That sucked

I just have this to say, though…those of you getting on Francona for bringing in Williamson in the 7th inning are morons. I don’t even feel the need to explain why. Are there moves that are definitely questionable? Sure thing. But this isn’t one of them.

It’s about the (lack of) defense and clutch hitting.


No, not just to the Red Sox for winning a series..and for getting good pitching AND offense in the same game twice in one weekend…

No; congratulations goes out to
Sunday’s Ford Fans of the Game, my cousin Lisa and her new husband Patrick. For those that couldn’t see it, these were the best screen caps that I could do on such short notice:

The PSF family attended the wedding on Cape Cod Saturday night and had a grand old time.

The Stats No One Wanted To See–Why Millar Sucks

Let me first say that I hate going to computerized statistics to justify how bad a ballplayer is or isn\’t. Usually, you can spot how ineffective a player is or isn\’t by their daily inefficiency. Case in Point–Kevin Millar, Red Sox Regular. The start of what might have been a promising sox career has spiraled down to horribly pathetic over the first 3 months of the 2004 season.

This is not a guy who has had a bad year, mind you. This is a guy who hasn\’t hit well since basically the All-Star break of 2003. Before the 2003 All-Star break, Millar hit like an all-star and his statistics were fabulous. He had many clutch hits for the team and was just one of many reasons why the 2003 sox had \’27 yankee type numbers. He had a .294 average but with 14 home runs and 61 RBI in a span of about 330 plate appearances.

After the all-star break, it was obvious millar\’s performance went down. He hit .251 in the second half and while he hit 11 home runs, his 35 RBI over the last half of the season were at best o.k., and not quite what sox nation was accustomed to from him. Granted, this is not a guy who has had 30 hr, 100 rbi type seasons, but his performance declined dramatically from the first to the second halves of 2003.

This season, his splits are beyond horrible. He has a .266 batting average with 5 total home runs and 21 total RBI and this is as a fulltime regular with the fifth most at bats on the entire team. Only ortiz, manny, damon, and bellhorn had more plate appearances than millar going into tonight\’s game. Now, is that really that bad as one chatter asked me earlier today? Well, let me show you how bad millar\’s numbers are right now.

Millar at Fenway Park– .248, 1 HR, 11 RBI, OBP of .318.

Millar v. Lefthanded Pitchers– .275, 1 HR, 2 RBI in 80 plate appearances. 2, count them 2 runs drive in over that many plate appearances against what is supposed to be a right-handed hitter\’s dominant advantage.

Millar v. Last year\’s AL Playoff Opponents– .188, 1 HR, 2 RBI in games v. Oakland and NY Yankees. Well, that\’s encouraging…Nice to know that if the Sox do make the playoffs, this is what we might get from the regular.

Millar v. AL East Teams:
v. Tampa Bay, .143, 3 for 21
v. NY Yankees, .190, 4 for 21
v. Toronto, .213, 10 for 47
v. Baltimore, .294, 8 for 27, 2 HR, 4 RBI…

Millar overall since last year\’s all-star break:
540 plate appearances (approximately)
16 HR, 56 RBI, .259 average. Better looking than some numbers, which means maybe his 2003 second half wasn\’t as bad as we thought. In fact, I\’ll take 2003 second half millar over 2004 first half millar. You can have the 15 points in batting average, give me some RBI and homers.

Now, why is this guy still getting at bats on this all-star laden team??? That is something i\’d like terry francona to explain to me. At one point, do you bench a guy like this. I\’d say his overall benching is way overdue. And i think he is best suited to spot start and pinch hit. I think what he did in the giants game 14-9 win was exactly what you can hope for from millar. A guy who maybe once in a while can get a hit off the bench. As a starter, he\’s done. As for his defensive prowess, well let\’s just say he\’s a scrappy little player who gives it his all. I don\’t think he\’s around for his defense, at least I don\’t think the sox brass has him around for that end of his game.

Is he a clubhouse guy? I guess so, he seems to have a positive effect on manny. He goofs around for the fans and does ads. He seems to be a spokesman for the team at times. That\’s why you keep him around for the bench. Anyway, I\’m sorry to expose Cowboy Up boy, but he has had ample time to find his batting stroke. This is a pennant race, and he\’s not doing his job as a regular.

fred from medford

p.s.–for rich, the chatter, he is hitting .212 in domes in 2004 (7 for 33).

Digging Deeper into Sox 2004

First 71 games:

44 games against teams currently having a winning record.
26 wins and 18 losses in these games.

27 games against teams currently above .500
14 wins and 13 losses.
(8 wins and 12 losses against teams above .500 that aren’t from the Bronx)

13 one run games. 5 wins and 8 losses in the these games.

Remaining 91 games:

49 games against teams which are currently above .500
42 games against teams which currently have a losing record.


My opinions of the above facts:

1) Second half schedule is much more difficult

2) Being 6 back in the loss column to the Yanks despite having won 6 of 7 head to head games with them will make it more difficult to catch them. The best way to catch a team is to beat them and it’s hard to expect similar success over the last 12 head to head games.

3) Sox need to get as motivated for other playoff contenders as they seem to do in games against the Yankees. 8-12 against other playoff contenders is very disappointing.

4) Sox must find a way to win close games. Sitting back and waiting for home runs or requiring three (or more) hits to score a run isn’t cutting it. Pick your spots to try to manufacture. Team needs to take a bit more unselfish approach to some at bats. Better defense also will help in these close games. Unearned runs and mental mistakes are a huge problem. Tito’s rationalizing errors with “we know we don’t have gold gloves all around” is unacceptable. Professionals should know how many outs there are and be able to execute fundamental plays such as throwing accurately to a first baseman.

Beltran Needed, Millar Killing Team

PSF EDIT: This post has been rendered irrelevant, evidently. Reports are that Beltran goes to Houston, Dotel goes to Oakland, and minor leaguers go to KC.

It’s an old adage, but it applies for the 2004 red sox. Sometimes you have to mortgage the future to win in the present. It is unlikely the sox will ever have a combination of curt schilling, pedro martinez, derek lowe, tim wakefield in a rotation with nomar garciaparra, jason varitek and johnny damon complementing an offense that includes manny ramirez and david ortiz. With free agency looming in 2005, this is it.

So 2004 becomes a win-at-all-costs season. The only way to maximize the team’s chances of making it to the postseason is to go for what they can go for. In this case, it’s acquiring outfielder Carlos Beltran from the KC Royals. While he may prove to be a half-season acquisition who may himself leave for free agency, this poster believes he can only make the sox lineup better. Anyone who has witnessed the sox recent display of offense, and really has seen a long spell of failing to deliver with men on base and in clutch situations overall, understands the team needs a jolt of offense. Beltran serves that purpose and at the same time allows for the sox to improve the outfield defense with damon either going to left and manny going to fulltime designated hitter. Ortiz should be fine as a full-time first baseman.

You may ask what does this do for a team that should have enough offense already. Well it does something it needs to do—send regular kevin millar to the bench for good. millar has 21 rbi with the fifth most at bats on the team, which is 5 less than off-and-on infielder pokey reese, who has been missed games due to injury and mandatory rests. By adding beltran, it also gives the team more punch at the top of the order. Does it take away from mark bellhorn as well? Well, that depends on if bellhorn can play third base regularly or share time with bill mueller (when he comes back). Knowing the manager, bellhorn will also get some time at 2b if reese is truly failing offensively. kevin youkilis would likely be dealt in any trade, so that takes care of the what do you do with youk problem.

Hopefully, this move would also end francona’s complete fascination with platooning at all costs. This team doesn’t need to platoon, it has been playing patch work all season with injured nomar and trot on the sidelines. The playing and fielding lineup would virtually be a no brainer for francona. and this manager needs that right now, he is by no means a coaching great. Cry about beltran not being signed and losing a shoppach (catcher) or even another minor league pitcher to go along with the Greek God of Walks (youk), but these players are not going to get you over the top in 2004. And hopefully that is what sox nation is looking at—this season.

I have changed my mind on beltran coming, and welcome any move theo epstein has in mind to get him here.

fred from medford

4 thoughts from Hoss

1) Trading 2 of the top 5 prospects in the organization for Beltran would go against much of the philosophy that this ownership group has both spoken of and demonstrated since taking over. The only way it works is if Damon was included because that would wash this year’s salaries (Beltran-Damon) and take $8+ million off of the Sox payroll for next year that could be used for pending FA’s (including Beltran), but KC would never take Damon’s contract. I wish sox fans/media would stop hyping this deal and realize that it’s arms over bats in october every year. Adding Beltran doesn’t do much to increase the Sox odds of winning a single playoff series, nevermind giving us the edge to win it all, he just makes it more of a lock that the sox make the postseason, IMHO.

2) Trading two of the top prospects AND WILLIAMSON for Beltran would be riggoddamndiculous. We have enough bats to get it done. We don’t have enough pitching and this would take away one of the best set up men in the AL. Ass-i-nine. Trot and Nomar’s return has bumped the offense back to where it needs to be and Beltran is a marginal upgrade over Damon defensively and on the bases.

3) There is no need to trade right now. None. Dump the empty uni in the current pitching coach’s slot and get someone who can handle the staff mechanically and mentally. Wallace is content to let each guy be his own pitching coach. Let Kim and Arroyo fight it out for the #5 starter slot (with the loser getting the long relief slot) beginning next week and continue open auditions for the bullpen lefty. Reassess in mid July when more tickets have been sold so teams are willing to admit to their fans that they are out of the race and are auctioning off impact players. Frankly, right now, Freddy Garcia is not worth getting into a bidding war over.

4) Tito is in way over his bald head with this job. If you don’t understand the need for Damon to be bunting in SF in that situation (1st and 2nd, none out, pitcher’s duel, etc.) or the abundantly obvious fact that Millar should never start a game in the outfield, then you don’t exactly inspire confidence that you’re going to handle the stretch run and postseason chess games to come. Tito is a smiling, cheerleader quote making, ownership lackey, who is more concerned with granting vacation days and washing the players’ jockstraps than in making the gutsy moves and rocking the boat to win every goddamn game possible. Yet another in a series of managers who do fine with their checkers game mentality in the valued wildcard race (“Yippee! We just won the wildcard, let’s shower each other with champagne and go to Disneyworld!”) during the regular season, but who are overmatched under the bright lights when checkers turns to chess.

Coming around?

Minus Bill Mueller, last night was the first time we got to see the lineup
that we were pretty much expecting in 2004. And with Bellhorn’s bat coming around,
and the way Youks has played….adding Mueller should only make it better. Homers
from Ortiz and Manny…and Nomar’s first of the year, a grand slam after Manny
was intentionally walked. That’s the second time Nomar responded in a similar
fashion; the Padres walked Manny to load the bases and Nomar jacked a 2 run

Speaking of Bellhorn…about a month
ago I commented that he looked awful from the right side, but historically he
was actually a little BETTER from the right side. At the time he was .179/.373/.256
from the right. As of now, he is .280/.380/.441 from the right..which is a nice
improvement from May 19th.

Schilling’s ankle didn’t appear to bother him last night. In fact, if not for
the explosion in the 7th, he may have gone back out fo the 8th, as he had thrown
only 99 pitches. Instead, he was unwittingly part of one of the funnier dugout
moments I’d seen in a while. Schilling was taking notes just after finishing
the inning, and Manny, to his left, was watching Schilling take notes. When
Manny noticed the camera on him, he shrugged his shoulders as if to say "I
don’t know what the hell he’s doing!" Then he imitated Schilling by taking
imaginary notes. Schilling looks over at him, and Manny stops like he’s not
doing anything. When Schilling goes back to his notebook, Manny pretends to
take notes again, and then gives a two-handed brush-off as if to say ‘Bah; what
good is that’…laughing the whole time. You really had to see it to appreciate
it, but it had me lauging out loud.

Tip of the cap

Sometimes the other guy is just better. Hats Off

Kudos to Arroyo, who threw a helluva game yesterday. But Schmidt was just that
much better. That guy was dominant. There will be plenty of Sox fans whining
about how Manny wasn’t in the lineup, or how the botched play in the field cost
the Sox dearly (even though the ump subsequently blew the call on the heads-up
play by Millar), or a myriad of other reasons why the Sox lost yesterday.

The Sox lost yesterday because the other pitcher was very, very good.

Schilling is on track to start tomorrow, evidently because a Sox fan site goaded
him into it (/sarcasm). Tito is getting testy:

Francona, who has grown tired of answering questions about Schilling, was asked
if there were any issues with the pitcher’s right ankle. “Hell no,” Francona said. “He was just going there because we needed to throw a side.
We didn’t want him to fly back here to throw a side. He’s OK.” Heuschkel

Hopefully his ankle holds up…this would put him on track to start Sunday,
when my cousin and her new husband will be at Fenway watching the day after
their wedding.

Fire Tito? Maybe not, but he\’s woefully disappointing

I\’m still trying to figure out the difference between francona from jimy williams or grady little. Can someone show me in what little blue reference guide does it say, \"Thou shall sit nomar, trot and damon\" one day after the biggest win of the season, with the sox on an high and the yanks on a low?

But that\’s not why i\’m upset with tito of late. You see, i don\’t think he has an idea about what to do regarding his bullpen. Or he doesn\’t want to tell us what we all already know. They don\’t have enough relievers, which falls on the general manager. However, with that said. Someone talked about how timlin can go 2 inn or 3 inn here and there, and I politely mentioned that timlin is a 1-inn set-up guy who should be used in that manner. Instead, the sox have no long relievers, and some guys who have absolutely no business throwing past 2 or 3 hitters. Take straightbree, who was \"forced\" to face alfonso. Oh well.

You want to use left-handed pitching arguments as to sit nixon, ok i\’ll grant him that one. You don\’t sit nomar and the hot damon as well.. You just don\’t. Kapler should have been in right field, not center. I think the bullpen has been mishandled all season, especially foulke, who obviously can throw longer stints and should have been utilized for the AMOUNT OF MONEY they spent on him. He\’s not just a closer, but that\’s how he\’s used. Here\’s a guy, who literally can throw 2 or 3 inn at anytime, and bounce back, but tito doesn\’t use him that way. rich, the chatter, said immediately upon embree coming into the game, he\’d bring in foulke. Sounded like the right thing to do there, considering the sox had spent the giants closer. embree has clearly been awful of late, and he retired i think 2 lefties, and is foulke ready? nope. Nice managing, tito. Excellent work. i think embree would have gone ape over being replaced before alfonzo. but tito has done that to him before, why change now?

Again, i see with the platoons..during NL park games….ugh. They had better success overall last year with a regular lineup. Here was not the opportunity to sit 3 guys who are keys to the team. Just amazing. Well, the sox need relief pitching, a long reliever in particular and if scott williamson can only throw 1 inn here, and 1 inn there and that\’s it, he\’s becoming useless.

fred from medford