Too Comfortable? Rangers-Sox Gamer IX

It’s July first and the Sox are comfortably leading the AL East but posted a losing record (13-14) in the month of June, not that it mattered too much as the rest of the East has not taken much advantage of the Sox cool-down. The Sox are 5-5 in their last 10, and look to rebound from last night’s loss in game three of the four-game series with Julian Tavarez throwing against Kameron Loe. Here’s a place to comment on today’s action at Fenway.

K. Lofton cf .307
R. Vazquez 2b .240
M. Young ss .291
S. Sosa dh .255
F. Catalanotto lf .210
M. Byrd rf .375
B. Wilkerson 1b .219
A. Melhuse c .312
T. Metcalf 3b .206
D. Pedroia 2b .319
K. Youkilis 3b .326
D. Ortiz dh .318
M. Ramirez lf .286
J.D. Drew rf .259
E. Hinske 1b .214
J. Varitek c .261
A. Cora ss .283
J. Ellsbury cf .250
69 comments… add one
  • Paging Clay Buchholz…

    SF July 1, 2007, 2:14 pm
  • Paging anyone who can drive in runs

    Rob July 1, 2007, 2:59 pm
  • pedrioa and ellsbury have been first ball swinging. thought they were both better than that.

    sf rod July 1, 2007, 3:01 pm
  • 2 errors in one inning, great job guys!

    Rob July 1, 2007, 3:12 pm
  • Manny and Drew on, no outs. Let’s get something going here…

    Max July 1, 2007, 3:20 pm
  • nevermind. Thanks Hinske

    Max July 1, 2007, 3:22 pm
  • I said it last night, I’ll say it again: the Sox are playing like a very bad team. The longer they play like a bad team, the more I think they might, in fact, be a bad team.
    Cora with an inexcusable error leading to a run, Hinske with a pathetic double play after Manny and Drew get on with nobody out. This isn’t bad luck, it’s bad baseball. At some point more people will realize that the Sox just aren’t that great a squad.

    SF July 1, 2007, 3:25 pm
  • Youk ties it up. Droid and Youk on, 1 out. Can Ortiz and Manny add a few more runs?

    Max July 1, 2007, 3:48 pm
  • We manage a run to tie it up.

    Rob July 1, 2007, 3:49 pm
  • Papi and Manny continue to underwhelm.

    SF July 1, 2007, 3:56 pm
  • oh suckage. This is bad. If the bats could only start freaking HITTING then this wouldn’t be such a catastrophe. But… they aren’t and it is.

    no sleep til brooklyn SF July 1, 2007, 4:03 pm
  • Typical, we scrape the run out to tie the game and then give up the lead the next inning.

    Rob July 1, 2007, 4:06 pm
  • Look, at this point it’s unlikely that the bats WILL start hitting. At all. Papi’s held up a .320+ average exhibiting no power. It’s not that he hasn’t hit balls solidly, they just aren’t going as far. Same with Manny. I find this extremely worrisome.
    I am unhappy to declare that I find this Red Sox team totally underwhelming, and at this point vastly overrated by most of my fellow Sox fans. Theo needs to get to work, somehow. I don’t know what that means.

    SF July 1, 2007, 4:06 pm
  • I know I keep poo-pooing people’s worries about the Sox, but…”Theo needs to get to work”? To find hitters??

    First of all, I’m not sure that there’s any evidence Manny and Papi are unlikely to heat up. Obviously, we’re seeing some long-term decline there from Manny, but I gotta figure he’s unlikely to end the season hitting .260. As for Ortiz, he slugged .615 in April with 7 HR before his punchless June. Absent evidence of injury — “barking hammies,” maybe? — I think we’ll see more months like April this season.

    Second, though: what on earth would Theo do? Who’s out there? I don’t think the Yanks will trade Arod this season, but who knows…
    And on the bright side, given the competition offered by the Yanks and Jays, there’s no way the Sox aren’t winning the division (This is the first time I’ve felt comfortable saying that, incidentally). So there’s plenty of time for things to work out. Not sure what Theo can do, though.

    stuck working July 1, 2007, 4:23 pm
  • Neither Manny or Papi are in a slump. Both hit over .300 last month. They just aren’t hitting with any power. I agree with SF, it’s hard to see a reason that they will suddenly start hitting hrs since neither is slumping and there are no injury problems. Maybe Tito should use them at the top of the order and have Youk and Lowell hit 3rd and 4th.
    I’m only half kidding.

    Tom sf July 1, 2007, 4:36 pm
  • June stats:
    Papi – .326 avg., 3 hr, 11 rbi, .430 obp, .539 slg
    Manny – .322 avg, 3 hr, 12 rbi, .444 obp, .494 slg

    Tom sf July 1, 2007, 4:41 pm
  • its hard to see a reason that both would catasrophically fail as well. I see it more likely the HRs will return then I so that this continues all season.

    TJ July 1, 2007, 4:46 pm
  • 2 on 2 out for Papi. Show us your power!
    Or not.

    Tom sf July 1, 2007, 4:47 pm
  • When did Wily Mo Pena start hitting lefty and wearing #34?

    SF July 1, 2007, 4:48 pm
  • Not sure what Theo can do, though
    For starters, the least he could do is show up at Julio Lugo’s house, leave a flaming bag of dog poo on the front doorstep, hit the bell, and run.
    Other than that, as I say above, I don’t know what he can do.

    SF July 1, 2007, 4:51 pm
  • I will say one thing, if MDC can keep pitching like he has (and that double was beyond cheap, so not worrisome), then Theo doesn’t necessarily need to go out and trade young talent for a righty setup guy. I like what I’ve seen so far from Delcarmen, even if it is a short sample.
    As for Ellsbury, he really looks overmatched at the plate. I honestly really miss Coco already, he had really seemed to turn it around. Very unfortunate for the Sox that he hurt himself.

    SF July 1, 2007, 4:54 pm
  • Funny thing: we Sox fans (some of us, not this one) laugh at the incompetence of the Yankees. But guess what: they’ve been better over their last 30 games than the Sox have. So if their recent month is laughable to us, what does that make the Sox’ last few weeks?

    SF July 1, 2007, 4:56 pm
  • The Yankees record may have been better, but they’ve looked much worse. Throw out the 2 week hot streak, and they’ve been playing like a last place team. The Sox have been playing like a mediocre team.

    Tom sf July 1, 2007, 5:00 pm
  • Cora vs. Gagne is a mismatch, on paper at least. Any reason to PH Lowell?

    SF July 1, 2007, 5:11 pm
  • Maybe JD will try to steal third…

    SF July 1, 2007, 5:12 pm
  • So Lowell sits, Cora weakly taps to second. Well played, Tito.

    SF July 1, 2007, 5:13 pm
  • Pathetic.
    Manny and Papi have 8 lob today.

    Tom sf July 1, 2007, 5:15 pm
  • I can’t figure out why Lowell, the team’s leading RBI guy at the moment, would be left on the bench there. Is Tito punishing Lugo, not letting him back on the field (he would have had to sub for Cora on D), because of last night? What’s the rationale behind hitting a weakling like Cora against a guy like Gagne?

    SF July 1, 2007, 5:15 pm
  • Eh, forget Lowell — too bad we couldn’t have got Pedroia up in that situation! I think the HR he hit off Gagne a couple months back was when I first got really excited about him.

    stuck working July 1, 2007, 5:15 pm
  • Not only are the Sox not playing well, they are BORING.

    Tom sf July 1, 2007, 5:16 pm
  • So Cora > Lowell? I don’t see it, SW. Sorry.

    SF July 1, 2007, 5:16 pm
  • No. Lowell has played 2B. If that was the reasoning Tito could have put Pedroia at SS and Lowell at 2B

    TJ July 1, 2007, 5:16 pm
  • Cora makes a great defensive play and dedicates it to SF!
    Of course, Tito still should have used Lowell to pinch hit for Cora.

    Tom sf July 1, 2007, 5:18 pm
  • Sorry guys — I wasn’t making a serious suggestion, just recalling a happier moment in the season. For the record, I totally agree that Lowell should’ve PH there.

    stuck working July 1, 2007, 5:19 pm
  • How about Lowell hitting for Ellsbury? They need to do something here.

    Tom sf July 1, 2007, 5:22 pm
  • yea lowell will prolly hit now but whats it matter he shoulda hit with the runners on.

    TJ July 1, 2007, 5:23 pm
  • Ellsbury in early-Pedroia mode, just overmatched.

    SF July 1, 2007, 5:24 pm
  • Francona: “What, me worry? We’ve got a 9 game lead.”

    Tom sf July 1, 2007, 5:27 pm
  • mlb is striking out with this all star announcement, already 90 minuites behind cause of a rain delay in Altanta which is delaying TBS coverage and Florida tied the game in the bot of the ninth UGH!

    TJ July 1, 2007, 5:27 pm
  • oh cripes mlb radio just cut out

    rootbeerfloat July 1, 2007, 5:30 pm
  • We stink.

    SF July 1, 2007, 5:32 pm
  • i take it the games is over?

    rootbeerfloat July 1, 2007, 5:33 pm
  • Papi pathetically pops up to end this putrid game. Just a horrible offensive performance.

    Tom sf July 1, 2007, 5:34 pm
  • Yeah, that was very bad. All-Star break can’t come soon enough for this team.

    stuck working July 1, 2007, 5:34 pm
  • I blame Nick Cafardo. I think he jinxed Boston he had it p[osted on within seconds that they lost and such and that they lost 3 of the last 4 games that were decided by 1 run.
    He was writing it before it was over…. BAD NICK!

    TJ July 1, 2007, 5:36 pm
  • I am trying to figure out how this team is going to win anything this year, besides the division (assuming they don’t blow it). How in God’s name will they beat the Angels or the Tigers in the playoffs, all teams as currently composed?
    They can’t.

    SF July 1, 2007, 5:41 pm
  • there 7-1 against those two teams so far.

    TJ July 1, 2007, 5:44 pm
  • check that 6-1*

    TJ July 1, 2007, 5:44 pm
  • Papelbon, Beckett, Ortiz, Manny and Lowell make all star team.

    TJ July 1, 2007, 6:03 pm
  • Youk Robbed. Not on last spot ballot but Okajima is.

    TJ July 1, 2007, 6:41 pm
  • IS there a limit to how many times u can vote?

    TJ July 1, 2007, 6:47 pm
  • The Sox are losing close games they should be winning… and missing the chance to absolutely bury both the Jays and the Yankees, who have also been losing of late.
    10 games up near the All-Star break is more than I’d ever hoped for at the start of the season, but it could be 13… Boston will need all the cushion it can get given past swoons (and I’m not just talking about August 2006).
    (Seattle just walked off against the Jays, so the Sox lead holds.)

    Hudson July 1, 2007, 7:03 pm
  • Sorry, but I’m not about to jump off a bridge yet. So soon have we forgotten the lessons of 2004? That team looked like crap the entire first half and turned it around when Theo pulled off a trade none of us saw coming. This team has performed better than that one in the first half and arguably needs less fixes than that one did.
    Hitting is streaky, and clutch hitting is flukey. Losing one-run games is either bad luck or bad management, and Tito has been remarkably good most of the year. I won’t say I’m not concerned. I am. But the problem with the Sox is hitting from a lineup that has years and years of statistics indicating they will hit well.
    I certainly don’t understand the belief that Ortiz and Ramirez have shown no indication they will start hitting for power. How about their career averages? How about Ortiz’s April and May? Why is it that if two players have a month completely dissimilar from their career norms we assume that it must be the new reality and not the outlier? This makes no sense. It makes more sense in Manny’s case because of age and continuing decline, but even so, at what point did we start throwing out four years of experience in favor of the last 31 games? That’s just ridiculous.
    Likewise, using the Yankees’ past 30 games as a comparison to the Sox’ is misleading, at best,. The Sox have looked nowhere near as bad as the Yankees, who have had a meltdown of their brotation, bullpen and lineup, whereas the Sox are struggling only with their lineup — and really, only the clutch-hitting portion of their lineup.
    The Red Sox are 15-16 in their last 31 games. Guess what? The Angels also have gone 15-16 in a 31-game span this season. So have the Tigers. I fail to see how the Sox’ current slump somehow makes them unable to defeat the Tigers or Angels, especially when the slump has been caused almost entirely by a slumping lineup.
    Anyway, that’s all I have. I just don’t think it’s worth giving up on a first-place team before the All-Star break, I guess.

    Paul SF July 1, 2007, 7:25 pm
  • TJ July 1, 2007, 7:42 pm
  • I love statistics, and I appreciate all the sobering numbers that help illustrate why panic isn’t a viable option. Which is why I am not panicking. I believe the Sox will win the division; they can do so even if they play relatively mediocre ball for a long stretch.
    But my eyes tell me something the numbers don’t. They tell me that Big Papi isn’t hitting the ball nearly as powerfully as last year, that he looks very lost at the plate right now, lost in a way that in his years in Boston I have simply not seen. They are telling me the same thing about Manny w/r/t power – today he lashed at a ball in the ninth inning that I was sure was warning track or deeper (WITH the wind, no less!) and which fell into a Ranger glove at least 5 or ten feet shy of the WT – this is becoming a common occurrence. They are telling me that Julian Tavarez plays with fire almost every start, and they tell me that Kason Gabbard is starting tomorrow. They also tell me that Julio Lugo is way far gone, and that Jacoby Ellsbury is quite overmatched, at least for the moment.
    None of what I write is statistical. It is all rational. I have seen about 70 of the 80 games this year. I like the results so far. I don’t love the possibilities. That’s not panic.
    As for the comparisons to ’04, that first half was beyond frustrating, and this team has done far better despite what I find to be some similarly frustrating results. But it is also telling that without a major trade that team would have gone nowhere.

    SF July 1, 2007, 7:58 pm
  • No one said they were jumping off any bridges, Paul…
    I’m among those who think Manny Ramirez is all but certain to finish the season with a BA close to .300, and all the projections (ELO, PECOTA, take your pick) give the Sox a 90-98% chance of making the playoffs).
    That said, Manny *isn’t* being Manny, except in flashes, our shortstop has pretty much the lowest BA among starters , our #1 (really our #2) starter is on the DL, and the Sox no longer have the best record in baseball.
    I began as a Sox fan in 1974 (age 6, you do the math) and just have far too many memories of great first halves turning into miserable Augusts. In reality, those teams have nothing whatsover to do with the present lot.
    It’s just that any true Sox fan of the past four decades realistically comes to hope for the best but expect the worst, *pace* 2004 — a complete anomaly, really, in a lifetime of rooting for Boston. And in fact, your 2004 example has no pertinence to the current situation, as the Sox faced the reverse problem and knew they had to make urgent changes.
    So it still seems to me that the Sox are coasting, having built a titanic lead in the first three months, instead of expanding that lead to an extent that would let them rest some of the key arms and bats as the postseason approaches. Yes, the Sox are in a far better spot than practically ever before in my lifetime… But I for one won’t rest much easier until Curt is back and wins a few games, once Manny starts hitting (Ortiz is fine, really), and until Lugo either snaps back or is replaced.
    Oh, to have Cabby back…

    Hudson July 1, 2007, 8:05 pm
  • I’m with Paul on this, for the most part. Today again…the Sox combined to leave an absurd 21 runners on base. (Not actually how many guys were on base today…just the sum of LOB’s). And again, Ortiz and Manny combined to leave 9 of them.
    I’m genuinely worried about Manny, at this point. This is the worst OPS of any half-season since 2002; there’s still time for it to go up, and it probably will…but who knows, maybe age is catching up to him. Ortiz has looked absolutely awful lately…but his overall numbers for the last month are still solid. I think he’ll pull out of it.
    Since the first game at Seattle…Boston has gone a ridiculous 12/68 (.176) W/RISP, plus something like three sacrifices. The overall offense over the same stretch…actually hasn’t been that awful.
    Over the last six games, Boston’s gone 54/207 with 29 walks, good for a .261 team batting average and .352 OBP (and I know I’m missing a bunch of HBP’s).
    I actually feel better about this then I did before I sat down and looked at the week’s game logs. This is a crappy stretch, to be sure, but it sort of does look like you can chalk it up to crap luck and/or guys pressing way too much when runners get on base. A big, big part of that has been Manny and Ortiz…Ortiz’s 11 June RBI is his worst since his 6 in 16 games back in April of 2003. Normally I’d say RBI are an overrated and fairly meaningless stat…but in this case, Ortiz has not only been pretty bad with runners on lately, but he’s just not hitting homeruns. And Pedroia/Crisp were doing their job for most of the month. (Pedroia sports a .333/.410/.473 line in June, and Crisp a nifty .330/.362/.455)
    PS: Ellsbury’s most certainly been overmatched, and is clearly here because WMP can’t be trusted to man CF. Hopefully Pena’s getting dealt. Though I suppose the alternative is that this is a showcase, and Ellsbury’s the one who’s on his way out…that would really piss me off. But it’s probably just a cup of coffee until Crisp’s finger’s better. And holy hell is that kid fast, huh?

    desturbd1 July 1, 2007, 11:39 pm
  • Ellsbury aint going anywhere.

    TJ July 2, 2007, 12:00 am
  • I was pretty sure the Sox would take the East before the season began. Now I think they will walk with it. The question I ask myself about Boston right now is how do I like them in a best of five/seven. For the last month, I don’t mind their runs allowed but their runs created is dismal. I think the pitching will get a bit better. I think the hitting _should_ get a lot better. However, right now, I don’t like them against Anaheim, Detroit, Cleveland, Minnesota, or Oakland in a short series. That said, I think they will improve slightly pitching-wise, which is the important part, and I can’t see them knocking 4.1 runs per game for the rest of the year.

    attackgerbil July 2, 2007, 12:08 am
  • > can’t see them knocking 4.1 runs per game for the rest of the year.
    – meaning that *has* to improve

    attackgerbil July 2, 2007, 12:09 am
  • I think we’re basically all on the same page, and I definitely don’t want to make it sound like someone is wrong for being more pessimistic about the Sox than I am (we’ll let the Lohud crazies do that kind of silliness). I didn’t live through the late 1970s, after all, and the stretch of 2003-06 just doesn’t compare to 1977-79 when it coms to unfulfilled promise.
    There’s obviously cause for concern with the Sox’ current level of play. It centers almost entirely around the offense, with maybe a lishg tib theld over for the starting pitching if Schilling can’t return as at least a decent No. 3 starter. I guess the difference is over the likelihood of the Sox’ lineup producing at current levels for the rest of the season. I think it will do better. I understand the weight and rationality of a team looking like crap. I also believe a team can look like crap for a whole month, then make us all forget about it for the rest of the season. The opposite also is true — it seems we’ve forgotten how awesome the Sox looked day in and day out in April and most of May.
    Basically, all statistics aside, I’m leery about drawing conclusions about how this team will do the rest of the season based on one month of bad baseball, particularly when it was preceded by two months of excellent baseball.
    That said, I also feel pretty confident that the Sox will go to the playoffs, and I feel pretty confident that their pitching is good enough to make a deep run. It’s a matter of getting the offense hot enough to make the pitching stick. And that’s where I feel far less confident.

    Paul SF July 2, 2007, 1:04 am
  • To clarify, I did a stat breakdown about the Yanks for June, but while doing that, worked some Boston numbers at the same time. 4.1 runs allowed, 4.1 runs scored for June. One game under 500 for the month.
    Paul, I agree that you can’t draw conclusions based on that sample set. I’m just boggled that the Sox didn’t win three of five for the month. They should have; the pieces are in place. Fortunately, their April/May ball, combined with the general suckiness™ of the rest of the AL east makes it a non-issue. For Sox fan’s sake, I hope the O starts firing on a couple more cylinders.

    attackgerbil July 2, 2007, 1:29 am
  • the post is running a piece on a-rods wife wearing an inappropriate shirt to “the stadium” yesterday. i wonder what the front said?

    sf rod July 2, 2007, 6:56 am
  • The shirt DID NOT say “F*ck You” what it said was “FCUK YOU.” It stands for French Connection UK. My wife has a few, one of which says “FCUK LIKE A BUNNY.” It’s just supposed to be fun, that’s all. Boy this season is really in the crapper if we are worried about what Mrs. A-Rod is wearing.

    John - YF (Trisk) July 2, 2007, 9:32 am
  • Could you imagine if A-Rod’s stripper friend showed up at the Stadium wearing that shirt? Talk about your perfect storm. The SIHT would fly, for sure.

    Paul SF July 2, 2007, 9:36 am
  • well done Paul!

    Nick-YF July 2, 2007, 9:44 am
  • Maybe Lugo will start wearing one to take batting practice?

    John - YF (Trisk) July 2, 2007, 9:49 am
  • ” For Sox fan’s sake, I hope the O starts firing on a couple more cylinders.”
    Or NOT!
    Gerb, we need to talk…

    Andrews July 2, 2007, 10:39 am
  • > Or NOT!
    True nuff.

    attackgerbil July 2, 2007, 1:01 pm

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