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2008 ALCS: Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays


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#51 JimD

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 09:08 AM

So bring on the annoying Coco Crisp. Bring on the dangerous David Ortiz. Bring on the mouthy Jonathan Papelbon and Kevin Youkilis, the escapee from the biker bar. Bring on the entire cast of Bond villains that is the Red Sox.


'Bond villains'? I don't get this, unless we're meant to categorize the Sox players by their physical appearances. That crack is more befitting the Idiots of years past than the current team. If I were a fan of another team, I would probably be annoyed by Papelbon and Pedroia, but that's it. Beyond that, you would have to be a jealous sort to truly dislike guys like Beckett, Ortiz and Youkilis.

The 2008 Sox remind me a lot of the late '90's Yankees teams - aside from Roger Clemens and his still-fresh departure from Boston, there really weren't a lot of guys on those teams that an opposing fan could truly hate, the way we once hated the Yankees of the 1970's.

#52 bakahump

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 10:17 AM

If Wake does get a start lets not forget that we probably want it in a 68 degree high humidity dome then at a 40 degree fenway.

#53 Bowlerman9


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 10:20 AM

If Wake does get a start lets not forget that we probably want it in a 68 degree high humidity dome then at a 40 degree fenway.


Didn't really help him a month ago (Sept 17th).

#54 RingoOSU


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 10:24 AM

If Wake does get a start lets not forget that we probably want it in a 68 degree high humidity dome then at a 40 degree fenway.

How does he get a start in the dome and then at fenway in the same series? Are you suggesting starting Wake game 1 and 5? That's way too important of a role for him.

Edited by RingoOSU, 08 October 2008 - 10:25 AM.


#55 Stuffy McInnis

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 10:28 AM

How does he get a start in the dome and then at fenway in the same series? Are you suggesting starting Wake game 1 and 5? That's way too important of a role for him.


He meant 'than', not 'then'. He's suggesting that a single start be in Tampa, not 2 starts.

#56 steeplechase3k

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 10:28 AM

How does he get a start in the dome and then at fenway in the same series? Are you suggesting starting Wake game 1 and 5? That's way too important of a role for him.

I think the point was that because (unless the 4th starter is Byrd) he has to make a start in one of them, and the dome is preferable.

Edit: and what Stuffy said.

Edited by steeplechase3k, 08 October 2008 - 10:29 AM.


#57 bd11

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 10:36 AM

Why wouldn't they start Lester in Game two on regular rest regardless of who they start in games 1 and 3? He is the best guy you have and you need to ensure he gets two starts. Plus Beckett was clearly not himself in the ALDS and could likely use the rest.

Being at home and stopping the running game makes Byrd a no brainer in Game 4 as far as I see. He was good in the ALCS against the Sox last year and Wake's career playoff ERA of 6.36, as we all know, is the second worst of all active starting pitchers. The Dome argument for Wake, as specious as it is, does not apply here.

Wish there was a Timlin alternative but I'll take him over AAAArdsma and Pauley.

#58 SoxScout


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 11:48 AM

Thought this story should be posted some place... good read.

Sports Illustrated
October 13, 2008
LEE JENKINS

And They All Lived Happily Ever After

That was no one-way trade when Boston gave up its superstar for Jason Bay. The baggage-free leftfielder acquired from the Pirates is the anti-Manny in seemingly every way but one: He can rake too

JASON BAY was so naive to the hysteria of big-market baseball that when he landed at Boston's Logan Airport on Aug. 1 and heard the announcement over the loudspeaker—"Jason Bay, your bags from Pittsburgh are coming in on carousel 13. Welcome to Red Sox Nation"—he actually assumed that the public address announcer at Logan greeted other travelers similarly. But when Bay got to the baggage claim, and the P.A. announcer left the microphone, went to the carousel and offered to carry his luggage for him, it became clear that baseball players really are treated differently in Boston. While Bay was getting to know his new city, Bostonians were getting to know this new leftfielder, who does not bring quite as much baggage as the old one, and insists on carrying all of it himself.



#59 Carroll Hardy


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 11:58 AM

So much of the focus has been on the matchup of SPs, but I believe this series will come down to being able to get a run late off of the TB bullpen at the Trop.

Consider this: In 9 games vs. Boston at Tropicana Field in 2008, the Tampa Bay bullpen as currently comprised (Grant Balfour, J.P. Howell, Dan Wheeler, Trever Miller, and Chad Bradford) have made 18 appearances. They have gone 3-0 with 3 saves, pitching 18 2/3 IPs while allowing 11 hits and 7 BBs (0.96 WHIP) with just 1 ER (0.48 ERA), striking out 15 (7.23 K/9)

They similarly shut down the White Sox over the four ALDS games, making 10 appearances pitching 12 innings while allowing 5 hits and 2 BBs (0.583 WHIP) giving up just 1 ER (0.75 ERA), striking out 13 (9.75 K/9).

To be honest, I had no idea these guys had been this good.

Edited by Carroll Hardy, 08 October 2008 - 12:00 PM.


#60 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 12:03 PM

To be honest, I had no idea these guys had been this good.

Before this year, they hadn't. Coming into this year, Balfour's career ERA was 5.44. This year it's 1.54. Howell: 6.34 career ERA before this season, 2.22 ERA this year.

I have no idea how or why these guys have been so much better this year when they've been awful their entire careers.

#61 smastroyin


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 12:07 PM

IIRC Bradford has even managed to get some tough outs against Sox lefties, which is especially frustrating because when he was with the Sox I could have gotten a hit off of him batting lefthanded, or at least left the bat on my shoulder and trotted to first base.

You kind of hope that a couple of these guys will turn into pumpkins but it doesn't seem remotely likely.

#62 saintnick912


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 12:26 PM

ESPN is reporting that the order will be DiceK, Beckett, Lester. I like that DiceK is going on the road, and Lester at home. I don't like that Lester wouldn't pitch again until game 7. I do like that it would set him up for WS Game 1 at home if it doesn't go 7.

#63 Redkluzu


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 12:45 PM

MLB has Shields pitching against Dice-K in Game 1.

Edited by Redkluzu, 08 October 2008 - 12:59 PM.


#64 behindthepen


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 01:15 PM

Before this year, they hadn't. Coming into this year, Balfour's career ERA was 5.44. This year it's 1.54. Howell: 6.34 career ERA before this season, 2.22 ERA this year.

I have no idea how or why these guys have been so much better this year when they've been awful their entire careers.

Howell was a bad starting pitcher, converted to relief this season. Balfour has had injury issues through his career.
I think the great transformation of the Rays was acquiring some starting pitching that allowed them to move guys like Howell to relief, or trade McClung for Balfour.

#65 8 and 9 in Left

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 01:17 PM

ESPN is reporting that the order will be DiceK, Beckett, Lester. I like that DiceK is going on the road, and Lester at home. I don't like that Lester wouldn't pitch again until game 7. I do like that it would set him up for WS Game 1 at home if it doesn't go 7.

I'm guessing a factor in this is that if Beckett proves not to be 100%, and we're down 3-2, Lester could still pitch Game 6 on full rest.

#66 E5 Yaz


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 02:42 PM

ALCS umpiring crew:

Tim McClelland (crew chief) will be joined by Derryl Cousins, Brian Gorman, Brian O'Nora, Alfonso Marquez and Sam Holbrook.

http://sports.espn.g...tory?id=3632652

#67 mabrowndog


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 03:12 PM

MLB has Shields pitching against Dice-K in Game 1.

The full rotation:

Game 1 - Shields
Game 2 - Kazmir
Game 3 - Garza
Game 4 - Sonnanstine

IMO, this sets up pretty nicely for the Sox. Kazmir doesn't frighten me as much as he seems to scare others on this board, and I think we steal home field in Game 2.

And I love that Maddon's slotted Sonnanstine -- the guy who completely dominated the Sox -- in the 4-hole, meaning the only way he'd see two starts is if the series goes 7 games.

Maddon also left open the possibility of using Shields on 3 days rest in Game 4 if it's do-or-die for the Rays.

#68 normstalls

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 03:28 PM

And I love that Maddon's slotted Sonnanstine -- the guy who completely dominated the Sox -- in the 4-hole, meaning the only way he'd see two starts is if the series goes 7 games.


If it goes 7, we'd see Garza start that game right? Sonnanstine would certainly be aviable (as would pretty much everyone else) but I dont think he would start that game as you would assume by Maddon going with Garza in game 3 that he would stick with him in game 7.

#69 mabrowndog


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 03:36 PM

If it goes 7, we'd see Garza start that game right? Sonnanstine would certainly be aviable (as would pretty much everyone else) but I dont think he would start that game as you would assume by Maddon going with Garza in game 3 that he would stick with him in game 7.

Well, it depends on which Garza and Sonnanstine show up for Games 3 and 4. If they mirror the regular season performances they turned in against the Sox, then I don't know any rational human that would pick Garza over Sonnanstine -- even with an extra day's rest.

#70 Redkluzu


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 04:57 PM

Kazmir doesn't frighten me as much as he seems to scare others on this board, and I think we steal home field in Game 2.


Especially since he seemed to clutch (in the worst sense of the word) in a very important game against us recently that had a real playoff feel --where we won 13-5. He can be beat.

#71 leeharris

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 06:55 PM

The full rotation:

Game 1 - Shields
Game 2 - Kazmir
Game 3 - Garza
Game 4 - Sonnanstine

IMO, this sets up pretty nicely for the Sox. Kazmir doesn't frighten me as much as he seems to scare others on this board, and I think we steal home field in Game 2.

And I love that Maddon's slotted Sonnanstine -- the guy who completely dominated the Sox -- in the 4-hole, meaning the only way he'd see two starts is if the series goes 7 games.

Maddon also left open the possibility of using Shields on 3 days rest in Game 4 if it's do-or-die for the Rays.


I also think we steal home advantage, but do you really see us sweeping Tampa at Fenway? I don't think I do, which means we'll also need another one in the trop to close this one out unless we can somehow nick both the openers a la ALDS

#72 rembrat


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Posted 08 October 2008 - 11:16 PM

Lets get this started..

I just noticed that James Shields practically replicated his 07' season in 08'*. Everything from innings pitched, total batters, hits, and runs. Weird. One thing is different, his K/9 is down a full K from last year. According to FanGraphs Pitch Type, he has altered his pitch selection a bit. More cutters and less changeups which would explain striking out less batters and his rise in ground balls (more on this later on from Jnai and Sprowl).

In back to back starts we saw good Jimmy and bad Jimmy. This was a theme for him all year long as he got roughed up quite a bit away from that beautiful park of theirs. Home ERA - 2.59, Away ERA - 4.82

*His defense didn't seem to like him too much, ER - 85 and R - 94.

#73 Dr Strangeglove

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 01:17 AM

I gotta be honest--if the Sox win it in 4, I'm not going to be disappointed. Drama is for games involving other teams.

I hear ya. I'm 61, can't take too much drama. Give the Rays credit for the regular season. Now stomp them flat.

#74 draven085

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 08:52 AM

Kazmir doesn't frighten me as much as he seems to scare others on this board, and I think we steal home field in Game 2.


As well he should not. Whether it is because of his injury earlier this season or some other unknown factor Kazmir clearly has not been the same pitcher this year that he was in 2007.

GB/FB	 LD%	 GB%	FB%	FIP	 xFIP
1.04	 15.6	 43.1   41.3   3.58	3.91
0.63	 20.4	 30.8   48.9   4.43	4.23

Kazmir's 2007 season is the first line, 2008 is the second. He's allowing significantly more flyballs than in years past and his line drive rate has never been higher in the big leagues. His strikeout rate also dipped by .6 K/9 while his BB/9 rose .25. A BABIP of .275 and a strand rate of 82.5% helped masked some of his disappointing season but there's little reason to think this is the same pitcher who has often dominated the Sox over the past couple of years. Given that Kaz is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in four starts against the Sox this year I don't think there's any reason to be nervous about facing him.

Is his velocity down this year?

Edited by draven085, 09 October 2008 - 10:08 AM.


#75 TheYaz67

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:14 AM

The following from a TBS news release cast a pall over a previously joyful day:

"TBS' exclusive ALCS coverage will be called by Caray (play-by-play), Darling (analyst) and Martinez (analyst), with an on-site studio team featuring Johnson (host), Ripken (analyst), Eckersley (analyst) and Reynolds (analyst). Craig Sager will serve as a reporter for the ALCS"

I guess Fox has the NLCS?

#76 BCsMightyJoeYoung

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:30 AM

The following from a TBS news release cast a pall over a previously joyful day:

"TBS' exclusive ALCS coverage will be called by Caray (play-by-play), Darling (analyst) and Martinez (analyst), with an on-site studio team featuring Johnson (host), Ripken (analyst), Eckersley (analyst) and Reynolds (analyst). Craig Sager will serve as a reporter for the ALCS"

I guess Fox has the NLCS?


It's still better than McCarver et al

I had thought Martinez had done a pretty good job of game #1 of the ALDS - but he sure wore out his welcome quickly - wanted to throw things at the TV by game 2. Darling I quite liked .. Reynolds, who in the past I have despised, I liked as well .. too bad Dandy Don has been dropped ( suppose that might have been seen as a conflict of interest - and Carey probably has a lot more seniority ?)

#77 smastroyin


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Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:32 AM

I was never quite able to discern if the TBS guys just wanted the Angels to win or if they just wanted a longer series. Regardless, their open cheering for the Angels in games 2 and 3 (I was at game 4 and did not hear them myself, but I understand they were quite happy with Hunter's hit, for instance) really left a bad taste in my mouth. I am sure they will also cheer for the "underdog" Rays and be annoying quickly. Unless the Rays go up 2-0 and their masters at TBS start worrying about losing the advertising revenue.

#78 saintnick912


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Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:45 AM

ALCS umpiring crew:

Tim McClelland (crew chief) will be joined by Derryl Cousins, Brian Gorman, Brian O'Nora, Alfonso Marquez and Sam Holbrook.

http://sports.espn.g...tory?id=3632652


Wasn't there some ranking last year based on an accuracy report card or the players' assessment or something? I forget the details, but I remember the umpires chosen for the later series (plural) were generally in the middle of the rankings that were posted. Does anyone remember/have access to a similar thing for this year?

#79 Bongorific

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 11:05 AM

The following from a TBS news release cast a pall over a previously joyful day:

"TBS' exclusive ALCS coverage will be called by Caray (play-by-play), Darling (analyst) and Martinez (analyst), with an on-site studio team featuring Johnson (host), Ripken (analyst), Eckersley (analyst) and Reynolds (analyst). Craig Sager will serve as a reporter for the ALCS"

I guess Fox has the NLCS?

When the MLB playoff schedule was released it was announced that TBS would carry the Division Series and the ALCS while Fox carried the NLCS and the World Series. TBS hasn't been that great, but anything is better than McCarver. I actually thought the TBS post-game crew was decent with Eck, Cal, and Granderson, and the substitution of Reynolds for Granderson makes that lineup even stronger.

I was never quite able to discern if the TBS guys just wanted the Angels to win or if they just wanted a longer series. Regardless, their open cheering for the Angels in games 2 and 3 (I was at game 4 and did not hear them myself, but I understand they were quite happy with Hunter's hit, for instance) really left a bad taste in my mouth. I am sure they will also cheer for the "underdog" Rays and be annoying quickly. Unless the Rays go up 2-0 and their masters at TBS start worrying about losing the advertising revenue.

I think they were just rooting for a longer/dramatic series. Although they seemed to be rooting for the Angels, they also never seemed to act deflated when the Sox scored. They called Bay's game-winning run pretty well.

#80 BCsMightyJoeYoung

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 11:21 AM

I was never quite able to discern if the TBS guys just wanted the Angels to win or if they just wanted a longer series. Regardless, their open cheering for the Angels in games 2 and 3 (I was at game 4 and did not hear them myself, but I understand they were quite happy with Hunter's hit, for instance) really left a bad taste in my mouth. I am sure they will also cheer for the "underdog" Rays and be annoying quickly. Unless the Rays go up 2-0 and their masters at TBS start worrying about losing the advertising revenue.


They were ecstatic about Hunter's hit .. I think it was a combination of hoping for another game - plus the usual announcer admiration for Small Ball

[edit: apropos the small ball .. IIRC they actually said the Angels had "manufactured" the 8th inning runs .. a walk and a hit and a wild pitch and a hit = manufactured runs .. I guess when you have the Small Ball Rep , virtually every rally is viewed throuh that lens]

Edited by BCsMightyJoeYoung, 09 October 2008 - 11:36 AM.


#81 Manny's Hammies

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 11:24 AM

When the MLB playoff schedule was released it was announced that TBS would carry the Division Series and the ALCS while Fox carried the NLCS and the World Series. TBS hasn't been that great, but anything is better than McCarver. I actually thought the TBS post-game crew was decent with Eck, Cal, and Granderson, and the substitution of Reynolds for Granderson makes that lineup even stronger.
I think they were just rooting for a longer/dramatic series. Although they seemed to be rooting for the Angels, they also never seemed to act deflated when the Sox scored. They called Bay's game-winning run pretty well.

I would agree with all of this. I never thought they wanted the Angels to win. I think Caray was just excited about the game -- he Truped Lowrie's liner to right to end our threat in Game 3 pretty good.

#82 Foulkey Reese


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Posted 09 October 2008 - 11:27 AM

I would agree with all of this. I never thought they wanted the Angels to win. I think Caray was just excited about the game -- he Truped Lowrie's liner to right to end our threat in Game 3 pretty good.

He Truped just about every ball that was hit out of the infield actually. That was by far my least favorite aspect of the TBS broadcast. Buck Martinez's nonstop, nasal blabbering was a close second.

#83 drtooth


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Posted 09 October 2008 - 12:03 PM

Games 2 and 3 are both very winnable games for the Sox. Kazmir has not pitched into 7th since July 21. He has been shaky with command in Sept (5.19 ERA , 15 BB in 26 IP) and his start in the ALDS (5.1 IP, 98 pitches). Garza can be very emotional, which has the potential to effect his command in a big game.

Edited by drtooth, 09 October 2008 - 12:04 PM.


#84 behindthepen


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Posted 09 October 2008 - 02:06 PM

Here's the pitchers from the ALDS roster. It doesn't sound like it's likely to change much.
They have a pretty remarkable group here, but also one with fairly dramatic H/R splits. The interesting thing about Shields starting Game 1 (at home) is that although he spectacular at home, he is below average on the road and very susceptible to the long ball, and he'll presumably be the Game 5 starter.

tbr pitching
Starters BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip K%PA BB%PA K/BB HR%PA A-H OPS PA
JShields .254 .299 .409 .708 .290 18.2% 4.6% 4.0 2.7% .174 877
SKazmir .220 .309 .418 .727 .267 25.9% 10.9% 2.4 3.6% .106 641
MGarza .245 .306 .377 .683 .271 16.6% 7.6% 2.2 2.5% .118 772
ASonnanstine .277 .312 .446 .758 .304 15.1% 4.5% 3.4 2.6% .026 819
Bullpen BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip K%PA BB%PA K/BB HR%PA PA
JHowell .194 .288 .291 .579 .251 24.9% 10.5% 2.4 1.6% .106 370
DWheeler .183 .250 .358 .608 .190 20.1% 8.3% 2.4 3.8% .062 264
GBalfour .143 .233 .230 .463 .219 36.6% 10.7% 3.4 1.3% .107 224
TMiller .242 .339 .348 .687 .319 23.5% 10.7% 2.2 1.1% .158 187
CBradford .261 .333 .319 .652 .254 4.9% 9.9% 0.5 1.2% .143 81
DPrice .176 .246 .255 .501 .205 21.1% 7.0% 3.0 1.8% -.176 57
BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip K%PA BB%PA K/BB HR%PA
AL AVG .265 .333 .416 .748 .300 17.1% 8.6% 2.0 2.6% .044


#85 behindthepen


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Posted 09 October 2008 - 02:16 PM

In the ALDS, the Rays staff gave up 13 runs (all earned) in 4 games, with a 3.34 ERA and a .236/.298/.362 line.
4 HR and 10 BB.
Garza was responsible for 5 of the total runs in his start.

#86 behindthepen


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Posted 09 October 2008 - 02:18 PM

REPOSTED FROM THE ALDS thread:
Time to talk some baseball folks.
here's the final pitching stats for THE AL. I color-coded the divisions to help show how things look better for the Sox given their level of relative competition this year, because I want to feel good about this series (and I do).
BOS and TB have the best overall staffs, and CHW and LAAAA aren't bad but aren't as good. As for the bullpens, they're all above average, but TB and LA are clearly better overall.
Overall TB has the most significant H/R split, which certainly has to do with having to pitch in NY and BOS, but they were also as good as you can get at home.
Sheet4
Tm R/G ERA H/G BB BB/G K/G HR CG tmSHO SV ERA+ OPS+ HmR/G rdR/G Bullpen ERA
TOR 3.77 3.49 8.2 467 2.9 7.31 134 15 13 44 124 84 3.57 3.96 2.94
TBR 4.14 3.82 8.3 526 3.2 7.06 166 7 12 52 114 90 3.79 4.49 3.55
BOS 4.28 4.01 8.5 548 3.4 7.31 147 5 16 47 114 91 4.16 4.41 4
OAK 4.29 4.01 8.5 576 3.6 6.59 135 4 7 33 101 93 3.91 4.66 3.5
LAA 4.3 4 9 457 2.8 6.83 160 7 10 66 109 95 4.37 4.23 3.69
NYY 4.49 4.28 9.1 489 3 7.04 143 1 11 42 101 96 4.46 4.52 3.79
CHW 4.47 4.11 9 460 2.8 7.04 156 4 10 34 111 95 4.23 4.72 4.13
MIN 4.57 4.18 9.6 406 2.5 6.10 183 5 10 42 100 101 3.75 5.38 3.91
CLE 4.7 4.46 9.4 444 2.7 6.09 170 10 13 31 100 101 4.38 5.01 5.13
AL AVG 4.78 4.36 9.3 7470 3.3 6.58 2246 75 128 576 4.13
KCR 4.82 4.5 9.1 515 3.2 6.70 159 2 8 44 101 98 4.58 5.06 4.26
SEA 5.01 4.73 9.5 626 3.9 6.27 161 4 4 36 88 110 4.67 5.35 4.14
DET 5.29 4.91 9.5 644 4 6.12 172 1 2 34 90 111 5.35 5.23 4.69
BAL 5.4 5.15 9.6 687 4.3 5.73 184 4 4 35 86 113 5.54 5.26 4.57
TEX 5.97 5.37 10.2 625 3.9 5.94 176 6 8 36 81 118 6.31 5.63 5.15


OFFENSE
Tm R/G AVG OBP SLG OPS OPS+ hmR/G rdR/G HR BB SO SB CS
TEX 5.56 .283 .354 .462 .816 115 5.99 5.14 194 595 1207 81 25
BOS 5.22 .280 .358 .447 .805 108 5.69 4.74 173 646 1068 120 35
MIN 5.09 .279 .340 .408 .748 102 5.32 4.85 111 529 979 102 42
DET 5.07 .271 .340 .444 .784 106 5.4 4.74 200 572 1076 63 31
CHW 4.98 .263 .332 .448 .780 102 5.76 4.19 235 540 1016 67 34
CLE 4.97 .262 .339 .424 .763 99 5.26 4.68 171 560 1213 77 29
NYY 4.87 .271 .342 .427 .769 104 5.09 4.65 180 535 1015 118 39
BAL 4.86 .267 .333 .429 .762 101 4.98 4.74 172 533 990 81 37
TBR 4.78 .260 .340 .422 .762 103 4.93 4.63 180 626 1224 142 50
AL TOT 4.78 .268 .336 .420 .756 5.00 4.57 2270 7521 14834 1317 488
LAA 4.72 .268 .330 .413 .743 96 4.73 4.72 159 481 987 129 48
TOR 4.41 .264 .331 .399 .730 94 4.43 4.38 126 521 938 80 27
KCR 4.27 .269 .320 .397 .717 88 4.17 4.36 120 392 1005 79 38
SEA 4.14 .265 .318 .389 .707 91 4.16 4.12 124 417 890 90 32
OAK 4.01 .242 .318 .369 .686 88 4.02 4 125 574 1226 88 21


CHW has the largest H/R scoring split. The Sox are 2nd, and have a better road R/G than LAAA's home R/G.
LAAA has the fewest HR of the playoff teams, and TB and LAAA have the most CS.

#87 drtooth


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Posted 09 October 2008 - 05:48 PM

Jackson in, Hinske out

RHP Edwin Jackson has been added to the Rays roster for the ALCS, and it appears OF Eric Hinske has been dropped.

The team will not make an official announcement until Friday morning, when rosters are due. Manager Joe Maddon did say today he was "leaning toward 11 pitchers.''

Jackson won 14 games this season, tying the franchise record, but was left off the roster for the division series when the Rays opted for 10 pitchers and 15 position players. He was chosen to be added over RHP Troy Percival.



#88 mabrowndog


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Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:21 PM

BP.com's Christina Kahrl previews Sox-Rays:

link

In a typically verbose write-up, she picks the Rays in 6. I find her assessment of the bullpens as a huge edge for TB quite laughable:

The qualitative advantage the Rays possess in terms of both depth and talent is beyond question. The Rays don't have the famous closer, but it hasn't hurt them so far.

Because of the relative balance in terms of handedness in the Rays' starting lineup, I don't think Justin Masterson's going to be as much of a factor, perhaps instead being reserved for getting paired off with Lopez if Francona wants to get matchup-happy. Using this pair as mid-inning mid-game firemen makes particular sense in light of their both ranking among the league's best at inducing double-play grounders. Expect Okajima to potentially play a big part given the Rays' problems with lefties, and perhaps also Delcarmen given the effectiveness of his blend of pure gas and tough off-speed stuff. If that latter pair come to the fore and turn leads over to Papelbon, things will have worked out for Boston very neatly indeed. On the other hand, there's a real danger that, because of the durability and performance issues that go hand-in-hand with the Dice-K and Beckett starts, Byrd and/or Timlin will be pressed into action, which could make a bad situation worse.

She seems to be under the impression that Masterson can't face lefties. While it's true Justin's walked a few too many LHHs, they're only hitting .238 off him. There's no way Tito is going to use him as a ROOGY, which is what she's implying.

And I'm thrilled that she's so impressed by all of Grant Balfour's theatrics -- to the point that he can be the closer on the same level as Paps. Just dumbfounding, humorous logic.

#89 Manny's Hammies

  • 883 posts

Posted 09 October 2008 - 11:10 PM

BP.com's Christina Kahrl previews Sox-Rays:

link

In a typically verbose write-up, she picks the Rays in 6. I find her assessment of the bullpens as a huge edge for TB quite laughable:
She seems to be under the impression that Masterson can't face lefties. While it's true Justin's walked a few too many LHHs, they're only hitting .238 off him. There's no way Tito is going to use him as a ROOGY, which is what she's implying.

And I'm thrilled that she's so impressed by all of Grant Balfour's theatrics -- to the point that he can be the closer on the same level as Paps. Just dumbfounding, humorous logic.

Without looking at any statistics at all, I'd also say that TB's pen has got to be a worry for the Sox -- they were the difference in the two September series that kept us from winning the division. Sure, Wheeler's overrated. But Howell was unreal during those series and seemed to give lefties and righties both fits. Balfour's very good, theatrics or not, closer or not. And David Price seems to have all the makings of a guy who could become a postseason stud.

A huge edge? Maybe not. An edge? Probably.

#90 Todd Benzinger

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 07:27 AM

there's a real danger that, because of the durability and performance issues that go hand-in-hand with the Dice-K and Beckett starts, Byrd and/or Timlin will be pressed into action, which could make a bad situation worse.


This seems like the absurd sentence here. Beckett has durability and performance issues? You mean, he did in his last start?

Dice-k does, but all he has to do is go 4 or 5 innings and that will keep Byrd and Timlin out of the game. Obviously if BOTH Beckett and Dice-K only go 4, that would be a disaster, but isn't Kazmir (and Garza) just as likely to have that problem as Beckett?

I guess if you are assuming Masterson only goes 1/3-2/3 of an inning. But clearly, if Dice goes 4, it will be MDC/Masterson for the next 3+.

I do think that is a reason to go Beckett, Dice-K, Lester, but whatev.

Edited by Todd Benzinger, 10 October 2008 - 07:30 AM.


#91 8 and 9 in Left

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 09:37 AM

It seems sensible to me that the Rays should be favored here.
1) They have home field advantage.
2) They're completely healthy.
3) Boston is missing Lowell, in favor of Kotsay. That's a material dropoff.
4) Beckett's health is questionable. Hopefully he'll be 100%, but I don't think there's any guarantee of that right now.
5) Papi looked rather pedestrian in the ALDS. Concededly he had a decent/good September, but it seemed to me that aside from drawing a few walks, LAA, with good reason, was not intimidated by him much at all.
6) There's no reasonable expectation that the Rays will choke or otherwise beat themselves. They won the toughest division in MLB.

If the Sox were 100%, I'd be inclined to go the other way, but they are not.

#92 smastroyin


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Posted 10 October 2008 - 09:46 AM

I think the Rays pen became an advantage the instant Joe Maddon realized that the Percival experience was through. If Percy had been chosen for the roster ahead of Edwin Jackson (whose stuff I think translate better to fill in bullpen work than Paul Byrd's), I think you might call this a wash.

The Sox only have the advantage here if the starters go 7 and the game ends in 9. Once the bullpens get stretched beyond that, it is a very large edge to Tampa.

That said, the Sox top 3 starters were better this year and their lineup even with the Kotsay/Lowell swap is better. Anything can happen in a 7 game series and giving Tampa the home field is a problem. That said, I do think the Sox have more chances for star level performance from guys like Youks, Pedroia, and Ortiz. I know the retort is going to be that Evan Longoria is dreamy and BJ Upton hit two HR, etc. OK, fine. My comment is not to degrade the Rays, just to point out that the Sox got by a pretty good Angels team getting virtually nothing out of the bats outside of Ellsbury and Bay, and their offense overall is better than that. On the other hand, if those guys don't come through, I do think the Sox are kind of screwed because they will lose every battle of attrition, this Rays club is deeper especially in pitching.

#93 JimD

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:05 AM

This may border on 'intangibles' territory, but I will be interested to see how the Rays react if they have to play an elimination game or two. This is not some brave 'Oh, they're going to fold' talk - it's a recognition of the fact that Tampa has basically played with nothing to lose all season long. Even when first place was at risk in September, they had the wild-card to fall back on. I just wonder if a group that has so little playoff experience will start to change if they finally have something to lose and no fallback position.

#94 behindthepen


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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:19 AM

The Sox only have the advantage here if the starters go 7 and the game ends in 9. Once the bullpens get stretched beyond that, it is a very large edge to Tampa.

I feel the exact opposite. I think this series will play out the way games always have for the Sox, which is they win when they get the starter out in the 5th/6th innings. The Rays bullpen has been spectacular, but I just feel some of that is luck with the middle relief guys who haven't been exposed because of their great starting pitching.

The way I look at it, Balfour/Howell is a wash to Masterson/Papelbon, so it comes down to Oki/MDC vs. Wheeler/Miller/Bradford winning their matchups, assuming we can get their starters out of the game.

The good news is that our track record vs. Kazmir is short outings, so we should be able steal one of the first two, and then we need to pound them back at home in Fenway's crisp October playoff air.

#95 smastroyin


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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:25 AM

I feel the exact opposite. I think this series will play out the way games always have for the Sox, which is they win when they get the starter out in the 5th/6th innings. The Rays bullpen has been spectacular, but I just feel some of that is luck with the middle relief guys who haven't been exposed because of their great starting pitching.

The way I look at it, Balfour/Howell is a wash to Masterson/Papelbon, so it comes down to Oki/MDC vs. Wheeler/Miller/Bradford winning their matchups, assuming we can get their starters out of the game.

The good news is that our track record vs. Kazmir is short outings, so we should be able steal one of the first two, and then we need to pound them back at home in Fenway's crisp October playoff air.


I actaully think Papelbon is the best pitcher out of all of these guys and if you get the starter into the seventh then tito can play matchups in the 8th and then hand over to Papelbon for 3-5 outs and be relatively confident. When the Sox start needing to get full innings out of all of MDC, Oki, Masterson, that is when they end up with problems, IMO.

Obviously the Sox would like to get to the bullpen earlier, but I think in a game where each team's starter departs in the 5th, the Rays have the advantage. I feel the same way about games that stretch longer than 10 innings.

#96 Ananti


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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:31 AM

7 game series is a war of attrition, by game 6 and game 7, the bullpen for both teams will be running on fumes.

Look at Betancourt and Perez last year for the Indians, they were dominant until late in the series when both were out of gas.

The key here is which team can best avoid not having a worn out pen late in the series, and which team has players that can gut it out with tired arms that will make the difference.

#97 iowacityiconoclast

  • 152 posts

Posted 10 October 2008 - 11:00 AM

7 game series is a war of attrition, by game 6 and game 7, the bullpen for both teams will be running on fumes.

Agreed, which makes Dice-K's start tonight of considerable importance.

If he can avoid walks and get through seven innings, I think the Sox have an edge on that 'war of attrition.' If, however, he goes his typical 5 inning with 100-120 pitches, Tampa will net a bullpen edge.

So Dice-K: throw strikes tonight.

#98 kanga12

  • 1,576 posts

Posted 10 October 2008 - 11:32 AM

It seems sensible to me that the Rays should be favored here.
1) They have home field advantage.
2) They're completely healthy.
3) Boston is missing Lowell, in favor of Kotsay. That's a material dropoff.
4) Beckett's health is questionable. Hopefully he'll be 100%, but I don't think there's any guarantee of that right now.
5) Papi looked rather pedestrian in the ALDS. Concededly he had a decent/good September, but it seemed to me that aside from drawing a few walks, LAA, with good reason, was not intimidated by him much at all.
6) There's no reasonable expectation that the Rays will choke or otherwise beat themselves. They won the toughest division in MLB.

If the Sox were 100%, I'd be inclined to go the other way, but they are not.

Another health factor to add is the condition of Drew's back. I haven't read or found anything lately so I'm assuming no news is good news at this point -- especially with the extra days off. Has anyone heard or read otherwise?

#99 MikeGatorGreenwell

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 12:07 PM

Here's my keys to the series ..

(1) Big Papi needs at least 2 clutch hits .. we need to see Papi return to 2004 form at least for a couple at bats! We also need more out of Pedroia (we'll call that key 1A) .. combined, Ortiz and Dustin batted just .147 with 1 RBI a piece .. that won't get it done this time around ..

(2) Be aggressive and steal bases on Tampa .. they allowed the 5th FEWEST stolen bases in the American League (despite being loaded with young pitching) .. Ellsbury and company can't let that stop them!

(3) Win tonight .. I know it's pretty basic, but jumping on a team can be huge .. on the other hand, the Sox of the recent past have proven they can get down and not let it bother them (see 03 vs Oakland, 04 vs Yankees, 07 vs Indians) .. However, this Rays team is solid and despite everyone I've read or heard from, they never collapsed or seemed to feel the pressure of being the #1 team in baseball .. so .. Just win. Tonight. Now.

(4) Don't give them extra outs .. The Rays are an opportunistic team .. make a few errors, botch a double play ball, etc .. they'll make you pay .. so play solid D .. make the plays you're supposed to make, and Ellsbury needs to make a diving catch or 2 .. In other words, continue doing what you did against the Angels (the Sox played flawless after the Lowrie error in game 1 against LAA)

(5) Be thankful Troy Percival is not on the roster .. No, not that I think Percival is untouchable, but it forced the Rays to move Dan Wheeler to the back end of the bullpen - shortening their strong pen up a bit .. they had 4 guys in their pen who held opponents under .200 this year (Percival was one of them) .. The Sox need Masterson, Delcarmen and Oki to match Howell and Balfour ..

(6) J-Bay's gotta be J-Bay .. and he will ..

(6A) We need another key hit or two outta J.D. Drew .. and we wil ..

(7) Win in the Trop .. The most amazing stat heading into this series: When 30,000 fans or more showed up at Tropicana Field this season, the Rays were 23-3.

(8) The Sox have Lester keyed up for a game 7 if necessary .. that's huge!

#100 Old Fart Tree


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Posted 10 October 2008 - 02:16 PM

Here's my keys to the series ..

(1) Big Papi needs at least 2 clutch hits .. we need to see Papi return to 2004 form at least for a couple at bats! We also need more out of Pedroia (we'll call that key 1A) .. combined, Ortiz and Dustin batted just .147 with 1 RBI a piece .. that won't get it done this time around ..

(2) Be aggressive and steal bases on Tampa .. they allowed the 5th FEWEST stolen bases in the American League (despite being loaded with young pitching) .. Ellsbury and company can't let that stop them!

(3) Win tonight .. I know it's pretty basic, but jumping on a team can be huge .. on the other hand, the Sox of the recent past have proven they can get down and not let it bother them (see 03 vs Oakland, 04 vs Yankees, 07 vs Indians) .. However, this Rays team is solid and despite everyone I've read or heard from, they never collapsed or seemed to feel the pressure of being the #1 team in baseball .. so .. Just win. Tonight. Now.

(4) Don't give them extra outs .. The Rays are an opportunistic team .. make a few errors, botch a double play ball, etc .. they'll make you pay .. so play solid D .. make the plays you're supposed to make, and Ellsbury needs to make a diving catch or 2 .. In other words, continue doing what you did against the Angels (the Sox played flawless after the Lowrie error in game 1 against LAA)

(5) Be thankful Troy Percival is not on the roster .. No, not that I think Percival is untouchable, but it forced the Rays to move Dan Wheeler to the back end of the bullpen - shortening their strong pen up a bit .. they had 4 guys in their pen who held opponents under .200 this year (Percival was one of them) .. The Sox need Masterson, Delcarmen and Oki to match Howell and Balfour ..

(6) J-Bay's gotta be J-Bay .. and he will ..

(6A) We need another key hit or two outta J.D. Drew .. and we wil ..

(7) Win in the Trop .. The most amazing stat heading into this series: When 30,000 fans or more showed up at Tropicana Field this season, the Rays were 23-3.

(8) The Sox have Lester keyed up for a game 7 if necessary .. that's huge!



Let's break this one down like Dr. Jack.

1) Clutch hits. Got it.
2) Steal bases on a team that seems to be good at preventing stolen bases.
3) Win the first game. Okay.
4) Don't play shitty defense.
5) Express gratitude? (in years to come, perhaps this is where historians will say your analysis went south.)
6) I don't know what this means.
6a) (more clutch hits, as referenced above in 1 and 1a)
7) In addition to winning game 1 (#3 above), also win game 3 or 4.

Here are my keys to you avoiding sounding like a chucklehead:

1) Write insightful things- stuff like the above, that won't get it done.
2) Don't write shitty posts.
3) Definitely write good posts at home, during the first game.
4) Continue with good posts on the road.
5) see #1.