Questions …

… following the most demoralizing loss I can remember in a while:

  • Can a closer survive by throwing one pitch, over and over, for three straight games?
  • Is trying to make an out in the bottom of the ninth sound fundamental baseball?
  • If pinch running is acceptable with two outs in an inning, why is it unacceptable with zero outs in the inning?

I don’t care what the answers are. Jonathan Papelbon and Terry Francona, you both fail the exam. Jason Bay, you get a gold star. Too bad the rest of the class couldn’t follow your example.

14 comments… add one
  • Dude, seriously…you asked that first question on a website featuring Yankee fans?
    (I know he doesn’t literally throw all cutters, but it’s close.)
    I will say that in a sense, the Sox are lucky it was that close. The Rays had SO MANY baserunners.
    But even now I feel bitterness nagging at my attitude occasionally.

    Devine September 9, 2008, 11:33 pm
  • Good point, Devine, but Papelbon isn’t Rivera just yet…

    Paul SF September 9, 2008, 11:36 pm
  • D’oh, I made a point you already made in the comments. At least we were thinking on similar lines.

    Devine September 9, 2008, 11:38 pm
  • seriously guys, it’s only one game…very disappointing for sure, but i don’t know one yankee fan who wouldn’t trade places with you right now…so pap is human, and the great francona has a brain cramp once in awhile…happened to rivera and torre once and awhile too…paul, you ask some good questions in this post and at the end of the gamer, but you seem to be leaving out the most obvious: why didn’t tito pinch hit for varitek?…

    dc September 10, 2008, 7:32 am
  • Yeah, why wasn’t Cora bunting for ‘Tek? That was what confused me most, especially when Tek failed so miserably at it.
    When Kotsay walked, I immediately thought “Ellsbury pinch-runs, steals 2nd, and we’ve got the tying run in scoring position with zero outs. OR Cora then pinch-hits and bunts him to third, giving Ortiz a chance for a sac-fly.”

    Atheose September 10, 2008, 8:32 am
  • Bunting in that situation is pretty awful anyway. You’ve got three outs left, and Tek hasn’t been terrible with the bat lately. Let Ellsbury steal second. Then at least bunting can be justified (though I’d still be opposed to it), as you say Ath, by getting the runner to third with less than two outs to score on any fly ball hit by Ortiz.
    Or if they walk Ortiz to get to Crisp with the winning run on base, that’s fine, too. This game is gnawing at me and has been for 10 hours or so. A terrible loss — a game the Sox had no business being in a position to win, but once there, had no business losing.

    Paul SF September 10, 2008, 8:39 am
  • paul, that situation is screaming for a bunt…you’re the home team with a one-run deficit…pinch run ellsbury and bunt him over for ortiz…seems like a no-brainer, given the double-play threat [or K as it turned out] of tek, vs. a runner in scoring position, with mr. clutch on deck…when you say tek hasn’t been “terrible” with the bat lately, you must be looking at different stats than me: last 5 games: batting .158 [3 for 19] with 9 K’s, no rbi, and no extra base hits…

    dc September 10, 2008, 9:35 am
  • as for walking ortiz intentionally to get to crisp, here’s crisp’s last 6 games: batting .591 [no typo] [13 for 22], 1 K, 5 rbi, and 2 extra base hits…

    dc September 10, 2008, 9:44 am
  • Counter to logic, I don’t mind the bunt there. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. The EGREGIOUS sin was running Ellsbury with two outs. If he’s healthy enough to run, he should have been in instantly, which might have negated the need for a bunt.
    That one was inexcusable to me.

    SF September 10, 2008, 9:46 am
  • hard to disagree with you on that sf, but i’m still scratching my head over letting tek hit…the odds just weren’t in his favor…

    dc September 10, 2008, 10:29 am
  • Yeah…I’m trying to keep in mind how very, very kind baseball has been in the past 6 weeks, and a little heartbreak here and there is just the baseball gods/statistical variation doing their thing. Plus 6 up in the wild card (5 up on White Sox too) and 2 back from the best record…cry me a river.
    Get ’em tonight, that’s all. We’ll be sitting with a great chance at the division if we/they can get ’em tonight.

    Devine September 10, 2008, 11:00 am
  • That was a stinger for sure, but having made such a long climb back into this, and playing more or less great team ball over the last 2+ weeks, this is just one game and a minor setback. So Paps had an off night… bad outings like this have a way of waking him up. And its certainly not the first time Tito has boggled the mind with his game management, but he certainly has proven me wrong more the same amount of times as well with bold calls. Sox still have four more shots at them, and should stuill be very confident.
    That said, Tek looked absolutely lost trying to bunt.

    ToddSF September 10, 2008, 1:20 pm
  • The only reason I can think to not run ellsbury with none out would be that Tek sucks on the high fastball, so he is going to get a lot of them, and thats not a good pitch to run on.
    Then after 1 out with Papi up and you steal then Papi gets walked.
    With two out and runner still on 1 then Tito decided to risk injury to Ellsbury and get him running.
    I think Cora to hit for Tek and Ellsbury running would have been the best option in hindsight. Easy to say now though of course.

    Dan September 10, 2008, 7:02 pm
  • At the risk of obsessing over this decision, I say if the Rays want to walk the winning run on base to face an insanely hot batter who is likely too fast to get on a double play, I’ll take it every day and twice on Sunday.
    Even if Ellsbury was told not to run while Tek and Papi batted, his presence as a running threat would have been more beneficial than Kotsay’s.

    Paul SF September 10, 2008, 7:16 pm

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