Friday, July 30, 2004
c - Henry Blanco 215/272/360 (2.9 RC/27)
Jason Varitek 273/372/431 (5.1 RC/27)
1b - Justin Morneau 272/314/506 (5.6 RC/27)
Kevin Millar 296/372/460 (5.1 RC/27)
2b - Luis Rivas 260/286/409 (3.7 RC/27)
Mark Bellorn 258/373/430 (5.9 RC/27)
3b - Cory Koskie 239/341/450 (4.9 RC/27)
Bill Mueller 260/332/429 (4.9 RC/27)
ss - Cristian Guzman 288/318/396 (4.0 RC/27)
Ricky Guiterrez 167/167/333 (-1.1 RC/27)
lf - Lew Ford 307/382/489 (7.0 RC/27)
Manny Ramirez 327/421/637 (8.3 RC/27)
cf - Torii Hunter 269/322/459 (4.4 RC/27)
Johnny Damon 306/386/480 (6.4 RC/27)
rf - Jacques Jones 251/309/435 (4.3 RC/27)
Gabe Kapler 271/309/407 (3.2 RC/27)
dh - Shannon Stewart 308/399/423 (7.1 RC/27)
David Ortiz 308/376/620 (8.1 RC/27)
Jason Bartlett 000/000/000 (0.0 RC/27)
Michael Cuddyer 249/312/423 (4.3 RC/27)
Matt LeCroy 270/328/420 (4.6 RC/27)
Doug Meintkeiwicz 238/334/356 (3.7 RC/27)
Jose Offerman 228/354/382 (4.4 RC/27)
Andy Dominique 182/182/182 (1.1 RC/27)
Nomar Garciaparra 321/367/500 (6.0 RC/27)*
David McCarty 244/321/378 (3.3 RC/27)
Doug Mirabelli 278/343/589 (6.0 RC/27)
Kevin Youkilis 292/396/454 (7.1 RC/27)
*Expected to miss the weekend with a achillies strain.
Minnesota - 263/329/421 (4.7)
Boston - 279/357/468 (5.4)
Minnesota - 98.5%
Boston - 97.1%
Minnesota - 1.521
Boston - (-11.040)
Minnesota - (-5.1 BG) 71%
Boston - (-5.4 BG) 70%
Minnesota - 3.66 per 550 PA
Boston - 1.09 per 550 PA
Bronson Arroyo 3-7 4.20 (20.136)
Kyle Loshe 4-7 4.87 (14.460)
Derek Lowe 9-9 5.56 (5.613)
Brad Radke 7-6 3.69 (35.211)
Pedro Martinez 11-4 4.15 (28.458)
Johan Santana 9-6 3.36 (41.409)
Minnesota - 120.917
Boston - 115.908
Minnesota - 70.469
Grant Balfor - 7.807
Aaron Fultz - 7.721
Joe Nathan - 25.777
Juan Rincon - 19.514
Joe Roa - 7.018
JC Romero - 9.579
Boston - 69.932
Terry Adams - 0.669
Alan Embree - 6.538
Keith Foulke - 24.914
Mark Malaska - 3.384
Ramiro Mendoza - 3.800
Mike Timlin - 13.691
Minnesota - 2.7 RpG, 1.13 IPpApp
Boston - 2.6 RpG, 1.06 IPpApp
Thursday, July 29, 2004
As hard as I try to find a story in tonight's game, there really isn't one. The Sox didn't hit, Javy Lopez did and the Sox lost.
Thankfully, my perfect game jinx worked.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
If one accepts Baseball Prospectus' VORP reports as a valid indicator for what players have been best this season, there are some eye opening items included.
For instance, did you know that Mark Kotsay, largely due to Eric Chavez's injury, has been the best Oakland position player? This is even more remarkable considering how Kotsay started out the 2004 campaign. Here are his month by month OPS splits:
Kotsay has the American League's 8th best total in July.
Another guy flying well below the radar is Cleveland Indian Travis Hafner. Hafner is helping the Tribe faithful forget about potential future hall-of-famer Jim Thome by posting a better season thus far than the Phillies phenom. Hafner has the Majors' second best OPS thus far in July.
Although he is fastly becoming more and more recognized, Detroit Tigers' shortstop Carlos Guillen still does not have the reputation befitting the American League's best player. That's right, the AL's best player. Better than Vlad, better than Manny. Unbelievably, Seattle Mariners General Manager Bill Bavasi was so eager to unload Guillen to make room for Rich Aurilia, that even after a trade for Omar Vizquel fell through, Bavasi settled for the brutal Ramon Santiago. VORP totals for the principals...
These are just some interesting examples. Check out the reports for yourself and I think you will find it as informative and enjoyable as I do. I will do a similar piece on the pitchers soon.
Enjoy Schill tonight!
...but I hate New Jersey as well.
I was all pumped about going to see Citizen's Bank park, but the entire state of New Jeresy was flooded out. A four hour trip to my girlfriend's parent's house in Jersey too us nine. We arrived at 7 p.m. No game in Philadelphia.
By the way, morning shift should be called morning shit. I'm still bitter about it a week later.
Since you are all dying to know know, here is my take on the fight.
Arroyo hits a lot of guys. ARod is a guy (presumably). He got hit. Rather than either charge the mound, or jog down to first, ARod yelled at Arroyo. Varitek did what catchers do and got between ARod and Arroyo. Homeplate umpire Bruce Froemming arrived on the scene. After that, the TV camera was focused on ARod and he said:
Fuck you, fuck you motherfucker! Come on!
I'm sure Varitek wasn't saying "Golly gee, you sure look upset Mr. Rodriguez," but I have no idea what he was saying. Eitherway, this illicted Tek to take the Yankee 3rd baseman up on his offer. There was shoving, then a head lock (Varitek jammed his wrist) and everyone gathered for some tea and crumpets.
This is when a leisurely day at the park turned ugly. Yankee pitcher Tanyon Sturtze got to the scrum, headlocked Gabe Kapler (probably the Budwiser Stupidest Decision of the Game) and dragged him out of the pile. Right into David Ortiz and Trot Nixon. Sturtze wrestled with Kapler while he got taken down by him, Ortiz, and Nixon. Sturtze got cut behind the ear, and jammed his pinky, went out to pitch the bottom of the 3rd, and got shelled.
My opinion is that Sturtze was probably most in the wrong in pulling a Mickey Rivers move on Kapler. Everyone else did things that were SOP in baseball (although I did lose some respect for ARod for him waiting until there was someone to separate him from Varitek to challenge the catcher.)
Finally, I don't have a link because I got this second hand, but I was told that ARod said that "things like this happen when you hate a team", referring to the Red Sox. This was of course a change in tune from when he almost gave up $50 million to come to Boston.
My reaction to that is that what he says doesn't matter. To be honest, I don't blame ARod from making comments like that. He's on a new team who has a volatile rivalry, and he would have to be a pretty cold hearted bastard not to buy into that (see: Curt Schilling's comments about the Yankees). Also, he probably feels disrespected by Larry Lucchino (reportedly, ARod was so disenfranchised with Lucky that Tom Warner had to pick up negotiations with the Rangers), and felt like the Red Sox didn't try hard enough to get him out of Texas after Orza ruled. I don't care that he hates the Red Sox, but I also don't blame him.
Now that my head is clear, I have to hunt down Jay Jaffe and tell him Dewey's House is my site with a brick (kidding, Sully does yeoman's work here), and get excited to see Curt "Burt" Schilling vs. David "Son of Sam" Borkowski on the ole NESN.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
So the Sox have won three straight and signs of the murderous lineup the 2003 edition of the BoSox featured are rearing their head. The Sox have 39 runs in their last four games and after two inspiring victories (three including the brawl) versus the Yankees and a solid win vs. the Orioles, things seem, seem I stress, to be turning. unquestionably, the story of the turnaround has been the revival of local 2004 whipping boy Kevin Millar. Dewey's house has been tough on Mr. KFC but we strive to be fair here. So don't look now but Millar now has a very respectable .833 OPS and was just awarded with the co-player of the week award for the American League. His .284 EQA makes him just about league average for both the first base and right field positions. Particularly with the injury to Trot Nixon, continued success from Millar will be essential to the Red Sox chances to make noise in either the AL East or the AL Wild card races.
For some discussion relevant to my previous post here, check out Jay Jaffe's article at Futility Infielder today. The piece was inspired by the comments section from this article from my pal Alex Belth's blog, Bronx Banter.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
I refuse to get upset about this game. You see, I don't think winning is a skill. There is no innate ability to simply win. On the other hand, hitting for power and getting on base and preventing the other team from doing so, in my opinion, requires some skill. There is no other way to strategize to defeat your opponent than to try and do these things better than your opponent.
So the Yanks won won last night. I don't want to sound like sour grapes but they once again failed to outplay the Red Sox, who managed to slug .692 in a game they lost. Here is why the Yanks won...
Because Kenny Lofton placed a routine ground ball in the right place and Alex Rodriguez hit a 320 foot double that plated Gary Sheffield with the game-winning run.
Sure all of the losing can become frustrating, but until someone can tell me a better way to consistently win baseball games than try to get on base more often and hit for more power that your opponents, I refuse to quit on this team because they do those things as well as anybody.
Bronson Arroyo faces Tanyon Sturtze today.
Check out Bronx Banter or The Replacement Level Yankee Weblog for some interesting and balanced Yankee coverage.
Friday, July 23, 2004
The Red Sox avoided what would have been an embarassing sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles tonight with a solid all-around effort. The Sox finally decided to cluster some hits, got some solid pitching from Tim Wakefield and David McCarty made the defensive play of the year that we all just may look back upon as something of a turning point.
After Brian Roberts and impressive rookie David Newhan led the contest off with successive singles, the O's had men on first and third with Game 1 hero Melvin Mora at the dish. Mora hit a lazy fly ball to left field, McCarty camped under it and proceeded to hose Roberts out at the plate with a perfect throw. The Fenway faithful roared approvingly and at the risk of overstating the importance of the play, there was a feeling that things may have finally turned back in the Sox favor.
Such feelings were vindicated in the bottom half of the opening frame as the Sox put three runs on the board, capped off by a two-run single by McCarty himself. Kevin Youkilis would add a solo home run and the Sox would not look back. Wakefield, Mike Timlin and Alan Embree posted a 10-hit shutout.
The Yanks come to town this weekend. Whatever hopes the Sox have of winning the American League East ride on the three game set.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
You see, unlike Sully, I do have stuff to say.
You see, I am not a morning person. I generally go to bed between 1-3 am, and wake up between 9-11. By wake up, my body is physically awake, but my mind doesn't kick into gear for 30 minutes or so after I am up.
Today, because of a small vacation I am taking this weekend (No Jeff until Tuesday probably. I'm leaving tonight, so no Yankee preview either), I was forced to take the 7 am shift at work. Not only do I have a headache, but I've slammed two Cokes (I don't drink coffee), and I'm still dozing off. I just can't wake up.
I think that is a good analogy for the Red Sox this season. The just won't wake up.
I don't know if it is a function of expectation, but the Sox have played some pretty uninspired baseball the last few months. It hasn't been bad baseball (despite some ugly losses), but it hasn't been good either. It's been mediocre baseball since the double header sweep against the Devil Rays in May.
Actually, I'm convinced it was a function of fan expectation. And it pisses me off they aren't playing better. Expectation begets frustration in this case.
Anyway, last night, Pedro pitched great, and then like hell. Johnny Damon played a bad centerfield, and I think to the disappoint ment of Costiglione and Trupiano, the infield defense of Millar/Mueller/Youkilis/Bellhorn didn't kill Boston.
The Sox didn't really hit, save Kapler, and the end result was a 10-5 loss. To the Orioles.
Despite all this, I'm still optomistic that the Sox can make it to the playoffs. They swept the A's, and took 2/3 from the Rangers at home, and then split on the West coast. Except for Seattle, these are good teams they beat up on. The Red Sox were especially brutal to the vaunted pitching of the Oakland Athletics. Facts over looked by the "They're ruinin' my summmmaahhhhh!" crew.
Frustration begets blindness.
Doesn't seem to me that a win in a Pedro vs. Bedard matchup is a whole lot to ask.
Let's hope for a sweep today in the double-dip.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Javy Lopez - 317/371/480 (5.1)
Jason Varitek - 278/379/444 (5.3)
Rafael Palmeiro - 252/359/414 (5.1)
Kevin Millar - 269/348/384 (3.9)
Brian Roberts - 258/329/355 (5.0) (Roberts left the game on 7/20 with a hand injury)
Mark Bellhorn - 266/385/437 (6.1)
Melvin Mora - 343/430/557 (8.1)
Bill Mueller - 267/346/414 (5.0)
Miguel Tejada - 308/358/512 (6.3)
Nomar Garciaparra - 318/364/523 (6.3)
Larry Bigbie - 263/327/401 (3.8)
Manny Ramirez - 342/438/677 (9.0)
Luis Matos - 226/275/335 (2.9)
Johnny Damon - 310/392/485 (6.5)
Jerry Hairston - 301/365/393 (5.6)(Hairston left the game on 7/20 with a bruised side)
Trot Nixon - 253/326/422 (3.5)
David Newhan - 413/462/624 (14.6)
David Ortiz - 305/362/615 (7.7)
Karim Garcia - 400/400/1600 (25.3)*
Ken Huckaby - 286/286/429 (4.9)*
Luis Lopez - 241/283/352 (2.7)
Robert Machado - 195/233/341 (2.1)
Tim Raines - 294/333/353 (4.8)
*Numbers as an Oriole only
Gabe Kapler - 266/308/392 (2.7)
David McCarty - 226/308/365 (2.6)
Doug Mirabelli - 300/364/638 (7.0)
Pokey Reese - 231/275/317 (2.6) (Reese left the game on 7/19 with a strained rib cage)
Baltimore - 278/343/423 (5.0)
Boston - 278/358/465 (5.4)
Baltimore - 105.2%
Boston - 96.5%
Baltimore - (-34.630)
Boston - (-11.784)
Baltimore - (-3.8 BG) 72%
Boston - (-7.4 BG) 69%
Baltimore - 3.18 per 550 PA
Boston - 1.18 per 550 PA
Erik Bedard (17.710)
Pedro Martinez (32.758)
Rodrigo Lopez (6.885) [only as starter]
Tim Wakefield (17.382) [only as starter]
TBA vs. TBA
Baltimore - 24.415
Boston - 119.671
Baltimore - 51.878
BJ Ryan - 22.355
Eddy Rodriguez - 8.119
Jorge Julio - 4.806
Buddy Groom - 2.688
Dave Brokowski - 1.941
Jason Grimsley - (-3.823)
Boston - 65.655
Keith Foulke - 24.130
Mike Timlin - 13.014
Alan Embree - 5.199
Ramiro Mendoza - 2.231
Jimmy Anderson - 1.346
Curtis Leskanic - 0.477
Joe Nelson - (-3.215)
Baltimore - 2.7 RpG, 1.30 IPpApp
Boston - 2.6 RpG, 1.07 IPpApp
The Sox followed up their most crushing defeat of 2004 with a gutty victory, 9-7 today as they staved off a late Seattle charge to hang on. Derek Lowe started and was his usual, um, crappy self going just five innings on a day he knew he needed to provide the bullpen with some rest. He didn't. He gave up four earned runs and nine hits but because he was staked to an 8-1 lead, he was credited with a win. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez homered for the Sox.
Most impressively, just one day after surrendering two home runs in an appearance in four years, Keith Foulke struck out the side after allowing the winning run to reach home plate in the ninth with nobody out. It seemed as though he just kinda said "eff it" and came with his best stuff, mixing pinpoint fastballs and a baffling change-up to set down the heart of Seattle's order en route to recording the save.
The Red Sox now come home with six games against division rivals Baltimore and New York.
Monday, July 19, 2004
Blogger has changed their posting interface some, so insted of re-writing the entire preview of this series, I'll link the orginal post on my little message board The Blair Wasdin Project
A quick little look...Seattle's offense is terrible, and their whole organization is a mess. That said, the Red Sox seem to have an inability to play consistantly well on the road. My prediction is that the Sox take tonight, and lose in the Lowe start.
With Lowe losing again, I wager he falls into a deep depression, like Ron Burgandy in "Anchorman". I half expect Pedro, Schilling, Arroyo, and Wakefield to walk past a bearded Lowe on the LaGrange St, while he's guzzling milk.
He was a Fenway favorite and a personal one as well. Equipped with a rocket right arm and a rock-solid hitting approach, Dwight Evans was one of the most complete and consistent ballplayers to ever wear the carmine hose. Curiously however, Dewey's greatness - maybe greatness isn't the right word - but his memory seems to have been lost not only on the national baseball scene but the local one as well. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why that might be. He was consistent if not consistently spectacular and what made him exceptional (reliable defense, high on-base percentage) could easily have been lost on the casual fan. He played with the sort of prosaic competence that, when reliably penciled in daily as Evans was, benefits a ball club more than that player's skill set alone might indicate. It's the only explanation for why Evans' legacy is not what it ought to be. Well it's long past due for a thorough review of Evans' career both from a statistical and anecdotal perspective and this piece will seek to demonstrate why Dewey was one of the more memorable players of his generation and more to the point of this site's subject matter, the consummate Red Sox.
Evans broke into the big leagues at the end of the 1972 season but didn't make any real noise until 1975. In '75, not coincidentally one of the best years in Sox history, Evans posted an adjusted OPS+ of 120 and played a solid right field. Still, Sox manager Darrell Johnston would not entrust an everyday job to Evans until the end of the season and then, the postseason. He was terrible in a three game Boston sweep of Oakland in the ALCS but spectacular against Cincinnati in the World Series. This trend would uphold throughout Evans' career. He hit .190/.282/.302 in his ALCS career while hitting .320/.397/.580 in his two World Series appearances in 1975 and 1986. His two most memorable moments in the series were his ninth inning home run off of Reds reliever Rawly Eastwick in Game 3 to tie that game (only to lose controversially) and his eleventh inning robbery in Game 6 of a sure Joe Morgan home run that resulted in a double play when he threw back into first base to get Ken Griffey who, like everyone else at Fenway, was sure Morgan's blast would clear the wall. Without this play, there is no Carlton Fisk game-winning home run.
Evans won gold gloves in '76, '78 and '79 (and 5 more in the '80's) but was just good offensively. He wouldn't establish himself as a premium hitter until the 1981 season in which he posted a .292/.402/.534 line. That year, according to Baseball Prospectus' VORP, he was the Majors' 4th best offensive player. In 1982, he was the 3rd best and 9th in '84. These were largely mediocre Red Sox teams however and the fact that his best performances came in otherwise forgettable Sox campaigns may be another contributing factor to his lacking legacy. In 1986 that would change as he got the year off to a roaring start, smacking the first pitch of the season over the center field wall, famously 440 feet away at Detroit's Tiger Stadium. It would prove to be a foreshadowing of another one of the best seasons in Boston's storied baseball past. Evans was a vital contributor for a potent Sox team that would win one of the most exciting League Championship Series ever only to lose in historically painful fashion to the New York Mets in the World Series.
The decline faze of Evans' career was slow as he would post solid seasons all the way through his retirement in 1991 which he sadly finished with the Baltimore Orioles.
Bill James, in his New Historical Baseball Abstract notes that Dave Winfield, Dave Parker and Evans were all born in 1951 and that of their 24-year combined career span, Winfield had the best season of the three eleven times, Evans eight times and Parker five. The caveat in this analysis is that Winfield "wins" four of his seasons after Evans retired. Winfield represents an interesting comparison. His career OPS+ of 129 is slightly better than Evans but, despite Winfield's numerous gold gloves of his own, he was not the fielder Evans was. Here are their career lines:
Given Winfield's first-ballot induction to Cooperstown, it's hard to argue that Evans does not, at the very least, have a compelling case.
The deeper connection I have to Evans stems from the fact that his brightest moments mirror what the Red Sox have done for the last 86 years. The Red Sox have so often been good - damn good in fact. They have so often provided memorable moments. And yet for all of their triumphs, they always end in despair. Consider what are probably the three biggest moments of Evans' career. There was the aforementioned two plays in the 1975 World Series. His home run that tied Game 3 in the ninth inning went for naught after the home plate umpire failed to properly call Ed Armbrister in the tenth for interference after he bunted and subsequently disrupted Fisk's throw to second base that ended up in centerfield and led to a Reds' win. There was also the breathtaking catch and double play that afforded Carlton Fisk some extra fame and the Sox a Game 6 win but, of course, a series loss. And finally, there was Game 7 of the 1986 World Series. After losing in unthinkably heartbreaking fashion in Game 6 (no need to re-hash the details), the Red Sox and Bruce Hurst faced Ron Darling of the Mets the very next night. Evans came up in the second inning and blasted a solo home run that staked the Sox to a 1-0 lead just 20 hours after the most somber loss in the franchise's history. It was a cathartic moment, one in which Sox fans were reminded that there was still hope - that you could dust yourself off even after the most crushing of defeats and come back strong. The Sox would eventually lose 8-5 and the Series 4-3. Each of these moments in their own way tell a separate story of what it is to be associated with the Red Sox. The home run off of Eastwick was a tribute to perseverance. The Sox never give up. From the '67 Impossible Dream Team to the cardiac kids of '03, steadfastness has never been in short supply for the Sox. The double play in '75 reminds of all of the spectacular plays and players we have been treated to over the years. And the Game 7 home run, while subtle and largely forgotten, is the ultimate metaphor for the Boston Red Sox because there is always, always hope - no matter how hurt you may have been in the past. And yet ultimately, the common deminator among the three plays is that they all, seemingly inevitably, did little more than delay the heartbreak. What's more Red Sox than that?
Still, as long as I am watching baseball and loving the Red Sox, Dwight Evans will always assume his rightful place in baseball lore.
At least in one fan's heart.
Sunday, July 18, 2004
I didn't get to see a minute of baseball this weekend but I can't say I am terribly disappointed with a 4 game split in Anaheim.
Still, some consistency from Derek Lowe and Tim Wakefield, or in some form or another at the back end of the rotation is going to be imperative if this Sox team plans to be a threat.
One non-baseball related note. I was at the United States Naval Academy chapel for a wedding on Saturday in Annapolis and it was one of the most moving experiences of my life. Anyone else that has been to Annapolis knows what I am talking about. The place epitomizes prestige.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Kevin Youkilis was sent down to day, per the Boston Globe.
There are three ramifications to this move:
1. The Red Sox no longer lead the majors in Jews. This is sure to annoy my family.
2. Bellhorn is the backup 3rd baseman now, which means that we are one Mueller injury away from seeing either Youkilis come back up, or a Millar/Reese/Bellhorn/Garciaparra infield.
3. The man called up...bringing the roster split to 13 players/12 pitchers...
c - Benji Molina 294/316/435 (4.5 RC/27)
Jason Varitek 275/379/439 (5.0 RC/27)
1b - Darren Erstad 296/341/389 (5.6 RC/27)
Kevin Millar 280/361/401 (4.3 RC/27)
2b - Adam Kennedy 264/327/389 (4.2 RC/27)
Mark Bellhorn 268/388/443 (6.4 RC/27)
3b - Chone Figgens 307/364/459 (6.0 RC/27)
Bill Mueller 285/359/442 (5.5 RC/27)
ss - David Eckstein 293/349/346 (3.7 RC/27)
Nomar Garciaparra 327/365/523 (6.8 RC/27)
lf - Jose Guillen 301/368/509 (7.4 RC/27)
Manny Ramirez 344/437/682 (9.3 RC/27)
cf - Garret Anderson 316/365/475 (7.0 RC/27)
Johnny Damon 321/401/488 (7.0 RC/27)
rf - Vlad Guerrero 345/392/591 (8.3 RC/27)
Trot Nixon 231/307/431 (2.8 RC/27)
dh - Tim Salmon 228/289/325 (3.8 RC/27)/Jeff DaVannon 298/393/429 (6.9 RC/27)
David Ortiz 304/354/600 (7.2 RC/27)
Anaheim - 282/339/428 (5.1 RC/game)
Red Sox - 281/360/468 (5.5 RC/game)
Anaheim - 96.1%
Boston - 96.9%
Anaheim - 22.253
Boston - (-14.063)
Anaheim - 6.9 BG 75%
Boston - (-5.7 BG) 60%
BG is Net Bases Gained, based on the assumption that a player must steal at 73% to add runs to the offense.
Anaheim - 5.75 per 550 PA
Boston - 1.26 per 550 PA
Thursday - Lowe (5.044) vs. Washburn (12.055)
Friday - Wakefield (20.101) vs.Escobar (19.159)
Saturday - Martinez (31.197) vs. Colon (-8.048)
Sunday - Schilling (40.357) vs. Lackey (10.427)
Anaheim - 42.012
Boston - 115.538
Anaheim - 70.149
Boston - 71.087
Anaheim - 2.2 RpG, 1.46 IPpApp
Boston - 2.6 RpG, 1.09 IPpApp
Best 4 Bullpen-
The Sox will be in Anaheim this evening to open an important four game series against the Angels. Derek Lowe will toe the rubber for the Sox and Jarrod Washburn will pitch for the Halos. Washburn, and really this entire match-up itself pose a series of contrasts for the prognosticator.
Jarrod Washburn is hell on lefties, yielding just a .581 OPS against them in 2004. This should make things difficult for Damon, Ortiz and Nixon. On the other hand, Washburn has been terrible at home in 2004. The opposition has posted better than a .900 OPS when Washburn takes to his home hill.
The Angels pitching staff has posted a respectable 4.38 ERA. But a closer look reveals that Angels starters have just a 4.92 ERA while their relievers are almost solely responsible for their respectable team figure, with a 3.37 ERA of their own.
Anaheim is 7th in the AL in runs scored but next-to-last in walks. It’s this particular fact that I think may bode well for Derek Lowe this evening. Anecdotally, and this has been stated here before, Derek Lowe is a far more effective pitcher against aggressive teams. Lowe is best when he is goading the opposition to swing at pitches that appear to be strikes but dive beneath the strike zone. The result is often a ground ball out. When Derek Lowe struggles, it is generally because a patient team game plans to wait him out. After all, Lowe throws very few called strikes. The result of this strategy can sometimes be an increase in Lowe’s walk totals but more often, the result is that hitters can dig in because Lowe falls behind in the count and must decrease his margin of error by throwing a strike down the middle.
Let’s hope this is the night we see something of a turnaround from Derek Lowe. If he is effective this summer and down the stretch, it could make all the difference.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
The CBOT squawk box apparently revealed that Randy Johnson would be coming to the Red Sox with White Sox prospects headed ot the desert and Nomar going to the South Side. Why anyone ought to trust the CBOT squawk box with respect to a blockbuster baseball trade is well beyond me but whatever, it's pretty juicy.
In addition to the Unit rumors, there is also now talk of Todd Helton possibly coming to Boston, per Denver Sports Radio.
I don't even want to try and analyze these possible deals because who knows if there is even a shred of truth to either of them.
But you can bet I will be scouring for any updates.
Gordon Edes reports today that Randy Johnson is in fact open to a trade and has not ruled Boston out, as was reported last week.
Reports say that he is open to playing for Anaheim, Boston or New York and I would have to think that if landing Johnson will be a matter of who offers the most young talent, then that is precisely the order of his most likely destinations.
Anaheim has a bevy of minor league talent. Corner infielders Casey Kotchman and Dallas McPherson represent their most promising position player chips while hurlers Bobby Jenks and Ervin Sanatana would also have to tempt the Snakes.
Boston has a few chips of note. Catcher Kelly Shoppach and rookie thirdbaseman Kevin Youkilis are probably the best of the bunch. Pitchers Abe Alvarez and Jon Lester and perhaps even young shortstop Hanley Ramirez all may help to seal the deal for the Sox as well.
The Yankees have very little to offer. Dioneer Navarro is a promising catcher but the list of attractive commodities in the Yanks' system basically starts and ends with Navarro. Of course you never rule the Yanks out simply because they can always outspend whomever they would like if cash should become a consideration.
So the possibilities based on reports we have now break down like this as far as I see it. If it is simply talent the D-Backs want, the Halos are the front-runners. If it is money they want, or salary relief, the Yanks jump to the fore. If a combination of talent and money is what Arizona seeks, I would think that would benefit the Sox, MLB's #2 spending team with a few prospects of significance.
Stay tuned, people.
Monday, July 12, 2004
AL Cy Young
NL Cy Young
I hope Sully posts his.
AL MVP - Manny Ramirez
2. Vlad Guerrero
3. Ivan Rodriguez
4. Frank Thomas
5. David Ortiz
6. Carlos Guillen
7. Jorge Posada
8. Hank Blalock
9. Michael Young
10. Mark Mulder
NL MVP - Barry Bonds
2. JD Drew
3. Todd Helton
4. Bobby Abreu
5. Scott Rolen
6. Jim Thome
7. Lance Berkman
8. Albert Pujols
9. Sean Casey
10. Mike Lowell
AL Cy Young - Mark Mulder
2. Curt Schilling
3. Brad Radke
4. Kenny Rogers
5. Johan Santana
NL Cy Young - Jason Schmidt
2. Randy Johnson
3. Carl Pavano
4. Roger Clemens
5. Tom Glavine
AL Rookie of the Year - Bobby Crosby
2. Kevin Youkilis
3. Daniel Cabrera
NL Rookie of the Year - Ryan Madison
2. Jason Bay
3. Akinori Otsuka
AL Manager of the Year - Lou Piniella
2. Mike Scioscia
3. Buck Showalter
NL Manager of the year - Jim Tracy
2. Dave Miley
3. Art Howe
Red Sox MVP - Manny Ramirez
Biggest surprise - Mark Bellhorn/Johnny Damon
Biggest disappointment - Byung-hyun Kim/Derek Lowe
Offensive Grade - B
Rotation Grade - B+ (would be an A if not for Lowe)
Bullpen Grade - B
Francona Grade - B-
Front Office Grade - C+
He has a column today naming the recipients of his midseason awards and he has decided that Scott Rolen has been the National League's MVP thus far in 2004. Bear in mind that this is the same fellow that decided Shannon Stewart was the American League's MVP for 2003. So here are Rolen's and Bonds' respective numbers this season:
It's just not even remotely close. And the thing that sucks is that I am going to have to listen to the guy in my office that likes to regurgitate ESPN's analysis (ahem, nonsense) tell me that Rolen plays every game like a bulldog and that Barry Bonds does steroids anyway.
Ineptitude, thy name is Jayson.
Edit: The USS Mariner took note as well.
Sunday, July 11, 2004
It's become sporting, when your team loses and there happens to be some poor umpiring, to remind fellow fans that "the umps didn't lose that game".
In the ninth inning with the Red Sox trailing by a run, Pokey Reese was called out at first after a pick-off attempt by Texas closer Francisco Cordero arrived a tad too late. Replays confirmed that Reese was indeed safe. Mark Bellhorn was then called out on a strike a good 8 inches low and a foot outside to end the game with Johnny Damon, the potential tying run, 90 feet away.
The umpires were not the only reason the Sox lost. Keith Foulke stunk and Terry Francona probably hung with Wakefield too long. But the fact is that the Sox made just one out in the ninth inning and still managed to get the game-tying run 90 feet away. No, they were no the only reason but they were the chief one.
While walls were falling down around them just last Sunday, the Boston Red Sox are now being confused for the 1927 Yankees. Nah, the Boston press isn't too fickle. Of course anyone worth their analytical salt could see that this Red Sox team was a very good one. As All-Baseball's weekly list will remind, for almost all of 2004 the Red Sox have had the Major's most impressive total-bases-plus-walks differential. It was a matter of time before the wins started to come more frequently. Well they have.
Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox knocked around Rangers starter Kenny Rogers last night, even after Rogers' teammates staked him to an early lead. The top of the Boston order was remarkable despite missing David Ortiz, who did not play after the birth of his third child earlier in the day. Johnny Damon brought down the house once again with another memorable performance cast as the ideal leadoff hitter. Mark Bellhorn and Nomar Garciaparra each had four hits, three runs, three RBI's and one walk. And Ramirez hit home runs number 25 and 26 off of Kenny Rogers and, of all people, John "Way-Back" Wasdin.
Derek Lowe pitched pretty well. He gave up just four hits and three walks and struck out five in seven innings of work but was victimized by some shaky defense. Not one of the six runs Texas scored in the second inning was earned.
Today the Red Sox look to close out their second consecutive sweep. Tim Wakefield will face Ryan Drese in both teams' final contests before the Mid-Summer Classic in Houston.
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Johnny Damon and Bronson Arroyo led the way for the Sox tonight as they pounded the Texas Rangers 7-0.
Damon smacked two home runs and Arroyo pitched 8 strong innings, striking out seven and yielding just three hits to a Texas team that has been pounding the ball of late.
It appears as though the Sox may be turning a corner of sorts. Now if they can just get Derek Lowe to join them around the bend, all might be right again in the Nation.
We will see tomorrow.
Friday, July 09, 2004
c - Rod Barajas 270/290/546 (4.8 RC/27)
Jason Varitek 272/377/429 (4.8 RC/27)
1b - Mark Teixeira 278/374/556 (6.8 RC/27)
Kevin Millar 283/360/408 (4.5 RC/27)
2b - Alfonso Soriano 289/329/461 (4.6 RC/27)
Mark Bellhorn 262/384/429 (6.2 RC/27)
3b - Hank Blalock 308/372/575 (7.0 RC/27)
Bill Mueller 287/358/449 (5.7 RC/27)
ss - Michael Young 335/376/508 (7.0 RC/27)
Nomar Garciaparra 287/327/468 (5.3 RC/27)
lf - Dave Delucci 284/361/497 (6.0 RC/27)
Manny Ramirez 338/435/662 (8.7 RC/27)
cf - Gary Matthews Jr 288/353/466 (6.7 RC/27)
Johnny Damon 312/397/457 (6.6 RC/27)
rf - Kevin Mench 280/325/528 (5.0 RC/27)
Trot Nixon 241/313/467 (2.8 RC/27)
dh - Brad Fullmer 242/315/463 (3.8 RC/27)
David Ortiz 301/351/601 (7.2 RC/27)
Texas - 281/341/479 (5.1 RC/game)
Red Sox - 278/358/460 (5.5 RC/game)
Texas - 100.3%
Boston - 97.3%
Texas - (-0.020)
Boston - (-12.389)
Texas - (-36.1 BG) 57%
Boston - (-10.7 BG) 67%
BG is Net Bases Gained, based on the assumption that a player must steal at 73% to add runs to the offense.
Texas - 1.69 per 550 PA
Boston - 1.31 per 550 PA
Friday - Benoit (4.636) vs. Arroyo (13.139)
Saturday - Rogers (36.290) vs. Lowe (-0.191)
Sunday - Drese (28.674) vs. Wakefield (20.480)
Texas - 87.196
Boston - 103.299
Texas - 77.813
Boston - 66.641
Texas - 2.7 RpG, 1.14 IPpAPP
Boston - 2.6 RpG, 1.09 IPpAPP
Best 4 Bullpen-
Cordero - 17.567
Almanzar - 13.353
Mahay - 12.891
Shouse - 8.249
Foulke - 23.016
Timlin - 12.239
Williamson - 11.452
Embree - 5.567
I think I would have preferred a boring win in which Schilling remained dominant and the bullpen held up better. But what the hell? If there are two areas we as Sox fans have nothing to bitch about in 2004, it is the pitching of both Curt Schilling and the bullpen. So savor one hell of an exciting win.
Back with more at some point I hope.
Oh and that guy's right. Jeff's a helluva lot more interesting than I.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
This is an e-mail I recieved this last week:
I really enjoy your site, and I love the point of view you and Patrick express. Please don't take this as criticism, but I've noticed a disctinct difference in style between you two. Patrick seems to be a more straight forward and organized. You seem to be more interesting, but are much harder to read. You guys would be great if you could combine into one.
I don't know if that's true or not. Could Sully be the more understated superego to my prone-to-say-motherfucker-a-lot id?
This got me thinking about the Red Sox. Could it be they suffer from the same psychosis as Jim seems to think?
In this game, the Sox had a blow out, lost the lead, and stole a win with speed. This after two blowouts. And getting blown out. They swept the A's, got swept by the Yankees.
The whole post to this point has been made to confuse Jim.
Much like the Red Sox have confused me...hmmmm. Maybe we're on to something here...
Ranger preview tomorrow, and a rant forthcoming on why I like to use All Star ballots paper airplanes.
Oh yeah. Johnny Damon is fast. Much faster now then when he was wearing sandles and carpentering.
That's what the Red Sox have hit as a team vs. Oakland Athletics pitching.
Oakland's overall opponents' batting line is .270/.336/.413.
That's what the Boston Red Sox have done to the Oakland Athletics the last two nights.
Last night at Fenway, Pedro Martinez pitched exactly the way you would hope your ace would with a sizeable lead - quickly and accurately. He could have been sharper but it didn't matter. It was a solid effort, one in which both Pedro's tempo and his eagerness to throw each successive pitch indicated that the confidence (aw hell, arrogance) for which he has become so famous may very much be back.
Offensively, it was Oakland lefty Mark Redman this time who could not contain an unremitting Red Sox attack. Every starter except David Ortiz had a hit. Mark Bellhorn hit a laser over the Green Monster. Nomar flaunted his hot bat once again with a shot to straightaway centerfield. And Manny - dear Lord. He hit perhaps 2004's longest home run at Fenway off of Oakland reliever Chad Bradford in the seventh inning. It appeared still to be rising when it glanced off one of the Coke bottles that adorn the left field light towers. It was an emphatic exclamation point on what had been a second straight offensive outpouring.
There was much more to the offense than just the home runs, of course. The 6 through 9 spots in the Boston order were 8-14 and on base 10-16. Bill Mueller collected another three hits and Jason Varitek showed signs that he may be breaking out of his extended slump with a couple of hits of his own.
Interestingly, at the end of the game Terry Francona seemed to manage it as if it were far closer than it was. I think I liked it. Because the Red Sox have seemed to lose or blow teams out since about mid-June or so, there have been few opportunities for the type of blue-print victories Sox fans grew accustomed to in early April - starter for six or seven, steady middle relief for an inning or two and Foulke slams the door. So Francona lifted Pedro for Alan Embree to start the eighth. He then pulled Embree after he faced just two batters and Mike Timlin finished the inning before turning it over to Keith Foulke to close out an 8-run lead in the ninth.
Ed Cossette has a nice personal anecdote about last night's game and Dirt Dogs has a mighty interesting rumor about a certain lanky southpaw currently hurling in the desert.
Oakland's magnificent but raw talent Rich Harden faces Boston's potential All-Star starter Curt Schilling this evening.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Jerry Remy wouldn’t stop reminding the NESN television audience that Barry Zito’s curveball, when on, is baseball’s best. I am inclined to agree I guess but I was wondering, “what happened to Barry Zito”? I began to develop a bit of a theory as to why Zito has lost effectiveness. Much has been made, at least in the statistical community, of his declining K-rates:
Still, his strikeout rate has improved this year and yet his numbers are way up. David Pinto correctly notes that his GB/FB ratio is down. This is often symptomatic of a pitcher getting hit harder – something certainly happening to Zito in 2004. It seems to me that from 2000-2002, Zito got by with pinpoint location on his fastball and a devastating, big-breaking curveball. Sure he had been mixing in a change-up here and there over that time but not with the propensity he has the last year and a half or so. I believe it is because, with just two pitches, hitters learned to adjust over time. This trend has necessitated the rushed development of his change and he simply does not yet have the command over the change that he does his other pitches.
This was on full display last night. The Sox were able to wait Zito out, watching his curveball miss the zone and his change-up miss badly as they sat on what really is a pretty ordinary fastball that Zito features. Throwing 87 MPH with one good breaking pitch and one bad one is no formula for Major League Baseball pitching success.
Of course Zito’s opponent last night, Tim Wakefield, essentially features just one pitch (strikeout of Jermaine Dye on a fastball notwithstanding). But when said pitch is a knuckleball, you might as well have 75 pitches because rarely does the knuckleball move in the same manner. Wakefield was magnificent last night. In command throughout, he yielded just 3 hits and a walk over 7 innings. He also struck out 6.
The Red Sox offensive attack was thorough and relentles. They banged out 17 hits and perhaps most encouraging of all was the fact that in the two innings they loaded the bases with nobody out, they did what most teams do in these situations – like…um…score some runs.
Bill Mueller, professional hitter, started the offensive attack with a three-run second inning home run. Mark Bellhorn had a nice game. Nomar chipped in with a couple of singles and a couple of RBI. Doug Mirabelli had 2 hits and 3 runs. But the undisputed offensive star of the night was centerfielder Johnny Damon, who collected 5 hits in his first 5 at-bats and had the crowd on his feet when he came up with a chance for his sixth hit of the night. I think it is time Damon received some recognition for the season he is having thus far.
I was convinced 2000 was a fluke. He had been pretty good in 1999 but since 2000, Damon really had not even approached his 2000 totals. Until this year, that is.
With Carlos Beltran now playing in Houston, Damon is easily the American League’s best centerfielder. The top of the order igniter Royals fans witnessed around the turn of the century has managed to resurrect himself. The best news of all? Damon has been a notorious slow starter throughout the course of his career so it would be entirely reasonable to expect continued excellence from Damon.
With Damon and Mueller bookends in the lineup last night, signs of what this offensive attack can be started to show. From the clean effort from Wakefield, to a healthy lineup top to bottom, to Manny and Ortiz struggling in a Sox rout, to a big night from Kevin Millar, to the timely hitting with runners on, everything about last night just felt different.
Now let’s keep it going. Pedro and Redman tonight.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Let me offer up a little disclaimer before I go on. If there is one lesson to be learned from the 2004 Boston Red Sox thus far, it is that one ought to be careful not to confuse a blowout victory with a full-blown righting of the ship.
That said, what a night. Wake was awesome. Damon was awesome. Nomar was awesome. Mueller was awesome. Bellhorn and Mirabelli chipped in. It was a thorough and relentless offensive attack to go along with a masterful pitching performance. It was easily the season's most complete effort by the Sox.
I am strapped for time at the moment but will try and get a full recap up in the morning. I watched the game closely and took fairly extensive notes.
I hope folks take the high road and encourage the old town team at Fenway tonight. It’s been a frustrating three weeks or so, and a particularly galling six days, but kicking and screaming and whining accomplishes little. There is quite a bit of baseball remaining.
For the panic-stricken I would point out that on this day in 2002, the Oakland Athletics stood at 49-38, a full 4.5 games back of the Red Sox (6 in the loss column) for the American League Wild Card. By September 6th, Oakland was 88-52 and the Red Sox were actually 7 games behind them.
Things can change quickly, and for talented teams scuffling a bit, they often do.
Let’s hope Fenway’s familiarity and warmth provide comfort for a team desperately seeking to hit its stride.
c - Damian Miller 294/350/472 (5.3 RC/27)
Jason Varitek 272/378/431 (4.9 RC/27)
1b - Scott Hatteberg 304/384/474 (7.6 RC/27)
Kevin Millar 268/346/387 (4.1 RC/27)
2b - Mario Scutaro 265/292/358 (3.2 RC/27)
Mark Bellhorn 259/382/421 (6.2 RC/27)
3b - Mark McLemore 270/381/320 (5.1 RC/27)
Bill Mueller 263/329/404 (4.6 RC/27)
ss - Bobby Crosby 273/331/471 (4.5 RC/27)
Nomar Garciaparra 284/322/444 (5.2 RC/27)
lf - Eric Byrnes 287/353/487 (5.9 RC/27)
Manny Ramirez 340/436/656 (8.9 RC/27)
cf - Mark Kotsay 307/363/408 (5.3 RC/27)
Johnny Damon 296/388/450 (6.3 RC/27)
rf - Jermaine Dye 295/353/526 (5.6 RC/27)
Trot Nixon 240/316/460 (2.8 RC/27)
dh - Eurbial Durazo 315/389/500 (6.9 RC/27)
David Ortiz 306/359/609 (7.8 RC/27)
Oakland - 273/341/437 (4.9 RC/game)
Red Sox - 273/354/453 (5.3 RC/game)
Oakland - 94.9%
Boston - 96.8%
Oakland - 5.252
Boston - (-11.397)
Oakland - (-4.0 BG) 70%
Boston - (-11.7 BG) 66%
BG is Net Bases Gained, based on the assumption that a player must steal at 73% to add runs to the offense.
Oakland - 1.21 per 550 PA
Boston - 1.37 per 550 PA
Tuesday - Zito (16.438) vs Wakefield (15.810)
Wednesday - Redman (15.911) vs Martinez (27.818)
Thursday - Harden (17.713) vs Arroyo (13.139)
Oakland - 129.240
Boston - 95.403
Oakland - 28.273
Boston - 66.415
Oakland - 2.3 RpG, 1.10 IPpAPP
Boston - 2.6 RpG, 1.09 IPpAPP
Best 4 Bullpen-
Duchscherer - 14.320
Bradford - 3.994
Hammonds - 3.886
Rhodes - 1.977
Foulke - 22.238
Timlin - 13.905
Williamson - 11.452
DiNardo - 5.455
Saturday, July 03, 2004
I haven't been writing much for one reason.
Disenfranchised with the quality of baseball discussion on this here internet, three people and myself started a new Red Sox/baseball message board.
The board is a screened membership, and the focus will be on intellegent, well-rationed baseball discussion, with a Boston bias. The link?
Blair Wasdin Project
Feel free to sign up.
Do you know what sucks worse than losing a game on a Nick Green walk off home run?
Saying how bad Green is right before the home run is hit.
Baseball sucks sometimes.
Friday, July 02, 2004
c - Johnny Estrada 335/389/489 (8.9 RC/27)
Jason Varitek 274/384/439 (5.3 RC/27)
1b - Julio Franco 281/358/431 (6.0 RC/27)
David Ortiz 311/363/612 (8.0 RC/27)
2b - Nick Green 287/348/396 (5.5 RC/27)
Mark Bellhorn 255/379/418 (6.0 RC/27)
3b - Chipper Jones 212/329/413 (4.9 RC/27)
Bill Mueller 262/333/414 (4.6 RC/27)
ss - Rafeal Furcal 258/335/391 (4.2 RC/27)
Nomar Garciaparra 235/274/382 (4.3 RC/27)
lf - Charles Thomas 350/381/550 (8.6 RC/27)
Manny Ramirez 340/436/663 (8.8 RC/27)
cf - Andruw Jones 251/341/477 (3.9 RC/27)
Johnny Damon 291/385/442 (6.1 RC/27)
rf - JD Drew 294/425/608 (8.5 RC/27)
Trot Nixon 275/362/550 (4.8 RC/27)
Atlanta - 258/326/417 (4.6 RC/game)
Red Sox - 273/355/455 (5.3 RC/game)
Atlanta - 99.8%
Boston - 96.8%
Atlanta - (-1.018)
Boston - (-9.853)
Atlanta - (-26.4 BG) 57%
Boston - (-10.1 BG) 67%
BG is Net Bases Gained, based on the assumption that a player must steal at 73% to add runs to the offense.
Atlanta - 6.71 per 550 PA
Boston - 1.24 per 550 PA
Friday - Arroyo (10.299) vs. Wright (15.631)
Saturday - Schilling (33.440) vs. Thomson (7.434)
Sunday - Lowe (4.474) vs. Hampton (-1.369)
Atlanta - 66.566
Boston - 90.477
Atlanta - 36.683
Boston - 64.573
Atlanta - 2.7 RpG, 1.08 IPpAPP
Boston - 2.6 RpG, 1.08 IPpAPP
Best 4 Bullpen-
Smoltz - 10.012
Alfonseca - 9.814
Reitsma - 8.415
Cruz - 6.812
Foulke - 22.347
Timlin - 13.009
Williamson - 11.335
DiNardo - 4.202
Scoring Position, 2 Out
Close and Late
Opponent’s Situational OPS
Scoring Position, 2 out
Close and Late
These numbers tell the story. Folks wonder how the Yanks can be so far ahead of the Sox when their run differentials are so similar. Offensively, look at the Yanks’ big advantage with Runners On, Runners In Scoring Position and Close and Late. There are those that would say, “obviously, they are just more clutch”. But then I would point out that the Yanks have been dreadful both with the Bases Loaded and with Runners in Scoring Position and 2 outs. So where do their magical clutch powers go in those particular situations? There are similar advantages and inconsistencies on the pitching side of things, too. These numbers are indicative of nothing more than mere happenstance and they do not result from some wonderful chemical concoction Joe Torre whips together in the Bomber clubhouse. There is a lot of evening out to do over the next few months but I think the deficit is probably too large to overcome.
Or is it?
The Yanks’ third order win-loss, according to BP’s adjusted standings, has them at 46-30. If you apply this win percentage to their final 86 games, they would end up with 102 wins. The Red Sox’s third order win-loss is 48-29 and if you apply this percentage to their remaining 85 games, they would end up with 95 wins. So it would be a seven game deficit at year’s end if the Sox and Yanks continued to play as they have. But wait. Can’t we reasonably expect…
a) Trot and Nomar (or whatever Nomar fetches) to improve the overall offensive output?
b) Pedro and Lowe’s performances to improve?
c) A trade to upgrade the rotation?
So say the Sox can improve by two theoretical wins over 85 games. Now it’s a 5 game differential.
Now what if they also were to have some luck on their side – improve their performance with runners on base both on offense and defense? And what if the Yanks’ luck changed for the worse? I mean, if the Sox can under-perform their third-order win-loss by 6 games to this point, why can’t they outperform it by that same margin down the stretch?
I write this all to illustrate the roll luck plays in all of this. The two teams are close in talent and I am not giving up hope on the division.
Now, as I wrote in my last post, time to forget all about the Yanks.
On to Atlanta.
I am damn proud to be a Red Sox fan this morning.
After two losses caused mostly by the Red Sox tripping over their own two feet, the Red Sox lost one where they left every bit of effort you could ever hope for out on the Yankee Stadium field. Manny Ramirez was 4-6 with two home runs, the second coming in the top of the 13th inning to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead. Pedro Martinez pitched seven strong innings. He gave up just four hits but two were home runs. Still, I think we can safely say that the Pedro we all know and love seems to be back. The Sox bullpen did a masterful job, sometimes dominant and sometimes performing their best Houdini acts. After Keith Foulke got out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth and Curtis Leskanic got out of one of his own in the twelfth, there was a real sense that perhaps the tides had turned. Now it was the Yankees figuring out ways to fail to score runs. Now it was the Red Sox bearing down when they had to. Manny's thirteenth inning line drive solo job vindicated such feelings.
But it was for naught.
As resilient as the Red Sox were, so were the Yankees. Derek Jeter added to his legend with a remarkable diving catch in the stands, risking serious injury in the process. Curtis Leskanic, in the twelft and thirteenth, was able to make Jason Giambi, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada all look quite foolish. But Miguel Cairo, Ruben Sierra and John Flaherty picked up the slack. It's not the type of thing we like to acknowledge here in Beantown, but the Bombers do tend to get some awfully memorable performances from some awfully bad baseball players - particularly against the Sox. We'll just leave it at that.
But it was a wildly entertaining baseball game. And yeah, the Sox were swept. Who cares? Time for the Sox to build off of an A-plus effort and forget about the standings. If they play with the sort of effort and passion with which they did last night, all of this late June hullaballoo will be a distant memory.
The standings will take care of themselves.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Three of baseball's young bright stars have dominated today's afternoon action. Carlos Beltran has singlehandedly erased a 4-0 deficit to the Cubs with a 6th inning solo shot and an eighth inning 3-run home run. The game currently stands at 4-4 in the Cubs half of the eighth. Johan Santana, in an unfortunate losing effort to the division leading White Sox, gave up a 2-run home run to Carlos Lee in the first and then retired 20 of the following 24 batters. He also struck out 12 batters. Finally, in another losing effort, Adam Dunn paced the Cincinnati offensive attack today. The 24 year old left fielder was 3-4 with 2 doubles and a solo home run. He also walked. Dunn started out on a tear, stunk in May and has bounced back nicely in June. Here are his numbers:
And with this effort on the 1st of July...
I believe in this team. I really do. But I have to grant the non stat-head community that there seems to be something missing in the make-up of this team. Let’s face it…
- Nomar does not want to be here. I have been dead against trading him but now I think that if you can work something out with another contender that would like an upgrade at shortstop, pull the trigger.
- I hate that I get the sense Kevin Millar has no idea how much he has hurt this team this year. Just once, I would like to see him throw his helmet in disgust at his own play. The “Cowboy Up” happy-go-lucky-good-clubhouse-guy act wore thin some time around the middle of last August.
- Trust me, I would rather Pedro Martinez than just about any other pitcher but why does he have to joke around when losing, miss meetings and generally not give a crap about anything but his pitching on the field?
- Where has Kevin Youkilis been? Pokey’s hitting .260/.302/.380 in June. And McCarty over Youkilis last night against Rivera?
- I still do not know how I feel about Francona. Given what was promised by management, a forward thinking field general that would represent an extension of our cutting edge front office, he has been nothing but a disappointment. But judged against his peers, he’s ok I guess. I just don’t get the sense he adds anything.
- I think the exchange between Timlin and Mirabelli with Sheffield up in the eighth summed up the conflicting forces and general lack of harmony on the Sox right now. After a bunch of consecutive pitches on the inner half of the plate, Mirabelli emphatically asked for a fastball away. Timlin shook him off. Twice. Mirabelli rolled his eyes as if to say, “whatever you say, man”. Sheffield then ripped the next inside corner fastball down the line past a diving Bellhorn to plate the game-winning RBI.
One parting thought.
On July 1st, 1978 there was a second place club knee deep in star talent. Jackson, Randolph, Munson, Pineilla, Guidry, Gossage and Lyle all found themselves looking way up in the standings at their bitter rivals, nine games behind the Boston Red Sox.
Those New York Yankees would go 57-30 the rest of the year en route to the franchise’s 22nd World Championship.
Your team is great, Sox fans. Try and take a deep breath and take pleasure in the forthcoming ascent.