Second Guesser's Club - The Rangers (How about some defense guys)

absintheofmalaise

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Game 1: 4/7 7:10pm Tanner Sheppers (RHP) vs. John Lackey (RHP) NESN and ESPN
Game 2: 4/8 6:10pm Martin Perez (LHP) vs. Felix Doubront (LHP) NESN
Game 3: 4/9 4:05pm Robert Ross (LHP) vs. Jake Peavy (RHP) NESN and MLBN
 
The Ryan Roberts Era begins!
 

absintheofmalaise

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Rangers line up tonight:
 
[background=transparent]Choo LF[/background]
[background=transparent]Andrus SS[/background]
[background=transparent]Fielder 1B[/background]
[background=transparent]Beltre DH[/background]
[background=transparent]Rios RF[/background]
[background=transparent]Murphy 2B[/background]
[background=transparent]Choice CF[/background]
[background=transparent]Chirinos C[/background]
[background=transparent]Wilson 3B[/background]
[background=transparent]Perez LHP[/background]
 

Saints Rest

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So I guess Ross/AJP isn't going to be a straight platoon . . .?  I had figured that handedness of the opposing pitcher would determine the starter at least until there was a determination taht any given RS SP had developed a preference for one over the other OR if we had had a run of opponent SP's all of the same hand.
 

absintheofmalaise

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Saints Rest said:
So I guess Ross/AJP isn't going to be a straight platoon . . .?  I had figured that handedness of the opposing pitcher would determine the starter at least until there was a determination taht any given RS SP had developed a preference for one over the other OR if we had had a run of opponent SP's all of the same hand.
I was curious about that too. I wonder if AJP starting tonight has something to do with the throws Ross attempted on Sunday. Ross caught the game Doubront started in Baltimore. Maybe they want to see how AJP and Doubront work together.
 

Puffy

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absintheofmalaise said:
I was curious about that too. I wonder if AJP starting tonight has something to do with the throws Ross attempted on Sunday. Ross caught the game Doubront started in Baltimore. Maybe they want to see how AJP and Doubront work together.
 
Perhaps they are taking it slow with Ross due to the foot soreness that he experienced during spring training. They're probably facing 2 other lefties in the next 4 games (R. Ross tomororw and probably Sabathia on Friday). Perhaps they want to go AJ - Ross - AJ - Ross - AJ for the next 5 days, rather than give Ross 3 starts in 5 days.
 

Al Zarilla

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Saints Rest said:
So I guess Ross/AJP isn't going to be a straight platoon . . .?  I had figured that handedness of the opposing pitcher would determine the starter at least until there was a determination taht any given RS SP had developed a preference for one over the other OR if we had had a run of opponent SP's all of the same hand.
AJ had 3 hits last night and Farrell is a momentum guy = AJ starts, albeit with a lefty going for Texas.
 

Reverend

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He has pronounced career splits, but the last three years haven't been so pronounced.
 
[tablegrid= AJP Splits: Last Three Years ] PA   Avg   OBP   Slg     v. LHP v. RHP v. LHP v. RHP v. LHP v. RHP v. LHP v. RHP 2013 176 353 .279 .269 .318 .286 .400 .438 2012 121 399 .248 .287 .283 .338 .389 .536 2011 87 413 .305 .283 .345 .319 .463 .393 [/tablegrid] 
 
Obviously the sample sizes differences are significant, but they might like to see how versatile he can be with respect to the platoon.
 

derekson

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In the 7th inning after Bradley's double, Gomes was up with 1 out and runners on second and third. With Frasor on the mound, this was a perfect situation to go to the other half of the LF platoon and pinch hit with Daniel Nava. Instead Farrell stuck with Gomes who struck out on a pitch in the dirt.
 
Farrell has been way too passive in using his bench so far this season. At least when it was Pierzynski there were arguments about keeping a catcher on the bench and not tiring out the legs of both 37 year old catchers etc. But with Gomes there really is no reason to be hesitant to PH with either Nava or Carp. They are both significantly better hitters than Gomes is against RHP. Furthermore, this roster was built around platooning at multiple positions, and if Farrell isn't going to actually platoon properly then Cherington needs to stop acquiring platoon players and find guys with more balanced splits who can play everyday and face both RHP and LHP.
 

Plympton91

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Nava's slow start coinciding with the team struggling is just going to reinforce Farrell's belief in the mystical powers of Johnny Gomes to will the Red Sox to win simply by being on the field even when he makes negative individual contributions to the efforts. The fact that tonight was a lost cause mitigates to some extent the failure to seek every advantage, but I think your point about Cherington's philosophy of exploiting platoon advantages to gain payroll flexibility running up against a manager who only partially on board with the strategy is something to watch going forward.  
 
The biggest problem with this team so far this year remains an inability to execute fundamentals on defense, and that is best described as world series hangover.  They need to get their heads out of their asses.  
 

geoduck no quahog

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Seriously, isn't it a little early to start judging anyone's performance in 2014? Should we start crowning Solarte ROY and Yankee savior?

I vote we let at least a month of games go by before making pronouncements. Hopefully some of those games will be in baseball weather.
 

mwonow

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geoduck no quahog said:
Seriously, isn't it a little early to start judging anyone's performance in 2014? Should we start crowning Solarte ROY and Yankee savior?

I vote we let at least a month of games go by before making pronouncements. Hopefully some of those games will be in baseball weather.
Nah - wrong thread.
 
Badenhop - it's from the Swahili "Bad" (flag) "en" (white) "hop" (waive)
 

MakMan44

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Badenhop was terrible today but he's been a solid middle reliever since 2009. In his defense too, he had a .417 BABIP today. 
 

yep

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geoduck no quahog said:
Seriously, isn't it a little early to start judging anyone's performance in 2014? Should we start crowning Solarte ROY and Yankee savior?

I vote we let at least a month of games go by before making pronouncements. Hopefully some of those games will be in baseball weather.
There is an intrinsic and I think inescapable conundrum to "versatile"/"value"-type roster-construction, that makes it hard to know precisely what you are doing right or wrong. When there is always someone on the bench who is better at something, but worse at other things, than one of the guys on the field or in the lineup, it creates a warm happy glow when you're winning, and a sick, second-guessing anxiety when you're losing. 
 
A -4 run differential with a 3-5 record in 8 games isn't horrible, sample-size-wise, and if those numbers were reversed (as randomness could easily have them), it might feel more like a solid-but-uninspiring start. 
 
But the Red Sox haven't exactly been playing against the cream of the MLB crop, and the "ways" they have been winning/losing aren't especially confidence-inspiring in a statistical or "eyeball-test" sense. Monday's early lead on the Rangers looked like a Harlem Globetrotters game, with the Rangers defense in the role of whack-a-doo jobbers, hired to lose.  Edging out the tragic Orioles for a couple of games is completely undone by getting swept by Milwaukee  at home, especially with the bullpen embarrassments.
 

teddywingman

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What bugged me about tonight's game is how clear it seems that last year's team wins that game. At least three hits by the Rangers tonight would have been outs with Iglesias/Drew at short and Ellsbury in center--and they were all on plays that extended innings or resulted directly in runs.
 
With last years defense we're probably looking at a 7-6 Red Sox win, even if they still had managed to hit into 5 double plays.
 
Now I don't mean to shit on Bogaerts--what he brings with the bat is undeniable and he's a smart player. He very well might yet develop into an above average SS, but right now he's not. Defensively he's average at best. It's like he's not quick enough with his first step--because he's not slow. But you see the good defensive infielders--or like Pedroia the great infielders--they are moving a split second even before the moment of contact.
 
I don't know what you do about the situation at short. I was in the Sign Drew camp, but that ship has sailed.
 
But then there's Sizemore. This is an easy fix. JBJ is the every day center fielder from this day forward, OK? Sizemore's bat seems to be a nice asset. Figure out where it fits in the lineup on a daily basis.
 

Puffy

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teddywingman said:
What bugged me about tonight's game is how clear it seems that last year's team wins that game. At least three hits by the Rangers tonight would have been outs with Iglesias/Drew at short and Ellsbury in center--and they were all on plays that extended innings or resulted directly in runs.
 
With last years defense we're probably looking at a 7-6 Red Sox win, even if they still had managed to hit into 5 double plays.
 
Now I don't mean to shit on Bogaerts--what he brings with the bat is undeniable and he's a smart player. He very well might yet develop into an above average SS, but right now he's not. Defensively he's average at best. It's like he's not quick enough with his first step--because he's not slow. But you see the good defensive infielders--or like Pedroia the great infielders--they are moving a split second even before the moment of contact.
 
I don't know what you do about the situation at short. I was in the Sign Drew camp, but that ship has sailed.
 
But then there's Sizemore. This is an easy fix. JBJ is the every day center fielder from this day forward, OK? Sizemore's bat seems to be a nice asset. Figure out where it fits in the lineup on a daily basis.
 
I was worried it might come to this with Sizemore. It's been at least 6 years since he was an above average defensive CF. I don't know, maybe he's a little rusty out there, but it looks like he's lost a couple of steps. It's obviously not the best situation for the Sox if he is really ultimately best suited to LF.  Thankfully, JBJ's strong play lately may eventually force the issue and makes up for the loss of Victorino. Funny how Victorino is kind of the lynchpin in both the lineup and outfield defensive arrangement.
 

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I wonder if a 4:00 start is too early for back-to-backs for Sizemore.  Does 3 hours make that big a difference?
 
Because Ross had a significant reverse split last season, so I'd really prefer a Gomes/Sizemore/JBJ outfield.  This way we get Nava's defense in right, hitting from his weaker side, against a guy who has been tough on righties.
 

Plympton91

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Pinch hitting AJ for Nava worked out well but brings two questions. First, taking superficial looks at long sample sizes into account it was asinine. Second, was this just a move made because Nava is in such a deep funk right now or is there something more they have. Going back to last years playoffs they started playing Gomes over Nava against all the pitchers throwing 95 plus. Ogando is another of those pitchers. Have they used their Cray supercomputer to determine that Nava is just relatively helpless against that premium heat and we'll see more of this type of "platooning" over the season? And, if true, does it argue for keeping Carp over Nava if the Sizemore roster crunch ever materializes?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I think the more surprising aspect of pinch hitting Pierzynski for Gomes was that it wasn't Sizemore, particularly when Sizemore then pinch ran for Pierzynski.  While it worked out, it seemed to be a double no-no based on past precedent: pinch hitting with your back-up catcher then removing him from the game, and fully emptying the bench before the 9th inning.  Ortiz really bailed them out on that one by giving them a two run lead to hand to Koji.  If they'd managed to only tie the game in the eighth, they could have been in trouble going forward.
 

KillerBs

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
I think the more surprising aspect of pinch hitting Pierzynski for Gomes was that it wasn't Sizemore, particularly when Sizemore then pinch ran for Pierzynski.  While it worked out, it seemed to be a double no-no based on past precedent: pinch hitting with your back-up catcher then removing him from the game, and fully emptying the bench before the 9th inning.  Ortiz really bailed them out on that one by giving them a two run lead to hand to Koji.  If they'd managed to only tie the game in the eighth, they could have been in trouble going forward.
 
It was a bizarre series of decisions true. This is just a two batters after letting Ross hit vs a RHPer. Love to hear Farrell's explanation for these decisions. I was thinking he had decided to give Sizemore and AJP a full day off but apparently not. At the same time, I see it is as a positive that he was willing to risk getting down to one C late in the game and willing to PH for Gomes vs a tough RHP late.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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KillerBs said:
 
It was a bizarre series of decisions true. This is just a two batters after letting Ross hit vs a RHPer. Love to hear Farrell's explanation for these decisions. I was thinking he had decided to give Sizemore and AJP a full day off but apparently not. At the same time, I see it is as a positive that he was willing to risk getting down to one C late in the game and willing to PH for Gomes vs a tough RHP late.
 
Letting Ross hit had everything to do with the fact that there were two outs and no one on at that point.  The chances of sparking a two-out rally weren't great enough to make a substitution worthwhile.  Whereas when Gomes came up, there were no outs and a runner on...a rally (or rally in the making) was already in progress and a pinch hitter there had a greater chance to impact the situation.  That was a pretty obvious call.  The strange part was the who hit rather than that there was a pinch hitter at all.
 

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
I think the more surprising aspect of pinch hitting Pierzynski for Gomes was that it wasn't Sizemore, particularly when Sizemore then pinch ran for Pierzynski.  While it worked out, it seemed to be a double no-no based on past precedent: pinch hitting with your back-up catcher then removing him from the game, and fully emptying the bench before the 9th inning.  Ortiz really bailed them out on that one by giving them a two run lead to hand to Koji.  If they'd managed to only tie the game in the eighth, they could have been in trouble going forward.
 
This was my feeling at the time too. Farrell basically obliterated everything that these threads had speculated about with respect to his reasoning in past discussions. It might be interesting to look back at the other specific situations where people wanted him to pinch hit for the catcher and see what's different and what's similar, but, as you say, he is definitely willing to clear the bench.
 
Farrell didn't look as ebullient as some after the game. Wonder if it's relief that it came through.
 

smastroyin

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Letting AJP pinch hit had to be some kind of matchup thing.  AJP is not really a good enough hitter to warrant a PH appearance except in specific matchup or desperation circumstances.  When you then pinch run Sizemore, it does make you wonder why Sizemore didn't just pinch hit in the first place, as noted.  It worked out pretty well, but largely because AJP made really crappy contact - it's not like he hit a rocket down the line.  
 
Small sample size always applies, but with WMB and Victorino unavailable, the bench empties quickly.  You really don't have much choice but to PH for Roberts in late and close, but that requires two bench players since you also need to sub Herrera in the field.  WMB will be back soon, but part of me wonders if Cecchini will get a shot the next time this comes up, especially if he stays hot in Pawtucket (it's only a week, I know).  They could really use a guy that they don't need to PH for at 3B, especially once you add in all the platoon (dis)advantage they experience.
 
Also, while second guessing is supposed to be about the managers - I was at that game and I second guess the intelligence of having 4:05 games at Fenway.  The sun glare was horrific and getting to the ballpark sucked (it was still half empty when I arrived there at about 4:45).  As well, they stopped serving beer at essentially 6 PM which is just when you want one.  Keep them at 1:05 or 2:05.  Sure you have to take a half day from work and/or pull the kids out of school, but that's half the fun of weekday day games.  4:05 is like one of those things where you compromise by making everyone unhappy.
 

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
I think the more surprising aspect of pinch hitting Pierzynski for Gomes was that it wasn't Sizemore, particularly when Sizemore then pinch ran for Pierzynski.  While it worked out, it seemed to be a double no-no based on past precedent: pinch hitting with your back-up catcher then removing him from the game, and fully emptying the bench before the 9th inning.  Ortiz really bailed them out on that one by giving them a two run lead to hand to Koji.  If they'd managed to only tie the game in the eighth, they could have been in trouble going forward.
 
I wonder if this means they will risk losing the DH, putting Ortiz at First, and putting Napoli behind the plate if something happened to the final catcher.  I know they would not have done that last year, but they did let Napoli warm up the pitchers between innings in Fort Myers last month . . .