Links 8-27-2010: Make it or break it in Tampa, random links

It seems like the 4th or 5th time I’ve written this, but the Red Sox’ playoff hopes may ride on this series. Tonight they begin a three game series in Tampa, and if they don’t win at least two of these three, the season may be sunk. History is not on our side for a sweep, but what a great story it would be!

However, Dustin Pedroia looks likely to pack it in for the year and have surgery on his foot, which makes it all the less likely we can go anywhere in October.

Kolbrin Vitek has impressed with the bat, but his fielding has always been sort of questionable. It looks like the Sox might try to transition him to third base. We could use another good prospect there, if he can handle the position.

An interesting article looking at exactly how much clutch hitting figures into baseball, at least statistically.

Tom Tango says that ejected or not, Adrian Beltre made the better bet with Felix Hernandez for that game.

Part 2 of that knuckleballer series is up, and now we see that R.A. Dickey throws his knuckleball much harder than Wake does.

Links 6-4-2010: Bogar’s fault?, draft outlook, Sox sweep AL awards for May

Tim Bogar has apologized for getting both Victor Martinez and Darnell McDonald thrown out at home with no outs. We ended up losing by one run, despite getting 18 hits; and that hindsight has a lot of people upset at Bogar. Saberist Tom Tango points out that sending the runners may not have been wrong, and that teams are generally too conservative on the basepaths. So it’s not always so clear cut- but I’d say that he should have held up because Martinez, who is a slow runner to begin with, has been struggling with a bruised big toe. McDonald also banged his right knee on a pickoff play at first earlier, and was sort of loping home, and was thrown out easily. I think the injury concerns should have forced him to be a little less aggressive with these guys. But let’s not pin the loss on just these two outs. If we pitch and play defense better in a game where Brett Anderson leaves after two innings, we win, plain and simple.

This year’s amateur draft is quickly approaching, and the Red Sox, with 4 of the first 57 picks, are salivating over the talent that’s available. The last time we had this many picks that high (in 2005), we ended up with Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Michael Bowden. Apart from Bryce Harper and a couple of other guys, there isn’t a lot of separation between the players in the rest of the first round, and Theo Epstein thinks that could help us out this year.

Congratulations go out to David Ortiz and Jon Lester, the AL Player and Pitcher of the Month, respectively. Not surprisingly, Ortiz says confidently that the wrist is no longer an issue. Well, duh.

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Links 5-26-2010: Reversal on McDonald, reason for optimism, Youk is good

Darnell McDonald woke up to his phone ringing. Jacoby Ellsbury is feeling pain in his side, get to the park, pronto! Just after activating Mike Cameron off of the DL, turns out Ellsbury is not quite ready yet after all. Scott Atchison was designated as a result instead of McDonald to make room on the roster. Earlier yesterday, he was feeling fine, and was ready to man centerfield the rest of the year; let’s hope this doesn’t derail what we’ve got going now, as Cameron himself is not 100% yet, either.

Another impressive game by Red Sox pitching yesterday. Jon Lester is just wow. As I mentioned, it looks like the Sox are getting a pretty good run together. Could we see the Sox get back in it over the next couple of weeks? I think it’s quite possible, as we have a relatively easy schedule coming up, followed by a couple of weeks of Inter-League play, which we love. Before you get too bent out of shape about our place in the standings, consider that we have had the toughest schedule strength in our division (+0.174), according to Dolphin Sports (these are published by Andrew Dolphin, a co-author of THE BOOK with noted sabermetrician Tom Tango). The Yankees have had it pretty tough too (+0.136), but the Rays have had a cakewalk by comparison thus far (+0.019).

Kevin Youkilis gets some props from Patrick Sullivan at Baseball Analysts. Why do we need Adrian Gonzalez when we’ve got Youuuuk?

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