radio have become so jaded, and psuedo-passionate that they lose perspective on what is right or wrong. Every low is the low point in the franchise, and every high is still a low. The Red Sox haven't won a World Series because Manny, Pedro, and Nomar make $43 million dollars, and because of that, when they do something we don't like we have the right to treat them subhumanly. We got to keep reminding people how much those stars make, and we have to keep putting those uppity athletes in their place.

That is why I don't listen to sports radio anymore. The only people stupider then the ones that host are the ones that call.

Also, a criticism is that Pedro should shut up and play baseball. When he tryed that, some fans, and more columnists said, "Pedro isn't talking to the media? A pox on his house!" So, should he talk or not? Should he only talk when he's being a good organizational soldier? Should he only talk when it is convienent to criticize him?

My thoughts: Pedro shouldn't talk to the media. Whenever he does, he alienates a section of the Red Sox fandom. These are the people who say that they are "tired of the prima donna act" and the bigger that group is, the more trouble Pedro will have. This is already starting to remind me of the Mo Vaughn situation, and that acrimony was tough to stomach. Media gets more viewers/readers/listeners/hits when they are grinding an axe. Fans should not let them add the "We ran the Dominican Diva out of town" feather in their cap.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Shhhhh 




A modest winning streak is just what the doctor ordered. After predicting death-by-Mariner for the Boston 9, the "Season ain't over yet" crowd is growing bigger by the day. The Red Sox have started fighting back against the creme of the American League crop, and I for one realized that the Sox ain't dead yet.

Yesterday, however, didn't really inspire confidence. Manny got on base 4 times and , Millar hit a double that would have been much easier if a top 3 centerfielder didn't play for Seattle, and Mike Timlin proved again why he's the most underappreciated reliever in Grady Little's Box of Bullpen Toys. Those are all very good.

The very bad came with Manny's baserunning blunder (call time then wander, bro), Grady's mishandling of the bullpen, a terrible sun in right (it was so bad yesterday in the bleachers that I had on SPF45 and got roasted), and BH Kim's inability to waste a pitch.

Kim, Trot and Manny don't need to worry. They are all good enough players to not expect the silliness that happend yesterday, even though a guy behind me thought that Manny should be traded for someone with a brain. The Grady Bullpen Project is much different though.

In the moves of the truley bizarre, Little brought in Scott Sauerbeck to face Ben Davis, Mark McLemore, and Mike Cameron. The first two guys are switch hitters who hit better from the right side, and Cameron is a righty. Scotty the Left is a specialist, who with the Red Sox has a .527 ops against vs. lefties, and a 1.409 ops against vs righties. Essentially, Sauerbeck turns righties into Barry Bonds in this small sample. Now, this "worked" because Sauerbeck retired Davis, and after McLemore and Cameron reached, retired Randy Winn. Little then called on Todd Jones to coerce a pop up from Bret Boone, ending the inning. Alan Embree started then 9th to pitch to While Scott Williamson and Mike Timlin sat in front of me in the bullpen, Little then called on Byung-Hyun Kim for the 4th straight day. Kim didn't have it, and was rocked. This is the first time Kim's been used in 4 straight this year. Only then did Timlin come into the game to pitch a ho hum perfect 10th inning.

Yes the Red Sox won, but it was a most frustrating victory. Taking into account the last two Red Sox managers, Jimy Williams, and Grady Little, the Red Sox (hyperbole alert!) have to lead the majors in frustrating wins. If only you could combine Little's offensive ideas with Williams' bullpen management skills, and take out the penchant for the bizarre, then you would have yourself a very good manager.

But you can't. The Red Sox will still win, and I will still take Advil.

Friday, August 22, 2003

How Quickly Things Change 




When news of Pedro's illness broke last night, the 2003 Boston Red Sox had officially hit rock bottom.

For the fourth year in a row the Sox were in full downward-spiral mode and things were not looking good. Coming off two gut-wrenching losses to the Oakland Athletics and three straight losses overall, fans around these parts had all but given up. Then news that Pedro would miss his start broke. Many (including me I am ashamed to say) initially accused Pedro of childish shenanigans, especially just twenty-four hours after his decision to skip the team photograph on Wednesday (not that there is any logic in that whatsoever). You would have thought it was the nail in the 2003 Red Sox' coffin. Admittedly, the thought crossed my mind.

Then something funny happened. More accurately, much of the negativity surrounding the club around dinner time slowly but surely took a turn for the positive. The Red Sox came out swinging against young Oakland phenom Rich Harden and wound up winning 14-5. Details started to surface and it became apparent that Pedro really was sick. Mark Mulder went to the disabled list. Kevin Millar started singing and dancing on the jumbotron. The Saugus Little League team pulled off a miracle win in Williamsport. All of the doom and gloom of the early evening gave way to a renaissance of the era of good feeling - an era when balls flew out of the yard and emotional wins were the norm...a time when ground balls found holes and line drives eluded opposing fielders. Oh it was a magical time. It was...July.

That's how damn fickle we are in these parts - just three weeks removed from maybe the most uplifting moment of the new Sox millenium, the Sunday night come-from-behinder vs. the Yanks, much of "the nation" was bailing.

There's something to be learned in all of this. Many of us (I am by no means excluding myself here) need to look at facts and while we're at it, take a closer look at what's really taking place on the field - not just the wins and losses. The Red Sox have not been playing all that badly. They gave up three hits Tuesday night to Oakland - and lost. They smacked eighteen hits on Wednesday night - and lost. They also played quite well last night and happened to win. So thrice they outplayed Oakland and twice they happened to goof it up. Big deal. There are plenty of games left and there is not even a shred of doubt in my mind that this team is better than Oakland. Hopefully that manifests itself in the form of superior play and many more wins than their Bay Area counterparts.

As far as the off the field stuff, I hope everyone can put it to rest. Pedro was sick. Move on. Kevin Millar got a little yappy. Oh well, this stuff is emotional and he blew off some steam. Last night there were clips of a teenaged Millar dancing around to Bruce Springsteen in what had to be one of the funniest scenes I have witnessed in a while. Again, it's over. Move on.

The Red Sox are a very good team and as long as they have even neutral luck, they should win the wild card. With some good luck, they ought to breeze.

Then we will look back on this 72 hour period or so and remember it for the utter silliness that characterized it.

How about them Sox 




How about that. Pedro was actually sick. Millar really didn't say the fans were negative. Lucchino said that the photo issue wasn't really an issue (he joked about it during the post game show). Oh yeah, the Red Sox have offense again, pasted the A's 14-5.

Today was an absolute circus because of the stuff that was going on before the game, and the circus had a nice fireworks display during the actual baseball game.

Manny broke out of his slump with 2 doubles, and a homer. Ortiz hit one of his tall jacks. The Sox were very good with the bases occupied, unlike yesterday's disaster. There was a video played by the Red Sox that showed Kevin Millar, dressed like Bruce Springsteen and dancing, while doing kareoke to "Born in the USA". Good times, noodle salad.

Pedro was in the hospital for six hours getting tests done. I for one feel like an ass for even thinking that he was "throwing a bitchfit" as I wrote. Sorry Pedro, don't kick me out of the club. Really the only people that seem to be all that worried about the lack of Pedro were the people who make money/get notoriety in their "bashing Pedro" niche. That would be talk radio, and certain "fan" sites. These two groups tend to love to pat themselves on the back on a job well done, showing that uppity Pedro who's boss. Good job guys, way to stay on the pulse of an issue. Hang up on fans or call them "apologists" for telling the truth when your own opinion will do. Alright, enough Pedro preaching.

Bob Rogers and Jim Rice said today that Millar was misquoted in the Boston Globe when he said that the fans we're negative in Boston. If he was, then you think that they would ask Red Sox beat writer Gordon Edes about it then, eh?

Lucchino said that the "photogate" was a non-issue. Much adeiu about nothing, said the Red Sox CEO. And Millar said that the media outlets are negative...what was he thinking. Millar still shouldn't have said anything about the media, but that doesn't mean that he was wrong.

I promise the next post won't have the bitterness that this one did. Unless Manny gets shot, and the "fan" sites say how he should suck it up, pull the bullet out himself, and play, rather then whine about "not being able to feel his legs"

Thursday, August 21, 2003

The hits just keep ooooooooooooooooooonnnn coming 




Not 10 minutes after that last post, I stumble on to the Red Sox website and see this headline...

Sox call on Fossum to pull closer

The Red Sox will call on Casey Fossum, filling in for an ill Pedro Martinez tonight, to avoid being swept at home for the first time this season. Boston also needs the win to pull within one game of Oakland in the Wild Card race. Oakland counters with rookie Rich Harden.

Awesome.

If Pedro is really sick, then that makes this start and the whole photo thing a non-issue. Get better Pedro.

If Lucchino desided skipping Pedro is punishment for missing the photo, then Larry needs to be taken to the woodshed. Don't sabotage your chance to win a ballgame by having a penis measuring contest.

If Pedro is throwing a bitchfit and called in sick because of what Lucchino said, then Pedro needs to be taken to the woodshed previously occupied by Lucchino.

They only boo when you're losing 




As is custom here with the Boston Red Sox, when it rains it pours.

Two stories have broke today after one of the most frustrating loses of the year.

The first was Happy Kevin Millar turning into Whining Kevin Millar.
The second is Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino having some harsh words for Pedro Martinez.

Millar's issue seems to be that the Boston sports media and fans are too negative. This isn't really unchartered territory as, on this Red Sox team Garciaparra, Ramirez, Martinez, Lowe, and Jones have all either publically said the media is negitive, or just refused to speak to them.

In any event, Kevin Millar, coming from known sports media hotbed Florida, thinks that the media and fans should take it easy on the team. Now, I agree that the media and fandom in Boston is more negitive then most (except you, Philadelphia, you battery throwing ponces), after the way the team has been playing, its time to make it known that its time to stop having fun and start winning some ball games. Millar should quit worrying about what the media writes, and worry more about helping his team win, which is something he has done all year.

Sox fans, stop bitching. The season isn't over. Just because Millar shouldn't have said what he did doesn't mean he was wrong.

As for Pedro, appearently, he skipped the team's official photo session, for the 4th time in 6 years. Sox President Larry Lucchino is appearently pissed, saying this morning on WEEI:

"It's not too much to ask him to show up. Someone will talk to him, either the manager, or the GM, or me. He has a history of this... in six years, he's made two pictures. It's a little bit troublesome... the whole organization was there, it would have been nice... there'll be some kind of discipline."


Thanks to Red Sox Dirt Dog for that quote.

As far as the clubhouse goes, this looks like it will hurt the team. After all, professionals probably will be pissed when one of their own acts unprofessionally. Is this Pedro pulling his star status again? Does it show that he doesn't care about the team? Does it show that he doesn't care about the fans?

I don't think so. I don't really think it shows anything more then a player missing a photo. Players miss photos all the time. Now, from all accounts, Lucchino is a smart man. He helped get Camden Yards opened and PETCO park built. He aslo seems to be quite media savvy. But I really don't know if he's the best guy in the organization at handling the players. We can sit here at our computers and chastise Pedro Martinez, or in Lucchino's case, do it on the radio. But as of now, no news paper had picked up the story, and very few fans could even point out the other 3 years he skipped the picture.

Pedro Martinez and Kevin Millar. In June, you would have had nonissues. Its too bad its August now.

Blah 




Tonight...

I never got the feeling that the Sox had the game tonight. From Wakefield not really being terribly sharp, to Timlin (the teams BEST reliever this year) being reduced to a ROOGY role, to the 17 men left on base, to the blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah Grady blah blah blah. Blah Kim blah Saturday blah blah. Blah blah proud blah blah blah. Blaher blahing Yankees!!

That was fun. Probably the most insight I have in me tonight.

Screw it. Here are the Red Sox reliever rankings.


era k/9 bb/9 hr/9 whip runs saved
Timlin 3.50 7.27 0.65 1.17 1.05 17.296
Embree 3.61 7.04 3.04 0.95 1.04 11.241
Lyon 3.93 7.69 2.91 1.03 1.41 10.648
Kim 4.06 9.87 2.32 0.58 1.13 5.806
Shiell 4.63 8.87 6.56 1.54 1.71 2.907
Burk 1.50 6.00 1.50 0.00 1.50 2.833
Fox 4.50 9.50 8.50 1.00 2.00 2.500
Wake 0.00 3.00 3.00 0.00 1.00 1.917
W'ard 5.09 6.11 2.55 1.53 1.58 1.287
S'beck 4.05 10.80 8.10 1.35 1.95 1.259
Chen 2.70 18.90 0.00 0.00 0.90 1.130
W'son 5.40 6.48 3.24 1.08 1.32 0.324
Fossum 5.63 7.88 4.50 3.38 1.38 0.111
Seanez 6.23 9.35 6.23 2.08 1.96 -0.463
Tolar 9.00 6.75 6.75 2.25 2.00 -1.444
Jones 6.64 9.74 4.87 0.44 1.62 -2.009
A'nte 8.22 7.04 8.22 1.17 2.09 -2.102
Person 7.71 7.71 6.17 0.00 1.63 -2.546
Howry 12.46 8.31 2.08 2.08 2.77 -3.231
Rupe 13.50 6.75 6.75 6.75 2.00 -3.444
M'doza 7.09 4.35 2.97 1.14 1.98 -5.870
White 27.00 0.00 7.36 2.45 3.55 -8.657
Total 5.08 7.57 3.50 1.15 1.48 29.491




At least Pedro is pitching tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Perspective Time 




A Yankee fan friend of mine said, "It must suck being Red Sox fan, knowing that the Yankees always keep you guys out of the playoffs."

I mulled that over before I stabbed him in the neck. After I disposed of the body, I looked up how many times the Yankees actually ended the Red Sox hopes. In the 100 years that these franchises have been in their respective cities (that's right sports fans, the Yankees were originally the Balitmore Orioles), the Yankees have directly beaten the Red Sox:

3 times.

For all their arrogence (Michael Kay ect.) The Yankees have only ended the Red Sox season 3 times. Whats more, the Red Sox have ended the Yankees season 3 times as well.

In 1904, the Pilgrims defeated the Hilltoppers on 41 game winner Jack Chesboro's wild pitch in the ninth, eliminating them from the AL pennent. Bos 1 NYY 0.

In 1948, the Red Sox swept the Yankees in Boston to eliminate the New Yorkers the last weekend of the season. The next day, Boston would lose a one game playoff to Cleveland. Bos 2 NYY 0.

In 1949, New York returns the favor, this time in the Stadium. Wins by Joe Page, and Vic Rasachi end the Sox season. Bos 2 NYY 1.

In 1978, After making up a 14 game lead, the Yankees defeat the Red Sox in a one game playoff for the AL East crown. Bucky Dent is still hated. Bos 2 NYY 2.

In 1986, The Yankees are eliminated from the playoffs by the Red Sox in Septemeber. A 4 game sweep by the Yankees to end the season only draw the Yanks within 5.5 games. Bos 3 NYY 2.

In 1999, Yankees beat the Red Sox 4 games to 1 in the ALCS. In a series that was blamed on the umpiring, the Yankees scored 14 then the Red Sox in their 4 victories. Bos 3 NYY3.

Of course, if you tell many Red Sox or Yankees fans, they wont believe it, cause you know the Yankees always win.

On last nights game, it really sucks that Lowe is starting to pitch well again, and is bit by blisters again (sorry for being aliterative). All I can say is that Scotty the Left got the righty out, walked the 2 lefties, and Scotty the Right hung a slider and Ramon Hernandez hit it. I don't really know what to make of that game, since I'm still looking for the Red Sox offence, but it sure was frustrating to watch.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Venting 




Can we please put an end to the "Pujols for MVP" talk? Phil Rogers thinks that Albert Pujols is the MVP this year and I would like to explain why Rogers' column is total bunk.

Rogers gets off on the wrong foot when he claims that in 2001, Pujols "arrived in the big leagues as Barry Bonds was having arguably the greatest season a hitter has ever had." I guess I do not have that much of a problem with this except that it is not even the best season Bonds has ever had:

2001: .328 / .515 / .863 / 1.378
2002: .370 / .582 / .799 / 1.381

That Rogers would call 2001 the better season strikes me for two reasons. First, it's not true. 2002 was a better season for Barry Bonds, as evidenced by his superior OPS. Furthermore, as any good sabermetrician knows, on-base is more important than slugging and Bonds' 2002 OBP is far better than his 2001 figure. Second, Rogers puts so much stock in batting average throughout the rest of the column, by his own logic it is inconsistent at best and hypocritical at worst to declare Bonds' 2001 better than his 2002.

But enough on Bonds. Let's figure out who, to this point, is more deserving of the National League MVP award. Numbers:

Bonds: .341 / .519 / .751 / 1.270 / 14.98 RC27 / .417 EQA
Pujols: .371 / .438 / .690 / 1.128 / 11.23 RC27 / .365 EQA

At this point, the assertion that Pujols is the MVP is ridiculous but I am not letting Rogers out of the woods yet. Since he is a big believer in clutch hitting, he points to the fact that Pujols is hitting a whopping .468 close and late. Bonds is only batting .300 in these same situations. Remember though, Pujols plays in a lineup with Edmonds, Rolen, and Renteria. Bonds plays with, well, nobody as good as any of those three. Although I do not want to take anything away from Pujols' tremendous .468 batting average close and late, it ought to be noted that he sees better pitches and I do want to present all of the numbers so everybody can determine just who has been the better player in these situations:

Bonds: .300 / .604 / .667 / 1.271
Pujols: .468 / .541 / .742 / 1.283

So according to Rogers, Pujols' 8 OPS point advantage close and late is enough to compensate for the areas in which he falls short of Bonds. Surely, Pujols has had a great season and he is a wonderful offensive force. But this slight edge in this particular situation does not compensate for the significant edge Bonds has over Pujols in every relevant indicator of offensive performance over the season.

Please. It's insulting to Bonds and insulting to all of us that know what constitutes great offensive performance to assert that Albert Pujols is more valuable than Barry Bonds. He's just not.

Follow Up 




An excellent piece from the Providence Journal detailing just how much of a liability Todd Walker has become.

Yankees had some Lima Time 




The Red Sox owe Jose Lima a kick in the shin. After doing his best Phoenix impression for 6 weeks going 7-0, Lima got rocked by the Yankees. Damn you, Jose Lima, damn you to hell!

Oh well, the Sox are 5.5 games behind the Yankees, and with only 38 more games to play, the division might be out of reach for the Boston 9. In the West, Oakland is 4 games behind Seattle, and 4 games is alot to make up in 38 games as well.

Both teams have 71-53 records, tied for that Crazy Wild Card.

Hey how about that, the Athletics are playing at Fenway the next 3 games.

Tuesday - Mark Mulder vs Derek Lowe
Wednesday - Ted Lilly vs Tim Wakefield
Thursday - Hurtin Hudson or Cy Harden vs Pedro Martinez

Realistically, the Red Sox can sweep. But just as realistically, they can be swept. Big series for both teams. Gotta come out fighting. Game of inches [end cliches].

Before my mom and the other two people that read the site ask why I have annoited Rich Harden the AL Cy Young winner, sniff alot of glue, read Peter Gammons, and the world will make sence again.

The Sox season starts tonight.

Monday, August 18, 2003

One of These Things is not Like the Others 




In Todd Walker's defense, he plays for a team with six players in the top twenty-five in the AL in OPS. The only other Red Sox out of the top-25 is Johnny Damon. Of course Johnny Damon plays a nice center field, steals bases, and has an .860 OPS since the All-Star Break. To put it plainly, of the nine Red Sox regulars, only eight contribute. One kills them.

Hypothetically, what would the numbers for a bottom five defensive second baseman have to look like in order to consider him a contributor? This is pretty unscientific but I would say that he would absolutely have to be one of the eight to ten best offensive producers at his position. Call ten his breakeven point.

Well Todd Walker is one of the five worst defensive second basemen and he is certainly not one of the ten best offensive second baseman. He's not even close.

He is seventeenth (for 2nd Basemen) in OPS right behind Orlando Hudson and just ahead of Luis Rivas.

In RC27 for 2nd Basemen, he is eighteenth - behind Hudson again and just ahead of Mark Ellis.

In EQA, he is again eighteenth this time ahead of Hudson and just behind Jerry Hairston Jr.

It gets worse. You want to see his numbers this summer, during the push for the playoffs (in BA / OBP / SLG form)?

July: .206 / .239 / .308
Aug: .133 / .184 / .178

He has been an abomination - just terrible. He is a bad fielder - a very bad fielder and for a month and a half now he has been an even worse hitter.

I started thinking about just how bad the weakest link on a playoff caliber team can be. Can the Red Sox get to the playoffs with Todd Walker playing second base everyday? While it would be impossible to answer this, I decided to take a look at the respective weakest links from the Red Sox' playoff competition, Seattle, Oakland, and the New York Yankees.

For Oakland, there were a number of candidates. As everyone knows, it's the pitching that makes this team run but three candidates stick out offensively. Mark Ellis has been bad but he plays a great second-base. Scott Hatteberg has been no bargain but Billy Beane loves Scott Hatteberg. So does Michael Lewis. So does Peter Gammons. So I suppose we love him too. That leaves Terrence Long:

Season: .251 / .299 / .411
July: .259 / .300 / .400
August: .250 / .276 / .518

That's not very good but he deserves credit for his power surge this month. Walker's worse.

Seattle is a beautifully balanced team, strong defensively everywhere and consistent offensively. I hate to do it to my man because I would give anything to have him back at this point in time but sorry Rey, you are Seattle's worst regular at the moment. Here are Dirty's numbers:

Season: .242 / .276 / .263
July: .149 / .180 / .149 (in limited action)
August: .350 / .375 / .350

For most of this season, Sanchez has been awful at the plate. Still, for his recent revival and his tremendous glove, I am forced to give him the nod as well over Walker.

With everybody healthy, the New York Yankees have a very good offense with no holes. As far as I can tell, their worst regular is the guy for whom they traded their best pitching prospect - Aaron Boone. His numbers:

Season: .260 / .321 / .442
July: .295 / .368 / .438
August: .169 / .194 / .254

In addition to his superior offensive numbers, Boone also plays a strong third base. There is no comparison here.

I don't know what this all means but I have been thinking a lot about Todd Walker and it makes me miserable. I needed to make sure there was good reason for my misery. Well, there is. The Red Sox have the worst regular in the Seattle - Oakland - NYY - Boston four-way race.


Egg on My Face 




Not only did the Red Sox fail to sweep the Mariners as I predicted, they dropped two of three. Freddy Garcia decided to return to form yesterday - and then some. The Sox looked helpless against him. I guess you have to simply tip your cap sometimes.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Music City Miracle 




The Miracle being that I made it through it. I just got in from a few days at a ASAP Conference, with some other people in the University of Rhode Island Student Alumni Association. Because of the fact that I was in Tennessee, and doing conference things, I watched precious little baseball, and had no internet access, so I have nothing really to add about the Red Sox. I will however toss some various things that are floating in my head.

* There are alot of Red Sox fans in Nashville. I was at a mall yesterday, and saw more Sox hats then any other team, except the Cardnals.
* Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups is good for starting discussion with people who you normally wouldn't realize are baseball fans. One of my roomates, Mario, is a Evil Empire Storm Trooper, and took the Neyer book to the john. He came out and asked who I thougt would have the best traded away team. We talked for about 20 minutes about it, and I learned that he "hates the Red Sox, but respects them." By the way, I hope in future additions of the book, Neyer puts "Excellent to read on the john" on the back cover.
* The lack of internet was excellent. I realized how much I depend on it, and it was liberating. However, for the next two weeks, I'll be on the internet non-stop. I missed my annoyimus mistress.
* Blogger needs a spell check. I am the world's worst speler.
* The best part of going to Nashville: The comic genius that is Bishop from UNLV.
* The worst part: Breakfast at 8am sharp after drinking until 3:30 in the morning. The Captain and I did not get along on Friday night.
* I have become the master of sharing a bed with a guy and not touching any body part. Nicolato and I were the Bird and McHale of Straight Guy Bedsharing this week.
*Our other two roomates weren't so lucky. Davia and Mario are the Jeter/Posada of that same sport.
* I know you saw the "speling" joke coming. Don't care how lame it was. It's my blog, dammit.
* It was decided that the best song for karoke is "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis. The reasoning is that the song itself is horrible, and you can sing it horribly. It's like a shock and awe assult on the ears.
* Sully did an excellent job this weekend. Also he reminded me to go and see Dodger Stadium sometime soon. And milk, as I am out of milk. Thanks Sully
* Finally, I hope to have a few more internet friends. JRod and Rob from UMass, welcome, I hope you enjoy, and tell all of your friends. Thats if you can keep your hands off eachother, you crazy kids.

Baseball talk will be back tomorrow. I already feel welcomed back.


Saturday, August 16, 2003

So I am Not a Prophet 




To say the least, I am chagrined by Jeff Suppan's pitching with the Red Sox thus far.

Pedro today though.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Off to Seattle 




The Sox are sweeping the M's this weekend.

Tonight, Jeff Suppan faces Jamie Moyer. Two reasons why I like this game for the Sox:

1) Manny, Nomar, and Ortiz all own Jamie Moyer. In addition, Trot has had success in his few at bats against Moyer. If there's a team that can get this guy, it's the Red Sox.

2) I see Suppan settling down and pitching nicely in his first start away from Fenway as a Sox. I think he will be more relaxed and focused away from the media circus here. Sort of a hunch I know but what the hell?

Tomorrow, Pedro and Joel Pineiro match up. For reasons I don't think I need to go into, I like this matchup.

Sunday, Burkett and Garcia take the mound.

A year ago, I would not have been very confident. Today, I like this matchup a lot.

Also, there is an X-factor this weekend. The Sox are coming off their biggest and most emotional regular season win in a long time. I say yesterday's extra-inning win in Oakland propells this team through the forthcoming brutal stretch.

Keep the faith.

Last Sunday at Chavez Ravine 




Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to attend the type of game you remember for a lifetime.

The funny part is, while the game was entertaining, only afterwards was I able to register what I had just witnessed. Now, surely I do not want to overstate the importance of an early August tilt between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. But you know how oral history works in baseball. People will say, "I was there the night Nixon hit that two-run homer off Clemens in the ninth at the Stadium to give Pedro and the Sox a 2-0 win" or "I was there when Bonds hit number 71" or "I was there when Marichal and Spahn each went 16 innings." You get my point.

Well I was at Dodger Stadium the day 37 year old Kevin Brown and 23 year old Mark Prior each had their best stuff and only Sammy Sosa's two home runs (which traveled a combined 903 feet) could determine a winner.

Kevin Brown. Mark Prior. Sammy Sosa. The three best players in the Stadium were the game's three biggest stars.

Sammy Sosa will be in Cooperstown. Many think Prior is on his way. And I think voters will end up having to take a good long look at Kevin Brown as well. He has pitched 12 healthy seasons and averaged about 225 innings each year, all while compiling a better ERA+ than Bob Gibson. An open and shut case for Brown? Nah. But the conversation is definitely in play.

I am just glad I got to see the three of them, at their best, on the same diamond.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Trot Nixon 




People like to talk about athletes who are underrated these days.

Like Garret Anderson. In the last 10 months, he has won a World Series title, a Home Run Derby title, and an All-Star Game MVP. Yet many still consider him underrated.

Well I want to discuss somebody that is truly underrated: Christopher Trotman Nixon

His OPS: .977
That's 9th in Major League Baseball

His RC27: 8.69
That's good for 8th in Major League Baseball

His EQA: .334
That figure puts him at 8th in Major League Baseball as well.

I wonder how many people consider Trot Nixon to be one of the ten best hitters in baseball. Now, to be sure, just because he has played this well for three quarters of a season or so does not make him better than, say, Sammy Sosa. But there is no getting around the fact that Trot has outperformed Sosa in 2003. How well has Trot performed this year? For starters, he is second at his position in both RC27 and EQA. He is third in OPS. Let's look at some other right fielders and how they have fared over the last four years: RC27 on the left, OPS on the right.



Sheffield '03 9.44 1034
Sheffield '02 7.51 916
Sheffield '01 8.76 1000
Sheffield '00 9.81 1081

Sosa '03 7.64 979
Sosa '02 8.32 993
Sosa '01 11.51 1174
Sosa '00 8.63 1040

Vlad '03 7.62 976
Vlad '02 8.42 1010
Vlad '01 6.99 943
Vlad '00 9.31 1074

Walker '03 7.83 909
Walker '02 9.26 1023
Walker '01 10.92 1111
Walker '00 7.08 915

Abreu '03 6.96 890
Abreu '02 7.93 934
Abreu '01 7.51 936
Abreu '00 8.52 970

Average 8.50 995

Nixon '03 8.69 977

If you average out how Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Vladimir Guerrerro, Larry Walker, and Bobby Abreu have produced since the start of the 2000 season, you would essentially have the level at which Trot has performed this season.

Still, doubters will remain because of his ineptitude against lefthanded pitching. But a shrewd General Manager who knows the limitations of his players employs someone to do what another can not. Thus even though Trot has manifested improvement against lefties, Gabe Kapler sees some time in right field for the Sox and has posted a very respectable .822 OPS against lefties this year. Atlanta made a nice acquisition this offseason, acquiring Robert Fick to play first base. Well, he has posted just a .467 OPS this season against lefties. Is he hurting his team? No, because John Schuerholz knows what he is doing and employs Julio Franco to go out there against the lefties. All he has done against them is throw up a 1010 OPS. Wouldn't the New York Yankees be better off every now and again letting Ruben Sierra spell Jason Giambi against lefties? Sierra's OPS against lefties is .794 while Giambi's is .677.

Two lessons here: players have limitations and the platoon split is real.

The point of all of this is to point out that Trot's limitations rarely hurt his team and therefore do not need to be factored into the fact that he has been one of the ten best hitters in baseball.

Give the man his due.



Where is Manny? 




Seriously Manny, where have you been?

The Sox Nation really needed you tonight. Two outs, 2nd and 3rd, 5-3 Oakland lead, we need you to get a hit. We need you to break out of your month long slump.

By the way, the final was Oak 5 Bos 3

Manny's ops by month (stealing Sully's Schtick):
April: .981
May: .825
June: 1.140
July: 1.113
August: .608

That places him 2nd to last among regulars (Walker is sporting a robust .362 ops this month).

And behind Damian Jackson.

Quite simply, the Red Sox need Manny Ramirez to hit like Manny Ramirez and less like Damian Jackson.

By the way, my favorite thing about baseball is that umpires are put on display. Like tonight, the 26,823 people who paid to enter the Al Davis Egocellum we treated to an excellent show by home plate umpire Dan Iassogna. No less then 8 hitters vocally, or in the case of Chris Singleton, physically, protested calls. In the 7th inning, pinch hitter Trot Nixon was called out on a belt high Chad Bradford sling ball. Nixon said something and walked back to the bench.

Except half way back to the dugout, he was told by Todd Walker he was ejected. Nixon ran back to the plate to argue. Wallace presumably shook Grady awake, and gave him a pep pill. Grady sprinted to the plate, and screamed at Iassogna until he too was bounced. Grady yelled until he turned purple, gosh darn it. From that point on, Iassogna let Crew Chief Kevin Kelley fight his battle for him. Grady left in a hough, and Iassogna proceeded to not change a thing. Balls that were 4 inches outside were strikes, and pitches on the black, waist high were balls.

Giving Iassogna the benefit of the doubt, we don't know what Nixon said to him. Maybe he implied Iassogna hates Southerners, or is involved with sexual relations with his own mother, but this I know.

Nixon was tossed as he was walking back to the dugout.
He didn't verbally tell Trot, as Nixon had no idea until Walker told him (his lips said "He threw me out?" right before he went back to the plate)
He bounced Grady very quickly after he got in his face
As soon as Grady started really a-hootin and a-hollerin, he walked away and let Kelley handle the irate manager (as is protocal, point Iassogna).

It was a good show by a trigger happy umpire. Now if he could focus as much on actually getting the strike zone right, and less on theatrics, he might realize that the game is the attraction.

Not the blue.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Not Panic Time...Yet 




The Red Sox picked a crummy time to stop scoring runs.

For 105 games, the Red Sox averaged 6.27 runs a game and they won 60 percent of the time they took the field. For the last 13 games they have averaged 4.08 runs a game, a figure the Detroit Tigers would envy, but one that is actually a 50% regression for the Boston Red Sox. Not unrelated to this, they have won just 38 percent of the time over this stretch. Conventional wisdom says "man, what a crappy time for a slump" going into these games against some of the great pitchers in the American League. But a further look at the numbers indicates to me that Sox fans have great reason to maintain hope - that maybe they have been unlucky and this is not a slump at all.

Team OPS by month

April: .820
May: .837
June: .945 (yeesh!)
July: .869
August: .846

You see, an .846 OPS is nothing to sneeze at and except for last night's gem spun by Tim Hudson, this team has actually been playing quite well offensively. The runs have just not shown up on the scoreboard yet.

Here are the pitching matchups the rest of the trip:

Zito vs. Burkett: Barry Zito has pitched, well, like John Burkett over the last month and a half. I see no reason the Sox can't steal this one.

Mulder vs. Lowe: Ugh

Lilly vs. Wakefield: In July and August, Wakefield's WHIP has been 1.02. Lilly's: 1.55. I like this one almost as much as I hate the Wednesday night matchup.

Moyer vs. Suppan: Moyer's a reverse split guy so I won't be too shocked to see Trot, Ortiz and the gang get to him.

Pineiro vs. Pedro: Love it. Pedro owns Seattle and I think he comes out pissed.

Garcia vs. Burkett: Again, love it. John Burkett has been pretty good lately. Freddy Garcia has been throwing batting practice lately.

So, as I see it, much of the recent skid can be attributed to luck and given the forthcoming pitching matchups, I don't see any reason why the Red Sox can not come home having taken four of the seven games on the West Coast.

Wow 




Tonight I watched one man bring Baseball's Best OffenseTM to its knees.

The Red Sox, who despite what some people think still have a share of the Wild Card, were introduced to Tim Hudson v.2003 pretty rudely. Hudson threw 93 pitches, 65 for strikes.

He also had:
5 fly ball outs
15 ground outs
7 k's
1 bb
2 hs
0 r
9 ip

Jiminy. Honestly, It was the best pitched game I have seen in a while, and as a Red Sox fan, I just have to tip my cap to the A's ace 1. There was nothing that could be done. Although I take almost no enjoyment in the game as a Sox fan, as a baseball fan, I can't say enough about how well Hudson pitched. Fifteen ground ball outs is a pretty heady accomplisment, and this would be discussed as one of the best games of the year by everyone if those were strikeouts. C'est la vie.

While the topic of Hudson is still fresh on my keys, he would have to be mentioned as a possible Cy Young candidate, no?

Consider this:

Ip k/9 k/bb ave era whip
Pitcher A 136.7 10.20 4.31 .217 2.37 1.07
Pitcher B 167.7 7.38 3.86 .227 2.24 1.06
Pitcher C 190.0 5.77 2.58 .214 2.51 1.01
Pitcher D 192.7 6.56 6.04 .251 3.40 1.10
Pitcher E 177.3 6.09 3.33 .252 2.94 1.13
Pitcher F 153.0 8.59 5.41 .234 3.35 1.05
Pitcher G 166.3 5.30 1.56 .226 3.14 1.21


These are the 8 pitchers that have the numbers to support a Cy Young case. Who would you want?

My ballot would personally look like this:
1 - B
2 - C
3 - E

Now here is the list here:
A - Pedro Martinez
B - Estiban Loaiza
C - Tim Hudson
D - Roy Halladay
E - Mark Mulder
F - Mike Mussina
G - Barry Zito

I think Halladay's 16 game winning streak locked up the award a while ago. Unfortunatly for Messers Loaiza, Hudson, and Mulder, wins still mean alot to some voters.



Monday, August 11, 2003

Boston @ Oakland 





Oakland – 201 Shares
67-50 2nd AL West 4GB 6-4 Last 10
ESPN RPI - .521 (5th overall)
Offensive Efficiency – 99.0% (Runs scored/Runs Created)
Defensive Efficiency – 73.5% (BIP made into outs)
40-18 @ Oakland Coliseum
Run Factor - 969/HR Factor – 1004/BIP Factor - 989
0-0 vs Boston in 2003, 3-6 in 2002
[/font]
[code]
T Hudson 21
M Mulder 18
K Foulke 17
E Durazo 16
B Zito 16
M Tejada 15
E Chavez 15
E Byrnes 15
S Hatteberg 13
R Hernandez 11
M Ellis 10
T Long 6
J Halama 5
C Singleton 4
R Harden 4
C Bradford 4
T Lilly 4
M Neu 2
R Rincon 2
A Piatt 1
B McMillon 1
F Menechino 1




Boston - 204 Shares
68-49 2nd AL East 3GB 5-5 last 10
ESPN RPI - .509 (10th Overall)
Offensive Efficiency – 97.7% (Runs scored/Runs Created)
Defensive Efficiency – 69.7% (BIP made into outs)
29-30 Away
[/font]
[code]
M Ramirez 22
N Garciaparra 22
B Mueller 17
T Nixon 17
P Martinez 16
J Varitek 14
K Millar 14
J Damon 13
D Ortiz 10
T Walker 9
T Wakefield 9
B Kim 8*
M Timlin 6
B Lyon 6
S Hillenbrand 5#
J Burkett 4
D Lowe 3
A Embree 2
C Fossum 2
J Giambi 1
G Kapler 1
C Fox 1
J Shiell 1
D Mirabelli 1


# 5 w/ Ari
* 3 w/ Ari




Pitching Matchup
Season Home/Road
W L ERA K/9 W L ERA
8/11 Pedro Martinez 8-2 2.32 10.12 2-1 1.85
Tim Hudson 10-4 2.64 5.77 5-1 2.35
8/12 John Burkett 9-5 4.80 5.36 3-4 5.40
Barry Zito 8-10 3.14 5.30 3-5 3.14
8/13 Derek Lowe 11-6 5.07 5.00 4-4 7.03
Mark Mulder 15-8 2.94 6.09 10-1 1.86
8/14 Tim Wakefield 9-5 4.15 7.94 5-3 4.44
Ted Lilly 6-9 4.86 6.87 4-5 5.17





Best Clutch Hitters (expect. hits w/RISP and expect HR w/MOB)
Oakland
1. Scott Hatteberg +8.474
2. Eurbial Durazo +7.090
3. Eric Byrnes +4.324
Team Totals +9.107
Boston
1. Manny Ramirez +4.542
2. Jason Varitek +2.619
3. Kevin Millar +1.626
Team Totals -18.626
Best Bullpen Arms (Runs Saved)
Oakland
1. Keith Foulke 22.599
2. Chad Bradford 13.168
3. Ricardo Rincon 8.304
Team Total 54.682
Boston
1. Mike Timlin 18.031
2. Alan Embree 8.663
3. Byung-Hyun Kim 6.155
Team Total 29.962

I don't wanna talk about it 




Yesterday's game was depressing, because the Sox didn't play very poorly, just frustratingly.

So insted, I'm going to post some suggested names for the site, as given to me by dolomite133, a poster on the Sons of Sam Horn message board.

They are:
Dewey's decimals
Mounting Dewey
Dewey Like The Red Sox: Yes!
Dwights of the Round Table
The Dew-Ettes
What Dewey Want? Hand jobs.
The Ho's That Dewey Felt
I Like Dwight
The Dew Dawg
Dig In Like Dewey
I Dig Dewey's Daughters

Oakland series preview coming tonight. I'm going away to Nashville on Wednesday until Sunday, so my co-writer Pat will be doing the post. Also, the Seattle series preview will be posted before I leave on Tuesday.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Tough stretch ahead... 




Last night was a big win for the Boston Nine. Not only did they come from behind to win, but Manny Ramirez and Kevin Millar are finally showing life again. Wakefield pitched great, Grady remembered who Alan Embree was, and BH Kim picked up another save, despite giving up a home run to Brook Fordyce. My only real complant with the game was the decision to use Kim in a 3 run game, rather then Mike Timlin, who hadn't pitched in a few days, but I can't pick nits.

After today's game, featuring half of Freddy Sanchez Jeff Suppan, the Sox start a hellacious stretch of games. If you listen to anyone talk about these games, you hear how its a month of rough baseball featuring games against the other three teams battling with the Red Sox for the three playoff spots (Oakland, Seattle, New York), the #2 offence in baseball (Toronto), a team battling for the Central division (Chicago), and the NL Wild card leader (Philadelphia).

If all the rotations hold, these will be the matchups between now and Sept 7th.


Date Opp Boston Opp
8/10 vs Bal Suppan Johnson
8/11 at Oak Martinez Hudson
8/12 at Oak Burkett Zito
8/13 at Oak Lowe Mulder
8/14 at Oak Wakefield Lilly
8/15 at Sea Suppan Moyer
8/16 at Sea Martinez Piniero
8/17 at Sea Burkett Garcia
8/18 Off Day
8/19 vs Oak Lowe Mulder
8/20 vs Oak Wakefield Lilly
8/21 vs Oak Suppan Harden
8/22 vs Sea Martinez Piniero
8/23 vs Sea Burkett Garcia
8/24 vs Sea Lowe Franklin
8/25 vs Sea Wakefield Meche
8/26 vs Tor Suppan Towers
8/27 vs Tor Martinez Hendrickson
8/28 Off Day
8/29 vs NYY Burkett Weaver
8/30 vs NYY Lowe Pettitte
8/31 vs NYY Wakefield Clemens
9/01 at Phi Suppan Myers
9/02 at CHW Martinez Colon
9/03 at CHW Burkett Wright
9/04 Off Day
9/05 at NYY Lowe Pettitte
9/06 at NYY Wakefield Clemens
9/07 at NYY Suppan Wells



Saturday, August 09, 2003

Baseball presented by Fox 




Steve Lyons might be on to something.

In the bottom of the ninth inning in a 2-1 at Yankee Stadium, Seattle Mariners manager Bob Melvin put in his closer Shigetoshi Hasegawa to save a Gil Meche game. Meche had shut down the #3 offense in the American League to the tune of 8 ip, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts. Meche had also thrown only 96 pitches through the 8th. Melvin picked up "The Book" and called in Hasegawa.

Now, Fox isn't known for its insightful announcers, and usually Lyons doesn't really provide so much "anaylsis" as much as "bluster", though he isn't as bad as Tim McCarver in that respect. Lyons surprised me, however, with this nugget (paraphrased):

"The Yankees are probably glad that Meche is out of the game. Hasegawa might not have his best stuff. Thats part of whats wrong with baseball is automatically going with your closer in that situation. I feel every team needs a closer, but they shouldn't be always used in the 9th.

What Lyons said really isn't that ground breaking, but someone watching at home might have picked up,what I hope,was his message.

You should use your best pitcher available, depending on the game situation.

Which, of course, is the point of the Jamesian bullpen (or closer by committee for the media).

Lyons probably was just bemoaning the lost art of the complete game, as many Bob Ryans have in the past. But maybe someone out there is listening. Maybe if you use your best relief pitcher in the 8th with the score 1-1, rather then in the 9th with the score 4-1, maybe your team will win more games.

Probably not though. Steve Lyons was probably bitching about the fact that Melvin didn't let Meche finish what he started.

Also, the Yankees hate Dominicans, appearently. As much as I like the thoughts of the Yankees being racists, please. There must be something in the water in Phoenix that makes medocre players run their mouths about their old teams. I can only hope that Mondesi and Shea Hillenbrand sit in the locker room and play checkers, whilst bitching about those big, mean teams from the AL East.

Introduction 




I just want to first say thanks to Jeff for allowing me to come here and share my thoughts about the Red Sox and matters of far less significance as well. My name is Patrick Sullivan, I graduated in 2002 from The University of Pennsylvaia and I live and work in Boston. I would consider myself statistically inclined, though I still have much to learn. As for my thoughts on the 2003 Red Sox, well, I think they have one helluva squad. I just hope they play like it down the stretch.

That's all for now, let's hope Tim Wakefield can pitch the way this team needs him to today.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Good Lord 




Derek Lowe is really pissing me off.

So is Grady Little.

It's the top of the 8th inning right now, and the Baltimore Orioles have a 10-4 lead on the Red Sox. It seems like just a few minutes ago that the Sox had a 4-3 lead....

Lowe, who pouts and shrugs his shoulders like an insolent five year old when ever he gets into any jam, gives up a single to Brook Fordyce, walked Brian Roberts, and then promptly gave up a line drive double to Luis Matos. Lowe starts to cry for his wife Trinka, and Grady mercifully pulls him. The game situation is no outs, tie game, and runners on second and third, and the Orioles have their #3 hitter, Jeff Conine up. Now Grady Little has Alan Embree, Scott Williamson, Scott Sauerbeck, Todd Jones, Mike Timlin, and Byung-Hyun Kim to choose from.

What I would have done is put in Timlin to face Conine, bring in Sauerbeck to face the lefty Gibbons (thats why Theo got him, to get the big lefties out), and then either ride Sauerbeck, or bring in Williamson to face the rest of the order. The reason I would do this is because 1. Timlin has been the Sox best reliever this year, and 2. I hate intentionally walking the bases full, and then expecting a reliever to throw strikes.

Grady put in Williamson.

Scotty the Right k's Conine. According to the script, Gibbons is walked. Grady falls asleep. Scotty the Right gives up, without really looking good, rope single to Tony Batista, rope single to Jack Cust to center, rope single to center by Deivi friggen Cruz. Pitching coach Dave Wallace shakes Grady awake, and he puts in Scotty the Left to face noted slugger Larry Bigbie. He promptly flies to center. Brook Fordyce hits a triple to right (more on that later), and Sauerbeck gets fellow southpaw Brian Roberts to ground out, ending the horror. Inning began 4-3 Boston, ended 10-4 Baltimore.

Some people who are statistically inclined, as I like to think of myself, don't see a value in actually seeing the games. I think you can learn alot by watching. An example is Williamson, who walks a fair amount of hitters, went 3-2 before striking out Conine. The intentional walk added 4 more balls. Now, after throwing 7 out of 10 pitches for balls, Scotty the Right has to throw strikes? Yes, and he did, after throwing many more balls.

Here are the counts when the hits came against Williamson:
Batista 2-0
Cust 3-1
Cruz 1-0
Intentionally walking the bases loaded is one of the stupidiest "stratigies" in the game. Not only is it self defeating, but when a pitcher finally throws a strike, its usually hit pretty hard.

Now, a few words about Fordyce's triple...

The ball was a linedrive hit down the right field line. Trot Nixon, going all out of course, dove for the ball. As is usually the case when Nixon dives for the ball, it glances off his glove and bounces into no man's land. If Nixon had played the ball on one hop, rather then having to chase the ball into one of Fenway's goofy nooks, Fordyce not only would have been kept at second, but Deivi Cruz might have been held at thrid, or maybe even gotten him at the plate.

This has been typical of Nixon's career. He's a hustler. He dives, and he has a dirty uniform. He has a blue collar work ethic. Because of all that, the fans love him. But despite all that, Nixon has the head in right field that Manny Ramirez gets credit for. A few times this year, he's cost the team runs in the field, but because of his dirty uniform no one talks about it. They would much rather talk about Pedro Martinez flying home between starts.

Baltimore @ Boston 




Here is a Series preview for you with Short-form Win Shares, with Pitching matchups, clutch hitting and bullpen reports...



Baltimore – 162 Shares
54-58 4th AL East 15GB 5-5 Last 10
ESPN RPI - .488 (25th overall)
Offensive Efficiency – 103.8% (Runs scored/Runs Created)
Defensive Efficiency – 69.2% (BIP made into outs)
23-31 Away
4-4 vs Boston in 2003

J Gibbons 19
M Mora 16
J Conine 15
J Julio 13
S Ponson 11
D Cruz 10
B Roberts 10
L Matos 10
T Batista 9
J Johnson 9
B Surhoff 8
J Hairston 6
D Segui 4
G Gil 4
P Hentgen 4
K Lightenberg 3
B Fordyce 2
E DuBois 2
L Bigbie 1
M Cordova 1
J Cust 1
D Moss 1
H Carrasco 1
R Bauer 1
R Helling 1




Boston - 201 Shares
67-46 2nd AL East 2.5GB 6-4 last 10
ESPN RPI - .513 (8th Overall)
Offensive Efficiency – 98.0% (Runs scored/Runs Created)
Defensive Efficiency – 69.4% (BIP made into outs)
38-16 @ Fenway Park
Run Factor - 1026/HR Factor – 881/BIP Factor - 1023

M Ramirez 23
N Garciaparra 21
B Mueller 17
P Martinez 17
T Nixon 16
J Varitek 14
K Millar 13
J Damon 12
D Ortiz 11
T Walker 9
T Wakefield 9
B Kim 7*
M Timlin 6
B Lyon 6
S Hillenbrand 5#
J Burkett 4
D Lowe 4
A Embree 2
J Giambi 1
G Kapler 1
C Fox 1
J Shiell 1
C Fossum

# 5 w/ Ari
* 3 w/ Ari




Pitching Matchup
Season Home/Road
W L ERA K/9 W L ERA
8/8 Gm1 Rick Helling 6-8 5.57 5.64 3-3 6.99
Derek Lowe 11-5 4.96 5.03 7-1 3.21
8/8 Gm2 Eric DuBois 0-1 1.29 7.71 0-0 0.00
Casey Fossum 5-4 5.56 7.60 2-2 5.15
8/9 Damian Moss 0-1 1.35 4.05 N/A
Tim Wakefield 9-5 4.18 4.18 4-2 3.90
8/10 Jason Johnson 9-5 3.94 5.55 3-2 4.80
Jeff Suppan 0-0 12.60 7.20 0-0 12.60




Best Clutch Hitters (expect. hits w/RISP and expect HR w/MOB)
Baltimore
1. Tony Batista +2.478
2. Jay Gibbons +1.972
3. Jack Cust +1.600
Team Totals -10.304
Boston
1. Manny Ramirez +5.284
2. Jason Varitek +3.155
3. Todd Walker +1.571
Team Totals -16.985




Best Bullpen Arms (Runs Saved)
Baltimore
1. Jorge Julio 11.820
2. Kerry Lightenberg 10.594
3. Hector Carrasco 3.829
Team Total 38.579
Boston
1. Mike Timlin 16.004
2. Alan Embree 7.884
3. Byung-Hyun Kim 5.916
Team Total 25.647

Thursday, August 07, 2003

2003 Defensive Win Shares 




I found this on the Baseball Graphs web site.

Here are the top 15 at each position in the American League...


Player Team Pos INN Field Rank WS/1000 INN
B Molina ANA C 759 7.29 1 9.61
J Posada NYY C 796 1/3 5.83 2 7.32
R Hernandez OAK C 784 1/3 5.61 3 7.15
M Olivo CWS C 603 5.34 4 8.86
B Mayne KC C 611 1/3 4.59 5 7.50
D Wilson SEA C 538 3.83 6 7.12
A Pierzynski MIN C 764 1/3 3.74 7 4.90
B Davis SEA C 441 3.61 8 8.19
J Bard CLE C 490 1/3 3.43 9 6.99
T Hall TB C 722 1/3 2.97 10 4.11
B Inge DET C 471 2/3 2.48 11 5.26
J Varitek BOS C 716 2/3 2.48 12 3.46
E Diaz TEX C 650 2/3 2.46 13 3.79
M DiFelice KC C 354 1.88 14 5.30
T Laker CLE C 307 1.80 15 5.85


Player Team Pos INN Field Rank WS/1000 INN
D Mientkiewicz MIN 1B 797 2/3 1.86 1 2.34
J Olerud SEA 1B 845 1/3 1.62 2 1.91
J Giambi NYY 1B 575 2/3 1.42 3 2.47
T Lee TB 1B 800 2/3 1.31 4 1.64
J Conine BAL 1B 870 1/3 1.28 5 1.47
P Konerko CWS 1B 574 2/3 1.23 6 2.14
S Hatteberg OAK 1B 754 1.19 7 1.58
C Delgado TOR 1B 881 1/3 1.19 8 1.35
K Harvey KC 1B 489 0.94 9 1.93
K Millar BOS 1B 490 0.90 10 1.84
S Spiezio ANA 1B 559 2/3 0.84 11 1.51
M Sweeney KC 1B 376 0.71 12 1.88
B Broussard CLE 1B 548 0.69 13 1.25
M Teixeira TEX 1B 488 2/3 0.67 14 1.37
R Palmeiro TEX 1B 445 2/3 0.66 15 1.48


Player Team Pos INN Field Rank WS/1000 INN
B Boone SEA 2B 928 5.99 1 6.45
O Hudson TOR 2B 800 5.42 2 6.77
M Ellis OAK 2B 888 5.38 3 6.05
A Soriano NYY 2B 940 1/3 5.15 4 5.48
A Kennedy ANA 2B 690 2/3 3.20 5 4.63
B Phillips CLE 2B 736 1/3 3.19 6 4.33
M Young TEX 2B 948 1/3 2.93 7 3.09
D Jimenez CWS 2B 586 2/3 2.47 8 4.20
B Roberts BAL 2B 537 2/3 2.46 9 4.58
T Walker BOS 2B 841 1/3 2.46 10 2.93
L Rivas MIN 2B 782 2/3 2.33 11 2.97
C Febles KC 2B 500 1.89 12 3.78
J Hairston BAL 2B 359 1/3 1.64 13 4.56
M Anderson TB 2B 688 1.61 14 2.34
W Morris DET 2B 360 1.55 15 4.30


Player Team Pos INN Field Rank WS/1000 INN
J Valentin CWS SS 829 5.83 1 7.04
M Tejada OAK SS 974 1/3 5.29 2 5.43
D Eckstein ANA SS 808 2/3 4.54 3 5.62
C Guzman MIN SS 847 1/3 4.28 4 5.05
N Garciaparra BOS SS 934 2/3 4.08 5 4.37
A Berroa KC SS 922 1/3 3.98 6 4.31
A Rodriguez TEX SS 930 2/3 3.90 7 4.19
C Woodward TOR SS 717 3.57 8 4.98
D Cruz BAL SS 825 3.30 9 4.00
C Guillen SEA SS 620 3.19 10 5.14
O Infante DET SS 525 2/3 3.07 11 5.85
J Lugo TB SS 553 2.45 12 4.44
O Vizquel CLE SS 507 1/3 2.08 13 4.10
D Jeter NYY SS 622 1.76 14 2.83
R Ordonez TB SS 294 1.46 15 4.98


Player Team Pos INN Field Rank WS/1000 INN
J Crede CWS 3B 886 3.57 1 4.03
R Ventura NYY 3B 666 2/3 3.56 2 5.35
E Chavez OAK 3B 890 3.53 3 3.97
C Koskie MIN 3B 747 2/3 3.49 4 4.66
T Batista BAL 3B 885 3.25 5 3.67
J Randa KC 3B 667 1/3 2.71 6 4.06
B Mueller BOS 3B 691 1/3 2.27 7 3.28
J Cirillo SEA 3B 649 2/3 2.08 8 3.21
C Blake CLE 3B 743 1.94 9 2.61
H Blalock TEX 3B 762 1.86 10 2.44
T Glaus ANA 3B 732 1/3 1.81 11 2.47
E Hinske TOR 3B 645 1.69 12 2.62
D Rolls TB 3B 332 1/3 1.29 13 3.89
E Munson DET 3B 718 1.05 14 1.46
T Zeile NYY 3B 220 1/3 1.04 15 4.70


Player Team Pos INN Field Rank WS/1000 INN
M Cameron SEA OF 892 5.14 1 5.76
C Beltran KC OF 724 2/3 4.68 2 6.46
T Long OAK OF 814 2/3 3.73 3 4.58
T Hunter MIN OF 889 1/3 3.73 4 4.19
E Byrnes OAK OF 746 3.39 5 4.55
V Wells TOR OF 960 1/3 3.08 6 3.21
J Damon BOS OF 888 3.01 7 3.39
R Baldelli TB OF 878 2.94 8 3.34
I Suzuki SEA OF 926 2.90 9 3.13
M Bradley CLE OF 783 2/3 2.87 10 3.66
M Ordonez CWS OF 913 1/3 2.68 11 2.93
R Winn SEA OF 923 2.67 12 2.90
G Anderson ANA OF 897 1/3 2.45 13 2.73
M Tucker KC OF 734 2/3 2.45 14 3.34
D Erstad ANA OF 543 1/3 2.41 15 4.43
R Ibanez KC OF 777 2/3 2.32 16 2.98
C Lee CWS OF 902 2/3 2.15 17 2.38
D Mohr MIN OF 648 1/3 1.93 18 2.98
C Singleton OAK OF 535 2/3 1.90 19 3.54
C Crawford TB OF 807 2/3 1.83 20 2.27
A Sanchez DET OF 474 1.64 21 3.46
J Jones MIN OF 684 1.59 22 2.33
J DaVanon ANA OF 488 1/3 1.53 23 3.13
J Dye OAK OF 341 1.47 24 4.31
T Nixon BOS OF 818 2/3 1.43 25 1.75
B Williams NYY OF 556 2/3 1.43 26 2.56
A Guiel KC OF 332 1.42 27 4.29
M Ramirez BOS OF 749 1.41 28 1.89
J Gerut CLE OF 559 1/3 1.31 29 2.34
M Lawton CLE OF 643 1.30 30 2.03
E Owens ANA OF 367 1/3 1.30 31 3.53
S Stewart TOR OF 601 1.30 32 2.16
B Higginson DET OF 640 1.28 33 2.00
R Mondesi NYY OF 854 1.26 34 1.48
H Matsui NYY OF 958 1/3 1.25 35 1.31
C Crisp CLE OF 363 1.23 36 3.38
A Rowand CWS OF 321 1.15 37 3.58
W Harris CWS OF 213 2/3 1.14 38 5.34
L Matos BAL OF 522 2/3 1.06 39 2.02
D Young DET OF 495 1.01 40 2.04
F Catalanotto TOR OF 612 1/3 1.01 41 1.64
C Monroe DET OF 537 1.00 42 1.86
T Salmon ANA OF 524 1.00 43 1.90
J Gibbons BAL OF 888 1/3 0.99 44 1.11
M Mora BAL OF 567 0.89 45 1.57