October 12, 2008

Has Anyone Seen Paul Byrd?

Many Red Sox fans are calling last night's loss to Tampa Bay the worst managed playoff game of Terry Francona's Red Sox career.

Two things stood out for me. One was the absence of Paul Byrd. With Tim Wakefield tabbed for Game 4, Byrd is on the roster for two reasons:
1) Long man if the starter gets bombed

2) Multiple innings after the top bullpen arms have been used
Both scenarios came up last night, but Francona never went with Byrd. Indeed, he was the only relief picther that Francona did not use last night.

Tito kept a totally ineffective Josh Beckett on the hill to get repeatedly pounded, presumably because the Red Sox bats had kept the score close. Tito said he wanted to get five innings out of Beckett in order to "set up the bullpen".

Later in the game, Francona pulled Jonathan Papelbon after only 18 pitches -- with an off-day today, why? -- and went with Mike Timlin to start the 11th against the Rays' 7-8-9 hitters. Bot was struck by Carl Crawford's line drive that became the second out in the 10th, but he said he was not bothered by that. "It hit my glove first and then grazed my arm."

While Timlin (who admitted afterwards that he had been "nervous") was squeezed by the home plate umpire -- he clearly struck out Navarro, who walked and was pulled for pinch-runner Fernando Perez, who scored the winning run -- he should have been the absolute last resort out of the pen.

Amalie Benjamin explains that Byrd was being held back in case the game went really long. But Byrd is the better pitcher and he should have been used before Timlin.

And what can we expect from a most-likely injured Beckett in a possible Game 6? He says he's "fine", but I don't think too many people believe that.


NLCS: Phillies (2)/Dodgers (0) at 8.


We opted for the delay of ESPN radio so we missed Chip "Deeeeep Into The Night" Caray. He has apparently dropped any and all pretense of impartiality. You can listen to the difference in his home run calls here -- check out Upton versus Yook or Pedroia or his call on the game-tying wild pitch. Feel free to tell TBS how you are enjoying its coverage:
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Or click here and follow the "Contact Us" link


Bartman said...

The game ran past my bedtime, so I was shocked to see "Timlin (L)" in the box this morning. Also, that Lopez and Masterson pitched to only four batters between them.

Were others bothered by the fan noise drowning out the TBS announcers, however bad they may have been? My ears might be old, but not so old as to max the volume in order to hear them.

laura k said...

I was completely confused by Tito last night. Because I trust the Playoff Assassin in October - and I was so tired, having been up since 6:00 a.m. - I assumed it was me. Apparently not.

Good job on the TBS contact info. I hope a lot of people will not just assume feedback makes no difference, and will complain. They should hear from their very dissatisfied consumers.

allan said...

Were others bothered by the fan noise drowning out the TBS announcers

We had that crowd-heavy mix for the start of Game 1 -- radio had a football game on -- and LOVED it. Sadly, they fixed it within an inning or two.

allan said...

You can also click HERE and follow the "Contact Us" link.

Joe Grav said...

"TBS appreciates you taking the time to share your opinions and ideas with us. We encourage you to continue providing us with feedback and assure you that your comments will always be taken seriously. "

Here's a comment to take seriously: YOU SUCK

tim said...

Emailed. Phone call and paper copy to follow.

My rant ended with "Not only should Chip Caray be taken off the ALCS for the remainder of the games, he should not be employed by any organization looking to maintain a sense of professionalism."

A Conformer said...

That was a horribly managed game by Tito. Once Timlin started the inning, I moved closer to the door of the bar- I knew the game was over. Jere and I also talked about not leaving Beckett for the fifth- try to have Masterson pitch 2-3 innings, or something like that.

It just seemes like Tito was managing without urgency, which is a damn shame- pulling out 2 games in Tampa, when your playoff ace gave up 8 runs in one of them, would have almost completely ended this series. That said, we're still in good shape.

allan said...

Three recent JoS search strings:

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schadenfreude blog lubricated goat

redsock anal

Jim said...

Yeah, Rays such a GREAT STORY that TBS, ESPN and FOX will feature them on all their exclusive prime time broadcasts next season. Like they did this season. Because the big markets love them.
My waning sanity forced to me get MLB-audio for the post-season when I heard Carey was doing the Sox. I can handle the delay with TV mute but Dale Arnold's schizo rants between despair and cheerleading are annoying. Castig spends half the time talking him down. I guess it's all my fault, just too hard to please.

nixon33 said...

you know what the most frustrating thing about this game was that we totally turned the tables on them, and all for naught.
WE were the ones clawing and fighting our way back into this game time and time again (like the rays did to us at the trop all season long). I know we had the early lead, and regained the lead, and so on and so forth, but to me the mindset was completely different this game. WE were the ones with the fire, WE were the ones that weren't gonna go down easy. that passed ball that pedroia scores on? that shit happens for the rays if this was the regular season. It was ours... then timlin came in (amongst other things that everyone else has named).
its just frustrating. seeing the way this team was fighting, i thought for sure were were gonna win.

i havent been threading much as our cat had to be brought into the kitty hospital as his diabetes level is nearly fatal. we're hoping he makes it.

Pepe Lepew said...

As soon as Timlin came in, I said, "Oh, oh...." Sure enough. It wasn't completely his fault though. That umpire was killing him.

allan said...

our cat had to be brought into the kitty hospital as his diabetes level is nearly fatal. we're hoping he makes it.

ah, shit. i hope he makes it, too. good luck!

nixon33 said...

thanks allan. animals can really devastate you.

laura k said...

Once Timlin started the inning, I moved closer to the door of the bar

I started cleaning up and getting ready for bed.

Patrick said...

I hope you cat is ok Nixion. I have a fat cat that we pray isn't going to become diabetic. She is so charming. That's rough.

A lot was wrong with how this game was managed. I had assumed when Papelbon didn't come back out that he had thrown close to 30 pitches.


laura k said...

Nix, I'm so sorry about your cat! I hope he will be ok. Please let us know.

laura k said...

schadenfreude blog lubricated goat


laura k said...

I used to hate the radio/tv delay, but now I approach it differently, and it works for me.

I used to approach it like I was watching a game on TV but with delayed sound, which could be really annoying. Now I listen to a radio game, getting all my info from the audio, and then use the TV to show me what I just heard, like I'm watching a replay.

It's hard to explain, but somehow it made the delay ok. I guess it's just which medium I'm focusing on or attending to first.

laura k said...

animals can really devastate you.

Don't we know it. It's the only bad part of sharing your life with animals.

Jim said...

I guess I'm a cynic. I watch the TV, then listen how the radio guys describe the play I've just seen--with my bullshit detector on "high". My kingdom for an honest man.

charlie pioli said...

I have decided to make a "I hate Mike Timlin" webpage because the man absolutely has sucked the last three years or so.

laura k said...

Well, I can't say I'm not a cynic. But I don't want to spend the whole game seething. I want to enjoy the game, so it's best to pause the b/s detector, or at least set it to a harmless sting.

9casey said...

So here we are, And Beckett was not Beckett......Papi has not been Papi....and some say Tito has not been Tito...We may need to rely on the Rays being the Rays..are lineup looked short to me last night, I thought we should have scored 15...Kotsay is useless, Lowrie and Ellsbury at times look lost....I also think Crisp has to play......We have too many outfielders....no worries.just concerns...If they can score 8 against Beckett and we still have numerous shots to win ....the Rays are in trouble...

laura k said...

We may need to rely on the Rays being the Rays

What? We need the Rays to not be the Rays.

Obviously the Red Sox can't rely on anyone but themselves to win their own games. But can anyone still seriously be thinking the Rays are going to lay down or knuckle under to pressure? Isn't it obvious by now that they're a very good and tough team?

laura k said...

We all have to remember that unless we were expecting a sweep, the Red Sox have to lose 1, 2 or 3 games.

I picked Sox in 7, I know Allan picked Sox in 6. A few losses are going to be part of the picture.

allan said...

It's simple:
Split on the road
Win 2 of 3 in Boston
Win one of two at Tampa


Amy said...

Just catching up on the game thread. I fell asleep in the bottom of the tenth, woke up in the bottom of the 11th, saw Timlin, two on base, and decided to turn off the TV and go back to sleep. I agree with everyone else's assessment. WTF??

Nix, just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and your cat. I am a major cat lover (and dog lover), so I empathize greatly. Please let us know how the cat is doing.

9casey said...

L-girl said...
We may need to rely on the Rays being the Rays

What? We need the Rays to not be the Rays.

I.E. besides that gift run Wheeler gave he shut us down, He's not that good , not all of a sudden..he hasn't pitched that many innings since '04 or something like that....

That game just boggled my mind last night we had 12 hits 4 guys had 3..thats odd.......All of Crisps hits came with 2 outs....If one of those outfileders could just put on a first basemans mitt we would be better off....I didn't think Lowell's injury would be so glaring but it is....

SoSock said...

WLWWLW is kinda what I had figured :)
Either way - Sox in six, I still say.
I'm hoping Tito just ate some of the brown acid or something last night (they SAID don't eat that you know). He most certainly was NOT the Tito I've come to expect at postseason time. I was dozing in and out by the last inning, but when the White Flag IBB'ed He-wanna-mora, I thought "OK, he hasn't QUITE lost the game yet. I hope Byrd can clean up his shit"
Of course, like everyone else I thought he should have been in before Timlin, but if not, why not there?!
Tito may say he's thinking he'll need him for long relief when Wake pitches, but you know what? You can't play for tomorrow in the postseason. You shouldn't in the regular season, but definitely not in the playoffs. That's been my own achilles heel most of my coaching career. But I'm just a damn LL coach, and even I recognize that flaw. If you're a pro you should recognize it, and FIX it.
Timlin hadn't pitched since 9-28 and Byrd not since 9-24. That's an issue too. Byrd should have been getting at least some token work that last week or 2.
OK, through ranting, I won't even mention the pricks announcing the games.
All is calm.
Sox in six.
I hope your cat is OK Nix, animals are pretty much family to a lot of us, myself included.

allan said...

PHI: 0
LAD: 5


9casey said...

I know there was a lot of people calling for Byrd......But isn't really just the lesser of 2 evils.....He has given up like 26 runs in 48 innings for the Sox.....I think the better call might have been Wakefield or like Redsock mentioned stay with the Bot....I think Tito just thought it was game 2 and not game 7..

Unitsmoke said...

I was sitting next to the pen last night and Byrd was warming going into the 10th with Timlin. They had Ross standing at the bullpen plate and he was making comments to Byrd during the warm up. That seemed kind of weird to me. The Sox fans around me made a collective sigh when they saw Timlin, and not Byrd, go in to throw the 11th.

allan said...

He has given up like 26 runs in 48 innings for the Sox

Right, 26 in 49. 4.78 ERA.
Timlin allowed 32 runs in 49.1 innings: 5.66.

Wakefield is starting on Tuesday, so he was not an option.

Thanks for the report on the pen, unit.

laura k said...

.But isn't really just the lesser of 2 evils.....

NO. There is no one in the pen worse than Timlin, period.

laura k said...

7-2 Dodgers now after 7.

laura k said...

Should have said in the 7th. Phillies threatening.

SoSock said...

Well, I've been pulling for Manny and the Dodgers, but my son has informed me I should be pulling for Philly because he's now in the lottery (twice) for seats there if they make it. He's working there for the next 3-4 weeks apparently.
I don't know, though. Going to a W-S game would be an incredible experience, but pull for the Phillys?
Maybe I'll just go neutral.

Anonymous said...

Rarely do I ever yell at my television while watching a game, but last night was one of those times. I have always felt confident with Franconan's decisions, but last night was horrible. Given the loses the Sox had all season to these a-holes he should be playing a tighter game than he did. Oh well, lesson learned. Time to kick their Florida ass in Boston!

Rob said...

Bot should have come back instead of either Byrd or Timlin, but I understand the concern for his health, if that was the case. He could have thrown one more inning, and has - especially with the off day.

Once you get past Bot, I did agree with Timlin for an inning and then let Byrd go. The Rays had the upper hand anyway with three gutsy innings by Wheeler then the young flamethrower Price. Against Timlin and/or Byrd. Chances weren't too good either way for Boston. Umpires squeezing was a legitimate argument but bottom line is there was no right answer. You throw one of those guys out there and hope to get through the inning. Keyword hope.

Rob said...

I watched Tito's press conference around 4:00 this afternoon. He said he thought Beckett's pitches were inconsistent and he was constantly trying to work things out. But he wanted to throw him out there for one more inning, hoping he'd simply be able to give him one more.

He also didn't want Timlin to be the last guy in the bullpen, if something happened and you'd need to hand the ball to him for an extended period. These situations require guys to do things they don't normally do, but you wouldn't have anyone behind Timlin. The Rays handed the ball to David Price and said it's your game now. Go out and put up some bagels.

Unfortunately, he also said he thinks he'll play Cora at shortstop tomorrow night. Drew will be back in right, Lyndon back in center.

Rob said...

All in all I didn't feel too bad about the loss last night. It does make Game 3 a rather critical game though.

Win the game, you're up 2-1 with Wakefield on Tuesday night. Flip a coin on Wakefield and you're either up 3-1 or tied 2-2 with Dice on Thursday.

Lose the game, however, and you're down 2-1, and on Tuesday night you'll be clinching your ass, on the edge of your seat because you can flip a coin and either be tied or down 3-1.

Don't assume a W for Beckett anymore in this postseason because it could go either way (as we saw in both games he pitched - kept the Sox in the game, went to extras, and Boston lost)...

Makes it close to a must-win tomorrow night. Luckily we have the right man for the job.

SoSock said...

Luckily we have the right man for the job.

Amen, brother, amen.

. said...

At times, late in recent games, I get the impression that winning doesn't matter as much as something else. I just can't figure out what that something else is.

Last night, when Francona let Becket take the mound to start the 5th, I was thining that Beckett's two run lead was more important than the ultimate result, because, after all, he had to finish the 5th to be in a position to earn the win. So, so what if he'd given up three home runs in four innings? Let him have a chance. He's a nice young man. Well deserving of a win. Just like Timlin is a nice young man, and deserves a roster spot. Why get him upset all over again, after all.

And why is Masterson a one inning set up guy rather than the former starter he is, strong enough to pitch three innings in a pinch.

The truth is, the Sox are getting soft. Especially Terry. Being a good guy is more important than winning the game. A true statement.

laura k said...

The truth is, the Sox are getting soft.

Evidence, please. If it's "a true statement," you should have no trouble backing it up.

laura k said...

Just like Timlin is a nice young man

This is not a true statement.

Rob said...

Game sure looks different if Beckett pitches a clean 5th rather than what happened, and it looks better than if Josh was done after 4.

He struck out Iwamura to start the 5th, throwing one ball. He then walks Upton on three straight balls, a strike, and ball four. Upton steals second. He goes to 3-2 on Pena, who singles home Upton.

The remaining logic to allowing him to pitch to Longoria is a normal managing move: Looking at matchups. Longoria's bats right-handed, with the next three hitters being left-handed (Crawford, Aybar, and Navarro). There was just as good a chance of Longoria grounding into a double play as there was him hitting an RBI double.

Then you all know the rest: Francona brings in Lopez, who's been good down the stretch, but gives up an RBI single to Crawford. Francona goes to MDC who ends up pitching very well, retiring Aybar and Navarro, then working a scoreless 6th.

I'm sick of second-guessing the manager. He's been at this for so long and knows his players better than any of us do, that's for sure. It's hard to manage a pitcher who had a historic postseason one year ago, and is now struggling with a significant loss in velocity, which affected his other two pitches.

9casey said...

GoBoSo said...

because, after all, he had to finish the 5th to be in a position to earn the win.

In position for a win?

My last few posts were gibberish and illconcieved , i will be the first to admit that ...But if in anyway Tito was thinking he should try and get Beckett the win , because he is a nice young man, is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read...Beckett has a job to do and he wasn't doing it anywhere near his ability, he should have been yanked plain and simple, and if Tito ever admittted he left him in there for a win he would be torn apart...

L-girl said...
Just like Timlin is a nice young man

This is not a true statement

Which part the nice or young.....:)

tim said...

Maddon managed that game like a pro. Francona, not so much.

Wheeler for 3.1 was key. Fuck it, get em tomorrow.

laura k said...

Which part the nice or young.....:)


Rob said...

Wheeler for 3.1 was key. Fuck it, get em tomorrow.

+8 Internets for you.

Patrick said...

It's both weird and awful how the past three games Beckett has pitched against the Rays have ended up exactly like last nights game: extra inning loss.

He'll give up one too many home runs and we can't plate the winning run against their bullpen. The only glaring weakness this exposes is Beckett and that's not news.

I also wouldn't mind Ortiz to Ortiz again.

Sox in 6!

Unknown said...

"I'm sick of second-guessing the manager. He's been at this for so long and knows his players better than any of us do, that's for sure."

And he'd do a better job than any of us. By far. Doesn't mean he doesn't make mistakes. And this was a big one, indefensible. Not admitting that is putting your head in the sand.

Francona's worst post season job by far, but he's human, and he's been doing this for too long not to lay a few eggs. And this was an egg. Rotten.

laura k said...

And he'd do a better job than any of us. By far. Doesn't mean he doesn't make mistakes. And this was a big one, indefensible.

That's how I look at it. I still love Francona, I'm not calling for his head. But he blew this one.

And now on to the next win!