Monday, April 18, 2011

112-35

This looks a lot less daunting than the 115-35 the Red Sox would have to post after starting 2-10.  After all, they're destined to eclipse the 116-win mark and take their place on Immortality Peak according to NESN.com.  But now all they have to do is put up a winning percentage of .762, and this is thanks to the fact that after two weeks of working on baseball fundamentals (something that most teams take care of instead of golfing in Florida), the Best Team Ever is ready to play baseball.  Cool.

There really isn't even that much to complain about.  Three consecutive good pitching performances, including a redeeming outing by Lebron on a Monday morning.  The fact that he can throw so well and be so effective is further evidence that my theory on his game last Monday (he was grooving them on purpose/he's a headcase) might be more valid than the Gunn's (he's not good enough to pitch in America).

Four things I want to throw out there on the table:

1.  In the interest of fairness, it is necessary to point out that Jarrod Saltalamacchia is not getting the job done.  Nobody's rooting for him more than I am, especially seeing I was one of those guys who was hoping the team would trade Clay Buchholz for him back in 2008.  But Friday night was disgusting.  Passed balls.  Stolen bases.  One-hoppers to second base.  One-hoppers to third base.  Sorry - if you had the yips, the team should be paying for a good shrink for you.  Throwing the ball on a line to second and third base are basebally fundamentals.  I have been reading that Saltalamacchia spent more time on the baseball field than on the golf course this spring, working on exactly that.  Improvements are still necessary.  I'm not going to get into the Varitek/pitchers' trust issues with this guy - at least not today.  But part of the reason the pitchers' ERA is so high with this guy (other than calling the high fastballs to Cano) is the fact that stolen bases are givens.

2.  The player formerly known as 46 now thinks he's a power hitter.  While on the surface this might be a good thing (and he absolutely killed his home run on Sunday), there is nothing worse for the Red Sox than this.  He's already been bumped to 9th in the order, probably because he's having trouble getting on base.  But now that he's going to try to drive the ball 450 every time up, his OBP might plummet even more.  Look, pitchers might start pitching more selectively to 46 (or maybe not due to the gaping holes in his swing), resulting in more walks.  But he should be spraying the ball to all fields.  You're a singles hitter, 46.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  Unless you do what you're doing.  Also, good eye.

3.  Memo to Kevin Youkilis:  In Philadelphia and Boston, the two league leaders of the fan bases keeping it real, if you play well, you get cheered.  If you suck, you get booed.  If Matsuzaka doesn't want to get booed, he should not suck.  On a related note, in the NBA, if you rape a woman and call a referee an F'ing F, all cities except for Philadelphia and Boston will give you a free pass.

4.  On the shortstop controversy (and maybe Pat can talk about former shortstops in the comments section), as well as Jed Lowrie is playing, I absolutely understand Terry Francona's loyalty to Marco Scutaro.  The guy played with one arm all year last year while other players missed 144 games with sore ribs (front and back).  This loyalty is a hundred times more justified than Francona's loyalty to guys like Timlin and Varitek.  Scutaro deserves at least April.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Scutaro situation is a wierd one. I understand that this guy deserves a shot at starting, but how can you sit Lowrie when he's playing so well lately? With Pedroia playing really well too, and Gonzalez and Youk coming around (though Gonzalez did strikeout three times today), where is Lowrie gonna play if Scutaro is in the lineup?

Anonymous said...

DV

Salty (I hate these abbreviations but I'm just not going to spell his whole name out every time. I'm giving this disclaimer once and that's it) looks like he's got a good swing. He hasn't hit well, but nobody other than Lowrie and Pedroia has at this point. At the very least, we know he can't be worse than Varitek. So until that changes the Sox should keep running him out there.

On Lowrie, he's hot as hell right now. He needs to be out there. If the Sox were 12-3, then maybe you could jerk the hot hand around. But when you're 5-10 you have to do everything you can to win. Players get injured and guys need days off. Scutaro will get his AB's (maybe only in the 250-300 range, but still). But the truth is, he's a good solid player, but he's not a game changer. It's not like the Sox are wasting a big time talent by sitting him.

The thing we need to talk about is how good Beckett and Lester have been. I expected that much from Lester. I did not expect it from Beckett. That's an incredibly pleasant surprise (provided he keeps it up).

Now, it would be wrong if I didn't discuss how well the Asian Sensation pitched yesterday. He was very good and it was nice to see him not screw up all the momentum they'd built up over the previous two days. Here's hoping all is not lost with him.

Tonight, Lackey goes. Let's hope that no poor souls in the outfield bleachers have to leave the game with concussions.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

DV,

Agree and disagree with the post.

First totally agree on Saltalawhatever. He is not getting the job done in the field or behind the plate. His performance is unacceptable on both levels. This also highlights the fact that we could have had Russell Martin if we made a harder push for him. That might have been a good idea.

On Lowrie, you absolutely have to find a way to keep him in the lineup, loyalty be damned. Listen, I'm big on loyalty, I think it's important in all facets of life. But you get your team out of a bad rut but riding the hot hands that you have. Over the last few games, Lowrie (as ridiculous as this sounds) has been as hot as any player in the league. He's not going to do that all season. You need to get what you can out of him now and not sit him down.

just my 2 cents.

bandi
I disagree on your points about Ellsbury and Lowrie. First, regardless of Ellsbury's approach, he's helped to jumpstart an anemic offense over this past weekend with his home runs. I think there's something to be said in favor of a guy who has seen that the team has been struggling and goes up there with a mindset of trying to make something happen.

Obviously, the average/OBP is not where it should be for him and it would be a bad thing if he went up there swinging for the fences every at bat. But I don't think that we can assume that he's going to do that. Right now I'm just glad someone is hitting home runs.

Anonymous said...

Okay my post there as totally messed up. Not sure what happened. Take the section about Lowrie and move it below the section about Ellsbury.

You get my point.

Bandi

Patrick said...

we know about not keeping orlando cabrera around. but my question is, why not keep alex gonzalez around? he was injured one year, and was not good the year after that injury (which was incidentally the year that boston traded for him again). but in the three other seasons he's played he's put up ops+'s of 99, 99 and 102 so far this year. all at very reasonable salaries, relatively speaking. if you can get league average offense with that kind of glove, that's exactly the type of guy you want to think about keeping around unless you have something clearly better waiting in the wings. was julio lugo a better option than alex gonzalez?

Anonymous said...

PF

The scary thing is that the front office thought Lugo was a better option than Gonzalez. They thought he was going to be an All-Star caliber player. Instead, he was one of the worst misfires in free agent history; not necessarily because of the size of the contract (four years, $36 million), and not even because he wasn't good afterward. It was because he was NEVER good to begin with. He had one season with an OPS+ better than league average before he signed with Boston and his highest OPS for a full season was .765. And he was in the top-five in errors committed by a shortstop in four of the five years preceding his stay in Boston. Just a complete mess.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

I think I misspoke a bit on the Scutaro/Lowrie thing. For the time being, you gotta ride the hot hand, and I bet Scutaro himself would probably say that. If Lowrie comes back to earth this week though, you gotta give Scutaro some reps and make the position his to lose. I am for the loyalty in this one extenuating circumstance. And I don't even dislike Lowrie, for the record.