Red Sox in season discussion

azsoxpatsfan

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The Sox were 28th out of 30 in wOBA in April. In May, they are 4th. Since the start of the Braves series, when the Sox were 10-19, the team is 1st in baseball in wOBA. Incredible turnaround.

I can't help but wonder where the people calling for mass firings are now. If the coaches/management were responsible for the travesty that was April, are they not also responsible for turning things almost completely?
Just a few more stats to illustrate how great the offense has been of late: in May, the Sox are 2nd in average, 5th in OBP, 3rd in SLG, 4th in OPS, 4th in wOBA, and 4th in wRC+.

Since falling to 11-20 on May 13, the Sox are 2nd in average, 4th in OBP, 1st in SLG, 1st in OPS, 1st in wOBA, 1st in wRC+, 1st in runs, 2nd in hits, and 3rd in homers. Crazy turnaround
 
I wasn't calling for a mass firing, but I was calling for a discussion as to what being sellers at the deadline would look like. The Sox are still 11 games back in the division and three games back in the wild card standings. I am not hopeful for them to get first place, but their recent turn around has me hopeful they can get a wild card spot. Lastly, while there were people calling for mass firings, most of us who were not optimistic, looked at the hole the Sox needed to climb out of and the way they had been playing and was worried it was getting too deep. Using hyperbole to try to take some moral stance doesn't add to the quality of discourse on this board.
No worries, I definitely wasn't referring to you. An intelligent discussion of what a deadline selloff might look like is absolutely warranted, and imo even an interesting thought experiment in seasons where the Sox are unlikely to be sellers. Getting to first place would require some serious star-aligning, and like you I'm cautiously optimistic about the possibility of a WC berth, but it's far from guaranteed.

Pessimism early in the season was totally warranted, and is arguably even warranted now. But there's a huge difference between being pessimistic and some of the stuff that was getting posted here just a few weeks back. I find it interesting that some of the folks that were posting doom and advocating a complete organizational turnover 10+ times a day are now not commenting. For those of you who were expressing pessimism and advocating a sane response, or even those of you who were expressing pessimism and an extreme response at the time but have now changed your stance with new evidence, if my comments offended I apologize. I assure you that they weren't directed your way.
 

gixer1k

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As of today, we are officially the hottest team in baseball at 8-2 in the last ten. Hopefully we can keep it going.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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The Sox were 28th out of 30 in wOBA in April. In May, they are 4th. Since the start of the Braves series, when the Sox were 10-19, the team is 1st in baseball in wOBA. Incredible turnaround.

I can't help but wonder where the people calling for mass firings are now. If the coaches/management were responsible for the travesty that was April, are they not also responsible for turning things almost completely?
I didn’t call for mass firings, but this team is still not great. It’s incredibly too heavy and is being carried offensively by four players.

The highest slugging percentage of their starting outfield is .322, their first baseman is slashing 160/250/236 and their starting catcher isn’t hitting much better.

Oh yeah, their bullpen has the most blown saves in the majors. They blew the game again today, but I’m sure you know that

If the Sox continue to play well, awesome, I’ll be happy to be wrong. But I still don’t think this team is good enough to go very far. They’re fine.
 

BringBackMo

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Using hyperbole to try to take some moral stance doesn't add to the quality of discourse on this board.
LOL
Well it has been fun. Hopefully Bogey and Evoldi do well so Bloom can go get something for them at the trade deadline.
The Sox lineup needs a massive overhaul.
The season is pretty much over so it is a moot point, but I would have liked to see this particular philosophy abandoned, when the Sox bullpen was blowing games left and right and the Sox still were in contention.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Just a few more stats to illustrate how great the offense has been of late: in May, the Sox are 2nd in average, 5th in OBP, 3rd in SLG, 4th in OPS, 4th in wOBA, and 4th in wRC+.

Since falling to 11-20 on May 13, the Sox are 2nd in average, 4th in OBP, 1st in SLG, 1st in OPS, 1st in wOBA, 1st in wRC+, 1st in runs, 2nd in hits, and 3rd in homers. Crazy turnaround
So if the "Fire Bloom and Cora!" contingent was wrong to overreact to April's small sample size, aren't those who are proclaiming "problem solved!" about the offense in the last couple of weeks making the same mistake? We're still routinely running out several noodle bats like Dalbec, Vazquez and JBJ. Verdugo is still in a terrible funk.

It's great that Story and Devers have heated up, but there's a lot of work still to be done on our batting order.
 

scottyno

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I didn’t call for mass firings, but this team is still not great. It’s incredibly too heavy and is being carried offensively by four players.

The highest slugging percentage of their starting outfield is .322, their first baseman is slashing 160/250/236 and their starting catcher isn’t hitting much better.

Oh yeah, their bullpen has the most blown saves in the majors. They blew the game again today, but I’m sure you know that

If the Sox continue to play well, awesome, I’ll be happy to be wrong. But I still don’t think this team is good enough to go very far. They’re fine.
Vazquez and JBJ have both been close to league average offensive players in May, and Cordero is probably over league average after today. Dalbec and Hernandez have also hit much better over the last 1-2 weeks. They aren't being carried by four guys anymore, almost everyone is starting to contribute. The lone exception among the regulars really is Verdugo who hasn't shown any signs of life with the bat after a nice start.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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So if the "Fire Bloom and Cora!" contingent was wrong to overreact to April's small sample size, aren't those who are proclaiming "problem solved!" about the offense in the last couple of weeks making the same mistake? We're still routinely running out several noodle bats like Dalbec, Vazquez and JBJ. Verdugo is still in a terrible funk.

It's great that Story and Devers have heated up, but there's a lot of work still to be done on our batting order.
Anyone proclaiming all the problems are solved would be wrong, but expecting Story, Devers, Martinez, and Bogaerts to hit well and carry the offense is much more realistic than the view held by those who seemed to think Story would continue to be a zero offensively. The Sox won’t play at an .800 clip the rest of the season, but expecting regression to career averages is a reasonable position to hold. Those thinking the Sox were actually an 11-20 team were disregarding the severe underproduction of players with proven track records of being very good
 

YTF

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So if the "Fire Bloom and Cora!" contingent was wrong to overreact to April's small sample size, aren't those who are proclaiming "problem solved!" about the offense in the last couple of weeks making the same mistake? We're still routinely running out several noodle bats like Dalbec, Vazquez and JBJ. Verdugo is still in a terrible funk.

It's great that Story and Devers have heated up, but there's a lot of work still to be done on our batting order.
Has anyone made that claim? I'm still of the mind that this team is better/more capable than what they had represented through the first 30 games and there are still needs at 1B, C, OF, bench and pen. It's nice to see JBJ contributing with the bat, but I think we all pretty much think him to be the guy that we've seen in the past. Franchy's plate approach seems to have changed for the better and we have shifted from relying on the same three guys to produce two runs per game to most everyone chipping in, resulting in 4, 5 even 8 or 9 runs per game. It's a streak for sure and not likely to be sustainable, but IMO what we see now is closer to what most expected from this team than what we saw 30 games in.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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Vazquez and JBJ have both been close to league average offensive players in May, and Cordero is probably over league average after today. Dalbec and Hernandez have also hit much better over the last 1-2 weeks. They aren't being carried by four guys anymore, almost everyone is starting to contribute. The lone exception among the regulars really is Verdugo who hasn't shown any signs of life with the bat after a nice start.
I'm reading a FanGraphs article about the Blue Jays infield (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-blue-jays-infield-has-yet-to-soar/), and there's a chart showing the 20 hitters with the "Largest Slugging Percentage Shortfalls on Flyballs." That is, whose actual results are the worst relative to their expected results. Three Red Sox hitters are on that list: Verdugo at #2 (Trey Mancini is #1) with a -.589 SLG/xSLG difference, Bobby D at #9 (-.461), and Kiké at #18 (-.378).
For whatever reason -- the ball, the humidors, the weather -- these three guys aren't getting the expected results.
What does that mean going forward? Hell if I know. But if I had to guess, I'd say we need to be more patient and give the law of averages a chance to come back around for these guys.
 
Vazquez and JBJ have both been close to league average offensive players in May, and Cordero is probably over league average after today. Dalbec and Hernandez have also hit much better over the last 1-2 weeks. They aren't being carried by four guys anymore, almost everyone is starting to contribute. The lone exception among the regulars really is Verdugo who hasn't shown any signs of life with the bat after a nice start.
The weird thing is that Verdugo's statcast numbers continue to suggest that he should be getting much better results. His BB% is down, but so is his K%. His hard hit % is down slightly, but his barrel rate is up. He is vastly underperforming his xSLG and his xwOBA. His xwOBA is actually above his career average by .016 while his actual wOBA is .079 below his career average.

He remains a great candidate for significant improvement.
 

Ganthem

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How is that indicative of hyperbole? It is still not a given they are going to be in contention at the trade deadline, and if they are not then Evoldi and Bogey, barring health concerns, are the most logical trade chips.
The lineup did need an overhaul. Perhaps reducing Dalbec and Arroyo's playing time in favor of giving playing time to Franchy is not massive so perhaps that was hyperbole, but it still feels like nitpicking.
And I am guessing my beef was with Cora's quick hook of starting pitchers. Red Hawks Fan in a previous post explain that had more to do with the shorten spring training then any particular philosophy and given how Cora has used the starters lately seems to bear that out. I am not sure how this is an example of hyperbole.

I am thrilled with how the last ten games or so have gone. I truly hope the Sox make an amazing comeback, but generally when teams dig themselves a deep hole they don't get out of it. Also the bullpen is still a weak point and if that does not get fixed the Sox aren't going to get far. Robles xERA is 5.72. His Fip is 4.53 and his Xfip is 4.46. The Sox bullpen giving up only one run was luck and not indicative of their true ability level. So I think it is still worth having a conversation about what being sellers look like.
 

grimshaw

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So they've hit the quarter mark of the season. Checking in on the acquisitions:

Hunter Renfroe traded to the Brewers for JBJ, Alex Binelas and David Hamilton
-JBJ is slashing .193/.258/.298/wRC+ 69. Worse than his previous time in Boston but better than last season. He is also at 6 DRS in right field. FWIW his career high is 16. They can move on from him at any time as he will be a free agent if they need to.
-Hunter Renfroe is a slightly better version of himself at the plate so far, and seems to have limited his bone-headed plays with just one error after 12 last season. He's on pace for a career year and would look good in a Red Sox uniform.
-Alex Binelas has been fantastic in A+ slashing .259/.408/.517. He's turning 22 in a few days. Wouldn't be a shock to see him in Portland by July. Not sure where he'll end up defensively, but it's great to see an internal bat excelling for his level.
-David Hamilton is doing almost exactly what he did last season in AA. He gets on base at a decent clip as a solid contact hitter, with below average power and great baserunning (17 steals already). Fangraphs describes his arm as fringy for shortstop but has the floor of a utility guy. He's rule 5 eligible in December so could be part of the plan next season.

They may have lost a game or two not having Renfroe in the lineup, but the early returns on the minor leaguers are looking good.

Michael Wacha 1yr/7mill
-Cora has been very careful with his usage and the results have been good so far, though the underlying numbers aren't great. The gap between his xFIP and ERA is almost 2.75. His k-rate and walk rate are career worsts and his LOB% of 93% is unsustainable. ZIPS projects a 5.21 ERA and 1.43 WHIP moving forward (or basically Matt Andriese). I saw him as middle reliever when they signed him, so won't be questioning the deal too much when he likely regresses. They need a lot of relief innings eaten and he's game.

Rich Hill 1yr/5mill
-Rich Hill is doing Rich Hill things - solid but unspectacular. His last dud, the Sox believe he was tipping his pitches. Cora has been just as careful with Hill as he's been with Wacha, and has kept him healthy. Asking him to do more than he has is probably unrealistic but for 5 mill, it's been a good pick up. He also pushes a mean shopping cart.

Matt Strahm 1yr/3yr
Strahm has been their best bullpen arm. He was number 19 overall back in 2011, so maybe this is where he belonged all along. He's the kind of guy I used to hate seeing the Rays snatch up, so I love him. If the season appears lost he'd be a good guy to move as he'd likely bring in something interesting.

Jake Diekman 2yrs 8 million
Diekman has a 13.83 k/9 and a 6.91 bb/9. If a modern day Mitch Williams type pitcher is your thing, go nuts. I didn't really get this signing as he's a finished product who isn't a lefty killer, and you don't want him in a close game with a patient lineup.

Travis Shaw - spring training invitee
This was also a head scratcher as he had some meaningful at bats when he had been cooked for 3 years. Luckily they cut bait early.

Hansel Robles - minor league deal
As a scrap heap guy and expanded pen, it's tough to criticize the deal too much - especially given how well 2021 worked out. If they use him as just a guy or figure out match ups, he's fine. Bloom gave Cora a bit of a mess in the pen with mixed results and he's doing his best.

Trevor Story 6 yrs 140 mill
I don't want to add much here since there is an exhaustive thread dedicated to him and we are two months into his first season which is already a tale of two seasons.

James Paxton 1 yr/10 million with 2 club options
There's nothing exciting going on in his recovery yet as he's still just playing catch. The upside is great and it's just short term money. There is zero risk with this deal.

Tyler Danish and John Schreiber
Both signed at essentially no cost, the latter a spring training invitee. Danish is a mop up guy and just happy to be there I'm sure. Schreiber is succeeding in high leverage spots and they may have found something.

Bloom finally showed his cards a bit this off-season splurging on Story. It was among the lower risk high profile signings, at worst eating up a 10th of their payroll for a high floor player. He seems to have squeezed a lot of value out of low key signings as he did the season before.

At some point they will have to stop being cute at 1b, the rotation, pen and the outfield and take some chances to acquire talent, but I believe that will be 2023 or potentially this season near the deadline. I'm happy with the overall results from the offseason even if the record doesn't reflect it. Nothing earth shattering but they are on the right track.
 
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Philip Jeff Frye

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Vazquez and JBJ have both been close to league average offensive players in May, and Cordero is probably over league average after today. Dalbec and Hernandez have also hit much better over the last 1-2 weeks. They aren't being carried by four guys anymore, almost everyone is starting to contribute. The lone exception among the regulars really is Verdugo who hasn't shown any signs of life with the bat after a nice start.
Dalbec has hit .194/.324/.258 over his last 15 games. I suppose it is a measure of his futility at the plate this season that someone sees this as "much better" recent performance.
 

BringBackMo

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So if the "Fire Bloom and Cora!" contingent was wrong to overreact to April's small sample size, aren't those who are proclaiming "problem solved!" about the offense in the last couple of weeks making the same mistake?
This is what is known as false equivalence. Calling for the firing of two widely respected baseball minds 16 games into the season because of a bad start is a far, far, FAR different thing--is not at all the same mistake, in other words—than looking at improved results over a small sample size and drawing conclusions about whether a problem has been solved.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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This is what is known as false equivalence. Calling for the firing of two widely respected baseball minds 16 games into the season because of a bad start is a far, far, FAR different thing--is not at all the same mistake, in other words—than looking at improved results over a small sample size and drawing conclusions about whether a problem has been solved.
Good point, these are really different. You can’t rehire those guys after you axed them, but you can reconsider your conclusions when things change.
 

Rovin Romine

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Recency bias is something.

The Sox have squeaked into contention range at the 41 game mark. But they are not yet out of the hole they dug for themselves during the first weeks of the season.

"True talent" level is something of a unicorn, but as a handful of players have come out of slumps to join the non-slumping, we've had more of an offensive cushion for the natural ebbs and flows of pitcher performance. IMO, the combination of cycling through many pitchers with no cushion is a terrible approach, and it's not clear the Sox have learned that lesson. In fact, lost in Franchy's slam last night were a few questionable pinch-hitting and relief pitching choices. Again, an offensive cushion can absorb a lot of these, and carry some dead weight on the roster, but the club has already spent its bone-head loss tokens early on.

So while I'm very hopeful they're on a path to salvaging a contending season, I'm not quite confident.
 

BringBackMo

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Recency bias is something.

The Sox have squeaked into contention range at the 41 game mark. But they are not yet out of the hole they dug for themselves during the first weeks of the season.

"True talent" level is something of a unicorn, but as a handful of players have come out of slumps to join the non-slumping, we've had more of an offensive cushion for the natural ebbs and flows of pitcher performance. IMO, the combination of cycling through many pitchers with no cushion is a terrible approach, and it's not clear the Sox have learned that lesson. In fact, lost in Franchy's slam last night were a few questionable pinch-hitting and relief pitching choices. Again, an offensive cushion can absorb a lot of these, and carry some dead weight on the roster, but the club has already spent its bone-head loss tokens early on.

So while I'm very hopeful they're on a path to salvaging a contending season, I'm not quite confident.
I think a lot of this just comes down to your definition of contending. There were a lot of discussions on the board heading into the season with many of us feeling that the Sox would contend for a wild card in a very tough division with an outside shot at the division. There was a definite sense that Bloom was setting things up for the all-in push to start in 2023. Story, Hernandez, and Verdugo all starting the season in a black hole certainly made the road tougher, but a quarter of the season in, the Sox seem to be within striking distance of where we’d expected…unless the expectation was to compete for a title this year. If that’s the case, then this season is certainly shaping up as a disappointment. But there is nothing about Bloom’s approach over the offseason that indicates HE was gearing up for that kind of run. The Sox seem to me to have been built to be good this year, not great. That means there are going to be weak spots on the roster, and the cushion is going to be thinner at times than we’d like.

They‘ve only started to be good recently but there’s plenty to suggest they can remain that way going forward. There are good young arms in the minors that may be ready soon to bolster the pen. Houck and Barnes are showing some signs of getting back on track. Sale and Paxton could help the rotation in the second half. Verdugo, as was pointed out above, appears to have been getting very unlucky. That could turn around, and maybe either Dalbec will go into one of his hot streaks or Casas will prove himself ready. I predicted 92 wins in the prediction thread, which is a .568 winning percentage. We’re 41 games into the season, so that would translate to 23 wins right now. The Sox have 19. That’s behind the pace, of course, but certainly not the disaster we were facing three weeks ago. I still very much like this team’s chances to win, say, 88 games and get a wildcard spot. That won’t be everyone’s definition of contending, but I’d be just fine with that result.
 

Archer1979

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Recency bias is something.

The Sox have squeaked into contention range at the 41 game mark. But they are not yet out of the hole they dug for themselves during the first weeks of the season.

"True talent" level is something of a unicorn, but as a handful of players have come out of slumps to join the non-slumping, we've had more of an offensive cushion for the natural ebbs and flows of pitcher performance. IMO, the combination of cycling through many pitchers with no cushion is a terrible approach, and it's not clear the Sox have learned that lesson. In fact, lost in Franchy's slam last night were a few questionable pinch-hitting and relief pitching choices. Again, an offensive cushion can absorb a lot of these, and carry some dead weight on the roster, but the club has already spent its bone-head loss tokens early on.

So while I'm very hopeful they're on a path to salvaging a contending season, I'm not quite confident.

Agreed. As Tuna once said, you are what your record says you are... and so far, it's a tale of two seasons. I'm not sold that they're figured it out... yet.

It's going to take some time to figure out what this team really is since the scheduling is either feast or famine. They had a very tough schedule to open the season with the Tigers being the only sub-.500 team that they faced over the first three weeks. Obviously, they weren't all that competitive against the contenders. Are they very streaky; good against poor teams/poor against good teams; or a little of both? Was winning two out of three against the Astros a sign of things to come or a blind squirrel finding a nut?

We should see this week as they play three in Chicago against a team that just swept them at home (and are on a bit of a hot streak themselves). After that, they play the bottom-feeders of the league with Baltimore, Cincy, and Oakland for the next ten. While they should be better than .500 when this stretch is over, I'm not going to say they've turned the corner until they start to consistently win against teams that are hovering around .500 and above.
 

BringBackMo

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+1 to the above post. Other than Barnes. He hasn't shown me anything this year that suggests he is back in form
I’m open to the idea that it’s too early to say anything good about Barnes, but I’d read that the Sox believe he’s been throwing much better lately and just not getting the results. And they put him in a high-leverage situation on Saturday and he closed the game out with a perfect ninth. Generally speaking, though, you’re right that it’s probably too early to read too much into that.
 

Ganthem

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You had the season over 11 days ago. Now, with well over 100 games still left they're very much in the playoff race. How was your ridiculous claim not hyperbole?
I use the evidence of how they were playing and how deep the hole was to form a conclusion. That conclusion may still come to pass. Though I am cautiously optimistic about the wild card spot, it would not be surprising if the Sox offense proved inconsistent and they go back to having trouble scoring runs. In other words their offense went back to being like it was last year. Another cold streak combined with the bullpen shitting the bed and talks of the wild card could be fantasy by the time the trade deadline rolls around. More to the point, the examples Bringbackmo cited, as I showed in my response, are not examples of hyperbole.
 

joe dokes

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Oh yeah, their bullpen has the most blown saves in the majors. They blew the game again today, but I’m sure you know that
IMO, There are few stats more unreliable than "blown saves". In the Sox case, it tracks, only because we watch them every day and we see the bullpen is spotty at best. But giving up a 1 run lead in the 6th inning with the bases loaded and none out is not the same as blowing a 3run ninth-inning lead and losing. And, as we saw yesterday, a blown save isn't even a team loss every time.

That said, I know the pen has surrendered 6 9th inning leads. That's much more relevant.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Agreed. As Tuna once said, you are what your record says you are... and so far, it's a tale of two seasons. I'm not sold that they're figured it out... yet.

It's going to take some time to figure out what this team really is since the scheduling is either feast or famine. They had a very tough schedule to open the season with the Tigers being the only sub-.500 team that they faced over the first three weeks. Obviously, they weren't all that competitive against the contenders. Are they very streaky; good against poor teams/poor against good teams; or a little of both? Was winning two out of three against the Astros a sign of things to come or a blind squirrel finding a nut?

We should see this week as they play three in Chicago against a team that just swept them at home (and are on a bit of a hot streak themselves). After that, they play the bottom-feeders of the league with Baltimore, Cincy, and Oakland for the next ten. While they should be better than .500 when this stretch is over, I'm not going to say they've turned the corner until they start to consistently win against teams that are hovering around .500 and above.
We still have no idea about the overall quality of the team expect that the results so far have been exceptionally poor. If you play .330 ball and the reason is "they were good teams" then you by definition are a bad team. Beating up on a slumping Seattle team is great but that's what they should be doing.

All the crowing about "being right" after the recent hot streak seems to be overlooking the fact that they're still a below .500 team and the horrid April has likely tanked their best chances for making the postseason. The April games count as well and a team that gets off to such a horrible start is definitely one that was constructed poorly. A recent rebound doesn't really change that. 8-2 in their last 10 and they're still 10 games out and 4th in the division.

Is the bar really that low that people are happy about this?

1B and the end of the pen need to be solved and that hasn't changed. The Whitlock experiment as a start is not going well recently and I would like to see the plug pulled on that. The OF has OPS+ of 64, 62, and 68.
 
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Rovin Romine

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I think a lot of this just comes down to your definition of contending.
I'd agree (and do agree with the rest of your post generally.)

For me, "contending" is having a legit chance to make the post-season, and a chance for a credible run when you're there. So, playing for a WC berth over the season and adding two potentially top-flight starters (Sale and Paxton) for the second half/post-season counts in a "contending strategy" sense.

In another sense though, "contending" is maximizing the number of games you win, without burning through your squad. So, while I understand the team is high on Arroyo and Dalbec and JBJ and Hernandez, I don't think you sacrifice a couple of easily winable games (in situ) by refusing to pinch hit for those guys, or, in the case of Dalbec, using an option like they did with Franchy in 2021.

In terms of the unicorn "true talent level" I think the team can be good, and very good with a few tweaks. In the past they've shown they're willing to do that (how they handled Franchy, both this year and last is promising.) They've also made some head-scratchers in terms of personnel, and personnel use. Nobody's perfect, but the margin is still thin. So mistakes matter more.
 

Rovin Romine

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All the crowing about "being right" after the recent hot streak seems to be overlooking the fact that they're still a below .500 team and the horrid April has likely tanked their best chances for making the postseason. The April games count as well and a team that gets off to such a horrible start is definitely one that was constructed poorly. A recent rebound doesn't really change that. 8-2 in their last 10 and they're still 10 games out and 4th in the division.
In terms of all games counting, I completely agree. The thing is, in order not to tumble into mathematical quasi-oblivion, they had to reel off a string of wins while showing signs of better play (especially competitive at-bats.) They've done that. So, IMO, they're alive.

How alive? They're now 19-22. Shooting for 90 wins (total) in the remaining 121 games requires a .586 winning percentage. It's a tall order, but not farcical. Getting to 87 would require a mere .562. Last year they had a .568.

So padding the early win streak helps, in an abstract mathematical sense. Meaning, we're ignoring strength of schedule arguments and all that. They still run into the buzz-saw series just before the ASB, but maybe luck favors them by that point.

Had they gone 2-8 - I think that would have been irrecoverable, no matter how much the play had improved in those losses.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I don't know the math but I would love to see the odds of a team that plays ~.330 ball for 6 weeks then playing .586 ball over the course of four months. They can't be high, but then again stranger things have happened.
 

tims4wins

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I don't know the math but I would love to see the odds of a team that plays ~.330 ball for 6 weeks then playing .586 ball over the course of four months. They can't be high, but then again stranger things have happened.
Well yeah, most teams that play .330 ball for six weeks suck. Like you said upthread, we really don't know how good or bad this team is yet. Chance are they are right around where their record / run differential are now, somewhere around a .500 team. If they're a similar overall team in quality to last year, we'd expect them to win ~4 out of 7 the rest of the way and finish with ~87 wins.

The 2001 A's were 11-20 too. They finished 102-60.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Well yeah, most teams that play .330 ball for six weeks suck. Like you said upthread, we really don't know how good or bad this team is yet. Chance are they are right around where their record / run differential are now, somewhere around a .500 team. If they're a similar overall team in quality to last year, we'd expect them to win ~4 out of 7 the rest of the way and finish with ~87 wins.

The 2001 A's were 11-20 too. They finished 102-60.
That A's team won 20 in a row, didn't they? That's the outlier of all outliers and probably should be discarded as a data point in figuring out this year's Sox.
 

tims4wins

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That A's team won 20 in a row, didn't they? That's the outlier of all outliers and probably should be discarded as a data point in figuring out this year's Sox.
Right of course it's an outlier. Like I said, teams that start 11-20 usually do so for a reason: they suck. I don't think the Sox suck like most 11-20 teams usually do. I'm not sure what data points we should be using, because it's obviously an unusual circumstance for good / great teams to play quite this poorly for 30 games.

Edit: interestingly, the 2002 A's had a 4-15 stretch as well. It was the 2002 team that won 20 in a row, not 2001.
 

Max Power

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I don't know the math but I would love to see the odds of a team that plays ~.330 ball for 6 weeks then playing .586 ball over the course of four months. They can't be high, but then again stranger things have happened.
The lowest point for the team was 10-19, which is .345 ball, not .330. Lots of good teams have a 10-19 streak hidden in the middle of their season. You just don't notice it because it didn't happen at the start. And with the 3rd wild card, you don't even have to be a particularly good team to make the playoffs.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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The lowest point for the team was 10-19, which is .345 ball, not .330. Lots of good teams have a 10-19 streak hidden in the middle of their season. You just don't notice it because it didn't happen at the start. And with the 3rd wild card, you don't even have to be a particularly good team to make the playoffs.
I don't really think that is true, I think we notice the few that do because they're so unusual and stand out so much. I strongly suspect that playing 30 games of .345 or .333 baseball isn't as common for good teams as we think.
 

bosox188

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The Braves never had a stretch as bad as 10-19 or whatever... but they didn't even reach .500 for the first time all season until they were 44-44. They ended up winning 88 games.
There's also the 2019 Nationals, who were 24-33 by the end of May. It's not quite as bad as .345 ball, but point being there enough recent samples of teams that started off looking quite bad that went on to be title contenders (and winners).
 

BringBackMo

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I don't know the math but I would love to see the odds of a team that plays ~.330 ball for 6 weeks then playing .586 ball over the course of four months. They can't be high, but then again stranger things have happened.
The Braves last year have already been brought up. The Yankees last year started the season 6-11, a .353 winning percentage. They finished the season at 92-70, a .568 winning percentage. Also last season, the Sox went 6-14 from Aug. 1 to Aug. 18 (a couple of double headers in there), a .300 winning percentage. They went on to finish 92-70 and make the ALCS. Those were all just last season. Good teams go through bad stretches. It is magnified when they coincide with the start of the season.
 

Ganthem

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We still have no idea about the overall quality of the team expect that the results so far have been exceptionally poor. If you play .330 ball and the reason is "they were good teams" then you by definition are a bad team. Beating up on a slumping Seattle team is great but that's what they should be doing.

All the crowing about "being right" after the recent hot streak seems to be overlooking the fact that they're still a below .500 team and the horrid April has likely tanked their best chances for making the postseason. The April games count as well and a team that gets off to such a horrible start is definitely one that was constructed poorly. A recent rebound doesn't really change that. 8-2 in their last 10 and they're still 10 games out and 4th in the division.

Is the bar really that low that people are happy about this?

1B and the end of the pen need to be solved and that hasn't changed. The Whitlock experiment as a start is not going well recently and I would like to see the plug pulled on that. The OF has OPS+ of 64, 62, and 68.
I totally agree with everything said here, except for the Whitlock being pulled as a starter. I think Cora has been gentle on him and has been easing up on the breaks slowly. I also don't think that Whitlock's presence in the bullpen is going to make all that much difference at this point.
 

Rovin Romine

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. . .and finish with ~87 wins.
87 wins may, or may not, result in a WC berth. So they may have already tanked the season. We just won't know until we see how the top 6 favorites shape up.

They're playing the CWS (3), BAL (5), and CIN (2) over the next 10 games. Yes, there are two obvious sub .500 teams in there, but that's kind of the point. If we assume later series against the Rays and Yanks are going to be tougher and skew more toward splits, we have to win here and now.

If the Sox stay red-hot and go 10-0, they'll stand at 29-22, and a 90 win target (solid post season chance) in the remaining 111 games would require 61 wins (.549):
10-0 - .549​
9-1 - .558​
8-2 - .567​
7-3 - .576​
6-4 - .585​
5-5 - .594​
4-6 - .603​
3-7 - .612​
2-8 - .621​
1-9 - .630​
0-10 - .639​

This is the set for the more modest 87 win target (which is maybe? a 50% chance of making the post season):
10-0 - .522​
9-1 - .531​
8-2 - .540​
7-3 - .549​
6-4 - .558​
5-5 - .567​
4-6 - .576​
3-7 - .585​
2-8 - .594​
1-9 - .603​
0-10 - .612​
Last year they went .568 over the whole season, hot start and all.

If .568 is the approximate talent level (against better teams in the remaining games), they're still right on the edge.

That said, if they manhandle the next 10 games, and take stock the morning of the 11th. . .they'd be solidly in the mix for the postseason. Going 5-5 puts them in the question mark category. If they go below .500, they're pretty much done.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I totally agree with everything said here, except for the Whitlock being pulled as a starter. I think Cora has been gentle on him and has been easing up on the breaks slowly. I also don't think that Whitlock's presence in the bullpen is going to make all that much difference at this point.
Whitlock's stuff is losing its sharpness in the rotation and his last start was brutal. I really think they're going to Bard this kid (without the thoracic outlet syndrome complication) if they keep him on this path. He was dominant in the pen and they've weakened the pen in order to get a starter who is not all that effective.
 

Rovin Romine

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It is magnified when they coincide with the start of the season.
I'd say it's impactful - meaning a team that starts poorly must finish excellently to make the post-season. They have no margin to go through a bad mid-summer slump, because they've already racked up a certain number of losses. Teams that start bad and slump midway - those are just bad teams.
 

tims4wins

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87 wins may, or may not, result in a WC berth. So they may have already tanked the season. We just won't know until we see how the top 6 favorites shape up.

They're playing the CWS (3), BAL (5), and CIN (2) over the next 10 games. Yes, there are two obvious sub .500 teams in there, but that's kind of the point. If we assume later series against the Rays and Yanks are going to be tougher and skew more toward splits, we have to win here and now.

If the Sox stay red-hot and go 10-0, they'll stand at 29-22, and a 90 win target (solid post season chance) in the remaining 111 games would require 61 wins (.549):
10-0 - .549​
9-1 - .558​
8-2 - .567​
7-3 - .576​
6-4 - .585​
5-5 - .594​
4-6 - .603​
3-7 - .612​
2-8 - .621​
1-9 - .630​
0-10 - .639​

This is the set for the more modest 87 win target (which is maybe? a 50% chance of making the post season):
10-0 - .522​
9-1 - .531​
8-2 - .540​
7-3 - .549​
6-4 - .558​
5-5 - .567​
4-6 - .576​
3-7 - .585​
2-8 - .594​
1-9 - .603​
0-10 - .612​
Last year they went .568 over the whole season, hot start and all.

If .568 is the approximate talent level (against better teams in the remaining games), they're still right on the edge.

That said, if they manhandle the next 10 games, and take stock the morning of the 11th. . .they'd be solidly in the mix for the postseason. Going 5-5 puts them in the question mark category. If they go below .500, they're pretty much done.
I thought I saw that 87 wins would get you into the playoffs a much higher % of the time than 50% in the new team era, but I can't seem to find the data.

Edit: going through the standings since 2000, 6th most wins in the AL:
2000: 85
2001: 83
2002: 93
2003: 86
2004: 89
2005: 88
2006: 89
2007: 88
2008: 88
2009: 86
2010: 88
2011: 86
2012: 89
2013: 91
2014: 87
2015: 85
2016: 86
2017: 80
2018: 90
2019: 93
2021: 91

Looks like 87 wins would get you in 9 out of the last 21 years, ~43%.

88+ wins: 13 out of 21

89+ wins: 16 out of 21

90+ wins: 17 out of 21

91+ wins: 19 out of 21

92+ wins: 19 out of 21

93+ wins: 21 out of 21

So yeah, looks like you'd be pretty comfortable around 89 wins.
 
Last edited:

BringBackMo

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I'd say it's impactful - meaning a team that starts poorly must finish excellently to make the post-season. They have no margin to go through a bad mid-summer slump, because they've already racked up a certain number of losses. Teams that start bad and slump midway - those are just bad teams.
I don't really follow this line of thinking. It's a little like saying that if heads comes up 65 percent of the time in the first 300 flips, tails are going to have to get extremely lucky/hot in the next 700 flips to get to 50 percent. A team's potential is its potential, and that potential usually comes with peaks and valleys over the course of a season. When the season starts out as valleys, the peaks should be just as likely to occur over the course of the season. And, as we saw last year with the Sox, vice versa. Obviously injuries, unexpected poor performance, trades, and clubhouse morale/chemistry can all affect these outcomes, but when the various hot and cold streaks occur over the course of a season should be largely immaterial.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Whitlock's stuff is losing its sharpness in the rotation and his last start was brutal. I really think they're going to Bard this kid (without the thoracic outlet syndrome complication) if they keep him on this path. He was dominant in the pen and they've weakened the pen in order to get a starter who is not all that effective.
Whitlock was ill on Saturday. There's a strong case to be made that he shouldn't have been out there to begin with. He arguably shouldn't have even been in the ballpark if he was sick. Weird how there are still COVID protocols that rule otherwise healthy players out for close contacts (like Vazquez missing a game because Plawecki tested positive) yet presumably Whitlock had a non-COVID illness (maybe the same one that has felled Verdugo?) and was at the park every day and then pitching while still under the weather. And complimented endlessly for his "guttiness" for being out there. Such an outdated point of view after the last couple years.

By the logic of losing his sharpness in the rotation, every fucking pitcher should be a reliever. Every single one of them. Because "stuff" plays up when you're only asked to go all out for 15-20 pitches versus trying to throw 80+ in an outing. Whitlock is a starter and he's going to remain a starter. And they're not going to Bard him, whatever that's supposed to mean. Daniel Bard went to shit way before they attempted to move him to the rotation. Making him a starter isn't what fucked him up.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Whitlock was ill on Saturday. There's a strong case to be made that he shouldn't have been out there to begin with. He arguably shouldn't have even been in the ballpark if he was sick. Weird how there are still COVID protocols that rule otherwise healthy players out for close contacts (like Vazquez missing a game because Plawecki tested positive) yet presumably Whitlock had a non-COVID illness (maybe the same one that has felled Verdugo?) and was at the park every day and then pitching while still under the weather.

By the logic of losing his sharpness in the rotation, every fucking pitcher should be a reliever. Every single one of them. Because "stuff" plays up when you're only asked to go all out for 15-20 pitches versus trying to throw 80+ in an outing. Whitlock is a starter and he's going to remain a starter. And they're not going to Bard him, whatever that's supposed to mean. Daniel Bard went to shit way before they attempted to move him to the rotation. Making him a starter isn't what fucked him up.
It doesn't have to be that way. This is a choice the team is making.

Agreed that if he was that sick he shouldn't have been pitching. That's just stupid.