October 23, 2007


Will the Rockies -- who have won 21 of their last 22 games -- be rusty after nine days off?

Dustin Pedroia:
We've played a lot of intense games, but we'd rather go in having seen live pitching in a couple of days instead of nine days off. That's got to be tough on them, especially in cold weather and all of that snow.
J.D. Drew:
Baseball is a game of routine. Throughout the season, you have two days off a month. Sometimes you don't even want days off because you find yourself in a good rhythm ...
The Rockies have been working out and playing intrasquad games -- ah-ha, so one-half of a Colorado team has lost recently! -- while they waited for the Red Sox to finish off Cleveland.

The Herald reminds us that the 2006 Tigers beat the MFY in the ALDS, swept the A's in the ALCS and then had six days off. They batted .199 and lost the World Series to St. Louis in five games.

While Colorado's team batting average has been dropping -- .280 (season), .267 (NLDS), .222 (NLCS) -- their team ERA has improved -- 4.32 (season), 2.33 (NLDS) and 1.89 (NLCS).

Colorado played three games at Fenway Park on June 12-14, winning two of them. Recaps here and here.

Colorado has Jeff Francis and Ubaldo Jimenez lined up for the first two games. After Josh Beckett starts Game 1, Tim Wakefield could start Game 2 on Thursday night. It might be wise to not start him at Coors; plus it would give Curt Schilling and Daisuke Matsuzaka another day of rest. If so, that would mean the rotation would probably go like this:
Game 1: 10/24 Beckett
Game 2: 10/25 Wakefield
Game 3: 10/27 Schilling
Game 4: 10/28 Matsuzaka
Game 5: 10/29 Beckett
Game 6: 10/31 Wakefield
Game 7: 11/01 Schilling
There is also the decision of the lineup in Games 3, 4 and 5 -- in which one of David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis or Mike Lowell will have to start the night on the bench. As far as Tizzle playing first base -- not really the nightmare the media makes it out to be, as Jeff Suppan can tell you -- Rob Bradford notes that
there might be one saving grace when it comes to which National League park the Red Sox find themselves having to integrate Ortiz' fielding. The Rockies boast the tallest infield grass in the entire league.

"He's going to be helped out greatly by the infield. It is the slowest, by far. It's almost as bad as the Cubs used to have it in the Ron Cey days when they were trying to protect him at third base," said Dodgers bench coach Dave Jauss ... "That helps a lot. It's really, really thick."
Ahhhhh - 2004:
It was the year that compelled Dan Shaughnessy to find a new moonlighting job. He had chronicled the so-called curse the way Tolkien had tracked the civilizations of Middle-earth.
Idiocy of the Day -- Bill Reynolds, ProJo:
Let's not kid ourselves here. If the Red Sox were not in the World Series this morning, there were going to be fall guys, and Theo was going to be the biggest. Bigger than Terry Francona. Bigger than the players.
So the team would be exactly the same, the off-field and managerial decisions would be exactly the same, but because of an unlucky bounce here or an umpire's incorrect call there -- things 101% out of the general manager's control -- Theo would get the axe? Please.


Gambrinus said...

Just to clarify Dustin's comments...it hasn't been cold out here in Colorado outside of Sunday. Colorado winters are a bit different than New England in that you can have 5 inches of snow one day and then have it be mid-70s the next day...hell, sometimes that afternoon So hopefully the Sox are not getting overconfident because they think the Rockies will be underprepared - I think overconfidence has hurt teams playing the Rockies in the postseason this year.

Zenslinger said...

I think whether time off hurts a team or not is something you can't quantify. For all the players may talk about it or try to avoid the rust settling in, I don't think even they will really know if it has an effect. If we crush the Rockies tomorrow night, everyone will say that it was too many days off for them. But, couldn't it just as easily be because we have good hitters who get their bats on the ball? And that Francis, a pretty good pitcher, is no match for Beckett?

It's much like "momentum" in that regard. Momentum is an emotional word. The players feel it, the fans feel it, but it doesn't explain why things happen. The 3B coach holding up Lofton is thought to have hurt Cleveland's momentum the other night -- but only because it was followed up by the DP. And if Cleveland had tied it or taken the lead in that inning, would their momentum have pushed the Sox off of a cliff, beyond all hope of recovery? If we had scored eight more runs anyhow, then people would have said, "Oh, the momentum changed."

I'm not saying these things don't have some effect on the outcome of the game; I'm just saying we can't know what the effect is. And I think that it's slightly akin to the superstition of rally caps and things like that to say that the emotional state of the players and fans has a direct effect on the events on the field.

Not that I'm trying to take emotion as a whole out of the game...sure, it affects players, but it affects them differently. For some, getting too emotional can disturb their concentration as much as it may help some "lock in".

Jim said...

I think the Rox visit to Fenway in June dispelled any Sox preconceptions about them. The boys will be all jigged out and ready to play big league hardball.

laura k said...

I think ZS has it, as usual.

We all want to think we have the momentum, we want to see patterns and reasons where there may be none, we want reasons to believe, factors we can point to.

At the end of the day, none of it really matters. Two really good teams are going to play with everything that have, and hope that's enough.

Zenslinger said...

Thanks, Laura.

I am surprised at the vocal minority saying Colorado's going to win this thing. Heyman at SI says Rockies in 7. Not that I don't think they have a chance -- of course they have a decent chance. But, from what I like to consider an objective position, there is just that AL vs. NL thing. Wouldn't all their monster hitters' numbers be brought down half a notch pitching against the AL? Doesn't their surprisingly good pitching seem significantly less so against our bats? Given all that, what kind of confidence does it take to predict a Rockies win? Amazing as 21 wins in 22 games is, doesn't probably demand an end to it?

And is there a pill I can take to combat the desire to employ rhetorical questions?

laura k said...

And is there a pill I can take to combat the desire to employ rhetorical questions?

And if you find one, will you let us know?

nixon33 said...

wake out of WS rotation. lester being stretched.

Jim said...

Just heard Francona's presser on 'EEI. Wakefield's shoulder keeps him off roster, Beckett, Schill, Dice are first 3 starters, Lester being stretched out for possible start. Final roster not yet determined (Gagne?). Waiting for Rox rotation announcement before commenting on who starts in Denver (Ortiz etc).

Jim said...

Forgot to mention that LBJ gets start in center tomorrow night since Ococ still a little "banged up". In my haste for a scoop, full disclosure suffered. I could be a real reporter.

Bartman said...

Snow? Did someone mention snow? Does that mean Denver does not have a dome for games in late Oct.?

Ofer said...

I'm not saying it's relevant in any way to the outcome of the series, but consider this:
Days in first place:
Red Sox: 150, never being more than one game under .500, and at .500 or better since back in April 7.
Rockies: 1, back in April 6. They were 9 games under .500 back in May 21.

s1c said...

The lucky Parrot has been stolen. Uh-oh!!!

Actually, Reynolds is not an idiot. To say that Theo would have been on the hot seat if they had lost 4-1 or 4-2.

Boston media would have been beating the drum every day about how Lugo sucked, Drew was a "nancy", Gagne was a Gag-me and so on. 24 hours a day, M-F (weekends would have been Patriots).

Reynolds is one of those op-ed guys who really does have his finger on the pulse of the fans in the metro area. The drum beat would have been there, the question is whether that would have swayed Henry. I personally think it wouldn't have swayed him, but Theo would have been put on notice.