Apr 252011

First 12 games: #RedSox starters 2-7, 6.71. Last nine: 7-1, 0.88”


That right there is really all you need to know about how the second half of April has gone for the Red Sox. In fact, the good folks at the Sons of Sam Horn have determined that the past nine starts are the best stretch since the introduction of the DH. Considering how putrid much of the starting rotation looked the first two times through, to have them come and throw darts like this is highly encouraging. Dice-K alone has been unbelievable his past two starts, the best consecutive starts in his career. I can’t help shake the feeling that he will get torched in his next time out; I am more confident that it is because every pitcher gets beaten up and not because he is terrible. However, if he and Beckett can pitch even three quarters as effectively as they have their past few starts, the Sox are going to win a lot of games.

Which isn’t to say that one historically great stretch is going to carry through for the entire season, but as long as they can play on a generally winning path they will be in the hunt towards the end of the season. Which is all I can ask for.

Apr 182011

Shamelessly stolen from Saturday afternoon’s game thread over at Sons of Sam Horn. Even more appropriate now considering the day Lowrie had.

The Man they call Jed!

Oh, He robbed from the pitcher
and he added to the score.
Stood up to the man
and he gave him what for.
Our love for him now
ain’t hard to explain.
The hero of Boston
the man they call Jed.

Our Jed saw the fans’ backs breakin’.
He saw the fans’ lament.
And he saw the Opponents takin’
every dollar and leavin’ five cents.
So he said: “You can’t do that to my people.”
said “You can’t crush them under your heel.”
So Jed strapped on his hat
and in 5 seconds flat
stole everythin’ the pitcher had to steal.

Oh, He robbed from the rich
and he gave to the poor.
Stood up to the man
and he gave him what for.
Our love for him now
ain’t hard to explain.
The hero of Boston
the man they call Jed.

Now here is what separates heroes
from common folk like you and I.
The man they call Jed
he turned ’round his plane
and let that money hit sky.

He dropped it onto our houses
he dropped it into our yards.
The man they called Jed
he stole away our pain
and headed out for the stars!

(Here we go!)

He robbed from the rich
and he gave to the poor.
Stood up to the man
and he gave him what for.
Our love for him now
ain’t hard to explain.
The hero of Boston
the man they call Jed…

Sep 292010

Last night the axe finally dropped and the Red Sox 2010 season turned into a pumpkin. Thanks to the triple whammy of New York and Tampa winning, and the Red Sox losing the Sox have no chance of making the playoffs. Technically they were eliminated when the Yankees won, the walk-off loss to Chicago was merely the cherry on top of the crap sundae. It’s a shame because by all rights this Sox team should have folded up when Youkilis went down, yet they still have a strong shot at putting together the fourth best record in the American League — at the moment their record is identical to the AL West winning Texas Rangers. I still hold out hope that over the last five games the Sox can scrap together the three wins necessary to hit the 90 win plateau. Nine wins above .500 is quite a nice season, all things considered, especially when you consider all the roadblocks thrown the team’s way this year. While I suspect the Manager of the Year award is going to go to Minnesota’s Ron Gardenhire, or possibly Texas’ Rin Washington, for my money the most deserving candidate is Terry Francona.

If there is one piece of consolation it’s that in every other division of baseball, except for the aforementioned AL West, the Red Sox would not be in the playoffs. They would still be in contention three others, but it’s not entirely true that the brutal competitive nature is the only thing standing between the Sox and the playoffs. Though I do suppose you could argue that their record would look better if they didn’t have to play New York and Tampa thirty-eight times a season.

All in all, this has been an immensely frustrating season, filled with injuries and underperformances. Yet despite all that, there was a moment in the top of the ninth on Sunday, when the Sox scored the tying, then go-ahead runs against Mariano Riveria (five blow saves from him, only three more than Papelbon) when I really thought they were going to pull it off. The parallels to the fateful ALCS 2004 Game 4 were so strong. Dramatic steals, dramatic hits. The Improbable really did seem possible. Then Papelbon went out and Papelblew it and the rest is history. All of which means two things to me. The first being how rare it is magic like 2004 happens (and believe me when I say I’m watching the Four Days in October 30 for 30 next seek). The second is that such moments are so sweet and why we watch sports, so you can’t let the crap that usually follows ruin the moment. Which Is why instead of focusing on the whimper with which the season ended I’ll choose to remember the scrappy bunch of cast-offs and untested youngsters who never quite and gave the defending World Champs all they could handle.

Sep 282010

I meant to write something yesterday concerning Sunday night’s epic collapse against the hated Yankees that more or less drove the final nail in the 2010 season, but couldn’t because it was just a bit too raw. What disheartened me most about the loss was the fact that the heroes of the 2007 World Series team were the ones who let em down. Papelbon and Okajima, who were such a dominant 1-2 punch three years ago, have been shockingly ineffective this year. Obviously the SABRrattlers can haul out numbers that show this decline was a long time coming. I know relief pitching is hugely volatile, and flame outs like these are the norm. Still, it sucks to see these two pitchers make the big fade. Hopefully Theo can find replacements next season, though I suspect one or both will be back with hope they’ll find the rejuvenation machine.

Dec 162009

Today the Red Sox are introducing their newest acquisitions OF Mike Cameron, and P John Lackey. Signing the elderly Cameron to a short-term deal wasn’t terribly surprising. He’s a little worse a hitter than Jason Bay, but a much better defender, and far cheaper than either Bay or Holliday. It’s a classic Theo signing. The Lackey deal on the other hand, did catch me off guard.

Nov 192009

One of the criticisms of Theo Epstein following the magical 2004 season was that he let too many of the “core” players leave, especially Orlando Cabrera since that move initiated the black hole of suck that has defined the SS position ever since. With that in mind I came across the following three tidbits just now.
Orlando Cabrera granted Free Agency – (LAAoA) 4/32 – Pick recieved netted Ellsbury
Derek Lowe granted Free Agency. – (LA) 4/36 – Pick recieved netted Craig Hansen
Pedro Martinez granted Free Agency. – (NYM) 4/52.5 – Pick received netted Clay Buchholz
So in that light I think Theo was justified in letting those three players leave. It only resulted in the team’s starting centerfielder/leadoff hitter who was a vital cog in the 2007 title, one of the better young pitchers in the game who seems to have finally figured things out, and a mostly failed reliever who they threw in to make the Manny trade happen. Really the only one of those that hurts even in the slightest was Lowe, simply because he was an effective pitcher for the entire term of his contract, and Hansen did nothing.

The moral of this story? Simple, in Theo I trust. His moves more often than not work out in the long term.