Deep Breaths…

Oooh boy. The Sox lose in spectacular fashion to the Angels and, with Jon Lester due up, look primed to take their third road sweep of the season. New York wins, and despite the fireworks there aren’t any punches thrown. Bonds breaks the record, and I’m finally left in the odd position of kinda-sorta-having to root for A-Rod to one day take the crown himself. And to top it off, my girlfriend dumps me for some 40-year-old she met at the library who just "gets her" much better then I do. Whatever that means…

But on the bright side, no more of those infuriating cuts to every
single Bonds at-bat during nationally televised games. Plus, now
that the record has finally been broken, we have only another week or
two before coverage finally dies down and focus returns to more
pressing issues, like Mike Vick’s dogfighting charges and David Beckham.

And lets not overstate the importance of these games against the Halos. One bad West Coast series does not the season make. We
get 12 more wonderful games against Tampa Bay and 10 against perennial
whipping boy Baltimore. The Jays were usurped some time ago by the
Mariners as "Mediocrity I Really Can’t Stand Facing, Especially On the Road," and to be honest, these Lilly-less, Chacin-less Canadians just don’t scare me like they used to. Simply put: The schedule’s about to get a whole lot easier. I’ve
also noticed that as strong as New York looks right now, they’ve still
played 13 fewer games against >500 teams then Boston has, and come
out of those 56 at a less-then-impressive 29-27. I find that at least
slightly reassuring, even if many of those losses likely came in the
first few months of the season.

And it’s been nice to see that Tito’s finally setting the batting
order the way it should have been since at least June, with Pedroia and Youk in the top two spots and Drew hitting fifth. Until the trip
to LA, it’d been working fairly well, too. Schilling looked
fine until he completely lost his splitter, with his velocity back
in the low-90’s. And these last two suckfests aside, the Sox have at
least been playing solid baseball, winning 5 of their 7 series since
the break (including one 4-game split). Could have been better, but it
hasn’t been all bad.

I’m mostly writing now to reassure myself, and because tonight’s
game got me so worked up I almost swore off watching for a little while. So, lets all just relax. Let the YF’s revel in their team’s resurgence whilst we keep our fingers off the panic buttons. And remember, even if the lead does get cut again tomorrow, the Sox remain a pretty solid operation. They can gain ground, too; there’s no reason to assume that this shrinkage is a permanent trend.

PS: The girlfriend thing was a joke. But today did suck.

69 comments… add one
  • What I’d like to know is this:
    Why the hell — ahem, sorry for the strong language, let me try that again — why the BLEEPING HELL has Francona brought in Julian “Porn Orc” Tavarez twice in the past two games, when the Sox were down but still close?

    Hudson August 8, 2007, 6:09 am
  • I am tired of the “hey, the schedule gets a whole lot easier now” thing. The Sox have played mediocre baseball for two months, playing well against some good teams and poorly against some bad teams. Their longer term summer track record shows them to be pretty damn mediocre. I have been beating this drum here for weeks now, even with a 10 game lead, that the Sox are in for trouble. And I still think that. It wasn’t/isn’t irrational panic, or the pre-2004 typical Sox fan doom, it is a thought based on watching a lot of super-frustrating, mediocre baseball, baseball not good enough to win much of anything.

    SF August 8, 2007, 6:48 am
  • Meanwhile, Tavarez in AGAIN with a two run deficit? Why doesn’t Tito just walk over to Theo’s office and leave a bag of flaming dogshit at his door? What a “f*ck you” that is, two nights running.

    SF August 8, 2007, 6:51 am
  • tito doesn’t like gagne and the others in the pen?…not sure i buy the “tito’s thumbing his nose at theo” theory…he may just be running the gas out of tavares to see if he has anything before the sox dump his sorry rear-end…
    someone will eventually correct me about the proper use of the elite portion of the sox pen, but waiting for a high leverage situation may allow mold and rust to develop on gagne and the others…even in a game the sox are behind, but by only a couple of runs, seems like a good time to use a guy likely to shut the other team down to give your team a chance to catch up…but when a 2 run lead becomes a 5 or 6 run lead, your big guns become irrelevant…

    dc August 8, 2007, 8:24 am
  • i am surprised to hear any sox fan tempt fate in the way you seem to. August, for all of the last 90 years save one, has been a period of collapse for the sox and resurgence for the yanks. This is the time the champs do what they do – just win baby. And after making the yanks mad, that pile of mediocracy in Toronto have done us a real favor – reminded the yanks that it is them against the world.
    Yanks by 3 for the division.

    Anonymous August 8, 2007, 9:18 am
  • They are playing like a sack of muddy dicks.
    I doubt we get out of August with the lead.

    LocklandSF August 8, 2007, 9:23 am
  • “The Sox have played mediocre baseball for two months, playing well against some good teams and poorly against some bad teams. Their longer term summer track record shows them to be pretty damn mediocre”
    I just don’t completely agree with this. They played below average ball in June (13-14 .481) average – above average ball in July (15-12 .556 which equates to about 90 wins in a season) and are so far 4-3 in August after a very tough west coast road trip. If you expected this team to be 6-1 or even 5-2 so far in August you haven’t realized how tough it is for east coast teams to win a series out on the west coast. It is expected of them to lose the series in LA, and was unexpected of them to win in SEA.
    Since the All Star break they are 15-11 and they only reason people still think they are playing mediocre is because they aren’t playing at the .660 clip they played at for the first two months.
    The Yankees are playing unbelievable baseball right now, but the Red Sox aren’t playing .500 baseball. They have been playing well recently and I fully expect them to make 3-4 games up between now and the time we face them in NY.

    NeffSox August 8, 2007, 9:24 am
  • I knew the game was over when Lowell got sent home. Lowell. The only man slower than Kevin Millar or David Ortiz. Who get’s gunned at home with no outs?
    Also, I’m so tired of Terry Francona waiting until Wakefield has let the game get completely away from him before going to get him.
    The offense gave him a two run lead, and he immediately gave them all back. Why have the bullpen if you’re never going to use it properly, Terry?

    Brad August 8, 2007, 9:25 am
  • On mornings like this, WEEI is music to a Yankee Fan’s ears

    Westboro - YF August 8, 2007, 9:27 am
  • The Sox absolutely infuriate me. As far as I’m concerned, they’re done in the first round of the playoffs (provided that they don’t tank beforehand). Why? Because they don’t score runs after the sixth inning… EVER! If the Sox don’t get an early lead, they don’t win. Period! 99.9% predictable. Now, last night was just your typical whooping. But, the night before, as soon as the Angels took the lead, I shutoff my TV. I knew it was over. Last night, Wakefield blew a 2 run lead, I turned off my TV. The Sox are saving me lots of time this year, because I don’t have to watch the end of the game! I know how it is going to turn out. Why, why, why?!

    MrBlackthorne August 8, 2007, 9:57 am
  • “If the Sox don’t get an early lead, they don’t win. Period! 99.9% predictable.”
    100% of teams in Major League Baseball don’t have a winning record when losing after 7 innings. I believe the Sox actually have a better record than the Yanks when losing after 7. Don’t have all the time in the world to look it up right now though.

    NeffSox August 8, 2007, 10:12 am
  • Anon really needs to come down from his high horse. I have been looking in my rear-view mirror all year. “Tempt fate?” Shut up, dude.

    Devine August 8, 2007, 10:12 am
  • I believe the Sox have only won twice this season when trailing after the 6th inning. Anyone know for certain? Anyway, a lot of those losses were by 1 run. That’s pretty shameful, especially when you take into account the Sox’s record for comeback wins in the previous 3 seasons.

    MrBlackthorne August 8, 2007, 10:22 am
  • MrBlackthorne:
    Read the below post, it will illuminate you regarding late inning comebacks. They are rare throughout baseball. The Red Sox can be criticized on many levels (inefficiency on offense, boneheaded baserunning, Tito managing pitchers like Warren from “There’s Something About Mary”, losing 2 of 3 to the Royals, etc. etc.), but not coming back late in ballgames isn’t one of them.

    SF August 8, 2007, 10:29 am
  • The use of Gagne (or lack thereof) is why I said his acquisition was overkill. In his first week with blood on his Sox, he’s pitched two innings (5 hits, 2 ER, 3 K). Once was a high leverage situation (4-2 in the 8th on Saturday) the other was not (7-3 in the 9th). So 20 IP in the next two months with only half in high leverage contexts?
    Worse, if Francona is only going to use him in those situations, he’s already embodying modern “save” logic by managing to the stat rather than the situation. We’ve already seen that logic well with Torre and Mo.

    Woosta YF August 8, 2007, 10:30 am
  • I’m not talking about coming back in the 9th. I’m talking about scoring 1 run in the last 3 innings of a game… The Sox don’t score in the 7th, 8th, or 9th when trailing, ever. I’d like to see how many times it has happened this season. I bet you can count it on one hand. I don’t care about 9th-inning stats. This is inarguably atypical for the Sox (or ANY over-.500 team, for that matter) to not be able to score AT LEAST one run in 3 innings.

    MrBlackthorne August 8, 2007, 10:34 am
  • By the way, I’m not saying the Sox should have a winning record when trailing after 6. I’m also not saying this record should be stellar. But TWO GAMES?! That has to be well below average for teams that are over .500.

    MrBlackthorne August 8, 2007, 10:37 am
  • The acquisition wasn’t bad, the usage terrible, Woosta — I agree with you on the latter. It’s not Theo’s fault Francona is managing like a moron. I imagine there will be a conference call pretty soon. The Sox have FOUR far better guys to go to in the sixth down two runs (really three if you exclude Paps), so I don’t understand what Francona is doing, at all. He’s really doing some inexplicable things. You can’t fault a manager for choosing the wrong guy from a group of good pitchers, but you can fault a manager for not even tapping his best arms in important situations. If this keeps up for any duration and it ends up being a really substantial problem for the Sox, costs them additional chances at staying in or winning games, then I have to reconsider whether Tito should be back, and I haven’t thought about this option for quite a long time.

    SF August 8, 2007, 10:38 am
  • Playoff contenders when losing after 6 innings
    BOS 8-40 .167
    NYY 4-38 .095
    LAA 11-38 .224
    CLE 7-36 .163
    DET 8-31 .205
    SEA 8-43 .157

    NeffSox August 8, 2007, 10:46 am
  • NeffSox, where did you get this stat?

    MrBlackthorne August 8, 2007, 10:47 am
  • that makes sense considering how few 1-run games the Yanks have won this season.

    Nick-YF August 8, 2007, 10:50 am
  • NeffSox August 8, 2007, 10:51 am
  • The value of Gagne’s acquisition will probably show in tight games in the playoffs (I’m afraid). That’s why they got him.
    ” Why doesn’t Tito just walk over to Theo’s office and leave a bag of flaming dogshit at his door? What a “f*ck you” that is, two nights running.”
    That, my friend, is hilarious!

    Andrews August 8, 2007, 10:56 am
  • OK, so maybe things aren’t as bad as I thought. However, if you look at the percentage of games that are considered “comeback” wins, they are actually behind their paces from 2004, 2005, and even the awful year of 2006.
    2004 = 29.0% comeback wins
    2005 = 28.4% comeback wins
    2006 = 25.9% comeback wins
    2007 = 23.9% comeback wins
    That’s 5.1% off their final total from their world series winning 2004 season, and they’re even 2% worse than their awful season, last year.
    I’d be interested to see a statistic for runs scored when trailing by 1 run after the 6th inning… I’m admittedly not a statistician, however. :)

    MrBlackthorne August 8, 2007, 11:27 am
  • “Comeback wins” are an asinine stat, as you can be trailing 1-0 in the top of the frist and win 13-1 and have it be considered a “comeback.”

    Paul SF August 8, 2007, 11:49 am
  • SF –
    Perhaps a “Tito losses” counter a la the NoMaasian convention?
    But give credit where due. Prince Theo signed the $$$ offense and they haven’t exact produced. Half the lineup is underpowered (Coco, Drew, Varitek, Lugo) and overpriced. A bit more punch would go far.

    Woosta YF August 8, 2007, 11:58 am
  • At any rate, two losses quickly change one’s perspective. The Red Sox were 15-9 before the Angels series, which is anything but mediocre.

    Paul SF August 8, 2007, 12:04 pm
  • Last year both the Cardinals and Tigers collapsed at the end of the season, barely making the playoffs. They both then made it to the world series.
    This year the Colts lost 4 of their last 5 games to end the season, but went on the win the Superbowl.
    This year the Florida Gators basketball team lost 2 of their last 3 games, before winning the NCAA tournament.
    In 2005 the White Sox struggled at the end of the season, and the Indians almost caught them to win the division. They went on to sweep the Astros in the World Series.
    Last year the Steelers barely made the playoffs after having a mediocre finish to the season, but went on to win the Superbowl.
    My point is this: lately in sports there has been a trend where the team that struggles at the end of the regular season, the team that everyone says “is down and out”, is the team that wins it all. I WANT the Sox to struggle right now. I want people to say that they’re in trouble. Because that’s when teams turn it around.

    Atheose August 8, 2007, 12:07 pm
  • If your main concern is the apparent shutdown of the sox offense after 6, the best stat would probably be runs per each inning this season.

    J-YF August 8, 2007, 12:10 pm
  • Good point, J.
    The Sox have scored more runs in the eighth than any inning but the first and third.
    But in “late and close” situations (7th and later, tie or one-run game), their OPS+ is 79.
    So maybe Blackthorne’s impressions are at least partially correct.

    Paul SF August 8, 2007, 12:15 pm
  • calm down. It’s two losses to a very good team. Say Halladay shuts down the Yankees tonight and Lester and the offense show us something. Then will everyone still be on the ledge? The Sox essentially lost the game on one play, Lugo’s error. If he plays it cleanly its an out at 3rd or a DP, the failure to do so put the team in the worst possible situation. If this team wins tonight then they’re .500 on the first two stops of the trip going into Baltimore, that’s not bad considering the competition. As long as the Red Sox avoid losing more than 3 in a row for the rest of the season they will be perfectly fine.

    Anonymous August 8, 2007, 12:30 pm
  • I’m with Atheose! I also want the Sox to suck it right now. That being said, I don’t really think there’s any correlation between late-season suckitude and playoff success. Also not a big fan of “motivation” as a factor for turnarounds. Bottom line: smartly deployed, healthy talent wins games, but even smartly deployed, healthy talent isn’t going to win all the time in a competitive environment.

    YF August 8, 2007, 12:34 pm
  • Right, my concern is that they’re letting winnable games slip away by not getting clutch hits in late innings. Sometimes it is hard to put a statistic on what seems obvious. I don’t get that “never say die” feeling from this team that I’ve had the last three seasons. They seem to pack it in after the 6th. I realize that “comeback wins” isn’t greatest stat, but no stat tells the whole story. Regardless, you can tell that this team has a lot harder time getting that clutch “comeback” hit.
    I don’t know what it is, but every single time I’ve turned off the TV this year saying, “It’s over,” I’ve been right. Past seasons were not like that. Maybe it’s because I’m more likely to turn off the TV when the Sox are losing to a hard team after midnight. ;)

    MrBlackthorne August 8, 2007, 12:37 pm
  • let me finish that thought:
    ….but even smartly deployed, healthy talent isn’t going to win all the time in a competitive environment subject to the vagueries of luck and the natural fluctuation of human performance.

    YF August 8, 2007, 12:38 pm
  • “Bottom line: smartly deployed, healthy talent wins games”
    Where does Julian Tavarez (two nights running!) fit into this meme!?

    SF August 8, 2007, 12:48 pm
  • Gah, we can sample-size all we want. “In the last two games, the Sox are 0-2, all is not well!”, or “since the ASB, the Sox are playing .600 ball!” etc. etc., but the long-term trend since the division lead peaked at 14.5 is negative, both in terms of the size of the lead and the quality of play. The problems that have plagued the Sox (bad late and close performance, bad baserunning, late hooks by Tito, weak play by Lugo and Drew in general, Lowell thinking that the season is over on July 31st, etc.) are continuing to plague them, .600 record since the ASB or not. When I watch the team, I see the same issues, win or lose, which have put the Sox barely over .500 for TWO MONTHS now. Externally, everyone keeps saying the Yankees can’t keep this up, they can’t possibly play .700+ ball against the rest of their schedule, but I don’t buy that. The Yankees are playing tremendous ball, regardless of their opponent. The Sox are erratic, regardless of their opponent. This has been the case for a long time now.
    I have a feeling that many SFs will look back in October and wonder how the Sox could have had such a soft schedule in August and September and still not excelled. I hope I am 100% wrong, of course, but what I saw as problematic two months ago I still see as problematic now. What is going to change that? Is Manny going to stop hitting hard grounders to shortstop? Is he going to start fielding balls better? Is Papi’s knee going to magically heal? Is Lowell going to defy EVERY year of his career and excel down the stretch? Is Jon Lester going to suddenly have control? Is Terry Francona going to suddenly know how to manage with a one run or two run deficit? Is Julio Lugo going to reverse his year-to-date? Will there be NO injuries the rest of the way?
    The Sox have problems, they are a leaky boat. Hopefully, they leak slowly enough to make the playoffs (anyone check that wild card lead, perchance?), and then all bets are off, of course, short series and all that.

    SF August 8, 2007, 1:00 pm
  • To paraphrase SF:
    “Tell your statistics to shut up”

    Ayuh - SF August 8, 2007, 1:44 pm
  • I see where SF is coming from. There’s nothing I dislike more than the “in order to catch x team y must play at rate z” stats. things can seem impossible one day, and then 2 losses in a row change the math dramatically. You watch a team for a long time, they don’t perform as you think they should, and a certain malaise is natural. On the other hand, sometimes intense focus can detract from the big picture, and the big picture is that the Sox have two ace starters, the best bullpen in the majors, and an offense driven by 2 of the best players in the majors. they have allowed fewer runs than any al team, and they’re near the top in runs scored. over the course of a season, it’s not unusual to have stretches, sometimes long ones, where things don’t go your way. Where is the line that separates statistical noise from something more sinister? Hard to say.

    YF August 8, 2007, 1:58 pm
  • I seem to generally be less pessimistic than SF, (at least this season anyway), but I have an especially difficult time agreeing here.
    First off, the division lead has never been 14.5 at the end of a day’s games. I believe it was in between games of a double-header or after one team played and the other didn’t, but that just doesn’t count. The Red Sox were up 11.5 games after May 29, their largest day-ending lead of the season.
    At that time, they were 36-15, an unsustainable .705 winning percentage. That the remaining games would show a negative trend should have been a certainty.
    Since then, they’ve gone 32-30, a .516 winning percentage. Not very good. But if we were having this discussion three days ago, it would have been 32-28, a .533 winning percentage that is at least more palatable.
    Regardless, I’m not sure how we can ignore 12 wins in 16 games between July 20 and Aug. 5 just because they preceded two straight, albeit sloppy, losses. Particularly when you consider the Sox lost two in a row in the midst of that .750 stretch.

    Paul SF August 8, 2007, 2:34 pm
  • “I seem to generally be less pessimistic than SF”
    Everyone is less pessimistic than SF! SF makes the Grinch look like Bing Crosby! Come on!
    [Written with LOVE]
    Also, didn’t the Sox lose a bunch of 2-1 type games facing some tough pitching of late? Hard to really whine about that kind of thing. If your guys can hold teams to 1 or 2 runs, long term, things are going to go your way.

    YF August 8, 2007, 2:39 pm
  • The Sox seem to me the team built best for the play-offs. As with all teams, they have their weaknesses, but I really can’t think of a team that has a better shot at making a run through the post-season. If it’s true that pitching wins in October, what do Sox fans really have to worry about? Their inconsistent offense with David Ortiz and Manny leading the way? Maybe. But not many rotations feature 2 aces and Gagne, Okajima and Papelbon. It’s going to be hard to score runs against these guys when everything is on the line and they’re playing like there’s no tomorrow. The Sox have to be considered the world series favorites.

    Nick-YF August 8, 2007, 2:47 pm
  • “SF makes the Grinch look like Bing Crosby!”
    Good one!

    Andrews August 8, 2007, 2:53 pm
  • The ship be sinking!
    I guess I am pessimistic, but I am pessimistic because I have watched so many Sox games this year. What strikes me as problematic is that many of the issues leading to this shrinking lead (the Yankees’ torrid play notwithstanding) rear their heads in both wins and losses. This may be no different from any other team, but it still gives me a reason to not feel entirely confident.
    I just don’t like the pulling of streaks, winning or losing, to show how the team is or isn’t in trouble. The Sox have issues, winning or losing. Personally, I think the issues might throw a monkey wrench into the Sox effort to make the playoffs. Once they get to the playoffs, I like their chances as much as any other team, maybe more, based on their pitching staff, the enhanced bullpen especially, and the whole short series thing. But nothing would surprise me, even the Sox not making the playoffs at all, however doomish that seems. I do not like what I have watched for the better part of two months (this is certainly the most frustrating good team I have watched since the first half of 2004, possibly eveer), through hot and cold streaks. It’s subjective, obviously. Like I said before, I hope I am shown to be completely, utterly wrong about my sense of the Sox and the rest of the regular season.

    SF August 8, 2007, 2:58 pm
  • By the way Paul, the division lead was 14.5 at the end of May 29. It was 13.5 on 3 days, and 12.5 for 4 days.
    So prepare yourself to hear about the worst divisional choke since 78!

    YF August 8, 2007, 2:59 pm
  • “Everyone is less pessimistic than SF! SF makes the Grinch look like Bing Crosby! Come on!”
    My Mom (a 60 year diehard) makes me look like Bing Crosby.

    SF August 8, 2007, 3:00 pm
  • Excuse me. A WORSE choke than 78. But let’s not start the whole choke thing.

    YF August 8, 2007, 3:00 pm
  • So prepare yourself to hear about the worst divisional choke since 78!
    I know this is said somewhat in jest, but if the Yankees keep up the play of late for another month or longer then the Sox can’t do much about it other than elevate the play to the same level, which is unlikely. I can’t help but think, barring the Yankees also embarrassing the Sox in the six games they have left en route to a division win, that this would be more of a brilliant and deserved accomplishment by the Yankees rather than a choke by the Sox. If the Sox win 96-97 games and don’t win the division, how is that a choke? In the end, if the Sox don’t win the division I really don’t care. Make the playoffs, I’ve said that for years.
    However, if they fail to make the playoffs at all and skid to 92-94 wins and lose both the division and the WC, that would and should be considered a pathetic failure, and the team would deserve to be looked upon as laughingstocks.

    SF August 8, 2007, 3:05 pm
  • “My Mom (a 60 year diehard) makes me look like Bing Crosby.”
    Is your mom still picking out your wardrobe? :) I’m sure you get over BIG with the pipe and ascot…

    Andrews August 8, 2007, 3:06 pm
  • But let’s not start the whole choke thing.
    Based on your last two comments, this is officially the winner in the “Most Passive Aggressive Comment Ever in the History of YFSF” award.

    SF August 8, 2007, 3:07 pm
  • Is your mom still picking out your wardrobe? :) I’m sure you get over BIG with the pipe and ascot…
    No, my Mom is a dead ringer for Bob Hope. ;-)
    Seriously, my Mom has called me after an opening day loss and complained that the season was over. More than once.
    (actually, she’s been right about that a few times!)

    SF August 8, 2007, 3:08 pm
  • Maybe I’m nuts, but I like the idea of the yanks going in as the wildcard – WC teams seem to have an edge;something to prove.

    Andrews August 8, 2007, 3:10 pm
  • Ah, resolved the problem.
    The Sox had a 14.5 game lead over the Yankees on May 29, but actually led the division by just 11.5 games.

    Paul SF August 8, 2007, 3:11 pm
  • But let’s not start the whole choke thing.
    Yeah, because it’s not like Sox fans have a friendly rejoinder for those remarks.

    Paul SF August 8, 2007, 3:13 pm
  • Based on your last two comments, this is officially the winner in the “Most Passive Aggressive Comment Ever in the History of YFSF” award.
    Where’s my plaque?

    YF August 8, 2007, 3:29 pm
  • “But nothing would surprise me, even the Sox not making the playoffs at all, however doomish that seems.”
    Wow, just wow. They are playing good baseball as of late. The only reason some people can’t see this is because the Yanks are on an absolute tear. There pitching is still intact, they are healthy, and they have a pretty soft schedule coming up. You wouldn’t be surprised if the miss the playoffs?!? You are the type of Boston fan that all Yanks fans mock for always fearing the worst.
    BTW Red Sox chances of making the playoffs 93.88731%

    NeffSox August 8, 2007, 3:40 pm
  • Excuse me, 98.49533%

    NeffSox August 8, 2007, 3:42 pm
  • Neff, where’d you get that statistic? ;)

    MrBlackthorne August 8, 2007, 3:52 pm
  • Where’s my plaque?
    On your teeth.

    SF August 8, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • you can go to, I believe.

    SF August 8, 2007, 3:54 pm
  • coolstandings has it, or I got my numbers from

    NeffSox August 8, 2007, 4:03 pm
  • I see no reason to panic. West coast trips are brutal. I expected them to lose series against both Seattle and LAA. So they have exceeded my expectations on this trip.
    I see some questionable decisions made in the last two games, but I wonder how much of that is to see what we have now before Sept 1.
    Have I seen a lot of “coasting” this season, yes. Do I like it, no. But am I worried, no. It drives me crazy at times, but I am not worried.

    CincySF August 8, 2007, 4:04 pm
  • Here’s the thing: being worried about the Sox is not “panicking”. Being confident that the Sox aren’t in any trouble isn’t “cockiness”. Both, as far as I am concerned, are justifiable based on the see-saw play of the team this year, from hot to cold to just plain mediocre. They have good pitching, a deep bullpen, players with good reputations at the plate. But they aren’t consistently excellent, an haven’t been for a while. This includes west coast road trips (tough, for sure) but also homestands against weaklings. So though the play has been middling for a long while and I can’t stand watching teams play dumb and without focus, I don’t imagine the Sox will miss the playoffs. But I CAN imagine a scenario in which they don’t, whatever some program spits out as the statistical likelihood of their success or failure. Part of me is definitely worried. I think that’s reasonable.

    SF August 8, 2007, 4:12 pm
  • “Part of me is definitely worried. I think that’s reasonable”
    It’s definitely reasonable, it’s just how reasonable. Do you believe that the Yanks are going to take over the division? I believe this to be reasonable but I still believe that the Sox will at least split the remaining games with the Yankees and make up some ground in the standings in the next month.
    I don’t belive that the Red Sox could miss the playoffs, the Indians and White Sox just have too many games left between them for both of them to play better than us from here on out. Basically to miss the playoffs the Yanks, Tigers, and Indians all need to play 5 games better than us from here on out. Reasonable, yes, probable, no.

    NeffSox August 8, 2007, 4:17 pm
  • Certainly the best argument for why the Sox will make the playoffs is the added losses that either Cleveland or Detroit (Seattle’s the black sheep) will accrue through head-to-head action, which makes things easier on the Sox. I definitely get that. That eases my fears somewhat, but not to zero.

    SF August 8, 2007, 4:34 pm
  • Late to the party, but all I can think about when somebody brings up a handful of games over the last few weeks that the Sox “blew” is that there had to have been at least an equal number of games that they managed to win where fans of the other team felt the exact same way. I feel like every close game that’s ever played between two teams ends with one fanbase feeling it. Given Boston’s 26-22 record in close games, they seem to be winning a few more then they lose.
    I watch the games, and have no trouble decrying the third-base coach or Tito or whoever else happens to screw up in such a manner as to cost the Sox. And afterwards, yeah, I still look back and wonder what could or “should” have been. I’m guessing there are lots of baseball fans who do the same thing.
    But I rarely acknowledge such failings from the opponent; I might notice them as they occur, but do they stick afterwards? Do I look back two weeks later and subtract the wins, or somehow count them differently then the “earned” victories? On some level a win is a win and a loss is a loss. That’s why I care about streaks and trends then anything I happen to feel in my gut, which lies to me on a fairly regular basis.

    Josh SF (D1) August 8, 2007, 6:54 pm
  • Good point, D1, but at the same time the Sox have one of the more talented lineups in the game, so when a Royals fan thinks “how did we not sweep the Sox” it tends to sound a little sillier than “how did we lose two of three to the Royals”.

    SF August 8, 2007, 7:24 pm
  • Why does it matter that the dude is in his 40’s? If the fact that “he gets her” means what I think it means, you may want to watch some porn and get learn some tricks.
    Personally, I have a mentality that the MLB entertainment lies within the team performance, versus individual results. It takes a lot of talented dudes to win it all, and one dude with an * can’t make a team win. It would take a few good uncaught *ized dudes, and they aren’t cheap, and I’m not sure they could co-exist.
    Good luck with the chicks.

    BirdmanofVt August 8, 2007, 10:35 pm
  • Umm…someone didn’t read the last line of the post, huh? Hehe.

    Josh SF (D1) August 9, 2007, 2:01 am
  • “Gah, we can sample size all we want.”
    “I see the same issues, win or lose, which have put the Sox barely over .500 for TWO MONTHS now…”
    I see a contradiction here. You’ve just asserted it’s not okay to say, “Look at this time period, they’re fine.” Then you say, “Look at this time period, we stink!” If it’s okay to do longer stretches like that, then I’d just say, “Look at the whole season, then.”
    I’d like to know the longest stretch of .500 baseball that 95-game winners tend to have, and if it’s about a month and a half or something, then why panic? It could just be it’s a good team that stumbled for awhile, as the ’04 team did (of course, they went nova in August). Yes, I see weaknesses in this team (the rotation feels much more built for the playoffs than the regular season), but good offense, good starting pitching, great bullpen. I think this team is maybe the most balanced in the league. They can shut you down one night, they can pound you with doubles (and the odd homer) the next.

    Devine August 9, 2007, 1:44 pm

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