Thursday, July 8, 2010

Overmatched

The good news: The Red Sox are only 3-5 in their last eight, so all they have to do is play .500 ball against teams not from Tampa Bay between now and July 31st to be able to go 12-15, the treading water mark I set on June 29th.

The bad news: Everything else. They were completely outmatched this week against Tampa. In game one, they were dominated by the Rays' friggin bullpen, who is apparently only good in even years (ironically, the opposite of when Josh Beckett is good). In game two, they were dominated by Jeff Neimann. And in game three they were dominated by David Price.

We can say that the theoretical Run Prevention Red Sox, overachieved offensively. But the new run prevention Red Sox are a bunch of minor leaguers. This team will not achieve offensively. Maybe there will be a short period where the opponents have no scouting reports on guys (hello Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava!) and they will be serviceable. This is not a way to consistently win baseball games. And here you really cannot blame the general manager. Or the manager. Jeff Neimann and David Price are not just major leaguers, but good ones. Pitching against lineups that include Niumann Romero, Eric Patterson, and a JD Drew who doesn't want to play at this point of the season is like pitching a freaking rehab start. This should not surprise anyone.

Game one was the most maddening, because it was one of the team's real major leaguers who faltered. The minor leaguers went to work against Matt Garza and built a four-run lead. When the team pays $50 million to talk to you, you should be able to protect a four-run lead. This is not debatable. But Daisuke Matsuzaka is tentative, lacks urgency, and is just not that good. Say what you want about Josh Beckett (and I have), but the guy will sometimes know when to elevate it during a good game. Jon Lester did that the other day. And even the Beckett Implosion Game against New York, the guy got amped up. Probably a little too amped up. When the minor leaguers gave Matsuzaka a four-run lead, he pitched like a son of Joe Girardi, as if he had some cushion and as if the minor leaguers were going to blow the game open against a bad Tampa Bay bullpen.

Well, the minor leaguers couldn't hit the Tampa Bay bullpen, as it's starting to look like Randy Choate and Rafael Soriano have solidified this bullpen. I can't believe I just wrote that last sentence. Randy Choate. Jesus.

And Matsuzaka got blown away. Okajima and Ramram are also disastrous. For whatever it's worth, bullpen help is necessary, but I agree with the Felger theory that the best way to do so is to go to the minor leagues. Who's to say JC Romero, Eric Gagne, or any middle reliever will not just show up and implode. That's what makes them middle relievers. For every Scott Williamson there is a Scott Sauerbeck.

Nineteen games left in July. The team is reeling and is now 4.5 games back. If they go 9-10, they will be okay. Toronto is blowing up even harder than they are, so this would be a good opportunity for the minor leaguers - and gamers like Jon Lester - to come up big. I'm going to be couch-ridden for a few days, so they better give me something good to watch. As Peter Abraham wrote this morning, the minor leaguers can win. It is more probably against bad teams. Hopefully Toronto is bad enough for the minor leaguers to beat.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

DV

You said it: Daisuke just isn't that good. He's among the most over-hyped athletes in the history of sports. He is, at best, a fourth or fifth starter in the American League. He'd have more success in the NL and maybe that could still happen. But for me, it's beyond the fact that he's frustrating to watch. I don't care about walks and pitch counts and how long an inning takes. I care about how many runs a pitcher gives up and how many innings he can give you. He is averaging less than six innings per start and his ERA+ is 94. That's all you need to know. He's just not good.

But more importantly--I know this is a baseball blog but I cannot wait for the Lebron James decision tonight. Not because I really care where he goes, but because I care about what his decision will say about him. By that I mean, that the only way I won't absolutely eviscerate him here tomorrow is if he stays in Cleveland. If he goes to Miami, Chicago, New Jersey, New York, or any other place on this earth he will be even more superficial, contrived, and disingenuous than Kobe Bryant or Alex Rodriguez could ever be (and that's saying something).

--the Gunn

PF said...

Really disagree with you there gunn, and am totally peplexed as to where that is coming from. I certanly wouldn't criticize lebron for staying in cleveland, but I also wouldn't blame him for leaving, and I'd say that no matter where he chose to go. How would him leaving for a place where he has a better chance to win be any different than any decision any other athlete has made to do the same? Most do it for more money in a contract to boot, and that isn't even the case here. Because he's the best, or because he's from ohio, does he have an obligation to stay put more than others do? Even if they had made a commitment to winning I wouldn't blame him for leaving. But they haven't. He lost a playoff series this year to a team that had at least four players better than his second best player was. And that team wasn't good enough to win it all. Does he have to stay and just hope that before he starts getting older and more banged up that cleveland will finally give him a semblance of a supporting cast? While everyone else (la, boston, orlando, now miami) has multiple frontline players, does he have to do it where he started to prove how true he is?

Now, maybe you're just talking about the announcement itself, but who cares? Going to make tons of money for a great charity, and even if it wasn't this still wouldn't be something to get on someone for.

Anonymous said...

PF

As an aside: I'm watching OTL right now. Every panelist (there were five, from all over the country) just slammed Lebron (including Blackistone and MacMullan) for his conduct during his free agency.

--the Gunn

PF said...

Not at all. I have no idea where he's going to end up and it doesn't really matter for my analysis of this situation. The one thing I just don't get is people getting caught up holding people to their word about cities they are in? What are they supposed to say, I'm definitely leaving here when my contract is up? No smart person says that in any line of work. You say your company lines while you're there and do what you need to for your career when the opportunity presents itself. But with athletes we want to hold them to this purity of caring about what they say they do, but about 2% really do. Dv does this all the time. Here's the memo - they don't actually mean what they say.

So is kevin garnett not tough enough? He bolted for a better chance to win, and you celebrated him like it was 1969. I get what you're saying about staying and finding a way to do it where yo started. But that only happens for precious few athletes. I think you are grossly overstating what lebron has had around him, what cleveland has tried to put around him, and what the cavs have done in the regular season, which means zero when it counts. If you strip away lebron, the knicks, nets, and bulls all have substantially better players than the cavs do. Better rosters from which to build. What happened to those teams last year without lebron compared to the cavs with lebron is inconsequential.

PF said...

I'm not saying cleveland is a bad choice. I'm just saying I don't think there is anything worth criticizing if he leaves, save now if he went to miami. Going to new york, new jersey, or chicago would all be ballsy moves for a variety of reasons and to varying degrees, it isn't like he's going any place cozy. In fact, he'd be going to bigger markets with more pressure. But he also just might be making a personal choice to go to the place where he wants to play, for whatever the reason. He should be allowed do that. Getting into all this stuff about what jordan and magic would have done is really a thing of the past, sports were a different thing then. It' different now and we all know that.

Overall, when you have distaste for a player you usually take it to another level. I enjoy that about you, but I think you have to acknowledge it. Since the 2008 playoffs, when lebron was all of 23 years old, you've been incredibly critical of him, stating during that series "can we stop all of the talk about lebron as the best player in the league" which was, at best, premature, and loaded with bias no matter what. Which again is fine. But when it comes to kobe bryant, alex rodriguez, lebron james, jorge posada, and any other athlete that you don't like, we aren't getting level-headed tommy analysis. We are getting fired-up tommy analysis. Which again is great. But I don't think it's right on point. Even the sports guy isn't as far out as you on this one, and if you find yourself being more outrageous/biased than him, that's when you know you are probably slightly off base, or at least very much in the minority. The reason I know you feel the way you do is because of the strong language you are using. When you start making references to athletes being insecure we know you are hyped up, it's your go to. In reality this just isn't that big of a deal, it's a free agent making a decision, just like manny ramirez did before was the key cog in ending an 86 year title drought, and I don't think you look back and criticize him for that and say the same things about him that you're saying about lebron. We can make all the distinctions we want based on what players said while they were with a certain team, or what their particular corcumstances are, but at the end of the day that's just noise. It's all the same, players' contracts run out and they decide where to play. Criticizing lebron or teixeira or whoever for doing that is out of touch with the present state of sports, and therefore fruitless. I don't blame anyone for hanging on to 1980s ideology because it was more pure and traditional back then, but what's done is done, it's not that way anymore. We may as well accept that and move on. Now, if he joins wade abd bosh in miami? Ok, maybe that's taking it too far. But leaving to go to a new team is something 100s of athletes do every year, despite saying they loved the team they used to be with, and despite not having won there. And there just isn't anything wrong with that, even for a supreme talent like lebron.

PF said...

I'm not saying cleveland is a bad choice. I'm just saying I don't think there is anything worth criticizing if he leaves, save now if he went to miami. Going to new york, new jersey, or chicago would all be ballsy moves for a variety of reasons and to varying degrees, it isn't like he's going any place cozy. In fact, he'd be going to bigger markets with more pressure. But he also just might be making a personal choice to go to the place where he wants to play, for whatever the reason. He should be allowed do that. Getting into all this stuff about what jordan and magic would have done is really a thing of the past, sports were a different thing then. It' different now and we all know that.

Overall, when you have distaste for a player you usually take it to another level. I enjoy that about you, but I think you have to acknowledge it. Since the 2008 playoffs, when lebron was all of 23 years old, you've been incredibly critical of him, stating during that series "can we stop all of the talk about lebron as the best player in the league" which was, at best, premature, and loaded with bias no matter what. Which again is fine. But when it comes to kobe bryant, alex rodriguez, lebron james, jorge posada, and any other athlete that you don't like, we aren't getting level-headed tommy analysis. We are getting fired-up tommy analysis. Which again is great. But I don't think it's right on point. Even the sports guy isn't as far out as you on this one, and if you find yourself being more outrageous/biased than him, that's when you know you are probably slightly off base, or at least very much in the minority. The reason I know you feel the way you do is because of the strong language you are using. When you start making references to athletes being insecure we know you are hyped up, it's your go to. In reality this just isn't that big of a deal, it's a free agent making a decision, just like manny ramirez did before was the key cog in ending an 86 year title drought, and I don't think you look back and criticize him for that and say the same things about him that you're saying about lebron. We can make all the distinctions we want based on what players said while they were with a certain team, or what their particular corcumstances are, but at the end of the day that's just noise. It's all the same, players' contracts run out and they decide where to play. Criticizing lebron or teixeira or whoever for doing that is out of touch with the present state of sports, and therefore fruitless. I don't blame anyone for hanging on to 1980s ideology because it was more pure and traditional back then, but what's done is done, it's not that way anymore. We may as well accept that and move on. Now, if he joins wade abd bosh in miami? Ok, maybe that's taking it too far. But leaving to go to a new team is something 100s of athletes do every year, despite saying they loved the team they used to be with, and despite not having won there. And there just isn't anything wrong with that, even for a supreme talent like lebron.

PF said...

I'm not saying cleveland is a bad choice. I'm just saying I don't think there is anything worth criticizing if he leaves, save now if he went to miami. Going to new york, new jersey, or chicago would all be ballsy moves for a variety of reasons and to varying degrees, it isn't like he's going any place cozy. In fact, he'd be going to bigger markets with more pressure. But he also just might be making a personal choice to go to the place where he wants to play, for whatever the reason. He should be allowed do that. Getting into all this stuff about what jordan and magic would have done is really a thing of the past, sports were a different thing then. It' different now and we all know that.

Overall, when you have distaste for a player you usually take it to another level. I enjoy that about you, but I think you have to acknowledge it. Since the 2008 playoffs, when lebron was all of 23 years old, you've been incredibly critical of him, stating during that series "can we stop all of the talk about lebron as the best player in the league" which was, at best, premature, and loaded with bias no matter what. Which again is fine. But when it comes to kobe bryant, alex rodriguez, lebron james, jorge posada, and any other athlete that you don't like, we aren't getting level-headed tommy analysis. We are getting fired-up tommy analysis. Which again is great. But I don't think it's right on point. Even the sports guy isn't as far out as you on this one, and if you find yourself being more outrageous/biased than him, that's when you know you are probably slightly off base, or at least very much in the minority. The reason I know you feel the way you do is because of the strong language you are using. When you start making references to athletes being insecure we know you are hyped up, it's your go to. In reality this just isn't that big of a deal, it's a free agent making a decision, just like manny ramirez did before was the key cog in ending an 86 year title drought, and I don't think you look back and criticize him for that and say the same things about him that you're saying about lebron. We can make all the distinctions we want based on what players said while they were with a certain team, or what their particular corcumstances are, but at the end of the day that's just noise. It's all the same, players' contracts run out and they decide where to play. Criticizing lebron or teixeira or whoever for doing that is out of touch with the present state of sports, and therefore fruitless. I don't blame anyone for hanging on to 1980s ideology because it was more pure and traditional back then, but what's done is done, it's not that way anymore. We may as well accept that and move on. Now, if he joins wade abd bosh in miami? Ok, maybe that's taking it too far. But leaving to go to a new team is something 100s of athletes do every year, despite saying they loved the team they used to be with, and despite not having won there. And there just isn't anything wrong with that, even for a supreme talent like lebron.

PF said...

I'm not saying cleveland is a bad choice. I'm just saying I don't think there is anything worth criticizing if he leaves, save now if he went to miami. Going to new york, new jersey, or chicago would all be ballsy moves for a variety of reasons and to varying degrees, it isn't like he's going any place cozy. In fact, he'd be going to bigger markets with more pressure. But he also just might be making a personal choice to go to the place where he wants to play, for whatever the reason. He should be allowed do that. Getting into all this stuff about what jordan and magic would have done is really a thing of the past, sports were a different thing then. It' different now and we all know that.

Overall, when you have distaste for a player you usually take it to another level. I enjoy that about you, but I think you have to acknowledge it. Since the 2008 playoffs, when lebron was all of 23 years old, you've been incredibly critical of him, stating during that series "can we stop all of the talk about lebron as the best player in the league" which was, at best, premature, and loaded with bias no matter what. Which again is fine. But when it comes to kobe bryant, alex rodriguez, lebron james, jorge posada, and any other athlete that you don't like, we aren't getting level-headed tommy analysis. We are getting fired-up tommy analysis. Which again is great. But I don't think it's right on point. Even the sports guy isn't as far out as you on this one, and if you find yourself being more outrageous/biased than him, that's when you know you are probably slightly off base, or at least very much in the minority. The reason I know you feel the way you do is because of the strong language you are using. When you start making references to athletes being insecure we know you are hyped up, it's your go to. In reality this just isn't that big of a deal, it's a free agent making a decision, just like manny ramirez did before was the key cog in ending an 86 year title drought, and I don't think you look back and criticize him for that and say the same things about him that you're saying about lebron. We can make all the distinctions we want based on what players said while they were with a certain team, or what their particular corcumstances are, but at the end of the day that's just noise. It's all the same, players' contracts run out and they decide where to play. Criticizing lebron or teixeira or whoever for doing that is out of touch with the present state of sports, and therefore fruitless. I don't blame anyone for hanging on to 1980s ideology because it was more pure and traditional back then, but what's done is done, it's not that way anymore. We may as well accept that and move on. Now, if he joins wade abd bosh in miami? Ok, maybe that's taking it too far. But leaving to go to a new team is something 100s of athletes do every year, despite saying they loved the team they used to be with, and despite not having won there. And there just isn't anything wrong with that, even for a supreme talent like lebron.

PF said...

Also, I understand in my first example that garnett was traded. So was roger clemens. So was alex rodriguez. The same principles apply. If you're the guy on a team, the same way, lebron is, and you don't want to get traded save really special circumstances you don't. Garnett meant everything to minnesota. Then he bolted last minute to win an easy championship that was about as exciting as if the heat won with the three they might have next year. Garnett went from being everything to minnesota to adopting boston like it was always his home the very next year. I don't remember you admonishing that.

TimC said...

PF, being traded does not qualify these days as "bolting". If a guy is going to bolt via trade, he needs to really make a nuisance of himself in my eyes before I would classify it as bolting. I suppose Dice bolted from Japan, too, using that logic, and I don't recall you admonishing him for that. If we were to rank all the major athletes that left their teams in the past decade in terms of how much they "bolted" on their first team, KG would rank in the bottom 10%.

Cleveland, I believe, cannot replace LeBron due to the NBA salary cap rules. Garnett, at the minimum, was replaced by Al Jefferson. That move is going to pay off at some point in some way. Plus, Minnesota was winning zero titles if KG stuck around. Unless you think Cleveland has no chance to win a title with LeBron, comparing the two is borderline asinine.

And yes, I did read all six of your identical posts before writing that. And your one small addition. But KG getting dealt was much closer to the Ray Bourque trade than to what LeBron (might) do tonight.

PF said...

I didn't admonish daisuke for leaving japan because I don't have a problem with players doing these kinds of things. That's the entire point here, pal. You can qualify players leaving for as many reasons as you want, but the bottom line is it happens, its not a big deal, and it shouldn't be a big deal if he does so tonight. People getting worked up about the merits of an athletes decision on which team he'll play for, and assigning qualities about him as a person based on that decision, are taking things a touch too seriously. Its where he's going to play basketball for a lot of money, not really a world issue.

TimC said...

Yo Pat, I would agree with you, and not just your last comment, but he CALLED HIS OWN ONE HOUR SPECIAL TO ANNOUNCE HIS DECISION. At some point, it becomes a lot more than talking about what Magic or MJ or ARod would do or whether we hold athletes up to an impractical standard. And that "some point" is "The Decision".

I think we will all probably end up having a lot more to say tomorrow, but no matter what he does "The Decision" is the reason why athletes get held to different standards in terms of how they act as employees. And yes, because of how he is handling this tonight, we can assign qualities, mostly negative ones, about him as a person.

PF said...

Yawn. Just a professional version of high school kids calling a press conference and picking a hat from a table in front of them to announce their college intentions. Just that it's one of the best athletes in the world, any sport, so it's getting a ton of attention. I mean, who cares. Raising a little money for charity too, and it doesn't matter that lebron could donate more, he probably still will which means the money is extra, and there is never an unimportant dollar raised for charity. Makes his announcement and away we go. And I will say the same thing no matter where he goes. This is the future, embrace it.

PF said...

And when I say who cares, I mean who really cares he's doing it this way enough to get so critical about it. Just not a big deal.

Anonymous said...

PF

The Nets have better players than the Cavs do? Really? They won 12 games. Devin Harris and Brook Lopez? Those guys are good?


More importantly, being traded is different than leaving via free agency. Also, it's different to leave after 13 seasons at age 31 after he'd played on several awful teams and hadn't made the playoffs in three years. Moreover, Garnett initially hesitated to leave Minnesota and made overtures that he was going to veto a trade to Boston.

More importantly though, Garnett didn't handle himself the way that he James has. For all the reasons I listed in my last post, it's an embarrassment.

Lastly, and most importantly, Garnett isn't, and never was, the player that Lebron is. Lebron is probably the best player in the league and will likely be a top-10 player of all-time. No player, save Jordan has ever meant as much to a city as Lebron has to Cleveland. Beyond that, if he leaves, he'll be saying that he can't cut it as an A-1 guy. And that doesn't make him a bad guy. Doesn't make him a criminal or a philanderer. But it means that he's not the player or leader that everyone makes him out to be.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

PF

Another thing that is worth mentioning--your attitude about this situation is one of the minority. Most people are frustrated with the Lebron. Watch television--see what people are saying. They're questioning his loyalty. Questioning his toughness. Question how great he'll ever be playing second fiddle to Wade. The word that pops up a lot is a variation of "disappointed."

--the Gunn

the gm said...

Pat,

Good to see that you could pry yourself away from all this very hectic work you have every day to make ten (10) comments on something completely unrelated to the post. This completely nullifies anything the Gunn wrote yesterday with our lack of commentership.