Friday, May 21, 2010

Know Your Enemy - Boston

Day In The Life - Theo Epstein

Retired Numbers
I've made fun of retired numbers (see: Wade Boggs in Tampa) or numbers under consideration for retirement (see: Luis Gonzalez) in previous posts. There is no mocking the Red Sox when it come to their standards, though. To have a number retired, a player must have played at least ten years in Boston and be elected to the Hall of Fame. The only exception is Johnny Pesky and his pole. Those are standards and a tradition that can be respected. FYI - next number to be retired should be Wade Boggs.

The Wine People Must Like Boston

Run Prevention - That's The Goal
“We needed to improve our run prevention."

That is what "Boy Wonder" Epstein said after the Sox signed Mike Cameron. Apparently, the "run production" model wasn't working for them. And it makes sense to me, at least in terms of pitching. Pitching, by definition, is based on run prevention. And they did sign front line starter John Lackey to join an already potent staff. But Epstein took it one step further when acquiring position players by putting an emphasis on defense, seemingly at the expense of offense. Cameron, Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro, Bill Hall and Jeremy Hermida were brought in this offseason. Not a hitter in the bunch but they have defensive versatility and UZR by the truckload.

So how's that working out for them so far? Well, not very good. They currently sit in fourth place in the AL East with a commanding lead over the Orioles. But surprisingly, it's not because of the offense, which is second in the AL in runs scored. No, the problem is "run prevention."

The pitching staff has an AL-worst 4.78 ERA. Standard defensive stats (errors, fielding percentage) are middle of the pack but defense's uber-UZR hasn't helped the pitching staff, with Lackey, Wakefield, Becket (D.L.) and Dice-K all sporting ERAs higher than 4.80, with the latter having numbers above 7.

Of course, the defensive contributions to the plan have not all been positive. Newly acquired Beltre (7) and Scutaro (4) lead the team in errors. And they can't throw out any baserunners. Tampa stole 10 in one series and Texas stole 9 in one game.

So far, the "run prevention" model and signing players based on some fielding metric has not been successful in Boston and if things don't turn around, maybe they'll go back to doing what has been successful in baseball for 100+ years - pitching, defense, and being strong up the middle.

Best Team Song?

Pitching Probables
John Lackey - Allowed 11 earned runs in last two starts.
Dice-K - He'll face KK and has been very KK-like this season, mixing terrific starts with disastrous ones. Which Dice-K will we get? Which KK will we get? Don't bet on this game...
Tim Wakefield - Wakefield only has four hits in the last 16 years. However, before becoming a knuckleballer, he was setting batting records at Florida Tech and was drafted as a corner infielder. With the Pirates he was a competent hitter. He only hit .127 with the Buccos, which isn't all that great, so you'll have to trust me...until he takes Roy Halladay deep in his first at-bat!

The Phils get lucky again, missing Boston's two best starters (Lester & Bucholz). They'll take two of three from the Beaneaters.


GM-Carson said...

Mark Reynolds, The Howard co-leader in '09, committed his first Howard last night.

GM-Carson said...

"The Phillies have had discussions with Pedro Martinez, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged. There's mutual interest in a deal and the sides continue communicating."

*Where would he fit. Moyer is actually pitching well, and Kendrick is out when Happ gets back. Having depth is a good thing though.

*Also, I want to take this opportunity to say I hate Interleague play for the upteenth million time on this blog. Hate it!

ripjgarcia said...

I'm a little confused by the whole Pedro Martinez thing. As it is, we have 6 starters. Unless we are planning on shopping someone for relief pitching I don't get it.

Other than karate kid Madson and oft-injured Lidge, the bullpen has been pretty solid. If we go after another machete wielding back of the bullpen guy and trade away a starter (even Kendrick (who wouldn't believe he had been traded anyway after last time) I'll be disappointed.

I can not see them trading for offense. We need no more offensive players. That's pretty much a wrap.

Andrew said...

Interleague play sucks. The DH rule sucks. Lets beat Boston and get back to ripping up the NL East.

Bloodstripes said...

Great job Hamels.

ripjgarcia said...

Jimmy injured again?

GM-Carson said...

This team's record is pretty amazing considering injuries to key players.

Screw the DH! Go Phils!

GM-Carson said...

Wilson Valdez cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Lehigh Valley.