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Vent Thread: Where SoSH Proves It Can't Handle Mediocrity


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#1 The Gray Eagle


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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:04 PM

The Orioles sweep, that was nothing. This had better be rock bottom right now.

The schedule sucks, the umpiring sucks, the pitching sucks and the team makes many stupid plays every game. And this is about 5 totally gut-punching losses already by mid May.

#2 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:09 PM

QUOTE (The Gray Eagle @ May 17 2010, 11:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Orioles sweep, that was nothing. This had better be rock bottom right now.

The schedule sucks, the umpiring sucks, the pitching sucks and the team makes many stupid plays every game. And this is about 5 totally gut-punching losses already by mid May.

It took Papelbon 10 minutes to turn this from the most stirring win of the season to the most nut-crunching. Sums up just about the entire year to this point.

They're 8 1/2 behind Tampa now. That's going to be almost impossible to overcome. They blew Saturday's game and Papelbon just blew tonight's. These games aren't easy to recover from.



#3 Bongorific

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:20 PM

QUOTE (Smiling Joe Hesketh @ May 17 2010, 11:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It took Papelbon 10 minutes to turn this from the most stirring win of the season to the most nut-crunching. Sums up just about the entire year to this point.

They're 8 1/2 behind Tampa now. That's going to be almost impossible to overcome. They blew Saturday's game and Papelbon just blew tonight's. These games aren't easy to recover from.

Aside from a career ending injury to one of the core players, rock bottom has been hit. It's pretty much to the point where I'd rather see the Rays win games just to beat out the MFY. At least they have more likeable players, made some good trades, and drafted well.

#4 bob burda

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:35 PM

I still think the pitching will get going and this will get better, but with the way this team was constructed, they never were going to have a chance taking on all this water at an early stage. The injuries, the brutal starts by Papi and V-Mart, the rather remarkable and sudden (complete) ineffectiveness of Okajima - and all the bad breaks others have already noted.

If this stretch of games doesn't finish them it will be a shock - they've lost 3 of 4 so far, and they have no real answer for these good teams. When I say "finish them" I mean a 10 to 15 game deficit, being well under .500, and clearly not one of the premier teams in the league.




#5 Pandemonium67

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:41 PM

It's telling that these last two killer losses have come from Paps and Okajima shitting the bed -- the two erstwhile best relievers, who need to be good for the team to have any chance.

#6 Soxy Brown

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:47 PM

Had the following text message exchange with my brother, who is a diehard Sox fan and a season ticket holder. Pretty much sums up this season:

Me: This season is just a neverending string of new lows

Him: Whenever it seems like it can't get any worse, you've spoken too soon

#7 JakeRae


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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:04 PM

QUOTE (bob burda @ May 17 2010, 09:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I still think the pitching will get going and this will get better, but with the way this team was constructed, they never were going to have a chance taking on all this water at an early stage. The injuries, the brutal starts by Papi and V-Mart, the rather remarkable and sudden (complete) ineffectiveness of Okajima - and all the bad breaks others have already noted.

If this stretch of games doesn't finish them it will be a shock - they've lost 3 of 4 so far, and they have no real answer for these good teams. When I say "finish them" I mean a 10 to 15 game deficit, being well under .500, and clearly not one of the premier teams in the league.

I don't get this thought. The team was constructed fine. The pithing has been terrible so far. If the pitching can go through a stretch of dominance, you could see this team reel off a lot of wins in a short time. The offense has shown, after a sluggish start, that they are still one of the best in the game. If the pitching can be the force we all anticipated it being, this team will begin to claw its way back into contention.

This team is capable of extended stretches of .700 baseball if things fall there way. Things will get better. And, they can beat good teams. There is no such thing as a baseball team that can beat bad teams but can't beat good teams. It'd be nice if Beckett shows up and pitches like Beckett tomorrow.

#8 BucketOBalls


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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:12 PM

QUOTE (JakeRae @ May 18 2010, 12:04 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't get this thought. The team was constructed fine. The pithing has been terrible so far. If the pitching can go through a stretch of dominance, you could see this team reel off a lot of wins in a short time. The offense has shown, after a sluggish start, that they are still one of the best in the game. If the pitching can be the force we all anticipated it being, this team will begin to claw its way back into contention.

This team is capable of extended stretches of .700 baseball if things fall there way. Things will get better. And, they can beat good teams. There is no such thing as a baseball team that can beat bad teams but can't beat good teams. It'd be nice if Beckett shows up and pitches like Beckett tomorrow.


The problem is, the 3 parts of the team can't get in phase. If the pitching is good, the offense doesn't show. If the offense is good, the pitching blows. If the starters and offense are there the bullpen blows it(tonight). It's the most maddening team in a long time.

They have a bunch of important players underperformed. I don't know how you fix that. None of the relievers are consistent.



#9 The Hit Dog

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:23 PM

SELL!

#10 Rasputin


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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:23 PM

QUOTE (BucketOBalls @ May 18 2010, 12:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They have a bunch of important players underperformed. I don't know how you fix that. None of the relievers are consistent.


Except Schoenweiss who is consistently bad.

At what point do we see all these players underperforming and look at the manager? Managers get stale sometimes. Maybe this is one of those times. I dunno. I'd hate to think it because Francona is the best manager of my lifetime and I think he handles this situation very well but at some point it's an issue isn't it?

#11 The Hit Dog

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:36 PM

QUOTE (Rasputin @ May 18 2010, 12:23 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Except Schoenweiss who is consistently bad.

At what point do we see all these players underperforming and look at the manager? Managers get stale sometimes. Maybe this is one of those times. I dunno. I'd hate to think it because Francona is the best manager of my lifetime and I think he handles this situation very well but at some point it's an issue isn't it?

Bullshit. Managers contain personalities. They do very little else besides control bullpen usage. If you want to find someone to can, look at Farrell first.

But the point is, the players have been underperforming. They have no one to blame but themselves.

#12 TFisNEXT


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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:44 PM

Red Sox have always started off fast so a slow start is new to all of us. The closest I can think of in the past decade is maybe 2005. The team was up and down early on and was sitting at 32-29 and Manny was batting under .210. Then things turned around and they ripped off 12 of 13 to turn a 4 game deficit into a 2.5 game lead. The quality in the AL East is tougher this year, but just using that team (which had very little pitching) as a semi-recent reference, I will wait until mid-June to really evaluate where they are. A lot can change when you go on a quick 2 week tear like that. This team doesn't have the lineup that team did, but this pitching staff is likely a hell of a lot better too than what it has shown thus far.

They obviously cannot afford to tank it for another 2-3 weeks, but its a bit early to be writing off everything after 39 games. It will be nice to get a healthy Cameron and Jacoby back in the lineup.

#13 NoLastCall125

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:47 PM

QUOTE (BucketOBalls @ May 18 2010, 12:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The problem is, the 3 parts of the team can't get in phase. If the pitching is good, the offense doesn't show. If the offense is good, the pitching blows. If the starters and offense are there the bullpen blows it(tonight). It's the most maddening team in a long time.

They have a bunch of important players underperformed. I don't know how you fix that. None of the relievers are consistent.



This is exactly the point I'm at as well. I feel like this team is built to get adequate offense with stellar pitching and defense. While the defense has been blah at times, it's held up pretty well. But when the starters are rolling, the bullpen is sucking and vice versa. Then when the pitching is rocking as a whole, they don't seem to hit.

It's getting to the point that for this team to get back into the race, they are going to have to click on all cylinders and for a pretty long stretch of the season. I don't know if there's a real chance of that happening though. The inconsistencies they've already shown make it hard to believe that they'll be able to turn it on altogether for a couple of months. The bullpen especially scares me because now Tito has to be extremly careful who he uses in what situations (i.e., no MDC in tight ball games trying to hold a lead, no more Oki for the 8th until he gets his shit together, etc), which in turn has transformed Bard from a setup man to an every other game reliever because he's been the only one consistently reliable.

They're extremely frustrating right now and after tonight, I've gotten to the point where I'm actually expecting something to go wrong late in games after they have or regain a lead in the first six or seven innings. I really hope they can turn this around because there's too much talent on this team to play this poorly, but right now, especially after the loss to the Yanks, it just sucks.

#14 Plympton91


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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:49 PM

QUOTE (Rasputin @ May 18 2010, 12:23 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Except Schoenweiss who is consistently bad.

At what point do we see all these players underperforming and look at the manager? Managers get stale sometimes. Maybe this is one of those times. I dunno. I'd hate to think it because Francona is the best manager of my lifetime and I think he handles this situation very well but at some point it's an issue isn't it?


I agree that can sometimes be the case, but I see no evidence of it on this team. They're losing due to inferior talent and lack of physical execution, not due to managerial decisions or lack of effort. Tonight's game would not have been close enough for Papelbon to blow if the team had quit after watching Matsuzaka implode. That they didn't is one of many pieces of evidence that Francona still has the team's full support.

Quite simply, tonight would have looked much different with Ellsbury in LF; I think both Cano's first inning hit and Gardner's 9th inning hit are outs with Jacoby in LF.

I also can't get worked up over the decision to use Okajima rather than the neurotic Delcarmen in the 8th the other night. The reason they traded for Wagner last August was because the bullpen had become Papelbon and Bard; yet, Theo went into 2010 with the same bullpen but minus Wagner and a downgrade from Saito to Atchison.

What was he thinking?

Once again, they seem to have hit the jackpot with their position player signings and left a lot to be desired in the average-to-above average pitching markets.

#15 judyb

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:00 AM

The relievers have allowed more HRs than the starters.

#16 HriniakPosterChild

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:14 AM

QUOTE (BucketOBalls @ May 17 2010, 09:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The problem is, the 3 parts of the team can't get in phase. If the pitching is good, the offense doesn't show. If the offense is good, the pitching blows. If the starters and offense are there the bullpen blows it(tonight). It's the most maddening team in a long time.

I don't know if I'd say the starter was there tonight:
Boston IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Matsuzaka 4.2 9 7 7 3 3 0 7.89

Looks like the starter dug the team a pretty deep hole to climb out of:
Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston 0 1 0 1 3 1 0 3 0 9 13 0
NY Yankees 5 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 11 13 0


#17 Pumpsie


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:17 AM

QUOTE
I also can't get worked up over the decision to use Okajima rather than the neurotic Delcarmen in the 8th the other night. The reason they traded for Wagner last August was because the bullpen had become Papelbon and Bard; yet, Theo went into 2010 with the same bullpen but minus Wagner and a downgrade from Saito to Atchison.

What was he thinking?


Excellent point. I couldn't believe that Theo thought that THIS bullpen was going to be good enough. It really shakes my faith in Theo's judgment. This entire board knew the bullpen was inadequate but Theo, apparently, did not. What's up with that?

#18 jtn46


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:29 AM

QUOTE (Plympton91 @ May 18 2010, 12:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree that can sometimes be the case, but I see no evidence of it on this team. They're losing due to inferior talent and lack of physical execution, not due to managerial decisions or lack of effort.
I still don't really see how they lack talent though.

Pete Abraham sums it up well on the Extra Bases blog:
QUOTE
* The Red Sox rotation has a 5.16 ERA. If there is any one problem this season, that is it. Enough with the "they need a bat" business. The Sox are at .270/.350/.455 and averaging 5.76 runs. That's a 934-run pace.


The offense is on that pace, and who's having the big season carrying them? Pedroia, Youkilis and Drew are doing well, but they could all be doing better. Scutaro is basically doing his thing, could be a little better. Ortiz and Martinez have been just awful. Ellsbury and Cameron have been hurt. Varitek is killing it, but he's only started 9 games.

On the bullpen you're right, but I don't know, the major problem is that Papelbon is the closer, converts saves at a good enough level to keep the closer job, and the only good relievers ever available as FA's want to close. Keeping Wagner probably would have made a difference this season assuming Papelbon doesn't blow a lid and demand a trade, but yeah, Papelbon could have blown a lid and demanded a trade.

The starters are plenty talented, they need to pitch better, that's the bottom line. Too many of these 5, 6, 7 earned run performances from them. If they were pitching better, this team would have a good record right now.

Edited by jtn46, 18 May 2010 - 12:30 AM.


#19 JakeRae


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:17 AM

QUOTE (NoLastCall125 @ May 17 2010, 10:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is exactly the point I'm at as well. I feel like this team is built to get adequate offense with stellar pitching and defense. While the defense has been blah at times, it's held up pretty well. But when the starters are rolling, the bullpen is sucking and vice versa. Then when the pitching is rocking as a whole, they don't seem to hit.

It's getting to the point that for this team to get back into the race, they are going to have to click on all cylinders and for a pretty long stretch of the season. I don't know if there's a real chance of that happening though. The inconsistencies they've already shown make it hard to believe that they'll be able to turn it on altogether for a couple of months. The bullpen especially scares me because now Tito has to be extremly careful who he uses in what situations (i.e., no MDC in tight ball games trying to hold a lead, no more Oki for the 8th until he gets his shit together, etc), which in turn has transformed Bard from a setup man to an every other game reliever because he's been the only one consistently reliable.

They're extremely frustrating right now and after tonight, I've gotten to the point where I'm actually expecting something to go wrong late in games after they have or regain a lead in the first six or seven innings. I really hope they can turn this around because there's too much talent on this team to play this poorly, but right now, especially after the loss to the Yanks, it just sucks.

I really don't get why this line keeps getting repeated. This team was built to excel in all facets of the game. The only aspect of the team that has so far this season, as jtn46 pointed out already, is the offense. Yet, people continue to proceed with the belief that the offense is disappointing or merely adequate. This is a very good offense that, in many ways, has the potential to get even better.

I am pointing this idea out because a lot of the doom and gloom posters on this site seem to share this notion that the offense is merely average or slightly above when, in reality, it is 2nd in the AL and 3rd in all of baseball. (In the interest of not just using rankings to bias my argument, they are at 203 runs with Tampa, Toronto, and Milwaukee at 201, 201, 202 respectively. The Yankees pace the field at 219 and the Phillies are 2nd with 212.) They score runs as well as pretty much anyone, and will continue to do so. It's not like the offense is over-performing or that those who looked at the lineup objectively rather than anecdotally this offseason didn't expect it to be one of the best in the game.

#20 smastroyin


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 06:42 AM

His HR last night notwithstanding, Victor Martinez is clearly the most obvious problem with the team. He is hitting as bad as Varitek ever did, and the staff is now at 4 months of consistently under performing with him behind the plate. I don't really buy the "Jason Varitek is the best pitch caller in the game" stuff but I do buy that Victor might be the worst, and that the Red Sox have gone far too long leaning on Varitek for these things. I am also sick of hearing about new things that e.g. Beckett is doing. A 9 year veteran doesn't need to gimmick his way into better performance.

I just think the entire approach this team has taken to pitching - every starter needs to throw 5 pitches, throwing secondary pitches in the interest of "pitching to contact" instead of throwing their best stuff...I don't know. It is adding up to a shit sandwich so far, and no one seems to be willing to say they are wrong, it is just stubborn insistence that it will eventually work. This team was not ready to start the year, and the pitching staff still looks like they are working through their approach like it is the first game against BC. That has to fall on Farrell and Tito, and normally I love those guys.

#21 yecul


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:14 AM

QUOTE (Pumpsie @ May 18 2010, 01:17 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Excellent point. I couldn't believe that Theo thought that THIS bullpen was going to be good enough. It really shakes my faith in Theo's judgment. This entire board knew the bullpen was inadequate but Theo, apparently, did not. What's up with that?


1. Theo thought the starters would be a strength, not a weakness. If they pitch like '09 then this team is in fine shape.
2. Theo thought that Wake would be a useful guy out of the pen.
3. Theo thought that it'd be good enough to get them by until any needs could be met mid-season.

And, presumably...

4. Theo thought that he couldn't do much as the top pen arms wanted to close and he had little opportunity for upgrades.


#22 Bdanahy14

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:28 AM


There were 3 or 4 hits last night, including the Gardner single, that would have been outs if Ellsbury and Cameron were out there. We are on pace to allow 877 runs right now; which would have been the worst in MLB last year (Baltimore 876, Nationals 874). It doesn't matter how many runs you score - you just won't make the playoffs if you give up 5.4 runs a game.

Hopefully the pitching comes back, hopefully Jacoby and Cameron are healthy and can make those plays, hopefully Beltre's style of defense is not devalued with our infield, hopefully the bullpen can pull it together....

... but sitting 8.5 games back - staring at that many games and that many "hopefully's" certainly isn't up lifting.





#23 judyb

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:36 AM

QUOTE (jtn46 @ May 18 2010, 01:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I still don't really see how they lack talent though.

Pete Abraham sums it up well on the Extra Bases blog:

The offense is on that pace, and who's having the big season carrying them? Pedroia, Youkilis and Drew are doing well, but they could all be doing better. Scutaro is basically doing his thing, could be a little better. Ortiz and Martinez have been just awful. Ellsbury and Cameron have been hurt. Varitek is killing it, but he's only started 9 games.

On the bullpen you're right, but I don't know, the major problem is that Papelbon is the closer, converts saves at a good enough level to keep the closer job, and the only good relievers ever available as FA's want to close. Keeping Wagner probably would have made a difference this season assuming Papelbon doesn't blow a lid and demand a trade, but yeah, Papelbon could have blown a lid and demanded a trade.

The starters are plenty talented, they need to pitch better, that's the bottom line. Too many of these 5, 6, 7 earned run performances from them. If they were pitching better, this team would have a good record right now.

I don't know how Pete Abraham got the Red Sox scoring 5.76 runs a game, but that's a mistake and he's already changed it. It's more like 5.2.

#24 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:37 AM

QUOTE (judyb @ May 18 2010, 08:36 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't know how Pete Abraham got the Red Sox scoring 5.76 runs a game, but that's a mistake and he's already changed it. It's more like 5.2.

It's 5.11, which is 3rd in the AL behind NY (5.62) and TB (5.32). Per B-Ref.

#25 jtn46


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:39 AM

QUOTE (smastroyin @ May 18 2010, 07:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
His HR last night notwithstanding, Victor Martinez is clearly the most obvious problem with the team. He is hitting as bad as Varitek ever did, and the staff is now at 4 months of consistently under performing with him behind the plate. I don't really buy the "Jason Varitek is the best pitch caller in the game" stuff but I do buy that Victor might be the worst, and that the Red Sox have gone far too long leaning on Varitek for these things. I am also sick of hearing about new things that e.g. Beckett is doing. A 9 year veteran doesn't need to gimmick his way into better performance.

I just think the entire approach this team has taken to pitching - every starter needs to throw 5 pitches, throwing secondary pitches in the interest of "pitching to contact" instead of throwing their best stuff...I don't know. It is adding up to a shit sandwich so far, and no one seems to be willing to say they are wrong, it is just stubborn insistence that it will eventually work. This team was not ready to start the year, and the pitching staff still looks like they are working through their approach like it is the first game against BC. That has to fall on Farrell and Tito, and normally I love those guys.
What's fascinating is that the whole staff is throwing fewer curves, and throwing more of something else instead. Beckett's throwing twice as many cutters as he did last season. Lester's throwing more changeups. Buchholz more sliders. Matsuzaka more changeups. Lackey is the only guy that's still throwing his curve at about the same rate.

So why? Is this intentional, is there some organizational belief that the curve is a bad pitch? If it's not, do our pitchers all have trouble with the feel of that pitch? Are our catchers asking for harder and/or straighter pitches to keep baserunners honest?

#26 smastroyin


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:44 AM

QUOTE (Smiling Joe Hesketh @ May 18 2010, 08:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's 5.11, which is 3rd in the AL behind NY (5.62) and TB (5.32). Per B-Ref.


Doesn't really change the point, though.

The most frustrating thing I have to think is the fact that back in the day, we could point to guys like Wilton Veras and Rolando Arrojo and Ed Sprague and Mike Lansing and say "ok here is the problem, the talent just isn't there."

When the problem is Josh Beckett and John Lackey and Victor Martinez and Jonathan Papelbon, things are a lot harder to deal with, from a "how do we fix it?" standpoint.

QUOTE
So why? Is this intentional, is there some organizational belief that the curve is a bad pitch?


This is a personal bias with me, but I am sick to death of the pitch to contact philosophy, so here is me falling victim to confirmation bias. The curveball is a swing and miss pitch. It is designed for the batter to miss it completely. I just think the bias has tilted too far toward getting the ball into play weakly for the defense. This would be a great plan except the team's LD% and BABIP have gone up every year since Farrell and his proteges started talking all the time about pitching to contact.

As a counter to my own bias, the Red Sox have remained one of the better strikeout teams in baseball. So I know I am a moron. But it still bugs me. If everyone could successfully pitch to contact easily then everyone would be Jamie Moyer and pitch until they are 563 years old. It is a skill just like blowing a fastball by someone, but it seems like something that the Red Sox are convinced all of their pitchers can do. Obviously I am not in the clubhouse or the bullpen, I don't know that this a problem, but I need a convenient pinata to swing at and today that is it.

#27 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 07:51 AM

QUOTE (smastroyin @ May 18 2010, 08:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Doesn't really change the point, though.

The most frustrating thing I have to think is the fact that back in the day, we could point to guys like Wilton Veras and Rolando Arrojo and Ed Sprague and Mike Lansing and say "ok here is the problem, the talent just isn't there."

When the problem is Josh Beckett and John Lackey and Victor Martinez and Jonathan Papelbon, things are a lot harder to deal with, from a "how do we fix it?" standpoint.

Good point. And while it's tempting to point to the injured OFers and say that's part of the problem, the replacements for Cameron and Ellsbury are actually playing pretty damn well, at least considering they're the 4th and 5th OFers on the team. While Hermida and McDonald are terrible defensively (they cost the Sox a couple of runs last night by poorly playing very catchable balls) with the stick they've been just about all that we could hope for.

The ways to "fix" this team involve Beckett and Lackey figuring their shit out and pitching to their historical norms. They involve having Victor catch less (what happened to the idea that he'd play a lot of 1B and DH this year). They finally involve having Papelbon shipped out of town on the nearest freighter.

#28 Dgilpin

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 08:02 AM

QUOTE (smastroyin @ May 18 2010, 07:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I just think the entire approach this team has taken to pitching - every starter needs to throw 5 pitches, throwing secondary pitches in the interest of "pitching to contact" instead of throwing their best stuff...I don't know. It is adding up to a shit sandwich so far, and no one seems to be willing to say they are wrong, it is just stubborn insistence that it will eventually work. This team was not ready to start the year, and the pitching staff still looks like they are working through their approach like it is the first game against BC. That has to fall on Farrell and Tito, and normally I love those guys.



I'm with you a 100% on this, I have felt the same way this entire year. It's almost as if there is this desire to demonstrate how awesome / smart or whatever the organization is, so they have to find different ways of doing things. There seems an almost subconscious resistance to do things the status quo. It's seems as though there has just been too many pitchers trying to do new things, Instead of just having the starters pitch using the stuff that made them successful in the first place. Which leads to exactly what you stated, pitchers looking like they have no idea how to approach at-bats. I think its the biggest reason why Beckett has performed the way he has, instead of throwing the 4 seam/Curve/change that made him successful in the first place there's been way too many cutters and 2 seam fastballs.

#29 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 08:15 AM

QUOTE (Smiling Joe Hesketh @ May 18 2010, 08:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The ways to "fix" this team involve Beckett and Lackey figuring their shit out and pitching to their historical norms. They involve having Victor catch less (what happened to the idea that he'd play a lot of 1B and DH this year). They finally involve having Papelbon shipped out of town on the nearest freighter.


Papelbon was certainly a huge problem last night, but to put any significant amount of blame for this season's woes on him seems completely misplaced. Granted his peripherals (even excluding last night) are not as great as his conventional stats would suggest, so he has some shit to figure out as well. But do you really think this team is ready to turn over the closer role to Bard? He's had his share of blow ups as well. Who takes over the 8th inning role if that happens? The bullpen as whole has been a huge problem, but Papelbon is the least of our concerns there IMO. The fact that the Yankees got to him is not hugely surprising. These teams know the long-term opposing players like the back of their hands and that seems to favor the hitters in general in knowing how to work the pitchers (or in Papelbon's case, knowing to swing early last night). Mariano's had his share of troubles vs. the Sox yet still manages to shut them down most of the time. I'd never suggest that Papelbon is Mariano's equal, but there's every reason to believe he can make some adjustments (or at least get a little more lucky) and regularly shut them down in the future.

Edited by Bucknahs Bum Ankle, 18 May 2010 - 08:16 AM.


#30 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 08:18 AM

QUOTE (Bucknahs Bum Ankle @ May 18 2010, 09:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Papelbon was certainly a huge problem last night, but to put any significant amount of blame for this season's woes on him seems completely misplaced. Granted his peripherals (even excluding last night) are not as great as his conventional stats would suggest, so he has some shit to figure out as well. But do you really think this team is ready to turn over the closer role to Bard? He's had his share of blow ups as well. Who takes over the 8th inning role if that happens? The bullpen as whole has been a huge problem, but Papelbon is the least of our concerns there IMO. The fact that the Yankees got to him is not hugely surprising. These teams know the long-term opposing players like the back of their hands and that seems to favor the hitters in general in knowing how to work the pitchers (or in Papelbon's case, knowing to swing early last night). Mariano's had his share of troubles vs. the Sox yet still manages to shut them down most of the time. I'd never suggest that Papelbon is Mariano's equal, but there's every reason to believe he can make some adjustments (or at least get a little more lucky) and shut them down in the future.

Papelbon has the double whammy of wanting big, big money when he becomes a FA and that due to his reputation he'd probably bring back a considerable haul in a deal. His shoulder is also a ticking time bomb and his struggles over the last two years are directly related to Papelbon messing with his mechanics in an effort to lessen the strain on his shoulder so he can hit the jackpot in free agency.

The Red Sox are not going to pay Papelbon the money he wants ('Rivera money, bro!') just to be a 9th inning guy. That would be a stupid waste of resources.

Frankly if this team is selling this year, they really don't need a great closer in any case. There's no real difference between 85 and 81 wins in this division.

#31 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 08:26 AM

QUOTE
Frankly if this team is selling this year, they really don't need a great closer in any case. There's no real difference between 85 and 81 wins in this division.


OK, I thought you meant fixing the team in terms of being able to compete this year. Certainly if the Sox are still struggling and 10+ games back come mid-July it would make sense to shop Papelbon.

Edited by Bucknahs Bum Ankle, 18 May 2010 - 08:27 AM.


#32 BucketOBalls


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:09 AM

Varoious reply points:

I don't think it's Tito. He's been fine the past 6 years. And it doesn't look like the team isn't trying. Mostly...they just arn't executing.

Farrell could be a problem(he's only been here since 2007)...although he was good then. Maybe the pitchers have tuned him out? I dunno, they have all said good things about him though.

I don't think you can blame VMarts pitch calling(*). Tek has caught Beckett and Beckett has probably been the worst under performer of them all.
*-his work at the plate is a bigger problem than his work behind it

The pitching does seem to be the main problem. That would focus on either Farrell...maybe whatever the training staff did for pitchers in the offseason failed miserably?


The one concern I have about Francona is that I'm not sure he's the best manager for this situation. He's always saved the team for the post season and then turned it on then. The only pennant race he really managed was 2005.(it worked, kinda). I'm not sure he's a good guy for the marathon chase they are gonna be in here. T


QUOTE (Smiling Joe Hesketh @ May 18 2010, 09:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Red Sox are not going to pay Papelbon the money he wants ('Rivera money, bro!') just to be a 9th inning guy. That would be a stupid waste of resources.


Honestly, the Sox are one of the few teams where it makes sense to pay for a closer. You need to reach the postseason(where there are fewer games) so having a shutdown 9th inning guy actually helps.

If Papelbon could be a shut down guy, I don't really have a problem paying him. It's not clear that is the case though.

Theo needs to star working the phones/waiver wire/ pawtucket/etc to get some decent relievers. Keep throwing stuff against the wall till something sticks.

that said, I think playing the hardest stretch of the season with no off days will either forge the team into a cohesive unit that has a chance or bury them. I'm not sure which.

Edited by BucketOBalls, 18 May 2010 - 10:15 AM.


#33 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:13 AM

QUOTE (smastroyin @ May 18 2010, 08:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is a personal bias with me, but I am sick to death of the pitch to contact philosophy, so here is me falling victim to confirmation bias. The curveball is a swing and miss pitch. It is designed for the batter to miss it completely. I just think the bias has tilted too far toward getting the ball into play weakly for the defense. This would be a great plan except the team's LD% and BABIP have gone up every year since Farrell and his proteges started talking all the time about pitching to contact.


I'm in complete agreement, and I think you saw how Dice-K suffered for it last night. While he has a dizzying array of pitches, everyone's calling for fastball-fastball-fastball, and you saw how a great hitting team like the Yankees ate that alive in the first inning last night. Sure, it worked great against Toronto, but that's a whole different squad.

Everyone complains about Dice-K nibbling, but I don't have a problem with it at all. Keep the hitters off balance, so they never know what's coming next, and it's hard for them to T off. It doesn't work if he's walking the bases and getting too far behind, but we've seen there's a way to dance through the raindrops and win 18 games and keep opponent SLG and BA ridiculously low in the process.

Lester's curveball used to be a huge arcing great pitch and I feel like we hardly ever see it anymore. Beckett's curve was a wicked sharp-breaker. Now it's hardly ever a pitch he can command and just sort of rolls up there. What's going on?

Farrell has to take some blame for the performance of the starters. Has to.

#34 joe dokes

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:26 AM

QUOTE (MyDaughterLovesTomGordon @ May 18 2010, 11:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm in complete agreement, and I think you saw how Dice-K suffered for it last night. While he has a dizzying array of pitches, everyone's calling for fastball-fastball-fastball, and you saw how a great hitting team like the Yankees ate that alive in the first inning last night. Sure, it worked great against Toronto, but that's a whole different squad.

Everyone complains about Dice-K nibbling, but I don't have a problem with it at all. Keep the hitters off balance, so they never know what's coming next, and it's hard for them to T off. It doesn't work if he's walking the bases and getting too far behind, but we've seen there's a way to dance through the raindrops and win 18 games and keep opponent SLG and BA ridiculously low in the process.

Lester's curveball used to be a huge arcing great pitch and I feel like we hardly ever see it anymore. Beckett's curve was a wicked sharp-breaker. Now it's hardly ever a pitch he can command and just sort of rolls up there. What's going on?

Farrell has to take some blame for the performance of the starters. Has to.


While its convenient to place blame for suckiness in areas other than the obvious place -- the player who sucked --according to Martinez, Matsuzaka was making his own calls out there. In the end, that's how it has to be. Every good pitcher I've ever heard on the subject says a pitcher can only throw the pitch he's convinced will work.

#35 someoneanywhere

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:38 AM

As one of the poster children of this very reaction -- I'm sure it's eponymous with about 697 others -- I applaud the amended thread title.

#36 Rasputin


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:41 AM

The problem isn't that we can't handle mediocrity the problem is that this team shouldn't be mediocre.

Josh Beckett has an ERA of 7.46 which is about double his ERA from last year. He's better than that.

#37 Doctor G

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:48 AM

The Red Sox have to have a realistic goal of being within 4.5 games of first by the all-star break. If they can't get there then they have to become sellers. If they can get there they can make some moves to patch obvious holes. If they can make up 4 games in 2 months the season will still be alive, and they will be a viable contender.

This is not impossible.

Edited by Doctor G, 18 May 2010 - 10:50 AM.


#38 Spacemans Bong


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:48 AM

QUOTE (smastroyin @ May 18 2010, 01:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is a personal bias with me, but I am sick to death of the pitch to contact philosophy, so here is me falling victim to confirmation bias. The curveball is a swing and miss pitch. It is designed for the batter to miss it completely. I just think the bias has tilted too far toward getting the ball into play weakly for the defense. This would be a great plan except the team's LD% and BABIP have gone up every year since Farrell and his proteges started talking all the time about pitching to contact.

As a counter to my own bias, the Red Sox have remained one of the better strikeout teams in baseball. So I know I am a moron. But it still bugs me. If everyone could successfully pitch to contact easily then everyone would be Jamie Moyer and pitch until they are 563 years old. It is a skill just like blowing a fastball by someone, but it seems like something that the Red Sox are convinced all of their pitchers can do. Obviously I am not in the clubhouse or the bullpen, I don't know that this a problem, but I need a convenient pinata to swing at and today that is it.

The problem I have with pitching to contact is that for an organization that shows they understand BABIP, pitching to contact is essentially throwing your hands up to the BABIP gods and hoping for mercy.

And yes, I am in full agreement as to wondering where the curveballs went. Lester, Beckett, even Dice all have good curveballs, why have they stopped throwing them as often as before?

#39 SoxFanPJ


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:56 AM

AT 19-20 the Sox need to go 76-47 the rest of the way to get to 95 wins.

To get to 95 wins the Rays only need to go 68-56
To get to 95 wins the Yankees only need to go 70-54

The Sox are tied with the A's for fourth in the Wild card race behind the Yankees, Tigers and Blue Jays.

Forget about the Yankees and Rays, the Sox have played one less game then the Blue Jays and scored 2 more runs while allowing 34 more runs.

How do we catch the Blue Jays?

AL EAST TEAM PITCHING STATS

ERA: TB 2.74 NYY 3.68 TOR 4.27 BOS 4.99
BAA: TB .225 NYY .241 TOR .244 BOS .261
BB allowed: TB 111 NYY 123 TOR 146 BOS 152
Save % TB 77 NYY 59 TOR 74 BOS 59
OPS against: TB .650 NYY .695 TOR .695 BOS .764
HR allowed: TB 34 NYY 38 TOR 32 BOS 43
SB allowed: TB 21 NYY 23 TOR 24 BOS 47
WHIP: TB 1.15 NYY 1.26 TOR 1.32 BOS 1.42
K/BB: TB 2.58 NYY 2.07 TOR 2.15 BOS 1.86

In almost all the categories the Sox are last when compared to the teams ahead of us in the division. Outside of K/9 our pitching staff sucks this year.

There isn't any freakin' way we are catching the Rays (with a struggling Pena and a scuffling Zobrist) who look like the best team in baseball this year.

#40 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:58 AM

If you've only got one swing of a hammer, and using it on one player (or coach!)'s knee will end his career, and his salary owed will all be covered by insurance, on whose knee do you use that hammer?

Remember: You have to replace that player on the 25 man roster with someone you have or can easily obtain, so don't just say "Matsuzaka", unless you want to put Wakefield in the rotation, or "Martinez" unless you're ready to have Varitek catch most of the rest of the games

#41 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:11 AM

I hate that our SS has a 265 / 362 / 344 line, and yet is still our best SS in years. I hate that the Red Sox as a team have 11 SB's. I hate that we are giving playing time to guys like Van Every and McDonald (and has anyone noticed that Hermida kinda blows in all facets of the game?). I hate that the Sox have such crappy depth, and haven't been able to uncover any underappreciated AAAA types in years. I hate that the bullpen is so crappy.

Pedroia, Youkilis, and Drew are the only guys I ever want to see at bat.

#42 dynomite

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:13 AM

I just don't understand.

How can the Red Sox -- these Red Sox -- have the worst ERA in the AL and have allowed the most runs in the AL? We have allowed more runs than the Kansas City Royals. A rotation that includes Luke Hochevar, Gil Meche and Brian Bannister has outpitched us.

Edited by dynomite, 18 May 2010 - 11:18 AM.


#43 Foulkey Reese


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:16 AM

QUOTE (Lose Remerswaal @ May 18 2010, 11:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you've only got one swing of a hammer, and using it on one player (or coach!)'s knee will end his career, and his salary owed will all be covered by insurance, on whose knee do you use that hammer?

Remember: You have to replace that player on the 25 man roster with someone you have or can easily obtain, so don't just say "Matsuzaka", unless you want to put Wakefield in the rotation, or "Martinez" unless you're ready to have Varitek catch most of the rest of the games

This would make for an interesting thread.

#44 kneemoe

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:57 AM

QUOTE (joe dokes @ May 18 2010, 11:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
While its convenient to place blame for suckiness in areas other than the obvious place -- the player who sucked --according to Martinez, Matsuzaka was making his own calls out there. In the end, that's how it has to be. Every good pitcher I've ever heard on the subject says a pitcher can only throw the pitch he's convinced will work.


Small point perhaps - but when VMart said that he sounded defensive. He basically said 'I'm doing my best, just trying to help... ultimately it falls on him, he's the guy with the ball.'
And there's some truth to that - when Dice-K has the ball it's up to him to be sure the next pitch is what he wants to throw, but the catcher can't just slough it off like he's not part of a battery, he's calling for pitches, he's advising - if someone takes your advise and falls on their face do you just turn around and say 'what the hell were you doing listening to me anyway?'

#45 trekfan55


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:57 AM

Last night's loss was so painful I don't ever remember a regular season loss that struck me like this.

Looking back, there were 3 catchable balls, missed by replacement OFs that probably made a difference. I also remember Cmaeron's misplay of a routine line drive directly leading to 4 runs scored in an inning by the Rays. It's small things like these that have doomed the Sox this year. I can count 3 games where vistory was at hand (The Tampa Bay extra innings game, the Detroit game 2, last night's Papelbon implosion) and that's from memory.

As for the pitching staff all I have got to say is this:
Beckett, Lester, Lackey, DiceK, Buchholz, Wakefield. All six are signed for this year, DiceK is here form 2 more years and the rest are here for the long haul. Casey Kelly is looking good as he rises through the minors. Ask anyone during the offseason how this looks. No one would look at those statements and claim that Theo is crazy or that he lost his touch. Beckett can't pitch at all right now, Lester had his usual lousy April (his peroformance in Detroit was not that great either), Lackey is inconsistent, DiceK is DiceK. The perfect storm has struck practically all of our starters at the same time. Not even the biggest Sox hater could have predicted this.

Since this is a venting thread I am doing just that. Sorry if it seems I'm rambling but this thread seemed like the proper place to do so.

#46 Toe Nash

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:58 AM

QUOTE (Rudy Pemberton @ May 18 2010, 12:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I hate that our SS has a 265 / 362 / 344 line, and yet is still our best SS in years. I hate that the Red Sox as a team have 11 SB's. I hate that we are giving playing time to guys like Van Every and McDonald (and has anyone noticed that Hermida kinda blows in all facets of the game?). I hate that the Sox have such crappy depth, and haven't been able to uncover any underappreciated AAAA types in years. I hate that the bullpen is so crappy.

Pedroia, Youkilis, and Drew are the only guys I ever want to see at bat.

-AL teams are getting .251 / .311 / .354 from their shortstops. Only Gonzalez and Andrus have a better wOBA among guys with 100 PAs this year. Scutaro has a better wOBA than Jeter.
-SBs suck and Ellsbury has been out.
-Hermida was a gamble worth taking and still could impress. Two starting OFers are hurt. What AAAA OF guys are around that they could have just hanging out in AAA? If they were that good they would be starting.

Blame the bullpen and the starting pitching, but for the last time it's not the offense's fault.

#47 trekfan55


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:11 PM

QUOTE (dynomite @ May 18 2010, 11:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I just don't understand.

How can the Red Sox -- these Red Sox -- have the worst ERA in the AL and have allowed the most runs in the AL? We have allowed more runs than the Kansas City Royals. A rotation that includes Luke Hochevar, Gil Meche and Brian Bannister has outpitched us.


This. Absolutely.

The Sox FO assembled a great pitching staff that is deep from 1-5. And while there is always a chance that your #5 pitcher sucks, or your ace underperforms, the fcat they are collectively sucking so much is downright incredible. the bullpen on the other hand, not that surprising.

#48 judyb

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:20 PM

They're hitting .270/.350/.455 while their opponents are hitting .261/.337/.427 against them. Not that a .764 OPSA is anything to be proud of, but you wouldn't expect the results to be quite this bad, would you?

#49 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:21 PM

QUOTE (joe dokes @ May 18 2010, 11:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
While its convenient to place blame for suckiness in areas other than the obvious place -- the player who sucked --according to Martinez, Matsuzaka was making his own calls out there. In the end, that's how it has to be. Every good pitcher I've ever heard on the subject says a pitcher can only throw the pitch he's convinced will work.


This doesn't change my argument at all. I think they've drilled this fastball-first ideology into him. The success he gained against Toronto reinforced it, obviously. And maybe it can work. But Dice-K's first two years show off-speed first can be effective.

#50 Sprowl


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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:29 PM

QUOTE (Dgilpin @ May 18 2010, 06:02 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm with you a 100% on this, I have felt the same way this entire year. It's almost as if there is this desire to demonstrate how awesome / smart or whatever the organization is, so they have to find different ways of doing things. There seems an almost subconscious resistance to do things the status quo. It's seems as though there has just been too many pitchers trying to do new things, Instead of just having the starters pitch using the stuff that made them successful in the first place. Which leads to exactly what you stated, pitchers looking like they have no idea how to approach at-bats. I think its the biggest reason why Beckett has performed the way he has, instead of throwing the 4 seam/Curve/change that made him successful in the first place there's been way too many cutters and 2 seam fastballs.

Beckett's arm angle has changed and as a result his curve is slurvier than it used to be, with more horizontal break and less vertical drop. It's not the same swing-and-miss pitch that it used to be -- and his command of that pitch has deteriorated as well. He's not throwing it as much because it is not working as well.

I disagree about throwing too many cutters: the cutter is perhaps his only pitch that has improved in terms of command and movement. Beckett's problem was, is, and remains fastball command, and no secondary pitch can get him out of that ditch.

QUOTE (MyDaughterLovesTomGordon @ May 18 2010, 08:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm in complete agreement, and I think you saw how Dice-K suffered for it last night. While he has a dizzying array of pitches, everyone's calling for fastball-fastball-fastball, and you saw how a great hitting team like the Yankees ate that alive in the first inning last night. Sure, it worked great against Toronto, but that's a whole different squad.

Everyone complains about Dice-K nibbling, but I don't have a problem with it at all. Keep the hitters off balance, so they never know what's coming next, and it's hard for them to T off. It doesn't work if he's walking the bases and getting too far behind, but we've seen there's a way to dance through the raindrops and win 18 games and keep opponent SLG and BA ridiculously low in the process.

Lester's curveball used to be a huge arcing great pitch and I feel like we hardly ever see it anymore. Beckett's curve was a wicked sharp-breaker. Now it's hardly ever a pitch he can command and just sort of rolls up there. What's going on?

Farrell has to take some blame for the performance of the starters. Has to.

Lester's curveball is faster now, and it's not getting as many swings and misses as it did in 2009. He has started to rely even more heavily on the cutter. As far as I can tell, the curve has not lost any of its vertical drop since 2008 -- and it was a very effective pitch in 2009 with the same movement it has now. Lester is the least of my worries on the staff.

Matsuzaka's problem yesterday was fastball velocity in the first inning -- it was coming in at 88-89 belt-high. The slow start seems to be an ongoing problem for him. He has a great slurve, or at least it was great in 2008. I would like to see a little more nibbling too -- his stuff isn't so great that he can be a fastball-first pitcher, except on rare occasions when he's got the 93-94 heat.

QUOTE (Spacemans Bong @ May 18 2010, 08:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The problem I have with pitching to contact is that for an organization that shows they understand BABIP, pitching to contact is essentially throwing your hands up to the BABIP gods and hoping for mercy.

Or hoping that defenders with range can turn those balls into outs. Pitching to contact still makes sense for getting starters deeper into games, keeping the fielders on their toes, and avoiding the shallow bullpen. It doesn't help when all those defenders are on the DL or dodging snakes. Cameron and Ellsbury would have made an enormous difference in last night's game.