No Problems, Bayby

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Were you worried? How silly.

Worried that Jacoby Ellsbury’s struggles this season might foreshadow similar problems in the postseason?

Worried that Jason Bay might struggle in the first playoffs of his career?

Worried that Jon Lester might not step up and take the mantle of Josh Beckett in the playoff opener?

Worried that the Red Sox didn’t have what it took to beat the team with the best record in baseball — you know, the one with all those intangibles?

No worries anymore. It’s the Sox’ series to lose now.

44 comments… add one
  • I hate to agree, but the Sox should handle Santana just fine. He was pretty bad in September giving up more than a hit per inning, with an ERA near 4.50. Also his ERA for the season is more than a run higher at home than it is on the road. If the Sox, sorry when the Sox go up 2-0, the series is over. This is not some sort of jinx, so don’t come at me with that either. The Sox were able to beat Lackey, the best pitcher on the Angels…the rest of the bunch should not be a problem. The Sox showed so much poise and patience last night. There were plenty of spots to panic and they didn’t. Nothing scarier than a team that doesn’t think they can lose.

    John - YF October 2, 2008, 9:03 am
  • boy, i’d be careful about celebrating too early paul…i agree that the angels looked lost last night, and they’ve been ice cold over the last month or so, but this is the playoffs and wierd things can happen…i remember getting serious cases of the gloats in the late 90’s when the yanks were winning every year…boy did that come to a crashing halt in 2001, with a hard dose of reality…as fast as your star can rise, it can fall a lot faster…

    dc October 2, 2008, 9:39 am
  • I dunno.
    I’ve been saying for awhile now that I’d rather play the angels. Yeah, they had a great record, and in the end, everyone plays everyone, but I just can’t get on board with how good everyone says there are/were.
    They win a lot of really close games, which is good, but all those “intangibles” aren’t enough to make them great.
    The NL West is enough to make them appear to be great, but in the end, they’re going to have to do something more to beat Boston. This isn’t July, when they caught them playing their worse baseball of the year for six games in twelve: this Boston team is a totally different animal. An animal without the huge distraction of 24, and a much better team.

    Brad October 2, 2008, 9:56 am
  • And I agree, DC. Celebrating too early is cause for huge pain later.

    Brad October 2, 2008, 9:57 am
  • Not gloating (well, Ok, maybe just a little). I’m not saying the Sox will win the series, but it’s now a ton more probable.
    The Sox needed to win one of the first two games. They did that. They now can go home no worse than tied 1-1 and Beckett and Lester starting. That’s exactly where the Sox wanted to be. Now we’ll see if they can take advantage.

    Paul SF October 2, 2008, 9:58 am
  • i agree that this was a huge win, because as you say, you’ll be no worse than 1-1 leaving LA, but i was just pointing out that my experience is every time i’ve gloated, since 2000, it has turned on me viciously…as for 1-1 v. 2-0, dice-k has been flirting with disaster, but he ain’t no chump…i’m hearing good reports about beckett, but that’s where i’d place my concern right now…if dice-k can continue his houdini act one more time, you guys are sittin’ pretty, even if beckett isn’t on top of his game…

    dc October 2, 2008, 10:05 am
  • Uh, it’s one game, Paul, this feels a little to giddy for my tastes. Though NLDS game one losers lose series at a remarkable clip, in the ALDS it’s not so foregone: ALDS first game losers are 14-14 in eventual series results.
    I am hesitant to celebrate anything other than last night’s result, it is no indication of how Friday will go. Past performance is no guarantee and all that. Win Friday and we maybe can have a different discussion about the Sox’ chances, and even then I hesitate, such is my refusal to tempt fate.

    SF October 2, 2008, 10:07 am
  • dc, Matsuzaka has a WHIP of 1.32. He is wild, but in general not that hittable. He gave up .76 hits per inning this season in a relatively large sample.
    That’s not saying he’s going to do great on Friday, of this I have NO clue – he’s facing a good lineup so it would follow that he has less margin for error. But the idea that he’s a magician, pulling success out of thin air, this idea isn’t borne out by the statistics. Major league hitters, at least this season, just haven’t been good at hitting Matsuzaka. His BABIP against is slightly above average, but not outrageously. It would seem that Matsuzaka has been good but not because he’s Houdini, but because his pitching style is about being effectively wild, about pitches that move tremendously, about control that has an element of controlled chaos.
    Unless all you are saying by the Houdini reference is that he gets out of jams well (which is undeniably true). My sense, though, is that when someone is called a Houdini it’s because they have somehow, inexplicably, gotten out of a situation they normally shouldn’t be able to get out of, in other words, lucky. Am I mistaken?

    SF October 2, 2008, 10:15 am
  • if dice-k can continue his houdini act one more time, you guys are sittin’ pretty
    Well, Wang does it, so I see no reason Dice can’t do the same:) Just different magic tricks is all. ha.
    I expect Dice to have his best game of the year tomorrow. Just as I expect Tito to let him throw 125 pitches.

    Brad October 2, 2008, 10:21 am
  • I also love the fact that Yankee fans (not so much here) harp on the Red Sox for worrying about the Yankees whilst they should be commenting on their own team, and over on LoHud there are 700!! comments on last night’s game between LAA and Boston.
    Just funny to me.

    Brad October 2, 2008, 10:22 am
  • Not getting on you guys at all – just pointing out something funny.

    Brad October 2, 2008, 10:23 am
  • Hey Brad, we’re happy to have YF’s still posting. It’d be more boring without them, and if the Sox were eliminated I’d probably still post in the gamers.

    Atheose October 2, 2008, 10:32 am
  • Who’s talking about the past? This is the present. The Red Sox just stole home-field advantage from the Angels and did so by beating their best starter in a tight game on the road that could easily have gone the other way.
    The Sox may still lose this series, sure, but the chances just dropped precipitously. Why not get a little giddy? We’ve got to fill the next 24 hours somehow.
    I will grant dc’s point that the Yankees of late are a good reminder why winning the first game isn’t a guarantee of victory. But it sure as heck is better than losing the first game.

    Paul SF October 2, 2008, 10:36 am
  • “I also love the fact that Yankee fans (not so much here) harp on the Red Sox for worrying about the Yankees whilst they should be commenting on their own team…”
    Brad, you are my boy and all but…If I were to put up a thread and take Jason “MVP” Bay off top billing there would be comments about that. It’s Sox time, as well it should be. There really is nothing to talk about right now as Yankees fans. Should we beat that dead horse called CC Sabathia or maybe the Tex horse…I think (most, if not all) YF’s here have been very respectful of the Sox thus far. We are damned if we do, damned if we don’t right now. Comment and we are infringing on your time. Don’t comment and we are hiding. I am speaking for us and not LoHud of course.
    As for me, I despise the Angels nearly as much as the Sox. Watching the game and seeing those fans with those noise sticks I wanted to vomit. Why do you need to make artificial noise? Anyway, I digress…I really don’t want the Angels to win. I really don’t want the Sox to win. But I watch because it’s baseball.

    John - YF October 2, 2008, 10:46 am
  • Agree 100% with John.
    Was anyone else freaking out when Masterson came in and stayed in? I thought for sure Oki would be coming in, especially after he got into trouble. I guess that’s why Tito makes the big bucks.

    Atheose October 2, 2008, 10:51 am
  • Well said, John. I don’t begrudge YFs their absence or their presence. Their team is gone and their hated rival is still playing, so either makes sense. I prefer the latter, by a longshot, though, especially at this site.

    SF October 2, 2008, 10:56 am
  • Has Masterson been the setup man as of late? I was thinking this is a TOTAL confidence, for the future move. It’s ballsy, but it could pay off huge dividends. Come in, shut them down and that kids confidence could skyrocket. Great move.

    John - YF October 2, 2008, 11:00 am
  • They’ve used Masterson a lot in the past few weeks, in every sort of situation: setup, cleanup, etc. I hope you’re right John, he sure did a great job of settling down and getting himself out of trouble.

    Atheose October 2, 2008, 11:05 am
  • I think with the close game and Masterson being the ground-ball pitcher, Francona was going with the pitcher least likely to give up a game-tying homer. Plus righties suck against him, and after Teixeira, it was all righties.
    I was surprised it was Masterson, too, but I agree that I loved the move. And he pitched well. One hard-hit ball (Guerrero’s single), and two dying quail bloops — one an out on Ellsbury’s spectacular catch, the other an out on Youkilis’ great rebound-and-throw. The Sox’ defense bailed out some bad luck on hit placement.

    Paul SF October 2, 2008, 11:12 am
  • That was a hell of a good-feelin’ win last night: even Masterson’s supposedly shaky inning, as commenters have already noted here, wasn’t so.
    As for Friday, the Angels remain exactly the sort of team you want Matsuzaka to go against: the impatient kind. There are plenty of hitters in this lineup that aren’t going to let Daisuke walk them, no matter how hard they might try. The one that might draw walks with his approach, Texiera, is the one where a mere walk isn’t a bad result.
    A Game 2 win would set a record for consecutive wins against an opponent. 11. I can’t even believe that 10 isn’t itself a record, but I guess the Yankees had someone’s number back when there were eleven teams in the majors.

    Hit Dog October 2, 2008, 11:31 am
  • Paul: Masterson is actually more homer-prone than you would think. For whatever it’s worth, I thought the dude looked nervous as hell — what a spot to give him his first playoff exposure. I hope it gets easier for him now that’s had that experience, because he’s going to be key to how far the Sox can go.
    As for me, i still find it hard to dismiss the regular season record, I don’t trust Dice-K, and I feel completely unsure about what we’ll get from Beckett. I’m still thinking that the Sox are basically down 2-1 in this series right now.

    stuck working October 2, 2008, 12:38 pm
  • Count me as impressed with the Sox performance last night. Great job. It was a “fun” baseball day as a fan with no investment, watching the butcher-shop glove work by the Brewers. Oof. Then Dempster giving up _seven_ bases on balls in less than five innings to the Dodgers. I watched that game with a die-hard Cubbie, and he was justifiably pissed off at the horrible inconsistency with the strike zone, but that fifth inning from Dempster was just atrocious. And Manny’s home run off Marshall, well, I just don’t know how he did what he did with that pitch. Amazing.

    attackgerbil October 2, 2008, 1:08 pm
  • This insane Simmons epic might warrant a post for discussion:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=manny

    stuck working October 2, 2008, 1:27 pm
  • “This insane Simmons epic might warrant a post for discussion”
    is a traveling secretary the same as a clubhouse attendant?

    Ric October 2, 2008, 2:20 pm
  • I got about a third of the way through. Too long. Too rambling. And too stupid. Trying to blame the Red Sox for telling Ramirez they wanted to see how he performed in 2008 before deciding on whether to pick up 2009? Please.

    Paul SF October 2, 2008, 4:42 pm
  • of course it was only the first game, but it was an important tone setter for this series. you could almost see it on the faces in angels dugout, “here we go again”. it was also a tone setter for the sox players with no playoff history (bay, lowrie, and masterson). i do see this game carrying a bit more weight than the conventional first game of a series.

    sf rod October 2, 2008, 4:43 pm
  • The theme of the Simmons’ piece was the blame should not be all put on Manny, Boras needs a piece of the blame pie as well.
    He does try and make a case for why the Sox didn’t suspend Manny at any point this year when he was doing all the bad things he did, but I don’t think that is a valid point. The Player’s union would have raised holy hell over it, which is probably why they didn’t do it.
    I did kind of see the point of the team make-up being different this year than in the past, the quote from Millar about the team confronting Manny for the things he did, was telling.

    BillsBurgSF October 2, 2008, 4:49 pm
  • Paul – If you get all the way through it, he seems to be really blaming Boras but it is a bit of a rant.

    rootbeerfloat October 2, 2008, 4:51 pm
  • “Trying to blame the Red Sox for telling Ramirez they wanted to see how he performed in 2008 before deciding on whether to pick up 2009? Please.”
    I think he was trying to say that maybe the Sox were just playing into Boras’ hands there. He does implicate that there was not much backlash towards Boras, considering the fact that had they picked up the two option years he wouldn’t have seen a penny from his salary commission (don’t see many major Manny marketing campaigns), Manny’s last agent gets that $. Boras would have then been dealing with a, what, 38 yr old Manny trying to get one last payday, Boras is too smart for that.

    BillsBurgSF October 2, 2008, 4:58 pm
  • You guys watching this Rays game? Balfour and OCab have been screaming at each other during the entire at-bat. There must be a history there.
    Balfour just struck him out, and yelled and gestured for Cabrera to “sit the f*ck down”

    Atheose October 2, 2008, 5:00 pm
  • This game is HYSTERICAL…they keep saying how noisy it is…how “electric” it is…the stadium isn’t nearly filled and they are pumping in artificial noise…I want to like the Rays but come on.

    John - YF October 2, 2008, 5:03 pm
  • If you can’t tell already I HATE artificial noise/noise makers. If you can’t make enough noise with your hands, mouth, etc…then you shouldn’t make noise at all.

    John - YF October 2, 2008, 5:05 pm
  • Totally agree, John.
    I guess with Simmons, it’s one of the things that both makes him so interesting to read — and so difficult to read. Sometimes his ramblings are entertaining and funny and make a good point. But when they’re not, it’s excruciating to read. It’s clear he has no editor.

    Paul SF October 2, 2008, 5:19 pm
  • I read simmons book – this article was in that style – rambling, self promoting, full of foot notes. I had no use for either, I can’t believe he gets paid to do that.

    dw (sf) October 2, 2008, 5:22 pm
  • I’m half listening on the radio (I have to WRITE a document for work and unlike most of the folks on this board, I HATE writing). Is the park really half empty?

    rootbeerfloat October 2, 2008, 5:23 pm
  • I thought Simmons made at least one really interesting point, though it wasn’t particularly related to the Boras-centric point of the rant. He noted how much whiter this Sox team is than teams past. I had certainly noticed that before, but I hadn’t really connected it to Manny’s unhappiness. But I think Simmons is right that the changing composition of the clubhouse, which now has so many fewer Latinos, must have contributed to the apparently growing disconnect between Manny and the rest of the clubhouse.

    stuck working October 2, 2008, 5:48 pm
  • Continuing our own random, rambling thread, Josh Beckett threw 67 pitches today and is still slotted for Game 3. Francona said the medical people watching him were pleased.
    Great news.

    Paul SF October 2, 2008, 5:49 pm
  • rbf- paid attendance for todays game at the trop was 35,041. capacity is 45,000. less cowbell….please.

    sf rod October 2, 2008, 6:11 pm
  • And so long as we’re rambling, anyone have any non-Manny-related NLDS thoughts? I’m definitely rooting for the Brewers over the Phillies, though I don’t know if I could tell you exactly why.

    stuck working October 2, 2008, 6:15 pm
  • I think I’m pulling for the Brewers here because I like Sabathia and want to root for him while I can, before he joins the Yankees. But he just gave up a grand slam to Victorino as part of a 5-run 2nd inning, and now I see the Brewers getting swept out of this series.

    stuck working October 2, 2008, 6:56 pm
  • “As for me, I despise the Angels nearly as much as the Sox.”
    Yeah, my friend Ben refers to this as a ‘plane crash series’ – as in, he’d rather a plane just crash into the field and kill both teams. This is pretty much how I feel about any NFL game this season, so it seems fair enough to me.
    Anyway, I agree with Paul – we really needed to go 1-1 in Anaheim at worst, and I feel pretty good about the series now.

    Micah-SF October 2, 2008, 7:16 pm
  • All that short-rest pitching was bound to catch up with Sabathia sooner or later, and considering how he melted down in the playoffs last season, I’d be seriously concerned about his long-term health if I were looking to sign him.

    Paul SF October 2, 2008, 7:47 pm
  • With regards to the stadium, they’ve blocked off most of their upper level seats all season to increase demand for seats. The Athletics did it in 2006 and demand shot up, because suddenly good tickets were tough to come by. The game was sold out today.

    Atheose October 2, 2008, 8:10 pm
  • I’m sure YFs will find your concern touching, Paul! I still expect/hope CC will stay in the NL, anyway — going from the NL Central to the AL East would be brutal, and I suspect he’d like to avoid that if he can.

    stuck working October 2, 2008, 8:19 pm

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