Where the Red Sox have gone wrong

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David Kaiser

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Feb 13, 2017
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So far, much of the bad Red Sox start has to be put down to bad luck, or random performance variance. There's no way that the team that won 108 games last year can be anywhere near this bad over a whole season. On the other hand, the Red Sox in my opinion did not assess themselves realistically after last season and failed to take some very simple steps that might have put them in much better shape for this year.

Last year's team, as I pointed out then, was a bit lucky to win 108 games--they projected to win only 103, while the Astros projected to win 109. They were good enough to finish 22 games over .500. Using Wins Above Average as I calculate it (see baseballgreatness.com if you are interested), I found that the lineup (hitting plus fielding) contributed 9 of those games (10 at bat), while the pitchers contributed 13 (which tied with both New York and Cleveland.)

Of the pitchers, Chris Sale contributed 4.7 of those WAA, a tremendous figure. He clearly doesn't look as if he is going to do that again. David Price contributed a fine 2.6 and could do it again. Then Rodriguez, Porcello, Kimbrel (RIP), Wright, Brasier, and Velazquez were all between 1-2 WAA, which is a very good situation to be in. It looks now as if the pitchers will not match last year's performance of 13 WAA but they may not be too far off of it.

As for the lineup, four full-time players contributed nearly 20 WAA: Betts (8.1), Martinez (6.6), Bogaerts (3.2), and Benintendi (2). Betts's 8.1 by the way is the highest figure for any player in the Millennial generation ever--Mike Trout has never had 8.1 WAA as I calculate it. That was wonderful, but the odds are way against him being that good again, obviously. The same is true of Martinez, for whom that performance was unprecedented, and Bogaerts, who did so well because he improved his defense. Don't get me wrong: all those guys remain big assets, but they are most unlikely to do as well this year. Benintendi had 2 WAA and could easily improve that.

The catch is--except for Steve Pearce, whose 1.1 WAA can't be taken very seriously since he played so little, those were the only significant assets on the team. Devers was average overall last year--he could improve a bit, certianly. Jackie Bradley was a full game below average. The combined first basemen (including Pearce) were average. The combined second basemen plus Brock Holt totaled a remarkable -5.9 below average. The three catchers totaled -4.7 below average. (Leon and Vazquez had been much better in recent years.)

Now that should have been, in a way, good news. The easiest way to improve your team is to replace dreadful players with average ones. An average catcher or an average second baseman would have helped the team this year as much as adding a new superstar. But the team did nothing to strengthen its catching and counted on Pedroia's return, apparently, to help at second base. It doesn't look like that strategy will pay off.

I still expect the team to win over 90 games and at least contend for a wild card but there was never any reason to think they would win anywhere near 108 games.

David Kaiser
 

BaseballJones

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Last year the Yankees won 100 games. They had a 6-10 stretch from July 15 through August 5.

The 2004 Red Sox won 98 games. They had a 5-9 stretch from May 1 through May 13. Then an 11-14 stretch from May 27 through June 14.

The 2017 Dodgers won 104 games. They had a 5-9 stretch from April 7 through April 22.

I could go on and on. The point is simply that even highly successful teams go through awful stretches. The Sox happen to be having this at the start.
 

David Kaiser

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I completely agree with that and I was not reasoning from the start. Indeed I'm sorry I didn't make that whole post before the season started, as I easily could have.



Last year the Yankees won 100 games. They had a 6-10 stretch from July 15 through August 5.

The 2004 Red Sox won 98 games. They had a 5-9 stretch from May 1 through May 13. Then an 11-14 stretch from May 27 through June 14.

The 2017 Dodgers won 104 games. They had a 5-9 stretch from April 7 through April 22.

I could go on and on. The point is simply that even highly successful teams go through awful stretches. The Sox happen to be having this at the start.
 

uncannymanny

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Boston --> NYC --> LA --> NYC
Last year the Yankees won 100 games. They had a 6-10 stretch from July 15 through August 5.

The 2004 Red Sox won 98 games. They had a 5-9 stretch from May 1 through May 13. Then an 11-14 stretch from May 27 through June 14.

The 2017 Dodgers won 104 games. They had a 5-9 stretch from April 7 through April 22.

I could go on and on. The point is simply that even highly successful teams go through awful stretches. The Sox happen to be having this at the start.
The 2004 Red Sox were ONE game over .500 for the entirety of May through July.
 

Adrian's Dome

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Does nobody who beats the "the 2018 Sox outperformed their pythag" drum remember that they completely took their foot off the gas once the division was locked down and they were playing without Sale?
 

BaseballJones

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The 2013 Red Sox had a 2-9 stretch from May 3 through May 14. But they also had a 12-4 stretch, a 12-3 stretch, a 9-1 stretch, and a 17-4 stretch. So yes, having one big winning run can happen, and it would pull this team right out of this hole.
 

TheoShmeo

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There are lots of reasons why the Sox have started off so poorly.

I will focus on one.

Dave Dombrowski failed to adequately address the weakness in his pen at the trade deadlines last season. That, in turn, forced Alex Cora to use his starters in the pen throughout the post season and in many key spots. That, in turn, lead Cora to “re-invent” (too strong, I know) the preparation of the starters in the pre-season. And that, in turn, might be and probably is part of why his starters have performed like dreck to start the season, with a few exceptions (last Price and Eovaldi starts in particular).

There are of course many other reasons and nothing is simple/straightforward.

But I think part of the suck is tied to DD’s failure at the trading deadlines.
 

DeadlySplitter

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It’s mostly been awful starting pitching plus a bunch of underperformers in the lineup, mixed in with some sleepy defense.

Bullpen has been overall average. The rotation will come around, they need most of JBJ, Devers, Betts, 2B black hole to contribute immediately
 

dhappy42

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It’s mostly been awful starting pitching plus a bunch of underperformers in the lineup, mixed in with some sleepy defense.

Bullpen has been overall average. The rotation will come around, they need most of JBJ, Devers, Betts, 2B black hole to contribute immediately
Rough measurements:

Starter ERA is 6.70, worst in MLB. Average is 4.29.

Bullpen ERA is 5.15, ranked 23rd. Average is 4.34.

Offensive OPS is .675, ranked 20th. Average is .738.

Defensive errors = 14. League average = 11.

Defense hasn’t been very good, but that’s not the problem. And you’d expect more errors when pitching sucks because more balls in play.
 

DirtyWater90

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Nov 26, 2018
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Last year the Yankees won 100 games. They had a 6-10 stretch from July 15 through August 5.

The 2004 Red Sox won 98 games. They had a 5-9 stretch from May 1 through May 13. Then an 11-14 stretch from May 27 through June 14.

The 2017 Dodgers won 104 games. They had a 5-9 stretch from April 7 through April 22.

I could go on and on. The point is simply that even highly successful teams go through awful stretches. The Sox happen to be having this at the start.
The 2017 Dodgers actually went on a 1-16 stretch from August 26th - September 11th. They of course rebounded to finish strong and then went on to make it to the World Series.
 

donutogre

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There are lots of reasons why the Sox have started off so poorly.

I will focus on one.

Dave Dombrowski failed to adequately address the weakness in his pen at the trade deadlines last season. That, in turn, forced Alex Cora to use his starters in the pen throughout the post season and in many key spots. That, in turn, lead Cora to “re-invent” (too strong, I know) the preparation of the starters in the pre-season. And that, in turn, might be and probably is part of why his starters have performed like dreck to start the season, with a few exceptions (last Price and Eovaldi starts in particular).

There are of course many other reasons and nothing is simple/straightforward.

But I think part of the suck is tied to DD’s failure at the trading deadlines.

I posted this in the "starting pitching 2019" thread last week, but it's definitely relevant here. In short, I don't think that Cora's usage of his starters in the postseason really made that much of a difference.

Here's the postseason work for Sale, Porcello, Price, and Eovaldi:

Sale:
6 1/3 ALDS (1 inning relief)
4 ALCS
5 WS (1 inning relief)

Porcello:
5 2/3 ALDS (2/3 in relief)
5 ALCS (1 in relief)
4 2/3 WS

Price:
1 2/3 ALDS (1 start)
10 2/3 ALCS (2 starts)
13 2/3 WS (2/3 in relief)

Eovaldi:
7 ALDS
7 1/3 ALCS (1 1/3 relief)
8 WS (all in relief)

Besides Eovaldi, no one pitched more than an extra inning of relief in any given series. Eovaldi's usage in the WS is obviously very unusual, and perhaps rather stressful. Him aside, I don't feel like doing a little extra relief in the postseason is really to blame here. Yes, they had extra innings and thus took things slower this preseason, and the results of all that have been super ugly. I don't think it would be materially different if they hadn't picked up those extra innings, though.

Obviously, things could have been different if the bullpen was bolstered, giving Cora more options, but I I'm not convinced it would have made that much of a difference. Just my 2 cents.
 

chawson

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Does nobody who beats the "the 2018 Sox outperformed their pythag" drum remember that they completely took their foot off the gas once the division was locked down and they were playing without Sale?
I’m not really seeing that they took their foot off the gas.

The Sox went 14-11 in September. They split a doubleheader with the Orioles on September 26 (a rehabbing Sale was the losing pitcher and it became a bullpen game after that). They started William Cuevas against Syndergaard on September 14 and lost 8-0. They lost two games to Cleveland with playoff lineups and starters, and four games to the Yankees, one of those a playoff-tuneup split start the final weekend that gave Eovaldi and ERod two innings apiece. Bogaerts had a day off one of those games. Everything else was more or less what they went with in the playoffs.

They gave starts to Lin, Swihart, and Brandon Phillips here and there (necessary anyway because of injuries to Pedroia, Kinsler, Devers and Vazquez), but besides that they started their regulars.

Porcello made five starts in September. Price, Rodriguez, and Eovaldi made four. Johnson and Velasquez made starts for and piggybacked for Sale, who was hurt, and for Pomeranz, who was hurt and then sucked.

So really, the only game the Sox gave away was the Cuevas start against Syndergaard, who’s a top 5 pitcher in baseball.
 
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Curtis Pride

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Another factor to consider is their schedule. So far they have played only 6 games at home against 13 on the road, with 3 more at Tampa. Still they are 3-10 on the road and 3-3 at home, and some against playoff contenders. Perhaps after the season we'll assess that March/April was the toughest month of the Red Sox' schedule.
 

Adrian's Dome

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I’m not really seeing that they took their foot off the gas.

The Sox went 14-11 in September. They split a doubleheader with the Orioles on September 26 (a rehabbing Sale was the losing pitcher and it became a bullpen game after that). They started William Cuevas against Syndergaard on September 14 and lost 8-0. They lost two games to Cleveland with playoff lineups and starters, and four games to the Yankees, one of those a playoff-tuneup split start the final weekend that gave Eovaldi and ERod two innings apiece. Bogaerts had a day off one of those games. Everything else was more or less what they went with in the playoffs.

They gave starts to Lin, Swihart, and Brandon Phillips here and there (necessary anyway because of injuries to Pedroia, Kinsler, Devers and Vazquez), but besides that they started their regulars.

Porcello made five starts in September. Price, Rodriguez, and Eovaldi made four. Johnson and Velasquez made starts for and piggybacked for Sale, who was hurt, and for Pomeranz, who was hurt and then sucked.

So really, the only game the Sox gave away was the Cuevas start against Syndergaard, who’s a top 5 pitcher in baseball.
Go back and look at every single one of those lineups and how the games progressed and tell me they only gave away one. Please. 14-11 and they coasted, they could've done a hell of a lot better. I specifically remember they weren't trying against the Yankees at that point AT ALL.
 

JohntheBaptist

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They definitely did not take their foot off the gas whatsoever until after they'd clinched home-field, which was game 158 (I believe). The day after that they started the B lineup against Baltimore and lost, then started the regular lineup in the first two against NYY with early exits for some, and then a B lineup in the last game of the year. "Not trying at all" is obviously not close to accurate.

I don't see a huge difference in "103 win team" and "108 win team," and as amazing as they absolutely were, they were absolutely lucky in spots too. Doesn't seem that controversial.
 

Adrian's Dome

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They definitely did not take their foot off the gas whatsoever until after they'd clinched home-field, which was game 158 (I believe). The day after that they started the B lineup against Baltimore and lost, then started the regular lineup in the first two against NYY with early exits for some, and then a B lineup in the last game of the year. "Not trying at all" is obviously not close to accurate.

I don't see a huge difference in "103 win team" and "108 win team," and as amazing as they absolutely were, they were absolutely lucky in spots too. Doesn't seem that controversial.
You clearly didn't watch all of the games then. There's no way they entered lax mode in the last week.

Until people stop claiming they weren't as good as their record it continually needs to be pointed out the foot was not on the gas.
 

chawson

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Go back and look at every single one of those lineups and how the games progressed and tell me they only gave away one. Please. 14-11 and they coasted, they could've done a hell of a lot better. I specifically remember they weren't trying against the Yankees at that point AT ALL.
How do you not try in baseball?
 

JohntheBaptist

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You clearly didn't watch all of the games then. There's no way they entered lax mode in the last week.

Until people stop claiming they weren't as good as their record it continually needs to be pointed out the foot was not on the gas.
I did; every one of them. It seems like a few people have answered your claim with some facts, you're welcome to do the same. You're the one making the claim. What you're saying just isn't accurate.

I don't think anyone is claiming they weren't as good as their record. The difference between the talent level of a 103 win team and 108 win team is negligible, and attributing that margin in victory totals to a little luck is nothing controversial. For some reason you've chosen to take the claim to "not trying at all" which, as anyone who does watch games can tell you, is an absurd exaggeration made to bolster a point no one is really arguing. "Not trying at all" isn't really a thing in baseball.
 

barbed wire Bob

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Last year the Yankees won 100 games. They had a 6-10 stretch from July 15 through August 5.

The 2004 Red Sox won 98 games. They had a 5-9 stretch from May 1 through May 13. Then an 11-14 stretch from May 27 through June 14.

The 2017 Dodgers won 104 games. They had a 5-9 stretch from April 7 through April 22.

I could go on and on. The point is simply that even highly successful teams go through awful stretches. The Sox happen to be having this at the start.
My gold standard for this is the 2007 New York Yankees. Their record on May 29 was 21-29 (14.5 games out of first). I remember everyone was writing them off except for the sabermetricians who pointed out their Pythagorean record showed they should have been only two games back. That was the first time I ever heard of sabermetrics.
 

tims4wins

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All of these comparisons to past teams that had lousy stretches are valid. That said - almost all of those teams displayed some level of success in the year they had those lousy stretches by which we could say they were good teams. The 2002 A’s are pretty much the only exception. The 2019 Red Sox are a terrible team by every measure - to date. Maybe that will change. But all those other teams showed they were at least some level of good before their bad stretch.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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All of these comparisons to past teams that had lousy stretches are valid. That said - almost all of those teams displayed some level of success in the year they had those lousy stretches by which we could say they were good teams. The 2002 A’s are pretty much the only exception. The 2019 Red Sox are a terrible team by every measure - to date. Maybe that will change. But all those other teams showed they were at least some level of good before their bad stretch.
So last year's level of good isn't enough to suggest that this bad stretch is indeed just a bad stretch rather than their true level? Was last year just a fluke, or was it mostly attributable to the guys no longer around like Kimbrel and Kelly?
 

dhappy42

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If the Sox play .667 ball from here on out, like they did all last season, they’ll win 101 games. Rough start, but it’s not over yet.
 

Pandarama

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My gold standard for this is the 2007 New York Yankees. Their record on May 29 was 21-29 (14.5 games out of first). I remember everyone was writing them off except for the sabermetricians who pointed out their Pythagorean record showed they should have been only two games back. That was the first time I ever heard of sabermetrics.
All the disclaimers apply (SSS, It's Early, etc.), and yet the Red Sox Pythagorean record sucks as badly as their actual one.

 

Adrian's Dome

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How do you not try in baseball?
Ever put your car in cruise control knowing you've got a clear shot to the destination?

Do you really think it's somehow impossible to take the field and play a game without giving a damn what the eventual outcome is? It's not exactly a radical proposition.

Baseball, like anything else in the real world, has an effort scale that varies quite a bit between 100 and 0, especially considering circumstance.
 
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Jul 5, 2018
198
Ever put your car in cruise control knowing you've got a clear shot to the destination?

Do you really think it's somehow impossible to take the field and play a game without giving a damn what the eventual outcome is? It's not exactly a radical proposition.

Baseball, like anything else in the real world, has an effort scale that varies quite a bit between 100 and 0, especially considering circumstance.
All though baseball is a team sport, it's mostly a one on one battle between the pitcher and the batter. I can't believe a pitcher is not going to try to get the hitter out or the batter is not going to try to get a hit. There is no cruise control when it comes to pitching or hitting and most players give a damn about ERA and batting averages.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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All though baseball is a team sport, it's mostly a one on one battle between the pitcher and the batter. I can't believe a pitcher is not going to try to get the hitter out or the batter is not going to try to get a hit. There is no cruise control when it comes to pitching or hitting and most players give a damn about ERA and batting averages.
This.

The MLB is a business and like any company, there are employees who don't always focus, develop bad habits or disengage. However, as anyone who has played baseball in a competitive environment knows, "taking your foot off the gas" is a quick way to lose playing time and perhaps even a career.

Given that we are discussing professional baseball players, we have to factor in that most of them had to earn each of their roster spots by toiling away at various minor league stops where they competed for playing time versus not only high draft slot players but also people who clawed their way onto a team for a shot at being promoted. Generally speaking, most of these guys have been programmed to grind everything out since high school and even more so after getting drafted/signed.

While anything is possible, its seems highly unlikely that a team's struggles are motivation based. Baseball is such a difficult sport and professional athletic carers in general are so competitive that those who have ability but are lacking in focus/desire are weeded out over time. There are always people who are willing to do a job and do it cheaper so anyone who slips is eventually going to lose their spot.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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There's definitely a way to ease up your play in baseball. Waaaay the hell back I was on a team that clinched the no. 1 playoff seed with 2 more games to play in the regular season. We split the last two but all the players definitely relaxed just a little and didn't play with quite the same intensity or focus as before the clinch. It's not that weird at all....... just went from 100% to 75% I'd say. Still tried to hit, pitch, etc..... but without the super-focus. I'm defintely Adrian's Dome here.... the Sox relaxed a little the last two weeks of the season.

Edit- And looking back... I also suspect it's when Mookie's focus dropped off just enough that he couldn't refind it during the playoffs and clearly was pressing throughout
 

Adrian's Dome

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This.

The MLB is a business and like any company, there are employees who don't always focus, develop bad habits or disengage. However, as anyone who has played baseball in a competitive environment knows, "taking your foot off the gas" is a quick way to lose playing time and perhaps even a career.

Given that we are discussing professional baseball players, we have to factor in that most of them had to earn each of their roster spots by toiling away at various minor league stops where they competed for playing time versus not only high draft slot players but also people who clawed their way onto a team for a shot at being promoted. Generally speaking, most of these guys have been programmed to grind everything out since high school and even more so after getting drafted/signed.

While anything is possible, its seems highly unlikely that a team's struggles are motivation based. Baseball is such a difficult sport and professional athletic carers in general are so competitive that those who have ability but are lacking in focus/desire are weeded out over time. There are always people who are willing to do a job and do it cheaper so anyone who slips is eventually going to lose their spot.
If you really, truly believe the only on-field speed is 100%, I doubt you've played in any real, competitive environment as you're outlining. I have, and I'm telling you with certainty that it is very real and possible to play games without giving one iota of a damn about results. No jobs were won or lost in September of 2018 (I'm pretty sure Cora even alluded to this, stating he already had his playoff bullpen weeks before the conclusion of the season,) sans the team MAYBE figuring out if Thornburg could help.

Going back to the beginning of that statement, was I trying to get a hit when I stepped up to the plate in a game that didn't matter? Sure. Was I entirely concerned about the count and what pitch was coming next? Where I was in the box? Where am I trying to place it? Do I need to just get this one in the air? What inning it was? Where the defenders were? What the catcher was doing? The baserunners? Were we disguising signs?

When we took the field, were we overly concerned which batter was up at which time? Was the pitcher putting in 110 or just throwing FBs at 90% effort and changes? Were we ever looking to change pitchers at all? Are we holding runners every time?

Of course not. You're out there and you're focused enough to play the game and not get hurt, but you are not killing yourself, revealing your entire hand, or bringing out every trick in the book when the results don't matter. You absolutely change gears with changes in game situation...shit, sometimes even you guys say it (team is up 6, fresh man out of the bullpen, JUST THROW STRIKES, etc.)
 
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Jul 5, 2018
198
If you really, truly believe the only on-field speed is 100%, I doubt you've played in any real, competitive environment as you're outlining. I have, and I'm telling you with certainty that it is very real and possible to play games without giving one iota of a damn about results. No jobs were won or lost in September of 2018 (I'm pretty sure Cora even alluded to this, stating he already had his playoff bullpen weeks before the conclusion of the season,) sans the team MAYBE figuring out if Thornburg could help.

Going back to the beginning of that statement, was I trying to get a hit when I stepped up to the plate in a game that didn't matter? Sure. Was I entirely concerned about the count and what pitch was coming next? Where I was in the box? Where am I trying to place it? Do I need to just get this one in the air? What inning it was? Where the defenders were? What the catcher was doing? The baserunners? Were we disguising signs?

When we took the field, were we overly concerned which batter was up at which time? Was the pitcher putting in 110 or just throwing FBs at 90% effort and changes? Were we ever looking to change pitchers at all? Are we holding runners every time?

Of course not. You're out there and you're focused enough to play the game and not get hurt, but you are not killing yourself, revealing your entire hand, or bringing out every trick in the book when the results don't matter. You absolutely change gears with changes in game situation...shit, sometimes even you guys say it (team is up 6, fresh man out of the bullpen, JUST THROW STRIKES, etc.)

For the Orioles, every single game of the season doesn't matter. I'm pretty sure the players are still motivated to play hard. The quality of their stats matter in regard to future contracts. Dave Winfield put up great numbers on Padres teams that were out of the race by June and was rewarded with a big contract with the Yankees.
 

Adrian's Dome

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For the Orioles, every single game of the season doesn't matter. I'm pretty sure the players are still motivated to play hard. The quality of their stats matter in regard to future contracts. Dave Winfield put up great numbers on Padres teams that were out of the race by June and was rewarded with a big contract with the Yankees.
I agree on both counts.

Doesn't apply to the Boston Red Sox, September 2018.
 

sean1562

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I mean, do we really hink Mookie is a .200 hitter and Porcello is gonna carry an 11.00 ERA all year? This is still a good team that is capable of going on a dominant stretch, even against other good teams.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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If you really, truly believe the only on-field speed is 100%, I doubt you've played in any real, competitive environment as you're outlining. I have, and I'm telling you with certainty that it is very real and possible to play games without giving one iota of a damn about results. No jobs were won or lost in September of 2018 (I'm pretty sure Cora even alluded to this, stating he already had his playoff bullpen weeks before the conclusion of the season,) sans the team MAYBE figuring out if Thornburg could help.

Going back to the beginning of that statement, was I trying to get a hit when I stepped up to the plate in a game that didn't matter? Sure. Was I entirely concerned about the count and what pitch was coming next? Where I was in the box? Where am I trying to place it? Do I need to just get this one in the air? What inning it was? Where the defenders were? What the catcher was doing? The baserunners? Were we disguising signs?

When we took the field, were we overly concerned which batter was up at which time? Was the pitcher putting in 110 or just throwing FBs at 90% effort and changes? Were we ever looking to change pitchers at all? Are we holding runners every time?

Of course not. You're out there and you're focused enough to play the game and not get hurt, but you are not killing yourself, revealing your entire hand, or bringing out every trick in the book when the results don't matter. You absolutely change gears with changes in game situation...shit, sometimes even you guys say it (team is up 6, fresh man out of the bullpen, JUST THROW STRIKES, etc.)
I don't think we are disagreeing at all - I acknowledged that players do, indeed, have games or stretches where they lack their typical focus, effort or energy for whatever reason. Your example of "meaningless" games makes perfect sense.

That said, I am not of the opinion that the Sox struggles this season are as a result of lack of collective effort, preparation or something else to do with motivation (Cora isn't throwing chairs or yelling enough!). These guys are professionals and got here because they not only had talent but were able to grind their way through the system. They know full well that eventually if you don't perform, you will lose reps and perhaps even a roster spot.

Instead, I chalk the Sox slow start up to the basic concept that baseball in an incredibly difficult sport.
 

Adrian's Dome

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I don't think we are disagreeing at all - I acknowledged that players do, indeed, have games or stretches where they lack their typical focus, effort or energy for whatever reason. Your example of "meaningless" games makes perfect sense.

That said, I am not of the opinion that the Sox struggles this season are as a result of lack of collective effort, preparation or something else to do with motivation (Cora isn't throwing chairs or yelling enough!). These guys are professionals and got here because they not only had talent but were able to grind their way through the system. They know full well that eventually if you don't perform, you will lose reps and perhaps even a roster spot.

Instead, I chalk the Sox slow start up to the basic concept that baseball in an incredibly difficult sport.
I didn't say anything about this year's struggles.

All I'm pointing out is that people keep stating they weren't as good as their record last season, and that's bullshit. They 100% took the rest of the season off after beating the Yankees and (essentially) locking in the division.
 

dhappy42

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The most obvious way a team can take its foot off the gas is to sit and rest some starters. Iirc, the Sox did that at the end of last season.
 

JohntheBaptist

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
11,383
Yoknapatawpha County
I didn't say anything about this year's struggles.

All I'm pointing out is that people keep stating they weren't as good as their record last season, and that's bullshit. They 100% took the rest of the season off after beating the Yankees and (essentially) locking in the division.
No they didn't "100% take the rest of the season off."

You're welcome to provide our discussion with some facts beyond your own gut level hot take. This is the second invitation to give that a shot and all we're getting is bluster and anecdote and evasion. This is embarrassing to read, honestly, usually we're a little better than this here.

Also, you keep stating that the OP was arguing that they "weren't as good as their record," which is yet another case of you going off on some goofy tangent of gut-sourced certainty based on something you didn't understand.

He was attempting to make sense of this year's poor start with some data, which included arguing that some luck was involved in creating the gap between the 103 and 108 numbers. It is, again, not even remotely controversial. It does not impugn the talent level of the 2018 team whatsoever.

The most obvious way a team can take its foot off the gas is to sit and rest some starters. Iirc, the Sox did that at the end of last season.
They really didn't. Always helps to read the thread.

They clinched home field on game 158, before which they did not "100% take the rest of the season off," or anything close to it. After which, they played the B team in a blowout loss to Baltimore, played the regulars with early exits in the first two of the final series against NYY, and played the B team on the last game of the year.

Again, I am more than welcome to being proven wrong with some actual fucking proof.
 

dhappy42

Straw Man
Oct 27, 2013
6,897
Michigan
...

They really didn't. Always helps to read the thread.

They clinched home field on game 158, before which they did not "100% take the rest of the season off," or anything close to it. After which, they played the B team in a blowout loss to Baltimore, played the regulars with early exits in the first two of the final series against NYY, and played the B team on the last game of the year.

Again, I am more than welcome to being proven wrong with some actual fucking proof.
Re bolded: yes, that’s exactly what I was referring to. I didn’t say they took the rest of the season off.
 

Adrian's Dome

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 6, 2010
4,424
No they didn't "100% take the rest of the season off."

You're welcome to provide our discussion with some facts beyond your own gut level hot take. This is the second invitation to give that a shot and all we're getting is bluster and anecdote and evasion. This is embarrassing to read, honestly, usually we're a little better than this here.

Also, you keep stating that the OP was arguing that they "weren't as good as their record," which is yet another case of you going off on some goofy tangent of gut-sourced certainty based on something you didn't understand.

He was attempting to make sense of this year's poor start with some data, which included arguing that some luck was involved in creating the gap between the 103 and 108 numbers. It is, again, not even remotely controversial. It does not impugn the talent level of the 2018 team whatsoever.



They really didn't. Always helps to read the thread.

They clinched home field on game 158, before which they did not "100% take the rest of the season off," or anything close to it. After which, they played the B team in a blowout loss to Baltimore, played the regulars with early exits in the first two of the final series against NYY, and played the B team on the last game of the year.

Again, I am more than welcome to being proven wrong with some actual fucking proof.
Perhaps if you actually watched the fucking games you'd be aware of what I'm saying. Not everything can be shown through fucking spreadsheets, lineups, and game logs, and the fact that you insist that's the only real and proper way to do things is what's dragging this entire discussion board down and has been for years. Yes, the team explicitly took it EVEN EASIER once homefield was clinched, but if you think for a second they were going hard the entirety of that last month, I literally do not know what to tell you. They weren't and it was completely obvious to anyone with even the least of an eye for the game.

The only thing embarrassing here is your constant bombardment of unwarranted bullshit in response to any and everything I say, none of which is factually incorrect. Sorry I don't feel like taking the next calendar week to rewatch a month's worth of baseball from last season to note down and specifically point out to you what was (and is) explicitly obvious to anyone with a modicum of common fucking sense.

Enjoy being pinked.
 

chawson

Well-Known Member
Bronze Supporter
Aug 1, 2006
1,583
Your tortuous rationalizations for your prediction that the Sox have 108 wins on lock this year may be more entertaining that the games themselves.
 

absintheofmalaise

too many flowers
Dope
SoSH Member
Mar 16, 2005
12,933
The gran facenda
Perhaps if you actually watched the fucking games you'd be aware of what I'm saying. Not everything can be shown through fucking spreadsheets, lineups, and game logs, and the fact that you insist that's the only real and proper way to do things is what's dragging this entire discussion board down and has been for years. Yes, the team explicitly took it EVEN EASIER once homefield was clinched, but if you think for a second they were going hard the entirety of that last month, I literally do not know what to tell you. They weren't and it was completely obvious to anyone with even the least of an eye for the game.

The only thing embarrassing here is your constant bombardment of unwarranted bullshit in response to any and everything I say, none of which is factually incorrect. Sorry I don't feel like taking the next calendar week to rewatch a month's worth of baseball from last season to note down and specifically point out to you what was (and is) explicitly obvious to anyone with a modicum of common fucking sense.

Enjoy being pinked.
You need to calm down. If you don't do it yourself I'll do it for you. You've been warned before about your posting.

While you may not agree with how Pythag predicts records it has proven to be pretty accurate over the years. And yes, like with all predictions, it isn't 100% accurate. No one expects it to be. It's also true that luck does play a role in a W-L record, just like it does in BA.

People analyze games and players in different ways. Some use mainly stats. Others use mainly the eye. While others use more of a 50/50 mix. Much depends on exactly what the individual is trying to analyze. It's not that difficult to have a rational discussion no matter what method a person happens to be using at the time as everyone but you has been proving in this thread. If you can't participate in the discussion without attacking another poster then either stay out of the thread, ignore the poster, or take it to PMs.

Personally, I don't think there is any way to know with any accuracy if the Sox took a vacation after they clinched. Almost every team starts playing backups once they have clinched. That doesn't mean they don't care if they win or lose. A lot of the decision-making process involves resting players and the development of younger players who don't have much experience at the MLB level. Just because you have personal experience, at whatever level of ball you played, with your team doing that doesn't mean that you are correct when discussing the Sox or any other team.

If you'd like to discuss what you think is wrong with the board, start a thread in Backwash. This isn't the place for it.
 
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David Kaiser

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 13, 2017
20
Does nobody who beats the "the 2018 Sox outperformed their pythag" drum remember that they completely took their foot off the gas once the division was locked down and they were playing without Sale?
The Red Sox clinched the division in 2018 with 9 games to go. The difference between the 108 games they won and their projected 103 wins is about 50 runs. Thus, if Adrian Dome;s argument is correct, the Red Sox would have scored 50 runs more in their last 9 games, or given up 50 runs less in their last 9 games, or some combination of the two, had they not "taken their foot off the gas," to end up with a run differential that matched their record. That seems to me extremely unlikely.
David Kaiser
 

uilnslcoap

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
1,696
I think it's pretty easy to find at least a case where the Red Sox weren't trying to win that hard. This game on 9/22 against the Indians, for instance, was basically bullpen tryouts where none of the prime time players (Brasier, Barnes, Kimbrel) saw action despite a late tie and extra innings. If Cora had been going full bore, it would have been different.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE201809220.shtml
 

TheoShmeo

Skrub's sympathy case
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
12,890
Boston, NY
I posted this in the "starting pitching 2019" thread last week, but it's definitely relevant here. In short, I don't think that Cora's usage of his starters in the postseason really made that much of a difference.

Here's the postseason work for Sale, Porcello, Price, and Eovaldi:

Sale:
6 1/3 ALDS (1 inning relief)
4 ALCS
5 WS (1 inning relief)

Porcello:
5 2/3 ALDS (2/3 in relief)
5 ALCS (1 in relief)
4 2/3 WS

Price:
1 2/3 ALDS (1 start)
10 2/3 ALCS (2 starts)
13 2/3 WS (2/3 in relief)

Eovaldi:
7 ALDS
7 1/3 ALCS (1 1/3 relief)
8 WS (all in relief)

Besides Eovaldi, no one pitched more than an extra inning of relief in any given series. Eovaldi's usage in the WS is obviously very unusual, and perhaps rather stressful. Him aside, I don't feel like doing a little extra relief in the postseason is really to blame here. Yes, they had extra innings and thus took things slower this preseason, and the results of all that have been super ugly. I don't think it would be materially different if they hadn't picked up those extra innings, though.

Obviously, things could have been different if the bullpen was bolstered, giving Cora more options, but I I'm not convinced it would have made that much of a difference. Just my 2 cents.
My point wasn’t directed so much at the usage but at what he did this ST, which I have assumed was driven, at least in part, by what he did in October.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
13,182
My point wasn’t directed so much at the usage but at what he did this ST, which I have assumed was driven, at least in part, by what he did in October.
I think he would have handled ST *exactly* the same way even if the starters *didn't* relieve in October. Keeping the starters' seasons going for an extra month of constantly high-leverage starts was probably enough to warrant the attempt to help them by easing off in the spring.
The rush to blame the GM for the current start based on something he didn't do 9 months ago is ridiculous.
 

TheoShmeo

Skrub's sympathy case
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
12,890
Boston, NY
I think he would have handled ST *exactly* the same way even if the starters *didn't* relieve in October. Keeping the starters' seasons going for an extra month of constantly high-leverage starts was probably enough to warrant the attempt to help them by easing off in the spring.
The rush to blame the GM for the current start based on something he didn't do 9 months ago is ridiculous.
Perhaps he would have used them the same way. And perhaps the fact that his starters pitched for an extra month and then in good amounts out of the pen influenced Cora's thinking.

I think the rejection of the notion that Cora factored in post season usage out of the pen to what he did this spring is beyond ridiculous. Also, there's no "rush" to blame the GM. What does "rush" even mean in this context? The fact is that many people thought that DD erred in 2018 by not adding an arm or two at the deadline. I fully appreciate that adding even one reliever would have been difficult, and that it was a seller's market. I'm sure DD tried to do just that. At the same time, the path they chose forced them to go into the playoffs needing to rely on the starters for lots of high leverage relief outs and probably more than most WS winning teams ever had, which thankfully worked to perfection. You may be right that Cora would have done exactly the same thing with his starters in 2019 but I choose to believe that the Manager considered all available inputs, including the October usage out of the pen, when he embarked on a relatively novel approach to getting his starters ready for the season.
 
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