Random Thoughts: Red Sox Edition

A handful of miscellaneous observations, some thought through, others not.

1. At what point is JT Snow no longer useful?  Kevin Youkilis has acquitted himself more than adequately at first base. In fact, I’d venture to say that he’s been downright fantastic in the games I have watched.  And it doesn’t look like Youk is going to have to head over to third to relieve a washed-up Lowell if the first 20 games are any indication.  If Snow is basically a late-inning defensive replacement but his defense is not really needed, wouldn’t the Red Sox be better off filling that roster spot with a player who can juggle multiple positions? 

2. I have been doing my best here at the site to avoid getting on Francona for little things that bug me; he’s obviously done some great things with the Sox over the past three years, and it’s been a long while since I even bothered wondering what the Red Sox would do without him at the helm. But last night’s game combined with Friday’s hack managerial effort along with the consistently poor fundamental baseball the Sox have been playing all year, all these things are starting to make me wonder what the heck he’s doing with this team, whether he teaches them, or if he’s just a good "people person" with solid if not spectacular tactical skills and not much else – not every manager is an instructor, and I think Francona is one of those guys. Last night he may have risked a fair amount of the season by letting Curt throw 133 pitches on a frigid night, acceding to Schilling’s ego at the possible expense of the long-term success of the team. There’s not likely anyone out there who could do a better job at this point, but it seems like the Sox do too many things poorly to not have legitimate right to ask the question about who is responsible for teaching them, giving them the absolute best chance to win. I am not asking for his head, but I think there are several legitimate questions to be asked about Francona.

3. It sure looks like we don’t have to worry too much about Manny.

4. The idea of a Schilling-Clemens-Beckett top 3 is almost too much to fathom.  Only really embittered Sox fans don’t welcome the possible return of the prodigal son.  No guarantees with anything in baseball, but that starting rotation would be, on paper (and, if Curt and Josh can keep it up and stay healthy) fearsome.  The team obviously could use some more consistency at the bottom of the rotation, and having Wake and/or Clement and/or Wells down there fits that bill. And now that both John and George are dead, I figure the best possible reunion out there has got to be Roger and the Sox.

5. Why does Willie Harris have a major league job?  Even as weakly as Adam Stern hit he inspired more confidence at the plate than Harris.  And how little confidence does Francona have in WMP that he wouldn’t put him up last night in the 7th inning with an insurance run standing 90 feet away?  I realize Pena strikes out a ton, but Harris is a horrendous hitter, unable to even get bunts down in important situations last night. The argument that Harris is a better defender was betrayed by the liner he dropped in the 8th (unjustly scored a hit), leading to a run.

6. 5 days until Sox-Yankees – I think Johnny Damon gets cheered, with the boos sounding louder than they really are — the ensuing WFAN blowout of Yankee fan rage against us "classless" Bostonians will be both boring, predictable, and deafening.  For the record, if I were there I’d have no good reason not to salute the man. At least in his first at-bat.

15 comments… add one
  • Imagine a rotation that was:
    1) R. Johnson
    2) Clemens
    3) Moose
    4) Wang
    I’d take that.
    Incidentally, I still have Clemens on my FBB roster, do you guys think it’s time to dump him? He won’t be back until June at the earliest they are saying now.

    NYYFan in Boston April 26, 2006, 10:04 am
  • ” days until Sox-Yankees – I think Johnny Damon gets cheered, with the boos sounding louder than they really are — the ensuing WFAN blowout of Yankee fan rage against us “classless” Bostonians will be both boring, predictable, and deafening.”
    right, because BDD hasn’t been publicizing Damon’s return as an opportunity to “cheer” him. Way to turn Boston anger into New York condescension.

    NickYF April 26, 2006, 10:43 am
  • Letting Schilling go 130 plus seems awfully dangerous, both long term and for his next start. A lof of ink has been spilled on the subject of pitch count, and i think the truth is we don’t really know the meaning. In BP’s new book, Baseball Between the Numbers, it’s suggested that the problem isn’t the number of pitches per se; danger only comes once a pitcher is throwing in a tired state. Then trouble awaits. I have a hard time understanding why you let your health-risk ace stay out that long. The Yankees, on the other hand, seem to be babying RJ.

    YF April 26, 2006, 11:18 am
  • I’ll be at the game next Monday and I’m planning on cheering Damon. I think the majority in attendance will boo him, however, because these days Fenway crowds are overwhelmingly bandwagoners.
    On Clemens, the idea of him coming back to the Sox is definitely exciting, but still I worry about increasing the number of old arms on our staff. It remains to be seen the effect of the amphetamine ban this season, and my suspicion is that a lot of the older players will be struggling big time come September.

    airk April 26, 2006, 12:45 pm
  • Nick, BDD has a countdown to the “Johnny Damon Standing Ovation” at the top of their site with a hyperlink at the “SO” portion that takes you to the old post after the 2004 ALCS Game 7 — it’s a pic of Johnny carrying the AL trophy, and a shot of his grand slam. You sure this is an indication of anger? I read it a little differently. At the very least, you are trying to tar BDD for something that is up for wide interpretation.

    SF April 26, 2006, 1:14 pm
  • //Only really embittered Sox fans don’t welcome the possible return of the prodigal son. //
    i don’t consider myself embittered, but it’s a little glib to say that all of us can or should automatically be happy with a clemens return. it’s safe to say there would at least be some initial cognitive dissonance to deal with.
    i don’t believe we’re getting him anyway.

    beth April 26, 2006, 1:38 pm
  • YF –
    FWIW, Schilling has thrown over 120 pitches 5 times in the last three years. In the starts following those five starts, he is 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA, and in all five starts following those, he threw over 100 pitches agian.
    Now, before you think I’m in approval of last night and the high pitch count, I’m certainly not. But, given the history of such outings, I’m not too worried about it. On EEI this morning, where I heard him talk, he said that he had no idea that the pitch count was where it was because he felt so good.

    Brad April 26, 2006, 1:46 pm
  • You’re right, I’m definitely reading BDD’s countdown one way because the site for the last two months has been super critical of him. I could be wrong, but it strikes me as a humorous countdown. Anyone else have any opinions?

    NickYF April 26, 2006, 2:21 pm
  • I think it’s got “humor” to it, Nick, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think they are being all that angry or embittered, either. I think it can be read both ways, thanks to the link they provide. If there was no link, I’d read it your way.

    SF April 26, 2006, 2:44 pm
  • via my Dad, a good line, which I think he heard on the radio, so I may be doing it a disservice – something to do with during the next pre-game “ask the Manager” session on WHDH someone wondered what kind of answers Schilling would give.

    SF April 26, 2006, 2:46 pm
  • I think it’s funny that we’re making big deal of it.
    Both teams made out for now (with the exception of the broken finger), both teams got great players in the move, and both teams are better for it. Why continue to harp on the issue? Let the morons who see this as a chance to boo, or cheer the opponent because of his “loyalty” in sports have their fun.
    For those of us who understand the bigger picture at hand here, it’s not that big of a deal.
    But, for what it’s worth – he has on that Yankee uniform, and he gets my initial cheer for what he’s done in the past, but from that point on, he gets the same treatment as the rest of them: an unrelenting, passionate, hatred of what he is – a New York Yankee.
    I hope he leaves Fenway with his head hung low, about to have a very, very bad nights sleep.

    Brad April 26, 2006, 2:47 pm
  • Along the same lines of “prodigal son”/5th starter, Brandon is tossing a gem (well, it IS against the Nats) while WMP is pulling out splinters even in the absence of Coco.
    Way to go Theo!

    Nate April 26, 2006, 3:17 pm
  • The Fenway Faithful who do cheer Johnny D are gonna be pretty pissed off if he pulls a Wade Boggs and goes 4 for 4 with some Ribbies and Runs thrown in for his return to Boston is Pinstripes.

    bloodyank78 April 26, 2006, 4:55 pm
  • I raised this J.T. Snow roster spot issue on WEEI yesterday.
    Snow’s not adding anything to the Sox. He was brought in to spell Youk as a late inning defensive replacement to protect leads, but the truth is that he’s not much of an upgrade. That’s not to say that Snow’s defense has declined, its just that Youk is far better than most thought he would be. Precisely why is beyond me – if you can play third, you can learn to play first.
    I can see them releasing him or trying to package him in a deal for more pitching (though his value is low). If they just released them, I could see them bringing up Choi to give them more offensive punch off the bench. The downside with that, of course, is that you lose the ability to play him regularly in Pawtucket (which he needs).

    Craig April 27, 2006, 8:31 am
  • Oh, and I originally also thought that Snow might move into a full time role at first base with Youk moving to third. In fact, not long ago, I ragged on SF about Lowell, but I have to hand it to him – he’s hitting pretty well. I mean, I expected him to hit at Fenway, but not on the road. Kudos to Lowell.
    With Lowell hitting and Youk do a yeoman’s job defensively at first, I’m not sure I see a need for Snow.

    Craig April 27, 2006, 8:35 am

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