Nick Cafardo pens a doozy today, explaining the current excellence of the Red Sox. We’re no Ken Tremendous, but a few things caught our eye:
They are the team many prognosticators chose to win the division, the pennant, and the World Series. Did we feel good about that pick in mid-April or even early May? No way!
Ok, we’re with you here Nick. We were glum, We’re kind of always glum, so not sure that’s really notable.
Did we think this might be the most overrated team money can buy? It crossed our minds.
Overrated? Didn’t most of these guys have career samples of good size? How can they be overrated when there was enough to rate them?
Did we think there was a lot of wasted money? Guilty again. And in some cases we still believe that.
The John Lackey contract appears to be a lot of wasted money. Where else? Money hasn’t been spent yet, so how can it have already been wasted?
Cafardo then recounts the 15 reasons behind the current successes. This is when it gets really good. A few of them:
Jacoby Ellsbury — The leadoff man has been one of the most consistent players in baseball this season after playing in only 18 games last year. It seems he’s trying to prove his durability and toughness.
Or, you know, he’s just healthy. What plays, exactly, show he’s trying to prove something? Homers? I’ll believe that when he clotheslines Bogar rounding third during a trot. Stolen bases? Doesn’t he steal a lot of bases when healthy? We always brag to our wife about how tough we are when we wake up without a head cold or a randomly strained hammy. It’s very macho of us.
Dustin Pedroia — The intangibles are off the charts. The little things he does in the field, his leadership, how he inspires teammates on a daily basis. The big hits, the big plays.
That first sentence is awesome. Baseball Reference would agree: they keep the “intangible” stat completely off their charts, so who can argue with Cafardo here? I am also glad to know that Dustin inspires his team on a daily basis – what the f*ck was his methodology those first twelve days, then? Glad he ditched whatever speech he was giving at that point. And really, a “little things” joke? What are you, a Catskills borscht belt humorist, Nick? Leave that stuff to us snarky bloggers.
Adrian Gonzalez — He’s the perfect No. 3 hitter. Before he got here, we hyped him as a perfect Fenway hitter, but he’s really a perfect hitter everywhere.
Wait, what would Adrian have done without the inspiration of Dustin Pedroia on a daily basis?
Terry Francona — You may disagree with him on individual moves night to night, but there is a method to his madness and it works. Francona is pretty even-keeled, and his players never feel as if the world is coming to an end following a poor performance. That confidence goes a long way
Hey, God knows we love Tito. We are thankful every day he is still sitting in the dugout. But Jed Lowrie, whose praises Cafardo sings in this column, wasn’t Tito’s first choice. And Tito employs Tim Bogar, still. Best thing about Tito’s method this year, why he sitting in the manager’s seat while the Sox turn it around? He didn’t stupidly and inexplicably quit his job at the end of April.
Jon Lester — We predicted a Cy Young Award for Lester, and with a major league-best seven wins, he may be on his way.
Oy. I guess we know how Nick makes his selections.
Clay Buchholz — After a slow start, he’s every bit the young, emerging star we envisioned. The Sox took the training wheels off by allowing him to throw 127 pitches two starts ago, and he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a start since April 26.
Clay threw 115 pitches in his no-hitter in 2007. In 2008 Clay started 16 games. Last he started 28. On April 22nd last year, in just his third start, Clay threw 114 pitches. Then the next game he threw 117. In 20 starts last season he threw more than 100 pitches, and in all but four of those threw 108+. As of May 18th, the night he threw 127 pitches, Clay hadn’t yet thrown more than 110 in any game, and in fact had only thrown more than 100 in four of his nine starts. But May 18th was the day “the training wheels came off”.
Someone take Nick’s off, please.