Sunday, April 11, 2010

Doing What They Do Best

It was nice to see the Red Sox pull out the series against Kansas City and their horrendous bullpen. But they did exactly what they have done best for the past several years: Beat the snot out of bad pitching. The team is patient, works walks, and makes the disasters in the KC bullpen throw strikes. Unfortunately strikes for guys like Luis Mendoza and Not-Phil Hughes end up out of the ballpark quite a bit.

If Varitek is launching bombs off of you, you missed big time with your meatball pitch.

So the Red Sox capitalized on the bad pitching as they always do. And sometimes balls friggin fly out of Kauffman Stadium. Unbelievable. This team might be able to capitalize on bad pitching often enough to propel them close to a wild card spot (I still won't hold my breath). Because if you're winning 8-3, not even the Red Sox bullpen can cough up that lead unless weather conditions are less than ideal. It was good work from the bench, good work from Pedroia, who is showing some signs of saying "all aboard my back" again, and even good work from 46, who looked absolutely lost for the majority of this week. As long as he doesn't keep trying to stretch singles hit to outfielders into doubles, he might be okay.

I do think after Pedroia was hit intentionally and Scutaro was hit unintentionally, Ankiel should have been thrown behind. That is part of baseball. I was disappointed that Beckett didn't do that, because the old Beckett (remember when he and Ryan Howard almost fought during spring training a few years ago?) certainly would have. And the teams do not square off until May 27th, so this offense will probably go unretaliated. Not as bad as the Bruins-Penguins incident of a month ago, but still not acceptable. By the way, did anyone see Matt Cooke get ONE SHOT KID'ed this weekend? Worth a YouTube watch.

Buchholz's pitching did not look as sharp as his singing of the creepy Neil Diamond song about an 11-year-old. But he did battle through and for the most part minimized the damage. Gil Meche was a disaster, as the $55 million contract is still holding a solid second place for the worst contract signed in the 06-07 offseason behind Lugo and in front of Drew. Peter Abraham said it pretty well when he said that Jason Kendall playing a day game after a night game says all you need to know about that team's management. I also don't know how you could humanly construct such a bad bullpen. And when you give up six walks to the Red Sox, you will probably lose the baseball game.

I love Ram-Ram, but the home run he gave up was on the biggest meatball I have ever seen him pitch. He is also someone who should have drilled someone, as he had the ball with an 8-3 lead.

Both Beltre and Bill Hall have to realize that the outfielder has the right of way when a pop-up is somewhere in between the infield and the outfield. Run prevention doesn't work when guys are crashing into each other. Bad work on their part. Plus, how much does Nancy hate Beltre right now for KO'ing Number Two and making him play baseball with a neck injury allegedly aggravated by flying on an airplane? And the run prevention is rather absurd on NESN right now, as they make a big deal about the number of errors committed every night. Do you think that was a direct command from the Red Sox' baseball ops personnel?

Anyway, yes, it was the Royals, but it is nice to see the Red Sox win a series. It was nice to see the offense do what they do best and build a lead that not even this bullpen could blow. Will be interesting to see how the run prevention model works against the Twins.

10 comments:

jason said...

i would have to count greinke as a quality pitcher that they hit around fairly well, but the pitching from the pen really decided that game anyway

the gm at work said...

Jason,

They did a lot better than expected against Grienke. However, they did not hit well enough to bullpen-proof the lead...until they hit the Royals' bullpen.

Anonymous said...

DV

JD Drew's strained neck made me laugh when I saw it on the ESPN headlines section the other day. He hits a 440 foot home run on Friday but has a strained neck 36 hours later? From a flight that happened before the home run?

Also, (and I have no statistics here) but it seemed like Ramon Ramirez was great for the first 2-3 months last season and then was more or less ineffective from there on out. It doesn't surprise me to see him struggling right now. I'm pulling for him, but my hopes aren't all that high.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Gunn,

Probably as mysterious as his sore glove hand or as mysterious as the time my boy Fredo said he couldn't go out for a run because he had some whiplash from sleeping. I think what "sore neck" means is "I don't want to play baseball today."

JD would willingly go out in the tree stand with the bow and arrow with a broken neck, most likely.

Ramram has one of the longest leashes on the team in my eyes, mostly because 1) he has never said a word in English and 2) because he will goon up and drill the middle of the Yankees order when nobody else will. He's the closest guy the Red Sox have to the two "expert[s] in the disposal business" that work for Alejandro Sosa.

However, as I see it, he is no more trustworthy than the rest of that bullpen.

Anonymous said...

DV,

Resuming the back and forth about Beltre from yesterday- Yes he has shortcomings and questions about irresponsible V&S use. All I'm saying is that it helps to have a guy in the lineup that just wants to get up there and swing the bat. Obviously you don't want to have 9 guys doing this, but having a few doesn't hurt.

In response to today's post- As you say it was good to win a series on the road and get back to .500 so that you have something to build from. Starting 2-4 when you had a series at home and a series vs. the Royals would have been disheartening.

bandi

Patrick said...

bandi with his game shoes on today. could not agree more with your beltre analysis, and it lends itself to a larger point (that i think you are making but just didn't say) that a lineup needs balance. we get so caught up in certain numbers these days that we want everyone to have, and to a certain extent that's true, but i still think you need good old fashioned balance. and what constitutes good balance on a general level has gone largely unchanged for years in my opinion. some good speed guys with on-base ability up top. at least one and hopefully 2-3 horses in the middle that can mostly do it all. then spots 6-8 hopefully being a group that brings a mix of things to the table (with beltre and drew being a good example of that). then hopefully a second leadoff hitter at 9. there many, many different permutations of this, and in no way am i saying this is the only way you can achieve balance, i'm just providing a general template. i'd rather have this than 9 guys that have really high OBP's but most of which are one dimensional (with that one dimension being OBP).

also a great point on the sox start. it would be early no matter what, but just because it's early doesn't mean it's not better to start off doing well. 3-3 facing the yankees at home and greinke on the road is something you'd probably sign for to get the season started. not a blazing start but definitely not a bad one by any stretch. solid, and solid is good for week 1, especially that week 1.

jason said...

well my analysis is based on the how good the offense is, people keep saying it isnt as good as last season, yet so far they have done well against two aces (greinke and sabathia) if this is treated independently from how many runs the pitching staff has given up i would think they are doing pretty well overall offensively pitching would be a completely different beast to tackle

Patrick said...

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=7353161

thought some of you guys might enjoy this. when it pans to francona after ortiz gets tossed you can see drew stretching his neck while waiting to go to the on-deck circle. now, a lot of players do these types of stretches before each at bat, so we have to be fair there. still pretty funny in light of him sitting out two days later.

the gm at work said...

I mean, all the apologists (I'm looking at you Steve Buckley) who want to say that Nancy's not a complete pussy who looks for excuses not to play, all you have to see is the game he asked out of after friggin Buchholz was put in as a pinch runner. But taking a JD in honor of a sore neck--a sore neck incurred BEFORE the guy crushes a home run--really means JD is taking a JD because April is way too dad gum early to play six games in eight days.

Agree with Bandi and Pat about how you need guys other than OBP robots in your lineup.

I'm sorry, facing "Grienke on the road" is not supposed to be a big thing if you are opposing him with a guy who just got $16.5 million a year. You're supposed to win that game.

jason said...

and i will still say that getting 4 runs off greinke in 6 innings, is a pretty good offensive showing especially if that means 3 innings of the royals bullpen, so results aside the offense got the job done for that portion of the game which is really all you can ask them to do isnt it?