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Friday, August 29, 2003

It's official, I hate Michael Kay...

mostly, I don't let announcers bother me. Most team play by play guys these days are homers, and the broadcast IS for the fans of that home team, so I don't see the big deal. But this statement is too much...

Michael "I'm Objective" Kay on Red Sox fans: "They overestimate their team because they are overcompensating for their feelings of inferiority of the Yankees. I honestly think that whenever they are ahead, the emotion they feel is more of a fear of being caught rather than the euphoria of having only the wind in front of you." ...

Hey Michael, just because you have the good fortune to work for the most successful team in sports doesn't make you a better person and it sure as hell doesn't make you a shrink. F*** you, you arrogant prick. You want to know why Sox fans hate the Yankees? Take a look in your f*cking mirror you piece of sh*t.

There, I feel better now.

Thanks to Joy of Sox for the heads up on the quote.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Everybody's Waiting For the Weekend

You wanna piece of my heart....c'mon baby let's start....

(Ahem) Wait a minute. Let's start over. The Yankees come to Beantown tomorrow for the much anticipated showdown of AL East rivals. A week ago, I was thinking this series was going to be largely meaningless, at least in terms of a divisional race. Now, the stakes are certainly higher. We are 4 1/2 games back (5 loss column). I don't think anything less than a sweep makes a race of this division. Two out of three is good, and certainly would help us in our wild card push, but being 4 back in the loss column with a month to go isn't a good position to be in. Even if we play really well, the Yanks have to stumble a bit. Possible, but unlikely.

We could take 2 of 3 in New York as well. That would being us to 3 back. I think we need to go 3-0 in Boston and 2-1 in New York. And let's face facts, the regular season series over the last 6 years or so have been pretty evenly split. Heck, even the year the Yanks won 114 games we still won the season series by a game. I think we should root for 6-0, but realistically, if we go 4-2 we should be thrilled, because that will help put us in great shape for the wild card.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Aaron Boone Watch

23G 85AB .176AVG/.220OBP/.247SLG. Pee-You. I hate to say I told you so....OK, I love to say I told you so. Actually, Boone should eventually rise to his career norms, around a .750 OPS.

Sox 6 Jays 3

Great win, tonight, a must to keep from potentially slipping further back. With the Yanks getting scorched again, it looks likely that the Sox will be 4 back (5 loss column) to set the stage for Friday night. A sweep makes it a race again. Dare we dream?

With Walker's big homer tonight, all 9 regulars have double digit home runs, a new Sox record. All I can say is wow.

The Return of Friendly Fenway for Hitters?

Does anyone know where I might find offensive numbers for all the MLB ballparks for this year? I know that I've read that ever since Fenway put up the 600 Club (now the .406 club) that offense at Fenway has leveled off and that Fenway has been close to neutral for hitting since. But the home/road splits for the team this year would suggest that Fenway is becoming a hitters' haven once again. Nomar's splits (as I noted a month or so ago) are ridiculous. He's actually a pretty lousy hitter on the road this year, and historically, that has NOT been the case. His struggles on the road are most puzzling seeing as how he has historically been a better power hitter on the road (and a slightly better hitter for average at home). This year busts all those norms, and looking up and down the Sox lineup, he's not the only one this year.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Disgusting Performance by Bullpen

Another egg laid by the revamped bullpen. Seriously, has Scott Sauerbeck been introduced to home plate? This guy was praised by scouts as the best left handed specialist in the NL? And what the hell is up with Williamson? Theo acquired the best available guys to be sure, but they sure aren't performing. Disgusting. It's disgusting to come back from 7-1 to tie only to see the pen hand it right back over.

The personnel is in place. They just need to perform, and it's just not happening right now.

McCarty went 2 for 2 with a HR and 4 RBI. Guess it was the right move, eh?
Crap, down 3-1

Catalanatto homers. #$#$@#@. Now I am worried about those 6-9 hitters. Still plenty of time.
Mike Bordick Hitting Leadoff?

Is that really a good idea Carlos? He has a .335 OBP, which is better than his .322 career number.

Eric Hinske

One wonders if last year is the real Hinske or this year. I'm having shades of Joe Charbonneau. His OPS is .747, down from .846 last year. He's gotten better as the year has gone on. It's a little early to Charbonneau him really, but I just like bringing up that name. Say it with me. Char-bonn-eau. Rolls of the tongue, doesn't it?

Homestand Length

I seem to have missed the fact earlier that the Sox play the Yankees at home after they play Toronto and not in New York. Whoops. Well, that 6-3 homestand I predicted, then junked, looks quite possible (though Toronto). I'm going to revise my estimate to 9-3. I think they take both from Toronto and 2 of 3 from the Yankees. That would give us one hell of a burst into September.
Interesting Lineup Tonight

Our 6-9 batters are as follows:
6. Mirabelli (C)

7. McCarty (LF)

8. Kapler (RF)

9. Jackson (CF)



Methinks this does not strike fear into the heart of the opponent. I know you need to get your bench guys in and rest your starters, but do they all have to play at the same time??? Aren't we in a flat footed tie for the WC?

Well, as I check Mirabelli singles and McCarty hits an RBI double. Shows you what I know. Actually, I'm still wary of this lineup. Toronto is capable of scoring big. I'm not so sure this lineup can answer that if needed.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Righting the Ship

Well, I must say, I am rather impressed. The temptation to shovel dirt on this team was creeping into my mind after the frist 2 games against Oakland. The last loss in particular was ugly. However, the team has dug deep again and has taken 4 in a row from Oakland and Seattle to surge back to a wild card tie and 5 games behind the Yankees.

If not for some crappy bullpen work, the Sox could be 6-0 on this homestand. While that knowledge is painful, we have to be pleased with what we've seen from the Sox these past 4 days. With Pedro back on Monday, a 4 game sweep of Seattle looks very attainable.

This team may yet be the one. But even if it's not, I want to see them go down fighting and playing like they have these past 4 games instead of the ugliness that was those first 2 games of the homestand.

P.S. Anyone else just a smidge worried about Kim? He's not striking anyone out. Not even right handers lately. That doesn't bode well and may explain his 2 recent blown saves. I wonder if we'll have to consider Williamson for the closer role at some point? Food for thought.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Last Post For a Week or Two

Words can't describe how pissed and disgusted I am with this team right now. Curses are for the weak minded. I don't buy into them. There is no excuse for what has transpired over the last 2 games and I'm not in the mood to tolerate it. I need to distance myself from the team for a bit before I say something really nasty. Maybe they'll right the ship in the meantime, maybe they won't. All I know is, a 6-3 homestand ain't happening.

Monday, August 18, 2003

I Smell a 6-3 Homestand

I feel it in me bones. The Sox are home, where they play far better than they do on the road. They posted a respectable 3-4 record against the AL West's best on their home turf. 4-3 would have been terrific, but we only lost a game to the A's on the trip and they played at home (where they're the best in the AL). So, it was a good road trip.

So, now it's time to welcome the Left Coasters to the Hub. I've got this notion that the Sox are coming to prove something. That's why I'm going out on a limb and projecting a 6-3 homestand (OK, a limb would be 7-2). Still, I see the Sox taking 2 of 3 from Oakland, 3 of 4 from Seattle and splitting with Toronto. Even if it's a split with Seattle and a 2 game sweep of Toronto, I'll be happy.

Lost Division?

Despite my optimism over our upcoming homestand, I'm of the notion that the AL East is all but out of reach. We're 5 back, but 6 back in the loss column. While I feel we will play well down the stretch, there is no reason to believe the Yankees will play poorly enough to allow us to catch them. Six games is a lot to make up with only 38 games to go (40 for NYY). Even if we go 24-14, the Yanks have to stumble to an 18-22 finish just for us to tie. I don't see that happening, bullpen woes, Wells' back, and Weaver's psyche aside. They still have a loaded lineup and strong starting pitching with Pettitte, Mussina and Clemens. And I think Rivera will regain his form if Torre backs off of his overuse.

One interesting note, though, courtesy of Bob Klapisch of ESPN.com , is that the Yankees face only teams with winning records or have outscored their opponents, save 3 games with the Tigers. Oh, and the Yanks recently played series against playoff contenders Oakland, Seattle, KC and Boston, and lost every one of them.

That said, unless we beat up on them in our last 6 games with them, I still see the Yanks taking the AL East flag. We need to hold off Oakland.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Sox Right the Ship

Whew! The Sox salvaged the road trip with a 4-2 come from behind win against the A's today. Down 2-1 in the 9th, Manny Ramirez homers off Keith Foulke to tie. The Sox won in 10.

I gotta admit, after the first 2 games of the series, I was starting to think that the race was going to slip away from us. The Sox were showing absolutely no signs of life. But a gutty outing by Lowe, a typical Wakefield start, great bullpen work and some clutch hitting has pulled us back into the wild card lead. Perhaps this team will vindicate my earlier confidence in a playoff spot yet.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

McCarty and Kapler?

For the second straight night, Grady has gone the percentage route and started 2 right handed hitters against an A's lefty (MUlder tonight). Is this necessary?

I checked Mulder's splits. He gives up a .674 OPS vs. righties and a .652 OPS vs. lefties. Obviously, that's real good either way, but there's not a huge difference between the two.

Kapler does have a .793 OPS vs. righties this year, albeit in only 44 AB. McCarty's OPS vs. lefties is .921. Don't get too excited, though, it's only in 18 AB.

Meanwhile Nixon's OPS vs lefties is .645. Ortiz is at .676.

I don't know, my gut tells me Grady is wrong on this one. Mulder doesn't dominate lefties any more than righties and Kapler and McCarty don't have a proven track record of punishing lefties. I would have started Nixon at a minimum. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

1st Inning, 5-0 A's ,Game Already Over

With Barry Zito and a 5-0 lead, this is pretty much forked. Thank you John Burkett for getting pounded by one of the worst offenses in baseball.
A Lousy Start

Well, the Sox certainly got off to a lousy start last night. Granted, I think the AL All Stars would have been shut down by Tim Hudson last night, but it's still disconcerting to lose with Pedro on the mound. It's also disappointing to see Pedro not bring his "A" game to one of the most important matchups of the regular season. Throwing 100 pitches in 5 innings is letting your team down, IMHO.
The possible excuse I heard for last night's struggle is the pitch counts of his last 2 outings, especially the complete game. This is Pedro's big shortcoming, especially this year. If you can't rely on your ace to pitch on a full 4 days rest and pitch effectively, what do you have? In the playoffs (if we make it), he's going to have to go deep into games and pitch on a minimum of 4 days rest (let's forget even thinking about trying him on 3 days rest. That will not work). If he can't do that, then is having him really much of an advantage as your ace over a guy like Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, or Mike Mussina, guys who CAN do it?
Don't get me wrong, Pedro is great and has been great for the Red Sox. I'd really like to see him stay in Boston. But I'm having a hard time justifying the money he is going to command when he is a 6-7 inning pitcher who needs 5 days rest.
Is it age that's reduced his effectiveness or wear and tear? In 1997 with the Expos he pitched 13 complete games and 241 IP. His first year in Boston he pitched 233 IP. Can he build his endurance back up with a killer training regimen like the one Clemens puts himself through? Would he?
What I see when I see Pedro pitch is a guy who has lost some of that zip on his fastball, and therefore, cannot keep hitters as off-balance as he once could. Oh sure, his numbers are still great. His K/9IP are down. I see a lot of hitters run long counts with him by fouling off tons of pitches. Pitches guys used to wave at, they're now getting the bat on the ball. Thus, Pedro is running up huge pitch totals and is often gone after 6 or 7 IP. That 4 MPH is the difference between guys whiffing on that fastball (or change up with the huge speed differential) and fouling it off.
OK, enough on Pedro. He's still great and I'm still a big fan, but I think the days of Pedro going 23-4 and winning Cy Youngs may be over. He's becoming more finesse with each passing year. I think he's going to settle into winning 16-19 games a year (assuming he stays healthy) for the forseeable future.

So, tonight we have the revitalized John Burkett vs. Barry Zito. Sounds like a huge mismatch, but I think this one has a decent chance to tilt our way. I think the Sox still have a shot to go 4-3 on this trip, but they must split with Oakland. So they must win tonight. Let's hope the guys remember how to hit on the road.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Alfonso Soriano

Since the Yankees have dropped Soriano to 8th in the batting order, I became curious about how his season stats stack up this year vs. last year. We were told last year was only the beginning and that the sky was the limit for this young stud. Certainly, this is only a mere bump in the road for Soriano. He's just way too talented. Everyone suffers through slumps. Anyway, his 2002 numbers vs. 2003.


2002 .300 AVG 39 HR 102 RBI .332 OBP . 547 SLG 128 R 157 K 23 BB 41 SB
2003 .282 AVG 24 HR 62 RBI .333 OBP .490 SLG 81 R 91 K 26 BB 28 SB

Interestingly, he's become more patient. I expected to see no improvement, figuring that might be the cause of his problems. He has a lower AVG, but his OBP is identical. It's a lousy OBP for a leadoff hitter, and frankly, Soriano should be hitting 3rd, not 1st (when not slumping).
The only difference I see right now is his power is down. He's still having the 2nd best season of any AL 2nd baseman (behind Boone).
The Freaking Orioles

What is it with the Sox and the Orioles this year? They get rolling on a 4 game win streak and then get swept in a doubleheader by these mediocre clowns? This following dropping 2 of 3 at Camden.

OK granted, they have a few good players. Gibbons is having a nice year, Julio is solid, Ligtenberg is good, Deivi Cruz is having a nice year, too. Still. We should wipe the floor with them. Very aggravating.
What, No Armando-Time?

THe M's beat the Yankees today 2-1. Shigetosi Hasegawa closed out the game with a scoreless 9th. Gee, I can't imagine why the M's didn't use Benitez to close out the Yankees.
Aaron Boone Watch

In 7 games, Aaron is hitting .138/.138/.172 with 1 RBI. It's a small sample size, but might those road stats have been trying to tell us something?

Monday, August 04, 2003

Tracking the Rookies

Since it's an off day, I decided to occupy some time by taking a look at the rookies in each league and see how the ROY races are shaping up. I could vent about the past week and the Sox going 2-4 against crappy teams, but I figure let's try to get some positive vibe going. So I'll ignore last week.

AL Rookies
There are only 5 rookies in the AL who qualify for the batting race. We'll focus on them.

Angel Berroa (KC) .295/.345/.489 15 HR 54 RBI
M. Texieria (Tex) .260/.343/.480 17 HR 53 RBI
H. Matsui (NYY) .297/.355/.454 12 HR 78 RBI
R. Baldelli (TB) .303/.333/.453 9 HR 57 RBI 18 SB
K. Harvey (KC) .252/.296/.397 9 HR 49 RBI

It's interesting that Matsui gets all the pub for ROY. He's got the nice AVG and RBI totals, but he trails in OPS to 2 true rookies in Berroa, a SS, and Texieria, a guy who's played 1b/3b/RF/LF. But we all know the press only looks at AVG, HR, and RBI (and sometimes SB), so expect Matsui and Baldelli to outpoll the others easily.

But what about pitchers you say? Well, no starter has an ERA under 4.70. Rich Harden has only made 4 starts, so he's out. That leaves relievers. Basically you've got Mike MacDougal (25 SV, 3.97 ERA) and Lance Carter (19 SV, 4.42 ERA). MacDougal had a shot for a while, but he's gone cold since the All Star Break (0 SV). And Carter? Please.

Expect Matsui to get the hardware, but my vote is for Berroa.


NL Rookies

P-U. You've got 3 position players who qualify for the batting title to choose from.

Scott Posednik (MIL) .305/.376/.401 3 HR 28 RBI 22 SB
Ty Wigginton (NYM) .269/.320/.408 7 HR 49 RBI
Xavier Nady (SD) .253/.304/.370 7 HR 31 RBI

Posednik is the only one worth considering here. What about pitchers?

Dontrelle Willis (FLA) 10-2 2.50 ERA 97 IP 85 H 93 SO 32 BB
Brandon Webb (ARZ) 7-4 2.43 ERA 122.1 IP 97 H 110 SO 36 BB

These are the only 2 serious candidates. Willis has been flashier but Webb has the better peripherals. That said, Willis has been electrifying. He gets my vote.


Aaron Boone

The Yankees have been trumpeting the arrival of Aaron Boone to solve their 3B woes. Certainly, he's an upgrade over the aging Robin Ventura, but is he all that he's cracked up to be? He's 30 years old and he's only played 135+ games in 2 other seasons (1999, 2002). In those 2 seaons, his OPS was .775 and .753. Not exactly world beating. But this year he's better right? On the surface, you'd think so:

.271 AVG .335 OBP .464 SLG 18 HR 66 RBI 16 SB .799 OPS.

OK, so that's a little better, right? But wait, what are his home road splits?

Home: .297/.366/.530
Road: .245/.304/.401

He's played all his home games thus far at Great American Ballpark, which has proven to be an excellent hitters park this year. Therefore, the more accurate measure of the hitting ability the Yankees would see would be his road stats, right? His road stats kind, sorta suck. They gave up a potentially big time starter in Claussen for what appears to be a slightly above average (if that) 3B who, at 30, has probably hit his peak (unless he pulls a Bret Boone). The Yankees could really end up regretting this one (and Aaron might too, because the fans will be merciless if he doesn't produce).

P.S. Does anyone know an easy way to set up stats in a readable table? The last one I did was so time consuming, I'm reluctant to do it again.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Must....Control....Temper...

It's now 5-2 O's, bottom of 6th. I tuned in and immediately they coughed up a 2-1 lead. The TV is now off. They are preparing for their toughest stretch of the season by gagging on some of the most mediocre/worst teams (Rangers, O's) in the AL. They got shut down by 2 nobodies and Pat Hentgen??? Pat Hentgen???? I need to find a metal bar to chew on.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Thumbs Up for Theo

I like the deal's Theo made this weekend. It seems the media is catching on, too. Right now, Theo is one of the hottest GM's in the game in terms of profile. He's being called Boy Wonder and Wunderkind. People were so focused on the bullpen's failure and the mis-named "closer by committee" that no one noticed the great signings he pulled off before the season (Mueller, Millar, Ortiz, Jackson, Timlin).

But now that he's dealt excess (and overrated) hitting (Hillenbrand) for a top-flight closer (Kim), a decent, but not top, Single A prospect (Dumatrait) for another top-flight closer/set-up man and a top middle infield prospect that there no room for (Sanchez) for TWO solid pitchers (Sauerbeck, Suppan), people are finally taking notice.

I'm glad the Sox didn't get Billy Beane. I loved Moneyball and I buy into Beane's results based evaluation system and focus on OBP. But he's too volatile and the book has created some ill-will. Plus, his stated desire to trade Varitek and replace him with Mark Johnson (Mark Johnson???) shows that he doesn't always make the right call.

In Theo we have a GM who believes in sabermetrics and objective evaluation, but also seems to know how to play GM politics (I've read he's very well-liked by other GM's) and is media-friendly. I think we're playoff bound.

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