Second Guesser's Club - The Rays

absintheofmalaise

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Game 1: 4/29 7:10pm Bedard LHP vs. Lackey RHP MLBN
Game 2: 4/30 7:10pm Archer RHP vs. Doubront LHP ESPN  1:05pm Ramos LHP vs. Peavy RHP
Game 3: 5/1 7:10 PM Ramos LHP vs. Peavy RHP MLBN  Archer RHP vs. Doubront LHP
 

Savin Hillbilly

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This series will be a pretty good litmus test for the offense as a whole. Archer is a pretty good pitcher, but we've done OK against him. The two lefties we should murderize. Bedard's corpse has given up a 28.6% LD rate and a 5.72 SIERA, while Ramos is a junk-dealing, flyball-throwing career reliever who has been walking a lot of people this year, perhaps because they aren't missing when he throws strikes (>95% Z-contact). His career OPS after the first time through the order is around .950.
 
It's clobberin' time. If we don't score at least 15 runs over the three games, we suck. I think the over/under should be around 18-19.
 
EDIT: to remove Sizemore non sequitur.
 

Saints Rest

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Savin Hillbilly said:
This series will be a pretty good litmus test for the offense as a whole. Archer is a pretty good pitcher, but we've done OK against him. The two lefties we should murderize. Bedard's corpse has given up a 28.6% LD rate and a 5.72 SIERA, while Ramos is a junk-dealing, flyball-throwing career reliever who has been walking a lot of people this year, perhaps because they aren't missing when he throws strikes (>95% Z-contact). His career OPS after the first time through the order is around .950.
 
It's clobberin' time. If we don't score at least 15 runs over the three games, we suck. I think the over/under should be around 18-19.
 
EDIT: to remove Sizemore non sequitur.
Your lips, god's ears.  This team could really use a good old-fashioned run of runs, multiple games with multiple runs, contagious offense, etc.  I think that would go a long way to helping the team's psyche and fueling some improvement for both the pitchers and the fielders.  It has seemed like everyone has been playing too much of the time as though they can't allow any runs.  Let them have a few blowouts, so they all can relax.
 

pokey_reese

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We are missing Price, so it's hard to imagine how much luckier we can get (not that he has been dealing this year like he has in the past, but he always seems to kill us).  We certainly seem to have the pitching advantage in two out of the three games, so I will be pretty disappointed if we can't win this series.
 

bellowthecat

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Every year it seems like the Sox and Rays have a mid-April game in Boston rained out.  With all the rain due tomorrow through Thursday I'll be amazed if we don't see another one.  Would be a shame to miss Cesar Ramos at Fenway and get hit with David Price in a make-up.  Sox should win 2 out of 3.  Here's hoping for health through the rain, the good Doubront to show up, and the bats to break out loud.
 

teddywingman

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pokey_reese said:
I like that lineup, both in terms of who is playing today, and the order in which they will be coming to the plate.
I'd take Ross over AJP, but other than that--this lineup should score tonight.

Hopefully this series will be a turning point.
 

koufax37

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Savin Hillbilly said:
I think Farrell's strategy is to underuse Ross early so he stays fresh enough to overuse when/if the games count.
 
One can only hope.  Until his brain was scrambled I was waving the flag last year that he should have gotten more than half of the playing time, and I feel the same way right now.  Play matchups and schedule somewhat, but make sure Ross is getting 51% of the playing time as our best catcher on the roster.  Especially if one definite option to consider is releasing AJP in a month and calling up Yadier Vazquez.
 

Plympton91

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Ross has seemed sort of shaky this season to me; the throws arent' there and several balls have gotten by him that I thought wouldn't have last year.  Probably all just random variation, but he is aging and we don't know how fast.  So I'm not sure the 50/50 split works at this point when you also factor in the desire to keep him fresh.  Like others, I don't get the reluctance to go with a straight platoon though.  That wouldn't overwork Ross at all, and it would provide the most consistent matchup advantages.
 

koufax37

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Plympton91 said:
Ross has seemed sort of shaky this season to me; the throws arent' there and several balls have gotten by him that I thought wouldn't have last year.  Probably all just random variation, but he is aging and we don't know how fast.  So I'm not sure the 50/50 split works at this point when you also factor in the desire to keep him fresh.  Like others, I don't get the reluctance to go with a straight platoon though.  That wouldn't overwork Ross at all, and it would provide the most consistent matchup advantages.
 
Yeah, hard to get a real feel for 37 year old catchers, but I know what you mean.
 
The problem with a strict platoon is that AJP doesn't have strong enough career splits to need to stay away from lefties (and unlike some catchers who are favorably sheltered, he played enough to play against plenty of elite LHP so I don't think is real platoon split is hidden behind matchup selection bias).  And Ross probably does have some matchup selection bias inflating his RHP numbers, but he is nearly identical in his career splits with no noticeable platoon advantage.
 
I think certainly every time AJP starts against a LHP a kitten loses its wings, but I would like to see Ross get starts against RHP who don't themselves have strong platoon splits, and even though I know Farrell won't humor me, I would like to see him enter games he doesn't start more often as a better matchup against left handed relievers.
 
I don't think the gap between the two in actual baseball game winning ability is significant enough to pull out my hair, but my enjoyment gap certainly is, and I can't wait for AJP to join Gagne and Aceves as ex-Red Sox.
 

thehitcat

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This month of baseball has seemed interminable to me and yet here we are with one game left in the month and the chance to exit at 14-14  and in the heart of the AL East fight.  Every team goes through huge stretches of mediocre baseball.  It sucks that some of ours came out of the gate but if this team is good they will continue to hang around and eventually (hopefully) get hot.  
 
Let's get tonight's game and head into May with a basically clean slate.
 

teddywingman

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I agree with Plympton and Koufax. Ross hasn't looked sharp this year, but when comparing the two defensively--it's probably a wash. And though he hasn't shown it (possibly from not playing much) I do think Ross has the edge as a backstop.
 
It's early of course and AJP might learn the pitching staff--call better games--stop dropping the ball once every 8 pitches--and maybe even stop being so easy to hate; but I'll take two out of four.
 
And you know who I blame for this? Bill James. 100% Bill James.
 
 
Get your head out of yer ass Bill.
 
MLB Network’s “Top 10 Catchers Right Now”
  1. Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
  2. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
  3. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
  4. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
  5. Jason Castro – Houston Astros
  6. Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers
  7. Carlos Ruiz – Philadelphia Phillies
  8. Miguel Montero – Arizona Diamondbacks
  9. Wilin Rosario – Colorado Rockies
  10. Wilson Ramos – Washington Nationals
The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will apparently also provide three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Catchers was Dave Valle. Here are their individual Top 10′s.
Kenny: Posey, Molina, Santana, Brian McCann (NYY), Perez, Lucroy, Castro, Ruiz, Russell Martin (PIT), Montero
James: Posey, Molina, Perez, A.J. Pierzynski (BOS), Matt Wieters (BAL), Santana, Rosario, McCann, Lucroy, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (MIA)
Valle: Molina, Perez, Posey, Wieters, Ramos, Martin, McCann, A.J. Ellis (LAD), Lucroy, Castro
 

derekson

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koufax37 said:
 
Yeah, hard to get a real feel for 37 year old catchers, but I know what you mean.
 
The problem with a strict platoon is that AJP doesn't have strong enough career splits to need to stay away from lefties (and unlike some catchers who are favorably sheltered, he played enough to play against plenty of elite LHP so I don't think is real platoon split is hidden behind matchup selection bias).  And Ross probably does have some matchup selection bias inflating his RHP numbers, but he is nearly identical in his career splits with no noticeable platoon advantage.
 
I think certainly every time AJP starts against a LHP a kitten loses its wings, but I would like to see Ross get starts against RHP who don't themselves have strong platoon splits, and even though I know Farrell won't humor me, I would like to see him enter games he doesn't start more often as a better matchup against left handed relievers.
 
I don't think the gap between the two in actual baseball game winning ability is significant enough to pull out my hair, but my enjoyment gap certainly is, and I can't wait for AJP to join Gagne and Aceves as ex-Red Sox.
 
 
He doesn't? Since when?
 
Career platoon splits for Pierzynski:
 
Vs RHP: .287/.329/.438 (98 wRC+)
Vs LHP: .265/.295/.393 (78 wRC+)
 
He goes from a league average hitter against RHP to 20% below league average against LHP. He's had a few fluky years where his performance against LHP has been good, but the larger picture over his career shows a guy with pretty typical splits for a LHB. It seems like Pierzynski's starts against LHP have mostly come based on success against those particular LHP in small samples. For example, Pierzynski started today against Bedard seemingly because he was 9-21 w/2 HR against Bedard before this game. This seems like a poor way to handle the platoon decisions considering that most batter vs. hitter match ups are small samples that likely show more noise than signal.
 
Platoon splits aside, I'd like to see much closer to a 50/50 job sharing situation because, as you mentioned, Ross doesn't have big platoon splits over his career and Ross is a much better defensive catcher from what I have seen. Pierzynski's throwing, blocking, and framing all seem subpar, and I've seen enough 2 strike hits and home runs to make me start to question his game calling too. While Ross's throwing hasn't looked great so far this year either, he threw well last season and the rest of his defensive game looks as good as ever.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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koufax37 said:
 
One can only hope.  Until his brain was scrambled I was waving the flag last year that he should have gotten more than half of the playing time, and I feel the same way right now.  Play matchups and schedule somewhat, but make sure Ross is getting 51% of the playing time as our best catcher on the roster.  Especially if one definite option to consider is releasing AJP in a month and calling up Yadier Vazquez.
 
You're dreaming if you think it's a "definite" option to release Pierzynski, particularly in the next month.  As frustrating as we may find his impatient free swinging style, as long as he's putting up a .300+ OBP and a .700+ OPS like he is now, he's going to remain the regular starting catcher for the Red Sox.  And by regular, I mean the strong half of a platoon at minimum and more likely the guy getting no less than 65-70% of the starts regardless of the opposing pitcher's handedness.
 

joe dokes

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I understand the sentiment for suggesting a 50/50 split at catcher.  But Ross is 37 and has only played in more than 70 games twice in his career, the last in 2007.  Expecting him to play 81 seems like a reach.
 

Dogman2

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
You're dreaming if you think it's a "definite" option to release Pierzynski, particularly in the next month.  As frustrating as we may find his impatient free swinging style, as long as he's putting up a .300+ OBP and a .700+ OPS like he is now, he's going to remain the regular starting catcher for the Red Sox.  And by regular, I mean the strong half of a platoon at minimum and more likely the guy getting no less than 65-70% of the starts regardless of the opposing pitcher's handedness.
 
I'm getting the feeling that people are forgetting how free swinging Salty was as a Red Sox. His numbers in 3 years as a Red Sox: .243/.304/.453 and he averaged 18 and 60. AJP in the last 3 years: .278/.316/.431 with 17 and 50.  Why are people looking for a change, especially on a 1 year deal for "cheap" money?  If it's the pitching, that hasn't been the problem in this young season?
 

Darnell's Son

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Dogman2 said:
 
I'm getting the feeling that people are forgetting how free swinging Salty was as a Red Sox. His numbers in 3 years as a Red Sox: .243/.304/.453 and he averaged 18 and 60. AJP in the last 3 years: .278/.316/.431 with 17 and 50.  Why are people looking for a change, especially on a 1 year deal for "cheap" money?  If it's the pitching, that hasn't been the problem in this young season?
 
I think it's just the time of the year. We only have a small sample size of mediocrity coming off of an amazing season. So fans feel the need to focus on what is wrong, even though it's probably too early to divine anything from what has occurred so far. We all knew going into the season that AJP wasn't going to be a fan favorite, but he came on a one year deal , and he's going to give us some power in an era where power is becoming hard to come by. 
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Dogman2 said:
 
I'm getting the feeling that people are forgetting how free swinging Salty was as a Red Sox. His numbers in 3 years as a Red Sox: .243/.304/.453 and he averaged 18 and 60.
 
Why does that prove he was a free swinger? In fact his swing percentages the past few years have been only moderately above league average (he ranks about 50th out of 150 qualifying players from 2012-14) and his P/PA and walk rates have been above average. His batting averages are low because he strikes out a lot--but he strikes out a lot because he misses a lot when he swings, not because he swings a lot. (This is the same mistake people made about Mike Cameron.)
 
I realize Salty is not walking back through the door, so it's kind of moot, but it still seems like an important distinction to make. AJ and Salty are opposite kinds of hitters. Salty has decent discipline but terrible contact. AJ has decent contact but terrible discipline.
 

WenZink

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
Why does that prove he was a free swinger? In fact his swing percentages the past few years have been only moderately above league average (he ranks about 50th out of 150 qualifying players from 2012-14) and his P/PA and walk rates have been above average. His batting averages are low because he strikes out a lot--but he strikes out a lot because he misses a lot when he swings, not because he swings a lot. (This is the same mistake people made about Mike Cameron.)
 
I realize Salty is not walking back through the door, so it's kind of moot, but it still seems like an important distinction to make. AJ and Salty are opposite kinds of hitters. Salty has decent discipline but terrible contact. AJ has decent contact but terrible discipline.
 
Good distinction regarding Salty v AJP.  But I really can't get my panties in a twist over Peirzynski, even if we're not used to seeing his kind of at-bats in a Sox lineup.  For whatever, reasons the Sox didn't want to make a multi-year commitment to Salty, and they probably didn't see him as a long term mentor to Vazquez, Swihart or Butler.  AJP is a credible catcher and not a black hole in the lineup.  It's not like they went out and signed Kelly Shoppach to a one year deal.  I can live with him even if, at times, I look like a crazy old man yelling at my television set.
 
Bigger question is does Ross have enough in the tank to be their "clutch" catcher down the stretch and into the playoffs?  And are they even considering bringing him back in a mentor role for 2015, when they'll presumably have one of their farm products playing behind the plate?
 

joe dokes

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Rudy Pemberton said:
David Ross is 37. Since acquired by the Sox, he's hit 208 / 279 / 377. He's struck out in 35% of his plate appearances.
 
He's still a solid defensive presence and you could do worse, and they should probably make sure as many of his AB's as possible are against LHP, but why exactly do people want to see him playing more?
 
Perhaps its his connection to Cy Young:
 
He played wth Jesse Orosco in 2002; who played with  (original Met) Ed Kranepool in 1979; who played with Gene Woodling in 1962; who played with Joe Heving in 1943; who played with Dave Bancroft in 1930; who played with Gavvy Cravath in 1915; who played with Cy Young in 1908.
 
 
Ok ...now back to second-guessing.
 

teddywingman

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joe dokes said:
 
Perhaps its his connection to Cy Young:
 
He played wth Jesse Orosco in 2002; who played with  (original Met) Ed Kranepool in 1979; who played with Gene Woodling in 1962; who played with Joe Heving in 1943; who played with Dave Bancroft in 1930; who played with Gavvy Cravath in 1915; who played with Cy Young in 1908.
 
 
Ok ...now back to second-guessing.
That and EHAJP
 

WenZink

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Rudy Pemberton said:
David Ross is 37. Since acquired by the Sox, he's hit 208 / 279 / 377. He's struck out in 35% of his plate appearances.
 
He's still a solid defensive presence and you could do worse, and they should probably make sure as many of his AB's as possible are against LHP, but why exactly do people want to see him playing more?
It has a lot to do with Farrell's decision to go primarily with David Ross in the WS, after game 2.  I understand that Ross only has so many bullets left.
 

Plympton91

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I think it's just the time of the year. We only have a small sample size of mediocrity coming off of an amazing season. So fans feel the need to focus on what is wrong, even though it's probably too early to divine anything from what has occurred so far. We all knew going into the season that AJP wasn't going to be a fan favorite, but he came on a one year deal , and he's going to give us some power in an era where power is becoming hard to come by
 
Doesn't that argue for signing a 28 year old power hitting catcher to a 3 year contract instead of a 37 year old catcher, because even if you think you've got a better internal option coming in 2 years, that power will still be valuable in a trade?
 

bluefenderstrat

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Plympton91 said:
 
Doesn't that argue for signing a 28 year old power hitting catcher to a 3 year contract instead of a 37 year old catcher, because even if you think you've got a better internal option coming in 2 years, that power will still be valuable in a trade?
 
Is it Groundhog Day again?
 

ishmael

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Well, I guess Farrell isn't afraid to bring in a second catcher as a pinch hitter. It worked out today, but folks here would have killed him if AJP GIDP'd.
 

Merkle's Boner

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It will be interesting to see who they bring up for the extra player in the nightcap.  With AJP pinch hitting, my immediate thought was that we may get a Vazquez one game sighting.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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rundugrun said:
I don't like Vic bunting in the 9th. Was he on his own there?
 
I'm gonna guess yes there.  Looked more like a drag bunt for a hit that didn't get far enough down the line than a straight sacrifice.  Regardless, I don't think it was a good idea.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Merkle's Boner said:
It will be interesting to see who they bring up for the extra player in the nightcap.  With AJP pinch hitting, my immediate thought was that we may get a Vazquez one game sighting.
 
My guess is it would have been a reliever if the bullpen had been taxed (Wilson?), but now it might just be an extra bat, just because they can
 

WenZink

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Merkle's Boner said:
It will be interesting to see who they bring up for the extra player in the nightcap.  With AJP pinch hitting, my immediate thought was that we may get a Vazquez one game sighting.
I guess they could do it for the sake of sh ts and giggles, but that would leave the Pawsox with just one catcher.  Why not Nava, for old times' sake?
 

czar

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rundugrun said:
I don't like Vic bunting in the 9th. Was he on his own there?
 
 
Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
I'm gonna guess yes there.  Looked more like a drag bunt for a hit that didn't get far enough down the line than a straight sacrifice.  Regardless, I don't think it was a good idea.
 
It was pretty obvious from his reaction at 1B that he was bunting for a hit, not a sacrifice. NESN showed a good replay which had Longo well back from the edge of the grass, so if SV pushes it another 10 feet or so, it seems like a likely single.
 
Single-run odds:
1 out, runner 1st: 28%
 
2 outs, runner 2nd: 24%
1 out, runners 1st-2nd: 43%
 
So really, the tip-even point was actually relatively small for him there. Given Longoria's placement, I'd say decent idea, just poor execution.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Lose Remerswaal said:
 
My guess is it would have been a reliever if the bullpen had been taxed (Wilson?), but now it might just be an extra bat, just because they can
 
It's Britton.
 

Merkle's Boner

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WenZink said:
I guess they could do it for the sake of sh ts and giggles, but that would leave the Pawsox with just one catcher.  Why not Nava, for old times' sake?
Yeah clearly I was wrong, but, unless there are some injuries I don't know about, I don't follow you here.  i thought they had Butler, Lavarnway, and Vazquez in Pawtucket.  That was actually one of the reasons I made the suggestion.
 

WenZink

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Merkle's Boner said:
Yeah clearly I was wrong, but, unless there are some injuries I don't know about, I don't follow you here.  i thought they had Butler, Lavarnway, and Vazquez in Pawtucket.  That was actually one of the reasons I made the suggestion.
Of course, you're right about Lavarnway.  I'd assumed he was strictly 1B/DH this year, and was out of consideration, but a check at his stats shows he's played parts of 6 games this year.  But the point I should have made (but did not) was that they don't often shuttle in kids for short stints early in the season -- I think it disturbs their concentration on their full-time job.