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Will Francona get Varitek/Ortiz out of the lineup enough down the stretch?


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#1 86spike


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 09:46 AM

Many of us are commenting in the playoff poll threads about the no-brainer move of getting Papi and St. Jason out of our starting lineup for the majority of the last 50 games.

Will Francona do it? It seems like it's time for Playoff Tito to get tough with his over the hill veterans. Will he?

#2 donutogre

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 09:56 AM

I don't think so. I don't think Francona is as much of a "vet-lover" as people on here have claimed in the past, but I do think that he believes that the Sox aren't going anywhere without those guys and will give them as much opportunity as possible to get back on track, even at the expense of some wins. I'd love to be wrong.

#3 El Tiante

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 10:06 AM

I hope that he does. It seems that a line up with Lowell at DH, Youks at 3b, Kotchman at 1st and Martinez catching "should" be better defensively and offensively down the stretch. Tito is a patient Manager and more often than not his patience has been rewarded with eventual good performance. But, my fear is the Sox are running out of time and steam. It would seem logical that by putting the best line up on the field every night the Sox will have a better chance of making the Wild Card. And right now that has to be the goal.

#4 Paul M


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 10:11 AM

I've lobbied for a Lowell/Ortiz and Varitek/Kotchman platoon.

I doubt Tito will be as strict in his deployment, but hopefully at least close to 80% of the time.

I think as Drew and Bay go, though, this offense will go. But, every run does count so an extra 1-2 per week might be a 1-2 wins the rest of the way.

#5 SaveBooFerriss


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 10:16 AM

I doubt that we ever see Martinez catch Lester. Of all the Sox pitchers, he seems to be the one with the strongest bond with Varitek.

#6 LynnRoyalRooter

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 10:18 AM

QUOTE (Paul M @ Aug 10 2009, 11:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've lobbied for a Lowell/Ortiz and Varitek/Kotchman platoon.

I doubt Tito will be as strict in his deployment, but hopefully at least close to 80% of the time.

I think as Drew and Bay go, though, this offense will go. But, every run does count so an extra 1-2 per week might be a 1-2 wins the rest of the way.


I would sign up for this in a heartbeat. Add a SS that can catch and throw the ball and you have an overall defensive upgrade at 3B/1B (slightly) and SS. Possibly C, though that is certainly arguable. The offensive upgrade speaks for itself as just replacing Tek with Martinez would do that.

#7 86spike


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 10:25 AM

So how does this go down?

Does Tito call both Ortiz and Tek into his office and tell them that they are about to become platoon/bench players?

#8 ElcaballitoMVP

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 10:26 AM

I can't see Tito doing this. As much as we'd all like to see it, David and Jason are two of his favorite players. He's shown loyalty in the past and I can't see him going away from that now. He's going to keep rolling them out there until it's too late. I'd love to see this lineup against righties though:

Ellsbury 8
Pedroia 4
VMart 2
Youk 5
Drew 9
Bay 7
Lowell/Ortiz DH (depending on matchups)
Kotchman 3
Green 6

And this one against lefties:

Ellsbury 8
Pedroia 4
VMart 3
Youk 5
Bay 7
Lowell DH
Drew 9
Tek 2
Green 6

I'd like to see Lowell either DHing or on the bench, as his defense has slipped considerably this year. He's been a solid hitter for us since the break, but his inability to run the bases has really hurt us too. I only want Ortiz facing RHP, or against LH that he's had success in the past against. Also wouldn't mind seeing Kotchman worked into the 1B rotation against RHP. It's really time for the team to get serious and play the players that deserve to be playing. I doubt Tito makes any drastic changes, but he needs to do something to get some runs for this team. The way we hit the past 3 games was embarrassing.


#9 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 10:41 AM

Tek still has an OPS+ of 125 against lefties this year, so there's no reason he should sit there. If he only makes half the starts against righties, he's still playing 3 out of every 5 or so, which isn't overly insulting for an older catcher looking to stay fresh for the (wink, wink) playoffs.

Ortiz is the bigger question in my opinion. He's been in free-fall again lately, and actually has a slightly reverse split this year, so there's really no good reason for playing him at all at this point.

Will Tito bite the bullet and make Ortiz into a 25% starter? That seems hard to believe. Especially given the hot June that made many (especially me) wonder if he was actually back.

#10 TheoShmeo


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 11:33 AM

Given that:

- Lowell is now as immobile as he is.

- Tek is looking like the 2008 ALCS Tek at the plate and really can't throw out opposing base stealers any more.

- Ortiz, for whatever reason, is now resembling the hitter he was earlier in the year.

- Kotchman is a good defensive 1B with a decent stick.

- If you assume that baseball players prefer a level of routine and knowing where they will be playing before the night before a game or when they read their name in the line-up card, it's quite possible that the current team wide slump is due, at least in part, to the fact that the line-up changes every day.......

.....I think Tito would be well served to apply some tough love and play Tek only against lefties (and even then, not all of them), and for the most part put VMart at C, Kotchman at 1B, Lowell at DH and Youks on 3B.

Obviously, that should not be absolute and individual match-ups and lefty/righty would change things at times. But I'd love to see that be the base line-up they used going forward with respect to C/1B/3B/DH.


#11 JakeRae


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 12:08 PM

QUOTE (Skins24 @ Aug 10 2009, 09:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I doubt that we ever see Martinez catch Lester. Of all the Sox pitchers, he seems to be the one with the strongest bond with Varitek.

I'd add Beckett to this list. Didn't Tito make some comments just after the Martinez acquisition basically saying that Varitek was banged up and needed extra rest, but that he wanted to have him keep catching the guys he had a history of success with? In the rotation right now, our 2 aces both have sustained histories of throwing to Tek at the major league level and both are pitching great right now. If any part of that is Tek, even if it is just a psychological thing, it's hard to argue with not wanting to mess it up.

The good news for those who want to see Martinez catch more is that Tito can very easily do this while only starting Tek 2/5 games behind the plate. It's unlikely that Martinez would catch more than 60% of the time, so this arrangement could work, with Tek maybe also catching against lefties that come up in other rotation slots every once in a while to get the C playing time closer to 50/50. It's not the perfect paper lineup, but I understand Francona's reasons for wanting Tek to keep catching Lester and Beckett.

As for Ortiz, that is a much tougher call. It's kind of like the Nomar scenario of 2004 with likelihood of suck replacing likelihood of being hurt. Continuing to play Ortiz gives the the team the chance that he breaks out and can become an effective hitter again. Not playing him minimizes both downside and upside since Kotchman and Lowell are looking like they are going to play more or less to their established ability levels. The right decision depends on how good you think the team is minus the DH slot.

#12 86spike


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 12:28 PM

a lurker's thoughts I thought were interesting (don't start flooding my inbox lurkers! I rarely post this stuff):

QUOTE
Seems like most of SOSH is frustrated with Francona's line-ups and use of the "weapons" at his disposal. There's also a lot of sentiment that he won't change what he's doing.
I wonder if there's any reason to expect the FO to apply some pressure on him to make some changes. Theo and his boys are clearly stat-heads -- they're looking at the same - even better - info that we are. They have to be reaching the same conclusions, don't they?
Could we expect Theo to have a talk with Francona along the lines of, "I know you love your boys Ortiz and Varitek. Hell, I love 'em, too. They helped us win two World Series. But they aren't cutting it this year - look at these numbers (shows falling-off-the-cliff production stats). We've got 50 games left and still have a chance to make the playoffs. Let's try something else."
Anybody out there with particular insight into the working relationship vis-a-vis line-ups and such between Theo and Tito?

-Heating up in the bullpen (lurker)


#13 86spike


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 03:46 PM

progress report: Tek on the bench tonight, Ortiz still at DH (Kotchman at 1B)

#14 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 03:51 PM

Ortiz is hitting 238 / 329 / 514 at home with a team leading 12 HR, so you could make a case that he should be in there most games at Fenway. Amazingly, the top SLG for the Red Sox at home is for Lowel (572), and then Tek (523).

Hell, Varitek has an 890 OPS at home.



#15 Laser Show

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 03:54 PM

David Ortiz vs. Edwin Jackson
PA AB H 2B 3B HR BB K BA OBP SLG OPS
20 14 6 2 0 1 6 1 0.429 0.6000.786 1.386


Ortiz DOES have good numbers against Jackson, but like Foulkey and I said in the analysis game thread; Ortiz is not the hitter he once was, and Jackson is not the pitcher he once was.

Edited by Laser Show, 10 August 2009 - 03:54 PM.


#16 glennhoffmania


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 03:58 PM

Against righties, Tek should be on the bench, Victor catching, Youkilis at 1B, Lowell at 3B, and Ortiz at DH.

Against lefties, Tek should catch, Victor at 1B, Youkilis at 3B, Lowell at DH, Ortiz on the bench.

Kotchman is used as a defensive replacement for Lowell and a spot start against a righty.

It shouldn't matter who the SP is that day.

This will never happen.

#17 DieHardSoxFan1


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 04:21 PM

QUOTE (glennhoffmania @ Aug 10 2009, 04:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Against righties, Tek should be on the bench, Victor catching, Youkilis at 1B, Lowell at 3B, and Ortiz at DH.

Against lefties, Tek should catch, Victor at 1B, Youkilis at 3B, Lowell at DH, Ortiz on the bench.

Kotchman is used as a defensive replacement for Lowell and a spot start against a righty.

It shouldn't matter who the SP is that day.

This will never happen.


At this point, Lowell is such a major liability at third base that Francona needs to keep his glove off the field at all costs. Moreover, he has a .773 OPS (.325 OBP) against right-handed pitching.

Against righties

Ellsbury
Pedroia
VMart - C
Youkilis - 3B
Drew
Bay
Ortiz
Kotchman
SS

#18 glennhoffmania


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Posted 10 August 2009 - 04:25 PM

QUOTE (DieHardSoxFan1 @ Aug 10 2009, 05:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
At this point, Lowell is such a major liability at third base that Francona needs to keep his glove off the field at all costs. Moreover, he has a .773 OPS (.325 OBP) against right-handed pitching.

Against righties

Ellsbury
Pedroia
VMart - C
Youkilis - 3B
Drew
Bay
Ortiz
Kotchman
SS


Fair point. I also forgot to add that Youkilis should never play LF.