Sox-Yanks Postmortem III: And we do mean postmortem…

There are a lot of words that describe how the Red Sox played tonight, but we try to keep this a family blog, so I’ll turn to my old buddy Roget and let you pick: Pitiful, contemptible, miserable, pitiable, mediocre, trashy, shoddy, worthless, sorry, base, below par, sub-normal, second-rate, defective, deficient … Oh, here’s a good one: Bad. Manny Ramirez excepted.

Particularly bad: Matt Clement and Terry Francona. Clement struggled in every inning but the first. By the time the fourth came up, he was up ther ein pitches and had worked out of trouble just about every inning. He managed to load the bases and give up three runs in the second. It was obvious he did not have it. So when he gave up two hits to the first two batters in the fourth, what would you have done? What would I have done? What would anybody whose name doesn’t rhyme with Berry Pamplona have done? For the third time in less than a week — and second game in a row — Francona waited until three batters too late to pull his struggling starter. Tonight, it cost us.

Tavarez might have given up a run or two. But even if he gives up two runs (allowing both inherited runners to score), the game is tied on Manny’s home run. Don’t get me wrong. I have plenty of wrath for Clement, who is far too inconsistent to be a starter on this team. But it was Francona who left him in there despite his poor performance, his foot slipping twice on the mound and his visible limping out there. Clement looks like he’s snake-bit, and that line drive last year might have hurt him more than he’ll admit. But Francona has got to start managing his players to win games and not to boost his starters’ "confidence" (read: egos). He’s doing neither, and he’s costing us games we can’t afford to lose.

Randy Johnson sucked tonight. Yet he got the win. That’s all you need to know about this game.

52 comments… add one
  • Count teh ringz bitches!!!

    Joe May 24, 2006, 11:16 pm
  • Roughly the same as your IQ score, judging by your ability to spell simple words such as “the.”

    Paul A. May 24, 2006, 11:21 pm
  • Paul, if you were a long-time reader of this site you’d get the joke. Have another drink and lighten up. And then…
    Count teh ringz bitches!!!

    Joe May 24, 2006, 11:24 pm
  • Alright Joe. That’s enough. We didn’t need to be reminded of that.

    YF May 24, 2006, 11:41 pm
  • meanie

    Joe May 24, 2006, 11:48 pm
  • I was prepared to go on a tirade about the umpiring, since there were three blown calls in this game against the Yanks–Melky getting called out at first in his first ab, Giambi’s “fair” ball out to Youkilis at first, and Stinett’s taping that ball foul at the end when it looked like he didn’t touch it–but we got some breaks at the end when Strikey Strike Strika didn’t come home from third on Farns’ wild pitch, and some other places I forgot in my euphoria. I can’t stomach these games any more…

    tom yf May 25, 2006, 12:06 am
  • Amazing, win the game and Yankee fans still complain about the umps.
    There were blown calls on both sides last night, but Yankee fans still insist on this vast umpire conspiracy against them. Jesus, get a grip.
    For Sox fans, the bright side…
    Manny is hot.
    Foulke looked good.
    Youk looked great as always.
    A Gon looked good.

    LocklandSF May 25, 2006, 9:55 am
  • Just saw vid of DJ’s jump-throw from *deep* in the hole to end the game last night (listened to the game on the radio live). Amazing play. Lowell’s as slow as molasses in January, but still.
    Also, having not seen the pitches, it sounded like Mo was backing Manny off the plate last night in the 9th. Is that true? Mo usually goes about his business and doesn’t bother with brushing back guys, but if he did do that with Manny…I like it!
    I still can’t believe Papi watch a meaty slider from Farnsworth go by him for strike three with the bases juiced. The guy is so unclutch. :)

    Spidey May 25, 2006, 10:31 am
  • Spidey:
    -The jump throw was phenomenal. A spectacular bit of athleticism and incredbily fun to watch–no matter what you think about Jeets as a defender or Lowell as a runner.
    -Mo’s sequence against Manny was brilliant. He shoved him off the plate (nothing dirty) and then induced the fly out on a ball on the outside corner, where Manny was clearly going to have trouble driving it. The showdown was great. Manny looked dead serious at the plate. There was no artificial toughness from Mo; just a stealy determination and a sort of unflappable confidence that he was in command, period. Two great players, going head to head. Mo won that round, but Manny sure had a great day.

    YF May 25, 2006, 10:49 am
  • Spidey, he did brush back Manny, although I don’t think it was related to the night before. Mo’s been trying to jam right-handed hitters more, as he’s always done to lefties. It was a great approach to the hot Manny.
    Re: The Jeter play. It was great, but Mike Lowell officially must be the slowest player in the majors. Wow.

    Nick-YF May 25, 2006, 10:52 am
  • Did anyone else think that Torre’s decision to go with Farns against Ortiz, instead of going to Villone, was a challenge? It was like Torre was letting him know that this is what it means to be the set-up guy, and you have to step up. I thought it was brilliant piece of sports psychological treatment on the part of Torre.

    Nick-YF May 25, 2006, 11:10 am
  • Ya, say what you want about the Jeter play, but after watching the replay a few times (in full-mo I should add), I feel it is safe to say that many a shortstop would have been able to get there with time to grab the ball and shift their momentum and plant their feet for a good throw.
    Don’t get me wrong, the throw was amazing, but with other shortstops he might have not needed to make an amazing throw.
    Clement looked decent in the first inning, I’m wondering if that ankle line drive affected him.
    Tavarez made me angry, he’s shown consistent inability to get big outs when we need him to.
    In case anyone is wonderng, ARod’s numbers close and late this year are .091 avg, .291 OPS, 0 HR after 22 ABs.

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 11:21 am
  • What exactly does close and late mean?

    NYYFan in Boston May 25, 2006, 11:42 am
  • “Close and late” – In the 7th inning or later, with the batting team either ahead by one run, tied, or with the potential tying run at least on deck.

    LocklandSF May 25, 2006, 11:47 am
  • Ben, I’m guessing that the ankle thing DID affect Clement, but that it’s not really responsible for his unraveling. If there’s one thing you can count on from Clement, it’s the ability to go spiralling out of control after any play that is slightly out of the ordinary. The guy reacts so terribly to jams that it’s kind of amazing that he’s advanced so far in his career. A classic Matt Clement outing is 5 innings of shutout ball, then a hard double leads directly to 2 consecutive walks, another double, and a home run.
    In other words, the liner off the ankle couldn’t have helped, but it was really Clement being Clement last night.

    airk May 25, 2006, 11:49 am
  • …and if it hadn’t been the ankle thing, it probably would have been something else. a hard breeze, perhaps.

    airk May 25, 2006, 11:50 am
  • Still, I can’t help but feel that the outcome might have been different. I’m not arguing that Clement isn’t responsible, merely agonizing over misfortune.

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 12:40 pm
  • Maybe Clement needs to get in touch with A-Rod’s mental strength coach?

    yankeemonkey May 25, 2006, 12:41 pm
  • 22 AB sure isn’t much when you’re trying to make a case for or against clutchness, but I’ll agree that based on those stats, he certainly hasn’t been clutch in those 22 AB. He does lead the league in game winning RBI, but that doesn’t take into account the magical skills needed to get hits in the seventh inning as opposed to the sixth.
    And Lockland, what about my comment up there suggests that I think there’s a vast umpiring conspiracy? I acknowledged there were blown calls for both sides, and I don’t see how winning should make me forget about them. And when you’re extrapolating absurd hyperbole from my comments, try not to attribute it to all “Yankee fans”, and just give all the credit to me.

    tom yf May 25, 2006, 1:13 pm
  • Tom, sorry man, that wasn’t really directed at you, but a huge group of Yankee fans actually does think there is an umpire conspiracy against the Yankees, it’s just annoying.

    LocklandSF May 25, 2006, 2:11 pm
  • Ben, I don’t know that Tavarez was that bad. He induced a double play grounder that wasn’t a double play because Clement’s wild pitch took the runner off first and forced the infield to be drawn in (all this if I remember right. That game is rapidly becoming a horrible murky fog with large man-eating creatures lurking somewhere inside). If anything, it further indicts Francona’s inability to pull Clement earlier (w/runners on 1st and 3rd). Tavarez might have gotten that DP and only allowed one run in the process.
    Sorry, Joe, if I missed a joke somewhere. I am relatively new. Still. Can’t mess with a man when he’s angry and depressed :-p

    Paul SF May 25, 2006, 2:32 pm
  • Ok, well then let’s look at the last four years (03, 04, 05, 06 (thusfar)).
    Overall: .300 avg, .972 OPS, 142 HR, 13.97 AB/HR
    Close and Late: .260 avg, .890 OPS, 15 HR, 16.67 AB/HR
    RISP: .273 avg, .886 OPS, 31 HR, 17.52 AB/HR
    Postseason: .273 avg, .886 OPS, 3 HR, 21.7 AB/HR
    No one on/out: .328 avg, 1.100 OPS, 31 HR, 12.97 AB/HR
    No one on/1 or 2 out: .298 avg, .969 OPS, 46 HR, 13.63 AB/HR
    As you can see. Close and late and with runners in scoring position, A-Rod has done significantly lower than his overall average.
    It’s also a little telling that in 2005 he had Jeter, Sheffield, and (Cano?, I’m not certain on who the yanks used as 2 hitter) most of last year (all at about .300 that year), had 3 more home runs and 14 more hits, yet had 28 less RBIs (as compared to Ortiz, who although did have Damon in front of him, had a .270 Edgar Renteria directly in front of him.

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 3:00 pm
  • Paul: I agree that infield @ DP depth w/o wild pitch he probably would have gotten out of it, and Tito was pretty ridic that game, but in the end, that was the situation Tavarez was given, and although I suppose it’s a bit much to expect someone to be able to induce a pulled or pushed ground ball or infield popup, it just seems that in general Tavarez hasn’t gotten it done. I can’t say I have any stats to back this opinion up, but I haven’t liked what I’ve seen thus far.
    I really hope he proves me wrong, the Sox need him unless Seanez or Riske decide to be effective D:.

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 3:06 pm
  • Close and late is an arbitrary stat designed to reinforce prejudices about players you love to hate or love to love. Close and late definitely didn’t come into play for Papi last night.
    If you want to gauge A-Rod as a player, why don’t we just compare his career numbers to Papi’s (adjusted, of course) instead of looking at a 22 AB sample.
    (from Yahoo 5/25/06)
    ABs
    A – 6367
    P – 3278
    AVG
    A – .306
    P – .281
    Advantage A-Rod
    OBP
    A – .385
    P – .366
    Advantage A-Rod
    SLG
    A – .575
    P – .536
    Advantage A-Rod
    OPS
    A – .960
    P – .902
    Advantage A-Rod
    Runs
    A – 1285
    P (adj) – 1038
    Advantage A-Rod
    Hits
    A – 1948
    P (adj) – 1789
    Advantage A-Rod
    HRs
    A – 440
    P (adj) – 371
    Advantage A-Rod
    RBI
    A – 1261
    P (adj) – 1294
    Advantage Papi
    BB
    A – 757
    P (adj) – 861
    Advantage Papi
    K
    A – 1306
    P (adj) – 1387
    Advantage A-Rod
    SB
    A – 230
    P (adj) – 10
    Advantage A-Rod
    (adjustments made using a 1/1.94 ratio.)
    So RSN can knock A-Rod all it wants with cherry-picked numbers. But the big picture reveals why they were so hot to get him in the first place and why they hate him so much now.
    BenRS, who do you think has a better chance at the HOF? Or better yet, if only one of these two can get in, which one do you think would get selected?

    lp May 25, 2006, 3:09 pm
  • BTW, does anyone know where to find splits for blowouts or games where team is +or- 4 runs?
    I looked but can’t find them on ESPN or BR, and don’t have the resources to calculate them.

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 3:13 pm
  • Before you go on your quixotic search, BenRs, let’s remember the recent past. A-Rod hits a homer that makes it 7-1 two nights ago. If the shoddy Yanks bullpen holds the Sox offense down for 4 innings, the game remains 7-1. A blow-out. So, A-Rod’s homer is not that valuable, right? But what happens changes things a bit. Manny hits a 3-run homer (he hit a lot of homers this series in losing effors, I guess that makes his contributions ultimately worthless…) and it’s 7-4, and suddenly A-Rod’s homer is very important. The Sox score another run and the final score is 7-5.

    Nick-YF May 25, 2006, 3:19 pm
  • lp: I am not at all arguing that ARod is not a great player nor am I arguing that ARod has a great ability to compile numbers, nor am I arguing that Papi has had a better career than ARod.
    Plain and simple, untill 2003 Papi sucked (although in 2002 he was decent). Obviously, Papi is going to look worse than ARod when using his entire career as a sample size because ARod was standout his entire career and Papi has only been standout since he joined Boston.
    ARod also play spectacular defense (far better than Jeter, which almost every sabermetric measurement around points to being merely average in terms of defense).
    What I am arguing, however, is that the perception that ARod compiles much of his numbers when the game isn’t on the line or in non-important situations is an accurate perception. Close and late is a valid split; how on earth could you possibly say that how a person performs when the team is ahead or behind by one run late in the game isn’t important?
    Close and late and RISP are important, and ARod throughout his career has consistently performed significantly worse than his average in these areas.

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 3:22 pm
  • NickYF: Everyone has big homeruns and big hits, ARod not discluded. ARod has plenty of big hits, but compared to other great hitters, I feel it’s fair to say he’s not great at that.

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 3:25 pm
  • The point, BenRS, is that A-Rod’s home run could have been considered “unimportant” if the game had stayed at 7-1. The point is to outscore your opponents and adding to a lead, even if it’s already a big one, ensures victory. The Yanks came back from a deficit of 10 runs last week. You don’t think the Rangers now wished Texeira had hit a grand slam when they were up 10-1 in the third?

    Nick-YF May 25, 2006, 3:33 pm
  • If you were to choose, would you rather have him hit a home run with the game close in with the game 7-1?
    Big hits in blowouts and safe leads can be important, yes… they aren’t completely meaningless hits. But wouldn’t you agree that for someone with his numbers, his numbers in the consistently important situations are a bit anemic?

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 3:53 pm
  • CASH
    a: 25.7 million
    p: 6.5 million
    advantage: sox

    sf rod May 25, 2006, 3:54 pm
  • Ben, so leading the league in game winning RBI means nothing? It seems to directly contradict your contention.
    Another point, which you illustrated in your response, is that you are cherry-picking numbers and sample ranges that will support your thesis. You say ‘plain and simple’ and then go on to pluck certain years for Papi out of the sky. When you pick and choose your sample like that you are going to have contradictions like the one above.
    A player is defined by his entire body of work – every AB, not the just those ABs when he was playing for your favorite team and he does what you expect him to do.
    I compared A-Rod to Ortiz because the anti-Yankee people love to compare the Yanks to perfection and base their analysis on that. That’s why we hear for months and months how the Yankees suck but somehow they manage to win 95 games and the division – again. You did not offer any comparisons to provide any context for your analysis. You are unsuccessfully trying to say that a disproportionate (relative to everyone else in MLB, ever) chunk of A-Rod’s lifetime HOF stats came during “garbage time” and that somehow, he’s not as good as the baseball world thinks of him. And to do that you have invoked a selective recall which encompasses less than half of A-Rod’s career.
    Lastly, for now, the concept of “clutch” has been highly debated and statistically debunked by many, including Bill James. If you want to hang your hat on “clutch” the numbers won’t support you. The hardest obstacle you have is coming to a definition of “clutch”.
    Is it hitting the game-winner in the 6th inning or the 7th?
    BTW:
    Career Situational Comparison Ortiz vs. Arod
    RISP
    A – .303
    P – .291
    RISP w 2 outs
    A – .265
    P – .272
    Men on, 2 Outs
    A – .279
    P – .266
    So if A-Rod sucks in the clutch, so does Papi.

    lp May 25, 2006, 4:02 pm
  • outside of breaking down numbers….do yankee fans feel in their gut a-rod’s gonna come through with the game on the line? be honest. he’s probably the 3rd of 4th guy in the yankees lineup you’d want to see in that spot as a yf. he has earned a reputation based on dribblers to the pitcher and DP’s in key spots (ie; 04′ v. sox / 05′ v. angels).
    i’ve alway’s wanted to do this….
    RINGS
    a- 0
    p- 1
    advantage…..

    sf rod May 25, 2006, 4:19 pm
  • The Yanks pay $16 million of A-Rod’s contract. Next year, Ortiz gets a well-deserved boost (Theo and co. are such cheap-skates, how dare they underpay the heart of the franchise like that!), so that the difference is $3.5 million per year.

    Nick-YF May 25, 2006, 4:20 pm
  • CASH
    a: 25.7 million
    p: 6.5 million
    advantage: sox
    Um, no, that would be advantage A-ROD (and Scott Boras)in a big way.

    lp May 25, 2006, 4:21 pm
  • I’ve always wanted to do this:
    RINGS
    Luis Sojo: 2
    Papi: 1
    advantage….

    Nick-YF May 25, 2006, 4:23 pm
  • “outside of breaking down numbers….do yankee fans feel in their gut a-rod’s gonna come through with the game on the line? be honest.”
    LOL
    ie: Do you reside in the same fantasyland that RSN does?

    lp May 25, 2006, 4:24 pm
  • yeah yeah yeah. gabe kapler has more rings than moose. i get it. you might also want to factor the luxury tax in on the cost of a-rod, but you get the point.

    sf rod May 25, 2006, 4:26 pm
  • I’m sorry, sf rod, what IS your point?

    lp May 25, 2006, 4:34 pm
  • VALUE is my point lp. are you getting what you paid for? what do you have to show for it?

    sf rod May 25, 2006, 4:37 pm
  • As a Red Sox fan, I hate seeing Sheff/Giambi/Jeter up with the game on the line (not necessarily that order), then A-Rod. With the game on the line, I want Papi, then Manny. Make of it what you will… That’s not a fantasyland, that’s a reality.
    A-Rod’s a great player, not necessarily a great clutch player. If such a player exists — I tend to agree with James and Neyer that it’s all a matter of luck (if you’re a good player, you have certain statistical probabilities and when those probabilities happen to align more often over a given period of time with close/late situations, you’re viewed as “clutch.”)
    But then I remember Games 4 and 5 of the 04 ALCS, and I think, “Nooo. Papi=Clutch.”
    FWIW, I think ARod is regretting his decision to obey the union and not restructure his contract to go to Boston. NYC hates him, for inexplicable reasons, presumably because he hasn’t fulfilled their childish collective sense of entitlement regarding the postseason. He would have been something of a Schilling/Manny/Papi type in Boston, someone who could do no wrong, particularly after the 04 season.

    Paul SF May 25, 2006, 4:51 pm
  • sf rod:
    Oh, now it’s about value. So, we’ve moved on from clutch, have we?
    Well since you share Mr. Colbert’s love of the truth and hatred of the facts:
    (from Forbes)
    Yankees value $1.026 billion
    Red Sox value $617 million
    Advantage: you know who

    lp May 25, 2006, 4:55 pm
  • Thank you Paul SF for illustrating every point I’ve made on this thread with your post.
    Reality be damned, just focus on one or two games to define a player.
    It’s up there with sf rod’s “outside of breaking down numbers….”

    lp May 25, 2006, 5:01 pm
  • Repeatedly I have stated that ARod has had a better career than David Ortiz, and has had a standout career. I don’t see why you keep on assuming that I’m trying to discredit ARod’s status as a great player.
    I’m questioning whether, as a Yankee, ARod has been worth 25+ million dollars a year, and questioning how valuable he is in situations where he needs to play big. For instance, how valuable is he in the playoffs, how valuable is he when the team is down 3-2, how valuable is he when the team really NEEDS him, when they could have Gary Sheffield or Derek Jeter or someone else in his spot.
    The following, I guess, is my point:
    My point is that the perception that he performs exceptionally well in sitautions where the team (New York, not low pressure markets like SEA or TEX) doesn’t need him a great deal (ie, when the outcome of the game will not change that often without his performance), and furthermore that he does not perform exceptionally well in places where the team DOES need him a great deal (ie, close and late, playoffs, RISP, down by a run, tied), is a somewhat accurate perception.
    Also, I’m not cherry picking with those stats either, RISP and Runners on are two splits very commonly used while evaluating a player. In fact, one site, Hardball times, even made a specific statistic to easily keep track of these two categories, called “Clutch. (I feel I should say that for his 2005 season, ARod got a -8.8 on this measurement whereas Gary Sheffield got +19.1 (ARod so far has +1.7 in 2006, I can’t say he hasn’t been improving this year in this category))”
    As for game winning RBIs, I can’t find a statistics source that provides game winning RBIs, so I’m not sure how to discuss this (nor am I even sure as to how many ARod has, although considering that 21 is considered great for an entire season..). I’ll give you that.

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 5:27 pm
  • Well, that is what I’m saying, lp. “Clutch” is largely in the mind. No one can accurately define it, outside the close/late stat, and a large number of failures or successes will not tarnish/improve the image of players viewed as clutch/nonclutch.
    So taking all that into account, along with the numbers Ben cited, in a close situation, with the game on the line, I want Papi at the plate. Not A-Rod.

    Paul SF May 25, 2006, 5:28 pm
  • Well, I’m also saying that, keep in mind this is realizing that ARod lead the league last year with Win Shares, ARod is not as good as his numbers say he is.

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 5:43 pm
  • Also, though I’m not going to delve in to measuring clutch arguments, I personally see clutch as how well someone performs in pressure situations; this is why I tried to compare ARod’s numbers from those situations, because I think most would agree that RISP, Late and Close, and Playoffs are pressure situations.

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 5:46 pm
  • Ben, I saw on ESPN at some point where they showed a list of game-winning RBI leaders. Ortiz had 46 and led the league, but I wish I knew what the timeframe was. I *think* it was for 2005, but don’t hold me to that.

    Paul SF May 25, 2006, 5:47 pm
  • Hmm, I don’t know, having the game winning RBI for almost half of the teams wins seems a bit much.

    BenRS May 25, 2006, 5:58 pm
  • point out where i said clutch lp.
    i asked if you ever expect a-rod to come through. you never answered, so i guess you don’t. like the rest of the free world.
    your net worth numbers include the YES network and stadium deal, but that would be “breaking down numbers”. microsoft has tremendous value but dosen’t get hits when it matters either. but i’ll take my chances with bill gates with RISP over a-rod in the playoffs.

    sf rod May 25, 2006, 6:15 pm
  • paul- i believe those numbers are from 2003 to present, if we saw the same thing.
    i have to believe that 10 years of playing in inconsequential games for lackluster teams has effected a-rod’s psyche. of course that’s were he’s also racked up those career numbers some of us like to point too. meaningless games for meaningless teams.

    sf rod May 25, 2006, 6:50 pm
  • I’m not going to look up the numbers right now but I imagine the Yankees organization make a lot more money worldwide on Yankee/A Rod merch than the Sox make on Ortix merch…so, I’m guessing the advantage ends up being a little more debatable.

    walein May 25, 2006, 8:40 pm

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