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…
Drew with the leadoff triple! There we go!
I think that means Drew officially eclipses Papi’s active streak of most consecutive seasons with at least one triple
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.
Ortiz walks. Loaded up for Lowrie, the only hitter besides Pedroia who seems to realize spring training is over.
LOWRIE with the two-run single!!!!
“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.
Ick. As soon as I say that, he looks wild as anything on three straight pitches and misses the corner on Ball 4.
Fastball is sailing on him now. He seems to have lost whatever feel he had the first four or five batters.
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.
Drew draws the two-out walk. He likes Romero, apparently.
Walk to JD, then Pedey with the slash through the right side of the infield, 1/2 and two down.
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?
And then the backwards K. Not a good at-bat from AG at all.
That last swing looked like he’s a little messed up. Looked like a pitch he could have handled… And now takes strike three right on the black.
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.)
The first 1-2-3 inning for Matsuzaka. Baby steps.
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.
Here in Chicagoland, it’s 36 and snow is in the forecast. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
Youks doubles off the top of the bullpen wall in right. Almost a homer.
(Dewey woulda caught that.)
99 degrees here in Texas today.
Youk tags one and juuuuust misses a homer. Off the top of the bullpen wall.
Just came in. Three scoreless innings from our Japanese phenom?
Indeed. He’s looked pretty good, too. Life on the fastball and velo back into the low 90s.
Youkilis couldn’t see the ball and doesn’t advance. Bummer.
Men’s marathon winner – a Kenyan, of course – sets course record at 2:03.02.
Ortiz drives him home with a single through the shift!
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!
It’s back and Lowrie is still on fire. A single pushes Papi to second.
Jed Lowrie – Hit Machine!!
Papi singles home Youks. 3-0. Then Lowrie singles to rise his average to .500 (14-28). Two on 1 run in, none out.
Carl? What say you?
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.
Crawford looking a tad lost.
Good time for Crawford to break out here. Not exactly sure what he was doing with that bunt attempt though.
Aaaaaand another pop-out for Carl.
Joe Castig says he looked off-stride on a breaking pitch.
Another popup. He is alllll kinds of messed up.
It’s gotta be all about confidence at this point.
Tek grounds out too softly for the DP. Corners with two out now for Ellsbury, who is swinging a good bat the last few games.
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.
Major job for Dave Magadan, righting Crawford.
Sox already w/ 6 LOBs, 2-9 w RISP.
If Crawford is batting with confidence, Romero is already out of this game.
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.
Amazingly, on neither of Carl’s pop-outs did Joe Castig give us his famouos, “Swing and a pop-up.”
He only does that when the Sox are trailing.
Meanwhile, Matsuzaka has given us four strong innings, 64 pitches. His ERA is down to 8.18. Wake the kids and call the neighbors.
Brown should send a check to Martha every month as a thanks to her for running such a horrendous campaign. …
And another hit for Drew.
I’m calling a Gonzo homer.
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!
Drew on base three times today. Good to see him get going, too.
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.
Pedey flies to center – looked like he wanted to hit that one to the Hancock.
Youk lucky on the non-strike call there, but pops out on the bonus pitch. One more LOB.
That’s seven LOB thru four.
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.
Randy Hultgren, a complete d*uche.
Pete Abes wrote last night that a Japanese reporter told him Matsuzaka said he was really nervous about his start today.
I like the nervous Matsusaka.
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.
The Hit Machine again!
Ladies and Gentlemen: JED FUCKING LOWRIE!!!
Home run! 5-0!
Crawford at least gets a ball out of the infield. Small mercies.
Carl flies out to left. So at least he got it out of the infield.
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.
MLBtv’s service is terrible today.
Lowrie, Papi now tied for team lead w/ 9 RBI.
Romero gone after 110 pitches. Luis Perez coming on for his second career major league appearance.
We need audio of the fuzzy little foreigner screaming “Carl!” at Carl Spackler.
Actually my expectations regarding Carl Crawford have not been lowered. I still fully expect him to have a good season.
Joe C just confirmed that Jayson Nix is not related to Stevie Nicks.
Great inning from Matsusaka!
Jeez, I blinked and Dice was through the sixth. Nice.
In the 6th, Matsuzaka retires the side on 5 pitches.
I meant lowered expectations for the at-bat, not for the season. Certainly he’s not inspiring short-term confidence.
I understood that you meant the at-bat, SF. Just wanted to point out that I still have confidence in him. Slumps happen, he will get through it.
Matsuzaka’s ERA now below 7.
That was absolutely muscled the opposite way, into the bullpen.
Youk with a two-run dinger!
Opposite-field homer! 7-0!
Wow. He crushed that.
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.
ANOTHER hit for Jed!
Lowrie again! Unbelievable!!
Crawford gets a standing O..
Wish fulfilled, SF!
Wall ball for CARL!!!!!!
RBI and it’s 8-0!
And he gets a nice ovation!
That’s what we meant. I like seeing Crawford slap it to left.
Dotel coming in for the Sox. If you want to see something cruel, check out the sponsor banner for Dotel’s BR page.
“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.
Meant to say coming in to face the Sox.
Is it too much to ask to see Carl steal third? (Yes, I know it’s 8-0, but the sox are 4-10.)
Too late, Tek Ks.
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!
“If you want to see something cruel, check out the sponsor banner for Dotel’s BR page.”
Disappointing that BR would allow that.
Another easy one for Matsusaka.
this is a one-hitter, everyone. What an absolute surprise.
My favorite Sock finds the pen.
Jacoby slugs another home run!
AG got a good hold of that one.
Reluctant as I am to make such proclamations so early, I will say one thing: Toronto has clearly distinguished itself as the worst team in the division.
Looks like Patterson wanted nothing to do with the fence at the pen. I understand that one.
Carl will get another at-bat.
Aceves on for Matsuzaka.
D-Mac on for JD.
> Toronto has clearly distinguished itself as the worst team in the division
Maybe. Give the Rays a chance to change your mind.
You could be right, gerb, if Longo has a lengthy stay on the DL.
Snider was safe, but what a great move by Lowrey to grab that ball kicking away from him on the run and make a strong throw.
I need to learn how to spell “Lowrie.” Lawrey? Luau? Lou Reed?
Lowrie Ks on 3 pitches.
Carl? What say you?
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt? And then he Ks. Sorry.. didn’t mean to jinx it.
Carl grounds out up the middle on a nice play by McDonald.
Today was the Patriot’s Day game? Shit, I didn’t know. Just turned it on.
Daisuke with a one-hitter after 7? Goddamn.
There goes the shut-out …
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.
So that’s what, 16 straight batters retired by Daisuke? Insane.
And there’s a homer given up by Wake, their first baserunner since the 2nd.
Ball game. Congrats, Sox fans.
A very satisfying series even though they should have swept.
And I guess we don’t trade Daisuke just yet, Pete? (Not that Theo would do it.)
Sweeeeeeeeeet, told ya I was feelin’ it on Saturday.
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?
Rod Socks. Good God.
Clearly I meant to type Rad Sex.
Ellsbury leads the team in homers. Ellsbury.
My MFRS makes 2.4M this year, arb eligible in ’12, FA in ’14. He’s with Boras.
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.
Nice win, but the Sox win pct. is only .333.
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.
I agree on Ellsbury, SF. He needs to be focusing on getting on base and then stealing bases, not hitting homers.
Because he’s an Oregon kid who played for the Beavers in Corvallis.
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.
I wish the Yankees had the same problem with Brett Gardner that you seem to have with Jacoby Ellsbury…
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.