Against All Odds

Tonight our intrepid upstarts take on the mighty Angels. And coolstandings confirms all our suspicions: we need to overcome the odds to take this series. We’ll be watching*, knowing that we’re rooting for a little engine that could, a wily David to the fleet-footed and aggressive Goliath that is Mike Scoscia’s AL West juggernaut. A series win for the Olde Towne Team would be a boost to upstarts everywhere, proving once and for all that bullies need to be dealt with fearlessly, regardless of the odds. Go Sox!

*the first two innings that is, then we’ll probably fall asleep – we’re old and these west coast games don’t help us fight the battle for rest against our chosen bedding.

45 comments… add one

  • Underdogs? Really? The Twins are underdogs, maybe the Rox…the Red Sox are Evendogs at worst.

    John - YF October 8, 2009, 11:38 am
  • humor, people. humor!

    YF October 8, 2009, 11:47 am
  • The thing about Underdog is that he always wins. So it would be a huge upset if the Red Sox didn’t win tonight. I would say it’s almost a guarantee!

    AndrewYF October 8, 2009, 11:52 am
  • The math doesn’t lie! We’re the dog!!!
    (ok, so it is only by 2.6%, but tell Al Gore that number ain’t significant!)

    SF October 8, 2009, 11:52 am
  • I wonder how coolstandings works. The game 1 winners, all of them home teams, are now each at around 75% chance of winning the series. If the Sox win, is the number bigger for them because they are stealing a game and have 2 more games at home? Or because they are the “underdog”, does the percentage go to less than where the other teams are?

    Nick-YF October 8, 2009, 11:59 am
  • I was being humorous as well…Evendogs, come on YF, that’s a little funny. (I saw the tag…)
    Don’t bring up Al Gore please…I am still sad over that.

    John - YF October 8, 2009, 12:06 pm
  • I just hope YFs will come in here talking about how great the Sox are and how easy it should be to beat the Angels, so I can get mad and leave.

    Paul SF October 8, 2009, 12:30 pm
  • Al Gore invented the internet, so he’s doubly-relevant here.
    The Sox are totally underdogs, playing those scrappy Angels in Anaheim. It would take a miracle for us to beat them!

    Atheose October 8, 2009, 12:31 pm
  • Even though it is the Yankees that I picked to win it all, the Sox are truly the most complete team in the hunt. Starting pitching for days, shut down closer, lineup balance and a bullpen with depth on both sides. They are truly a team to fear.
    (Cue’s Paul)

    John - YF October 8, 2009, 12:35 pm
  • You dated Al Gore??? Do tell. Did he introduce you to his version of “global warming”?
    I don’t even know what that means – it just sounds dirty.

    IronHorse October 8, 2009, 12:35 pm
  • Al Gore totally melts John’s icecaps, if you know what I mean.

    Atheose October 8, 2009, 12:44 pm
  • These Red Sox remind me of the ’27 Yankees.

    Nick-YF October 8, 2009, 12:44 pm
  • These Red Sox remind me of the ’27 Yankees.
    TAKE IT BACK.

    Atheose October 8, 2009, 12:50 pm
  • rob’s back…yay!
    so who’s “simon bar sinister”?…or is that hank and hal steinbarsinister?
    i’m confused…if you lose when you’re supposed to lose, and if you lose when you’re supposed to win, aren’t you still a “l-l-l-l-l-loser”?

    dc October 8, 2009, 1:00 pm
  • The Angels’ lineup is arguably as balanced as the BoSox lineup, or moreso. Not a lot of holes there.

    Hudson October 8, 2009, 1:10 pm
  • The Angels probably have the most balanced offense in the league; all 9 position players and their utility infielder have OPS+’s between 100 and 135.

    Atheose October 8, 2009, 1:14 pm
  • Good one on the icecaps Ath

    IronHorse October 8, 2009, 1:15 pm
  • You asked for it Ath…
    I don’t see anyway the Sox even lose ONE game in this series. Theo has put together a juggernaut. A team that will cut through these playoffs like a hot knife through butter. With V-Mart and Tek behind the plate the running game of the Angels will be shut d…even in jest I can’t finish that sentence. Seriously though Sox in 3! La-La-La-La-La, Lock it up!

    John - YF October 8, 2009, 1:22 pm
  • I’d be surprised to see the Sox lose this series as well. But, I read a explanation somewhere (forgive me, I can’t remember where), where the author compared the Red Sox team to a older jaguar. It’s a beautiful machine when it works, plenty of power, great handling, powerful engine, but you’re just never really sure if it’s going to make it the whole trip, or just when it’s going to leave you on the side of the road.

    Brad October 8, 2009, 1:45 pm
  • Love that analogy Brad – at least for now. If I’m sitting on the side of the road next week watching the playoffs go by, I won’t be so amused.

    rootbeerfloat October 8, 2009, 1:50 pm
  • Me too, rbf. But, I can see it happening. I think when both teams play to their capabilities, the Red Sox are better. But, we’ve seen this team slump bad, play bad defense, and pitch poorly from top to bottom before. I hope that isn’t the case because the Angels are a good enough team to take advantage of a slumping team.

    Brad October 8, 2009, 1:56 pm
  • With V-Mart and Tek behind the plate the running game of the Angels will be shut d…even in jest I can’t finish that sentence.
    This made me laugh pretty hard.
    All joking aside, I’m going to start throwing shit at my TV if Varitek is anywhere near home plate.

    Atheose October 8, 2009, 2:00 pm
  • No doubt the Sox are underdogs. The Globe reported this morning what I’ve been saying for three months: they don’t hit good pitching.

    I'm Bill McNeal October 8, 2009, 2:09 pm
  • IBM, Who hits good pitching? That’s why it’s good pitching.

    Joe October 8, 2009, 2:55 pm
  • Well, the Sox trade for Wagner was finally finished yesterday: http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/metsblog/mets_complete_wagner_trade_lmS6N6NOAzXummNY1zi5bL
    Wagner’s been pretty much everything the Sox could have hoped for, but I’m still a little sorry to see Carter go. But not much.
    Also, I posted this story yesterday about A-Gon’s kid being in a coma for 2 years, but I don’t think most people saw it since I put it up in a dead thread: http://bit.ly/23F2O

    stuck working October 8, 2009, 2:57 pm
  • Some legitimate pitchers the Sox have won games against (I only counted games where they legitimately hit the pitcher for at least three runs, not where they squeaked through, then beat the bullpen or anything like that):
    Bergesen
    Jurrjens (twice)
    Sabathia (that one was on Girardi, though, as far as I’m concerned)
    E Jackson (the beginning of his crazy downward slide?)
    Halladay (twice)
    Lackey
    Slightly less good but still good:
    Burnett (three times)
    Garza (twice)
    Shields (twice)
    Niemann (twice)
    If I were insane, I’d go through the Yankee log and see how they compare. I’ll bet they have like 4-5 more wins against uber-pitching. The thing about good pitching is you’re not supposed to win against it.

    Devine October 8, 2009, 2:57 pm
  • The Globe reported this morning what I’ve been saying for three months: they don’t hit good pitching.
    That’s an interesting study by the Globe, which looks at the Sox’ performance against the AL’s top 15 pitchers by ERA+ and compares to other playoff teams. But there are a couple problems:
    1. Relevance. Relevance. Relevance.
    The Sox won’t be facing any of the top five AL pitchers by ERA+, nor will they be facing nine of the top 10. In fact, of those 15, only six are in the playoffs. Two are on the Red Sox, and one is in the National League. That leaves three. Of the top 15 starters, three are potential opponents in the next two rounds of the playoffs. Does it matter if the Sox couldn’t beat Zack Greinke or Felix Hernandez and had mixed results against Roy Halladay? None of those guys will be on the mound.
    2. Sample size. The Sox have played all of seven games this season against those three likely playoff opponents, and four of those are by Sabathia. So while, yes, the Sox did not do partciularly well in any of them this regular season, the Sox also have a track record of beating — and beating up — all three of them in previous postseasons, during which those pitchers were still considered very good starters. And that sample is all of one start (and zero games) smaller.
    3. Sample size II and coincidence. Early in the season, when the Sox were raking the ball, they had the good fortune of missing many of the other teams’ aces. In July, when the team was scuffling, they seemed to run into a lot more aces. Does correlation equal causation? Do coincidences happen? When we start picking out individual starts by selected pitchers while ignoring the context of the team’s performance in the games surrounding those starts, we start losing relevance and picking up noise. For example, this study likely includes the post-clinching game against Roy Halladay in which the Sox included only one competent hitter (Ortiz) in their lineup. Is the Sox’ offensive performance in that game actually relevant to their performance against the Angels’ starters in the postseason? Nevertheless, the numbers produced in that game are likely providing a significant effect to the overall numbers Kilgore is presenting because I count only 22 starts among the 162 games the Sox played that meet the Globe’s criteria.
    4. Relevance. (Have I mentioned relevance?)
    How relevant are Jered Weaver’s April 10 and May 12 starts against a Boston club fielding a lineup without Victor Martinez and arguably no real semblence of David Ortiz?
    The Sox hammered ROY candidate Jeff Niemann (ranked 16th in ERA+) on May 2. Is this less relevant than their performance against any of the 10 non-Sox, non-playoff starters counted by the Globe?
    Is the Red Sox’ regular-season performance against Justin Verlander more relevant to a postseason series against the Angels than their performance against Joe Saunders?

    Paul SF October 8, 2009, 3:09 pm
  • Well the Sox only scored 2 earned runs against Lackey, and he pitched 7.2 innings. So that’s still pretty dominant against a team like the Sox.

    Atheose October 8, 2009, 3:18 pm
  • Okay, so I’m insane:
    Weaver, Jered (twice)
    Bergesen
    Lee
    Santana
    Halladay (twice)
    Lester
    Slightly less good but still good:
    Porcello
    Shields
    Garza
    Buehrle
    Beckett
    Quite a few such starters they got a run or two off of and countered with their own great pitching to win or blew the bullpen out.

    Devine October 8, 2009, 3:29 pm
  • You’re right, Ath, one of the runs was unearned, you can cross that off the “got at least 3 off him” list above.

    Devine October 8, 2009, 3:31 pm
  • So it seems like both the Sox and Yanks “struggled” against good pitching.
    The lesson is that this is perfectly normal.

    Devine October 8, 2009, 3:34 pm
  • Not trying to bust your balls Devine; I had looked up Lackey’s previous starts against the Red Sox this morning so it was fresh in my mind.

    Atheose October 8, 2009, 3:38 pm
  • My little scan-through study is quite flawed, in that I only looked at every win by the team, then looked for a very good or good opponent. It’s possible I missed some great performances against great starters where the opponent beat up on the Sox or Yankees starter.

    Devine October 8, 2009, 3:44 pm
  • Good pitching does well against all teams, average pitching does well against bad (hitting) teams not so well against good (hitting) teams, poor pitching, well that’s self explanitory. When Halliday, Grienke, Beckett are pitching you really don’t care that much who the opposing team is, you still care who the opposing pitcher is but you don’t worry so much about the other team. When an average pitcher pitches (and I won’t name any, but we all know plenty) you consider who he is pitching against and who the opposing pitcher is. Remember sample sizes, on any given day the Royals pitching Hochevar can beat the Yankees starting Sabathia, the odds are roughly 25-30%.

    Joe October 8, 2009, 3:48 pm
  • As a Soxfan who has been itching for this (9:37 pm) game for at least a week now, I have to vent about the radio sports media a minute.
    Seriously, was *anyone* peddling any memes for this series besides
    (1) “Boston has owned the Angels in the postseason for years” and
    (2) The less-common but also ubiquitous counter-proposition that “previous series don’t matter and all bets are off in the postseason”?
    I have heard little except minimal variations on those two themes non-stop. A bit of “Lester or Beckett for Game 1″ in the early stages, and that’s about the extent of the variety.

    Hudson October 8, 2009, 4:46 pm
  • Not to sound like a fanboy, but Paul SF is one of the reasons I am so glad I stumbled onto this site. Tonight begins my first postseason with YFSF on board.
    Thanks to all who contribute and GO SOX!

    Clark SF October 8, 2009, 5:12 pm
  • C’mon Paul, creating aliases to boost your ego? Laaaaaaame. ;)

    AndrewYF October 8, 2009, 6:08 pm
  • Sockpuppet alert…

    Hudson October 8, 2009, 6:32 pm
  • dammit SF. now you have me concerned as to suzanne muldowneys whereabouts.

    sf rod October 8, 2009, 6:56 pm
  • Chicago Sun-Times reporting that the Cubs are trying to push Milton Bradley onto the Rays. I don’t like this. Tampa might be the one place he can succeed.
    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/deluca/1813475,CST-SPT-deluca08.article

    I'mBillMcNeal October 8, 2009, 7:59 pm
  • Ack. Sellane w/ 2 goals in less than 1:30.

    I'mBillMcNeal October 8, 2009, 8:10 pm
  • Ha, I thought that post might get me in trouble…Don’t feel jealous AndrewYF, your forays into opponent gamers are interesting as well :)

    Clark SF October 8, 2009, 8:17 pm
  • “…Not to sound like a fanboy, but Paul SF is one of the reasons I am so glad I stumbled onto this site. …”
    oy

    dc October 8, 2009, 8:19 pm
  • J.D. Drew batting 8th tonight, watch out!

    Clark SF October 8, 2009, 8:25 pm
  • with his [insert convenient stat here]….what?…you’ve got to be kidding…does theo know what tito is up to?

    dc October 8, 2009, 8:28 pm

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