Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Colter Bean's Not Walking Through That Door

There's something Pat said when the Red Sox started the season that resinated with me a lot.  The 2005 Yankees started the season 11-19.

Eight games under .500.  On May 6, 2005, the Yankees were eight games under .500.  I think the last time Boston was eight games under .500 was on April 17th, when they were 2-10.  This was pretty much an insurmountable hole, pretty late in the season (at least for the sake of argument).  Of course, that team ended up winning the AL East with 95 wins.  So that means they finished the season 84-48.  Playing literally .667 ball (38-19) for the entire months of August and September help, as does a 10-game winning streak propelling them from 11-19 to 21-19..

Despite having read the realistic, uplifting Eric Ortiz article we've referenced so many times this year (if they had lost last night I would have turned on my computer and posted a quote from the article), I don't think the Red Sox are the best team ever.  I do, however, think the 2011 Red Sox are better than the 2005 Yankees.  I see your John Lackey and raise you Carl Pavano.  I see your Daisuke Matsuzaka and raise you Jaret Wright and Kevin Brown.

So as bad as things got for the 2011 Red Sox, and they were bad, we haven't had Colter Bean running out from the bullpen quite yet.  The team is still going to have to play some fantastic baseball later on in the season, as it's May 10th and they have still yet to reach .500.  But there have been glimmers of brilliance.  Largely, the pitching staff has been good, especially the starters.  There have been a couple of disasters, like Lackey on Thursday.  But otherwise they've been pretty good.  Last night was only Papelbon's first blown save, and they ended up winning that game.  Crawford's snapping out of it, Gonzalez is hitting for power, and 46 extended his hitting streak with the help of some more knowing of his role.  Even Saltalamacchia flirted with .200 tonight.  Pedroia still looks like garbage, but he will (and this is not an E. Ortiz-style "could") eventually learn how to play baseball again.  Things will be okay.

All they need to do to get on equal footing with the 2005 Yankees is go 4-2 over the next six.  That would put them at the very same 21-19 record.  Finishing with the goal of 95 wins, from that point, is doable.  All they would have to do from there on in would be playing to their potential.

An extra thought:  Gregg Zaun is filling in for Remy on tonight's telecast on NESN.  Not fun.  Just like all these other replacement Remys, he's trying too hard.  I just want to say that I don't like Gregg Zaun, for two reasons.  The first reason is pretty much already said perfectly in this 2009 article from Baltimore.  The second reason is that he just referred to JD Drew's hitting as "poetry."

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

DV

Some rare optimism from you. It's nice to see once in a while and it gives me hope--if DV thinks there is reason to be positive, then there really must be some truth to it.

That said, the Sox can't keep pissing opportunities away. The loss last night was like many before it--playing crappy baseball against bad teams and letting them hang around long enough to believe that they can beat the Sox. And then lo and behold, they do. This stuff can't keep happening. They are also playing footsie with the .500 mark. Um, hey guys, you have $170 million payroll. You shouldn't be struggling to get to and above .500 after 36 games. Enough already.

Lastly, on the Celtics. The Heat are younger, stronger, healthier, and better. The only chance the Celtics had to win was to execute down the stretch and out tough the Heat. You can argue that the C's were tough enough (and I don't think anyone can question their collective toughness after watching these four games), but they just didn't execute. Certainly Game 4 is a glaring example, but throughout the series (and really all season) the C's have just had too many turnovers in too many unfortunate spots.

Still, you have to admire this team. They aren't the best in the league. They aren't the best in the conference. But they bring it every night and never give anything away. The Heat will win the series, and probably the championship (I certainly hope not. I'd like to see Dallas or Oklahoma City). They look young, fresh, and unflappable. And yet the C's are still grinding it out and giving every indication that they believe they can still win. Which is a hell of a lot more than can be said of the 2011 Lakers.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

Gunn,

I don't know if you noticed this, but you are a day late on the Celtics. We talked about that yesterday.

On the Sox, this is the same thing that happened last year- they simply did not beat the teams they should beat and therefore missed the playoffs. If they don't turn this around, then I think you can Francona at the end of the year. Yes I like him a lot as manager, and it's not so much about him. But if you have two plus years of missing the playoffs because you lose to bad teams consistently, then I think you just need to make a change for change's sake.

Ross Kaplan said...

Don't forget that that 2005 Yankees featured an incredible 10-0 performance by the immortal Aaron Small and the call up of Robinson Cano to replace Womack, so yeah this team had an awful lot of luck to get to the playoffs.

jason said...

i miss julian tavarez

Anonymous said...

PF

Five least favorite Red Sox of all-time, as promised.

First, these are going to be guys from the last 10-15 years because those are the guys I know the best.

Second, these are my least favorite players. Not the worst players. There's no Craig Grebeck or John Wasdin or anything like that. Being bad is a good start. But being overpaid, a terrible teammate, AND bad, now that's a great combination if you want to make this list.

Here goes:

5. Daisuke Matsuzaka. The gyroball. The crazy conspiratorial bidding for his services ($51.1111 million, just to throw everyone off). The OUTRAGEOUS hype. And for all that we get a guy who gives you league average (or worse) production and can't get past the fifth inning without throwing 110 pitches. Awesome stuff. 2008 was nice, but it was an aberration. And for the rest of his time we are subjected to 15 full counts and stories of how he wants to do things his way because it worked for him in Japan. Well guess, what Daisuke? You've given up more bombs than the Enola Gay (too soon?) so nobody cares what you think.

4. JD Drew: Probably a little low on this list for some people's taste, and understandably so. However, as I mentioned before he's given above average OPS+ each year in Boston (including a very good 2008 and 2009). That said, the enduring images of him are always going to be 1) Him wheeling around on his back foot after swing through a 91 MPH fastball right down the middle 2) Him quickly turning and walking back to the dugout after a called third strike, barely unable to hide his relief at having avoided the awful prospect of running to first 3) Countless weak ground balls to second base after trying to pull an outside fastball/change up, even though the WALL is only 300 feet away in left. $70 million well spent, indeed.

Anonymous said...

3. Edgar Renteria--could he turn a double-play? Absolutely not. But he sure as hell could hit into one in a big spot. But here's the worst part--you just win a World Series, in part because you traded a laconic, disgruntled short stop for an outgoing, energetic short stop. So what do you do? You let the incumbent short stop leave (even though he wanted to stay and for less money) and sign a big money short stop, who is--get this--shy and laconic. It's amazing that such a move failed. What's worse, is that Hanley Ramirez was waiting in the wings (though he did bring Lowell and Beckett, two guys directly related to the 2007 Championship). This signing was, like many that followed, bad at the time, and only became worse as the 2005 season progressed.

2. John Lackey. What does he do? He gives up hits. A ton of them. He also gives up runs, and doesn't strike many people out. He was protected by the mammoth ballparks in the AL West, and now, playing against the big boys of the AL East he's getting lit up like the Fourth of July. For $82 million the Sox could have hired every Pittsburgh Pirate or Oakland A. Twice. Instead, they have John Lackey. Awesome.

1. Lebron James. What cop out! I know, it's lazy. But I just couldn't put down Varitek or Damon or Wakefield. At least those guys cared. At least they had good seasons. You really can't hate on them, just like the hate for Manny and Nomar kills me. It's misplaced and unfortunate. Lebron? He's a part of the Red Sox ownership, for sure. But really, this position would be reserved for John Henry or Lucchino, or Warner. But you ABSOLUTELY cannot hate those three. They took a Red Sox team (and stadium) that was old and banged up and revitalized both into two of the best in their fields. So ultimately, the number one spot remains vacant, hopefully a player so vile as to be deserving of the top spot never materializes.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Congratulations to Blogger for your fine uptime and programming perfection!

From about 4:30 yesterday until at least mid-morning today, the tea-drinking Stanford grads wearing square-framed glasses were working on, well, something. I don't know what happened to my Eric Ortiz post from yesterday (maybe the Stanford people are protecting their own) or why I was unable to post anything last night.

My top five will just have to wait until Monday.

the gm at work said...

Gunn, that was fantastic, by the way. Not only because of your descriptions and reasons, but because a lot of your guys would also be on my list. At least in the top ten.

And I was considering putting number six in there just like you did.

I'm not sure if it is recency or your own age (and resultant cynicism), but three of your five are on the current baseball team and none of them are from the nineties. The other factor would be whether the 2009-present version of the Red Sox is the least likable team in the history of the franchise.

Anonymous said...

Aye, a tip of the cap to blogger, nice work from Menlo Park. Don't forget our comments, DV, we lost those too!

In any Dice analysis, his participation in an Asahi-beer chugging commercial should be mentioned. Whether this moves him up or down your respective lists is a personal decision. For me, Asahi is a fine beer that should be given the utmost respect and, combined with some beer drinking of my own, would him up (down?) my list. Good luck with this information, boys.

I might have to include the White Troy O'Leary from one of those early 00's video games on my list- White Troy O'Leary was a poor hitter by any standard.

-TimC

Anonymous said...

DV

It's interesting because as I was putting this list together none of the guys from the 1990's popped up. I probably should have added Carl Everett, but outside of him those teams were very likable. They seemed to really care.

That said, I could be looking back through rose-colored glasses. By all accounts Mike Lansing was a terrible teammate (though I don't have any specific anecdotes to substantiate those rumors) and frankly the Red Sox were not the national phenomenon that they are today. Back in the 1990's the Orioles and Jays routinely spent more money than Boston. Those days are long, long gone. And they aren't coming back.

I'm just glad you liked the list and I'm really looking forward to seeing yours (and any others). Also, I'd like to see PF's list of least favorite Yankees.

--the Gunn