Sunday, October 19, 2008

ALCS Game 7 Random Thoughts

I watched the entire game, but I wasn't taking notes until the 8th inning.
  • "Roccotober" - Another cute Tampa Bay sign in the crowd.
  • Coco Crisp's slide away from second is going to be HUGELY controversial Monday morning.
  • I believe it was Buck Martinez who mentions that some people may wonder why Francona doesn't pinch run for Ortiz in the 8th so they can score on a double. "If they get to extra innings, you want Ortiz's bat in the lineup." Buck, THEY NEED TO GET TO EXTRAS FIRST!
  • Bringing in David Price with the bases loaded in this situation took enormous nuts. JD "Clutch" Drew is not an easy out. If Price boots it, you risk his confidence. But, alas, it worked. And strike 3 didn't appear to be a strike. It certainly wasn't a call a recent callup gets. Good for him.
  • If Coco had slid properly, they'd be down just 3-2 with Bay coming to the plate with the bases loaded. But we won't dwell on that, will we?
  • Yes, we will.
  • I can't help but laugh still at Dick Vitale's earlier gyrations. Just hilarious.
  • (Channeling my inner Remy) Okajimer pitches well against Tamper.
  • Is our season really going to come down to Mark Kotsay and Jason Varitek?
  • How does Kotsay allow strike three to go past him? That's almost as bad as Beltran watching strike 3 to end the 2006 NLCS.
  • Varitek... ugh...
  • Maybe there's another Molina brother the Sox can sign this offseason.
I'm happy for the Rays. I really am. I rooted for them all year, until the ALCS, and I'll root for them in the World Series. They're exciting, and a good representation of what's good about baseball right now.

But it still sucks that the Sox lost.

I had this whole post planned out in my head, comparing the 2004 ALCS to this one, how people stopped watching in game 4 in 2004 and the same happened in game 5 this year. But that post has been scrapped.

Go Rays!

ALCS Game 7 Pre-Game Random Thoughts

Hey, look: MSNBC has a headline that reads, "Opinion: It's do-or-die time for Rays, Red Sox." Wow. That really makes me want to read it.

Even better is the picture posted on this Deadspin story. It's like they're all staring at George Costanza as he unlocks his car in a handicapped parking spot.

Can I ask that the TBS announcers be a little more McCarver-esque tonight? I complain about McCarver, but I love that about him.

During the introductions, something I never thought I'd hear again: "One of last night's offensive heroes for the Red Sox, Jason Varitek."

Have I mentioned how much joy I get from the fact that Manny's team, along with Nomar, was eliminated prior to the Sox? And now there's rumor that Derek Lowe wants back in.

Craig Sager is surprisingly unshocking tonight.

Womaniza womaniza I know what you a-a-a. It's been stuck in my head. Britney's new song is catchier than her STDs. She's back and she's hot again. Who saw that coming?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

ALCS Game 6 Final Thoughts

Sunday will be another late night, as the Sox and Rays meet for game 7. If you doubted it, you're an idiot. Most people went to bed early on Thursday night and missed the comeback. The Sox did this in 2004 and 2007. You need to stick around.

Who has the pressure now? Certainly the Rays. They're likely to be tight and nervous in game 7. But should they be? They're kind of playing on borrowed time. Sure, they're a very good team and deserve to be here. But who expected them to be? Just to push the defending champion Red Sox to an ALCS game 7 is an accomplishment. I'm impressed by this team.

I'm excited (but weary). I'll take Jon Lester in a game 7 any day.

Random Thoughts Innings 1 and 2
Random Thoughts Innings 3 and 4
Random Thoughts Innings 5 and 6
Random Thoughts Innings 7 and 8

ALCS Game 6 Random Thoughts Innings 7 and 8

For my 300th RSSG post, a continuation of the Random Thoughts series...
  • Not much going on in the top of the 7th, so the announcers naturally go to the "tightness" of the Rays, due to the big comeback in game 5 and the late lead here in game 6. Expect this to be a theme for the rest of the game.
  • Hideki Okajima, pre-all-star break: .255 BAA, 1.41 WHIP. Post-ASB: .134, 0.76 WHIP.
  • Same thing for Coco Crisp: Pre: .259/.309 BA/OBP. Post: .315/.392.
  • Masterson leads off the 8th with an HBP.
  • What a finish for Masterson! This guy is going to be a key player for a long time.

ALCS Game 6 Random Thoughts Innings 5 and 6

Next round of random thoughts...
  • One of the announcers (Buck Martinez?) says that this is a typical BGJ start because he didn't start well, but "here he is pitching well in the 5th." What?
  • The same announcer then says BGJ is having a quick 5th. Next pitch: double by Drew.
  • BGJ just pitched himself into a 6th inning, with a 9-pitch 5th.
  • So Beckett has a conversation with Farrell and Francona between innings, they get Okajima up and warming, and the leadoff guy gets a base hit. Ominous.
  • Wait, Varitek actually does something of value by throwing Navarro out stealing. Pay that man!
  • Jason Bartlett? He's like the Brooke Shields of the Rays. He's terrible. And yet, he ties the game. That's like Scott Podsednik in 2005.
  • The Rays fans have signs that say, "Shazam". How cute.
  • Still an efficient 78 pitches through 5 for Big Game Beckett.
  • What a catch by Iwamura! That was a bullet.
  • Wha-? Jason Varitek just confused me... he hit a ball into the stands in the outfield. But that's typically a home run. But Varitek doesn't hit home runs... huh. Hey, we'll take it!
  • "Coco Crisp has shown something offensively." Brilliant analysis.
  • "... the sure-handed Jason Bartlett..." Really? 16 errors in 125 games this year, and 26 in 138 last year. That's 2004-Renteria-like. That's 2nd-to-last in AL SS FP.
  • Too bad Pedroia tripped getting into first base, or Ortiz's hit would have scored two. (And my earlier reverse-jinx worked!)
  • Beckett's out after 5. Good move? We'll see. I have stopped questioning Francona. Beckett has been bad for a while, and a solid 5 innings can really boost his confidence. You could ruin that with a bad 6th.
  • After listening to Jerry Remy all season, I can't help but pronounce it "Okajimer."
  • The announcer says the current ump's strikezone is much bigger than the earlier ump's, then the current ump calls the next pitch a ball, even though it's virtually down the middle.

ALCS Game 6 Random Thoughts Innings 3 and 4

Continuation from innings 1 and 2...
  • Big Papi might be pulling out of this slump. I will now reverse the jinx I just put on by saying that his recent surge is surely done now.
  • So you've got the bases loaded in the second inning. Who would you want up in this situation? Certainly not Mark Kotsay. I typed all that prior to them showing the stat that Kotsay has left the most men on during the ALCS. And three more left on. Awesome.
  • Is Brooke Shields still relevant?
  • 68 pitches through 3 for BGJ.
  • Has Craig Sager ever explained his affinity for awful clothes?
  • Bartlett definitely leaned into that pitch. I guess that's what makes him the Tampa Bay MVP. Something has to. It's certainly not his offense or defense.
  • A quick Google search provides me with a lot of good, possible answers for why Craig Sager dresses as he does. The best part about the Olympics is that they made him follow a dress code.
  • In my previous post I mentioned that SNL has sucked for a long time, but I forgot about their digital shorts. They have three in particular that rival anything else SNL has ever put on tv: Dick in a Box, Lazy Sunday, and Natalie Raps. Dick in a Box is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, and is eminently rewatchable. I am a reformed Justin Timberlake hater because of that video.
  • I usually pick on the announcers in these games, but TBS' announcers are so bland that they never say anything remotely interesting or noteworthy. I don't even notice they're there, which is a good thing, I guess. Whatever.
  • Wait, one of them just said, "Beckett is out of third inning trouble." Trouble? He hit a batter and stranded him at first base. That's not trouble; that's a 1.00 WHIP for the inning. Pretty solid.
  • Beckett is now at 43 pitches through 3. For those of you with dyscalculia - that's when you have difficulty with numbers and math - that's better than BGJ's 68 through 3. In this way, baseball is like golf.
  • Seriously? Brooke Shields? She's never been funny, or a good actress. Or attractive!
  • What's up with all the commercials? I just went and peed, talked to my wife, and got a cup of Comeback Caramel Red Sox ice cream and came back and it was still a commercial.
  • Oh, umpiring crew issues.
  • Where's the alternate umpire? Why is this taking so long?
  • During these long delays, wouldn't it be better if they'd scan the crowd for hot women?
  • Craig Sager looks like he's going to cry over this umpire injury.
  • Coco! Another hit.
  • Shields had a considerably easier 4th inning, but it still took him 18 pitches. He's got one more inning in him probably.
  • Good at-bat for Carl Crawford. Lots of foul balls, then a flick of the wrist for a bloop hit. I'll never forget game 1 of the 2003 season when he won the game with a walk-off home run. Good times.
  • Good play by Kotsay to Beckett!

ALCS Game 6 Random Thoughts Innings 1 and 2

A popular feature during the 2007 playoffs, I've been too busy for Random Thoughts this year. But, here goes:

  • The Sox are swinging at a lot of first pitches. Unusual for them. Must be a scouting report on Big Game James Shields. Hopefully we'll be calling him Big Shame James before too long.
  • Jason Bay beats out a double play ball. Manny would have been thrown out by 2 steps.
  • 5 pitches to Varitek, 0 swings. Then he swings on ball 4.
  • Varitek sucks. But the dearth of MLB-ready catchers will force the Sox to resign him. I'm thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 years, $12 million. But his price goes down with every at-bat.
  • Looking forward to the Tina Fey run-in with Sarah Palin. Should be on the same level as Dana Carvey and George H.W. Bush. Classic skit. And now it's been announced that Mark Wahlberg will also appear tonight to confront Andy Samberg. I haven't been an SNL fan for about 14 years, but they're certainly doing well this fall.
  • Beckett's fastball is down a bit, but his breaking stuff looks filthy. Quick second inning.

TBS and Yankees Suck

So TBS sucks and can't air ALCS game 6, but at least I have this to keep me all warm inside.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Little Perspective

And the "little" in the post title doesn't refer to Grady.

You're watching the game right now. The Sox are getting killed by the Rays. The Rays! And you think they're done. Wake is pitching game 4 and the Sox are down 2-1.

But then you remember that the two teams are "on serve," to steal a tennis term. The Rays have two home games, the Sox one, and that's the score of the series.

And then there's this: the Yankees killed the Sox 19-8 at Fenway in game 3 of the 2004 ALCS, making you believe that the Sox were done. This isn't that bad, right?

Friday, October 10, 2008

McCarver: Debunked

On Wednesday I wrote that I agreed with most of something Tim McCarver said, which was a first. The "most of" part was the opinions; the part where McCarver called Manny's actions in Boston "despicable."

Now Joe Sheehan from Baseball Prospectus has taken a swipe at McCarver's lack of facts. I loathe McCarver. I respect and admire Sheehan; he's a brilliant baseball analyst. They couldn't be any more different.

But their similarity is that they both leaned too far one way and didn't consider the other: McCarver stuck with his opinion and his gut, ignoring the facts, while Sheehan relied solely on fact and ignored everything else.

You see, the Manny Enigma ("Mannygma"?) is a controversy steeped in how we as fans feel. You can't just analyze Manny's stats in July and call it done. And you can't just say that Manny is the worst human being ever and say you've done your job.

Sheehan's point is that Manny couldn't've been a bad teammate because he played, and played well, in July. Yay! He played! Of course he played; he was trying to earn a monster contract or a trade out of town. And the consecutive DNPs on July 23rd and 25th, the latter of which was against the Yankees, were the breaking point.

At this point, Manny was "allegedly" faking a knee injury. An injury which prompted the Sox to force him to have MRIs on both, determining that he had no problems with them. This is what McCarver is referring to when he brings up Manny forgetting which leg had the limp. So Sheehan conveniently leaves out this fact.

Sheehan also leaves out when Manny shoved an elderly man to the ground in the clubhouse over free tickets, slapped Kevin Youkilis in the face in the dugout, refused to go to Walter Reed Medical Center to visit wounded war veterans, and many other things that went unreported in an effort to keep him happy in Boston.

Curt Schilling, never one to shy away from a soundbite, even said that Manny's "level of disrespect to teammates and people was unfathomable."

So yes, I'm happy that Manny is gone. I have zero respect for him as a person. Great ballplayer, one of the best ever, but I can't respect the man. And I can't imagine how anyone can, based on the facts. And I don't mean the statistics.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Stop The Presses

I agree with Tim McCarver on something. At least mostly.

I'm sure I'll write more about Manny if he faces the Sox in the World Series.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Papelbon Needs to Shut Up

Craig Sager gets most of the pub in this video, but it's just another example of Papelbon being a jackass. Can't the Sox brass order him to shut his mouth? He's a great pitcher, but I just don't like the guy.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Clutch Canuck

Years ago Bill Simmons said he didn’t like watching or reading interviews with his favorite players because they invariably showed how dumb they were. This was always evidenced by Johnny Damon. But now, Jason Bay:

What is your ideal time for a playoff game to start?
"Ideally would be seven o'clock Eastern, whether that's four o'clock Pacific—is that four o'clock? Is that right? Yeah.

And yes, I think I just came up with a new nickname for Bay. I Googled it under general Google, Google News, and Google Blog searches, and came up with nothing.

Friday, October 03, 2008

My Beef With Frank Caliendo

I'm too tired to do a Random Thoughts post, after an absolutely insane September at work. But all the FrankTV commercials have me worked up enough for a post.

I used to think Frank Caliendo was brilliant. His impressions were spot-on. This was before he became really famous. He kind of had a shitty website with ringtones of his best celebrity impressions. They were great. And he stuck to the ones he had mastered.

Then he got the FrankTV show, and I was excited. Any time a brilliant impressionist gets his own show, it's got to be good, right? (Sorry, Dana Carvey.) But Caliendo really forces it. It looks desperate.

Caliendo takes months to years to master a voice. But he's coming out with dozens of new ones each year, and some of them seem like he just started doing them yesterday. Jerry Seinfeld, for instance: awful. (George Costanza, though, was brilliant.) Donald Trump: terrible.

His best are John Madden, George W. Bush, and Charles Barkley.

I shouldn't criticize. He's pretty lucky to get to do this for a living. When I was in college, my British friend taught me how to do a spot-on Sean Connery impression. I walked around for days, speaking only in Connery's voice. My roommate wanted to kill me. My girlfriend broke up with me (I distinctly remember it being because of Connery, but that may just be because it makes for a funnier story). If I could have been paid millions of dollars, I would have annoyed the entire world for it, too. And that's all Caliendo's doing.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Not Surprised About Sabathia

Why is everyone so surprised that CC Sabathia imploded? I prophesied this back in August.

Look, you can pitch that many innings that many years in a row and expect to be fine. And then he goes and pitches on three days' rest four starts in a row. Seriously, Dale "Sink or" Sveum? That's gonna be your legacy? Overworking the best pitcher in the NL so you ruin your chances in the NLDS?

That's sad.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

ALDS Game 1 Notes

1. I hate Manny Ramirez.

2. Jacoby's line drive to right to lead off the game was OBVIOUSLY a double or triple, right off the bat, and yet the announcer lazily says, "Ellsbury with a pop fly that is playable for the leftfielder." Then he's shocked when it falls in and goes on to say the ball "found another gear" and talks about how the ball has been "flying out of the park all afternoon." Really? That was the first ball hit in this game. Are you telling me you were watching BP? I call bullshit.

I can't stay up for this. It's too late. Sue me. My Random Thoughts posts from last year's playoffs were quite popular, so I'll continue those with game 2. I've just had a helluva month of September and need some rest.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

ALDS Comparison

The Red Sox will match up against the Angels again this year, a matchup the Sox have dominated in recent years. How will things play out in 2008? The best way to determine that is by comparing each position, and I'll use a very simple statistic of OPS+ to compare offenses, which works since we're comparing same positions. I'll use ERA+ and WHIP to compare starting pitchers. None of these is perfect, but they're effective.

Catcher:
Boston's Jason Varitek's OPS+ is a lowly 74, but his numbers did improve some (albeit not much) in the second half. In half a season, the Angels' Mike Napoli has a 140 OPS+ and has been on an absolute tear lately.
Big advantage: Angels

1B:
Boston's Kevin Youkilis had an MVP-type season, finally getting the Bad Second Half Player monkey off his back and finishing with an OPS+ of 146.
Mark Teixiera is the bigger name, the guy half of Boston wanted to trade for at the trading deadline in anticipation of Youk's second-half swoon. In 52 meaningless games for the Angels Tex had an OPS+ of 184, but is closer to a 140-150 OPS+ guy and has never played in the postseason.
Edge: Even

2B:
Boston's Dustin Pedroia is another viable MVP candidate after winning the Rookie of the Year last year. His OPS+ is 123, but 147 in the second half. He's a monster at second base.
Howie Kendrick of the Angels, however, was injured a lot in 2008 and finished as exactly an average player, at a 100 OPS+. His second half OPS+ was an anemic 82.
Big edge: Red Sox

SS:
With Julio Lugo and his 79 OPS+ out for the year, rookie Jed Lowrie stepped in with a respectable 92 OPS+, topping Erick Aybar's 83 OPS+ for the Angels.
Slight Edge: Red Sox

3B:
The third base situation is a little dicey for the Sox, with Mike Lowell reinjuring himself in Friday night's loss to the Yankees. You might see Lowrie shift to 3B and Alex Cora play SS for the playoffs. Let's assume that Lowell plays, though. In limited time this year, his OPS+ was 105. All of his numbers were just a tick lower than his career numbers, so that makes sense based on his age.
Chone Figgins killed the Angels at third base this year, with an 83 OPS+. But he provides speed and gets on base at a decent clip.
Edge: Even

DH:
David Ortiz and his career 1.005 playoff OPS dominate this category against pretty much any team. His OPS+ of 125 this year was his lowest during his Red Sox tenure, but was 140 during the second half.
The Angels, meanwhile, split time at DH between Juan Rivera (85 OPS+) and Kendry Morales (75 OPS+).
Huge Edge: Red Sox

LF:
Boston's Jason Bay had a 132 OPS+ for Boston, right in line with his 134 for Pittsburgh and his 130 career average.
Garrett Anderson, though, finished with a 99 OPS+.
Edge: Red Sox

RF:
Right field is another sticky situation for the Sox: JD Drew went to the hospital yesterday for his back, putting his availability in doubt for the ALDS. If he were to play, his OPS+ is 139. If not, the Sox would likely shift Jacoby Ellsbury and his 89 OPS+ over to RF.
The Angels, meanwhile, throw future Hall-of-Famer Vlad Guerrero and his 132 OPS+ out at LF. Ellsbury's speed and defense help, but can't outweigh Vlad's offensive contributions.
Big Edge: Angels

CF:
Sticking with the assumption that JD Drew is injured, the Sox will play Coco Crisp in center. His OPS+ is the best of his Boston tenure, but sadly still only 94.
Torii Hunter brings a 113 OPS+ to the Angels.
Edge: Angels

Starting Pitching:
Josh Beckett: 114 ERA+, 1.19 WHIP. And a 6-0 postseason record with a 1.73 ERA. Better K/9.
John Lackey: 116 ERA+, WHIP of 1.23.
Slight Edge: Red Sox
Jon Lester: 143 ERA+, 1.27 WHIP.
Ervin Santana: 134 OPS+, 1.10 WHIP. Better K/9.
Edge: Angels
Daisuke Matsuzaka: 163 ERA+, 1.32 WHIP.
Joe Saunders?: 124 ERA+, 1.24 WHIP.
(or) Jared Weaver: 101 ERA+, 1.29 WHIP.
Edge: Red Sox

Bullpen:
Red Sox: 469.2 IP, 3.97 ERA, 1.34 WHIP.
Angels: 433 IP, 3.74 ERA, 1.35 WHIP.
Overall: Slight Edge to Angels

Setup Guy:
Hideki Okajima: 172 ERA+, 1.18 WHIP.
Jose Arredondo: 264 ERA+, 1.05 WHIP, new to this role, rookie.
Edge: Angels

Closer:
Jonathan Papelbon: 232 ERA+, 0.89 WHIP.
Francisco Rodriguez: 192 ERA+, 1.31 WHIP.
This is sure to be the most controversial one, because I'm giving a Big Edge: Red Sox, but it's hard to dispute Pap's dominance. Sure, K-Rod has 62 saves, but Papelbon's peripheral numbers are far superior, making him the better pitcher. The Angels just had so many save chances this year because they scored 85 fewer runners than the Sox, meaning fewer blowouts and more save chances. And the Sox use Papelbon more judiciously so he's fresh for the playoffs. In 14.2 playoff IP, Papelbon has not given up a run and has a 0.75 WHIP.

Disagree? Post your opinions in the comments.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Eye Opening

From yesterday's article by Peter Gammons (italics are mine, for emphasis):
Garciaparra, who had rejected a four-year, $60 million contract that would
have expired at the end of this season
, was a megastar in Boston, and when
the Red Sox struggled for two weeks after the trade, Epstein and the baseball
people were second-guessed to the media by some of their promotional gurus
upstairs. Eleven weeks later, the Red Sox swept the Cardinals.

Wow. I remember him turning the offer down, but I hadn't given it much thought since then. Imagine if they'd had that trainwreck eating up their payroll since then? And we think Schilling's $8 million this year is bad!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quick Hits

From today's Peter Gammons blog:
  • It's hard to talk about the MVP Award for Manny when the team that paid the Dodgers to take Ramirez is 27-13 without him through Sunday and have seen their runs per game increase from 4.94 at the time of the deal to 6.22 since.
  • Peralta is the only AL shortstop to make the top six in OPS (.786, tied with Derek Jeter for sixth among major league shortstops, behind Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, J.J. Hardy and Stephen Drew), homers (21, third behind Ramirez and Hardy) and extra-base hits (62, fourth behind Ramirez, Reyes and Drew). Actually, if he qualified, Jed Lowrie would be between Drew and Peralta in OPS, and in his brief time at shortstop, Lowrie's defensive range numbers are in the top three of the 62 major league shortstops, according to three teams that keep extensive defensive numbers. There's a lot to be said for studying video of opposing hitters' swing paths and tendencies.
  • Is Justin Masterson on the brink of becoming one of this postseason's most important figures? As the Red Sox try to get Jonathan Papelbon -- who can be a starting pitcher who throws three pitches -- to get back to using his splitter and be less predictable, Masterson has emerged as manager Terry Francona's most trusted pitcher in the eighth inning. Masterston has a 1.26 ERA in his past 17 appearances, and with Hideki Okajima coming back and Javier Lopez holding lefties to a .128 average since before the All-Star break, Boston's bullpen has started to come together.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Yankees Can Have AJ Burnett

Hankenstein opened his fat mouth this week and said that "everyone" is looking at AJ Burnett. Well, that may be the case, but you can have him - and overpay him.

You may recall when I prophesied the downfall of the Zito Empire. (And when I tooted my own horn when I was proven right.) Burnett may not be that bad, but he's way overrated.

Burnett's ERA+ is a pedestrian 95 this season, and just 109 for his career. Since 2001 he has averaged 23 starts per season.

His career WHIP is 1.29 and is 1.39 this season. That's not good. Take a look at some other trends (all in chronological order):

Pitches/PA: 15.1/15.8/16.0/16.1/16.8 - he's laboring more and more each year.
K/BB: 3.03/2.67/2.61 - not a huge decline, but still not good.

Career BAA/OBP/SLG/OPS is 2.36/.318/.367/.682, but is .258/.332/.413/.741 this year.

His K/9 has stayed strong, though, at 9.31. So I'm not sure what to think about Burnett. I'd just let the Yankees overpay for him. His W-L record and the strikeouts are what's so tantalizing about Burnett, and we all know W-L record is overrated.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sabathia: Overworked

We all remember what happened to CC Sabathia last postseason, right? He wore down, presumably due to an innings-pitched overload.

Well, he's at it again. With 5 starts likely remaining in the regular season, Sabathia has thrown 210.1 innings already. Rounding his innings-pitched average up from 7.9 to 8.0 since joining Milwaukee, that would put him at 250 innings by the end of the regular season. That's 9 more than last year.

So why is Ned Yost allowing Sabathia to pitch so much? So they get into the postseason? Well, not really. They have a 6 game lead over Philadelphia in the Wild Card.

Is it because their bullpen stinks? Well, not really. They rank 5th in the NL in ERA, at 3.86, and have thrown the fewest innings, at 372.2.

Maybe it's because Sabathia has been pitching in a lot of close games, and Yost doesn't trust his closing situation, which would be understandable, considering they have used Eric Gagne in that position this year. Well, that can't be it, either. Here are the final scores of his Milwaukee starts in which he pitched at least 7 innings, with innings pitched in parentheses:
7-0 (9)
9-3 (9)
7-1 (7)
5-0 (9)
4-2 (8.1)
3-0 (9)
9-1 (9)
3-2 (9)
5-6 (8)

Only 4 of those 9 games were decided by three or fewer runs. So why was CC in there that long?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just Out of Curiosity...

I was just thinking about how often Nomar swung at the first pitch, and got wondering how many pitches he saw per plate appearance when he was with the Sox.

The answer is ugly.

In 2004, Nomar's last year in Boston, he averaged 2.93 P/PA. He didn't qualify due to a lack of at-bats, but the lowest qualifier was notorious free-swinger, Vlad Guerrero, with 3.17. That's a huge disparity.

In 2003 Nomar qualified for the title, and boy did he earn it. He finished dead last, with 3.12 P/PA. That's last in all of MLB.

In 2002 he finished with 3.06 P/PA, tied for second-to-last with Garret Anderson, behind Randall Simon.

He didn't qualify again in 2001, but he finished with a robust 3.18, which would have tied him for third-to-last.

And, predictably, he finished in dead last again in 2000, at 3.05, just ahead of Vlad this time.

That's as far back as ESPN.com's stat splits go, and I don't feel like going to search for more.

In a related story, Nomar's OBP this year is .285. Oh, and he's been injured all year. Again.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Official Mancrush: Jason Bay

I know RBI is a mostly-meaningless stat, but when you have 27 RBI in your first 25 games with the Red Sox, I take notice. That's a 178 RBI pace. Not that Bay is a 178 RBI guy, but this is a key time and he's proving that he can handle the pressure of Boston better than Eric Gagne.

Plus, his OPS is .908. Manny's was .927 with Boston.

This guy's gonna be fine.

Funny Exchange Between Remy and Orsillo

In the middle of an inning NESN decided to show an awful clip of a comedian making terrible jokes about names of Red Sox players. Even the audience where this "comedian" was performing didn't find her funny.

Then they cut back to the game as a White Sox player grounds into an inning-ending double play.

Orsillo: "Nothing funny about that."
Remy: "About what?" (alluding to the commercial)
Orsillo, stifling that trademark giggle: "The double play!"

Cut to commercial.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some Old Dude Whining About Replay

Kenny Rogers today blamed the Yankees for instant replay, because of a game back in May. How about all the other times the umps have gotten the call wrong?
"It’s the beauty of the game. Mistakes are made.”
But if you have a chance to reduce those errors, wouldn't you take it? What if someone told you that MLB was going to (legally) institute a new policy that gave pitchers an advantage over hitters? Wouldn't you accept that?

Replay will also speed the game up, because managers won't need to spend 10 minutes arguing with the umpires and being kicked out.

Instant replay is a good thing. It's been good for the NFL and will be good for MLB.
“It’s a slap in the face of umpires that have been here for a long time and they’ve done a very good job with difficult situations in all aspects,” Rogers said.
It's a slap in the face that they make mistakes? If I were an ump, I'd be grateful to be given the chance to correct my mistakes without letting them affect the outcome of a game.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Love The Rays!

I'll admit it: I'm a Rays fan. How can you not be? They've been building and building and it's all finally come to fruition. Who knows how long it will last, but they sure are fun to watch. So many young, talented players. If you're a true baseball fan, you enjoy the team.

That being said, I want the Sox to catch them and beat them. According to Fox Sports, not only have the Rays played the toughest schedule in baseball to date, it only gets worse the rest of the way. It's pretty remarkable what they've done this year.

Here's what they say about the Sox:

Red Sox

Remaining Opponents' Avg. Win%: 0.532
Home Games Left/Road Games Left: 20/15
Biggest Series: 8/29-8/31 White Sox

Over at Baseball Prospectus, they give the Red Sox just a 27.3 percent chance of winning the AL East, but they give them a 63.2 percent chance of taking the Wild Card. That's why, from Boston's perspective, their most important games don't come against the division-leading Rays. The more realistic goal is taking the Wild Card. They don't play the Twins again this season, but they do tangle with the White Sox at the end of the month. The good news is that the Sox play most of their remaining games at home; the bad news is that their opponents are generally quite tough.

And if you think Bartolo Colon is going to be their savior, you have reason to be optimistic. Except he only threw 23 of 40 pitches for strikes. He's not ready yet.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Aren't Both Teams Affected By This?

In today's Buster Olney blog (Insider required), he says:

The folks who run the Reds know that the patience of their fans is running out, writes John Erardi.

If the Reds are serious about reconstruction, here's the first thing they should do: Reconstruct the ballpark. Blow out the first 10 rows of seats in left and right field and make the place play bigger, for the benefit of pitching. As currently constructed, Cinergy Field is as conducive to winning as Coors Field was in the 1990s, before the humidor.
I've never quite understood this logic. Wouldn't the away teams be just as affected by this as the home teams? I mean, they're conducive to someone winning; why not the home team? This seems like a lame excuse for your team sucking. Build a better team.

Am I wrong?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Random Notes

Player A: 261 at-bats, .268/.355/.330/.685, 22 RBI
Player B: 132 at-bats, .318/.377/.492/.870, 30 RBI

Who is your shortstop for 2009? Player A (Julio Lugo), or Player B (Jed Lowrie)? I know that Lowrie will go through some slumps. He's not likely to finish with an .870 OPS. But there's no way he's as bad as Lugo. His minor league line was .287/.381/.447/.827.

Ollie from Big Brother 10 looks just like Barry Bonds. You can look up some pictures, but there aren't any good ones of Ollie. Just watch the show.

Curt Schilling is tired and contemplating retirement. Prediction: he'll sign with a contender in June or July of 2009, possibly even the Red Sox.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fuzzy Math on WEEI

This afternoon on WEEI, the guys were talking about how good Johan Santana has been this year, and how much better his record would be had he gone to the Yankees. Currently at 10-7, Ordway said the Mets bullpen had blown 5 of his wins in the 9th inning.

Ordway: "You know how good his record would be if he played for the Yankees?"
Someone else, who I think was Lou Merloni: "15-2!"
Ordway and everyone else: "Yeah, wow. What a record."

I think Lou Merloni is doing a damn fine job both on NESN and WEEI, but his math is off here. First off, they're making the assumption that Rivera wouldn't have blown any of Santana's wins, which is a safe assumption, considering Rivera just blew his first save of the season this week.

Secondly, Santana didn't take the loss in those 5 games; someone in the bullpen did (probably the craptacular Billy Wagner). Therefor, Santana's record would be 15-7, since he doesn't give back 5 other losses. Still an excellent record, but not a Pedro-Martinez-circa-1999 record.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm Back, Baby!!

After six months away, I am making my completely untriumphant return. I've finished my novel and have a little editing left, but am taking a break and am constantly finding things that I want to blog about. A part-time blogger, when the mood strikes me. So, here goes, with a fun (read: stupid) quote from the idiot Steinbrenner brother:
"I think it's very simple, we've been devastated by injuries. No team I've ever seen in baseball has been decimated like this. It would kill any team," Steinbrenner said. "Imagine the Red Sox without [Josh] Beckett and [Jon] Lester. Pitching is 70 percent of the game. Wang won 19 games two straight years. Chamberlain became the most dominating pitcher in baseball. You can't lose two guys like that."
Wha--?

Let's take these one at a time. First, who are the Yankees' Beckett and Lester? No one matches Beckett's caliber. And one could argue that Mike Mussina is having one of his best seasons ever, with an ERA+ of 129 and a 15-7 record. Didn't see that one coming. So he replaced Wang's production.

As for Wang, he's really not that great. He was the beneficiary of some great run support. His ERA+ in those two years, while decent, was not great (124 and 121).

Pitching is 70% of the game? Way to bust out some scientifically-researched stats. How come your pitching only represents 39% of your payroll if they're 70% of the game?

Injuries killed your team because you signed old dudes. You've actually been pretty lucky with the old dudes and unlucky with the young dudes. Maybe you should fact-check your statements before you open your mouth. The Yankees have sent 18 guys to the DL this season, tied for 5th in MLB. They have 2 guys out for the season; the Braves lead with 4, with a couple of other teams at 3 and many other teams tied at 2. Shut up, Stein.

Joba Chamberlain is not the most dominating player in baseball. You, sir, are a dumbass. Joba is averaging 5.4 innings per start. Did he learn that from Roger Clemens last year? His WHIP is 1.30 as a starter. He's a disaster as a starter because he kills your bullpen. Papelbon would be the same way.

I'm back, baby!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Why I Hate Nomar

I'm often asked why my hatred for Nomar Garciaparra runs so deep. Well, this article sums it up pretty succinctly. He's really a loathsome man.

Pre-Blogger I wrote an article about why I hated Nomar so much. Unfortunately, most of those articles went the way of my old hard drive. To sum it up, Nomar is a moody asshole. I remember a quote from a Sox player who was a rookie in 2004 (I always assumed it was Youk): "Getting to know my hero Nomar was the biggest disappointment of my life." I thought that was pretty telling.

Now it's sad for an SI columnist to call him out for the same behavior he displayed in Boston. It proves that it wasn't Boston or the new owners who made him this way. He's just a surly, grumpy, pathetic man.

Stop trying to defend him. It makes you look pathetic, too.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Red Sox Get A Colon-oscopy

See what I did there, mixing up the name Colon and a surgery with the same name? Man, I'm a genius. I'm sure no one's ever done that before.

Anyway, the Sox signed Bartolo Colon to a low-risk, high reward minor league deal. This is a brilliant move.

Seriously, Colon is just three years (and about eighty pounds) removed from a "Cy Young" season. I put that in quotes because he didn't deserve it, but whatever. It was a very good season.

Next we're going to hear about "how great he looks" in spring training, and "how he really dedicated himself to his conditioning" in the offseason. I can't wait for that shit.

Oh, and I can't wait for his 1.62 WHIP and .857 OPSA.

But this really is a move that can pay huge dividends. Just like that Wade Miller deal.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

David Ortiz's 7-Year Trend

So I got looking at David Ortiz's Baseball Reference page, and two things jumped out at me.

First, take a look at some of his seven-year trends:

2001: .324 OBP/106 OPS+
2002: .339/120
2003: .369/144
2004: .380/145
2005: .397/158
2006: .413/161
2007: .445/171

Amazingly consistent improvement. 5 consecutive top-five MVP finishes.

Secondly, after consecutive years of Mo Vaughn being his Most Similar Player By Age, Carlos Delgado was his most similar at age 31. That's a frightening trend. Actually, Delgado remained productive through age 34 and is now coming off his worst season as a pro, at age 36. So I guess it's better to have been more similar to Delgado than to continue to follow Mo Vaughn's career trajectory.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

It Looks Like Timmy From Seinfeld Was Right

Allow me this brief aside to point out that one of my favorite all-time scenes from Seinfeld turns out to have scientists backing it up. "From now on, when you take a chip - just take one dip and end it!"

In the immortal words of that one-appearance character Timmy,
"From now on, when you take a chip - just take one dip and end it!"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bedard/Santana Trades Are Win-Win For Sox

If you're a regular reader here, you know how I felt about the proposed trade for Santana. I didn't like it. So it was with great relief yesterday when I heard that the Mets had landed him.

But it made me curious: why would the Twins take four non-MLB-ready players, none of whom has big upside, over the packages the Sox and Yankees were offering? By all accounts, these offers included four MLB-ready players each, with at least two huge prospects in each deal. Why would they do that?

Here's my conspiracy theory: the Sox and Yanks didn't really have any deals on the table. Here's how it worked: Epstein calls the Twins GM and says, "Look, I don't really want to give up all these guys, but I want the Yankees to think that I'm willing to. So we'll leak a report that we're willing to give up these 5 guys and you say you're considering it. It's a win-win, because you can go to the Yankees and see if you can get something better."

Then Brian Cashman calls and says, "Listen, I'd like to leak a report that we're willing to give up a better package of players than the Red Sox and we want you to say you're considering. It's a win-win, because you can go to the Red Sox and see if you can get something better."

So for about three months they sparred back and forth, hoping the other team would give up a bigger package of prospects and the $120 million or so it'll take to sign him. In the end, Santana ended up going to the National League, which benefited both teams.

And now it appears that Erik Bedard, one of my favorite pitchers, is going to the Mariners. To me, sending Santana to the NL and Bedard to the AL West is a huge gain for the Sox. These guys are two of the best pitchers in the AL and combine to average three wins per season against the Sox. Getting rid of them and replacing them with average to below average pitchers should increase the Sox win total. In theory.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Condolences to Bob Ryan

I've never liked Bob Ryan's writing or television personality (although he seems like a nice guy), but I was floored to hear that his son had died overseas. My condolences go out to Mr. Ryan and his family. I have a son who is almost four and I can't imagine losing him.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How Did This Not Cause the End of the World?

I know, I know; I've been horrible about updating. I'm writing that book I've mentioned. But today a note came through my e-mail with the following message:
hey did you know this? i think this deserves an update to redsoxstatsguy
So I had to click the provided link and see what it was.

Now I regret it.

How did I not know this? How come no one seems to have known this? So now Jason Varitek is following in the esteemed footsteps of Rick Cerone, Rich Gedman, Carlton Fisk, and ... Tim McDouchebag?

I can't wrap my brain around this... please, someone, post comments below telling me I'm not the only one.