Sox Gamers/Postmortems

Hard Sweep: Tigers-Sox Gamer VII

Clay Buchholz hasn't had much luck with his opponents of late — drawing CC Sabathia in New York, and now Justin Verlander in Boston. To add to his difficulties, Terry Francona in his wisdom has given Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew a day off, leaving Verlander to face Chris Woodward and Josh Reddick in their steads. I nominate Woodward to charge the mound on the first inside pitch and try to get Verlander ejected.

If that doesn't work, I guess the best we can hope for is a great performance from Buchholz and enough runs scratched out to turn this series win into a sweep.

Comment away!

140 replies on “Hard Sweep: Tigers-Sox Gamer VII”

The Sox seems to be in a solid place too, 5 losses up on TBR, and 1 loss up on Texas, who I still don’t believe.
Good thing the Yanks have somewhat of a padding, otherwise this West Coast trip could make or break.. the Yanks just have to not suck too much as is..

Red Sox
1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
2. Josh Reddick, RF
3. Victor Martinez, C.
4. Jason Bay, LF
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Mike Lowell, 3B
7. Casey Kotchman, 1B
8. Nick Green, SS
9. Chris Woodward, 2B
— Clay Buchholz, RHP
1. Curtis Granderson, CF
2. Placido Polanco, 2B
3. Clete Thomas, LF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Carlos Guillen, DH
6. Magglio Ordonez, RF
7, Ryan Raburn, 3B
8. Gerald Laird, C
9 Adam Everett, SS
— Justin Verlander, RHP

This has a tinge of “hey, we won the series, we’re facing a stud, we’re not likely to win anyhow, so let’s make sure we get everyone some time off”.
Not sure I agree with it, but I can see the logic. I wish one of JD or Pedroia was playing, though, particularly with Youk out. Seems a bit suicidal from Tito.

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to give Lowell the day off after a night game instead of Peds? I know he’s got a hot bat right now, but you have three games this weekend in Texas in August.

I like Reddick – he’s had some very good at bats (not to channel Dave Roberts, so I’ll stop there).

Good first inning from Buchholz. Is it too early for a mock ‘turning point!’ comment?

Verlander’s curveball is looking great so far. Tough to do much when he has that, AND a 100mph fastball.

Buchholz making the Tigers look downright silly… then throws a 1-2 fastball right down the middle. Runner on.

Kotchman is a better DH option right now than Papi.
seems like detroit wants to get out of there, swinging quick!

Jesus. Two wicked curveballs from Verlander, then two high fastballs. How are you supposed to hit that?

Looks like the Sox already squandered their best opportunity to score off Verlander. Can we drop Ortiz to seventh or eighth in the lineup please? And when Youkilis comes back, there’s no reason to give anyone but Lowell the majority of at bats at DH. It sucks that it’s come to that, but so it has.

That took a little longer, but Buchholz gets out of the inning. Seems to me he’s still too worried by baserunners and then finds it hard to throw strikes to the next batter. (Though he almost did pick off Granderson this time.)

Seven pitches, all fastballs between 92-94mph from Buchholz to Polanco. That’s… odd, given the fastball is arguably Buchholz’s weakest pitch.
They were all around the zone though, which is encouraging, and none were right down the middle, though the last pitch was pretty close (still in the bottom half of the zone).

Verlander is a good case of not panicking when elite young pitching goes astray, even for a whole year. His velocity was down in the low-90s last year and he looked completely lost. Now he’s back and better than ever. Talent doesn’t just disappear without injury.

PBE, you’re absolutely right… he over-throws when pitching from the stretch, or so it seems. Oh well.
Ellsbury with a long fly-out. Why no small ball here? We’re not going to get many opportunities to score against Verlander.

Oof. Three straight fastballs at the top edge of the strike zone, three straight strikes.

I wonder if Verlander will throw anything but curveballs to Jason.
Bay is actually slightly above average on curveballs, according to Fangraphs. His inability to hit the breaking ball is largely a myth.

Paul, I don’t think it’s so much “Bay can’t hit breaking balls”, but rather “Bay destroys every fastball he sees.”
Buchholz’ change-up is so pretty.

… though Bay is obviously much worse on curveballs than he is on fastballs. I would guess that’s pretty common though.

Jesus, whatever happened to Detroit’s offense? Miggy is their only good hitter. Hard to believe they’re leading the Central. Then again, look at the teams in the Central.

Oh my god. If anyone has, check out the homer that Prince Fielder just hit. He hit the scoreboard in straightaway center field, which is a good 60-70 feet above the field

That’s crap luck, a lazy grounder just over the bag and Lowell can’t get enough on the throw to end the inning.
Thank you Tito for giving us a lineup that makes a one run lead look nearly insurmountable. Hopefully by “day off” Tito doesn’t mean “not even gonna pinch hit, a day off is a day off”.
Clay doing an admirable job to this point, so this is very encouraging.

So far Verlander has adopted a very Beckett-like strategy: get ahead of everyone on the curveball, then put them away with the fastball. And it’s working.

Crappy luck on that one, giving up a run on the infield single. Though failing to put away Ordonez hurts.
The Sox would have needed to score at least one run to win anyway, so I don’t usually sweat giving up the single run, but there is a psychological advantage to scoring first — at least for me.

Most contact is coming off Buchholz’ fastball; his other three pitches are either getting ignored or only fouled off.

NICE! Woodward with a great diving stop, then Kotchman with a fantastic play to catch the bad throw and tag the runner.
Time for some offense!

“Bay is actually slightly above average on curveballs, according to Fangraphs. His inability to hit the breaking ball is largely a myth.”
I found that analysis to be interesting, although I didn’t see a slider result on the globe blog (didn’t look in fangraphs yet for it)

of course, fangraphs also ID’d Bay as the example of an average MLB player this year. mostly based on his defensive metrics I’d say

Can’t ask much more of Clay and Tazawa this time through the rotation. Sucks that Tito is playing a split squad today.

Reddick’s GameDay photo emphasizes how young he really is. I didn’t know they let 14-year-olds play in the big leagues.

Reddick’s GameDay photo emphasizes how young he really is.
Born in Feb, 1987. Holy crap, he’s more than a year younger than I am.

Paul, the Yankees have a 12-year old Ramiro Pena on their active roster. This youth movement is getting out of hand!

the Yankees have a 12-year old Ramiro Pena on their active roster
They need to put this kid on the milkshake diet!

Lowell deserves credit for just fouling off that 100mp fastball in that full-count. Jesus.

So the Tigers are through to the eighth inning if Lowell doesn’t do anything. This lineup basically gives away about 7 or 8 outs, right off the bat. Minimum.
Tito better have the pinch hitters lined up next inning.

This is how you take a dominant pitcher and make it as easy as possible for him.
Thanks, Skip.

2-0 now. That lead is basically insurmountable. We need Pedroia pinch hitting for Green or Woodward. The problem is we can’t pinch hit for both Green AND Woodward.

Dear person who knocked on the door to my lab,
No, your laptop is not ready yet. It’s still virus-ridden from when you spent the weekend looking at porn sites. I told you I’d call you when it was ready, so leave me the f*ck alone.
Also, I’m blaming you for Buchholz giving up that homerun, because he was fantastic for the first 6 innings before you disturbed me. So, thanks.
Love, your friendly company computer technician

Was that a Fenway Special on Laird’s homerun? Gameday had it as an ‘in play, out(s)’.

And Gerald Laird makes it back to back on a ball GameDay categorized as “In play, out(s).” Why doesn’t it make those mistakes when the Sox are at bat?

Well, that’s the ballgame. Dinger makes it 2-0.
I am really angry about this lineup. While I recognize that guys need days off, it seems like such a white fucking flag, to put Buchholz out there with a split squad team.
Tito conceded this game, in a way, and it is playing out just like he managed it.

GameDay now says Laird flew out to Bay and put the score back to 2-0. What’s going on?

The only way Laird could have flown out to Bay is if Bay was standing in the middle of Pike traffic.
And I love Tito but today he gets a big fat f*ck you.

And now he leaves Buck in to have confidence shattered. Is this guy asleep?
Get Buchholz out of there.

Why were we not pinch-hitting for Woodward there? That’s infuriating. He and Kotchman saw a total of two pitches with Verlander over 100. Make him work and see if he tires. Maddening.

This is one way to get JD Drew into the game… because when Manny Delcarmen comes into a game and the margin’s within two runs, every hitter against him turns into JD Drew.

This was more than solid. This was downright exciting. He was evenly matched with Verlander for six innings, and even then, just one bad pitch in the seventh.

I don’t know if it’s safe to say that. He let 11 baserunners reach in his start against the Yankees. I don’t know why everyone is labeling that a ‘success’.

Seems safe to say that Bucky appears to have turned a corner. Two solid outings in a row.
I am not sure it’s “safe” to say this. I am extremely encouraged, though, and if Buck can continue solidly that’s just gargantuan, for both this year and beyond.

Ellsbury doubles. Reddick is probably the last batter for Verlander. Besides Rodney, do the Tigers have anyone in their bullpen? Will they dare bring in Rodney for a potential 2-inning save?

Tight call on 2-1 to Ells. 3-1. Come on, Jacoby.
Yes!! Leadoff double.
Get warm, Pedro and JD!

He let 11 baserunners reach in his start against the Yankees. I don’t know why everyone is labeling that a ‘success’.
Because several of those were the result of bad defense/bad luck, and furthermore, Buchholz’s big problem last year was falling apart once he allowed baserunners. That he didn’t against the league’s best offense is extremely encouraging

Because few of them scored, Andrew. A successful start doesn’t have to be perfect. Sometimes success comes from how you handle adversity. And given the fact that he’d been beat around pretty good by teams that aren’t nearly as explosive as the Yankees, that was a helluva turnaround. Today makes that start less fluky. A third one and we can think about the word, “trend.”

SF, that’s why I used the word “appears.”
(Gawd, I’m mincing words, aren’t I.)

I mean, that’s just great pitching.
Why Reddick was up when we needed baserunners, Ellsbury on second, and Drew still available I don’t understand, though.
Tito just mailed this one in today.

Verlander’s 5 pitches to Bay, last hitter in the 8th. Holy crap.

Or phoned it in. Or whatever the stupid metaphor is.
I hate games like this, they make me really angry, where a manager makes the tough battle that much harder. His job is to make is easier. His job is to facilitate, not to impede.

It is absolutely shocking that in a 2-0 game at home, in the afternoon, that JD Drew and Dustin Pedroia were not used as pinch hitters in the final three innings with the following players in the game and easily replaced:
Chris Woodward
Nick Green
David Ortiz
Casey Kotchman
Great game by Verlander, and a big fat f*cking “F” to Francona.

Because few of them scored, Andrew.
Andrew just needing to throw flames on SF’s being pround of a couple of good outings by Buchholz. How many, on average, runners reach base on Joba – you know, when he goes past four innings and all?

The important thing to take away is that the Sox got shut down by an excellent pitcher without a full-strength lineup in a series that they won decidedly. I still feel good about this team, but no more of these half-assed lineups, Tito, OK?

On the half-assed lineup, perhaps Tito placed more value on getting his guys some rest than on the fourth game of a series in which his team had won the previous three, a day game following a night, and preceding six games against teams that have been difficult thus far this season.

If this were May or June or July, I’d agree with that logic, IBM. It’s the middle of August, and the Sox are fighting for their playoff lives precisely because of those preceding six games. They’re still righting the ship. Three wins does not smooth sailing make, particularly when your best hitter has been suspended.

“Andrew just needing to throw flames on SF’s being pround of a couple of good outings by Buchholz. How many, on average, runners reach base on Joba – you know, when he goes past four innings and all?”
Well gosh Brad, there’s this stat called WHIP that tells you exactly that. Joba, per 6 innings, allows 8.628 batters to reach. While not exactly stellar, it’s certainly better than Clay’s 1.83 WHIP for that game.
That’s just a bad outing no matter how you want to look at it.

WHIP is largely irrelevant in determining whether a pitcher has a good game.
It’s a great predictor of future performance, sure, but consider these scenarios:
A pitcher who goes seven innings, gives up zero runs, but allows 14 baserunners will have a 0.00 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP.
A pitcher who gives up five home runs as the only five baserunners in the same period will have a 5.00 ERA with a 0.71 WHIP.
So who had the better start?
WHIP will tell you how likely a pitcher is to allow runs in the future or how lucky he was in how many runs he gave up, but it’s not a measure of how good any individual start is.

“It’s a great predictor of future performance, sure, but consider these scenarios:”
Isn’t that what we were debating? Projecting Clay to be good going forth because he had two good games in a row?
Yes, obviously you’ll take a guy who gives up fewer runs in the same innings. But I reject the idea that his Yankee start was a good indicator of future success. To me, his string of good starts begins today (albeit against the third-worst offense in the league).

Andrew, he was playing against the Yankees, the best team in the universe right now. In the past Buchholz was susceptible to the One Bad Inning, where he lets a few baserunners on and then completely unravels. He didn’t do that against the Yankees, and got himself out of trouble. Against that offense, which
is the best in the league, you bet your sweet ass we’ll call it a “good” start.

this is one of these rare times that i have to agree with my sox friends…the way the yankees are playing right now, cy young couldn’t get them out, on a good day…normally one of you guys would be admonishing the others about small sample sizes…safe to say that clay looks like a better pitcher to me these days…of course he had a long climb from where he was…
in the meantime, paul gave me my wtf moment for the day with this:
“…WHIP is largely irrelevant in determining whether a pitcher has a good game.
It’s a great predictor of future performance, sure, but consider these scenarios:…”
we all know that i’m no stat guy, but you guys have taught me a few things, and i’d say any stat in isolation doesn’t mean much…but i don’t understand why you’d say that a stat that measures the walks and hits a particular pitcher gives up wouldn’t be a good indicator [along with other factors] of that pitcher’s effectiveness in a particular game or games…unless i’m missing something, a whip of ‘0’ for a game is a perfect game [assuming no errors]…anything higher than that is not perfect, and increases that pitcher’s risk of having runs score, and/or worse, losing the game…

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