September 29, 2007

Think Of It This Way

On the morning of July 6, the Red Sox led the AL East by 11.5 games. On September 24, that lead was down to 1.5 games.

But the Red Sox were able to spend those 10 games of credit to:
give Matsuzaka and Okajima some much-needed rest (last night, Dice looked as good as he has all year);

give Ortiz time to rest his right knee (he's hitting .388/.514/.800 in September);

not rush Manny back from his oblique injury (he's 5-for-9 with a .636 OBP since coming back and has had no trouble running the bases);

not rush Youkilis back from his numerous bruises;

not have to push Beckett to throw 120-125 pitches (3.01 ERA since August 1);

not have to use Papelbon three games in a row (even with an additional month of work this season, he's thrown about 100 fewer pitches than last year); and

be able to give occasional days off to Pedroia, Varitek, Drew and Lowell.
Having the ability to do all of these things will make the Red Sox a stronger team in October. So imagine Theo and Francona trading a game or two in the standings for each of these things.

The shrinking lead was the cause of much annoyance -- not panic, though, as the Sox's playoff spot was never seriously in doubt -- but it seems like a very fair trade.


lucky number 33 said...

That actually is a very good way to look at it. It's funny because it feels like we've been in this struggle the whole time where we were in trouble every second--and then you look back and realize that we kept a first place lead from April 18th on, and what were we sweating?

I hope Papelbon gets that box off his head in time for the Angels' arrival, but until then, "joy" is the watchword.

ish said...

"Hangover" is probably the other watchword, haha.

curt said...

Very well put. Those extra ten or so games were money in the bank -- baseball capital -- either to be hoarded in the bank or invested wisely.

A small degree of risk must be tolerated even in the most prudent investments. I'll gripe about Francona in-game along with the next guy, and skewer Theo for not being precient in the Gagne and Drew deals, but all in all I think the Red Sox assets are being pretty well managed these days.

tim j said...

an excellent way to think about it. If Drew hits well in the playoffs, I'll consider those 10 games to be in exchange for letting Drew fumble around and find the green monster.

L-girl said...

Great post, Allan. Thanks!

I hope anyone who feels "we were in trouble every second" learns something from this season! I can't imagine being in first place all season and still feeling that way.

We had a few nervous moments there, but nothing worse than that.

Andy said...

I have been using this argument against all the Los Angeles Assohles of Anaheim fans when they laugh at the Sox losing to poor teams. I also noted that it doesn't matter that we didn't win games against poor teams since those teams will not be in the playoffs to lose to. We have shown we can beat the MFY, the Assholes, the indians and the D-backs and Padres. These are all teams that we will have the possibility of facing in the post season. The BlueJays or the Mariners will not be there for us to lose to so it's a good thing we took care of losing to them when we had the chance.