Sox Gamers/Postmortems

The Stopper, Inverse Edition: Jays-Sox Gamer IV

Josh Beckett three times has been called upon to stop Boston Red Sox losing streaks, and twice he has risen to the occasion with masterful performances.

Daisuke Matsuzaka today is called upon to keep going the Sox' first winning streak of 2011. Let's just say we're not confident.

We're far more confident, however, in the state of the Red Sox as a whole. The much-maligned offense is bound to start hitting better in the clutch, as we've discussed, and Carl Crawford likewise won't continue to be the worst hitter in the American League. The much-maligned pitching, meanwhile, has been improved of late. Consider these splits:

First five games (0-5 record)

  • Sox OPS: .575
  • Sox ERA: 8.32

Next five games (2-3 record)

  • Sox OPS: .772
  • Sox ERA: 6.14

Last four games (2-2 record)

  • Sox OPS: .712
  • Sox ERA: 3.00        

They're getting better, but it's hard turning the ship around when you've gotten so badly off course. Here's hoping another member of their starting rotation figures things out today. Comment away!

142 replies on “The Stopper, Inverse Edition: Jays-Sox Gamer IV”

Can you explain to me why I shouldn’t think Crawford is very overrated and thus very overpaid? When I look at his career stats, and especially OBP, I see a guy who shouldn’t be paid more than JD Drew, let alone paid more than Albert Pujols.
If you believe Cafardo, the Sox could have had Justin Upton and Pujols (as a free agent) for the same cost as Crawford and Gonzalez.

Your mistake is believing Nick Cafardo about anything. Upton would have cost far more in personnel than Gonzalez did. And where is the guarantee that Pujols will be a free agent next season? The Cardinals can afford him.
Crawford was essentially tied with Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder as among the top 15-20 hitters in baseball last year, and that’s before you get to talking about his defense. Among outfielders, his offensive contributions ranked behind just Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Holliday, Jayson Werth, Shin Soo Choo and Aubrey Huff. That ranks him as the fourth-best offensive outfielder in the AL for 2010.
On defense, Crawford was the second-best outfielder in all of baseball, according to UZR, and fourth-best as rated by DRS. Put it together, and Crawford was baseball’s ninth-most valuable player in 2010 and fourth-most valuable outfielder.
If you’re looking at his career stats and see a .335 OBP, then sure, that’s unimpressive. Of course, Crawford is also just 29, debuted at age 20, and has posted an OBP of .350 or better in his last two seasons and four of his last five. Since 2005, his OPS has been .800-.830-.820-.718-.816-.851.
Unless the argument is that Crawford is going to have another awful year like he did in 2008, he clearly is more like a .350/.475 hitter at the plate with elite defense. That’s worth more than $20 million in today’s market.

Daisuke looked good in the first. Fastball was hitting 91-93 with some good movement. Maybe the Sox should just give him a week between starts all the time…

Ugh. Gonzo strikes out after a Pedroia walk. Some year, we’ll see the new acquisitions start to hit the way we know they can…
The way this season’s gone, I fully expect Youk to line into a DP.

Or Youkilis will strike out, too. We have to bring in the man from third with nobody out. Good grief. Up to Papi. He’s hit Romero well, but 20 ABs of success versus many more ABs of suck against lefties? Not optimistic.

“Of course, Crawford is also just 29, debuted at age 20, and has posted an OBP of .350 or better in his last two seasons and four of his last five. Since 2005, his OPS has been .800-.830-.820-.718-.816-.851…That’s worth more than $20 million in today’s market.”
Yeah, this is the point I don’t get. A corner OF who rarely tops a .825 OPS? And saying he’s been in the league for nine year hardly suggests he’ll be getting better anytime soon. His BABIP was also .342 last year. His “best season” was driven by luck.
We’ll have to agree to disagree. Drew has been just about worth his contract. Time will tell if Crawford is good on his. I’ll leave you guys alone. Enjoy the game.

I’ll wait a few more games before I pass judgment on Crawford. His body of work prior to this season is too solid for me to believe he’ll be a bust.
And although I won’t call that at-bat a success, I’ll call it a relative positive. Seven pitches before he popped out. He hasn’t seen seven pitches too often this season. could be a sign he’s close to breaking out.

It feels like it’s gotta be just around the corner for both him and Gonzalez, who has been better but not nearly the beast he should be.
At the risk of jinxing him, Matsuzaka is looking really good.

And saying he’s been in the league for nine year hardly suggests he’ll be getting better anytime soon.
I meant that his career numbers are depressed by time spent in the league when he was much younger than most players.

Hey, the Red Sox have a chance to do what the Yankees have yet to do this season – win three games in a row. Does that mean they’re better than them again? Ah, the travails of baseball in April.
(Funnily enough, a quick definition search on ‘travails’ reveals it can mean ‘the pains of childbirth’. How fitting!)

JD Drew’s salary has zero to do with Carl Crawford’s salary. The contracts were signed in two different markets and are thus irrelevant for comparison. Utterly.
One can question whether Crawford was worth the money (though maybe two weeks isn’t enough time to decide?) but to compare to a player signed under different circumstances in another market is fruitless.

Gets out of it with the flyout. Matsuzaka was locating better toward the end of that at bat to Encarnacion. 41 pitches through two. Looking like another five- or six-inning start.

Gonzalez really looks like he is trying to pull everything. Both swings on this at-bat were dead pull swings. Where’s that opposite field savvy?

Sox again doing what has made them frustrating so far. Lots of early noise followed by letting the pitcher off the hook twhen they have a chance to bury him.
(Scott Brown, he of the love-hate relationship with teabaggers, now in the Sox radio booth. Wheee! No idea where he parked his pick-up.)

A couple of popouts and a strikeout. Quick inning for Dice. He’s having quite the outing thus far.
I don’t get too mad when the Sox don’t capitalize on baserunners when they get on with two outs, though you’d like to see Gonzalez do more damage than a three-pitch strikeout. Nearly squandering Drew’s leadoff triple, on the other hand… that would have been pretty bad.

My MLBtv conked out, and I can’t see anything. And MLB’s website is way behind. But it appears that Papi drove in Youk, so 3-0!

Apparently not through the shift. The Jays weren’t shifting with the runner at second, I guess, and Papi grounds a single past the diving 1B into right.
And now Lowrie with ANOTHER line-drive hit. Two on, still no outs.

I agree. Crawford’s at the stage of the slump where he’s lost confidence in his mechanics, his judgment, pretty much everything. You can tell he’s totally lost at the plate.

Scott Brown is such a d*uche. It’s like he’s on auto-pilot and can’t speak like a normal human being. He might as well be in a recording booth, not at Fenway.
He’s speaking about a good cause, but his delivery is like a robot.

They should make Crawford bat righty for a few at-bats. For real. Make him forget what he does from the left side for a few swings. He’ll fail, but he might clear his brain.

A hit for JD, and Romero is about to throw his 80th pitch (in 3+). So that’s a good result so far, in addition to the three run lead.
Come on, Pedey!

Exactly, IBM. I can’t see him without thinking of how amazingly awful Martha Coakley’s campaign was to let a Tea Party-supported candidate win in Massachusetts.

Gonzo Ks.
That’s what I get for taking a leak during his at-bat.

Here in the Chicago burbs, we had a centrist Democratic congressman, Bill Foster (who had won Denny Hastert’s old seat when Hastert “retired” after the GOP lost the House) get his clock cleaned by a teabagger who painted Foster as a far-leftist.

I guess we understand why Drew was leading off today. So I snuck out of the office and headed to the bar to watch the game, so this might be the Stella talking, but I’m very confident in this team, despite the start.

Well, down here we’ve got the guy tied for the most conservative member of the House, and the president of the local Tea Party has decided the mayor is too… nonpartisan? I don’t know. Anyway, she’s running against him because apparently we need more crazy in local government, too.
On the other hand, Matsuzaka has retired 10 batters in a row. I’ve got to go to a meeting, so they’ll have to keep winning without me. Good chatting, guys.

Carl just softly lined one towards left, and the lowered expectations now set that liner as a MAJOR improvement. Off the bat I thought it was a wallball.

Ok, so three innings left. Besides closing out the game, all I want from the last three innings is for Crawford to do something applause-worthy so the fans give him a nice cheer and that’s his last memory heading out of town for the road trip.
And ANOTHER hit for Jed.

“all I want from the last three innings is for Crawford to do something applause-worthy so the fans give him a nice cheer and that’s his last memory heading out of town for the road trip.”
You got your wish, SF.

Wish came true, though Carl may have another at-bat now so this may not be the last thing he does before heading out of town!

Bare-handed grab-and-throws on a full run boggle my mind. I am unable to conceive of such coordination.
Once, I caught two beer bottles sliding off the trunk of a Buick, one in each hand. Then I retired.

Don’t look now, folks, but your Rod Socks have a 3-game winning streak.
Now it’s off to Oakland to face the good-pitching Athletics.
Tomorrow it’s Anderson v. Lackey.
Have the Sox ever beaten Anderson?

YFRS? Why?
These home runs, while good for the team in the moment, are the worst thing for Ellsbury in my opinion. They make him think he’s a home run hitter, which he is not. His swing is not what it should be for his skillset. He swings off his back heels every time, and he doesn’t put the ball in play like he should with his legs.
I think he could be fantastic, but he appears, to me, to be stubborn beyond belief. The homers likely reinforce his own mistaken perception of what kind of player he should be.

Yes, IBM. We’ve won three in a row, the pitching has looked good, the bats came alive, we’re on a streak, and…
we’re still five games under .500 with John Lackey taking the hill on the West Coast. Not exactly the stuff of juggernauts. Tempered enthusiasm with a healthy dose of skepticism is in order.

From the globe this morning:
Ellsbury, who hit two home runs in spring training, isn’t sure whether this power surge will last.
“Just trying to square the ball up and trying to hit the ball hard,’’ he said. “Keep things simple.’’

Doesn’t sound like a kid trying to hit home runs. The Sox have always believed Ellsbury could have Damon-esque, 20-HR power as he matured physically.

Ellsbury’s swing belies his own claims. I have watched the majority of his at-bats this season, and while his home run yesterday was majestic (he’s no Duane Kiper) he should be watching Ichiro, nobody else.
Now my eyes could be lying, I realize this, but I liken Ellsbury’s comment to a pitcher in the eighth inning telling the manager, who takes the ball after 122 pitches, “I’m ok, skip – I ain’t tired”. I don’t believe the player. He may think he’s “just trying to square up” but the bat could be on the wrong plane entirely when it gets square. Sometimes he does well – he’s talented after all. But the philosophy, to these eyes, just looks wrong to me.

Ellsbury hitting homers reminds me of:
1. Corey Patterson as a Cub
2. Willie “Mays” Hayes doing push-ups
Slap ’em & leg ’em, Ells.
Horse: Gardy will be fine. It’s April. I refuse to believe last year was the anomaly.

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