September 27, 2005

G157: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 5

I guess two games in one day is too much for Terry Francona's brain to handle.

Tito displayed some of the worst bullpen management of the season in Tuesday's nightcap, leaving Curt Schilling in too long, staying with Chad Bradford too long, sticking Craig Hansen with runners on base, etc.

Mike Timlin threw only 11 pitches in the afternoon game; so why pin our hopes on Chad Effing Harville when the game was on the line?

That's cool, Terry, give everyone a chance to contribute. It's not like this game means anything.

Orioles 17, Yankees 9
Devil Rays 5, Cleveland 4
so all three teams are still dead-end at 92-65 with five games to go.

More in the morning.

[I ended up putting today's thoughts in the comments section rather than as a new post.]


Anonymous said...

I hear you. I don't know about you, but if it comes down to who wins on Sunday, I don't really feel too great knowing Curt is going to be out there. Your thoughts?

Sean O said...

Even if we win the World Series, I want Tito gone. It was astonishing that he didn't blow it last year because he Grady Little'd Pedro in Game 5, and tonight he completely blew it. He is terrible, and I'm left asking why the Red Sox have not had a single competent manager in my lifetime. It's this merry-go-round of suck that usually leaves with us heartbroken.

Earl said...

So if Francona was such an idiot, what would you have done differently in his place? The complaint about "sticking Craig Hansen with runners on base" is laughable given that less than a week ago, half of RSN (including on this site) was screaming at Tito for not bringing Hansen in. Now all of a sudden bringing him in was a huge mistake?

Given the quality of Red Sox pitching, It's damned if you do, damned if you don't for Francona. If you haven't realized the Sox bullpen utterly sucks, you haven't been paying attention. Blame Theo for a change.

Sean O said...

Earl, you're kidding, right? It's obvious. Schilling had thrown over 100 pitches, and had gotten hit really hard in several innings. So what does Francona do? He brings him in for the 7th without anyone warming in the pen. First batter gets on base on a scorched single, and tito decides to get the submariners warming up, but there's no way they're ready for Frank Catalanatto, who was a career 8 for 17 against Schilling at that point. However, Schilling, who's obviously gassed and doesn't have that great stuff anyway, quickly gives up career hit #9 to Frank Cat, and there are runners on the corner.

It was horrendous management, and it has nothing to do with Hansen. Do you honestly think what francona did was acceptable, leaving a 100+ pitch Schilling to start the 7th with no one warming? That's insane, and it cost us the game.

Earl said...

No, I'm not kidding. Look, I don't like it either. But who would you have brought in? Who? This isn't 2003 or 2004. Timlin is our closer. Papelbon pitched a couple hours before. Myers is a specialist. Gonzalez has an ERA of over 6. So seriously: who would you bring in?

mouse said...

By the time I saw Chad Harville come in, I had lost the ability to get mad at Francona. I was too busy thanking the baseball gods that Baltimore was actually FIGHTING for a change.

It could've been so much worse, considering who the Indians and the Yankees were playing. We got lucky tonight that the other guys lost as well. And as a bonus, Mussina was absolutely terrible and the Yankees had to burn through even more of their bullpen than we did. If you take Gordon and Rivera out of the picture, the Yankee bullpen is far, FAR worse than ours.

We also may have caught a break in that Wakey will be pitching the Saturday game against the Unit. I dunno about anyone else, but I'd rather have Wakey than Schilling pitching for Boston in that scenario after watching today's DH.

Devine said...

I don't mind Schilling pitching on the last day...he's like frickin' Yankee kryptonite. I don't want him first in the playoff rotation, though. That's Wakefield's place. Probably followed by Arroyo, then Wells?

I saw Tejada's face in his first at-bat tonight (I think after he was 1-2). He wanted it; his eyes were big, he was clearly focused. He was alive like I hadn't seen him in the series (against the Yankees and the Sox) before that (maybe got over the Palmeiro stuff?). And his team followed him. Again tomorrow, Orioles. You blitz those motherfuckers tomorrow, m'kay?

Anonymous said...

in my next life i want to come back as a relief pitcher. i mean c'mon----you pitch one inning a day or every two days and that's it? Francona's coaching sucks----it's like a bad train can't look away even though you know it's gonna be ugly....he, like grady doesn't know when it's time to pull a pitcher...always a day late and a dollar short. we should be in 1st by ourselves. Go Baltimore!

L-girl said...

always a day late and a dollar short. we should be in 1st by ourselves.

So true. I'm amazed anyone can defend Francona after last night.

Anonymous said...

Mouse said the Red Sox pen is better than the Yankee pen if you do not include Gordon and Rivera. Well you do include them, and if the Yankees have a lead after seven its pretty much over. Can the Sox make such a claim

redsock said...

So seriously: who would you bring in?

Alright, the "more in the morning" can go here.

At the end of the sixth, Schilling has retired his last six batters (three by strikeout) but he had had a rough fifth and was at 100 pitches. Holding a 5-4 lead, I would have had a couple of guys up at that point, Myers and Chadford.

After Hill singled and Adams popped out, I would have gone with Myers v. Catalanotto. Then possibly Bradford v. Wells, hope Koskie makes an out (or the inning doesn't go that long), then dispense with Shea Bagwell.

But let's say the seventh went as it did. Now tied 5-5, I would NOT have had Bradford start the inning.

That was time for Hansen -- at the start of an inning, no one on base and the Jays' 7-8-9 hitters up. Once the first two Jays got on, I'd actually take my chances with Timlin.

And I would have had Harville in his jacket and on his ass the entire game. (Walking Shea on 4 pitches?!?) Gonzalez and Delcarmen -- remember him, Tito? -- would have been better options.

Timlin threw only 11 pitches in the opener. He could have pitched somewhere in the 8th or started the ninth.

(And I would have been happy to see Papelbon pitch the ninth inning of the first game, though I can see (and pretty much agree with) the logic behind going for the win with Timlin. But with Pap at 25 pitches, he wasn't going to pitch in the second game anyway, so why not let him throw 10-15 more pitches in the afternoon?

Yes, our pen is a mess. But Francona has to put his players in the best possible position to do well -- and win. He didn't do that. He didn't do it with just about every pitcher he used in the second game.


And on a sidenote, why did Nixon throw to second base (and not home) on Hill's sac fly in the 9th? Hinske had already tagged at second and was easily on his way to third. Did Nixon want to keep Johnson at first base? Throw home and at least try to keep the game at 6-5. Nixon conceded an important run by throwing to a base that had no play at it. Stupid.

redsock said...

And let's not forget Pope Schilling, who blew a 3-0 lead right away, was then handed a 5-2 lead, and immediately gave that one back too.

The thought of him pitching a possible win-or-go-home game against the Yankees on Sunday scares the shit out of me.

stankyfish said...

The more I watch Francona mangle this, I mean, manage...the more I start to think that the Sox won it all last year in spite of him than because of him.

With the exception of not having anyone warming when Schill went out last night to give the game away, it's hard for me to second guess his sending Schill back out, as this looks more like a hindsight is 20/20 thing than some of the other bonehead things he has done.

The bullpen deserves as much of the blame for last night as Fracona does -- it's not like the Sox stopped giving up runs when Schill was pulled.

Jack Marshall said...

t's futile to keep getting angry about known and predicatable weaknesses, guys. Heck, YOU taught me that about Manny...he's going to do some strange things on the field, some of which will cost games, but it's both dumb and futile to fume about something that isn't going to change, so sit back and enjoy the homers and ribbies. Well, Francona's a mediocre in-game manager at best. He's conservative, unimaginative, slow, inconsistent, and basicly not the sharpest knife in the drawer. You didn't know that? Tito's strength is obviously behind the scenes, keeping a bunch of very strong and volatile personalities focused and productive. Sox history indicates that between the field geniuses like Dick Williams,Keven Kennedy, even Zimmer, who let the clubhouse atmosphere turn to crap, and the soothing but plodding dummies like Darrell Johnson, MacNamara, Grady and Tito, the latter group works a little better...except when there's a big game to play. But the geniuses have had their share of blunders too.
Yeah, I think Francona becomes a liability during these games and the play-offs. It's just something else the team has to overcome, like the injuries,lack of speed, a true ace, and a closer. But it's kind of silly to keep acting as if this is a big surprise.

Most recent Sox manager who was both a good clubhouse counsellor AND a strong field general? Ralph Houk...almost 25 years ago. (and I have a warm spot in my heart for old Joe Morgan. Joe, they done you wrong.)

[Boy, I'm fried...tried twice to put this in the right thread...sorry.]

Earl said...

Redsock -- thanks for actually responding. I agree with you on a number of the points, but I'm sure you'd agree that if any of them hadn't worked out, people would be all over Francona for those.

I originally wrote a long list of responses to your individual moves, but it really doesn't matter. Because it all comes down to this: the bullpen sucks. No managing, no matter how brilliant, can possibly change that. People can second-guess Francona all they want, and ascribe supernatural powers to the guys that Tito didn't go to (Gonzalez has an ERA of over 7 the last two months), but really we have to assume these guys -- all these guys -- will give up runs.

It's time people accepted the fact that the 2005 Red Sox are a hitting team. And that's all they are. They need to score 6 runs per game, or the team will lose (26-51 record when scoring 5 or fewer).

Devine said...

Yo heard of Papelbon and Timlin? 2.93 (small sample size), 2.29.

Admittedly, it ain't Gordon and Rivera (2.54, 1.41(!)), but it's still pretty good.

From there on, though, the Red Sox hold the advantage in the bullpen (which just goes to show how bad the Yankee middle relief is).

Eric said...


Yes, the bullpen couldn't handle the pressure, especially when you take out our two best relievers...but that's ignoring some MAJOR Tito screw-ups. I wouldn't have sent Schilling out for the 7th. That's not hindsight; that's something I said at the time, because anyone watching closely could tell he was at 109 pitches and he was done for the night. Chad Bradford should not have started the 8th and he should NEVER be used against lefties, because they own him. The bullpen flaws are not insurmountable, but they have to be managed properly. Tito's capable of doing this; he proved that during the post-season last year. He just didn't step up this time around.

Earl said...

Eric -- I don't disagree at all: Schilling was done. So I guess in that sense Francona blew it. But do es anyone obviously believe it would've mattered? Taking Schilling out after 6 requires asking the bullpen for 3 innings -- face it, one has to expect they would give up 2 runs (RP ERA of 5.37).

One week ago today the Sox were in a similar situation. Wake was over 100 pitches, and in the previous inning actually looked really shaky (unlike Schilling last night). Tito took him out, and replaced him with Timlin, who got shelled. The next day, the media, WEEI callers, and blog commenters were all over Tito for taking Wake too early. It's damned if you do, damned if you don't for him.

redsock said...

Earl, feel free to post your comments, if you want. ... Though we'll probably move on to tonight's game instead of rehashing last night's loss.

The "damned if you do/don't" argument doesn't wash here, imo.

Every situation is different -- pitcher, score, who is available, the team being played, and a dozen other things -- you can't pick a game from last week (or even the same pitcher's last start) and say we were calling for the opposite.

Naturally, Tito is not perfect. We know that, we accept it, but as fans (and Red Sox fans especially), we'll 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th guess him every game. And with six (now five) games to go, we want him to do everything it takes to win. It felt like last night, he didn't quite do that.

One part of the whole Gump fiasco in 2003 was that he felt we hated him because he made a move and it simply didn't work out -- second-guessing him and hating him based on the result.

Naturally, the truth is the complete opposite. We hated the decision as it happened -- just like letting Curt face Wells, for example.

If Gump had pulled Pedro and the bullpen had lost that ALCS game, it would have crushed me just the same, but it would have been the right move -- and I would not have blamed Gump.

Likewise, if Francona makes a bonehead move and it still works out well for the Sox, that will still bothers me (sometimes quite a lot). And I'll criticze him for it. That seems only fair.

I will say that considering his entire job -- off the field and on -- Francona is a good manager.

(I do want to say how nice it is to have a little community commenting here every day. Thanks.)

Alright -- let's win tonight, hmmm?

Earl said...

I pretty much agree with everything you just wrote. I certainly don't think the whole Bubba Gump Incident was a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't". I mean, calling for Little's head after that horrible, horrible game was not second guessing, at least for those of us who began screaming at their televisions when he walked off the mound, letting Pedro stay in the game.

I'm sure plenty of people were also screaming at their televisions last night when Schilling came back in for the 7th. But there's a big difference here: we have no good options. Back on that terrible day in 2003 Embree -- who was phenomenal then -- was ready to go, and was the ideal pitcher for that situation. Sure, bringing him in may not have worked, but statistics show that it probably would have. And going that route is all you can ask for of a manager. This time, in 2005, there is no such course of action. You provided a number of suggestions, some of which are definitely better than what Tito actually did, but none (in my admittedly pessimistic view) would have given the Sox more than a small shot at actually winning. The fact that you said "Once the first two Jays got on, I'd actually take my chances with Timlin" -- and that plenty of people, including myself, find that reasonable -- shows just how dire the situation actually is.

My point is not to defend Francona -- I've admitted the game was mismanaged -- but rather to point out that he has few good options. If in a close game Timlin and Papelbon (and possibly Delcarmen, but something's apparently weird there) aren't available, and the offense is done scoring runs, the Sox are basically hosed.

Okay, enough. Sorry for ranting.

Let's get a win here.

Jason Adams said...

Maybe we need to have somebody in a booth phoning down to Tito the in-game moves like how offenses and defenses are monitored from up high in football. Actually, would that be legal in baseball? That could revolutionize the game...

Earl said...

...and then the bullpen comes out and gives maybe its best performance of the season. But: no hit, no win.