April 26, 2008

Papelbon Fine; Francona Dumb

It appears that there was nothing wrong with Jonathan Papelbon last night. No migraine, no flu. It wasn't a question of overuse. And yet there he was, watching from the bullpen, after warming up three different times, as the back end of the Red Sox bullpen lost the game last night.

The 11-inning defeat was the first truly infuriating loss of the young season. For some reason, Terry Francona's brain left the game early, and he lapsed back into the kind of manager we laugh about, saving his best pitcher for a "save" situation that might never materialize because he's content to rely on unreliable arms in the meantime.

Tito:
We asked a lot of a lot of people. You get into extra innings, and we had our chances, and we couldn't shove a run across so we could go to Pap.
The Red Sox are a modern team and their decisions are based on progressive ideas. So it's doubly maddening when their manager harkens back to the old days when teams did things because of their gut or tradition, rather than common sense.

When the game was on the line in the bottom of the 9th inning, Tito kept his best weapon holstered, and entrusted the game to a guy who Boston put on waivers last week and who went unclaimed by all 29 other teams. Lopez helped Corey escape his mess in the 9th, but Francona did not learn his lesson, staying with Lopez in the 10th and bringing Timlin back out for the 11th, a second inning of work for the fading righty, who allowed a single, stolen base, walk, and game-winning single.

Papelbon should be well rested for tonight's game, if he's needed.

20 comments:

Jack Marshall said...

I wouldn't have brought Papelbon in in the 9th, but I sure as hell would have brought him in once Timlin got into trouble in the 11th, and even to close out the 10th. In extras, I think the smartest move in the AL is to use your best long reliever, and leave him in for as many inning as you can until he gets in trouble, then use your bullpen aces to rescue him. Francona runs through pitchers too fast in extra innings. Then again, Grady's decision to use a Wakefield on short rest in extras in the infamous 2003 ALCS Game 7 doomed the team...he had a full pen of pitchers who had been lights-out, and never got to use them at all.
If you'll think back, Francona always uses Pap last. Remember that extra-inning game against the White Sox right before the All-Star break in 2006?

How's this for a rule of thumb we can agree on: if it's betweeen your All-Star closer and a guy with a 13 ERA, use the former.

redsock said...

So I need a laugh -- and I go to FJM. It never disappoints.

Ken Tremendous: "I measured the decibel level at which I called bullshit on the called ID thing, and I am now buying a second amp and a kick-ass tweeter, and I am paying some very pricey A/V guys to install this equipment with like 6"-diameter cable connecting everything, and I am inventing a new kind of megaphone that has its own internal volumizing booster, and I am doing all of this in order to call bullshit louder than I just called bullshit on that other thing, because: are you fucking kidding me?"

Junior: "It's come to this: Ozzie Guillen saying out loud that he wishes he had a daughter so Derek Jeter could fuck her. ... here's the part where Ozzie talks about wishing he had a daughter so Jeter could get all up in that hot mess. I always sort of thought Ozzie would raise his daughter to like guys with shittier OBPs, though. Then little female Ozzie could rebel and date Jack Cust or something."

redsock said...

But if the long guy gives up a dong, you're screwed. No chance of a rescue then.

(Pretty sure I was pissed during the White Sox game, too.)

redsock said...

If you'll think back, Francona always uses Pap last. Remember that extra-inning game against the White Sox right before the All-Star break in 2006?

He used Bot first -- with the Sox up 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth.

But he gave up a Dye dong to tie the game. He also pitched the 10th, then it was left for others, including Lips for 4 and Noriega for 2.1.

Only 10 comments for a 19-inning game! Looks like I was more annoyed at the non-bats than the pen, which did pretty effing good.

redsock said...

I hope Theo wacked Francona on the snout with a rolled up Bill James Abstract. "Bad Tito!"

redsock said...

Hmmm, Timin nearly blew that game too, also in the 11th.

Alright .. on to G26.

papa sime said...

I don't know...if you can't trust Timlin to throw 2 innings in a seemingly never-ending game, in April, against the Rays, while in first place....why do you have him?

Isn't now the time you take your chances with these guys?

Another way to ask that...if you don't feel comfortable with trusting Timlin (or Lopez, or Corey, or whoever) to hold the Rays for more than an inning in April, why is he on the team?

I think it was a good long term choice...April is the time to throw these pitchers out there and see what sticks. An extra inning loss to the Rays in April is not too steep a price to pay.

Jack Marshall said...

I stand corrected. All I could recall was that Pap gave up a run, but I thought it was the last one---I "mis-remembered." Probably because that damn game bothered me for weeks.

The bottom line is that you have to score to win games like last night's. The Non-Bots gave the team some time, and the offense botched it.

redsock said...

....why do you have him?

I don't want him.

why is he on the team?

I don't know. ... So he can get 2,000 appearances?

...

Bottom line: Why trust the game to a rag arm when your best bullpen pitcher is rested and ready?

If Bot had thrown 35 pitches the day before, obviously he's not going to be out there. But he had not pitched on Thursday at all. Shit, he hadn't pitched on Wednesday either.

Corey and Lopez held it together somehow. Then Tito goes with a guy who only a few innings before had left the pen and gone to the clubhouse with stiffness. Great fucking choice.

And he brings him out for a second inning of work! And keeps him in when he allows a single. And keeps him in when he allows a stolen base. And keeps him in when he allows a walk. And keeps him in long enough to allow the game-winning single.

GOOD GOD!!!!!!!!!!!

Unbelievable.

Well, at least we had a pretty good throwing cheerleader in the pen.

9casey said...

Wow ...still harpin on the Francona decision.....Its over ....Papi hits a fly ball no problem here at all......Are you really that upset with Francona....really....this non-move to the pen has ruined you Friday night and now your Saturday morning ..I'm sure Tito has moved on and so has Timlin and even Theo.....

redsock said...

Wow ...still harpin on the Francona decision....

I was over it, but then someone left a comment, so naturally I gotta reply. And I got revved up again.

Tito makes a wise decision -- puts his players in the best possible situation to win -- and he still loses, that's the way it goes. Bot comes in and gives up a dong -- it sucks, but I'll never bitch about him in games like that.

But to ignore the basic philosophy the Red Sox have preached for 4+ years and do the opposite -- and to blurt out a beyond-moronic excuse when (surprise!) it doesn't work -- really gets me.

(You're lucky it's post-2004. I'd have banged out 8,000 words by now, 3,000 of them obscenities.)

I'm sure Tito has moved on and so has Timlin

Timlin should be thrilled -- he allowed only 1 run.

nixon33 said...

i LOVE tito. i've stated before that im the guy(weirdo) whos favorite guy on the team is tito. but last night...i wasnt so fond.

having said that, there's a lot of shit that goes on that we dont know about. there had to be some "reason" that he didnt make such an obvious move, especially when timlin got in trouble.

another thing, when your closer warms up, he goes in. isnt that an unwritten rule?
especially when he warms twice, three times no less? isnt it common knowledge that they dont like to fuck around with closers getting warmed up and then shutting them down. i've seen this countless times, and the closer pretty much always goes in, even if the team ends up blowing it open, becuase he WARMED.

so frustrating, as we could taste the win, a couple of times.

ish said...

I think Tito really wanted Timlin to get through that inning. Would you rather lose one game rather than tax your bullpen and your closer and lose the next two or three, perhaps?

Either way, Thursday and last night's games hurt. You have the 1/3 of the games you win, the 1/3 of the games you lose, and the Other 1/3.

Both of those two fell under the Other 1/3. I'm sure that if Timlin finishes the 11th, and the Red Sox do not score in the top 12th, Papelbon goes in anyway. I think it was a situation where Timlin was the guy he didn't mind stretching a little bit and not having available for the next game.

L-girl said...

I hope Theo wacked Francona on the snout with a rolled up Bill James Abstract. "Bad Tito!"

I don't approve of this for dogs, but I'd be grateful if someone did it to Francona.

I don't know...if you can't trust Timlin to throw 2 innings in a seemingly never-ending game, in April, against the Rays, while in first place....why do you have him?

An excellent question to which there is no good answer.

Wow ...still harpin on the Francona decision....

It's a blog. "Harpin" is what it's for.

Like Nix33, I love Tito. I disliked him last night.

L-girl said...

Would you rather lose one game rather than tax your bullpen and your closer and lose the next two or three, perhaps?

I think you're asking the wrong question. Papelbon is not injured. He's not being overused.

Jack Marshall said...

It's pretty simple. Like Torre, Tito's strength is in his team and roster-level management, not as an in-game tactician. His Achilles heal is excessive loyalty, letting the guy who can't hit lefties bat in the 9th and the fading pro with the 13 ERA pitch with the game on the line. Who knows---maybe the player good will that stuff creates eventually puts more wins in the W column down the line.

L-girl said...

It's pretty simple. Like Torre, Tito's strength is in his team and roster-level management, not as an in-game tactician.

I've never agreed with that assessment of Tito. I don't see enough evidence of it, and I've seen Tito be a brilliant in-game tactician too many times - especially in the post-season - to adopt that view of him.

Doesn't mean he's perfect, of course. But he doesn't share Torre's over-developed loyalty issues, IMO.

nixon33 said...

l-girl, I TOTALLY agree with that.

Jack Marshall said...

Boy, if there's a "brilliant" Tito move you can point to, I'd like to see it. I recall too many games ending with Trot Nixon making key outs against left-handers with people like Jay Payton on the bench, too many Alex Cora at bats with pinch-hitters available, too many Eric Gagne/ Alan Embree ops long after it was obvious---as with Timlin---that it was suicidal. Pedro's weird relief-stint in the 2004 ALCS, things like that. He's far from a dolt, but if there wasn't anything else to Tito besides his in-game skills, I'd take Scoscia, Madden, Leyland and a couple of others ahead of him.

redsock said...

Boy, if there's a "brilliant" Tito move you can point to, I'd like to see it.

His aggressive attitude in going to the pen -- and going right to his best arms -- in the playoffs stands out.