The Average Sox Fan, 10:45pm, 8/9/2009

58 comments… add one

  • Jeez. It was bad, but it’s not insurmountable – I thought the Red Sox had a bad showing, and the Yankees pitched better than they have all season. That might have been the best you ever see Burnett or Pettitte. They deserve the Kudos, but these two teams could play another series to a completely different outcome. We beat them up when they were limping, and they did the same to us.

    Brad August 10, 2009, 9:02 am
  • It would be tough for the Yankees to ever continue playing this way, and as we all are aware, it’s about who catches stride in October, not August.
    They are white hot right now, and not to poo poo their performance (they took us to the shed), but there is no way it lasts.
    I’ll hold out hope that the Red Sox put it back in gear.

    Brad August 10, 2009, 9:05 am
  • Mark it down:
    August 10, 2009 9:05am
    Brad says:
    “They are white hot right now, and not to poo poo their performance (they took us to the shed), BUT THERE IS NO WAY IT LASTS.”

    krueg August 10, 2009, 9:33 am
  • Well, this was definitely the weekend to be out of town and away from most methods of following the Red Sox.
    It’s amazing the Sox are still tied for the Wild Card lead. The only problem is they haven’t really shown any consistent ability to put away the Rays in two years.

    Paul SF August 10, 2009, 9:34 am
  • Actually the Yanks have pretty much played this way since June 24, with the exception of 2 3-game losing streaks vs. the LAA and CHISox. Doesn’t mean they can keep it up through Sept, but it certainly doesn’t feel fluky. As for Burnett and Pettitte, the former has a prett good career record vs. Tough teams (including the Yanks and Sox) and the latter has been pitching to a sub-3.00 ERA since the All-Star Break and has made a career of getting stronger in the second half.
    But I do agree that – as is always the case – the same games could be replayed with very different results. For instance, the Yankees could win in 4 blowouts instead of just one (JOKING!).

    IronHorse August 10, 2009, 9:51 am
  • Well, the Yankees probably cannot keep playing THIS well, but really they have been playing at a very high level for several months now. Since A-Rod came off the DL, they are 56-27. That’s three months of .675 ball.

    Mark-YF August 10, 2009, 9:53 am
  • We beat them up when they were limping, and they did the same to us.
    But there is less time for them to start limping. They are healthy, healthier at a better time. We are older, more injured, at a worse time.
    Time to focus on the Wild Card. Teams simply do not make up a game a week. They can. But typically they do not.
    Again, I am looking at the rest of this season as a nice opportunity to see a bunch of young guys play, see how they do, see how they develop. Bard, Buchholz, Tazawa (maybe premature), hopefully a little of Bowden, a little more of Reddick (also possibly premature), added to Pedroia, Youk, Papelbon, Ellsbury, Lester. That’s pretty exciting, to have that many young guys from within the system, all able to get PT, I think, even if the results don’t meet our instant liking.
    I’d obviously prefer Mike Lowell healthier, Ortiz better, Bay healthier, Tek not ancient, and a serious division tussle. But that’s not what we’ve got, so let’s watch these kids, and let’s root them on. If Theo wasn’t going to acquire a stud pitcher or bat and send the youth away to get that, then let’s watch that youth develop and accept their failures in the short term. I want Theo to stick to his guns. Throw these kids, at least the ones who might be able to handle the failure of their first bit of heat, into the fire.

    SF August 10, 2009, 10:04 am
  • Mark it down, indeed. The Yankees are rounding right into what they hoped, and are on absolutel fire right now, but I still have to ask: would the results have been different if the Red Sox were not in such a horrible slump right now? I think it would have, but that’s here nor there. I have been watching long enough to know that in three weeks, the results could be exactly the opposite.
    That being said, if the Red Sox lose 3 of 4 to the Tigers, or go .500 for the next two weeks, I’ll be willing to toss in that proverbial towell as well, but we’ve all seen this a thousand times – how these two teams play each other is not indicative of what type of team they are in any sense.
    But, in the end, it all comes down to who did what they were supposed to, and the Yankees definitely did that.

    Brad August 10, 2009, 10:11 am
  • Ya, the Yanks swept, but most of those games are pretty close, and even the Smoltz game was tense because of Joba.
    Clutch hits, which luck evened out a bit (hey, we lost 8 straight games previously!)
    But ya, when the playoffs come the Sox will be a different team. I hope the Yanks will be the same team.

    Lar August 10, 2009, 10:13 am
  • I’d obviously prefer Mike Lowell healthier…
    SF, I agree but I think this is as healthy as we are ever going to see Lowell again. This is a prime example of why emotions should not get in the way of business decisions with regards to resigning players who are clearly beyond their primes.
    Lowell played out of his mind in the WS and, endeared himself to so many people the the public outcry had to have some result on his impending new contract, and now it’s biting them.
    I’ll say it again, Tex may have a much longer lasting result than we ever thought it would.

    Brad August 10, 2009, 10:15 am
  • how these two teams play each other is not indicative of what type of team they are in any sense.
    That’s the thing: these games aren’t that indication. For the Sox, the last two months are more likely to be the indication. Not a great indication, eh?

    SF August 10, 2009, 10:16 am
  • The yankees have been a far better team than the sox over the last 2 months. This weekend was the icing on the cake. Things can certainly change but Theo and the Sox need to sleep in the bed the made over the offseason in how they constructed the team. They decided not to upgrade the offense and are paying the price now. Like the yankees of last year, this sox team looks old. They have the youth in the system and money in hand to overcome this moving forward but thanks to the MLB free agent system every team has peaks and valleys of players in their peak years and players in their decline years. This year’s sox seem to be the latter right now. I think they will need to bottle some lightning from some call-ups to ups to push the yankees for first place.

    sam-YF August 10, 2009, 10:28 am
  • but Theo and the Sox need to sleep in the bed the made over the offseason in how they constructed the team.
    My bet is Theo and the Sox would 100% agree with you on this.

    SF August 10, 2009, 10:44 am
  • It is broadly true that how they play each other is not indicative of how good they each are. It is also true that for 2 months the Yankees have been playing better than Boston and, for a substantial stretch, have beaten tough opponents while Boston treaded water against relatively weak ones. It started on June 24.
    As for the Sox’s woes, is it true that they are older than the Yankees? Isn’t this only true of the starting rotation?
    I expect Boston’s bats to return with a vengeance and am feeling happy that it didn’t happen while they were still in the Bronx. The bottom 3/5s of the Sox rotation on the other hand is -I think – screwed until they can integrate these young guns. The botton 2/5s of the Yanks rotation is also a question mark, esp without knowing what the Joba-plan is.
    One more thing: why exactly was Hughes “unavailable” last night? The bats saved Girardi much tougher treatment over that call to Coke in the 8th.

    IronHorse August 10, 2009, 11:05 am
  • It is broadly true that how they play each other is not indicative of how good they each are. It is also true that for 2 months the Yankees have been playing better than Boston and, for a substantial stretch, have beaten tough opponents while Boston treaded water against relatively weak ones. It started on June 24.
    As for the Sox’s woes, is it true that they are older than the Yankees? Isn’t this only true of the starting rotation?
    I expect Boston’s bats to return with a vengeance and am feeling happy that it didn’t happen while they were still in the Bronx. The bottom 3/5s of the Sox rotation on the other hand is -I think – screwed until they can integrate these young guns. The botton 2/5s of the Yanks rotation is also a question mark, esp without knowing what the Joba-plan is.
    One more thing: why exactly was Hughes “unavailable” last night? The bats saved Girardi much tougher treatment over that call to Coke in the 8th.

    IronHorse August 10, 2009, 11:07 am
  • I completely agree that the last two months have been “water-treading” as IH suggests, but I am also of the belief that the Red Sox are probably more in the middle of the first 8 weeks and the last 8 weeks, as are the Yankees.
    I believe Boston will rebound, but the question is: is that rebound too late to matter?
    And, I have no idea why Hughes wasn’t available.

    Brad August 10, 2009, 11:17 am
  • “My bet is Theo and the Sox would 100% agree with you on this.”
    I would agree too SF. Although its not clear they executed the off-season they wanted to have this paster winter. The yankees made a series of decisions before last year that didnt make them the best team they could be in 2008 but perhaps better in the long term. Maybe the sox did the same. We will see. It should not be understated how big of an effect Mark Teixeria’s signing made in this years race so far. The sox would be a far different team with him in their line-up.

    sam-YF August 10, 2009, 11:24 am
  • *That should read ‘past winter’

    sam-YF August 10, 2009, 11:26 am
  • I think the Sox gambled on a few items, and at the moment, it appears they lost on all of them:
    1. That David Ortiz would rebound from injury to be somewhere less than his old self, but still an offensive force.
    2. That Jason Bay would roughly replace the production they’d received from Manny Ramirez the past couple seasons.
    3. That Mike Lowell would return from surgery to be a league-average player on offense and defense (they half-won that one).
    4. That Jed Lowrie would return from surgery to be the player he was pre-injury last year.
    None of these is unreasonable, so I don’t really blame Theo for the struggles of this offense. Clearly, he saw the need to get younger and replace the Ortiz-Ramirez combo as best one can by going after Texeira in the offseason, but I think he saw that as something that would help in 2010 and beyond. Age and injury caught up with this lineup far quicker than anticipated.
    What’s especially maddening about all this is that the Yankee lineup is just as old — even older in a number of key parts — than the Sox’, yet they don’t seem to have any of the problems you’d expect with players that old (Damon, Jeter, Matsui, Posada, even A-Rod).

    Paul SF August 10, 2009, 11:38 am
  • Resigning Varitek should be on there too. His offense has been about what one would expect but his defense has really hurt the team this year. Id argue that 2 and 4 were reasonable gambles but the signs were there last year for 1 and 3. To me the main point is also that there was alot of risk this year built into the construction of their roster, much more than in previous years. I specifically remember thinking in the off-season that they hadnt done enough to fortify an aging team.

    sam-YF August 10, 2009, 11:46 am
  • The thing about Ortiz is that most people didn’t expect such a meteoric collapse; the only one I can remember was either Brad or Hudson (can’t remember which), who suggested the Sox trade Ortiz in the off-season because he was Mo Vaughn 2.0. Nobody else said anything to this affect.

    Atheose August 10, 2009, 12:02 pm
  • The Sox aren’t NEARLY as bad as they look right now. They will start hitting, soon. Their offense has, to date, been merely averagish, but they’ve added V-Mart. I expect above-average offense from the Sox the rest of the way (assuming, of course, no major injuries occur).
    Meanwhile, Beckett, Lester and Buccholtz pitched their asses off in this series. Anything other than total offensive ineptitude by the Sox means between 1 and 3 wins. They will upgrade the Smoltz rotation spot (Tazawa? Bowden?). So they’ve got 2 aces, 1 mecurial/inefficient kid with talent (hmm, sounds awfully familiar), an average 5th starter (Penny) and 1 gaping hole to fill.
    I’ll believe they’re done when the standings say so. Until then, no, there’s too much talent on the roster.

    Rob in CT August 10, 2009, 12:05 pm
  • I’m with you, Sam. 1 and 3 were obvious to anyone paying attention. And the offense available last year for cash was significantly better than what will be available this year. Varitek was another problem waiting to happen.
    Penny is below average. The missing pitching is a huge part of the problem this year, especially expecting anything at all from Smoltz.
    And the offense wasn’t going to be helped much by Martinez.

    Rob August 10, 2009, 12:12 pm
  • There is a feeling of conducting an autopsy on a team that still has the 4th best record in the league and a superlative 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. I await the result of the next road trip for the Yanks capped by the 3-game set at Fenway later this month. If the division lead has not shrunk – or if it has grown – by then, then I’ll feel pretty good about the Yanks’s chances of holding it the rest of the way. But if the Sox dig into it at all by the end of August, the division race will still be very much on from my point of view.
    None of this accounts for the impossible to predict health issue. And I think Paul is right about them both being aged and aging. Teix and the CC/Burnett signings gave the Yanks a massive shot to the arm in that department, but the Yanks have still had charmed health since A-Rod returned (I’m not even counting Wang).

    IronHorse August 10, 2009, 12:15 pm
  • I’m with you, Sam. 1 and 3 were obvious to anyone paying attention.
    Most people expected some decline from Papi, but nobody expected him to be OPS+’ing 80. You’re lying if you say you expected that big of a decline to occur.

    Atheose August 10, 2009, 12:20 pm
  • Even a 100 OPS+ from Ortiz is epic failure.
    And no, not lying. Adam Dunn wasn’t going to ride the bench in my worldview. Between Lowell and Ortiz, I knew at least, he’d get plenty of at-bats. Of course, Theo et al knew of the need too – they were willing to spend $180 million on it. Then spending close to nothing is really amazing.

    Rob August 10, 2009, 12:25 pm
  • No, I don’t think anyone predicted an OPS+ of 80. Then again, how many people predicted Jason Giambi’s 2004 (OPS+ of 90)? Similar age, body type, hitting style…
    Of course, Giambi bounced back and had some good years after that. Maybe Papi will too.

    Rob in CT August 10, 2009, 12:26 pm
  • The Yankees are 31-10 over their last 41, better than a .750 winning pct. I’m flat-out afraid to look at the Red Sox record over that same stretch. This is very 1978-esque.

    Instead of a Sox-Tigers game tonight, how about a gamer for The Lost Son of Havana on ESPN?
    http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2009/07/10/lost_son_of_havana_tracks_luis_tiants_return/
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1362435/

    I'mBillMcNeal August 10, 2009, 12:27 pm
  • The Wakefield and (particularly) Matsuzaka injuries are the real problem here as far as loss of depth goes.

    Devine August 10, 2009, 12:29 pm
  • I still don’t understand why some of you guys keep beating on Penny. He’s was signed to be a No. 5 starter. He’s giving us No. 5 starter numbers. How many teams have a No. 5 starter better than him?
    No, he’s not great. But, I believe the stat is that 10 of his 21 starts have been quality starts. That’s not exactly awful. Sure, he’s been bad at times. but he’s also been good at times, too.
    He’s been what should be expected from a No. 5 starter.

    I'mBillMcNeal August 10, 2009, 12:31 pm
  • “It should not be understated how big of an effect Mark Teixeria’s signing made in this years race so far. The sox would be a far different team with him in their line-up.”
    I said back when the Yankees won December, to loosely quote Theo, that the Yankees needed Tex worse than the Sox did. It’s now very clear that I was wrong, wrong, wrong (although I firmly believe that there’s no way he’s not in pinstripes this season.) I wonder if Theo believed then that the need for Tex was equal between NYY and BRS.

    I'mBillMcNeal August 10, 2009, 12:38 pm
  • Then spending close to nothing is really amazing.
    Not if you believe they thought there was no second-best option and they were willing to risk missing the playoffs this year.

    Devine August 10, 2009, 12:38 pm
  • IH, you and I are definitely on the same page here, and yes, it was me who advocated (and got torn to shreds for it) for moving ortiz to anyone that would take him.
    I thought he might rebound to serviceable, but really, I never thought I’d see the day when I wanted to pinch hit for him in Yankee Stadium.
    I’ll make up my mind about this season over the next week or two.

    Brad August 10, 2009, 12:41 pm
  • “The Wakefield and (particularly) Matsuzaka injuries are the real problem here as far as loss of depth goes.”
    Yes and no. Crippling, yes, because it’s meant that the bullpen is being overused. But the biggest problem is that EVERYTHING is going bad all at the same time. We’re in the middle of a perfect storm: injuries and slumps and the Ortiz revelation and the realization that we effectively have traded Mark Kotsay for Casey Kotchman and the guy we really need now is Kotsay because he’s much more versatile.

    I'mBillMcNeal August 10, 2009, 12:43 pm
  • Short-term problem: the entire offense (which is a VERY good offense) is slumping at the same time
    Long-term problem: the bottom 60% of our rotation
    Even if our offense is clicking, our pitching isn’t good enough to get us to the World Series.

    Atheose August 10, 2009, 12:57 pm
  • I would say though, the Yanks win the season series very often the last few years (or so, I might be wrong about this) but done nothing with it. Eh, regular season.
    Though it does allow the Yanks to coast a bit. Not sure if that’s good though.

    Lar August 10, 2009, 1:04 pm
  • But it does allow Joba to be rested more, maybe on an extra day rest here and there, if this stays.

    Lar August 10, 2009, 1:06 pm
  • 2 Aces and a nasty bullpen are enough to get you a ring, if you make the big dance. I still think the Sox will make it. I’m not a believer in Texas, and the Rays, while scary, seem to be finding ways to lose this year.

    Rob in CT August 10, 2009, 1:07 pm
  • Kotsay was awful. Not having Kotsay and instead having Kotchman is the least of our troubles. By a big margin.

    SF August 10, 2009, 1:09 pm
  • Kotchman hit a 2-run HR in this series. That’s what, 1/4 of the total scoring for the Sox? Sure, it was wasted, but I’m struggling to imagine a world in which Kotsay > Kotchman (and, even if he was, that it really mattered when the entire Sox lineup is in a collective slump).

    Rob in CT August 10, 2009, 1:12 pm
  • Rob, I agree it’s enough to win the WS, but it’s certainly not enough to get there. If Wakefield were here and healthy, things would be a lot different. But every day he remains on the DL feels like a day closer to retirement.
    Now, if Buchholz can improve and give us what we’ve expected from him, then things will be different. Until then I’m not optimistic about our chances of holding the WC lead over the Rays.

    Atheose August 10, 2009, 1:13 pm
  • OK, maybe I was stretching it a bit on the Kotsay/Kotchman point.

    Hey. At least Patrick Kane isn’t a Bruin.

    I'mBillMcNeal August 10, 2009, 1:16 pm
  • Atheose, I hear you. 2 starters, even if they’re great (and right now, they are), is not really enough for the regular season in a tough division. Bucholtz has shown flashes of brilliance, Wake may be back soon, and you have some other young pitching (Tazawa, Bowden) that could help. You’re not reduced to running Sir Sydney Ponson out there, at least!
    I think the Sox may beat up on the Tigers. It’s at home, and the Tigers can’t hit. They can pitch, but that’s where having home field advantage comes in handy.

    Rob in CT August 10, 2009, 1:23 pm
  • The things that’s really frustrating about this is that there’s a bunch of things that need to happen for the Sox ship to get righted.
    And all of then can happen. But this extended, widespread slump/injury bug we’re witnessing is so inexplicable and wideranging that it’s very difficult to see an end to this other than we know that the odds tell us that it will end. Sometime. Probably.
    I know the light is at the end of the tunnel, but I just don’t see it. It’s blind faith right now. More than usual.

    I'mBillMcNeal August 10, 2009, 1:41 pm
  • Wow, that last post is rife with typos.
    Ick.

    I'mBillMcNeal August 10, 2009, 1:42 pm
  • The Yankees currently lead the AL East by 6.5 games. They’ve never squandered a division lead that large in the history of their organization. Sounds like history needs to be made.
    The offense will eventually un-slump. They’re too good not to. All we need is the pitching to step up, which is certainly possible with Buchholz/Tazawa/Bowden getting their chances. This weekend was the product of bad luck and playing against a very good, very hot Yankees team. We can do better, and we most likely will. Go Sox!

    Atheose August 10, 2009, 2:03 pm
  • I wonder what Jason Bay turned down from the Sox, and what damage, if any, his injuries and prolonged slump are doing to his free agency valuation.

    SF August 10, 2009, 2:14 pm
  • “All we need is the pitching to step up, which is certainly possible with Buchholz/Tazawa/Bowden getting their chances.”
    Wait a minute.
    It is not unreasonable to expect that Matsuzaka and Wakefield will be factors. We just need Bucky, Taz and Bowden to be a bridge.

    I'mBillMcNeal August 10, 2009, 2:16 pm
  • Sounds like history needs to be made.
    See, I disagree. It doesn’t. It would be nice, and stinging to Yankee fans, but a wild card will suffice. Ignore the Yankees, other than the games we play against them. Win more of those than we lose. But ignore them for the time being. Maybe we look back in two or three weeks and their lead is smaller. Maybe not. Worry about the wild card.

    SF August 10, 2009, 2:18 pm
  • So Boston’s best offensive lineup right now is something like this:
    Ellsbury (CF)
    Pedroia (2B)
    Youkilis (1B)
    Martinez (C)
    Bay (LF)
    Ortiz (DH)
    Drew (RF)
    Lowell (3B)
    Green (SS)
    Aside from having a pitcher bat in Nick Green, that’s an intimidating lineup if it gets hot. But Varitek isn’t going to the bench, and with good reason.
    With the positional overlap between V-Mart, Youkilis, Lowell, and Ortiz, someone help me out and explain how Boston is going to keep all of those four bats in the lineup. I’d send Papi to the bench so Lowell could get regular playing time, but that’s because I have no faith in the guy.

    doug YF August 10, 2009, 2:38 pm
  • Also, re: the wrong Phil pitching last night, Ken Davidoff writes:
    “And for those of you wondering why Joe Girardi kept Phil Coke in the eighth inning last night, Girardi said afterwards that he wasn’t going to use Phil Hughes, since Hughes had pitched in the two prior games and four of the last five.”
    I was pretty annoyed last night, but I’ll accept Joe G erring on the side of caution.

    doug YF August 10, 2009, 2:41 pm
  • “I wonder what Jason Bay turned down from the Sox, and what damage, if any, his injuries and prolonged slump are doing to his free agency valuation.”
    a-la Nomar when he turned down the offer to him back in the day?

    dw (sf) August 10, 2009, 2:47 pm
  • Ortiz posting a 100 OPS+ would be a failure… which is why no one expected even that low mark. Expecting Ortiz to collapse like this (virtually unprecedented in the history of baseball) is the pinnacle of using hindsight to rewrite history.
    Lowell at third likely equals Ortiz at DH when you factor in his abominable defense. Martinez at first, with Youkilis at third and Lowell at DH is the Sox’ best lineup right now.

    Paul SF August 10, 2009, 2:51 pm
  • IBM, from what I’ve read it’s unlikely that DiceK will pitch again this season. And Wakefield’s injury isn’t getting a lot of publicity, even though he’s been out for over a month. That to me is an indication that it’s worse than most of us thought. So I’m not really counting on him coming back.
    I could absolutely be wrong, and frankly I would love to be. But it’s feeling less and less likely as time goes on.
    And SF, I would 100% be happy with the WC right now. I’ve essentially given up on the division, to be honest. But this team has the potential to be VERY good offensively, and could easily go on a tear. I’m shooting for the WC right now, but the division is still in reach.

    Atheose August 10, 2009, 3:57 pm
  • “IBM, from what I’ve read it’s unlikely that DiceK will pitch again this season.”
    I keep hearing a bit of both. But I do need to pare my optimism. Because it is in question, we need to go forward as if he won’t be available.

    I'mBillMcNeal August 10, 2009, 4:33 pm
  • “And for those of you wondering why Joe Girardi kept Phil Coke in the eighth inning last night, Girardi said afterwards that he wasn’t going to use Phil Hughes, since Hughes had pitched in the two prior games and four of the last five.”
    I said this last night. But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, you couldn’t believe me. :)

    I'mBillMcNeal August 10, 2009, 4:34 pm
  • Because it is in question, we need to go forward as if he won’t be available.
    Exactly my line of thinking.

    Atheose August 10, 2009, 4:35 pm
  • 1st and 2nd half ERA splits for Wake for the last five years:
    2004 – 4.17/5.77
    2005 – 4.05/4.26
    2006 – 4.05/7.40 (injured back in July)
    2007 – 4.39/5.25 (injured at end of season)
    2008 – 3.60/5.22 (DL’d in August)
    I wouldn’t count on Wake coming back, and if he does come back I’d count on him stinking up the joint.

    SF August 10, 2009, 5:52 pm

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