2-3-2011: Handicapping the AL East

It’s February, and we’re all itching for things to get started. I went ahead and did a little exercise based on my projections. Consider these a back of the envelope prediction for the division.

For offense, I plugged in OBP and SLG into Baseball Musings’ lineup analysis tool, multiplied by 162 games, and took away 8% of those runs based on the play of substitutes and injuries, etc. Historically, it’s worked out that way for the Sox the past few years.

Team Offense R/G Runs
NYY 5.57 830
BOS 5.50 820
BAL 5.35 797
TB 5.06 754
TOR 4.77 711

The Yankees still have the most thump, but not by a large margin. Adding Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford is nice, but it’s full seasons of Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury that will really narrow that gap. Baltimore has added a lot of pop this offseason, and they could be dangerous to pitchers’ ERAs this season. The Rays’ offense may be a bit better than this, but my projections don’t really like Ben Zobrist or Reid Brignac all that much. The Blue Jays have some potential, but they remain punchless as usual.

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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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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

April 2009: Sox start off 14-8

After a slow start, the Boston Red Sox got off to a scorching April, winning 11 in a row and 12 of 14 to finish the month. They did it with timely hitting and a great bullpen, and find themselves right where they want to be in the early standings. Despite an embarrassing 13-0 drubbing at the hands of Matt Garza and the Rays in the final game of the month, things look optimistic for this year’s club. Read more of this post

Rays take two of three at Fenway

With B.J. Upton sitting, I expected the Sox to win at least two of these games. After a very promising start to the opening series of 2009, the Red Sox quickly fell into some trouble against Tampa’s starting pitching. Take out James Shield’s start, and Scott Kazmir and Matt Garza had a combined ERA of 1.38 over 13 IP against Boston.

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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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