7-27-2011: What does Ryan Spilborghs have to offer?

One of the names that keeps coming up in trade rumors is the Rockies’ Ryan Spilborghs. He’s a 30-year old, medium-sized outfielder (6-1, 200) who bats righty and can play either corner; he can also run a bit, making him a fairly valuable bench player. He’s a second-year arbitration player who’s making $1.95m this year, and kind of extraneous on a Colorado team that has plenty of capable young outfielders.

Spilborghs has hit .273/.347/426 in Coors, but you can expect that to come down a bit with a move to the AL and to a park like Fenway.¬†Using our projections (updated with this year’s stats), we see him as a .264/.340/.403 hitter in a Sox uniform. He gets on base at a decent clip, but won’t give you too much in the way of batting average or power. That would still be a welcome improvement over J.D. Drew and his .219/.317/.305 batting line this year.

But the real question is whether Spilborghs is the right complement/platoon partner for Josh Reddick. His career split against lefties is .276/.361/.447, which is not bad but doesn’t really scream platoon to me. Looking at the defensive metrics, it looks like he is poor in right, and average in left. I’m not liking the fit for this guy so far; if we can acquire him for an organizational player, sure, let’s do it. But if he is going to cost a productive Major Leaguer, I say no dice.

6-25-2010: Sox weather rocky series,

After coming into Colorado on a torrid streak of dominating Inter-League opponents, the Red Sox dropped two of three to the Troy Tulowitski-less Rockies this week. Tampa Bay continues to fizzle, but we need the Yankees to stay slow if we want to catch up.

Game 1: Jon Lester was good again, but the Sox just couldn’t get anything going versus Jhoulys Chacin. Chacin is a young talent, and he did a good job keeping the ball low and away from right-handed hitters, especially. We wasted a couple of bases loaded opportunities in this one… Dustin Pedroia made a nice play on that ball that took a bad hop on Kevin Youkilis, but that’s no rarity. He also backed up that bad throw in the 2nd on the swinging bunt nicely. I see him in the right position all the time, just the way you’re supposed to play… I don’t know why the injured Mike Cameron was trying to steal 2nd in the top of the 3rd; that must have been a botched hit and run or something, right? Normally I don’t complain about a strikeout for one of our pitchers, but that punchout in the 8th was clearly on a ball way outside. Hideki Okajima got lucky.

Game 2: Closer Jonathan Papelbon had a meltdown of historic proportions (again), blowing a 3-run lead on two HRs by Ryan Spilborghs and Jason Giambi in the bottom of the 9th. It was only his 2nd blown save of the year, but the problem was the way in which it happened. Papelbon blamed it on a “flat” flastball- hey, that’s exactly what he said after he blew his first save against the Yankees, another late-inning two-HR debacle of an outing… John Lackey continues his string of lackluster starts; if something’s not wrong physically, does he maybe have fat cat syndrome? Daniel Nava collected 3 hits and 3 RBI against Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez on a night where we needed someone to kickstart the offense. He’s quickly convincing me that he could stick as a 4th outfielder for us.

Game 3: What kind of player is Pedroia? He’s the kind who cares deeply about winning and can seemingly will his team to win at times. His 5-5, 3-HR, 5 RBI performance was the best hitting performance of his career, and it saved Papelbon’s tail, who blew his second straight save in as many nights. And don’t think this puts Pedey in the power hitter category, because he just doesn’t hit them like those guysBoth bullpens were horrible last night, reemphasizing our need for help out there… I keep thinking that Adrian Beltre has to come back to earth soon, but every time I say that, he goes out and gets two or three hits. Credit Theo Epstein for signing a capable player who is motivated to get a big contract next year, and the benefit we are reaping from him this season. Beltre’s numbers and overall quality of defense (despite the high number of errors) make him a legitimate All-Star candidate in my book… Josh Reddick needs to relax out there. He’s all tense about proving he can hit, and that’s making him, well, not hit.

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Links: Some more Papi reading and trade rumors analysis

The David Ortiz conundrum is reaching national status. His eyes checked out, so there’s not many reasons left for his decline. Either he’s way older than we thought, or there’s something wrong with his head. Last night’s long homer and the seven game hitting streak notwithstanding, we still have to have some doubt as to when and how much Papi will rebound. Here’s one exit strategy, given by Craig Calcaterra at THT.

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2007 World Series Game 3: Sox squash comeback bid, 10-5

It all started off right. Daisuke Matsuzaka looked pretty sharp, turning in 5 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. The tablesetters kept getting on base, with Josh Fogg just unable to get either Jacoby Ellsbury or Dustin Pedroia out (or much anyone else, for that matter), the offense exploding for six runs in the third, and even Dice-K contributing an RBI single.

The thick infield grass contributed a lot, starting from the first ball in play, a swinging bunt by Ellsbury that just stopped down the third base line. I think Mo Vaughn could have run that one out, even today. BTW, what is Tim McCarver talking about? He said that the Sox have great speed on the bases with Pedroia at first.

Fogg went on to get David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell on fly balls. At Mile High, you have to forget the HR, go opposite field, and just hit it where they ain’t. A lot of balls went for doubles that would be singles in many other parks (like Julio Lugo‘s 2nd inning double), because the outfielders have to play so far back to cover all that real estate.

Top of the 3rd, the Sox mount a six-run rally. Fogg doesn’t even last 3 innings, and I’m not surprised. I’m not sure I would have walked Manny to load the bases with no outs, but Lowell made sure Clint Hurdle paid for that one. BTW, Manny was safe on that play at home. I don’t know how Ted Barrett could have seen it from behind him.

Dice-K was cruising, not giving up hits or walking people. He opened the bottom of the 3rd by nearly beheading Garrett Atkins. That’s most likely due to the long offensive inning and the cold. It was in the mid-40s at the time of the first pitch, and dropped into the 30s by the end of the game. This was a factor for the pitchers for sure.

Bottom of the 6th, Kevin Youkilis is in the game, and Big Papi is out. Could be a little early, but it was a six-run lead, and Ortiz had just been to bat in the top of the frame. Matsuzaka got one more out. then he walked Todd Helton and Atkins back to back, and Francona chose to go to Javier Lopez to face Brad Hawpe. The whole time, I’m thinking, WHY? He’s a LOOGY who has been awful against lefties, and Hawpe can’t hit the fastball; it’s too early for Hideki Okajima so I’m thinking Manny Delcarmen here. I don’t mind using Lopez in a new inning, but with inherited runners?

Lopez comes in, doesn’t record even one out, and allows two men to score. Tito has to go to Mike Timlin to end the frame, but not before a really, really long out by Ryan Spilborghs to deep centerfield and a near hit by Jeff Baker that Lugo leapt and just manged to snag in the webbing of his glove. 415 ft to the fence seems kinda ridiculous, but it really saved us here. This is one honkin’ big ballpark.

Bottom of the 7th, Timlin allows two singles, and is lifted for Okajima, forcing a double switch: Coco Crisp goes into center, and Ellsbury replaces J.D. Drew in right. Matt Holliday smacks the first pitch he sees (a heater right over the plate) WAY past the centerfield fence, and suddenly it’s a 6-5 game. This inning seems to last forever, but Okajima finally manages to get the third out. It looks like he just needed some more time to warm up.

Top of the 8th, the Sox answer. No Ortiz? No problem. Lugo walks with one out, Crisp singles, and Ellsbury and Pedroia follow up with doubles of their own against a tough lefty in Brian Fuentes. Ellsbury’s pop fly hits right down the right field line, and the sliding Hawpe just can’t quite get to it. That’s a lot of speed on the basepaths (minus Pedroia), and they all get home. 9-5, Sox.

Delcarmen starts the 8th, but gets into a bit of trouble with 2 outs, so they go to Jonathan Papelbon early. One pitch to Holliday, fly ball, inning over.

Top of the 9th, give credit to Lowell for making a great heads up baserunning play for the second game in a row. After Alex Cora moved him up to second, Lowell used an opportunity to steal third base uncontested. This is big, slow, lumbering Mike Lowell. And with one out, Jason Varitek is able to bring him home with a sac fly to center. Paps closes the door in the bottom of the 9th, and it’s now 3-0 Sox.

Ellsbury ended 4-5 with three doubles. He didn’t pound the ball so much, but used the lines and his speed to his advantage. I am really enjoying seeing Ellsbury/Pedroia hitting 1-2, as they could conceivably be in those spots for 2008 and beyond. The skill, determination and spark that they bring is really exciting after the failed Lugo leadoff experiment.

Now Jon Lester gets his chance to seal the deal tomorrow, in Game 4 of the Series. I really hope he does it, but if not, I don’t worry too much with Beckett on the mound Monday. Sorry, Denver. The rally towels didn’t work for Cleveland either, BTW. I guess it’s time for you guys to throw them in now.

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