Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You Mean We're Still In This Thing?

Of course, by 'in', I mean in the sense that partycrashers who have been spotted by security are 'in' the party. They're there, but it's just a matter of moments before they're 'out.' What's left? Six games? With the injuries and the way the boys played for a good majority of the season, did anyone think they'd still technically be in the race for a playoff spot with six games left to go? I didn't. But damn if I'm not proud of them.

Dahmer came out last night and demanded that people give him a little notice for the Cy race. He won't win it, of course, but having his name in the mix is quite the accomplishment. I feel like the award is almost definitely going to Fatass in NY. He didn't deserve his first one, and if he gets it this year, he won't deserve it now either. On the risk that I'll feel foolish about complaining if he doesn't win it, I'm going to whine anyway. Everyone's so impressed with the 20 wins? Why? They weren't impressed in 2007. Sure, it's been done to death already, but I'm going to put up the numbers so far.

Sabathia King Felix
W 20 12
IP 229.1 241.2
ERA 3.26 2.31
CG 2 6
SHO 0 1
H 206 189
R 91 79
ER 83 62
HR 19 17
K 189 227
BB 72 68
ERA+ 133 171
WHIP 1.212 1.063
WAR 5.1 5.6

These are the stats that I know and feel comfortable with. I'm not so advanced when it comes to the stat world, but I understand these ones, and I feel they speak for themselves. In comparison, because no I cannot let this go, in 2007, Beckett had 20 wins. Fatass did not. Sure, Fatass pitched 40 more innings. His ERA was better by .06. He gave up nearly 40 more hits than Beckett and 3 more HR's than Beckett, had two fewer walks. Beckett had the better ERA+, and they had exactly the same WHIP. Fatass had a better WAR. For the most part, their numbers were almost identical, and though Beckett was the only player in the majors to reach 20 wins that year, Fatass got the Cy. Why? Because he pitched more innings, and did it on a less talented (albeit a very good) team.

So if Fatass wins this year, what makes it different? King Felix has more IP, a better ERA by nearly a run, more complete games, fewer hits, runs, earned runs, home runs and walks allowed, more K's, a better ERA+, WHIP, and WAR. In EVERY statistical category that matters, Felix wins hands down. But because Sabathia is in NY and he has 20 wins (a statistical category that doesn't matter and least reflects a pitcher's ability to pitch), he's the frontrunner? I don't agree. Just another reason for me to riot, I guess. Hopefully the voters will do right and give it to Felix. Not that I think they'll do that, but I can hope.

As for the Red Sox... man, all I know is that I'll be crying on Saturday, and then again on Sunday when it finally hits me that we'll never see some of these guys in Red Sox unis again. I'll miss Mike Lowell terribly. I don't know what's going to happen with Tek or Papi. Sure, a few of the newer guys are probably leaving, but Tek, Papi, and Mikey are.... I don't know. They're just special and more important because they've been here longer. There's always a chance that Jason and David will be back, but Mikey is gone after Sunday.

Just breaks my heart that he has to go out in a year where we have nearly no shot to make the playoffs. But we ARE technically still in it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sox: Can't Drag Me Back In

I can't get my hopes up. I just can't. I'm enjoying the hell out of the winning streak, but I am not going to let myself believe they're still in this thing. That way, if they DO make it to the playoffs, I'll be pleasantly surprised, and if they don't, I won't be disappointed.

Funny, though, how every time they lose a game, they're all done and we just need to look toward next season. When they win, people start calculating how many more games we need to win and how many games the Yanks/Rays have to lose to get us back in this thing.

None of it matters to me right now. What matters was the win. Dahmer bouncing back. 7 IP, 1 ER. THAT is the kind of game an ace has. Pay attention, Beckett and Lackey. And oh my God, I'm actually saying nice things about Dahmer. Well, he deserves it. He's been solid when almost the entire rotation (except for Lester) has been ridiculously inconsistent. For that, I finally give him credit.

More credit to Beltre. While I disapprove of a lot of things about him, mostly out of bitterness, I definitely approve of those marriage proposal home runs. I love having 10 hits, and getting clean innings from Oki and Atch. I love triples from the kids, and doubles from the vets. I love pickoffs. I love 96 mph fastballs. Basically, there wasn't anything I didn't love about that game. I'm glad we won.... but stop telling me we have a chance. I don't need to get my heart broken this year.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tug Hulett: ...What Happened?

Out of sheer boredom today, I was looking through some of my posts from before the season started, and I stumbled upon a name. Tug Hulett's name, actually. It made me realize that I had NO idea what had happened to him.

Off to baseball-reference.com I went! I honestly believe I'd be lost without that website. It's fantastic in it's ability to tell me anything I want to know. Once again, it came through for me when it told me that on August 7th, the Sox released Hulett. He signed what I can only imagine is a minor league deal with the Mariners, and he hasn't been heard from since. Granted, he has a .196 batting average in his only two years of big league experience, but would the Sox really have me believe that we had NO use for him? My God, his name is Tug! And if we really had no use for him, and he was so bad that he couldn't plug even one hole in the injury-consumed lineups of the Sox or their minor league affiliates, then why bother? WHY?

I suppose I don't expect an answer. I was just sort of surprised to find out I had missed this. Well, where ever Tug is now, I wish him luck.

See? See, this is what happens when I don't have any baseball in my life. Gametime tonight is going to be miraculous.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Timothy: Makes Me Happy

My thought is that by now, everyone knows what we're going to get out of Tim Wakefield when he starts a game. You're going to get 70 mph fastballs, lots of knuckleballs, base hits, a few runs, and some innings. Generally, no one expects anything fantastic out of Tim, but it's fine because he's steady and I appreciate the predictability of his performances (even if I can't predict the flutter of the knuckler).

He is never going to put up the best numbers, but I find that he usually will keep you in the game. I feel he did a pretty good job of that last night. And in doing so, our man Tim became the oldest pitcher in Red Sox history to win a game for the home town team. When he wins his next start? He will break his own record. It will happen. Yes, Tim gave up five runs. He does that on occassion. Granted, he only pitched five, but you have to keep in mind that this man is coming out of the bullpen, hasn't gotten regular work, and when he has worked, it hasn't been for longer than a few innings. I think with all of these considerations, people should be very pleased with what they got out of Timmy.

Full disclosure - I didn't watch the whole game on TV. I watched the first three innings, and then put GameDay on. The last thing I saw was David Ortiz hit a home run to tie the game. Appreciated. I don't dislike many people in baseball the way I dislike Camel. There's just something about his constant spitting that makes me dry heave. I can't tolerate him, so watching him get handed a loss is gratifying for me. Knowing our boys hit five home runs (including 2 by Scutaro!) was especially gratifying. Beltre and Victor also got in on the carnage and hit home runs. I wonder if after Victor hits a home run if Beltre tries to rub his head? It would only be fair. Weird, but fair. I also think it's a little weird that in all three games of the series, the winning team won with a double digit score, and the losing team lost with five runs. 12-5, 14-5, and 11-5.

I also want to point out that Atchison has been a lifesaver this season. For someone who was only on the team out of sheer luck, he's come up big when we needed him, and for that, I give him credit. Two scoreless innings for him last night, and it seems like we may have found a good long relief guy. Hopefully, by some miracle, we can continue to utilize his skills deep into October. I may be dreaming, but I enjoy being a dreamer I guess.

Since I didn't see the majority of the game, I can't comment on how Oki looked, but from what I read, he was a little stressful. Hey, stressful is ok ONLY if you get the job done. Apparently, he did, because the Sox walked away with the win. I don't know how many more wins the Sox have in them this season. I don't know if we'll be playing past October 3rd (I'll keep praying). All I know is that I love beating Matt Garza. Because he doesn't deserve to win.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How Grand!: Sox Find Their Bats

In a completely unexpected turn of events, last night, the Red Sox discovered that (contrary to their prior belief) they ARE allowed to hit the round, white thing that the other team kept throwing at them. Perhaps the ever-fantastic Rocco Baldelli was kind enough to say "hey, guys, it's cool if you hit the baseball. You're supposed to do that!" Or maybe the equally fantastic Carlos Pena passed a note over to the home team's dugout with the words "see ball, hit ball." I don't know. I just wanted an excuse to mention both Pena and Baldelli, because I adore both of them.

More likely, it was the fact that Jeff Neimann has struggled mightily since coming back from the disabled list a few weeks ago, and the Sox were finally able to take advantage of a struggling pitcher. I can't say that before this game, they had been completely inept at the plate. Saturday, sure. They were inept. Sunday, they scored five runs. On a day when Beckett is pitching and Pap is closing, five runs generally gives you the win. Well, just to make sure, the Sox decided to score twelve yesterday. I really hope that they didn't just use up all their offense for the week.

After the first two innings, I was pretty confident that the game wouldn't end before I had to be at work this morning. Luckily, the pace did pick up eventually. I think between the first two innings, there were something like 100 pitches thrown. Our first runs came on a giant 2-run shot by Papi and a solo shot by Beltre (and yes, Victor DID rub his head afterward). After putting up three in the first and second each, the Sox piled on with five more in the fourth, four of which came on Ryan Kalish's grand slam. Man, I love the itty bitty baby Sox. They've kept us alive this year.

Lester threw a bunch of pitches and was done after six, but he was actually pretty damn good, striking out ten and only allowing 2 runs (one in the first and one in the third), and subsequently picking up his 16th win. Nice to see the 'ace' version of him come up big when we need him. Sure, we're all but dead in the water, but isn't it more fun to keep things interesting? We may not make it far, but there's no point in not trying. Our PawSox relief corp had a bit of a rough time, giving up three runs, but were good enough to hold the win. Oki closed it out, and looked good doing so, which is nice for a change. Everything clicked yesterday. I wonder if they can keep it up or if we're going to go back to spotty defense and anemic offense. Based on the pattern of the season, I think I know which I should EXPECT, but I'm hoping for the opposite. Dice-K on the mound tonight. I'll keep one eye open.

Also, in case I haven't mentioned the awesomeness of Mikey lately... the man is playing with a broken rib, because he knows we need him to. Awesomeness or badassery? Perhaps both. I do love that man.

Papelbomb: We Lose

I just wanted to give a quick rundown of my opinion of Sunday's game. Especially now, tempered and happy by the results of Monday's game (which will be recapped shortly), I feel like I can write about the disaster on Sunday. Beckett wasn't bad. He wasn't the dominating, hellfire and brimstone spitting Texan that we needed. He was sort of a muted version of himself. If there was hellfire within, I certainly didn't see it. That said, he still kept the Sox in the game. Yes, he only pitched 6 1/3 innings, and gave up three runs (one earned), but we were still in it. I believe the Sox took the lead in the bottom of the seventh, but I don't feel like looking it up because the headlines and the reminder of the loss make me sad. The win was right within our grasp. We could all feel it. And then.... then it just slipped out of our fingers and it was gone.

Papelbon ultimately got the blown save and the loss. God knows I love picking on Papelbon. I do, but you cannot pin this all on him. He had gotten two outs in the top of the 8th, and labored through them. Had he looked particularly sharp, I would have felt better about it, but he didn't. Going into the 9th, his pitch count was getting a little high, and it worried me. I think he was right around 40 pitches when the game got out of control and he gave up the doubles that would tie it up. I know there is no easy decision for the manager when your closer is asked to get five outs and he labors through them. I can't say that if I were Tito, I would have pulled Pap. You have to figure that he's going to work his way out of it, but he just couldn't. Once the pitch count got too high, I think most people knew what was coming, but there was nothing we could do. As we saw, replacing Pap didn't really work out too well, but would it have gone differently if we had pulled him earlier? The closer doesn't always have to be the last one in the game.

I don't know what I would have done differently. All I know is that when he was pitching and you could see he wasn't hitting his spots, I sort of knew that he would blow it. Yet, strangely, I don't blame him. I'm more inclined to blame Tito, but again, I don't know what could have been done differently. It was an ugly end to an ugly series. Sloppy defense and some impossible pitching choices led to a sweep by the wrong colored Sox. Thankfully, the beating is over now, but man, did it feel like we had all been punched in the gut, or was it just me?

I'm glad that my next post gets to be more upbeat, because these downtrodden 'why does this keep happening' sort of posts are starting to make me sad.... so, let's just move along.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Me and The Team: Both Pretty Defeated

I'm having a bad morning. I wanted to crawl back into bed when I was halfway to work this morning, but I didn't. It feels like one of those days when you just know you shouldn't wake up. On top of it all, everyone seems pretty down on the Sox, which gets me pretty down. Yeah, we lost to the O's. Honestly, is anyone surprised at this point? We can't beat bad teams. I'm pretty sure we have a losing record against the worst of the worst in all of baseball.

Manny Delcarmen was traded to Colorado. I can't say I'm surprised. He's been incredibly inconsistent this year to the point that I sincerely couldn't figure out what was going on with him. He had his moments of brilliance where no one could touch him, and then he'd follow it up with a two or three game skid where he literally could not get an out. I guess it doesn't matter now. He'll have a new beginning with the Rockies. I do wish him well. No matter how much I made fun of him and ripped him apart, he was still a home town boy. I'm happy that he got to live out his dream and play for the Sox, but it's time for him to move on. All the best to Manny.

Beckett. Oh, Beckett. I specifically asked you at the beginning of the game to not suck, and you didn't listen to me. I wish you had. Perhaps I should have told the offense not to suck. As much as I was not surprised about losing to the O's, knowing that the boys have had a hard time scoring more than 2 runs for stretches of time this season is a litttle disappointing. Despite the injuries, we still have a good offense. Two runs against the Orioles hurts just a little. And in all fairness, Beckett did get over the suck and pitched seven good innings, only allowing 2 ER, but it wasn't enough. He wasn't enough, the bullpen wasn't enough, and the offense wasn't enough. That's the whole season in one sentence.

I still want to watch, though. So I'm going to. Lester's on the mound tonight, and Lester ALMOST never lets me down when he's in Baltimore. I'm hoping he has a good game. We need something to cheer about.

I was going to write about Manny... not Delcarmen, Ramirez.... but what is there to say? He hasn't played yet.