Sunday, September 27, 2009


How much psychic energy should we expend worrying about the Sox these days? Not so much.

Just as in the NFL, you have to make the playoffs, then we'll start to worry. The Sox have four starters pitching well into the playoffs, and the deepest bullpen. What SHOULD we care about?

  • Jason Varitek. The Captain's offense has disappeared in the second half and everyone on the opposition looks like Jacoby Ellsbury.
  • Manny Delcarmen. This looked like it would be Delcarmen's breakout season, until recently when he's struggled mightily. Still with the combination of Papelbon, Wagner, Bard, Okajima, Ramirez, and Saito ahead of him, Terry Francona has plenty of options.
  • Road worriers. The Sox haven't shown much on the road recently, even splitting a pair in Kansas City.
  • Fortune 500. The old deal about guys making a fortune and playing .500 ball...or less against good teams. That's what the playoffs are about, showing that you can beat the good teams.
  • Coaching defections? Should we worry about other organizations poaching Sox staff in the offseason? That's going to be a hard one to get Sox fans riled up about. It's not like Dale Sveum is coming back to coach third base.
Why don't we focus on 'what worked'?
  • The versatility of Kevin Youkilis moving seamlessly from first to third...forget about left field.
  • David Ortiz had a resurgence the second half, hitting .254 with 15 homers. Only J. Bay had more for the Sox with 16, while Pedroia, Drew, and Youkilis all had 9.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury has become a legitimate leadoff hitter, and the big inside 'hole' in his swing shrank.
  • J. Bay had a solid second half after a brief struggle.
  • V. Mart bolstered the offense with a 25 game hitting streak and clutch hitting.
  • Alex Gonzalez plugged the leak at shortstop and had unexpected offense, even though he nearly never walks.
  • Jon Lester became the best Sox lefty since...who knows when. Yeah, I know Bill Lee won 17 games three times; would you rather hit the Lester cutter or the Leephus?
  • Bay, Martinez, Youkilis, and Drew all had second half OPS over .900.
  • Balance. The Sox are third in runs, fourth in ERA, and fourth in fielding percentage.
  • As much as the Sox have struggled on the road, they've excelled at home.
  • Jerry Remy made a booth comeback.
No reason to nibble on the finger nails. The twin championships of 2004 and 2007 have simply exorcised the demons of yore.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday Well

  • I'm rooting for Dice-K...he's a proud guy and a fierce competitor. A healthy productive Dice gives the Sox a better chance to win the big one.
  • Yankee fans I'm talking to are not showing the bluster and confidence befitting their tradition. In fact, seeds of doubt creep into the Bomber Brains. Has the curse mentality become part of their collective psyche? We can only hope.
  • The MLB stolen base title race comes down to three.
  • Terry Francona's Sox managerial winning percentage? .582. They showed that Sciosia's Angels' record was .555.
  • The former Sox pitcher who is 41st all-time in pitching wins? Jamie Moyer, of course.
  • If Bill Belichick were a baseball manager, who would he be? Really.
  • To what would you attribute the Sox success? Fielding percentage, 5th in AL. ERA, 4th in the AL. Runs scored, 3rd. Balance.
  • I saw an autographed poster recently with Varitek and his two recent no-hit pitchers, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. The others? Derek Lowe and Hideo Nomo, methinks.
  • If an actor were to play "Terry Francona, the Manager", who would it be? Bruce Willis, Dana Carvey?
  • Good soldier? That would be Mike Lowell.
  • Seen anything more painful than watching Tim Wakefield run? Hint. I have a treadmill.
  • Is Sox opponent Vlad Guerrero a Hall of Famer? Over 400 homers, .957 OPS. He'd get my vote.
  • Where did the 'bullpen' get it's name? I'd say that Congress should be the "bull pen". But that's just me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


  • John Henry, not Jon Lester! Frankly, I wish the owner would share his thought on the US dollar, lumber, natural gas, and other commodities instead of the Red Sox.
  • Brad Penny and John Smoltz sure look better in AAA...oh, the National League.
  • Buchholz, as of now, still has the best 'swing and miss' stuff on the team.
  • Yes, I noticed that Alex Gonzalez has yet to walk for the Sox. "You can't walk off the island." Heck, my wife knew that.
  • Intrigue in the front office. Did the Sox Fenway makeover maven get sandbagged? Can't hardly believe I care about that.
  • Will Pedroia climb to .300 by the end of the season?
  • Can Jacoby Ellsbury be the first Red Sox stolen base champ in a long, long time?
  • Heidi or Tina? Maryann or Ginger?
  • If V-Mart is the personal catcher for Lester and Buchholz, doesn't that change the 'conventional wisdom' about the contribution of Jason Varitek?
  • Jacoby Ellsbury has his OBP up to .350 and still isn't in the top 20 in runs scored. That doesn't sound right.
  • Jon Lester and CC Sabathia are statistically pretty much interchangeable. I imagine the run support has been a little higher for the hefty lefty (7.50 vs 6.77)
  • How valuable is Kevin Youkilis? A .997 OPS and enough versatility to play first or third make him a top 3 MVP candidate (Mauer, Jeter, Youkilis, Teixeira, M. Cabrera, Morales)
  • Orange Red Sox hats for sale. Am I color blind?
  • I like bonus clauses. I don't like it when teams hold out guys with bonus clauses.
  • Get well Carlos Pena...a good season (Taters) despite a tough average...
  • Summer sure disappeared abruptly. Is there any Indian Summer left?
  • Buchholz gets the 'change speeds' mantra.
  • Imagine if Daniel Bard had a change-up.
  • Of course, sometimes guys with great stuff don't want to throw Billy Koch.
  • Terry Francona celebrated MJ's admission to the Hall of Fame.
  • Torn hip labrum. Don't even remember that 'being' an injury back in the day.
  • An autographed Roger Clemens photo was an auction item last night at a fundraiser I attended. Didn't even see anyone bid on it. Worse yet, somebody wrote in "Juicer" on the silent auction bid sheet.
  • Welcome to the future.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Late Season Ramblings: Devil in the Details.

  • The Red Sox brought the kryptonite to Tampa taking two of three. Since the Devil Rays became the Rays, hasn't the doormat factor disappeared.
  • Jonathan Papelbon started having some 'clean' innings. Good for him, with MLB hurting him in the pocketbook for 'slow play'.
  • Tonight's game has the two starters (Byrd/Garcia) with the worst fastballs among non-knuckleballers? It reminds me of pitching in an adult baseball league. If I were a hitter, I'd want to hit against me.
  • J.D. Drew has had a pretty good season, or maybe a pretty good month saved his season.
  • Drews August numbers? .329/.449/.644/1.093. Not too shabby.
  • Why do pitchers throw Jason Bay fastballs?
  • Second in OPS in the AL...Mr. Kevin Youkilis.
  • Yankee fans seem to have flawed memories. Some view Paul O'Neill as Mr. Congeniality...while some of us remember him as the "Watercooler Terminator"
  • Dave Roberts with the "ambush" strategy. A classic.
  • Victor Martinez seems like an even better player than we thought.
  • Rocco Baldelli has done a terrific job off the pine.
  • BP fastballs can leave the yard.
  • If I were a pitcher, I'd want to pitch in the NL.
  • Even Pedro overpowers the weak Giants lineup...aside from Sandoval, they have very little offense.
  • Last time I checked, the Sox had five guys in the top 20 in OBP...Youkilis, Bay, Martinez, Drew, and Pedroia.
  • Let's hope Josh Beckett found the cure for homeritis.
  • The top three in the bullpen are obvious...Paps, Wagner, and Bard. The lower half, among Delcarmen, Okajima, Saito, and Ramirez seem shakier lately.
  • Whatever happened to Alex Rios?
  • A lot of fans came disguised as empty seats in Tampa.
  • David Price sure didn't look like the next coming of Sandy Koufax last night.
  • Among all 97 major league catchers, Jason Varitek is last in stolen bases allowed (92%). Pierzynski is next at 80%. He also could hit below his weight for his second straight year. He must be hurt. Really.
  • The White Sox (White Flag Sox ) traded Thome and Contreras...and still are putting up a good fight.
  • Will payroll limitations send Tampa crashing back to the cellar sooner or later?
  • Which three Sox pitchers make hitters have the worst looking swings? Wagner, Buchholz, and Bard. Oh, to have gas...and a changeup.