Sox Are In Trouble

It\’s time to realize it\’s going to take more than patting guys on the back and hoping marginal talents in the lineup are going to lead the 2004 Sox to a playoff spot.

The Sox \"waited\" for a kevin youkilis walk for the big blow to momentarily sit in a tie game v. detroit. Bottom line, the sox are not that good a hitting team. They have consistently poor clutch hitting, very little team speed, and they have won 7 1-run games after leading the AL in 1-run wins with 26. One-run games might be coincidental and could involve high-scoring chokes, but several times it has as much to do with the offense as it is the defense, pitching.

One can only chuckle derisively at the sox Third Base Coach (Lame Sweum), who has now become the center of attention by sending not only one runner, but two runners to their untimely deaths at home plate in 2 games. Both 1-run losses. And who is the boss of Mr. Sweum? Well, let\’s just say that justifying dave mccarty as a rightfielder, kevin millar as a leftfielder and then saying the team has a better overall defense since the nomar trade, is kind of contradicting.

To McCarty\’s credit and Millar\’s credit, they both have hit somewhat well recently during a streak where damon, manny have been struggling and ortiz, the team\’s best clutch hitter, out on 5-game suspension. However, a manager also needs to recognize that a gabe kapler, who was 3-for-5 the other day, didn\’t necessarily need to sit the next few games just because basic first basemen millar, mccarty are hitting ok. He also needs to recognize that dave roberts wasn\’t acquired to sit, or was he? He started one game in 4 since joining the team, went 0-for-5 in the leadoff spot, and francona already has no confidence in him. This should sound familiar, since tito has done the same thing to terry adams in the bullpen and ramiro mendoza as well. He seems, based on his many comments (tito\’s), to only have confidence in guys he is familiar with.

I won\’t go into the loss of nomar and it\’s effect on the lineup because it\’s moot. They really don\’t have another hitter in their lineup that can complement ortiz, manny in the heart of the 3-4-5 spots. Nomar was that link and he\’s 3-for-4 for the cubbies and playing every day there (ouch, let\’s talk again with the sox training staff). Instead, it\’s obvious that new acquisition cabrera is pressing and tito has as usual put way too much pressure on him to perform by sticking him into crucial 3 spot. Tito isn\’t pressing the right buttons, which i think is one of the themes of the entire season.

Tito repeats relief pitching trends (the overuse of timbree) despite the presence of adams, mendoza. He changes the lineup every game and is grasping for straws at times when he really doesn\’t need to. The consistency of a set lineup, even if it involves platoons, is not there. He randomly inserts guys to get them playing time, which tells me that the mintkiewicz, cabrera, roberts acquisitions with only subtracting nomar has made his clown car picks jimy-like. He has more toys to play with, and then figures out a way to play all the toys.

Last time i checked, the sox are in an important wild card race, only 2 games back now. You can\’t right a ship if the manager is going to constantly switch guys every single game. I still wince when i recall the NY series in which on consecutive days tito switched the ENTIRE SOX 4-MAN INFIELD…new fielders at all 4 positions (one switched from 2nd to 3rd). Tito\’s quotes are also perplexing. He says it isn\’t luck, 1-run losses. He\’s right, it\’s mostly bad managing.

Anyway, that\’s it for now. Hopefully, the sox starting pitching and overall \"defense\" will get the sox the postseason prize.

fred from medford

How about a game plan, fellas?

Before the game, Francona talked about how every bullpen pitcher was available, and they would all be used to ‘get this win’. Brain cramp, Tito?

And Courant Sox beat writer David Heuschkel sums it up better than I could with this blurb:

"Baldelli hasn't made a whole lot of good throws," said Sveum, who might not have known Baldelli led the league in outfield assists last year (14) and has six this season. "Obviously he pulled one off tonight. They made a great play. To be honest with you, if we did it the same tomorrow night I'd do the same thing. It's obviously a situation where you got that kind of speed on the bases and you got a closer [in the game]."

Hey, Dave, how about just admitting you f’ed up, and totally forgot that Baldelli is not only speedy, but has a rocket for an arm. Oh, and you also forgot there were no outs. Wendell redux, I tell ya….

Disturbing trend

There is a disturbing trend of the Red Sox owners/management going public with everything in a manner that is usually only seen in politics. Every time something happens or is rumored to have happened, the spin machine kicks in high gear. Directly (LL and Theo’s numerous interviews) and indirectly (articles and commentary).

Say what you will about Nomar, the contract offers/refusals, the AROD deal, etc., etc., but this quote by Nomie yesterday sums it up:
“I’m not mad at them. I’m not going to rant and rave. I’m not jabbing anybody. If they don’t want me, fine. They traded me. Why can’t that be enough?”


I was basically going to post something similar today. Yesterday, it was John Henry making the rounds. First the booth with Jerry and Don, then the radio with Joe and Jerry, and then evidently talking to every beat writer the Sox have.


On Nomar being gone..

I don’t like what I’m seing coming out of the Boston media right now, not 24 hours after Nomar has been traded.

I suspect that many people feel like I do: I hate to see Nomar go, but I realize that the Sox needed to try to get something for him, because it was almost certain that he wasn’t coming back. I was frustrated with Nomar in his turning down a pretty good contract, and his constant sulking and complaining. I was dismayed by his dissapearance last fall, and his injury and failure to return to past form.

But this is still the best talent to be developed by and play for the Red Sox since I started following the Sox. Why not let him go out with some class? All I’m hearing/reading today is what a prick Nomar was, and how much of a grump he always was, and what a jerk he is. This is from the papers, from Sox announcers, from fan/media websites.

Like I said above, I think most realize he had to go. Or that he was going to go. But why do the Sox feel it neccesary to put the full-court spin on and try to convince Nomar’s legion of fans that in reality, it’s good that he’s gone because he was a dickhead? What good does it do to try to make people hate Nomar?

I don’t understand it, and frankly, it’s sad to me.