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May 7-9: Sox vs Yankees Series Thread


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#1 mabrowndog


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Posted 07 May 2010 - 10:33 AM

* GET YOUR WEAPONS READY - Have you your pistols? Have you your sharp-edged axes? No, this ain't no Levi's commercial, but its still worthy of Whitman's verse. The enemy encroaches upon our borders for the second time this season, having taken 2 of 3 from Boston in the season's opening series at Fenway. The Sox have a huge opportunity to gain back some ground against a team that's still playing great baseball, but is showing some chinks in its armor. Their center fielder is on the DL, their 5th starter is kerosene incarnate, and nagging injuries are cropping up with key players, including 3 of the 4 senior citizens on this week's Sports Illustrated cover. They're only one-sixth of the way through their season, and Yankee fans have every right to be nervous about this team's ability to stay healthy and productive into October.

* SCHEDULE & WEATHER – A threat of showers for Saturday afternoon, and a tad chilly on Sunday night. Looks like we might see stiff winds straight out to right field for the finale, similar to the ones that carried Martinez's and Napoli's homers over the RF pens last night. There's also a chance of thunderstorms tonight, but they're not expected to hit the area until after midnight.



As usual, the parasites at FOX and ESPN monopolize the weekend coverage of this rivarly, force feeding us back-to-back heapin' helpin's of McCarver and Morgan – the baseball broadcasting equivalents of broccoli and brussels sprouts.

* TEAM RECORDS – In contrast to the Sox' embarrassing collective bend-over in Baltimore last weekend, the Yankees made the Orioles their bitches in a 3-game sweep. They arrive at Fenway winners of 4 straight and 7 of their last 8. Meanwhile the Sox did the exact same thing to the Angels, a team that took 3 of 4 from the Yankees in Anaheim last week. Yesterday's off-day allowed the Yankees to skip their #5 starter.

NYY - 19-8 (.704), 2nd in AL East (1.0 game behind TB), 2nd best record in AL
BOS - 15-14 (.517), 4th in AL East (6.5 games behind TB), 6th best record in AL (tied w. OAK & TEX)

NYY - Scoring 151-96, Pythag W-L: 19-8
BOS - Scoring 150-150, Pythag W-L: 15-15

It's fair to say the Yankees have yet to be truly tested. The average current W-L record of the teams they've played so far is 13.1-16.0, and only 3 of their 27 games have been against teams with a record better than 15-14. Meanwhile the Sox' average oppositional W-L is 14.6-14.3 with 13 of 29 games against teams better than 15-14.

* PITCHING MATCHUPS – The bummer here is that the Sox miss Javier Vazquez, who's been the David Ortiz of AL starting pitchers this year. The rest of the rotation has been lights out. Pettitte (14.9), Burnett (14.0), Sabathia (12.2) and Hughes (11.3) rank 4th, 5th, 8th and 12th in VORP among AL starting pitchers. They're 15-1 with a 2.14 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a .216/.288/.300/.588 opponents' batting line. They've combined for a .259 BABIP, and regardless of what extent that's due to good defense (doubtful) or poor quality of contact (likely), I doubt luck has been an overwhelming factor. Not even the friggin' Yankees can be that lucky in 22 starts.



Credit where credit is due: Where the Yankees appear to have flubbed their management of Joba Chamberlain's development, they've hit it out of the park with Hughes. It started in mid-2006, when he became less reliant on his slider and began developing his 1-7 curve, which he threw in the low 80s. His fastball sat in the 91-95 range, but he struggled to control his changeup, which posed a significant hurdle to his advancement the next two years.

Two big things happened in 2008 for Hughes: First, he developed a cutter (the archived page seems to be redirecting mid-read, so I'll spoiler the copied text):

by Chad Jennings
SWB Yankees Blog
August 7, 2008

Did you know Phil Hughes (left) has scrapped his slider in favor of a cutter? I did not. But once I found out, tonight's outing made a lot more sense.

Throughout the game, Hughes kept having success with an 87-89 mph pitch that seemed to have more movement than his regular fastball but too much velocity for a slider. He used it to strike out George Kottaras in the first inning, he used it to get a double play in the second, and he threw it off the plate to setup a 93 mph fastball for his final strikeout in the fifth. I thought he might be taking something off his fastball and getting a little extra movement, but no. New pitch. New to me, anyway.

The slider I thought I saw in the third inning was just a cutter with a lot of movement.

My own ignorance of the Phil Hughes arsenal aside, the guy pitched pretty well tonight. His fastball touched 95 four times in the first inning, and regularly sat 93-94 most of the night. He leaned heavily on the fastball and cutter through the first three innings before mixing in his other pitches more often in the fourth and fifth. He threw three straight changeups the second time he faced Chris Carter. The first two missed up. The third got a routine popup.

"I was frustrated and I really wanted to throw one for a strike," Hughes said.

Assuming he's not called to New York in the next five days, Hughes will throw 85 pitches on Tuesday in Pawtucket. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has an off day on Monday, but Nardi Contreras said Hughes will stay on his five-day schedule, meaning someone will be bumped back a day to make room for Hughes.

“Eighty five pitches, that gives you something to work with," Hughes said. "You can probably get into the sixth or seventh inning, maybe more than that if you’re economical. It feels like it’s almost to that point where I can throw a full start basically.”

Hughes said his fastball command wasn't as good tonight as it was this weekend with Charleston, but it was still pretty good. And Hughes was still making good pitches late in the game when his pitch count was above 60. The stadium gun had him hitting 93 in the fifth inning, and he dropped a nice curveball for a called strike that last inning.

“Phil Hughes was very good tonight,” Contreras said. “The (velocity) was there obviously. He had a great cutter tonight. His changeup is still not there. The curveball was good. Next time he’ll be even better. He’ll be going 85 pitches and he’ll be a little more crisper.”

Second, later that fall, as he told Peter Abraham, he shifted gears with his curve and change:

QUOTE
Hughes explained that he’s throwing his curve with the same arm speed as his fastball. So instead of a big loop (picture Mike Mussina’s curve), it goes to the plate on a straighter plane but still has some action as it gets there. It’s how A.J. Burnett throws his curve.

Hughes devoted a lot of time in the Arizona Fall League to working on that particular pitch. “It’s hard to change because you get used to throwing a pitch a certain way,” he said. “In games, you tend to go back to what is comfortable. But they’ve been staying on me to throw the power curve more. I have to trust it and I do.”

Hughes also has changed the grip on his change-up. He throws it like a splitter.

The results were a curve that jumped from 72 to 77 mph, and a change that went from 80 to 83. The approaches made them easier to control and throw for strikes, as well as deceive batters with more uniform motions and release points. But the cutter is what's made the biggest difference, as Moshe Mandel illustrates in this excellent analysis. Even when hitters guess correctly that a fastball is coming, they're having trouble discerning the cutter from the four-seamer. The overhead view of the pitch trajectories tells a lot of the story – their paths don't diverge until the ball's about 25 feet from the plate.

According to Fangraphs, Hughes is throwing his cutter 25 to 30% of the time now and it's by far his most valuable pitch. But it's also drastically raised the effectiveness of his four-seamer. The change and two-seamer are now a much smaller part of his arsenal, but so far his three primary pitches have been sufficient to flummox lineups. Batters' fortunes haven't improved at all the second or third time through the lineup either. Righties are hitting .077/.122/.077/.199 against him, with just 2 walks in 41 PA. His control vs LHH hasn't been as sharp, with 10 walks in 53 PA and a .163/.321/.233/.553 line. Let's hope that if Papi DHs tonight he exercises some modicum of patience.

* YANKEES LINEUP & BENCH – Tex and Johnson remain impotent with the stick, though Nick's drawing his walks. A-Rod still hasn't hit his groove, and Gardner's been a pest with plate patience. The big story has been Cano's emergence as an absolute stud.



* Swisher and Thames have been used wisely to maximize their platoon splits, with 28 of Marcus's 33 PAs coming vs LHP (.458/.536/.708/1.244) and Swisher hitting 67 of his 109 times against RHP (.305/.379/.678/1.057). Even against RHP, Swisher's enjoyed some surprisingly high contact rates, with only 3 Ks.

* What the hell is up with Cap'n Intangibles' low walk total? Just 5 in 123 PA, or 4.1%?? He's on pace for the lowest walk rate and OBP of his career, and the worst since 2004 (6.4%, .352). He's also been far less effective in the game's first at-bat (.269/.269/.346/.615 with no walks in 26 PA). Sure enough, he's swinging at far more junk outside the strike zone (34% this year vs 22.2% last year). Of course, his contact rates are also up. He's only whiffed on 29 of 229 swings with 93 fouls and 107 in play. His BIP is .313, but there's a weird skew. Jeter's a stunning 15-for-15 on line drives (AL average .737), 7-for-17 (.412) with an SF on fly balls (AL = .223), and 17-for-74 (.230) on grounders (AL = .209). However the AL frequencies for GB-LD-FB are 44%-20%-36%. For Jeter they're 69%-14%-17%. That's a shitload more grounders, and well ahead of his career rates (55%-23%-22%). So he's yet to hit any of his liners right at fielders, and he's gotten some directional or fielding breaks on some of his fly balls. Without that sort of luck, we're looking at a completely different hitter if he sustains this plate approach. An allowance should be made for the quality of the pitchers he's faced so far, which have a collective .322 OOBP. That ranks 24th lowest out of 137 AL batters with at least 50 PA.

* The bench has been a mixed bag. Cervelli is hitting like a creature from outer space, substantially outperforming his 2009 line (.298/.309/.372/.682). It's mainly due to a ridiculously unsustainable platoon split: .647/.684/.824/1.508 (11-for-17) vs LHH, and just .111/.200/.111/.311 (2-for-18) vs RHH. Winn and Pena have sucked with the stick, but have been decent in the field.

* Golson was called up Tuesday to take Granderson's slot, and he should serve primarily as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner. He's a former Phillies first-round pick (21st overall in 2004), and it's his third cup of coffee in the majors with 3 different clubs (PHI in '08, TEX last season). Golson's also still looking for his first big league hit (0-for-7 with 5 Ks). He's never displayed the type of plate discipline necessary to make the jump and stay with the big club, with a career minors OBP of .307, a .054 walk rate, and a K/BB of 4.83. This year he's killed LHP down in the minors (.308/.357/.577/.954 in 26 PA), but that's an SSS anomaly. Over his career in the minors he's shown no platoon split whatsoever, with a line of .263/.315/.404/.719 vs LHP and .264/.306/.398/.704 vs RHP.

* YANKEES BULLPEN – Mariano continues to amaze. He's a one-man Ripley's Believe It Or Not exhibit.



* Joba may have found his niche. It's a far lower market-valued niche than the starting role for which he was so carefully primped and groomed, but so far he's successfully filled a critical need for the team. Only 1 of the 11 runners he's inherited has scored, he closed he deal on both save opps with Rivera sidelined, and he's walked just 4 of the 51 batters he's faced

* Aceves is having a nice little run so far, though only 4 of his 9 outings have come with a Leverage Index over 0.67. He's been far from a whiff machine, with just 1 K in 48 batters.

* “Mitre-Marte” sounds like a lame Letterman-hosting-the-Oscars skit. Like Aceves, Mitre is keeping the ball down, pitching to contact and generating grounders primarily in long relief or low-lev mop-up work. Aside from a 3-run HR to Kendry Morales, Marte has done just fine in his situational duties, though only 15 of the 26 batters he's faced have been lefties.

* Logan, acquired from the Braves in the Vazquez deal, took Chan Ho Park's slot a few weeks ago. He's just 25 but on his third go-around with an MLB club, and he's pitched parts of 5 seasons in the bigs.

* Robertson's been the Cinderella of the bullpen, but only the part where he gets shit on by the wicked stepsisters.

* YANKEES INJURIES – Curtis Granderson's on the 15-day DL with a groin strain and is likely out until late May. Then again, maybe he did the Yankees a favor. After putting up a .326/.370/.605/.974 in his first 11 games, he had slumped to .108/.250/.108/.358 in his next 12 before going on the shelf … Pettitte, who turns 38 this June, threw 5 innings of 6-hit, 1-run ball against the O's on Wednesday, but was pulled after just 77 pitches with elbow stiffness. An MRI revealed inflammation of the joint but no ligament damage. He'll miss at least one start (5/11 @ DET) with Mitre taking his spot … Posada, who'll be 39 in August, missed he last two games in Baltimore with a “mild calf strain” but is expected to return to the lineup for the Sox series … The 40-year-old Rivera hasn't pitched since April 30 and wasn't available at all this week due to “left side stiffness”, whatever the hell that's supposed to mean. He told the club he could pitch Wednesday, but Girardi exercised caution and held him out … After stymying the Sox with 3 shutout relief innings on 4/7, Chan Ho Park didn't pitch again until a week later against the Angels. Two nights after that he tweaked his right hamstring and hit the 15-day DL on 4/16. He could begin a rehab assignment next week.

* WHO'S HOT – In his last 8 games dating back to 4/11, only 2 of the last 21 batters to face Rivera have reached base, and 8 have struck out … Gardner has an 8-game hitting streak over which he's 12-for-27 with 4 walks and just 2 Ks (.444/.516/.593/1.109) … Swisher is 9-for-19 with 3 HR in his last 5 games (.474/.524/1.000/1.524) … Johnson's become far more patient the past week and a half, going 5-for-18 with 6 walks in 8 games (.278/.458/.556/1.014)

* WHO'S NOT – Let's start with Vazquez and his 1-3 W-L, 2.043 WHIP, 9.78 ERA, .429 OOBP and 1.092 OOPS. He's given up 8 HRs in 23 IP while his rotation mates combined have yielded just 6 taters in 147.1 IP … Robertson's faced 13 batters in his last three outings, yielding 6 H, 1 BB, 1 HBP and 6 ER and throwing just 30 of 57 pitches for strikes … Through 16 games, A-Rod had a .322/.437/.576/1.013 line. Since then he's 6-for-40 with 7 Ks and a .150/.200/.175/.375 line … Jeter went 2-for-14 in the sweep of the Orioles … Has Cano peaked? On 4/29 he was hitting .407/.444/.790/1.235. In the 6 games since he's 5-for-24 with 5 Ks (.208/.269/.375/.644), though he tagged a Mark Buehrle meatball for a 3-run HR on an 0-2 count … Teixeira went 1-for-11 against the Os this week … Posada's 2-for 12 in his last 4 games with 4 Ks …

* “I HATE THIS PLACE” – Let's just say Fenway hasn't been too kind to these guys. The charts below include tOPS+, which is their career OPS split at Fenway relative to their overall career OPS (courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com). Posada and Cano are the only Yankee hitters who've fared better at Fenway over the years, while Marte is the only hurler to have better success there.





* LOGAN'S RUN – Despite having pitched 169 games in the majors since 2006, with all but 20 for AL clubs, Boone Logan has pitched just once in Fenway, facing just one batter – J.D. Drew – and walking him. It was the 2nd of 5 straight walks issued to Sox hitters in a 7-run 7th inning on 7/22/2007 vs the White Sox.

Edited by mabrowndog, 07 May 2010 - 12:03 PM.


#2 mabrowndog


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Posted 07 May 2010 - 10:45 AM

Had to fix some broken link formatting. Should be all set now.

#3 mabrowndog


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Posted 07 May 2010 - 10:47 AM

Pitcher vs Hitter for game one:



#4 joyofsox


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Posted 07 May 2010 - 11:39 AM

Excellent work, 'dog!


#5 Trlicek's Whip

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 11:41 AM

These are awesome, awesome primers. Thank you for taking the time to post them.

#6 Pandemonium67

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 11:54 AM

Well, except that broccoli and brussel sprouts are good for you...

#7 EastCoasterOutWest


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Posted 07 May 2010 - 03:02 PM

QUOTE (Pandemonium67 @ May 7 2010, 09:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well, except that broccoli and brussel sprouts are good for you...


But the gas.

Also, these write-ups are stellar.

#8 IpswichSox

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 03:50 PM

Robinson Cano has a nearly 1.100 OPS against Beckett in 47 ABs? I'd like to suggest a first-pitch four-seamer to the rib cage.

(Great work on all this, Dog.)

#9 Max Power


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Posted 07 May 2010 - 03:57 PM

QUOTE (IpswichSox @ May 7 2010, 04:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Robinson Cano has a nearly 1.100 OPS against Beckett in 47 ABs? I'd like to suggest a first-pitch four-seamer to the rib cage.


I'd suggest one every time up. That would keep his OPS down to 1.000.

#10 JMDurron

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 07:13 PM

QUOTE (Pandemonium67 @ May 7 2010, 11:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well, except that broccoli and brussel sprouts are good for you...


Instead of vitamins, ESPN and FOX inject money into our team's system (and every other team's, of course). It's still a poor-tasting experience, but a necessary one, so I think the comparison holds up.

#11 Wingack


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Posted 08 May 2010 - 02:00 AM

QUOTE (IpswichSox @ May 7 2010, 04:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Robinson Cano has a nearly 1.100 OPS against Beckett in 47 ABs? I'd like to suggest a first-pitch four-seamer to the rib cage.

(Great work on all this, Dog.)


Well, you got one to the knee.

#12 kartvelo

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 12:22 PM

I couldn't see the game - were the HBP suspicious? He hit two guys who hadn't even gotten on base all night.

#13 mabrowndog


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Posted 08 May 2010 - 03:31 PM

QUOTE (kartvelo @ May 8 2010, 01:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I couldn't see the game - were the HBP suspicious? He hit two guys who hadn't even gotten on base all night.
Not at all. On Cano's, Tek was set up on the left edge of the plate, and Beckett threw it a good 18 inches left of that. Beckett had completely lost all command of his crap.

Edited by mabrowndog, 09 May 2010 - 07:33 AM.


#14 mabrowndog


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Posted 08 May 2010 - 03:40 PM

Did anyone else noticed Buchholz completely screwed up his backup assignment on the RBI single to center that led to Victor blocking the plate? He was just randomly roaming around the area in front of the mound and finally scampered to a point outside the LHH batter's box. Had McDonald's throw to the plate been off the mark, Clay was in no position whatsoever to back up the play.

The fundamental lapses of this team are growing more and more disconcerting with each week that passes.

#15 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 08 May 2010 - 06:59 PM

I know it's only 32 games into the season, yadda yadda yadda, but the gap between those teams- which was so narrow a few years ago, even in the Sox favor, seems to have really widened. Really really discouraging to see the Yankees beat the piss out of the Sox on our turf.

#16 ShaneTrot

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 07:48 PM

QUOTE (Rudy Pemberton @ May 8 2010, 11:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I know it's only 32 games into the season, yadda yadda yadda, but the gap between those teams- which was so narrow a few years ago, even in the Sox favor, seems to have really widened. Really really discouraging to see the Yankees beat the piss out of the Sox on our turf.

The MFY are not this better than the Royals. Let's face it. The pitching is really killing the team. They have allowed more runs than any team in the AL. TB has allowed 90 runs in 30 games, the MFY have allowed 102 in 29, the Sox have allowed 174 in 31 games. Its amazing how small this rotation has come up.

#17 paulftodd


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Posted 08 May 2010 - 10:28 PM

Mistakes are always noticed more when you lose.

QUOTE (ShaneTrot @ May 9 2010, 08:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The MFY are not this better than the Royals. Let's face it. The pitching is really killing the team. They have allowed more runs than any team in the AL. TB has allowed 90 runs in 30 games, the MFY have allowed 102 in 29, the Sox have allowed 174 in 31 games. Its amazing how small this rotation has come up.



Last year we were 19-12 and gave up 160 runs (only 14 runs less). Of course, we scored 181 runs (25 runs more). and played the MFY when they were playing like us this year last year At this point last year we were 5-0 against the MFY and 4-0 against the Orioles (total 9-0). This year we are 3-9 against these teams. A 5-1 record against the Orioles instead of 2-4 would give us a 18-13 record. The MFY were 15-16 at this point last year and went on to win 103 games. The road to 162 games can take many different paths.

Anyways, Lackey, Lester and Beckett all have a history of bad starts. It should turn around.

Edited by paulftodd, 08 May 2010 - 10:30 PM.


#18 Frisbetarian


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Posted 09 May 2010 - 06:18 AM

QUOTE (mabrowndog @ May 8 2010, 04:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Did anyone else noticed Buchholz completely screwed up his backup assignment on the RBI single to center that led to Victor blocking the plate? He was just randomly roaming around the area in front of the mound and finally scampered to a point outside the LHH batter's box. Had McDonald's throw to the plate been off the mark, Clay was in no position whatsoever to back up the play.

The fundamental lapses of this team are growing more and more disconcerting with each week that passes.



I saw that, and also saw that JD Drew, on the Gardner bunt down the 3rd base line in the 1st inning, was barely jogging over toward the line to back up the play when the throw from Martinez sailed past 1st. Had Pedroia not made a great play backing up that throw, Drew was in no position to back it up and the runners would have been able to run for a while.

Also, Martinez inexplicably caught the relay throw from Youkilis on the Swisher single that scored ARod in the 7th in front of the plate and tried to tag ARod going by instead of blocking the plate.

It would take 5000 words to detail all the stupid from Adrian Beltre this season.

#19 rembrat


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Posted 09 May 2010 - 09:44 AM

Actually, now that you mention it, Fris, I'd like to hear your thoughts on Adrian Beltre's defense from a visual/scouting standpoint. I noted in a GT how he seems to be one of these guys that relies on their natural talent more than good fundamentals and technique when fielding a ball. For example, there is this play that he is constantly doing that annoys the hell out of me. A sharply hit groundball to his glove handside, instead of attempting to position his body in front of the ball, he turns his body so he is facing 2B, and while he is in a great position to quickly throw to 2B, he is in a horrible position to guard against the ball taking a ball hop. It's my recollection that he has twice messed this play up, the most recent coming this weekend off of Rodriguez' bat.

I know I have seen Mike Lowell do this same thing, failing to square up a groundball but he is less mobile than Beltre so he probably gets a pass on that.

Edited by rembrat, 09 May 2010 - 09:45 AM.


#20 Frisbetarian


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Posted 09 May 2010 - 01:19 PM

QUOTE (rembrat @ May 9 2010, 10:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Actually, now that you mention it, Fris, I'd like to hear your thoughts on Adrian Beltre's defense from a visual/scouting standpoint. I noted in a GT how he seems to be one of these guys that relies on their natural talent more than good fundamentals and technique when fielding a ball. For example, there is this play that he is constantly doing that annoys the hell out of me. A sharply hit groundball to his glove handside, instead of attempting to position his body in front of the ball, he turns his body so he is facing 2B, and while he is in a great position to quickly throw to 2B, he is in a horrible position to guard against the ball taking a ball hop. It's my recollection that he has twice messed this play up, the most recent coming this weekend off of Rodriguez' bat.

I know I have seen Mike Lowell do this same thing, failing to square up a groundball but he is less mobile than Beltre so he probably gets a pass on that.



I think your assessment is good. Beltre is an unorthodox fielder who eschews fundamentals and does things like take balls off to the side and throw flat footed. When it works, and it has for him throughout his career until this season because he has a great first step, which with his decent speed gives him plus range at third especially to his left, an unbelievable arm, and quick (although not exceptionally soft) hands, he looks great.

This year, however, his lack of technique has not worked and his athletic gifts have not been able to save him. He has 7 errors and could (some would say should) have 3 more. He has also missed balls in the hole between short and third that it appeared he had plays on (the one yesterday was ridiculous), has thrown to the wrong base at least twice, and neglected to cover third once. While he has made a few nice plays, overall he has been a disaster, and was, in my opinion, Theo's target when he made his unintelligent baseball comment (remember, Beltre also forgot the number of outs running the bases and was thrown out at third to end an inning on a "steal" attempt).

The scariest thing about this is that I have begun wondering just how much better Mike Lowell's hip is this season. I know how bad Lowell's defense was last year, and I see how slow he is on the basepaths, but Beltre has been so bad defensively that I'm starting to wonder how much longer the team can leave him out there. He is killing them. I hope he turns things around, and his history says he will, but there has been nothing that tells me that is coming.

There are a few players I can think of who had incredible hand/eye coordination and were amazing athletes, and that allowed them to get away with bad fundamentals or a lack of knowledge of the strike zone for a while, but never for their entire career. Nomar comes to mind immediately, as both offensively and defensively he was unorthodox, swinging at first pitches and pitches out of the strike zone, fielding almost every ground ball hit to him backhanded, even balls right at him, throwing balls sidearm on the run even when he had time to set, etc. Despite this, he had phenomenal success early in his career, but when he lost a little of the hand/eye, or slowed down just a touch, he fell off a cliff. Jim Rice offensively is another player in that same mold. I hope this is not the case for Beltre, but boy am I happy the guy is on a one year deal.

#21 paulftodd


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Posted 09 May 2010 - 06:39 PM

QUOTE (Frisbetarian @ May 10 2010, 02:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The scariest thing about this is that I have begun wondering just how much better Mike Lowell's hip is this season.......

I hope this is not the case for Beltre, but boy am I happy the guy is on a one year deal.


Way back when the Beltre talks first started up I expressed the hope that Lowell be given a chance to play 3B in hope this might be the case. The downside might have been giving Tek more time catching to rest Lowell, which would have been a plus in April, with V-Mart at 1B and Youk at 3B (not so good for Youk). It would have avoided the situation we have with an unhappy Papi and Lowell making 24.5 million at DH while wondering WTF the Red Sox were thinking with Beltre. Of course, who would have known that Lowell would still be with the team after they signed Beltre.

To be honest, I never seriously questioned Beltres defense or baseball IQ and accepted he was what they said he was, at least defensively. Fenways IF plays tough and perhaps is not as well suited to his style of defense as in other parks where the balls are less prone to bad hops and snakelike movements. Offensively I doubted he would get much of a power boost at fenway since his hit charts showed his power is to CF and CF-RF.

I believe he has a 5 million dollar option which increases to 10 million if he gets enough PA ( 605 IIRC).

It may still work out, the season is young, and I imagine Beltre will adjust as all good athletes do. It must be tough for him going from Seattle to the Boston pressure cooker with snakes in the grass, and not every player has what it takes to play in Boston. They may try harder, but sometimes that has the opposite effect. Offensively he was been fine though, at least within my limited expectations.

Edited by paulftodd, 09 May 2010 - 06:40 PM.


#22 mabrowndog


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Posted 09 May 2010 - 10:05 PM

QUOTE (paulftodd @ May 9 2010, 07:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I believe he has a 5 million dollar option which increases to 10 million if he gets enough PA ( 605 IIRC).

Close. It kicks in at 640 PA. He also triggers a $1M buyout once he reaches 575 PA.

The most important factor is the option is Beltre's to exercise, not the club's.

Edited by mabrowndog, 09 May 2010 - 10:06 PM.