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Showing posts from August, 2008

Fine Dining Despite Setting the Table with Plastic Cutlery

I love Ellbury and I can't wait for he and Pedroia to become the dominant top of the order in the major leagues. Too bad that day is not today.

The Sox have struggled mightily at the top of the order. The leadoff spot is batting .238, with a .306 OBP and .310 slugging. Ouch. That is worse than their 9th spot hitters. It is worse in each of these categories than every other team in the A.L. except Oakland (with the exception of the Twins having a worse OBP). Ellsbury has had 399 at bats leading off, with a .307 OBP. Pedroia has had 72, with a .256 OBP. Lugo only 15 at bats. Drew only 29 (.172 BA, but 10 walks).

What's so odd about this is that the Sox are still second in the league in runs and leading the A.L. in OBP as a team. You wouldn't think that a team getting so little production from the leadoff spot, along with significant injuries to Papi and Lowell, a second half plung by J.D. Drew and the excommunication of Mad Manny would still score runs like that.

I st…

Sumoza? I hardly knew ya.

The Sox just picked up outfielder MarkKotsay, 32, from the Braves for young outfielder Luis Sumoza, 20. With J.D. Drew going on the 15-Day D.L. yesterday - retroactive to Aug. 18 which means he should be available again early next week - the Sox needed some insurance. Not coincidentally, J.D. will be off the D.L. just as the major league rosters expand, which means Bay, Ellsbury, Crisp, Drew, Kotsay (and Bailey?) can all remain on the team for the last month.

Given this move, it seems the Sox are genuinely concerned the Drew might be hampered by his back all year and didn't want to be caught flat-footed. Kotsay is a centerfielder by trade, but I expect he'll play rightfield as he has a very good arm. He is an effective hitter with a .289 BA, .340 OBP, and .418 slugging. He has limited power but he's definitely an improvement over Crisp (or Bailey). Fun fact: the lefthanded hitting Kotsay was once a lights-out righthanded closer, guiding Cal State-Fullerton to the 1995…

Instant Replay

The Associated Press is reporting that Major League Baseball will begin allowing instant replay to be used by umpires. It says:
For now, video will be used only on so-called "boundary calls," such as determining whether fly balls went over the fence or whether potential home runs were fair or foul. Video will be collected at the office of Major League Baseball Advanced Media in New York. If the crew chief at a game decides replay needs to be checked, umpires will leave the field, technicians at MLBAM will show umpires the video and the crew chief will make the call.
This is a good thing. There is no benefit to the sport, its fans, or players to not having a call made correctly. Given how few "boundary calls" are close, this will be an exceedingly rare occurrence. People who don't like baseball already think it's slow. Those who love it, want the calls to be made correctly.

The Casey-Lowrie Samba

This 'ill be a short post as I'm on vacation, but I'd love some insights from my many, many... many! readers about a question my dad and I can not seem to find an answer to: why are the Sox routinely pulling Sean Casey in the ninth inning in order to play Cora at short, Lowrie at third, and Youk at first? I'm am very much open to opinions.

I don't like this move. Obviously, Youk is a fantastic first baseman. But when they pull Casey to bring in someone else, they lose a player for the rest of that game. In doing so, they get a better firstbase man, but they put a rookie shortstop (Lowrie) at third. Casey is a solid firstbaseman (if anyone can tell me which of these three ways I'm supposed to spell that word, you win a caramel, a real caramel). Why do you lose a player on your bench for the benefit of Youk over Casey at first while exchanging Youk for Lowrie at third? Not worth it to me.

Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

Lowrie v. Lugo

I was reading an article yesterday (inexplicably archived now and unavailable after only one week) in the Boston Herald (diversity of sources folks) which contained a really interesting observation: Julio Lugo has the best on base percentage of any starting shortstop in the American League. Check it out here.

Lugo is batting .268 with a .355 OBP. Jed Lowrie is ahead of him, but he's officially (officially?) sitting for Julio - Lowrie's batting .310 with a .368 batting average. On the other hand, I don't think we can count on Lowrie to be a .310 major league 6th-spot hitter all year.

The obvious difference between the two is Lowrie's real-deal pop. Something happened to Lugo since he left Tampa Bay and he left his power in the dome. Lowrie's slugging percentage is .468 while Lugo's is a painful .330. Lowrie's 29 RBIs in less than half the plate appearances it took Lugo to get 22 is the statistical talk of the town. Lowrie hit a ball a few weeks ago ag…

Soft Toss

The Sox just traded for Paul Byrd from the Indians. The soft-tossing veteran righty never walks anyone, is only slightly less hitable them me, and does a stricking tribute to the likes of Grover Cleveland Alexander every time he winds up. Byrd might very well be the non-knuckleballer with the slowest fastball in the game today. But he's effective and I like this trade.

Byrd hardly walks anyone (only 24 so far this year) but does get hit hard, at .282 this year, with a .466 slugging and OBP of .316. That results in a respectable but not great 1.30 WHIP, about the same as Jon Lester's. Byrd will be a welcome edition to the back-end of the rotation. With Wake's health in question and Buchholz royally struggling, we need another arm who can give us a shot to win most games he starts. Byrd will do that.

As an aside, I get a kick out of how much different Byrd is than our beloved Dice-K. Byrd averages about 82 pitches in 6 innings every time he starts. Dice-K throws 99 pi…

The fall-out thus far

Jason Bay has started off strongly in Boston which is a great relief. I'd always heard he was one of the most under-the-radar stars in baseball, but I worried he'd implode under the pressure in Boston if he didn't immediately show to the skeptical fandom that he's a major talent in the prime of his career. I somehow doubt that he ever had hundreds of cameras focused on him anytime he's arrived at the ballpark before.

It's also worth noting that you'd never see Manny cover ground enough to make the sliding catch Bay made Friday and when did Manny last have a stand-up triple? This team just became far more athletic.

To be fair, I thought I'd post a few clips from feedback I've had from friends and stuff I've read elsewhere about the trade:

Nomaa in the L.A. Times: "There's a lot of truth to what he said. I can definitely understand and relate... Manny said he didn't want to leave there. I didn't want to leave there. . . . Were we…