12-28-2010: The AL East arms race

The Red Sox entered into this offseason with six proven Major League starters, and so were never really in the running for Cliff Lee. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz had stellar seasons in 2010, while new signing John Lackey failed miserably and Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka spent significant time on the DL. How does this rotation stack up against the rest of the teams in the division?

I am nearing completion on my first draft of projections of 2011, and here’s what I see in 2011 based on both Major and minor league performances:

Slot BOS TB NYY TOR BAL
1 3.49 3.83 3.48 4.25 4.32
2 4.08 4.09 4.33 4.26 4.56
3 4.15 4.15 4.40 4.28 4.58
4 4.23 4.20 4.57 4.50 4.92
5 4.28 4.44 4.87 4.54 5.12
6 4.70 4.45 5.00 4.65
Wt Avg 4.13 4.18 4.40 4.40 4.73

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7-13-2010: All-Star second-guessing, trade candidates

Congrats to David Ortiz, who took the Home Run Derby crown last night. Too bad he can’t face BP pitchers all the time. Heckuva time to ask for a contract extension, though I doubt this will factor too much into the calculation.

The All-Star rosters and starting lineups are out. Ubaldo Jimenez and David Price will get the ball first. Not terrible choices, but Jon Lester is more experienced, plays in a home park that inflates runs, and is just better. People point to the ERA gap, but our numbers suggest that Lester’s ERA should be at 2.58 (2.21 FIP) in a “neutral” AL run environment. Price would be at 2.48 (3.40 FIP); the ERA is better, but not by much at all. Price would have 89 Ks and 41 walks, while Lester would have 119 Ks and 43 walks. Not much of a contest here.

In another ballpark-unadjusted injustice, Paul Konerko was selected over Kevin Youkilis because he had “better numbers”. Not sure which numbers Joe Girardi is looking at, since Youk owns a .421 wOBA and Konerko is at .401. But if you mean the traditional stats, let’s adjust those for home park and league:

Youkilis: .292/.411/.572 with 17 HR and 54 RBI
Konerko: .298/.380/.544 with 19 HR and 56 RBI

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Links 7-8-2010: Swept in Tampa, the bullpen, Youk’s All-Star chase, Injury turnaround?

Ugh. Not a fun series to watch, as the Sox got swept away last night by the Tampa Bay Rays. We are now two games behind them and 4.5 games back of the Yankees in the AL East, and that All-Star Break can’t come quickly enough.

Game 1: I am usually a Daisuke Matsuzaka apologist, but this game was a disaster for him. He kept stepping off the rubber and delaying, so he could never get into any kind of rhythm. He just doesn’t look confident out there. Admittedly, he had some long half-inning breaks, but he just looked terrible. When the bases are full, he has no problem attacking hitters and going ahead 0-2, but the rest of the time he was nothing. Terry Francona should have pulled him earlier, yes, but who could he go to that is any better right now? A lot has been made of Dice-K’s botched bunt play, but that’s the least of his issues right now. That play shows how much he’s putting pressure on himself and not just playing the game… Eric Patterson had 3 XBH, including a double and two home runs, his first multi-HR game of his career. The first one was a fully legitimate one, but he was lucky to golf the second pitch, a low breaking ball from Andy Sonnanstine. You could just see the disgust and disbelief on Sonnanstine’s face on that one.

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2010 AL East Preview: Sox, Yankees reloaded

As Spring Training finally dawns, we are looking at two teams at the top of the division with significant turnover from this offseason. The Yankees have shed several older, oft-injured players and added a powerful left-handed bat in OF Curtis Granderson. For their part, Boston has decided to focus on run prevention with the signing of John Lackey and even sacrificed OBP in order to improve their team defense in this “bridge year”. The Tampa Rays have another year of development and polish on their young and talented core. Meanwhile, Toronto has gone into rebuilding mode with the trade of Roy Halladay to the Phillies, and the Orioles’ youth movement is on the cusp of paying dividends. What can we expect to see in 2010? Read more of this post

Jays and Rays: For real?

If you’ve been following along in the standings recently, you might be alarmed to see that the Toronto Blue Jays just keep winning. Not only that, but the Tampa Bay Rays are playing really good baseball after a less-than-stellar beginning to 2009. Heck, even the Yankees are doing well again. Comparatively, it seems like the Red Sox keep scuffling, playing .500 ball in May. If this keeps up, we may be in trouble. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers and see who we should fear and how much. Read more of this post

2008 ALCS: The morning after game 7

First of all, congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays on your World Series berth. You definitely outplayed us last night, and deserve the chance to crown this magical season with the championship trophy. You have outperformed everyone’s expectations, including mine, and I am very happy for your organization and fans to taste this kind of success after so many years of just existing.

I’m still proud of our guys, BTW. The Red Sox were pretty beaten up this year, but they played hard and showed some real mettle by pushing this series to seven games. I still gotta think that if Josh Beckett, David Ortiz and Mike Lowell and had been healthy, we’re going to Philadelphia. No excuses, though; we were outpitched and outhit in this ALCS. I won’t say that their defense or baserunning or “clutchness” was better, because they weren’t.

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2008 ALCS Preview

Say what you want, Tampa Bay is a good team that has had an extraordinary season. They are young, athletic and have a ton of potential. They deserve a lot of credit for keeping the intensity up until the end of the season and finishing with 97 wins, and this will be a great series to watch. And now for the comparison:

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