Sox-Sox Postmortem I: Ninth Lives

After three straight losses in the Catwalk-ed Catastrophe in which the offense could not have looked more anemic, the Red Sox have won two in a row, twice erupting in the ninth to put the games away. Thoughts:

  • Now that David Ortiz leads all of baseball in home runs (30) and RBI (84), are Yankee fans still willing to bend over backwards to keep him out of their All-Star lineups? The contortions were amusing to watch when Papi was merely second in homers and first in RBI in the American League. I’d love to watch some more acrobatics, if it’s even possible to be so ridiculous.
  • Thanks, Devil Rays. After three games of saying, "They have a good young lineup" to make us feel better, you strike out 10 times against Jaret Wright? No wonder you’re in last place. Let’s try to step it up the next couple of games, OK?
  • For the third time: Ron Jackson is the best hitting coach in baseball. Alex Gonzalez collected just the fourth 4-hit game of his career tonight, and his first since 2001. He has seven hits in the last two games. Since that now-famous two-day break in May to go over his swing with Jackson, Gonzalez (hitting .197 at the time and hitless in five of his previous six games) is batting .370 (not counting tonight’s games, only five players in baseball had a higher average since May 24) and has failed to hit safely in just five of the 31 games. Since May 24, he has as many games with three or more hits as he does games with no hits.
  • Batters vs. Jon Lester with the bases loaded: 0 for 11, 3 RBI. Good, but not so good at the same time. Nevertheless, the kid is the first 4-0 Sox rookie since Aaron Sele, and he was sharp from the fourth inning on. It looks like Lester’s got a little more poise than Sele had.
  • The Sox shifted Thome, and he hit the ball the opposite way to beat it twice. But two singles is better than two three-run homers, and Lester’s strikeout of Thome in the fifth was pretty in negating the shift the third time up. It’s a good defensive strategy, and Thome proved why Ortiz has been content to let his average suffer (although it’s not suffering so much anymore) while he mashes homers.
  • Manny Delcarmen’s curveball is filthy, and he’s locating it for strikes. American League hitters beware. If Hansen and Delcarmen are coming around — and it certainly seems they are — the Sox’ bullpen will be the best in baseball the second half.

Going to bed now with dreams of Hansen, Delcarmen, Timlin and Papelbon dancing in my head. OK that doesn’t sound quite like it was supposed to …

17 comments… add one
  • P.S.: Mark Buehrlie since being undeservedly selected to the All-Star Game: 10.1 IP, 16 runs allowed. Good job, Ozzie! I bet that makes Curt, Moose, Justin and Francisco all feel a LOT better…

    Paul SF July 8, 2006, 12:56 am
  • Paul you’re such a homer.

    bloodyank78 July 8, 2006, 1:48 am
  • hey, I didn’t contort. Ortiz is not having as good a season as Hafner, Thome or Giambi. Simple as that. You can argue otherwise and you’d be wrong.

    Nick-YF July 8, 2006, 3:14 am
  • bullshit. whos leading the al in homers and rbis?

    rachl July 8, 2006, 9:34 am
  • yea, and unlike Giambi, the only juice Papi uses is in his mango salsa,hehe.

    TonyC.25 July 8, 2006, 10:49 am
  • Nick. How bout..what’s the word? Fact-checking. That’d be fun, wouldn’t it? Let’s see. I’ll accept that in some ways, Hafner is having a superior season. And in some ways Thome is also having a better season. But not so between Giambi and Papi. The only stat that Giambi is better than Papi in right now is .OBP. Papi has more HRs, more RBIs, better BA, more runs scored, more doubles, more hits…do I need to go on?
    So unless better season, to you, ONLY means “beating the system by using HGH” then there’s NO way that Giambi is having a better season than David Ortiz. And saying so really requires quite a bit of contorting and a big pair of brass ones. And go ahead, make the argument about David Ortiz having more at-bats. At the end of the year, when Papi’s numbers are all still better than HGHiambino’s, and the MVP is voted on, none of the voters are going to say, well, none of his numbers are equal to David Ortiz’s or as sickened as I am to say this: A-Rod, but poor guy, Torre couldn’t rely on him to play every single day. That’s not his fault.
    So, in closing, the only All-Star snub for the Yankees you should be talking about is Mussina.

    Quo July 8, 2006, 11:22 am
  • Quo, it’s close but Giambi has more win shares (per the Hardball Times site), a better league equivalent average, a higher OPS, and the added burden of having to play first base on more occasions than Big Papi. Obviously Big Papi is having a great season. IMHO, Giambi is havinga slightly better one.

    Nick-YF July 8, 2006, 11:39 am
  • Nick, there is no arguinging with deluded RS fans.

    Realist July 8, 2006, 11:48 am
  • If that’s the case, then what you should be doing, Nick, is trying to educate people as to the more obscure (but valid as a basis for performance) stats like win shares and league equivalent average. People vote for All-Stars based on market, likability, and then traditional stats like HRs, BA, RBIs, SBs, etc. Giambi’s got the market, falls way behind in likability (which is all his fault, by the way), and behind in the more traditional stats. And sure, he’s got the added “challenge” of playing 1B more often…but is that added challenge on him, or the rest of the Yankees infield defense that day? Giambi, point of fact, does play 1B more often. But his play at 1B really doesn’t do anything to make the Yankees better, and I would say, takes away from them overall.
    Seriously. The snub at “1B” is Hafner, not Giambi. If Giambi deserves it, he deserves it over Konerko, not over David Ortiz.

    Quo July 8, 2006, 11:52 am
  • BTW, Realist, that was a fantastic comeback loaded with plenty of hard-hitting facts. There is no arguing with Yankees fans who don’t bother to make a real argument, unlike Nick, who at least with the win shares has a decent point.

    Quo July 8, 2006, 11:54 am
  • Quo, I’ll refer you to the great sites Baseball Prospectus and the Hardball Times which has a glossary for their stats. They’re worth searching around.
    I get your point about the All-Star game being in part a popularity context. As I see it, however, the only thing that matters is who’s having the best seasons. Giambi and Ortiz are very close, although when I made my selections earlier this week, Giambi was more clearly ahead (heckuva week Ortiz is having). That said, it really doesn’t bother me that Ortiz is going to the All-Star game. It’s good for baseball to have such a charismatic superstar even if he wears that disgusting uniform.

    Nick-YF July 8, 2006, 12:02 pm
  • context=contest

    Nick-YF July 8, 2006, 12:03 pm
  • The humorous contortions are yours Paul, in trying to paint the group against Ortiz for all-star as a group of YFs. Many, many people are of that opinion, including non-Yankees fans. That he only plays half the game really well (well enough to be an all star, IMO) is not an uncommon idea.

    tom yf July 8, 2006, 12:19 pm
  • That’s the case w/ Hafner too though, Broussard plays 1B and Hafner is an everday DH a la Ortiz.
    Not to fan the All-Star flames here for RSN, but Ozzie Guillen was quoted in the Chicago Sun Times as saying Mo Rivera is the closer for the All-Star game. He said while he thinks Jenks and Papelbon are fantastic, Mo is a future Hall of Famer and his track record tells Ozzie that the he is the closer for this year’s AL All-Star team. OK Chowdah Heads, start screaming bloody murder now.

    bloodyank78 July 8, 2006, 1:52 pm
  • I’d rather see Mo close over Jenks… I’d be screaming bloody murder if Jenks was the closer over three superior stoppers right now… Jenks shouldn’t even be at the Game. He’s having a great year, but some of those starters deserve to be in there ahead of him…
    Really, BY, can you please get a grip? I’m a “homer” because I root for the Red Sox and poke at Yankee fans, which is, the last time I checked, the point of this site? Maybe you should read my posts a little more and note all the times I have conceded points to the Yankees and other teams during my time here rather than starting flame wars with no basis for doing so.
    The major-league leader in home runs and RBI is, by any objective measure, someone who deserves to go to the All-Star Game. We can argue about who’s having the better season — Ortiz or Giambi — but that’s not the point of this discussion. It’s whether Ortiz deserves to be in the All-Star Game. Yankee fans were practically giddy on this site last week with their non-Papi lineups. I asked whether those lineups still make sense. I don’t think they do. I would bet also that the non-Yanks fans who would have left Ortiz off their lineups also are changing their minds. Can Yanks fans not be “homers” enough to acknowledge, as Nick did, that Ortiz’s week has put him over the top?
    I’m also pretty tired of the idea that Ortiz is somehow less of a player because he doesn’t field. Giambi does field, but he’s a horrendous fielder who actually hurts his team on defense. Isn’t that worse than letting someone who can actually play the position well play there? And that’s all assuming Giambi’s not using HGH this year — an assumption that most people likely agree is shaky, at best.

    Paul SF July 8, 2006, 2:27 pm
  • Incidentally, I apologize if I offended anyone with the above comment. I just get pissed when people throw around the word “homer.” In part, I suppose, ebcause I really don’t know what it means.
    If it means that I’m a passionate rooter for my team, then yes, I suppose I am.
    If it means that I’m irrationally so, or that I propose unreasonable ideas that I believe simply because of my team allegiance, then that is absolutely untrue. I don’t believe I’d be a cohost of this site if I were — or if any of the four of us were. I’m guessing BY meant this definition, which is why it got me so hot.

    Paul SF July 8, 2006, 2:36 pm
  • Frankly, I don’t see how touting the Yankees lack of depth by being forced to use Giambi at 1st helps make the case for him having a better year. He’s terrible defensively; that’s a strike against him. He is only a part-time defensive player anyway, he has played only 44 games at 1st, and has 7 errors. And digging up a relatively obscure stat doesn’t make the case, either. A better season? Who has had more big hits to win games for their team? Isn’t WINNING the point of baseball? Who contributes more to his team in terms of fostering a winning attitude? It is no contest – the only competition for Ortiz so far this year is Pujols, Thome, Haffner, and maybe Howard. Ortiz will probably be the AL MVP this year. He will have deserved it at least as much as Slappy did last year.

    Tom sf July 8, 2006, 9:01 pm

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