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Sunday, April 30, 2006


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Now the game is over.

Sox lose and Yanks win!

Thatgame was just one more example of not only one we needed to win, but one we should have won. There is no excuse. There really isn't Schill was great today, and my guess is that he could have gone another inning, but Tito pulled him after six. I'm just plain mad.

Yanks in first place going into a two-game series in Boston.

Tied. Tomorrow.

As in, "See you tomorrow."

don't know what his excuse is, but it seems the fans' favorite excuse is always to blame the manager. when in doubt, especially in a frustrating loss, francona's an idiot, francona's a bum. note no one ever praises his great moves when we win.

the guy won the WS and has brought us to the postseason a record three years in a row. even with this pathetic offense, we're still tied for first place with a winning record.

ah, but the manager-blamers will tell you, we win IN SPITE of him. what a neat trick!

there's an old football coach's saying, "you can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit." i'd like to know what you think francona's options were other than seanez this afternoon.

i'd also like to know which managers, at the major league level, are all that much better than francona. torre? they were ready to fire him last year. larussa? don't see any hardware on his fingers...

Timlin? I'd rather have seen him in the one-run game scenario. Though he makes me nervous as well, I wouldn't have blamed him for losing at that point.

Bringing in Seanez was the more grevious of the two decisions, IMO. The guy has a 9 ERA for cryin out loud. If Schilling comes out after 6 innings, fine. In a tight game, is there any reason why Timlin & Papelbon can't combine for 3 innings of work? Right now, Seanez is strictly a mop up guy, and it ridiculous that Frnacona is still unaware of that.

i thought we all hated terry francona last week because he brought timlin in to face the jays, when he gave up a two-run homer. EVERYONE knows timlin can't handle inherited runners. so now he wouldn't have been an idiot if he brought in timlin? or would he?

No inherited runners in the 7th, right?

Beth, my point was that Schilling, who has gone over 100 pitches in every outing this eason, probably could have pitched the seventh. Rudy Seanez has yet to prove himself in tight games this season, and I would have rather seen Schill back out there. I'm not pissed at Tito. I'm pissed at the team in general.

I can respect your views, beth, but my perspective has always been that Francona kinda screws around early in the year, then manages the game the way it should be managed in September/October. Which frustrates me to no end as these games count too. I don't like Timlin in with inherited runners. I do like Timlin in the 7th to start the inning when your other option is Seanez. He is officially "not an idiot" if he does that, in my book.

he can't just not use Seanez. he can't use Timlin in place of Seanez every time, because then he's a moron who overworks Timlin (as i believe has been the specific criticism of him in the past). for better or for worse, Seanez is in our bullpen right now, a bullpen depleted by DiNardo having to start and David Riske on the DL. would you rather Seanez had been saved for the Yankees series?

As of the beginning of the game, Seanez: 8.1 IP. Timlin: 9.1 IP. (More appearances for Timlin, though, by 2)

No, I'd rather have used Timlin in the non-hypothetical game we could have won (might well have won if the 9th goes the same way it did) than saved him for the game we might be blown out in tomorrow. Tomorrow, Foulke and Papelbon are available anyway, I'd imagine.

I'd rather see Delcarmen than Seanez (but only by a little) and considering his major league stints, that is saying something.

1) Who would have pinch-hit for Gonzalez? You really want Nixon to face Kazmir?

2) Seanez is terrible, but sadly he's no worse an option than Timlin for getting lefties (the first four batters in the 7th) out; if anything he's better. Foulke would have been the ideal option, but he pitched 2 innings yesterday so maybe wasn't available.

Beth: you are very reasonable, and that's a credit to you. But I don't think it's unfair to criticize Francona, particularly today. He's been at his worst this last 10 days (since the Beckett affair in Toronto), and he's made glaringly bad moves, ones that I have questioned before he made them, not after.

You are right in saying that it's too easy to blame the manager when the players don't execute, but in my mind the players have to be given the best possible scenario in which to have an opportunity to execute, and recently Francona has not done that. Whether it's fielding an especially weak lineup on days that Wake pitches to bad relief decisions to non-pinch hit decisions, he's put additional pressure on the players, beyond that significant pressure which they are under already. I have given Francona much credit for some great accomplishments, and I am not calling for anyone's head; as you say there are no good solutions out there in any way. But we should be allowed to voice our sincere displeasure, it is absolutely fair to question his moves, particularly when they seem so obviously bad.

so tell me HOW they're bad is what I'm saying. tell me what he should've done instead--what's the alternative? so far the only one that's been suggested is timlin, and first of all you want him fresh for the yankees series, second of all as i believe i already established he HAS to use seanez sometime, and third of all, what earl said.

devine, so delcarmen for two innings? three? francona should just pretend seanez doesn't exist?

and first of all you want him fresh for the yankees series

That's crazy. You want him fresh for the Yankees series at the expense of possibly winning a game? And since when can Timlin not pitch two games in a row? He didn't pitch yesterday. Timlin with nobody on base starting an inning was a no-brainer. Saving him for the Yankees is just dumb, if that's what Francona was thinking.

Seanez has established that he shouldn't be used in reasonably high leverage situations. So establishing that he has to be used "sometime" is not the same as establishing that he had to be used today, Beth.

Regarding the Gonzalez non-PH, I thought Francona should have pinch hit for Gonzalez mid at-bat, once the wild pitch happened. Call me crazy, but Gonzalez was not the best option, no matter whether he got a hit earlier or not. There was no downside to putting a better bat in there, even with the lefty-lefty copout, which I am as sick of as pitch counts.

Nope, Delcarmen/Timlin in some form or other, then see what happens in the 9th. Would Papelbon have come out had the Sox taken the lead? Maybe. I don't know. Depends on how he's feeling and whatnot. I'd consider using one of them for two innings if he didn't look like the wheels were coming off the first inning he was out (Delcarmen's young, if he pitches like he did in the 8th, sure, leave him out there on a batter-by-batter basis).

Look, I'm not a manager. I'd probably do a thousand times worse a job if I were put in Francona's position, but my mother said, "You don't need to be a carpenter to see that a table is built badly."

It's not retroactive decision-making, if that's what you're thinking. I was puzzled and distraught when Seanez actually came out in the 7th, not just after he gave up the home run. I'm good with Schilling not going in for the 7th; his outing was long last time and all.

Actually (and I'm really not kidding), I think Seanez should be packed up, and then let's try throwing one or two of these vaunted minor-league kids in for non-pressure situations and see who sticks (if anyone). Not if it will ruin their careers or lose us valuable pitchers a year or two down the line, of course. I wouldn't know that. I'm not in the Red Sox system. If that is not possible, then I suppose the issue should be addressed by trade. We need a bullpen arm somewhere. Would you agree with that statement, beth? Is it okay to say we need one more quality relief pitcher (I think that would about do the trick if we had Papelbon, Foulke, Timlin, Someone Of About Timlin's Caliber, Tavarez) and one more starter?

Seanez can pitch when we're losing by a ton o' runs and, up to a point, when we're winning by a ton o' runs.

Seanez seems, at this point, to be a waste of space, except as a garbage-inning eater. He had such a good year last year; I wonder what went wrong or if this first month is a fluke or what.

SF - the question still stands: who pinch-hits for Gonzalez? The options are Nixon, Cora, Bard, Harris, and Snow. You say that lefty-lefty arguments are "copouts", but the actual stats have to count for something. Nixon is putrid against lefties - lifetime OPS of .637 (up to a whopping .639 in 2005). Those are sub-Pokey numbers. Snow is equally terrible. That leaves Cora, Harris, and Bard...woohoo.

I agree it sucked that Alex "Instant Out" Gonzalez was at the plate in that situation. But I just don't think Francona had much of an alternative.

Cora and Harris, both not options in that situation. Josh Bard, albeit in limited at-bats, has a pretty decent batting line this season. And correct me if I'm wrong, but he's a switch-hitter too.

Of course the issue with that is, god forbid, knock on wood, Tek gets hurt in a later inning and...J.T. Snow? Mike Lowell? Youk? becomes the catcher. Who is the emergency catcher this year anyway? I know in past years it was Millar.

I'm not sure we could have pinch-hit for A-Gon in that situation, and he's actually got fairly good stats with RISP... The bats on our bech aren't much better, and I'm not a fan of pinch-hitting unless the hitter is so much better (a la Trot) that he can come in cold like that and have a better chance at hitting than a guy who's been seeing pitches all game... Cora, Harris, Bard, etc., aren't good enough to do that... Snow showed us the other day he is, and he got on base in another PH situation today, but A-Gon was probably the only chice there...

But Seanez... Wow, when I saw that name on GameCast, my mouth dropped open and that was before the pitch... This isn't second-guessing, like Beth has said, it's logic... The man had a WHIP of about 2 entering the inning, an ERA over 7, the second-worst in the bullpen, his walk and home run numbers were similar to Curt Schilling's -- but in 22 fewer innings. When you're down by one run against a weak bullpen that you have already rallied against in the series, you pull out the stops and pitch the men you know can keep the score the way it is -- Timlin, who remains lights-out when starting innings; Foulke, for whom endurance does not appear to be an issue this year; hell, even Tavarez, who has shown the propensity to give up home runs, but doesn't seem to allow any other baserunners.

The only difference between me and Francona in that situation was he had all those numbers I cited at his disposal right then... I just knew Seanez was a poor choice and had to look up the numbers later... It was bviously a poor decision at the time the choice was made, and Seanez merely proved it. It's not the poor potcher's fault; it's the manager's fault for chooosing a poor pitcher at a poor time...

Beth, I supported Francona through the 04 season, and I supported his receiving a contract extension. But this past week or so has been horrendous... Coco's injury hasn't helped, but when you're losing Tek for Wakefield starts, why do you choose those days to sit players like Loretta -- who even though he hasn't had a good game since Patriots Day is still a better hitter than infielder on our bench -- or Lowell or Nixon?

Then there was the overlong disaster of starting Willie Harris at the expense of playing Pena, who on his worst day does better than Harris at the plate...

Bringing Schilling out for 133 pitches, which affected him during this game as well, was another move I questioned before it cost Schilling the win and forced us to come back for the W.

Granted,errors look worse when you're struggling, just like no-duh moves look brilliant when you're winning (eg making Paps the closer, which thus far has been Tito's high point of the season). Nevertheless, it's just as wrong-headed to dismiss the legitimate complaints being made about Francona's managing these past weeks as "blame-the-manager" reactionism as it is to say, as some have said, that we won the Series in spite of him.

Francona's a good manager, sometimes a brilliant one. He has been neither for at least the past five games.

It's either bad lighting, bad keyboard or something else (certainly not a stupid typist), but there is an inexcusable number of typos in that last post. I write for a living, so that's a little embarrassing.

I'd try to correct them all in this post, but I think it would make this one longer than that one... So from now on, I think I'll hit Preview instead of Post for these kinds of things.

Sorry about that. :-\

//Would you agree with that statement, beth? Is it okay to say we need one more quality relief pitcher (I think that would about do the trick if we had Papelbon, Foulke, Timlin, Someone Of About Timlin's Caliber, Tavarez) and one more starter?//

yeah, that's pretty much exactly what i believe...and why i don't throw francona under the bus because we don't have those guys.

SF, interesting how you picked the one part of the argument against timlin out that you could shoot down, but didn't address earl's point about timlin vs. lefties.


There are probably mathematical reasons why Timlin should not have been pitching. This was about putting out your best, proven talent when you need it most. Francona has not done that this year, on several occasions. I have a problem with that. And I will continue to have a problem with that if it continues to negatively impact the Red Sox.

I don't see why criticizing Francona is untenable, or unfair. He screwed up yesterday; what about the result was a success? What did he do that worked out? Why is it "throwing him under the bus" (easily the most overused cliche in all of sports criticism) to say that he screwed up? People here were calling for Seanez to be taken out before anything bad happened. It wasn't Monday morning quarterbacking. Why portray it that way?

Come on now, SF. I would suggest that the various permutations of the phrase, "step up," as in "he failed to step up" are sports journalisms worst cliches, and far more common than the bus line, except when discussing the Steelers. Don't go changing the subject!

But you're not responding to the Timlin/Delcarmen possibility, beth. You can disagree, but it's not like all relief pitchers are created equal. Some are going to get used more because they're better.

beth, just so you know, LaRussa won it all in 89 (by and act of God) but they did win.

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