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4-22 postgame thoughts BOS 7 LAAoA 6


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#1 Kevin Youkulele


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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:46 PM

Pauley replaced Beckett and performed at more or less replacement level. The pen did well, going for 4 2/3 and giving up a run. The offense continued its rampage through the American League, with standout performances from the 1-2 guys in Ellsbury and Pedroia.

I think it is getting increasingly difficult to maintain a semblance of a platoon between Crisp and Ellsbury. Ellsbury has taken the current chance to be in the lineup every day and shown that he can be a game-changing leadoff hitter. His last 5 games: 11-19, 5 BB, 4 SB, 2 HR, 10 R.

Pedroia has been a doubles machine and, in particular, loves to shoot the RCF gap. He has now doubled in four consecutive games and has an XBH in 7 of the last 8 games.

I am also becoming curious as to the batting order fallout when Lowell returns, as Youk has seemingly staked a claim to the 5 hole, although he seems to be the most mobile piece of the puzzle judging by Francona's various lineups. Will the bottom three be Drew - Tek - Lugo?

We had good (enough) Tavarez tonight, who came into the 5th to quickly get an inning ending double play and handle the 6th before getting into a jam in the 7th, which Okajima escaped only to give up a homer and a double in the 8th, yielding to Timlin who mercifully retired Figgins and earned a W in 0.1 IP. Remy commented that perhaps Okajima spent himself working out of the jam in the 7th and didn't have enough for the 8th; seems like a reasonable observation. I did not see the pitch that went for a homer.

Cash's snap throw to 2nd in the 7th seemed ill-advised because it backfired. What is it with catchers throwing the ball into CF lately? Ellsbury has found himself on 3rd repeatedly after such events. Back to the current event, it looked like Figgins wasn't that far off the bag, and Lugo didn't break early enough to the bag to make me think it was prearranged. Hopefully things like this won't happen too often.

Pedroia also made a baserunning booboo that is being discussed in the baserunning thread.

#2 OttoC


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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:53 PM

The home run that Okajima gave up scarcely went 300 feet and would have been an out in parks that have foul territory down the line.

#3 KenTremendous

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:23 PM

Here's a post-game thought, completely devoid of analysis: I love this team. I know it's early, blah blah blah, but what a fun team to watch, so far. Papelbon throwing to Vlad in the ninth was a delight.

#4 jtn46


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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:28 PM

The good:

Ellsbury and Pedroia at the top of the lineup work so well together. Ellsbury's speed forces pitchers to feed Pedroia fastballs and Pedroia's patience and ability to rarely swing and miss make him a perfect 2-hitter. That Ellsbury can score on a double from first just makes it that much sweeter.

Okajima, sans the homer (which yeah, was a park thing) pitched great. Working out of Tavarez's jam in the 7th was huge. Papelbon is just unreal too. Juiced gun or not, he looked unhittable, nice to see after some less than dominant outings recently.

The bad:

The Red Sox have catching issues. Cash as Wakefield's caddy is sort of acceptable, but as a backup catcher getting PT while Varitek is out he's severely inadequate.

On a similar note, if Coco's going to miss 10+ games, he should be on the DL.

It's good we got a look at Pauley. Not a great job by him, but it's always good to test your depth.

Last night they win without their ace, their number 3 bullpen guy, their catcher, their starting CF, their starting 3B...is this like some kind of contest to try to win with less and less people everyday?

#5 LahoudOrBillyC


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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:30 PM

Pedroia now leads the league in batting average, hits and doubles.

Manny leads in home runs, runs batted in, total bases, and slugging percentage.

The Red Sox "Big Four" are actually 1-4-6-11 in batting average. And by "Big Four", of course, I mean Pedroia, Youkilis, Manny, and Lugo.

Ellsbury leads the league in runs, despite not having enough PAs to qualify as a full-time player.

#6 Masamune42

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:30 PM

There's one thing that really stood out for me from having been at the game and that's Vlad's defensive positioning. He was standing a good 10-15 feet closer to the line than the 'worn' spot in right field where Drew and other right fielders normally stand. That cost him on Pedroia's double that he couldn't hold on to, but it's what let him cover enough ground to take that homerun away from Manny. The Angels left an enormous gap in right-center all night.

Oh, and the bottom of the Indians lineup smacked Pauley around like Cash was telling them what was coming. Incredibly frustrating.

Edit: And Cash is just as terrible looking a hitter live as he is on TV. It felt like every time he came up in a big situation with 2 outs the Angels went with the 'blow three fastballs by him' strategy to get out of it.

Edited by Masamune42, 22 April 2008 - 11:32 PM.


#7 TFisNEXT


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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:52 PM

Pedroia now leads the league in batting average, hits and doubles.

Manny leads in home runs, runs batted in, total bases, and slugging percentage.

The Red Sox "Big Four" are actually 1-4-6-11 in batting average. And by "Big Four", of course, I mean Pedroia, Youkilis, Manny, and Lugo.

Ellsbury leads the league in runs, despite not having enough PAs to qualify as a full-time player.


The hitters are doing it at the right time, because the pitching staff isn't so hot right now. That should change though with Beckett rounding into form and Dice/Wake eating innings in their usual 4s ERA type mold. (hopefully a bit lower for Dice this year) The big question marks will be Lester and Buchholz. We dont have the automatic high 3s ERA and 180-200 innings from Schilling this year so we need something from one of them, and Buchholz is most likely the guy, considering Lester's control troubles.


Manny picked a convenient year to start off the season raking the ball for once unlike his previous 3 seasons. He has been the terrifying presence in the middle of the lineup with Papi struggling...and I agree, its great to see the 2 youngsters setting the table so well at the top of the lineup (and even driving in plenty of runs of their own).

#8 Cuzittt


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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:55 PM

The bad:

The Red Sox have catching issues. Cash as Wakefield's caddy is sort of acceptable, but as a backup catcher getting PT while Varitek is out he's severely inadequate.


Well, they don't have any more catching issues than they did 4 days ago...

In other words, the fact that Cash has been the starting catcher for 3 consecutive games sucks. Pretty much everyone knew if Varitek went down for any period of time, it would suck.

However, unless Varitek's flu is mononucleosis or Bird Flu or the 1918 Pandemic strain... he's going to be back by (at least) the weekend. At which point we can return to figuring out why Kottaras can't hit at McCoy.

#9 rembrat


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:46 AM

Since I take any and every opportunity to trash Lugo when he botches up a play or an at bat itís only fair that I give the man his props when he deserves it. He has been looking much more selective and aware of pitches during his latest at bats. Tonight, on pitches that were on the outer half of the plate that he would normally whiff on, he was spoiling them off, his 7 pitch first AB lead to a single to LF. That by all means was hit well. His 2 AB of the night was more of the same. Laid off some breaking stuff low in the zone, spoiled sliders away until he hit an opposite field single through 1st and 2nd. That was an 8 pitch AB. His 3rd AB of night is the one where he was hosed on, it should have been his 9 (?) INF single of the year.

It seems like the great offensive approach is contagious right now.

Also, kudos on the throw he made in the hole to get the speedy Figgins in the top of the 8th.

#10 ToeKneeArmAss


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 01:21 AM

I'm getting a little tired of the Ellsbury-love, especially since it's pretty much all my wife will talk to me about these days ... but in addition to the power tonight, that drag bunt in the eighth was a thing of beauty.

#11 cliffintheDR

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 02:26 AM

Cash's snap throw to 2nd in the 7th seemed ill-advised because it backfired. What is it with catchers throwing the ball into CF lately? Ellsbury has found himself on 3rd repeatedly after such events. Back to the current event, it looked like Figgins wasn't that far off the bag, and Lugo didn't break early enough to the bag to make me think it was prearranged. Hopefully things like this won't happen too often.

Good analysis.

I agree on the Cash throw as being ill-advised but that's only agreeable after the fact (it was a bad throw). From what I saw (from the home plate angle) there was plenty of allure for a catcher to throw down - I saw a pretty big gap, and when Cash made his decision to throw, Figgins was still leaning to 3rd.. No one ever likes that play unless you get an out, then your aggressiveness is appreciated. I thought Lugo was in position - on the bag - but the throw was wide left. If Lugo was just a little late getting to the bag he probably would have nailed him and everyone comes out smelling like roses.

If he nails him in that situation (2 on, 1 or 2 out?) it's a HUGE out.

With the immense pressure to perform well - surrounded by so many fanaticos - he made a bid to contribute to the win, ill-advised or not.

He certainly doesn't offer much at the dish with a bat in his hand.

If that throw cost them the game, it would have started another brutal thread about how terrible our backup catcher is and how we'll never be able to win the World Series without Pudge as our backup catcher. I can hear it now "Lugo, Hansen and Lowrie for Pudge Rodriguez and cash" (the paper, not the catcher).

Edited by cliffintheDR, 23 April 2008 - 02:26 AM.


#12 Vermonter At Large


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:22 AM

The interesting thing about Pauley was that he had his sinker and curve working very well from the windup, but as soon as he went into the stretch everything flattened out. It was very pronounced. Anyone know if he does this in Pawtucket as well?

#13 DJnVa


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 06:27 AM

Last night they win without their ace, their number 3 bullpen guy, their catcher, their starting CF, their starting 3B...is this like some kind of contest to try to win with less and less people everyday?


Ehhh? While Coco may grab some starts here and there, saying that the Sox were without their starting CF last night is stretching things.

#14 underhandtofirst


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 06:37 AM

I posted this in the game thread, but it probably fits better here

Tito gets some heat for putting Timlin in some higher leverage situations. But according to fangraphs.com here's the order of the Sox RP by leverage:
Papelbon 1.67
Okijima  1.45
MDC	  1.15
Snyder   0.98
Tavarez  0.88
Timlin   0.74

That's pretty good.

#15 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 07:35 AM

I was a bit surprised that Tito didn't go to Papelbon with a runner on 2nd and 2 outs in a tie ballgame in the 8th. That's one of the highest-leveraged situations in the game, where 1 run can mean the difference between a win and a loss. That would seem to be the perfect spot for a Jamesian use of your relief ace. Using Timlin in that spot worked out, but concentrating on decisions instead of results it seemed a bit curious to me at the time.

#16 URI


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 07:44 AM

Tito probably wanted to save Paps arm a little bit, considering the Angels are a pretty good team, and they might need him tomorrow.

If this exact situation happened in October, I'd wager you'd see Papelbon.

#17 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 07:49 AM

I think it is getting increasingly difficult to maintain a semblance of a platoon between Crisp and Ellsbury. Ellsbury has taken the current chance to be in the lineup every day and shown that he can be a game-changing leadoff hitter. His last 5 games: 11-19, 5 BB, 4 SB, 2 HR, 10 R.

He woke up today with averages of .308/.456/.538, for an OPS of .994, good for 3rd in the league. He's on a pace to score 140 runs and steal 59 bases.

If he hasn't won the CF job outright, at least for the time being, somebody's thinking too hard.

#18 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 07:53 AM

He woke up today with averages of .308/.456/.538, for an OPS of .994, good for 3rd in the league. He's on a pace to score 140 runs and steal 59 bases.

If he hasn't won the CF job outright, at least for the time being, somebody's thinking too hard.

It's April 23. He'll probably win the CF job anyway, but let's try not to get carried away here.

Really nice to see him flashing power last night. Those shots were not cheap. I did note that both home runs came on offspeed pitches; the book on him so far seems to be to bust him inside with hard stuff. The Angels for whatever reason got away from that.

The drag bunt was a really heady play, considering he was facing a lefty at the time. A smart, aggressive play. Lugo does this too on occasion.

#19 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:29 AM

It's April 23. He'll probably win the CF job anyway, but let's try not to get carried away here.


Can you let us know when we can "have the talk"?

Ellsbury's major league career includes nearly 200 regular season PA's and a line of 339 / 415 / 518 with 17 SB and 0 CS. He was OK in the post-season too, with a 360 / 429 / 520 performance.

Small samples for sure but the kid looks like a pretty damn good player, and he at least appears ready for the bigs, and a better bat than Coco, I'd say.

#20 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:34 AM

Can you let us know when we can "have the talk"?

Ellsbury's major league career includes nearly 200 regular season PA's and a line of 339 / 415 / 518 with 17 SB and 0 CS. He was OK in the post-season too, with a 360 / 429 / 520 performance.

Small samples for sure but the kid looks like a pretty damn good player, and he at least appears ready for the bigs, and a better bat than Coco, I'd say.


168 ABs is not "nearly 200," if we're being picky.

He looks like he's going to be a very good player, no doubt. He's dynamic and most encouragingly his OBP is excellent so far this year, making him a great fit for the top of the order.

#21 amarshal2

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:35 AM

168 ABs is not "nearly 200," if we're being picky.

He looks like he's going to be a very good player, no doubt. He's dynamic and most encouragingly his OBP is excellent so far this year, making him a great fit for the top of the order.


He was talking about plate appearances. He rounded up from 189.

edit: DJ's got it- 195

Edited by amarshal2, 23 April 2008 - 08:38 AM.


#22 DJnVa


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:36 AM

168 ABs is not "nearly 200," if we're being picky.


In fairness he said 200 "plate appearances". 168 ABs, 21 BBs and a couple SF and HBP get him to 195.

Is there a cut-off deemed acceptable to the powers that be where his sample size is large enough to have people talk positively about him and not be told they have a hard on for the guy? Otherwise we're going to go through this every week.

#23 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:41 AM

In fairness he said 200 "plate appearances". 168 ABs, 21 BBs and a couple SF and HBP get him to 195.

Is there a cut-off deemed acceptable to the powers that be where his sample size is large enough to have people talk positively about him and not be told they have a hard on for the guy? Otherwise we're going to go through this every week.

In all seriousness, I don't think there's any real guideline for moving out of SSS territory into "this is what we're really getting" territory. Is 200 PA's enough to judge a guy? Perhaps. It's better than the 120 or so he had last year. Combined with his minor league track record you'd get a pretty good picture of what we can expect.

#24 Lollardfish

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:43 AM

In all seriousness, I don't think there's any real guideline for moving out of SSS territory into "this is what we're really getting" territory. Is 200 PA's enough to judge a guy? Perhaps. It's better than the 120 or so he had last year. Combined with his minor league track record you'd get a pretty good picture of what we can expect.


The real issue is that it's April. Not the SSS issue, but that we need Ellsbury speedy and healthy in August. September. October. Let him split time 60/40 with Crisp. Tito has proven his ability to keep his guys fresh and rested during the long season. This is Ellsbury's first year in the majors, and we don't want him hitting the rookie wall.

By the time it's time to put Ellsbury in every day, whether or not he's ready will have been made apparent by an additional 200 PAs.

#25 rembrat


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 11:25 AM

In all seriousness, I don't think there's any real guideline for moving out of SSS territory into "this is what we're really getting" territory. Is 200 PA's enough to judge a guy? Perhaps. It's better than the 120 or so he had last year. Combined with his minor league track record you'd get a pretty good picture of what we can expect.


DJnVa asked a great question here. Pizza Cutter over at Statistically Speaking wrote an interesting article over the offseason about when small sample sizes turn into something more trustworthy. It's quite a long read.

Link

But here is what his results were

50 PA - swing percentage 100 PA - contact rate, response bias (both just missed at 50Ö the real number is probably around 70)

150 PA - K rate, line drive rate, pitches/PA

200 PA - BB rate, grounder rate, GB/FB ratio

250 PA - flyball rate

300 PA - HR rate, HR/FB

350 PA - sensitivity

400 PA - none

450 PA -none

500 PA - OBP, SLG, OPS, 1B rate, popup rate

550 PA - ISO

600 PA - none

650 PA - none



#26 wade boggs chicken dinner


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:17 PM

DJnVa asked a great question here. Pizza Cutter over at Statistically Speaking wrote an interesting article over the offseason about when small sample sizes turn into something more trustworthy. It's quite a long read.

Link

But here is what his results were

Great article; thanks for posting.

I would add that the following statistics did not stablize over the course of 650 PAs:

Batting Average
BABIP
2B + 3B rate
WPA and Context neutral WPA.

#27 behindthepen


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:22 PM

I didn't get to see a clean replay, could Drew have caught that 8th inning HR? It looked like he had a shot if that fat dumbass in the stands had let it go.

#28 Kevin Youkulele


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:30 PM

Great article; thanks for posting.

I would add that the following statistics did not stablize over the course of 650 PAs:

Batting Average
BABIP
2B + 3B rate
WPA and Context neutral WPA.

Excellent posts and info.

An aside: BA not stabilizing, and the intermediate status of OBP and SLG vs BB, K, and HR rate on the one hand and BA on the other is a nice confirmation of the status of BB, K, and HR as the three true outcomes--they appear much more statistically reliable than balls in play.

My impression had been that OBP is a better indicator of offensive productivity than BA simply because BA ignored walks. This makes me appreciate that the reduction of noise in OBP afforded by inclusion of the relatively stable walk rate is also important.

Regarding Ellsbury, then, it seems like to evaluate him, his BABIP should be regressed according to LD/GB rates (with some consideration of his speed leading to a BABIP on the high side), but his high BB rate is likely for real, which is awesome.

#29 MannysDestination


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:31 PM

I didn't get to see a clean replay, could Drew have caught that 8th inning HR? It looked like he had a shot if that fat dumbass in the stands had let it go.


I immediately rewound on my DVR and watched it a few times, seems like short of pulling a Jeter into the stands and risking serious injury (which I would not advocate) it was just out of his reach.

#30 MentalDisabldLst


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 06:08 PM

350 PA - sensitivity

let's not get into his personal life here, we're talking about his baseball skills.

The real question in front of us at this point is not who is most likely to be the better batter in CF going forward, but how we're going to get enough sample to evaluate Coco's continued ability to hit in the major leagues. If Ortiz, Manny or Drew go down for extended periods, and for each day that one of them needs to rest, he'll have his playing time, and be a very able 4th OF.

But he won't be very interested in such an arrangement if it's made clear that that's what it is. Like the proverbial Jay Payton, he wouldn't have signed here if he knew he was going to be a bench player.

#31 sibpin

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 11:51 PM

The home run that Okajima gave up scarcely went 300 feet and would have been an out in parks that have foul territory down the line.


Actually, according to Hit Tracker, the Kotchman-off-Okajima traveled 351 feet and would have been a home run in every other ballpark. Note that it landed somewhere around the second right field sign and because it was in the first few rows, that means it was fair all the way, since the right field wall moves in. I imagine that in the parks that are 350 down the line, it hits the foul pole in fair territory. I don't think HT accounts for human intervention, so maybe in some ballparks it can be made into an out by the right fielder much more easily than in Fenway.

Edited by sibpin, 23 April 2008 - 11:54 PM.