Hideki Okajima has either allowed a run or an inherited runner to score in four of his last six appearances.
Let the panicking commence!
Regression to the mean.. regression to the mean..
is okie okay?
until he has a few farnsworthian implosions, i won’t write him off.
i like okaji. i think he will turn around. better to make mistakes now then in october. get them out of the system! plus he has been so amazing all season long.
he needs time off. There is no mean by which to judge him as of yet, but I do believe that he’s got Proctoritis. He’s been used to heavily while Paplebon has been used too infrequently. I think that down the stretch, in these important games for the advantage of home field, Paplebon is going to have to step up for a couple two inning saves to take some pressure off the bullpen.
Manny Delcarmen, and to some extent, Kyle Snyder are fully capable of getting the ball and doing good things with it, but if Terry forgets that he’s not Joe Torre, and runs Mike Timlin out there, he absolutely deserves the loss every single time.
make that: too heavily. ugh.
The big reason for the loss, imo, is the offense — missed bunts, two baserunners tagged out at second, no hits and just 2 RBI from four bases-loaded at bats. The Sox should have had a four-run lead entering the eighth instead of a one-run lead.
Secodnarily, Eric Gagne’s shoulder trouble has really hurt the pen, as well. That would have been his save opportunity. He says he’s pain-free, though, so hopefully we’ll have him these last three weeks…
All indications were Gagne was ready last night. But since this post was about Okajima, anyone in the organization notice that the last time he threw 60 innings in a season was 2001?
His last five seasons:
His use has not been smart, especially not with a huge lead all season in the division. Now they have the option of using him sparingly (and risking rust) or abusing him even more.
I think he’ll be fine. He says he’s a little tired, and he’s already been used more this year than he pitched in Japan. The Sox can afford to give him a couple of nights off down the stretch. The Division lead is pretty safe, and even if not, it would be virtually impossible for the Sox not to make the Playoffs from here, so giving him some time to rest up for the Playoffs makes sense. Also, the League has seen him more now and there are more tapes/scouting of him available. He’s going to give up some runs. So is Joba (next year).
especially not with a huge lead all season in the division.
Where was this huge division lead for most of the last two months? It’s hard to fault using your best relievers a lot when you absolutely need wins, and with the Yankees just four games back for most of August, I would argue with the characterization that the Sox could have afforded not using Okajima.
In the recent week or two, I agree Okajima has been wrongly used. But overall, his usage remains outside the league’s top 10 — less than Timlin usually pitches in a season, for example. Also, he’s been used with less frequency in the second half, so there’s clearly been an eye toward keeping him fresh as the season goes beyond the normal Japanese limits.
The Sox aren’t where they are without using Okajima so often. I expect we’re seeing more of a regression than a collapse. Hopefully, he can get some rest when Gagne returns next week, and be better for the playoffs.
Okie is gunna get rocked get ready girls and boys. I mean the guy is a rook for christ sake and you speak of him as if he’s done this in his entire career. In Japan he was an average reliever. The league is catching up to him and in impeccable timing. Right before the playoffs. One thing I like about him is his deceptive delivery which can still make it tough for first timers, and his ability to attack attack attack the stike zone. But the home run wasn’t a cheap one last night. 6 era last 10 appearances. And what happened to the briliant trade aquisition in Gagne. I haven’t heard from him in a while, is he in the cellar of the bullpen?
Well, in Boston, they always “absolutely need wins”.
But the reality is, they didn’t. Even with the last two months, they had a 7 game lead last night. No reason to throw Oki there. If anyone had taken the five minutes to review his last five years of work, they would have set him on a strict usage schedule for the last two months of the season – like twice a week. Now he’s on pace for 80 innings, including the playoffs. That’s ridiculous.
Like I said, Pete, in the last two weeks or so, Okajima has been wrongly used. In the last two months, the Sox absolutely needed wins. They were only up by four or five games for much of that time.
Of Oki’s 61 appearances, 38 times he’s been used in a tied game or one where the Sox have been up or down by 1 or 2 runs. That’s fine – that’s the proper use.
In the last two months he’s pitched 9 times with the Sox up by at least 3 runs.
That’s pretty pathetic.
For the breakdown, see his game logs at baseballreference.
He just needs a week or so, and after that, used sparingly until, you know, late October.
Okajima wasn’t “average” in Japan. Nor has he been during his rookie year in the States. So far. Hard to name a reliever, including even hall of famers like Mo, who don’t have a stretch like this once, maybe twice a season. My advice: give him a week off. Japanese players don’t get a long winter break.When he returns he’ll think it’s the beginning of the next season. One real problem about the playoffs for Okajima, being serious now, is that in Japan there is usually a considerable lay-off between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs. Not so in MLB. Japanese pitchers practically pitch year around. But scattered in are breaks of a week or two now and then. Clinch the division as early as possible and give him a week away. A week and a half would be better.
Kyoto, don’t they also play countless exhibition games over the winter for corporate marketing initiatives?
Tito, “the division as early as possible and give him a week away”.
I think that is exactly what tito has been aiming for. It is hard to rationalize a better reason for Pap’s (for example) going 3 straight.
This does deviate from tito’s managment so far this season but I have to believe he knows exactly what he is doing, exactly what his team is able to accomplish.
Yankees1st the joker!
Should you not be more worried about the apparent breakdown of Viscaino, who has appeared in 15% more games than Okajima and has no viable option backing him up except some 21 year old kid last seen throwing fastballs ‘just a little bit outside’ (Uecker style) in a somewhat pressurized calling in NY last week?
If not, maybe you should.
In Japan, generally speaking, if you are involved in a sport that sport and only that sport are what you do year around. Goes for elementary school kids, high schoolers, pros. Thus the season and the off-season are not so easily defined as in the U.S.. Thus the year is interspersed with weeks off here and there and a “season” in which competition with other teams is emphasized, But the lines a blurry and fluid. You’ll have teams who didn’t make the playoffs practicing during the playoffs. Or right after. Exhibition games in December. Pitchers gathering for a few weeks in early January for the years “first pitch”. Groups of players taking off to Australia to train, Summer weather down there, after “first pitch” is over and before training camp begins, and it begins early. Okajima used to go down with Kuwata every year. Anyway. Two potential problems: Okajima won’t know what to do with all the time he gets in the off-season. 2) He’s probably going to need a break soon. Hopefully he’ll get one.
Thanks again for the insight, Kyoto. Great stuff.
I think there may be an advantage for Okajima with his delivery in Fenway. Maybe something about his release point in relation to visuals in the bleachers. That would explain stats far better @ home, in a park lefties typically do not excel in.
Thanks. My insomnia has its rewards. Anyway, bottom line: a little time off for Okajima might go a long ways. I was only half kidding when I wrote he’ll think it’s a new season. Better yet, his body might believe it.
p.s. As someone who lives down the street from where Okajima played ball in high school, couldn’t be more thrilled at the high expectations he’s managed to create in his first year. A double edged sword of course, but who woulda thunk it.
Yeah, I heard from a coworker who visited Japan a couple months back that there were these high school kids in a baseball field near where he was staying practicing/playing for eight, ten hours the day he got there. And they played that long the day after that and the day after that and the day after that…
Kyoto, picking your brain some more: What’s up with Kei Igawa? Wasn’t he, like, ok in Japan or something?
When the whole Matsuzaka mania started, I began reading everything I could get my hands on regarding the Nippon. Interesting addition to what Kyoto has said, I read that their training camp (spring training) is more like a military style boot camp than anything else. Lots of running, conditioning, etc… Very little baseball.
Also, the fundamentals of the game a stressed to the point of actually being a martial art. Kids with any talent start training for hours every day at absurdly early age.
I’m fascinated with the parallel evolutions of the game in both countries and places like the Dominican and I look forward to more of those practices making their way to the states.
” last seen throwing fastballs ‘just a little bit outside’ ”
While your point about Vizcaino is true, “the kid” was last seen last night: a perfect inning, with the yanks down 2-1 against the team in 2nd place in the WC. He threw 11 pitches – 7 for strikes, and got his first W…
So true Devine. But one reason for the long practice is that you usually have a lot of players. It isn’t like in America where some kids make the team and the rest don’t. Plus, everyone is together. No varsity and j.v.. Teams might have sixty or a hundred players. Or more. All different abilities. Batting practice takes a bit of time. A program like the one Okajima attended, if they beat all the other Kyoto teams and make it to Koshien, will field a small team, only a small number are allowed to play, and the rest of the players (hundreds) will be in the stands cheering. In school the club you join really becomes the center of your world. Whether it be the baseball club or the soccer club or the band, after school and on weekends you practice together. Has advantages. The kids build strong bonds with one another and the adults leading them, and they stay out of trouble. Downside: self-selection. A mediocre baseball player might’ve been a great soccer player, but he never got the chance to find out because he’s only played baseball all his life. Pro teams too. A lot more hanging out together.
He (Joba) has performed well, no doubt. But am I the only one who recognized a shaky kid when confronted with the closest thing to playoff baseball, short of the actual thing, last week? Even though they are fighting them for a WC spot, Seattle is one thing. Boston, however, is an entirely different matter. The pressure exists on both sides.
“He (Joba) has performed well, no doubt. But am I the only one who recognized a shaky kid when confronted with the closest thing to playoff baseball, short of the actual thing, last week?”
That’s even more interesting, Kyoto. I didn’t know that about all levels of ability being together.
I did read that Koshien (high school national championship) is bigger in Japan than the NCAA basketball finals here in the states. Bigger in every way, attendance, TV audience, web site traffic. Literally everyone in the country follows it. That is cool.
Is there a gambling culture around it like the NCAA basketball tourney?
Something to said about how Japanese players are trained and brought up. They seem to be able to pitch forever without the injuries their American counterparts are constantly afflicted with.
Or maybe that is just a wrong impression I have. Not reading about Japanese baseball everyday will do that.
My insomnia allows me to drone on Nick-YF. So I’ll eat up some more bandwidth. As someone who lives in Hanshin country and is a fan, not fanatical, but interested, the whole Igawa thing was from the start a cause for concern. I was hoping he’d end up in, say Kansas City, and be given some time in a small pond. But the Yankees got him. Igawa is a guy who lived practically his whole time as an adult in the team dorm. He is a great guy, but basically a nerd. New York will be a tough place to start for him, I thought. Plus he’s been coddled, and coddled in Japanese. New York, the fans, the press, and especially the management and other players don’t coddle. And they don’t do it in English. Just got married too. It would’ve been better for him in Kansas City. As for his stuff: he had a few very good years. His relatively good years coincided with Hanshin battling for the top. It had been many years and the Hanshin fans are very much like the Boston fans so this was a big deal. Thus his pitching got a lot of play. Same pitching at a lesser club, I’m not sure he’d have been seen as such a prospect. Last year he really looked terrible during the second half of the season. I’m not sure his desire to go to America was as thoughtful as it might’ve been. A flight from ones problems? That said, I do think he has a chance. He’s a nice kid, smart, and I have seen him throw some wicked games. Very deceptive. Very locked-in. In America he’s never been locked in. An expensive proposition, but half a year down in AAA with a lot of support and if he grows a bigger pair, he could be a good four or five. Do the Yankees and their fans have the patience?
Continuing to appreciate the point of view, Kyoto. Do you have a take on Matsuzaka? Do you see his recent scuffles as a normal part of any pitcher’s season or as a product of the 5-man rotation and lengthy season? Do you think he’ll be better or about the same next year?
BostonRAW: Everyone gets shaky, and the fact that Joba didn’t break under the pressure actually speaks to his talent & maturity.
Kyoto, you need to start a blog! seriously. Thanks for the insight. It appears that Cashman just make have the patience, but the fans (inlcuding me) not so much.
“am I the only one who recognized a shaky kid when confronted with the closest thing to playoff baseball, short of the actual thing, last week?”
BostonRaw, this seems like a Rovian plan of attack. Target a strength like Kerry’s army experience. Are you the only person in America who hasn’t noticed that Joba’s numbers have been absurd since he was called up?
Koshien is huge. Every game is nationally televised and the kids play in Koshien (the Hanshin Tiger’s stadium so they are on an extended road-trip) in front of large, large crowds. The semi-finals and finals are definitely sold out and the early games are also packed. Every Prefecture has a representative so besides the fans of the game, you’ll have fans of the locale, and fans of the particular team. But beyond baseball there is a moral dimension. Kinda nice seeing young kids behaving themselves, playing the game hard and fair. How you play the game is everything. Fundamentals the touchstone. But frills also appreciated. The teams line up facing each other before the game and bow to another. Then to the umps. No one yells at the umps or complains about calls (though one manager broke that taboo this year). At the end of the game they line up again and bow. The winning team then gets to sing the school song. The losing team’s players scrap some of the dirt up off the field and put it in a small bag, someday to show the grandkids. Lots of tears. Every year a few players or a particular team becomes the media favorite. This year a small public school that sends most of its students onto college and is from a very small prefecture just kept on winning and winning. Against all odds. Wound up winning the whole thing. Movie soon to be released.
I tend to think all the week arms are weeded out at a young age. I also think this was the case back in the 60’s and even the 70’s, and of course before then, in MLB. Worrying so much about the glass breaking, allows all the glass arms into the game. Pavano would’ve ended his career in the sixth grade if he were Japanese.
Igawa hasn’t actually been that bad in AAA:
5-4 68 IP 71 K 15 BB 3.71 ERA
When they signed him they said a back of the rotation guy. And for a lefty, those numbers would be fine – except for the 50 million they spent. just as a reference point, those are better numbers than Gabbard and Lester put up in same league this year. Of course, Gabbard has been much better in the majors and Lester has been recovering. Though I suppose Igawa could be said to be adjusting.
Given that most of that money has already been spent, they should just hold onto him. The problem was thinking he’d contribute this year.
“”am I the only one who recognized a shaky kid when confronted with the closest thing to playoff baseball, short of the actual thing, last week?”
Yes, especially since those “outside” pitches were thrown exactly where he wanted them.
“those “outside” pitches were thrown exactly where he wanted them.”
I agree, Pete. I wish I knew the “why” – it just doesn’t make any sense.
Honestly? I think Roger got in his head a little. Told him to pick a guy and buzz him just to get into batters’ heads. You know, establish himself as a major leaguer. It’s actually a classic Clemens/Pedro power pitcher move (and I have no problem with it). Youk got it because he’s a visible face of the team but without the pedigree/widespread acclaim of a Manny or Papi.
And I think it was two pitches because there can be no doubt about the intent (not to hit but to claim the plate). The ump overreacted because there wasn’t going to be a third pitch. But it also worked fine for the kid – message sent and he got the days the Rules require.
Devine, I wrote a few days ago that the ball and the mound have been real problems for Daisuke. Especially the mound. Compared to Japanese mounds, someone told me, it’s like pitching on asphalt. The ball is also very slippery. I think this has hurt his change-up the most, and as Clay B. showed just the other day, the change-up is key. Moreover, he seems to get a bit off his game, or very much off his game, after he’s been squeezed by an umpire. (I must say I think Japanese umpires are much more consistent, both throughout a game and from one umpire to another. Part of the culture. The trains run on time too.) He needs to toughen up a bit here. Take some lessons from Beckett who is doing a much better job this year of letting it just roll off his back. I’m more optimistic about next year after he has had some time to reflect and remake his game a bit. I don’t think any of this has much to do with time between starts and the longer season. But the excitement has probably ended. And it is probably now a bit of a grind, and in a new country at that. Hopefully, the excitement of the playoffs will help rather than hurt. (I’d also get his old manager over here again. Sometimes it’s just nice being able to talk ball and technicalities in your own language–even good translators, and few are really good, and most are terrible, can do the trick. The last time he was having some problems he came over, subsequently a lot of good outings. Plus his daughter is hot: http://www.riko-higashio.com/index.html )
“seldom can do the trick”
“Pavano would’ve ended his career in the sixth grade if he were Japanese.”
i mean no disrespect to the japanese people, but oh how i wish he were.
great stuff, kyoto
“But it also worked fine for the kid – message sent and he got the days the Rules require.”
I dread the retaliation at Fenway, though – fighting as we are to make the playoffs, we can’t afford to lose anyone else to injury.
Are there 2 Petes here?
Pete SF and Pete YF are the same people.
Same person, LOL. Sorry.
What? Noooooooo! Must have typed that cause I was thinking of the Yankees. Should probably sign up for an account so I don’t have to type my name each and every time. Actually, I’m just going to go by Pete. Any one who cares can tell who I root for by what worries me.
As for retaliation, I think it would be silly. Sure, if Paps wants to throw high and tight to Jeter. But if there’s escalation in the form of a HBP there could be trouble. That would be silly.
Pete, suffering an identity crisis?
You’re an SF at 1:17, and a YF at 1:35.
The keys are nowhere near each other on the keyboard. Thanks for ratting yourself out. Saves us the work.
Ah, I’m a bit behind, having read through the thread after lunch.
Speaking of which, is there any way to edit or retract a post?
No, not on the user end, at any rate.
“i mean no disrespect to the japanese people, but oh how i wish he were.”
Disrespect? None taken. The many Japanese Yankee fans would have loved to have shouldered the Pavano burden. Plus after they had blown his arm out in the sixth grade he could’ve been turned into a champion sumo wrestler. He’s got the body type. Would need to fatten him up of course.
Though I’m frustrated by last night’s completely avoidable loss — I’d agree with the poster who lamented all the bases-loaded squanders — still, 6 games up with just 22 left to play is a pretty hefty lead.
Francona’s approach (hurry up and clinch, rather than slow and steady) is debatable.
The next three-game series with New York should either vindicate or demolish Tito’s decision to go for broke now.
Another Yankee sweep and the Sox would have to press right up to the postseason. He evidently hopes instead to have the luxury of giving all the key players a solid 7-10 days rest rather than giving everyone a gradual slowdown over the next 3-4 weeks.
Boston’s magic number is 17… That means the Sox have to really stay hot in the next two weeks to be able to put up their feet toward the end of the season (unless New York implodes).
I feel 90% sure the Sox will win the division. What I’m more anxious about is the Yankees getting eliminated. Taking 3 of 3 from them would go a long way toward sending Jeter to the links early.
P.S. A look at the Sox and Yanks’ schedules further emphasizes to me that Boston really needs to take at minimum 2 out of 3 from the Yankees to rest easy toward the end of the season.
New York has 12 games against KC, Baltimore and Tampa Bay; 7 games against Toronto; and 3 against Boston.
Boston has 10 against Baltimore and Tampa Bay; 9 against Toronto, Oakland and Minnesota; and 3 against the Yankees. I’d say Boston has the slightly tougher schedule for the remainder.
Again, a 6-game lead with 22 left is pretty darned solid… But if the issue is clinching early to give Oki et al. some rest, I’m guessing that it’s not going to be so simple.
Hudson…I too would like to see the Yankees out of it…but Detroit and Seattle…ugh (speaking of which Detroit just gave up the lead in the 8th).
Don’t forget, also, that the Sox’ magic number in making the playoffs at all is 15 (Seattle is 2nd in the wild card and has 64 losses, Sox have 84 wins…163-84-64=15). If the Sox don’t care about the division at all, they could start resting appropriately a couple days sooner.
Also, Hudson…don’t forget the home/road aspect, where the Sox do have an advantage over the Yanks (12 home, 10 road Sox…7 home, 15 road Yanks).
Here’s a fun little scenario:
Assuming Cleveland beats up on the Angels in their upcoming 4-game set, and ends up with a better regular season record than them, would you rather have the Yankees win the Wildcard, and face Cleveland in the first round, or win the division and face the Angels in the first round?
I’m actually conflicted.
hey kyoto: can you shoot us an email?
looks like another chief in the tribe.
“Assuming Cleveland beats up on the Angels in their upcoming 4-game set, and ends up with a better regular season record than them, would you rather have the Yankees win the Wildcard, and face Cleveland in the first round, or win the division and face the Angels in the first round?
I’m actually conflicted”
I am mostly concerned with the Mets. They have a very nice team so I hope they get upset by another.
don’t jump to conclusions brad. btw: what’s up with the yfsf fantasy league?
not my team, that’s for sure. We were so close to being over, I was just going to wait until it was all over to put in the results.
edit: we are so close…
Okajima’s problems could be related to tiredness. He has already surpassed his career high in innings pitched (or is close to it).
If only Theo had traded for a set-up man at the trade deadline, then the Sox could rest Okajima–someone who was once a top notch closer that could now fill in as a set-up guy to Papelbon…. ;)
Interesting tidbit from the Globe…
I’ve gotten quite a few questions about this, so I’m happy to explain. That’s right, I’m talking about postseason eligibility.
Here’s the short answer, the one that everyone wants: Yes, Jacoby Ellsbury is potentially eligible for the postseason roster. I’ll explain. Or, rather, I’ll let Red Sox director of baseball operations Brian O’Halloran explain.
“The position-player-for-position-player / pitcher-for-pitcher requirement is indeed now gone for substitutions prior to a series,” O’Halloran wrote in an e-mail. “However, teams now are allowed to substitute for an injured player during a series. Such in-series substitutions are position-player-for-position-player / pitcher-for-pitcher, and the injured player cannot be active for the remainder of that series or the next series. Those substitutions also require MLB approval.
“The way substitutions (before a series) work in general is as follows: each team’s initial pool of eligible players is the 25 players on its active roster at midnight on 8/31 plus any players on the 15-day DL, 60-day DL, suspended list, bereavement list, etc. So we have 28 players in this pool (25 plus Donnelly, Clement, and Mirabelli, all of whom were on the DL on 8/31). Any player in a team’s pool who is injured when a given series begins can be substituted for. So if Mirabelli is healthy at that time he will not be eligible to be substituted for, as an example. But if any player of the 28 eligible guys is hurt at the beginning of a series, we could substitute for him. For example, with Donnelly being out for the year, we can substitute any player who was in our organization on Aug. 31 for Brendan. This substitute could be a pitcher or position player, and does not necessarily have to have been a September callup.”
So there’s your answer. Ellsbury could be in, even though he wasn’t on the 25-man roster as of Aug. 31.
I know, Lockland. I wish I could personally aggravate Tito everytime he puts Lugo at leadoff (if that’s what you’re “ugh”ing about).
Not, like, hurt Francona. But really annoy him. Like “put cat puke in his shoes” annoy him.
oops, I meant to put that in the Ellsbury/Coco thread, feel free to delete.
AndrewYF, I would rather the Yankees win the Wildcard and face Cleveland.
How are the matchups determined? The WC doesn’t automatically play the team with the best record?
They do, except for when WC and division leader is in the same division.
“AndrewYF, I would rather the Yankees win the Wildcard and face Cleveland.”
Personally, I’d feel better about facing Lackey and Escobar than Sabathia and Carmona in a short series.
Rick Ankiel, failed starting pitcher turned OF for the Cards, out of baseball since 2004, is 3 for 4, with 7 RBIs and 2 HRs going on right now against the Pirates.
I would like the Yankees to win the Division, but I would rather the Yankees do whatever results in them playing Cleveland in the first round, not the Angels, so I’m watching this four-game series between the two closely!
Ankiel’s a great story, Lockland. Too bad he doesn’t have enough ABs for Comeback Player of the Year.
No kidding, he’s tearing it up.
Tyrel, the Yankees couldn’t beat the Nationals if the games are held at Angel Stadium. I’d rather take my chances with Sabathia and Carmona in Cleveland/NY.
“I’d feel better about facing Lackey and Escobar than Sabathia and Carmona in a short series.”
It’s about more than just SP – in the respective series in August, the yanks hit Carmona, Lackey and Escobar roughly equally – 8-9 H; 4-5 ER. We haven’t faced Sabathia this year, but in 8 previous starts against us, his ERA is north of 7.50.
The Angels just seem to have the yanks’ number – their aggressive baserunning is a problem; their hitters just seem to hit our pitching well. Garrett Anderson always kills us.
Given the choice, I would rather play any other team in baseball in a 5 game series.
I’m not thrilled about facing the Angels or the Indians, but when they’re on, Sabathia and Carmona might be the strongest 1-2 punch around.
Hard to argue with that, but when Wang and AP are on, they’re on too!
And the Yanks do have the.. say it with me now.. “the best offense in baseball”!
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