October 31, 2009

WS3: Yankees 8, Phillies 5

Yankees  - 000 231 110 - 8  8  1
Phillies - 030 001 001 - 5 6 0
Example
Andy Pettitte (4.16, 107 ERA+) / Cole Hamels (4.32, 99 ERA+)

Post:
"Can you hear anything here that you haven't heard in Boston?" Jeter was asked prior to a Citizens Bank Park workout yesterday in preparation for tonight's World Series Game 3 against the Phillies. ...

"Boston is pretty bad. ... I don't want to say no, then they will figure out something new" ...
Example
Post:
A-Rod Art Hung Like Horse: Ex

The Yankees slugger is reportedly such an egomaniac that he placed paintings of himself depicted as a centaur -- a mythical creature who is half-man, half-horse -- over his bed, an ex-girlfriend said.
The Post notes that Slappy "has been hitting more like My Little Pony" in the first two games of the World Series (0-for-8, with 6 strikeouts).

Happy Halloween

October 30, 2009

October 29, 2009

WS2: Yankees 3, Phillies 1

Phillies - 010 000 000 - 1  6  0
Yankees - 000 101 10x - 3 8 0
Pedro allowed two solo home runs through six innings -- Mark Teixeira leading off the fourth and Hideki Matsui with two outs in the sixth -- but then gave up two singles to start the seventh. One of them scored, giving Martinez a final line of 6-6-3-2-8, 107.

Pedro struck out three of the first four Yankees --and he fanned Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez twice each. He pitched extremely well, but the Phillies had no luck against Burnett (7-4-1-2-9, 108), who retired 11 of his last 12 batters. Burnett allowed only one Philadelphia runner past second base.

Mariano Rivera needed 39 pitches -- and a clutch double play with the go-ahead run at the plate in the eighth -- to get through the final two innings.
Example
Pedro Martinez (3.63, 118 ERA+) / A.J. Burnett (4.04, 110 ERA+)

Pedro:
I don't know if you realize this, but because of you guys [the media], in some ways, I might be at times the most influential player that ever stepped [on to the field] at Yankee Stadium. I can honestly say that. I have all the respect in the world for the way they enjoy being fans. Sometimes they might be giving you the middle finger ... I don't have any problem with that.
Martinez also said the New York media has
used me and abused me since I've been coming to [Yankee] Stadium. I remember quotes in the paper, "Here comes the man that New York loves to hate." The man? None of you have ever eaten steak with me or rice and beans with me to understand what I'm all about as a man. You might say the player, the competitor, but the man? You guys have abused my name. You guys have said so many things and have written so many things.

There was one time I remember when I was a free agent, there was talk that I might meet with Steinbrenner. One of your colleagues had me in the papers with horns and a tail, red horns and a tail. That's a sign of the devil. I'm a Christian man. I don't like those things. I take those things very serious. Those are the kind of things that the fans actually get used to seeing, and actually sometimes influence those people to believe that you are a bad person, that you are like an ogre.
As far as any chants he might hear:
Any time I hear that "Who's your daddy?" it really reminds me that God is my daddy. It gives me strength. ... When you have 60,000 people chanting your name, waiting for you to throw the ball, you have to consider yourself someone special, someone that really has a purpose out there.
Pedro and the Red Sox defeated the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS and then won the World Series. That should have put the Daddy talk to rest forever.

After watching their team commit the worst choke job in the history of baseball, Yankee fans chanting "Who's your daddy?" makes as much sense as chanting "1918".
Example
Burnett (6-8-5-2-7, 95) faced the Phillies on May 22, 2009, allowing three home runs and losing 7-3.

Cliff Lee And Deacon Phillippe

In his complete game win over the Yankees last night, Philadelphia's Cliff Lee struck out 10 batters and did not walk anyone.

Only one other pitcher in baseball history has won a World Series game in which he had at least 10 strikeouts and no walks. It happened in the first very World Series game ever played.

Deacon Phillippe (9-6-3-0-10) of the Pittsburgh Pirates did it on October 1, 1903 against Cy Young and the Boston Americans. Pittsburgh led the best-of-9 series 3-1, but Boston won four consecutive games to clinch the first of the franchise's seven championships.

On October 5, 1949, Brooklyn's Don Newcombe struck out 11 Yankees and did not issue a walk, but he lost Game 1 to New York 1-0. Here's the list of the six times it has happened in post-season history. Lee has two of those six performances this month.

Joe Posnanski:
Cliff Lee pitched Wednesday like he had already seen the game and knew how it turned out. He pitched like he was on Tivo.

Schadenfreude 93 (A Continuing Series)

Mark Feinsand, Daily News:
Yankees fans are sure to be in panic mode on Thursday - judging by the e-mails I've already received and the comments on this blog, they're already there ...

Could A.J. Burnett go out to the mound and completely fall apart? Absolutely. ... It's time for him to earn that big contract the Yankees gave him. ... But regardless of how Burnett does, the Yankees offense - as weak as it looked against Lee - should have a field day with Pedro Martinez ...
George A. King III, Post:
Cliff Lee's evil arsenal and control good enough to consistently hit a gnat's backside combined with Chase Utley's biceps to put the Yankees in a World Series ditch last night in Game 1 [in front of] a Yankee Stadium crowd of 50,207 that had nothing to get excited about.
Kevin Kernan, Post:
This was not the Twins and Angels running silly around the bases. This was a composed team with a killer on the mound, a leader at shortstop and a big bat at second base. ...

Mystique and Aura aren't yet in this Yankees lineup, and a lot of fans bailed early.

October 28, 2009

WS1: Phillies 6, Yankees 1

Phillies - 001 001 022 - 6  9  1
Yankees - 000 000 001 - 1 6 0

Cliff Lee pitched a complete game (9-6-1-0-10, 122), not allowing a Yankee beyond second base until an unearned run scored in the ninth.

Chase Utley hit two solo home runs off Sabathia (7-4-2-3-6, 113) and Raul Ibanez hit a two-run single in the eighth. Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard had RBIs in the ninth.

Derek Jeter had three of New York's six hits and scored the lone run in the ninth. Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Mark Teixeira was also 0-for-4 and, like Slappy, failed to hit the ball out of the infield.

It's the third straight World Series in which the Yankees lost Game 1 (2001 and 2003). Eleven of the last 12 teams to win Game 1 have gone on to win the World Series.
Example
Cliff Lee (3.22, 138 ERA+) / CC Sabathia (3.37, 133 ERA+)

(found here)

Another Anniversary

Two years ago tonight.

Infinite Winter Board

The Infinite Winter discussion board is here.

Anyone out there -- regular commenter or lurker -- who wants to participate, sign up and drop me an email.

Let me know what you think about the tentative reading schedule.

October 27, 2009

Pedro Will Start Game 2

Pedro Martinez will get the ball for the Phillies on Thursday night in Yankee Stadium for Game 2 of the World Series.

Pedro last faced the Yankees on June 27, 2008 at Shea Stadium (5.2-6-6-5-4, 106). He last pitched against the Yankees in their home park on June 24, 2005 (8-6-2-2-3, 106).

Charlie Manuel said that Cole Hamels will start Game 3 in Philadelphia.
Example
Jimmy Rollins:
I think it would be very tough to take four. You figure one game they are going to find a way to win. That's the way it is. ... If we're nice, we'll let it go six, but I'm thinking five, close it out at home.
Example
G1: Wed 1028 - Phillies at Yankees, 8:00 PM
G2: Thu 1029 - Phillies at Yankees, 8:00 PM

G3: Sat 1031 - Yankees at Phillies, 8:00 PM
G4: Sun 1101 - Yankees at Phillies, 8:20 PM
G5: Mon 1102 - Yankees at Phillies, 8:00 PM

G6: Wed 1104 - Phillies at Yankees, 8:00 PM
G7: Thu 1105 - Phillies at Yankees, 8:00 PM

Astros Hire Brad Mills As Manager

Brad Mills has been hired to manage the Houston Astros.

Mills had been the bench coach since Terry Francona was hired before the 2004 season. Before that, Mills had managed in the minors for 11 years: Cubs (1987-92), Rockies (1993-96) and Dodgers (2002).

Terry Francona hopes that Mills's replacement comes from within the organization.
I think that's something that's important. I've been here long enough now that it's something that definitely needs to be considered.
Francona and Mills were college roommates, they played together for the Expos, and Mills was a member of Tito's coaching staff in Philadelphia.

Back To Foulke!

Five years ago tonight.

"I think you make your own destination."

Videos from Brian Fox and Ben Cohen. ... The Final Out. ... And one my favourites: "ALCS 7/Cool Kids".

October 26, 2009

My AL MVP Ballot

Today is the deadline for submission of MVP ballots at the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. I had hoped to spend more time on this, but that didn't happen. So all I have is a list, with a few notes.

Have at it.
1. Joe Mauer, Twins
2. Ben Zobrist, Rays
3. Zack Greinke, Royals
4. Mark Teixeira, Yankees
5. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
6. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
7. Jason Kubel, Twins
8. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
9. Adam Lind, Blue Jays
10. Kendry Morales, Angels
After #1, you could shuffle the remaining spots any which way you want. I liked finding out that Zobrist and Teixeira had the exact same OPS (.948). If I looked at this for another five minutes, I might move Greinke and Cabrera down, Lind or Kubel up, and maybe bump Morales. There are good arguments that everyone "should" be higher than they are.

Infinite Winter

Back in June, I mentioned re-reading David Foster Wallace's 1996 novel Infinite Jest during the off-season. At that time, three commenters mentioned the possibility of reading it also.

Game 7 of the World Series is scheduled for November 5. We could start on Monday, November 8 -- which, re the chronology of the novel, would be a great day to start. If we follow the same 75 pages per week schedule as Infinite Summer, we'd finish a week or two after the arrival of pitchers and catchers.

It seems like a pretty quick pace. Maybe it'll be fun. Or maybe it'll fizzle out before Xmas. Anyone interested*?

* When it was released three years ago, the 10th anniversary paperback was only $10. Cheap!

October 25, 2009

ALCS6: Yankees 5, Angels 2

Alas. Go Pedro & the Phillies.
Example
Game 6, Take 2.

Joe Saunders (Game 2: 7-6-2-1-5, 105) / Andy Pettitte (Game 3: 6.1-7-3-1-2, 95)

George A. King III, Post:
Officials made the call to postpone Game 6 although they were leery of making the move because the Angels potentially could benefit.
Maybe this ties in with the MLB.com goof in the previous post.
Example
Mike Lupica, Daily News:
[I]f Pettitte does the kind of job he has done for a very long time in New York, going all the way back to October of 1996, then the Yankees don't have to worry about another one-game season against the Angels.
Then again, here's another Game 6 pitched by Big Game Andy, during another series in which the MFY led 3-2.

Mark Feinsand, Daily News:
They need to win one of the next two games on their home turf, a place where they lost two straight games only twice since A-Rod returned on May 8.
Keep telling yourself that.

MLB Jumps The Gun

Or maybe the fix is in.

(Better and bigger screen shot here)

Wakefield's Magic Number: 193

Tim Wakefield had back surgery (herniated disc) on Wednesday.
Everything was awesome. The whole procedure went as planned and even post-op, meeting with the surgeon, Dr. [Lawrence] Borges, everything went perfect. He didn't see any further damage in there. He made sure everything was cleaned up and ready to go. It went perfect and I should be ready to go by Spring Training.
The Red Sox have until five days after the World Series to pick up Wakefield's $4 million option for 2010. It would be his 16th season and he says retirement "never crossed my mind ...

I still feel like I can compete at the highest level. I want to continue to play as long as my body allows me and as long as the Red Sox want me around. ...

I do have some goals in mind. I obviously want to get to 200 wins [he has 189] and I want to try to become the all-time leader in wins in Red Sox history. I'm 18 away from that. Past that, I really can't tell you.
Pitcher        Wins       Years
Cy Young 192 1901-1908
Roger Clemens 192 1984-1996
Tim Wakefield 175 1995-2009
Wakefield already holds the franchise record for losses (150). Young (112) and Fat Billy (111) are 2nd and 3rd. Wake also hold the Red Sox record for the most games started, batters faced, HBPs, wild pitches, earned runs, hits, walks, and home runs.

And he could sit atop the innings pitched category next season. At 2,711.1, he's 17 behind Young (2,728.1) and 64.2 behind the TCM (2,776).

October 24, 2009

ALCS6: Angels at Yankees, PPD

Joel Sherman, 6 PM:
Game 6 is postponed ... will be made up tomorrow [8:20] and Game 7 will be moved to Monday, if necessary [7:57] ... rained out because "Forecast was holding true and it predicted rain throughout the evening" MLB official ... Another exec said there wasn't a chance of clearing before 10 p.m.
Example
Preview

Joe Saunders (Game 2: 7-6-2-1-5, 105) / Andy Pettitte (Game 3: 6.1-7-3-1-2, 95)

If work permits, I'll be watching. (Or, I'll just stop working!)
Example
Tim Smith, Daily News:
Come in from the ledge. Take some deep, cleansing breaths. Relax. Everything is going to be fine. Stop flashing back to the American League Championship Series of 2004.
Mike Lupica, Daily News:
You're the Yankees and you've won 109 games already this season, and when you're that good, when you're this loaded, you can't let it all come down to a one-game season ...

You're the Yankees and you shouldn't even be playing Game 6, you should have put the Angels away after six runs in the top of the seventh Thursday night. Only you couldn't. ...

The Yankees could have won Game 3 and gone on to sweep. Could have closed out the Angels Thursday night. ... It is the Yankees who are playing for their season tonight.
Mark Hale, Post:
The crushing Game 5 loss on Thursday? No big deal. Memories of the 2004 ALCS collapse to the Red Sox? That was a long time ago. The Yankees' struggles in the past against the Angels? This is a different Yankees team. Torii Hunter's bold plan for the Angels to "shock the world" this weekend in The Bronx? Get serious. ...

If the Yankees win tonight, they will end any comparison with the 2004 team that squandered a 3-0 edge in the ALCS by losing four straight to the Red Sox. ...

But if the Yankees lose tonight, they will need to play a do-or-die Game 7 tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium, meaning there would remain a chance for their season to end without a World Series appearance -- just like in 2004.

October 23, 2009

Name The 2004 WS Roster In 6 Minutes

Give it a try.

Don't look at comments before you do, though.

Note: When you type in a correct last name, it will automatically be inserted into the roster; you don't have to hit enter or anything.

(Thanks to Tim for the link.)

Newsday: 2009 Collapse Would Be Worse Than 2004

Newsday's Wallace Matthews says that if the Yankees blow the ALCS to the Angels, it would be
the worst postseason collapse in their history. Yes, this would be worse than coughing up a 3-0 lead to the Red Sox in 2004.
His reasoning?
[T]hese Angels are not nearly as good as the 2004 Red Sox. And these Yankees are a lot better than the 2004 Yankees. At least, they're supposed to be.
If the Angels come back, the Yankees would have spit up a 3-1 lead, not an unprecedented 3-0 advantage. That alone makes Matthews dead wrong. But there is also this: the Angels are the Angels and the Red Sox were the Red Sox.

Then again, this is the same writer who complained that Tim Wakefield was perhaps the slowest worker on the mound in baseball and called him and his knuckleball "a bigger menace to the game than steroids".



ALCS 6 is Saturday at 8 PM.

October 22, 2009

Sox Bloggers On A Possible NYY WS

Lisa Swan at Subway Squawkers asked ten Red Sox bloggers a few questions about the post-season and our thoughts on a possible Yankees championship. Here.

October 20, 2009

Spit Take

An accusation that Mariano Rivera spat on the baseball yesterday began at HalosHeaven* and a short video clip has been making the rounds.

This silliness got enough attention that MLB actually released a statement, saying it saw no evidence of misconduct.

gif uploaded to SoSH by ndame616 [Fox cuts away just as the spit flies]

I don't think anything worth mentioning is going on here.

The camera angle is inconclusive; you don't prepare to throw a spitball by actually spitting on the ball; and pitchf/x data showed the pitch after the supposed spitting had modest movement.

HalosHeaven breathlessly announces:
this is pretty conclusive evidence of why Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera is able to throw only one pitch that has unpredictable, yet precise movement.
If that were the case, Rivera would have been caught for something so clumsy back in 1995.

The Angels could tie the series at 2-2 tonight. The team's fans should be concentrating on that (and inflating their Thunderstixx and picking lint off their stuffed animals), not stockpiling inane "reasons" to whine their heads off if LA loses the pennant.

*: Reading this post and the ensuing comments will likely lower your IQ by at least 15 points. You have been warned.

October 19, 2009

AL Cy Young

My choices for the BBA:

1. Zach Greinke, Royals
2.16 ERA - lowest in the AL since Pedro's 1.74 in 2000

203 ERA+ - 32nd best season of all-time

2.42 FiP (Fielding Independent Pitching) - lowest in AL

1.073 WHIP - lowest in AL

Per 9 IP: 2nd fewest hits, 5th fewest BB, 1st fewest HR, 3rd most K

33 starts - 1 fewer than Felix/CC; 2 fewer than Verlander

5th in IP - 0.2 fewer than CC

6 complete games; 3 shutouts
In his nine no-decisions, Greinke had a 2.35 ERA -- still good enough to top the American League. And it was a better ERA than every starting pitcher in MLB except for Chris Carpenter (2.24). Greinke's ERA in his losses was still better than the AL average (4.75).
          GS  ERA    IP     H   R  ER  BB    K   WHIP
In Wins 16 1.00 117.1 82 14 13 21 122 0.878
In Losses 8 4.62 50.2 56 32 26 13 59 1.362
In ND 9 2.35 61.1 57 18 16 17 61 1.207
The Royals scored an average of 3.78 runs in Greinke's starts. He had three runs of support or fewer in 19 of his 33 starts.

According to ESPN's Dave Campbell, if CC Sabathia had received the same run support as Greinke, he would have finished the year with a 10-11 record. Greinke's W-L with CC's backing? 24-3.
Top 6 ERA Leaders
Starts With X Runs (Earned & Unearned) Allowed

0 1 2 3 4 5+ 2R or Fewer

Greinke 8 10 5 3 4 3 23 of 33 70%
Hernandez 7 8 6 4 2 7 21 of 34 62%
Halladay 5 6 6 5 4 6 17 of 32 53%
Sabathia 5 9 3 5 3 9 17 of 34 50%
Lester 6 7 4 6 2 7 17 of 32 53%
Verlander 6 6 4 6 4 9 16 of 35 46%
Rany Jazayerli says that Greinke also pitched in front of the team with the worst defensive efficiency. At the end of August, he wrote:
It's not hyperbole to suggest that, with an even average defense behind him, Greinke's ERA could be in the 1's right now.
Greinke began the season by not allowing an earned run in his first 29.2 innings. After 10 starts, his ERA was only 0.84. It crept above 1.00 for the first time on May 31. That reminded me of Pedro in 2000, when after 12 starts, his ERA was 0.99, though it had been over 1.00 before that. (Jazayerli wrote about Zach/Pedro back in May.)

John Dewan's Total Runs metric has Grienke as the American League MVP. Drive Line Mechanics seems to agree.

Joe Posnanski loves Greinke.
Example
2. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays

3. Felix Hernandez, Mariners

October 18, 2009

Happy October 18th

Kevin Millar drew his infamous five-pitch walk just before midnight.
Sunday, October 17, 2004

Yankees - 002 002 000 000 - 4 12 1
Red Sox - 000 030 001 002 - 6 8 0


The next game began less than 16 hours later, at 5 PM:
Monday, October 18, 2004

Yankees - 010 003 000 000 00 - 4 12 1
Red Sox - 200 000 020 000 01 - 5 13 1


"Ortiz fights it off, center field! Damon running to the plate ... and he can keep on running to New York. Game 6 tomorrow night."

"He didn't do it again, did he? Yes, he did!"

October 17, 2009

Eric Walker And "Moneyball"

Deadspin has a two-part article from Eric Walker, the man who brought progressive baseball analysis to Billy Beane and the Oakland A's.

Walker, from his 1982 book, The Sinister First Baseman and Other Observations:
In baseball, some numbers are known, some are not, and the meaning of most of them can be debated. But there's one number everyone knows and agrees with: three. Three outs and you're gone. Period. The end. All runners cancelled, all theories moot, all probabilities zero. That number must, in any rational evaluation of the game, dominate planning.
And from Part 2, linked above:
Despite all the seasons that have flowed by since [Branch] Rickey and [Earnshaw] Cook and [Bill] James, there remains to this hour a great divide, a sort of cultural barrier, between "old-time baseball men" and the so-called "new breed" of analysis users. That pains me, because though the details of analysis can be abstruse and mathematical, the basic concepts, with only a modicum of patience, can be explained even to hostile disbelievers, who disbelieve for the very reason that no one has ever troubled to make those clear explanations to them — at least not in language they speak.

October 16, 2009

Pedro Starts NLCS 2; ALCS Begins Tonight

Pedro Martinez makes his first post-season start this afternoon since throwing seven shutout innings in Game 3 of the 2004 World Series for the Red Sox.

Pedro gets the ball for the Phillies in NLCS 2 (4 PM) at Dodgers Stadium. However, Martinez has had only seven innings of work since September 13 (starts on September 19 and 30) and a simulated game on Tuesday did not go well.

Philadelphia won NLCS 1 8-6 last night.

The Angels and Yankees begin the ALCS tonight -- Lackey/Sabathia -- at 8 PM in New York.
Example
The Red Sox will meet with 18-year-old Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi next Monday. Kikucki will also talk with representatives from the Dodgers, Rangers, Giants, Yankees, Mets and Mariners next week.

October 15, 2009

Saito Outrighted, Off 40-Man Roster

[Or not. See below.]

Cafardo, Globe:
Takashi Saito has been outrighted by the Red Sox off of their 40-man roster. This is likely a prelude to the team not picking up the 2010 option on his contract.
Example
However, WEEI's Alex Speier reports that:
there has been no transaction to this point involving Red Sox reliever Takashi Saito ... he has not been assigned outright to Pawtucket for the purposes of removing him from the 40-man roster ...
Speier says the team holds a $6 million option (the amount of salary + incentives earned from 2009 is the club option total for 2010).

Christmas Is Coming

This is not a joke.

From the reviews:
America used to be a simple place, didn't it? The pilgrims set the tone by using religion as a unifier, not a bludgeon. Our neighbors, such as the Native Americans, were respected as natural inhabitants and were treated as such. Our country could do no wrong and you can hear that perfection in McCarver's voice.

&

[I]n the process of listening to an entire great American songbook, your brain will take you away to anywhere between three and seven pictures, idylls and reveries that tap into the collective unconscious memory of what it meant to walk amidst eden. Each song is delivered with what I can only describe as a kind of calm-eyed beauty that seems to recursively calm the process of singing the song itself.
Example
Here are 14 words that I never thought I'd write in my life:
I would rather listen to this Tim McCarver album than Bob Dylan's latest offering.

October 14, 2009

Red Sox Look To 2010

[Updated/Additional stuff below]

Theo Epstein mentions team defense and defensive efficiency and the lack of offense outside of Fenway Park as big issues going into the winter.
The foundation of the organization is still strong, we have a pretty good core of prime players, there are probably 10 guys in their mid-20s or right around 30 who we can build around and a strong farm system, with tremendous payroll flexibility going forward.

I think it could go a number of different directions. I think we're always open to change because I think you need change to improve as part of the natural cycle in baseball and in life. Sometimes the market doesn't bear that out. Sometimes there aren't the right fits, sometimes it's not the right free-agent market and sometimes you end up with more status quo than you want.

If that's the case, if we look back three or four months from now and say, "Wow, there weren't major changes," then I think next year will be perhaps the last year of this main group of players. We have a lot of players going into contract years next year. I think it might be one more chance with this group to go out and win the whole thing.
There are concerns throughout the roster:

Will Jason Vartiek return as the back-up catcher? What about Mike Lowell, who is due $12 million? If Lowell is not in Boston and Kevin Youkilis moves back to third, who plays first? Who will be the regular shortstop?

What will happen with Jason Bay? How much offense will David Ortiz provide? Will the Sox bring back Tim Wakefield after his back surgery? What kind of turnover will there be in the bullpen? Will Epstein revisit any of the potential deals that were mentioned before the July trade deadline?
Example
Epstein characterizes the negotiations with potential free agent Jason Bay as "really unusual ... [W]e want to keep him and he wants to be here and yet we've been unable to reach a deal. I don't think either side's been unreasonable. ... It just hasn't happened."

If Bay declines to return, Matt Holliday is a possible free agent acquisition. Sean McAdam mentions Bobby Abreu, Chone Figgins and Johnny Damon as possible left field replacements. McAdam also drew attention to Epstein's comment on Monday: "If Ortiz is going to be our DH ..."

Quotes in the Post suggest Billy Wagner is considering retirement. His agent thinks otherwise.

Epstein is pretty much demanding that Daisuke Matsuzaka follow the club's training regimen over the winter:
There are strong expectations that he shows up in February in fantastic shape on Day 1 of spring training next year. I see it as a necessity, not really an option.
Michael Silverman looks at some of the Sox's brighter prospects, including pitcher-shortstop Casey Kelly and outfielder Ryan Westmoreland.

October 12, 2009

Quotes

Dustin Pedroia:
We're all shocked.
Jacoby Ellsbury:
About as tough a loss as you can have.
Mike Lowell:
This one hurts down deep.
Jonathan Papelbon:
You can't even classify how this one hurts more than any other.
David Ortiz:
We've finished people up in three games before, too. It tells you as quick as it comes, as quick it can go.
Theo Epstein:
I don't think anything that occurred in this series came completely out of the blue ... There were certain things that went down this series that were foreshadowed in the regular season as well.
Terry Francona:
The season doesn't wind down. It just comes to a crashing halt. You go into the top of the inning excited because you think you're going to keep playing. Half an inning later, you're going home.
A. Bartlett Giamatti:
The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October [11] ... it stopped, and summer was gone.

October 11, 2009

Wait 'til Next Year

[Globe website, 5 PM]

ALDS3: Angels 7, Red Sox 6

Angels  - 000 101 023 - 7 11  0
Red Sox - 003 200 010 - 6 7 1
Jonathan Papelbon allowed two inherited runners to score in the eighth and then, needing only one more strike for the save, allowed three runs of his own.

And the Angels move on to the ALCS.

***

Two quick thoughts: Walking Hunter intentionally was dumb. Should Tito have pulled Bot after Abreu's double made it 6-5? Bot had allowed three straight hits and four hits to his six batters. When did Jeemer get up and was anyone else up with him?

Note: I'm not blaming Francona (not much, anyway). Papelbon tried to get the third out against five hitters and failed.
Example
Scott Kazmir (4.89, 93 ERA) / Clay Buchholz (4.21, 112 ERA+)

Terry Francona:
What's happened has happened. Now we'll show up tomorrow, do what we always do on early games -- have 12 pieces of bacon, a Red Bull and go get 'em.
Since 2003, the Red Sox are 13-3 in potential elimination games:

Since the ALDS began in 1995, 17 teams have trailed 0-2. Four of them came back to win the series (23.5%). Here's the list:
1995 - Sea 0-2 to NYY - Won 3-4-5
Cle 0-2 to Bos - Lost 3
1996 - Cle 0-2 to Bal - Won 3, Lost 4
1997 - Sea 0-2 to Bal - Won 3, Lost 4
1998 - Tex 0-2 to NYY - Lost 3
1999 - Bos 0-2 to Cle - Won 3-4-5
Tex 0-2 to NYY - Lost 3
2000 - CWS 0-2 to Sea - Lost 3
2001 - NYY 0-2 to Oak - Won 3-4-5
2003 - Bos 0-2 to Oak - Won 3-4-5

2004 - Ana 0-2 to Bos - Lost 3
2005 - Bos 0-2 to CWS - Lost 3
2006 - Min 0-2 to Oak - Lost 3
2007 - LAA 0-2 to Bos - Lost 3
NYY 0-2 to Cle - Won 3, Lost 4
2008 - LAA 0-2 to Bos - Won 3, Lost 4
CWS 0-2 to TBR - Won 3, Lost 4
Interesting: An AL team has never gone L-L-W-W-L in an ALDS.
Example
One possible reason for Clay Buchholz's poor performance in his last two starts (13 runs in eight innings against Toronto and Cleveland) is that his body is tired from throwing more innings this season than in any other.
2007 - 148.0 (125.1 Port/Paw; 22.2 Bos)
2008 - 155.2 (58.2 Port/Paw; 76 Bos; 21 AFL)
2009 - 191.0 (99 Paw; 92 Bos)
Francona will stick with the same nine hitters in his lineup, though David Ortiz may get moved down with a lefty on the hill.

First Pitch: Dave Henderson
Hendu was "David Ortiz" when David Ortiz was 10 years old.

After us:
Yankees (2)/Twins (0) at 7:00
Phillies (1)/Rockies (1) at 10:00

October 10, 2009

AL Manager Of The Year

JoS is part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the site is gathering votes for MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year.

There are three Red Sox blogs in the BBA; Derek (Inside The Monster) and Christine (Boston Red Thoughts) run the other two.

I don't usually post end-of-season awards (choosing instead to make fun of the BBWAA's stupidity and poke holes in its "logic"), but I'll be making lists this year ...
AL Manager of the Year

1. Don Wakamatsu, Mariners
2. Jim Leyland, Tigers
3. Terry Francona, Red Sox
... and making fun of the BBWAA. (Its website used to be horrendous; it's better now.)

Backs To The Wall -- Again

How bad is the Red Sox's sudden slump against the Angels?

With only one run and eight hits in Games 1 and 2, the Red Sox have never -- in 151 post-season games dating back to the 1903 World Series -- been limited to just one run or as few as eight combined hits over two consecutive games.

The Red Sox are hitting .131 (8-for-61) in this LDS and are in danger of setting a new record for the lowest batting average by an LDS team (.141, 1998 Rangers vs Yankees).

In Boston's last three playoff games (including 2008 ALCS 7), the Red Sox have scored two runs on 11 hits in 27 innings.

Mike Lowell:
I don't know about surprising [being down 0-2]. I don't think we've played well enough to win either game. ... We definitely dug a pretty good hole for ourselves. We're not eliminated until they win the third game.
Kevin Youkilis:
There really is no big picture for us right now. We just have to go out and win a ballgame or we're going home.
Terry Francona is leaning towards using Jon Lester on three days rest in Game 4. Josh Beckett would pitch Game 5 on normal rest. ... Jacoby Ellsbury's fourth inning triple broke an 0-for-24 post-season drought.

The Red Sox got on a plane ASAP last night, but the Angels will workout at their park today before heading east. Mike Scioscia: "We're going to work out here before our flight and then we'll get into Boston and get a good night's sleep and get ready to play."

P.S.: According to SoSHer Eric Van, home plate umpire CB Bucknor "made two calls in this game that were even more damaging than the two calls the previous night ... and they helped the Sox. ... You have to wonder whether he was consciously or unconsciously trying to avoid the appearance of bias." See here.

October 9, 2009

ALDS2: Angels 4, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 000 100 000 - 1  4  0
Angels - 000 100 30x - 4 6 0
Another four hits, another resounding loss. And the Red Sox will fly back to Boston in an 0-2 hole. Game 3 is on Sunday at noon.

Only four American League teams have come back from being down 0-2 in an LDS -- and two of those four are Red Sox teams (1999, 2003). So it's certainly possible, but this team will have to rouse itself from its offensive slumber to do so.

Beckett and Weaver had a hell of a pitchers duel going until the 7th-inning stretch. Only one player reached base in the first three innings. Both teams scored in the fourth: Jacoby Ellsbury tripled and scored on Victor Martinez's single; then Bobby Abreu singled, took third on Vladimir Guerrero's hit and scored on Kendry Morales's sacrifice fly.

Beckett began the seventh at only 75 pitches and having retired the previous eight batters. He fell behind the first two hitters 3-0, walking Guerrero (his only pass of the game), but battling back to retire Morales. With Juan Rivera at the plate, pinch-runner Howie Kendrick stole second. Kendrick stayed put as Rivera grounded hard to third, but he was able to score on Maicer Izturis's single into right-center, giving LA a 2-1 lead.

Billy Wagner had been up for awhile, but Terry Francona stayed with Beckett. Izturis stole second on the first pitch to Mike Napoli. Then Beckett plunked Napoli with a 2-2 curveball. It was time for a pitching change, but Playoff Tito was nowhere to be seen. Erick Aybar whacked a 2-1 pitch over Ellsbury's head in center for a two-run triple, bringing the curtain down on Beckett's performance.

In the ninth, Kevin Youkilis doubled with one out and Jason Bay walked with two outs, but Mike Lowell flew out to center to end the game. (Boston's other hit was a two-out single by Ellsbury in the eighth.)
Example
Josh Beckett (3.86, 123 ERA+) / Jered Weaver (3.75, 121 ERA+)

Is tonight a must-win? It feels like it.

In a best-of-5 series, every game is important. Down 0-2, needing to win three in a row, would be a tough task (especially if the bats remain AWOL). Tied 1-1 with the first two of three possible games at Fenway Park -- I can live with that. (Like I have a choice?)

Beckett:
There are no issues physically at all. Obviously last year was a little bit different. So as far as physically coming in (this year), it's a lot better. Last month it's been better than it was two months ago, so I'm just looking forward to going out there and doing what I'm supposed to do.
Jason Bay:
We had four singles and three errors. That isn't going to win too many ballgames. We need more offense.
The Red Sox were held without a run and without an extra-base hit only five times during the regular season.

Terry Francona "fell ill an hour before first pitch with food poisoning". Bad tacos for lunch, apparently. He missed the introductions and Brad Mills was told he might have to take charge, but Tito was there when the first pitch was thrown. Asked after the game about the umpiring ("What was your main complaint or beef there?"), Tito said: "Don't bring up the word beef, please."

Francona's regular cribbage opponent is now George Kottaras. "Pedey quit 'cause he stinks." ... David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia each were tested for performance-enhancing drugs after last night's game. No word if CB Bucknor was given an eye exam.

The New York Times says Chip Caray "is still prone to bad play calls, descriptive exaggerations and factual errors. ... [There is] a pattern of an announcer out of his element."

Times: Game 3 is set for Noon on Sunday. Game 4 will be at 8:30 on Monday, but would be moved to 7:30 if the Twins-Yankees series is finished. Game 5 in Anaheim is set for 9:30, but will be moved to 8:00 if there are no other games scheduled.
Example
And: Twins/Blackburn (0) at Yankees/Burnett (1) at 6 PM

(Background to Molina (and not Dumbo) catching Burnett)

Another Safe Call

Here is Kevin Youkilis tagging out Howie Kendrick in the fourth inning. First base umpire CB Bucknor called Kendrick safe.

[posted to SoSH by jsinger121]