Sunday, September 30, 2007

ARod: Finally Ready for October!

George King of the NY Post writes this stupid article about how ARod is ready for the pressures of October. That must have been his problem in the past: he just wasn't ready! Duh.

King writes that ARod "promises" that the pressures won't get to him. Really? Did he pinky swear? Relax, Yankees fans! ARod has promised to not disappoint this year!

Nick Cafardo is a Homer

I've never had much against Nick Cafardo, but his recent awards column deserves some special attention.

I don't disagree much with his 2 MVP top 3s, but his AL Cy Young picks are borderline mentally challenged.
1. Josh Beckett, RHP, Red Sox: The 20 wins, the consistency, the toughness, and what is generally regarded as absolutely nasty stuff put Beckett slightly over the top. He didn't do himself any favors by not pitching well in his last start, but this was quite a turnaround from a 5.01 ERA last year to 3.27 this year.

2. (tie) John Lackey, RHP, Angels: Will win the ERA title (3.01) and is tied for second with 19 wins.

2. (tie) Fausto Carmona, RHP, Indians: "There isn't a pitcher in baseball with the movement he has on his pitches," said Seattle manager John McLaren. How can you not respect a guy who a year ago was getting lit up (1-10, 5.42 ERA in 38 games, seven as a starter) and this year was virtually unhittable? He had a 3.06 ERA and 19 wins.

4. C.C. Sabathia, LHP, Indians: He threw 241 innings, making him the workhorse of the league and certainly the best lefty (after Erik Bedard got hurt).
This list is seriously flawed and makes Cafardo a homer. Everyone who knows baseball knows that Beckett is not the Cy Young; CC Sabathia (Sabbathia, to Steve Phillips) is and will win handily. Beckett has thrown 41 fewer innings and has 15 fewer strikeouts and a higher ERA. Those 41 extra innings that Sabathia threw with the lower ERA and good K rate make him Cy Young. And you can't have a tie. The correct answer for 2-4 is Beckett, Lackey, Carmona because of innings pitched and strikeouts. Their ERA and wins are all virtually the same, so the strikeouts and IP set certain guys apart.

And these guys are all lucky that Erik Bedard played with a bad bullpen and then missed the end of the season. This guy was a lock for Cy Young and single-handedly ruined two of my fantasy teams when he got injured, knocking me out of first in both.

Then Cafardo goes on to pick co-winners for NL Rookie of the Year. Picking co-winners is a cop out. If the votes end that way, fine. But you need to make a pick. Mine is Tulowitzki.

Cafardo picks Eric Wedge for Manager of the Year, which I don't have a problem with, but says Torre is #2, which is the most ridiculous thing I've heard all morning. Joe Torre ran his bullpen into the ground and had to be saved by Brian Cashman, who should be Exec of the Year. Cashman completely revamped that bullpen and starting rotation as the season went on, saving Torre's ass. Torre is so bad with his bullpen that the organization had to come up with a page of rules to keep Joba Chamberlain from being overused. And no, I wouldn't put Francona 2nd; the Sox actually underperformed according to their Expected W-L record and the 100-win preseason expectations.

Too Disturbing For Words

See for yourself.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Jay Payton: Potential Red Sox Hero

Less than 60 seconds ago, Jay Payton hit a 3-run triple that helped the Orioles tie the game in the bottom of the 9th against the Yankees. Let me be the first to joke that Jay Payton just did more for the Sox than he ever did in their uniform.

Pudge Rodriguez: Elite Offensive Catcher

I apologize for straying slightly from the Sox for a moment, but while listening to WEEI's Big Show today one of the baseball "experts" said the following thing, when discussing how bad Jason Varitek is at the plate (paraphrased):
"There are only four elite offensive catchers in the league right now: Victor Martinez, Posada, Russell Martin, and Pudge Rodriguez."
I'm not sure which of their "experts" this was. It wasn't Sean McAdam, who is quite good, but that's all I can tell you. What I do know is that Pudge Rodriguez is not an elite offensive catcher and hasn't been for a few years. I don't argue with any of those other choices.

How bad is Pudge? He hasn't broken .300 OBP in 2 of the last 3 years. That's scary bad from a guy making nearly $11 million this season. Imagine if Varitek's OBP were below .300, heretofore known as The Pudge Line, for no reason other than I wanted a catchy name for it.

To compare, Varitek's OBP has been .366 or higher in 3 of the past 4 seasons. This season's OBP is 4th among regular AL catchers and his .783 OPS is 3rd. His career OBP is .350 and he sports 5 seasons with an OPS above .810.

So does Pudge have power? Not considerable power. His SLG is a respectable but not great .419, for an OPS of .711. Gag. He has a 1:10.5 BB:K ratio. Wow. Sure, he's a Hall of Famer, but his career OBP is .340(!). And the persistent rumors in the '90s from Rangers pitchers that he would always call fastballs when there were men on first so he could keep his caught stealing rates high, at the expense of the game and the pitcher's ERA.

Elite offensive catcher, my ass.

The Red Sox Are the Best Collapsers in Baseball!

Red Sox fans are known to be paranoid and always prepared for the next big collapse. Outsiders can't understand it. Well Baseball Prospectus is here to help us explain it in their list of biggest collapses in baseball history:

11. 2002 Boston Red Sox
Peak Playoff Probability:
95.84% after games of June 6th
Odds of Collapse at Peak: 23-to-1 against
Record at Peak: 40-17, 3.5 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East; 6.0 games ahead of the Anaheim Angels for the Wild Card
Record after Peak: 53-52

It might seem odd that a team can establish this much of a probability of reaching the playoffs so early in the season, but consider the mechanics of the Wild Card. What it does is to effectively eliminate the 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers scenario, which is when a team plays fairly good baseball but is overtaken by a team that plays really great baseball. Nowadays, when that happens both teams still make the playoffs, one of them as the Wild Card. At their peak, for example, the Red Sox were projected to win their division less than 70 percent of the time, but the Wild Card made up most of the difference and provided them with a huge landing pad. The 2000 Red Sox (93.36% playoff probability at peak) and 2001 Red Sox (92.50%) also nearly made this list, which might help everyone outside of New England understand if it seems that Sox fans are a little paranoid.

The 1978 team also makes the list, of course. Note that the 2007 Sox team doesn't make the list of this season's collapses... yet. Let's hope it stays that way.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Does Jose Offerman Believe in Dinosaurs?

By now you of course have heard that Jose Offerman attacked a pitcher and catcher with a bat in a minor league game. The case was highlighted on Deadspin today, with a link to a slideshow of the incident.

Naturally curious, I start watching the slideshow, and like in Stephen King's "It" when the clown would appear and scare the crap out of me, a special someone from my nightmares appears at the 1:07 mark: Carl Everett! He wears #8 and comes out of the pile with the offending bat, looking like a hero.

So back in 2000, if someone had told you one of these two guys would go nuts with a bat on a pitcher and catcher in a minor league game, how many of you would have put money on Offerman? None of you.

Somewhere, Ron Kulpa scratches his head.

Boo Freaking Hoo

So TBS has some odd choices for their playoff broadcasts and have left Skip Caray off the list. Caray cries about it and admits that it hurt his feelings. Skip, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re like most of America in that your opinion of your work is obviously higher than your employer’s. Get over it.

But it doesn’t end there. Skip’s son, Chip, was chosen for the team! So Skip is happy for Chip, right? Maybe not – his reaction isn’t mentioned in the article. Strange.

I think it’s telling, though, that Caray’s work was significantly reduced by TBS this year. Maybe that should have been a hint.

On a bright note for us Sox fans, Don Orsillo was chosen by TBS, so we get the smooth stylings of DO in October. It makes you wonder when Jerry Remy will finally replace Joe Morgan on ESPN. It couldn’t come soon enough.

The 2007 Sox Don't Have a Derek Lowe

I abhor The Big Jab sports talk radio, but when I pull into my parking garage in the morning for work, WEEI doesn't come in anymore and I can't stand driving in silence. So I am unfortunately subjected to about 3 minutes of morons talking about sports each morning and evening. This morning was a particularly egregious between Shoe and Joe, comparing the 2007 pitching staff to the 2004 staff (paraphrased):
Shoe: Is Schilling/Beckett the same as Schilling/Pedro?
Joe: Probably. It's pretty close.
Shoe: But this is a different Schilling.
Joe: True. But this team doesn't have a Derek Lowe, which will hurt them.
Wha wha wha what?!?

In 33 starts in 2004, Derek Lowe had a 5.42 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. He's lucky his ERA was so low. He was arguably the worst regular starter in the league.

Now, that being said, Lowe had a magical postseason, pitching the clinching game in each series. But who'da thunk he'd do that on September 27th, 2004? Isn't it possible that someone will do the same? Couldn't Daisuke do that? Or Wake? We don't know. We do know that Joe Palmieri is a moron.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More Genius From Steve Phillips

I boycotted ESPN on television 2.5 years ago and Steve Phillips (and others like him) was one of the main reasons. It amazes me that a guy can be a complete and utter failure at his job, then get hired as an expert in that field immediately after being fired. If there were a Moron Mountain and all the morons were trying to climb to the top to find the meaning of life, they'd find Phillips at the top, acting like a sage, doling out horrible advice. But he'd look good doing it, and that's what ESPN likes!

Anyway, I trudged through his chat today (Insider required, but don't bother dumbing yourself down by reading this stuff) because I enjoy bitching about him here on my blog. I'm only choosing one entry this time.

Marc (Boston): HI STEVE, Do you see the AL East teams resting and setting up for the playoffs of will there be a pennant race afterall?

Steve Phillips: Now that the differential is three games with only five to play, it makes sense for both teams to start thinking about October and how they want to line up their pitching in their rotation. I think it also makes sense to rest a few of the regulars and relieers so they are ready to go for the ALDS. But I suspect the Yankees will not call off the dogs till they clinch. I think it will end with the Red Sox first and Yankees second.
Wow. Nice job going out on a limb there, Steve. You must have been the top graduate at the Joe Morgan School of Chatting because this takes the cake. Bold prediction. 3 games up with 5 to go and you're going with.... the team that's virtually guaranteed to win! Ding ding ding!

Dan Shaughnessey Saves Himself

Dan Shaughnessy, sure to be a major target here in my new format, has this glorious piece on Boston.com. As I read through it, I was getting really worked up, thinking it would be the perfect piece to attack here. Then this (I italicized the last sentence):

Rest? That's what November, December, January, and February are for. Tell the tired and wounded fellas to suck it up and remember the words of the late, great Warren Zevon, who wrote, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead."

Francona and the people in Red Sox Baseball Ops don't see it that way, of course. That's why they have the jobs they have instead of writing hysterical prose to inflame the fandom.

Oh, that self-aware Shaughnessy. How hysterical. Just ask him.

Cover of SI This Week

Check it out, via Red Sox Monster. Very cool.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gotta Love Rob Neyer

So my new angle is trashing bad writing/journalism, but how about the other side of things? Rob Neyer is one of my all-time favorite baseball writers; I've been reading him on espn.com since before you had to pay for his stuff, and that was a long time ago.

Anyway, from today's chat (Insider required):
Brandon (Syracuse, NY): I agree Pedroia will win (and I think he should), but you never seem to bring up his home/road splits, like you do with Tulowitzki. OPS at Fenway: .897 OPS everywhere else: .729

Rob Neyer: It's a fair point, Brandon. I didn't know.
How can you not love a writer who admits that he didn't know something that he reasonably should have known? And while we're at it:
mike (shippensburg, PA): I love Boston and adore Manny. Sadly though, he's missed a ton of time the past two seasons and has gotten even worse in the field. The man needs to be a DH. Will Boston deal him this offseason and what can they expect in return.

Rob Neyer: I'm afraid the Sox are stuck with him and his $20 million salary for one more year. In '09 he'll be DHing for somebody else.
I wouldn't count out ARod, though, with all the contracts coming off the books. The Sox would take a one-year hit with both big contracts.

First-Ever Patriots Post

I don't usually post about the Pats in this space, so I'm going to keep this short and simply say, Who cares?

Friday, September 21, 2007

My First (and surely not last) Bob Ryan Attack

Bob Ryan says a lot of stupid things. This makes up several of them. I'm going to skip over the intro of the column to get right to what he thinks of the Sox' chances against each team in the playoffs:

Let's examine the AL contenders.

1. Cleveland. Grady Sizemore can hurt you. Casey Blake can hurt you. Jhonny Peralta can hurt you. Travis Hafner can hurt you. Victor Martinez can absolutely abuse you. They're not the Yankees, but they're all heating up at the same time. That's a lot of guys you don't want to see up, if you know what I mean.

RSSG: What do you mean, Bob? Was there supposed to be some innuendo there? And you listed 5 of their hitters and simply said they "can hurt you." Isn't it pretty easy to do the same with the Red Sox lineup? Let's see.... Jacoby Ellsbury can hurt you. Mike Lowell can hurt you. David Ortiz can hurt you. JD Drew can (yes, he can, but will he?) hurt you. Jason Varitek can hurt you. Dustin Pedroia can hurt you. Manny Ramirez, when in the lineup, can hurt you. There. That was pretty easy analysis.

What scares me is what C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona can do to your batters. The 6-foot-7-inch, 290-pound Sabathia is at the peak of his game, and Carmona has games in which he is laughably unhittable. Paul Byrd and his 1937 windup could easily produce six or seven solid innings in a playoff setting.

RSSG: Couldn't anyone produce "six or seven solid innings in a playoff setting"? I mean, where's your backup, Mr Ryan? You're just guessing. Has he ever pitched in the playoffs? Why yes, he has! In 5 games, he has an ERA of 5.40 and a 1.60 WHIP. Bet you didn't look that up, did you, Bob?

And suddenly the Indians have great setup people, led by former Red Sox farmhand infielder Rafael Betancourt (1.46 with 70 strikeouts and - gulp - 9 walks). How Joe Borowski has managed to close 42 games in 48 opportunities, given that he has a 5.04 ERA and has allowed 70 hits in 60 2/3 innings (Papelbon has allowed 29 hits in 55 innings), may be baseball's greatest supernatural mystery, but that is what he's done.

RSSG: Is it really that big of a mystery? Borowski has a handful of extremely bad outings mixed in with a ton of very good ones, skewing his numbers. He is their closer in the most extreme way; they don't have guys warming up to relieve him. He's going to close out the game either by saving it or losing the game for them.

Recent history teaches us that two great starters, excellent setup people, and a closer who can close are all you need.

RSSG: Ummm.... and a little offense? You kind of need some hitters. But maybe that's just me.

2. New York The lineup is sometimes ridiculous, even without Jason Giambi. Did you know that Jorge Posada has an OPS of .972? The reason they have not won since 2000 is that their starting pitchers have failed them in the playoffs. Period. End of story. Are Pettitte, Wang, Clemens, and Mussina good enough? If they are, there is no reason the Yankees can't win.

RSSG: "If they are" - good call. Nice analysis. Well if the Red Sox offense pulls through and their injuries go away, there's no reason the Sox can't win. Wait, this is easy. If Anaheim's pitching is good enough, there's no reason they can't win. And if Cleveland's pitching is good enough... you get the point. It's easy to state things, but it's much more effective when you back them up with something. Anything.

3. Orange County American League Baseball Representative

RSSG: Clever. No one's ever thought to tease the Angels about their location before.

They're the chic team of the moment. By the way, hate to tell you that Orlando Cabrera has driven in 83 runs.

RSSG: No you don't. You love it. And we already knew that.

Now here's a team that can manufacture a run.

RSSG: Ugh. I hate this cliche.

And assuming his right triceps tendinitis doesn't hamper him, Vladimir Guerrero is the flat-out scariest all-around hitter in the AL.

RSSG: How about Ortiz? ARod? Hafner? I mean, if they're all healthy? Even Manny!

But do John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, and Jered Weaver really frighten anybody? Give me C.C. and Dr. Faustus.

RSSG: Actually, yes. They are 3 very good pitchers. And you just pointed out that 2 great starters are part of the equation of winning it all.

Mike Scioscia's the best manager in the derby, however. That's a fact.

RSSG: Crap, there's that backup I asked for. "That's a fact." Actually, Bob, that's the exact definition of an opinion. Some would still say Torre is for getting his team out of the position they were in. Some even say Francona is. But you say Mike Scioscia and back it up with "That's a fact." Nice.

4. Your Sawx Simply put, I fear that their best baseball is behind them, that what you saw as they were getting out to that 36-16 record and that big spread over the You-Know-Whos was the best baseball they could produce.

RSSG: So a .692 winning percentage was the best baseball they could produce? Wow, imagine that! A 112 win pace and they couldn't do any better. It stands to reason that they'd come back down to earth. It sucks that it had to be in September, but it happened.

Sure, if they could have started the playoffs in June when they were getting quality start after quality start and Okey-Dokey was untouchable and Youkilis was on base every five seconds and a few other things, they would have won. Then.

But this is now. Is this a team that inspires confidence?

RSSG: Actually... well, not really. But you still suck.

Yeah, they could get lucky. Didn't the 83-79 Cardinals win last year?

Here's a better bet: Go, Pats.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Stats Guy in Spanish!

In case you ever wondered how I'd sound in Spanish, I stumbled across this link into one of my old posts and it turns my blog into Spanish! I'm sure there's a much easier way of doing this, but I don't know of it.

Mmmm.... Tim McCarvery Goodness!

I decided to write down some McCarverisms from Saturday’s Sox Yankees game in hopes of getting a blog entry out of it. I wasn’t disappointed. I hope you’re not, either.

  • McCarver has now dubbed ARod, "Astonishing Rod!" Wow, amazing! You can throw any word that begins with A at the front and you have a clever new nickname. Amazing Rod! Awesome Rod! Asshole Rod! How much fun is this?!
  • They showed a shot of Josh Lewin, filling in for the irreplaceable Joe Buck, and Tim McCarver, and McCarver had his finger shoved way up his nose. Classic.
  • McCarver repeatedly called Jacoby Ellsbury "a great looking player," which didn't help the fact that I think I have a little mancrush on the little guy. Don't tell me you don't, too.
  • Dane Cook mentioned that he loved the moment when the Sox beat the Cards in St Louis to win the World Series in 2004 and you could easily see how angry this made McCarver. McCarver was silent. It was an awkward moment and Dane Cook had no idea. High comedy. Dane Cook then went on to mention it again a few minutes later, receiving the same reaction.
  • When discussing Wang, McCarver attempts one of his deep thoughts: "It's not that he gets outs, it's how he gets them." Last I checked, a popup was an out just as much as a grounder or strikeout. But that's just me. I haven't won Emmy Awards.
  • Bottom of the 5th, 1 out, man on first, Big Papi singles. "What a clutch hitter!" It's almost like McCarver has notes of things to say when certain guys do certain things and he forgot to read the part that says "later than 7th inning" when Big Papi gets a hit.
  • Eric Hinske bowls over Jorge Posada for an out at the plate. Posada stands up and is walking around. McCarver: "Posada is dazed, if not knocked out." Hmmm.... seems like a Steven Seagal trick, if you ask me.
  • Even better, and I swear this happened, Posada has just returned from visiting with the pitcher at the mound, "I think he may have been temporarily knocked out when he went to the mound!" Posada is awfully talented.
  • After this 1/2 inning ended, Posada leads off the inning and McCarver-in-Training Josh Lewin comments, "Curiously enough, Posada is leading off here!" Like it's some huge coincidence or the Yankees were batting out of order or something. By the way, I was trying to shorten that McCarver-in-Training thing a little and only came up with McIT, which doesn't sound right. It would be great if it were McTIT, but I couldn't come up with the first T. Any thoughts?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Steve Phillips: Robot Or Just a Moron?

I have begged FJM to tear into a juicy Steve Phillips chat once in a while, to no avail. Well I guess I'm the man to do it. I've hated Steve Phillips since his days of destroying the Mets and that hatred grew back in the days before I began my ESPN boycott. He's awful on ESPN. Historically bad. I decided to wade into his most recent espn.com chat to see if he's still stupid. Yup.

Alon (Brooklyn): What did you think of Pedro's first 2 starts and can he keep it up?

RSSG: The correct answer, of course, is "Pedro has been very good and yes, he can keep it up, if by 'keep it up' you mean killing your bullpen every 5 days."

Steve Phillips: I think Pedro is very fortunate so far. he does not have nearly the stuff now that he has had in the prime of his career.

RSSG: What pitcher does have the stuff of his prime when he's.... no longer in his prime?!

He is getting outs with great movement on his pitches, but without any real bite on them. From what I have seen so far he is not one of the Mets' top 4 pitchers, and since he cannot go deep in the game it will be tough for him to start in the postseason. I have great respect for his competitiveness which still shows on the mound; and he deserves a lot of credit for how hard he has worked to get back to this point.

RSSG: He's being paid approximately $840 million per season, so I would hope he'd be motivated to come back. I think Senate just approved another $1 billion payout for Pedro. Pedro does not deserve a lot of credit for doing what he's paid a lot of money to do. Pedro ranks as one of my top 5 favorite athletes of alltime, but come on. He's getting paid $13 million to work out all day. I'm pretty sure I could do that for that money.

I think in 2008 he has a chance to be stronger and better, but right now he is very vulnerable despite the 2-0 record.

RSSG: You "think" he has a "chance" to be stronger and better? What gives you that idea? Maybe because he'll be even further from his surgery and he'll have an entire offseason to get back in shape? I think Steve went to the Joe Morgan School of Chatting and majored in Never Committing To Anything.

James (PA): So what do you think the Indians chances are to go to the World Series?
Steve Phillips: The Indians have that dynamic 1-2 punch with Sabbathia and Carmona. But their closer does not present himself as a dominant end of the game reliever. They have the ability to score some runs, but they D at times can be shaky. They would open the division series against the Red Sox if the season ended today, which would be a tough matchup. I would give the edge to the Red Sox in that series, but I would not be shocked if the Indians pulled it out. I think that Boston and the Angles, have the best shot in the AL to go to the World Series.

RSSG: A 5-year old typed this. How many typographical errors are there in that paragraph? I count 3. I know Americans don't care about grammar and spelling anymore, but that's just because Americans are stupid. I hate us. And on another note, where are the Angles out of? I seem to remember learning about them in Geometry.

Pat (Atl): What should the Sox do with Dice-K? let him rest for a start or two?

Steve Phillips: Yes, I am not too concerned about Dice-K. He will bounce back despite his recent struggles. If they can afford to give him some time off that will help; but he has proven he is a big game pitcher throughout his career, and that includes in high school, the Japanese league, and the World Baseball Classic. He will pitch well for Boston.

RSSG: Hmm... yes, good answer. I still hate you, Steve. And nice job committing to him pitching well for Boston. Bold. Joe Morgan does not approve.

Bob - (Mansfield, MA): Do you think that the Yankees more in-experienced pitchers can keep the hope afloat or r the Yankees just a ship waiting to sink in the Playoffs?

Steve Phillips: Well, I do not like their starting pitching other than Wang, and on most days Petite, but when you really breakdown all the AL playoff teams, only the Red Sox are three deep with proven quality starters. If it becomes the battle of the bullpens I do not like the Yankees' bullpen, but if it becomes the battle of the offenses they have a good chance. But the bad new for the Yankees is that they may have to face the Angels in opening series, a team that seems to have their number.

RSSG: Ahhh yes, back to the School of Joe. Nice work, Steve. A lot of killer If, Then statements here. If you cover all your bases, then no one can fault you later. Perfect plan. And no, I did not change the typing here. All (sic)s are implied in his chats. And I just imagined a World Series between the Angles and Angels. Can you imagine Tim McCarver trying to call that one?

Jeff (Iowa): In the off-season, A-Rod signs for how much to play where?

Steve Phillips: I think A-rod probably signs for 30 a year, for 8-10 years, and will likely end up in either Chicago with the Cubs or White Sox, San Francisco, or LA with the Angels or Dodgers. I do not think he will comeback to New York.

RSSG: First off, 10 years? That's stupid. Okay, so maybe Tom Hicks will sign him for that much. But seriously, that would make him old at the end of the contract. I'm not even going to look up his age. And you just listed 5 teams without mentioning the richest of them all, the Red Sox, who have a free agent third baseman and a lot of cash coming off the books.

Ramsey (Livonia, MI): Hi Steve, Bondo might be out for the season now, is it time to bury the chances of the Tigers making the playoffs?

Steve Phillips: I think it is going to be very hard at this stage for the Tigers to win the Wild Card considering all the injuries. Bonderman's elbow problems may be the last straw. They just do not know how long Rogers can hold out to take the ball. If only Gary Sheffield could have stayed healthy they may have been able to weather the storm with offense, but that is the price you pay when you sign older players.

RSSG: Wait a second, is Joe Morgan posing as Steve Phillips? Any of you familiar with Fire Joe Morgan, you know how obsessed with Sheffield he is and how unrelated questions end up with Sheffield as part of the answer.

Brett, MN: Is Wong the cy young favorite? Will Santana get top 3 votes?

Steve Phillips: We had this debate a little bit last night on Baseball Tonight and will likey talk about it again at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 tonight. Kruk chose Wang, Orel chose Beckett and I chose Escobar. Wang does have 18 wins in 27 starts, where as Escobar has 16 in 27 starts. Escobar's ERA is over half a run bettter than Wang's and he has more Ks and his oppoents batting average is better as well. I think that any number of pitchers have an arguments for the award; Dan Heran leads the league in ERA, Sabathia has 17 wins and his strikeout to walk ratio is among the best in the game, and Santana is third in ERA and will likey end up leading the lead in Ks before the season ends. It will be an interesting vote, and it is still yet to be decided, and everyone probably has three or four more starts before it is all over.

RSSG: I sometimes wonder what the 5-year old's name is who types these for Steve as he dictates. And does Steve stand there with his arms crossed, one hand stroking his goatee while he stares at the ceiling? I'll never know. What a shame.

Anyway, I love Beckett and hate Wang, but Sabathia is the favorite right now. He's thrown way more innings, keeps his ERA in the top 3 or so, and has the best K:BB ratio. Wang doesn't strike enough guys out, Beckett has been very good but not as Sabathia, and Santana has struggled too often.

Steve Phillips: We will continue to keep an eye on the NL Central, and see what develops there.

RSSG: Thanks, Steve. I appreciate that you're doing your job and following the game. I'll continue to keep my eye on my spreadsheets and see what develops there.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tony Maz is a Whiner

I think Tony Massarotti will be a frequent target for me in this new layout of dissecting bad Boston writing. Let's start with this pile of crap.

With regard to Curt Schilling, the Red Sox are still waiting for consistency. Schilling, meanwhile, is still searching for it.

Along with an entirely new identity.

If you've ever heard Tony Maz talk, you know how whiny his voice is. It's by far the worst voice on WEEI to listen to. When I read these first two paragraphs, I imagined him trying to make his voice deeper for the second paragraph, to add to the drama. Then I imagine the "dun dun" sound from Law & Order. It makes it so much better when you read it that way.

Continuing his attempted metamorphosis from power pitcher extraordinaire to veteran craftsman, Schilling allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings of the Red Sox’ 6-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays last night. But what will officially go down as a quality start left something to be desired, particularly during a fifth inning that began with the Sox holding a 1-0 lead and ended with them trailing, 3-1.

Was this written in 2005? I don't recall Schill being a "power pitcher extraordinaire" for a couple of years now. Much like Roger Clemens, with age Schilling has had to adapt to a loss in velocity over the past couple of seasons. At his peak, 2001-2003, Schilling was striking out more than 10 per 9 innings, a remarkable figure. Since then, however, he's been barely over 8. While still a very solid number, 8 doesn't put him in "power pitcher extraordinaire" territory.

Still, there continues to be some sign that Schilling may be able to sufficiently adapt so that he can be the potential postseason presence the Red Sox are hoping for. In his last three starts, Schilling has allowed just six earned runs in 19 innings, a 2.84 ERA that is more than anything the Sox could reasonably ask for.

Small sample size alert! Yes, these are good numbers, but it's 3 starts! And of those 3 starts, 2 came against weak offensive teams in the Chicago White Sox (the worst team in the AL), and the Toronto Blue Jays. The White Sox have scored 592 runs this season, 45 fewer than the next-to-last team. Toronto has scored 642, fewer than the Orioles(!). They are right there at the bottom of the AL. It would have behooved Tony Maz a little more to point out how well Schill pitched in Yankee Stadium, a 7 inning, 2 runs, 1.00 WHIP start reminiscent of 2004. But because the Sox didn't provide any offense and they lost, Tony Maz doesn't point this out. I think that game was one of his best of the season.

But with October rapidly approaching, Schilling has grander goals in mind. In his accomplished career, after all, Schilling has a postseason record of 8-2.

“You want to be sure they can count on you,” he said.

And to do that, he must be able to count on himself first.

Dun Dun!