Question of the Day

At what point are those of us who are quite distressed by the current run of play by the Sox as a harbinger of a Boston-less postseason given respect for our reality-based views and not reflexively called "bridge jumpers" or accused of abject, groundless pessimism?

21 comments… add one
  • At the point when you stop saying “they suck”?
    If they play the way they played most of the season, they can certainly make the postseason. So why assume their slump now, as opposed to their winning earlier, is how they will play what is still almost a third of the season to go?

    halffullYF August 10, 2006, 6:53 am
  • 1. Weak bullpen
    2. Weak back end of the rotation, questionable #2 and #3 starters in first year in AL
    3. Poor situational hitting
    4. Injuries
    5. 51-45 record against theAL
    6. An improved Yankees squad
    7. The Twins and White Sox
    8. Being 2 games away from “we just need to make up one game a week” territory, six weeks from the end of the season, the rallying cry of the doomed.
    Not sure I understand why I should exclude all these factors in considering the Sox’ chances. I am very tired of being told to blindly accept the Sox’ upside potential, particularly when I’ve seen about 100 of their games this year. This is this kind of “buck up, everything’s gonna be fine” crap that got us into wars in the Middle East. No consideration of context.

    SF August 10, 2006, 7:42 am
  • Yeah, I’m just so fed up with it. There was no excuse at all last night. Just terrible baseball.

    Laura August 10, 2006, 8:00 am
  • I think what’s different now is that the games are running out and the Yanks have retooled and seem strong. And not only do you have two starters in their first AL year, but you also have rookies in the bullpen, who are excellent, excellent players, but aren’t used to the grind and pressure of August/Sept in the AL East.
    But I think that judgment needs to ultimately be reserved until after the series in Boston in 10 days…

    Sam August 10, 2006, 9:20 am
  • Boston is 35-17 at home (though 8-7 since the break) compared to 30-30 on the road. Twenty-nine of the remaining 50 games are played in Fenway, which should be of some benefit.

    attackgerbil August 10, 2006, 9:20 am
  • Were I a Sox fan, I’d be worried too. But it’s only a 3 game deficit and it’s August.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) August 10, 2006, 9:29 am
  • But I think that judgment needs to ultimately be reserved until after the series in Boston in 10 days…
    For sure, but it’s looking more and more like the Sox are going to have to win 4 of 5 for that series to have any impact. And that’s scary. They may be down 3 games in the standings, but it’s four in the loss column. And yes, it’s August. Not June. Big difference.

    SF August 10, 2006, 9:35 am
  • Wow, we’ve got Yankees fans trying to tell us not to get too down on the Sox. Weird. It’s just so frustrating to watch this. We are too good for this, or at least we were a few weeks ago. I just want to scream.

    Laura August 10, 2006, 9:37 am
  • Concern seems reasonable; much of the reaction here has been not so much about native RSN pessimism but the harping on Tito and the suggestions that he should be held responsible/canned for the recent slump.
    SFs should be concerned, though it’s a bit early for panic. The back end of the rotation and the middle relief is weak. The Yanks also have rotation bullpen issues. The ChiSox? They ain’t what they were last year. The Twins lost Liriano. So I wouldn’t wear out the panic button. But concern? Yeah, I’d be concerned.
    Worth noting that the Yanks, similarly, had problems with the DRays and Royals last year, and somehow made the playoffs.

    YF August 10, 2006, 9:41 am
  • I am trying to do my best to not let my emotions interfere with how I assess the Sox right now. Although that is very difficult (remember when YF panicked way back in May when Matsui went down? We’re all vulnerable to this), in this case, and at this point in the season, these aren’t the pre-2004 ravings of a fatalistic Sox fan. In 2003 you would have seen me act very differently. I don’t expect the Sox to blow games, which I really did up until ’04. When I woke up this morning and saw Paps had blown the lead I was very upset, but not upset because I “knew” this was going to happen but because I didn’t expect it to happen at all. That’s a very different attitude, particularly for a lifelong Sox fan. Those are the fruits of 2004. So my sentiments about this team are grounded in observation and in statistics, of which we now have a larger sample size. While earlier in the season I had much reason for optimism (Beckett hadn’t yet exposed himself as a more significant work in progress than I expected, for just one example), at this point that optimism has been severely tested. Not based on comical late inning losses like those of the past week, but by a longer-term series of observations of the team I love and support, unconditionally. So I really get annoyed (as can be seen from my original post) when simple skepticism based on field observation is regarded as fatalism or knee-jerk pessimism. It’s not that, by any means.

    SF August 10, 2006, 9:44 am
  • suggestions that he should be held responsible/canned for the recent slump.
    I don’t want to hijack my own thread, but can you stop with this mischaracterization? Other than that, though, your comment is spot-on.

    SF August 10, 2006, 9:45 am
  • I don’t know what the mis-characterization is. There’s been a great deal of discussion here of late about Tito’s performance. YFs, most of us anyway, were not beating ourselves up over Torre’s job status when the Yanks were trailing at the break. I’m not saying SF has called for a dismissal, nor that criticism of the way Francona handles the job isn’t appropriate here, but the tenor and frequency of that conversation has been, well, our readers can decide for themselves….
    The broader point, though, is that there appear to be no world beating teams in the league this year, save for Detroit, and there are many of us who feel that these Tigers may not be quite as great as their record. Some team will be hot in November, and will end up with the crown.

    YF August 10, 2006, 10:04 am
  • Did Francona put his DH in the field last night? I know Torre did. And that’s just plain stupid. Still waiting for a reasonable explanation…

    Nate August 10, 2006, 10:56 am
  • I know I heard a great deal of YF (generic) harping on this blog about Torre’s failures as a manager earlier this season. I don’t see why suddenly SFs are being irrational when they start discussing Francona’s flaws and the way they may have contributed to this slump.

    Paul SF August 10, 2006, 10:59 am
  • Nate: Damon was pulled from the game for an aggravated groin; Andy Phillips took his spot in the lineup. AP is a first baseman. Giambi wasn’t in the lineup at all due to injury. Bernie, who was the DH, rotated to center. There weren’t any true outfielders on the bench. The only position players left on the bench were infielder Nick Green and catcher Sal Fasano. I don’t see where he had any choice. None of the baserunners were the fault of any of the fielders, no errors were committed that led to a run, and no runs were scored based on a play that should have been a fielder’s assist. What part was stupid? What would you have recommended?

    attackgerbil August 10, 2006, 11:07 am
  • Playing with just 8 guys would have been a start, AG. At least from my perspective.

    SF August 10, 2006, 11:17 am
  • Abreu couldn’t remain in CF? Melky? Putting yourself in a position where you no longer have a DH is unfathomable. Wilson in RF is fine. Phillips at 1B is fine. Bernie in the OF in the process of drastically limiting your teams option if the game goes into extra innings cannot be justified. The idea of an AL pitcher batting should not even be discussed barring crazy circumstances. Damon’s pulled groin does not fit that criteria.

    Nate August 10, 2006, 11:18 am
  • What a bunch of whiners. Complaining about a defensible move by the manager after another victory? Yeesh!

    SF August 10, 2006, 11:19 am
  • Nate, I see your point. In Joe’s defense, Wilson was having a horrible night at the plate, and can not hit right handers with any consistency. Then again, Bernie isn’t much better against righties.

    attackgerbil August 10, 2006, 11:30 am
  • August 10, 2004- Sox 9.5 games back.
    August 10, 2006- Sox 3 games back.
    In the coming 3-4 weeks we’re getting:
    Agreed that losing 4 of the last 5 to the worst teams we play isn’t inspiring confidence, and all four of those losses have made me want to put my foot through the TV. My knee jerk reaction, however, is to hold out judgement until at least Sept 1 when we have (hopefully) our 25-man roster intact and have seen the results of the 5-game set vs the yankers. Our 12-14 record since the break is troubling, but it can be chalked up to a number of reasons, all of which a good baseball team (which the Sox are) should be able to overcome. Could it be an instance of playing to (and below) the level of competition? Maybe, but if that’s the case, we’re looking forward to some good baseball. Could it have something to do with the absence of a shake-up at the trade deadline (a la 2004) to provide a much needed kick in the pants? Sure, but beyond waiver-wire deals, not much can be done about that now. Could it be that the statistical probabliity of an injury-riddled team going into an extended slump is manifesting itself in the post- AS break Sox? Probably, and getting a full squad back together for the last month of the season can only help.
    I understand your annoyance at being called a bridge-jumper, SF- my question to you is when does “simple skepticism based on field observation” turn into “fatalism or knee-jerk pessimism”, because you’ve been toeing that line for a while now.

    Mayday Malone August 10, 2006, 11:33 am
  • I guess you will just have to take me at my word, MM. I point you to this comment:
    To reiterate, my mindset changed in 2004, for obvious reasons, and my “concern” for the Sox right now is very different from what I would have been suffering before the magic of that year, which would have been far less rational and reflexive. And I say that with 100% sincerity. I don’t expect the Sox to disappoint me like I used to, what used to feel like an inevitablity does not any more. But what I see today is disappointing, and I am not certain that what I am seeing is an anomalous performance or an expected performance. The more I watch, the more I think that the Sox are underachieving, but not by enough to warrant such long-term optimism.

    SF August 10, 2006, 11:40 am

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