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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

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Well said, Paul. I am posting this comment, which I put in the game thread earlier today, as it's appropriate here and may generate some discussion:

The implication from Tito is that they are trying to find the guy for the eighth inning, Gagne is that guy, and they need him. But why isn't Delcarmen an option? Why not Buchholz? Why not give Manny or Clay a shot at that role, like the Yanks have given Joba? Delcarmen has been superb this year, and if Buchholz is on a limitation then why not use him in one-inning spurts for more appearances? That's how Papelbon was brought in to the fold in '05.

I understand the need to test Gagne, but last night wasn't his first appearance for the Sox, he was given a lot of rope (walking the bases loaded seems like a lot of rope to me, at least), and Tito didn't need to give him another two batters to hang himself. Tito's in-game management last night was indefensible, on a lot of levels. He had already accomplished what he wanted (seeing how Gagne reacted to adversity) by the time the game was tied. Had he not seen enough at that point to make a judgment? If, in fact, he still hadn't seen enough by that time, I question just what the f*ck he was looking at.


I'm utterly speechless today. I'm crushed. What the hell is going on here?

I knew this would happen.

Well, technically nothing has happened yet. Things look like they are happening, but the Sox are still the ones with the two game lead in the division, and they are still the worst choke in history (regular season, that is!) away from missing the playoffs entirely - the magic number for a berth is four, with ten to play. The playoffs seem like something of a lock, the division obviously now less so.

So nothing has happened, at least not yet. If the season ended today...

(damn, why can't the season end today!?)

And here's my response to SF's post in that thread:

I have no doubt that Delcarmen is the next option. They already know what they have there. But he's just one guy. They need another at this point.

Buchholz, I have no idea. If they're allowing him to go 6 or 7 innings today, that to me is like 6 or 7 relief appearances. My guess is that they're very afraid they'll mess with his arm by throwing him into a set-up role. The Yankees at least slowly worked Joba into that role, starting at AAA. The other explanation is that they're worried about one of their starters getting (or already being) hurt. And Buchholz would step in for a Game 4. The real problem is that Buck is already at his innings limit (20% increase over last year). With each extra inning he throws they increase the risk of injury next year.

As for Gagne, they've been slowly working him back into the fold. That's why some around here thought they were set. His recent non-pressure situations were solid. And with a quick two outs last night, I think Gagne was getting the long leash. Had he put all those runners on with no outs, there's no doubt they would have pulled him. But they're trying to build his confidence. Even with the bases loaded, if he had managed to get out of it, most everyone would think he was still working his way back. Instead, we are where we are.

My guess is they're going to keep going back to Gagne because they really have no other choice and they're already in the playoffs. And once there, they still need Gagne. But I bet Delcarmen will start getting 8th inning slots, probably as soon as tonight. And we can only hope that Oki returns to form this weekend. It's crazy that Gagne really is the Sox version of Farnsworth and with ten games to figure it out.

i admit that i chuckled this morning when i heard the news guy on boston's NPR station mention that "red sox pitcher eric gag-knee... uh... um... gagne surrendered three runs last night."

i admit to being more than a little nervous when the sox got this guy. he could still turn it around, but he'll need the opportunity to work out of jams. that might have been tito's thinking... still, it is amazing that he has gone all farnsworth on you.

i empathize.

Paul is right that everyone thought it was a great move by Epstein - the worst I heard said of it at the time was that it was unnecessary, but not that it was a bad move. It does make me wonder if Texas knew something about his arm.

Far be it from me to provide any solace to SFs, but I think things look worse today, after another EG meltdown, than they really are for the Sox.

Youkilis and Ramirez out of the line-up is enormous and both are due back before October.

Yes, if you don't establish a reliable bridge to Papelbon, and fast, you could have a very short October. But if the issue with Okajima is rest, you are giving it to him now and can even give him plenty more if you don't get overly consumed with winning the AL East. I still think you will take the division, but even if you don't, that really means so little in the post-season judging from practically every single post-season since the WC was introduced.

For my part I am hoping the Yankees focus more on getting Wang/Pettite and the rest of their rotation set for the ALDS than they do on scrapping for the division, for the very same reason. The division really only matters more for bragging rights on this blog in my view than anything else.

And as for best record so you can choose the shorter or longer-rest ALDS, that's all good, if you don't scramble so hard to do it that your #1 and #2 starters aren't set up to make the first two starts of that ALDS when it comes.

That's all the kindness I can extend, but honestly, I think all that got proved last night is that Gagne is as bad as you thought he was three weeks ago. So you all will jettison him and move on. Of course, if Okajima also continues to falter, that would be scary for you.

Everyone quit yer bitching. If the Sox lose it at least they'll go in as a Wild Card, something that helped them in the past. I would be more ecstastic if they had the opportunity to miss the postseason all together, but that won't happen.

I am very happy with the way the Yanks are playing but again, I'm not getting too cocky. Anything can happen. I don't care if we get the division, I just want to win 11 games in October and be able to go to a parade. That's all.

One thing that is nagging is who I want to play in the playoffs. One part of me, the smarter side says stay as far away from the Angels as one can get. Another part of me, the cocky side wants this to be what someone else called the Revenge Tour of 2007. That means knocking out the Angels, Sox and Diamondbacks. Obviously the RT2007 would be like a dream, but again, I'm not stupid.

Sorry for the long post.

It's a trade you have to make. Theo made the right move. He had a chance to push his team over the top by adding a top notch relief pitcher and really only losing complimentary pieces, not focal points of the team's future.

In Texas:
33.3 IP - 29 K's - 23 hits - 8 Runs - 12 BB's - 2.16 ERA

In Boston:
14 IP - 15 K's - 23 hits - 14 Runs - 7 BB's - 9.00 ERA

Just doesn't make any sense, he was dominant in Texas then comes to Boston and forgets how to pitch? Maybe the bottom line is he needs to be a closer. He has given up the same amount of hits in 14 innings that he did in Texas over 33+ innings. Unfortunately for Sox fans, the only way to resolve this is to keep trotting him out there. He is too good to be this bad.

It still doesn't excuse Theo. It has turned out to be a HORRIBLE move, probably one of the WORST mid-season pickups of ALL TIME.

You have to take the good with the bad. Theo Epstein is completely responsible for Eric Gagne, no matter what people thought of the trade at the time. I can't see how he can get a pass.

I think Paul is right here for the most part. I do wonder if the Sox anticipated a regression of sorts from Okajima given his work-load and maybe something they were noticing about his pitching at the time of the trade. At the time, it appeared they were getting another great arm in the bullpen. However, it should be said that Gagne, at the time of the tarde, was not the same Gagne of Dodger fame. His k-rate was down,he was just simply not as dominant as he had been. Still, he was pretty good- a great option for a set-up guy.

I looked at the box score today (got home late last night, saw the score, rolled my eyes, went to bed), and wondered why Delcarmen only pitched a third of an inning. I agree. Buchholz/Delcarmen could easily be dominant forces in the 7th/8th innings if Tito would ever use them. His predillection for veterans is nauseating sometimes.

Me -

And, sorry, when the trade was made I was calling it a mistake to my friends and family. (And now I don't look "wrong", Paul.) I actually found this place as things got worse and I needed somewhere to vent because they were sick of hearing it from me.

I thought it was a bad trade both because the Sox gave away too much (and I fear Beltre will be the real kicker) and Gabbard would have been helpful down the stretch.

The real problem though is that they tried to fix something that wasn't broken. True, they needed to find support for Oki (though he's been very poorly used, especially in the second half). But without Gagne to clutter things up, they could have been working Delcarmen, Lopez, and Timlin into higher leverage situations. Heck, even Romero would have been better than Gagne at this point. That's plain disgusting.

My final objection ot the deal is that it was over-kill. It was a move the Yankees would have made. I thought the Sox were supposed to be smarter than that - trying the kids where necessary and turning over stones for undervalued talent. Gagne at the price of three prospects and 5 million wasn't going to be it.

That said, he still has a chance to redeem himself. But that window is closing very fast.

IH:
you asked if perhaps texas thought that gagne's arm was fading, etc.

i read a couple of weeks ago an article that suggested that texas was pitching gagne less and less as the trade deadline neared. they were asking the same thing. i don't know how accurate that story was, but the issue has been raised.

IH:
you asked if perhaps texas thought that gagne's arm was fading, etc.

i read a couple of weeks ago an article that suggested that texas was pitching gagne less and less as the trade deadline neared. they were asking the same thing. i don't know how accurate that story was, but the issue has been raised.

whoa. sorry about that, folks.

Gabbard would have been helpful down the stretch.

Doing what, exactly? Sweeping the dugout? Setting up? Come on. Gabbard's non-presence hasn't had any impact on the season's results.

Gagne, on the other hand...

The other thing they're going to have to consider is throwing Paps for two inning stints. He's throw 55 innings this year after 68 last year. In worrying about protecting him, they killed Oki.

How many games did Oki pitch in with 4,5,6 run leads? For some reason, I recall questioning why Tito was trotting out this guy in games that were foregone conclusions against lesser opponents.

I'd need to check the gamelogs, but if memory serves there were at least five or six appearances that seemed gratuitous, to say the least.

SF -

Remind who's starting today?

If they didn't feel like they needed Buck as a potential 5th starter, they could have started his transition to relief long ago, just like Joba. Sure, they we wouldn't have the no-hitter, but at least we'd have a dominant two-inning guy in the pen.

Oki has pitched in 10 games where he entered and the lead was greater than 4 runs.

Buck is pitching today to line up the starters for the playoffs. Same reason why they are giving Schill 8 days between starts (he won't go until next Tuesday).

>>>But they're trying to build [Gagne's] confidence.

How's that working out?

I do hold Francona responsible for at least one thing: not anticipating Okajima getting tired, and not spreading out his use more over the second half.

Oki has pitched in 10 games where he entered and the lead was greater than 4 runs.

And how long were these appearances? Any 1+ inning jobs?

Do you think they can bring Gabe Kapler to manage the Sox? I think I would feel a little more comfortable with him there than Tito with his blinders on.

Here's the proper breakdown on Oki when he entered the game:

Tie: 7 games
1 run: 21 games
2 runs: 13 games
3 runs: 7 games
4 runs: 10 games
> 4 runs: 10 games

So of his 64 games, about 30% have been where the lead was 4 runs or more.

Today's start could have been Gabbard's. Buck could have been the bullpen arm. Unfortunately, the Sox chose the old Yankee way. And the Yankees chose the young and smart way.

Oki has pitched 67 innings in 64 games. So few were more than 1 inning jobs.

4 runs: 10 games
> 4 runs: 10 games

This is positively Torre-esque.

Yup, Tito found he could "trust" Oki and Paps. But rather than forcing him to use the other arms (Delcarmen, Timlin, Lopez, even Snyder and Romero) while turning Buck into a relief guy, management went out and greatly overpaid for another trustworthy arm. The problem though is that as soon as Gagne stunk, Tito went right back to Oki. They had time to get this problem right. And they chose the easy and expensive path.

Unfortunately, the Sox chose the old Yankee way. And the Yankees chose the young and smart way.

That's just not a correct statement. The Red Sox, possibly seeing that they were overworking their eighth-inning guy, went out and made a trade the Yankees themselves were also trying to make without giving up any top prospects for a dominant (not as dominant, sure, but still having a great year) reliever.

You say you hated the trade because it was "overkill." But time has proven that the trade was not overkill. Just because Gagne has faltered doesn't nullify the the fact that the rest of the bullpen also has faltered, and that Gagne's presence -- assuming he wasn't blowing leads all over the place -- is absolutely needed. You can't have your cake ("I hated the trade") and eat it too ("It was overkill"). You may have been right in hating the trade, but your reasons were wrong.

I'm sorry I killed the thread. Please get back to discussing how "No one knew this would happen".

(By the way, Cashman didn't know "this" would happen, but I have to say he looked at the price and came up with a better plan. Theo didn't. And I'm still very angry about it. Besides, the one-two of Joba to Mo vs. Buck to Paps would have been outstanding baseball. And we would have had a preview this weekend when the Sox swept and locked up the division.)

2007 Sox bullpen:

Paps: 250 OPS+ 54 IP 81 K 15 BB
Okij: 200 OPS+ 67 IP 60 K 17 BB
Delc: 194 OPS+ 38 IP 35 K 16 BB
Timl: 145 OPS+ 51 IP 27 K 11 BB
Lopz: 149 OPS+ 38 IP 25 K 17 BB
Donn: 150 OPS+ 21 IP 15 K 5 BB
Snyd: 118 OPS+ 53 IP 40 K 31 BB
Gagm: 51 OPS+ 14 IP 15 K 7 BB

They didn't need Gagne. They just needed to be smarter. And they weren't. Getting Gagne was the uncreative solution (like Drew and Lugo) and the repercussions mean worse use of Oki, not better. Tito was never forced to trust anyone else.

Man, I thought Torre drove YF's (or at least ME!) crazy with the way he used the pen, but really Tito looks almost as bad.

I have no idea why Delcarmen hasn't been given more of a shot - he's actually looked like the best setup man I've seen on the Sox recently (in the half dozen games of theirs I've seen).

Oh, and yeah, SF's can't really blame Theo for the Gagne move. Anybody in the world would have made that same move given the chance. Gagne for a couple of non-or-v. far from MLB propsects? It was a no-brainer. Just hasn't worked out.

I don't know if it's been covered already in last night's thread or anything, but EEI's flash is reporting that Manny hit a setback while doing some wind sprints, and is now being forced to sit out longer than anticipated; Youk is still hurting, Crisp is likely to not play again tonight, and David Ortiz will get a night off either tonight or tomorrow.
I'll say it again: I don't give a shit it Manny Ramirez EVER dresses for the Red Sox again. I hope I never see him again, and I don't really care the consequences of that. This team needs to realize that Manny leaves them out to dry every chance he has and turn on him accordingly. What a dirtbag.

By the way, I have to say that your general pronouncements ("no one"; "you're wrong") are pretty annoying, Paul. Just cause you don't agree with me, doesn't make me "wrong". And I seldom have the need to say "I was right", but your constant need to characterize arguments and people and then dismissing them has me saying exactly that. I'm very sorry for doing it, but the best I can tell it's reactionary to be dismissed and belittled. You don't have to agree with me, but please state you're case and avoid the pronouncements.

Thanks.

The Delcarmen usage is the most befuddling to me. He's having a phenomenal year. He's come up big in some very tight spots. His BAA is amazingly low, he has strikeout stuff, he seems, to me, to be a tough kid, considering his bounceback after the early-year troubles in Pawtucket. Why he is used in such short fashion and/or left to languish on the bench (Friday night, hello!) is both stupefying and frustrating. What do they know that we don't? Or do they know nothing?!

It's not worth it, Paul. Just ignore it. He is the wolf dressed as a sheep.

Any asshole Yankee fan who comes out and says "Ha! Dumb move Theo; Cash knew to avoid that one!" is an idiot. Cash balked only because Texas wanted Melky. I know I wanted Gagne, and I was pissed and concerned when the Sox got him. This result...? No one saw this coming. It's the equivalent of your rival neighbor getting a classic Corvette you were bidding on only to have it self-combust and set his garage on fire.

brad, i take whatever EEI says and assume that it is completely fabricated until i hear it someplace else.

as for manny, i hate the guy, but without him in '04, your team would've been sunk.

(same could be said for theo, minus the hatred.)

but has that setback been confirmed anywhere else? this is the first i've heard of it.

Nope. According to one Yankee fan, the Yankees went the smart and correct way, while Theo had his head up his ass and chose to go the route of the Old Yankees.

Nice analogy, bloody. It's perfect.

Clay has pitched very little in the majors in high leverage situations. It wouldn't have been smart to throw him out there and possibly turn him into this year's Craig Hansen. They thought they were getting a proven entity in Gagne at a cost they could afford. Cashman would've taken the deal if he liked the price. I'm not completely happy that Gagne was left out there to die last night but I understand why they did it. What I can't figure out is how certain commentators (e.g. Pete Abraham) seem to be caught up in the delight of a Sox "collapse" even though both teams will make the playoffs.

dunno, bloody. I just heard it when I clicked on the radio thread.
http://www.live-radio.net/
USA
Mass
Boston
Page Two.

Pete Abraham is the web's equivalent of cancer.

DW:

Ignore Pete Abraham. I don't want to cast aspersions on a fellow blogger and beat writer, so the best and most tactful thing I can say is that you should just ignore him.

And people keep saying that the Sox gave up very little. Sure, Murphy didn't mean much. But Gabbard was pitching very well and he could have made Buck an easy transition to the bullpen. Beltre is 17 years old with a huge upside. My fear at the time was that this would be a trade that continued to haunt - an overreaction to a "pressing" need.

And I'm the one that's a wolf? Calling Manny a "dirtbag"? Unreal.

Paul brought up Cashman as a reason for the Sox to get Gagne- because the Yankees were trying to. But he left out the point that the Yankees deemed the price too high and came up with the cheaper and smarter solution. The Sox could have easily done the same with Buck. They didn't. Who's fault is that?

Pete Abraham writes to his audience just as many other blog writers do. If SFs dont like his stuff then dont read it, its not meant for you anyway. I dont go around reading Sox blogs because they will just piss me off. I can assure you that many treated the yankees horrible april and may with delight as they should have since SFs reading it would enjoy it.

Pete you hold your opinions, and as Yankee biased and hidden as they are, I'll not get into this with you today. I have absolutely zero desire to argue with you today, so lets just agree to not speak to, at, or about each other.
I don't believe a word you say, nor have I since your PeteYF slip up, which just doesn't happen, and to be honest, can't think of anything worse than a guy pretending to be the fan of a rival fanbase to talk shit about everything they do.
And, Manny is absolutely a dirtbag. That's my opinion. Just like your opinion of how terrible everything Boston is or ever has been.
Lets just not talk okay. We'll circumvent each other throughout this thread and all threads in the future.
Thanks.

Pete:

I disagree with your opinion, but I understand what you are saying. Simply put, the pitchers who took Gabbard's spot in the rotation have acquitted themselves nicely, so losing Gabbard hasn't hurt a bit. And, Gagne has performed so far below expectations that any claim that someone saw this coming comes off as a bit convenient. Had Gagne pitched just garden-variety mediocre/badly(say, 4.50-5.00 ERA as opposed to NINE) the Sox would be coasting to the division, probably up at least 3.5 right now, if not more. The Corvette analogy is perfect. It's one thing for the Corvette to never hit top speed, for there to be something wrong with the engine such that it's not the ride you expected, it's a totally different thing for the Corvette to come with a hidden key-activated explosive device.

This all leads me back to the question of MDC, and why he's not "trusted". What do the Sox (or Tito) know about him that we don't, what do they suspect would happen that we fans aren't anticipating? We've all seen the kid pitch this year. What are we fans who like MDC missing?

Uh, let's not speak to each other - but you're speaking to me. That's great. Whatever, man. That's fantastic really. Almost as fantastic as people claiming to know me after two days of posting.

When you have something interesting or intelligent to say, I'll respond accordingly. But you're right - from the looks of your posts we won't have much to talk about.

Meanwhile, I don't have to prove my fan worthiness to you.

I dunno what the problem with MDC is. My theory is that Francona is really trying to get a handle on what's going on with Gagne before the playoff rosters are inked. There is no logical reasoning behind last night.

You got it, dickhead.

Brad:

I posted earlier this year about Bobby Abreu's spring training oblique injury, about how dicey these things are (as a ballplayer surely you know this). I caught grief from a couple of Yankee fans about it, as if I was stating something biased by uniform. I don't think I am going to change my stance on this type of injury just because Manny has it, though, and his extended absence probably has less to do with Manny "dirtbagness" and more to do with the restrictions/complications of an oblique strain.

Here's the Abreu injury comment string:

http://yanksfansoxfan.typepad.com/ysfs/2007/02/abreu_injured.html#comment-61655404

I was your typical SF last night when the sh*t hit the fan but, as I calmed down, I think I started to understand what Tito (and Theo) are doing. Who cares if we win the division by 6 games or 1 game? What matters is keeping the regulars healthy and figuring out who in the bullpen can be trusted. The risk is that we lose the division and end up in Anaheim but I'll take that over possibly burning arms out in the final two weeks of the season. The most amusing thing to me right now is reading all of the very rational responses by YFs to SF angst.

Thanks, SF. I agree completely on Delcarmen and I suspect that's what they're going to start trying. Giving that he pitched so little last night, I'm saying he's the first arm out the pen tonight in the 7th or 8th innings if the game is close.

Gagne, I have no idea what they're going to try. Either they give up on the division and and just keep throwing him out there. Or they start fresh with low-leverage situations.

Come on, guys, cut it out. And Brad, watch the attacks, ok?

Seriously - we don't need this kind of crap.

Wow. You guys put up with that kind of language around here? This is the first baseball forum I've really posted on, but others that's I've been a part of in computer science quickly go to hell when people start talking like that. That's a real internet cancer.

"This all leads me back to the question of MDC, and why he's not "trusted"."

Beats the hell out of me; he has excellent stuff.

Hurt or not, I'm sick of it with him, SF. Every year it's the same thing.
Now, I know most of my posts aren't intelligent enough, or well written enough to garnish a response from scientists and doctors, but I have to assume that I'm not the only person who's tired of defending Manny. If Manny is on the Red Sox next year, since in reality I've already written him off for this one, it's a terrible mistake on Theo's part.

I was reading Pete Abraham because he can be insightful regarding various aspects of the game and the Yanks. Right now, however, he seems a bit caught up in the thought of "epic collapses" which seems odd to me because both teams will make the post season. If the Sox fell out of the playoff picture entirely I'd understand his outsized glee.

Great, glad to see it's not tolerated. Thanks.


Mostly it's because I've been here, almost daily, for the better part of three or so years. Once, and only once I've lost my temper on another person before today.

And I feel very comfortable posting my thoughts in a thread that starts with:

"Let's get things straight: No one knew this would happen."

and continues:

"Some thought the trade unnecessary. They were wrong."

I stated my opinions in a reasonable way. If you can't deal with that, go get a pacifier or scream into your blanket. But don't act like a child here, no matter how long you've been hanging around. It's recipe for killing communities. I've seen it many times going back to the late 90's.


Pete,
Not to enter the name-calling parade, but I do think, even from your first post here, that there is a difference between predicing Gagne would stink and feeling the Sox were giving up too much talent for a short-term rental. As you explain your feelings at the time the trade, you were not predicting Gagne to stink. Paul is right in stating that no one was. Not YFs, not SFs, and not analysts.

There were those, and it sounds like you were one of them, who thought he might disrupt what was becoming a solid bullpen, but if he had been lights out from the start, that issue would have quickly resolved itself, as such issues always do when quality emerges.

So in retrospect, you are probably right that it was a terrible trade, but I think it has more to do with all the things no one expected to happen than it does the reasons you originally had for objecting to it. Of course, even if he was lights out, the Sox may have given up too much, but that wouldn't have been judgeable until the young guys they shipped have a couple years to prove how good they are.

On other points:

1. Papelbon for 2 inning saves? The guy has tried that twice in his short career. Both against the Yankees. He blew both of them. I don't think it is a good idea.

2. Bucholz as a guy who WOULD be dominant in the bullpen or who WOULD HAVE BEEN if he had been eased into the roll a la Joba? I think this is a huge stretch. Maybe he could be, but transitations from rotations to bullpens are not always smooth, especially in September/October pressure-situations. Bucholz could still become your lights-out 7th inning guy, but this is at best a 50-50 proposition to me, if that, given a) he has had so few appearances vs. major league pitching and b) he hasn't been doing it in late inning relief, not to mention huge pressure situations.

And as for MDC being part of a possible "dominant" bullpen, he is a solid pitcher, but I would never use the word dominant to describe him.

You guys need Okajima to return to form and then one of these other guys (Timlin/MDC/MAYBE Bucholz) to get hot. Or for gagne to be reborn. Simple as that. But what is for sure right now is that you don't have a sure thing other than Papelbon. One might still emerge int eh next 2 weeks.

Sorry, SF.
I'll take my own advice from now on. A very bad night, in combination with a direct swipe at the construction of my posts caused me to wish I wasn't behind a keyboard, and since I was, a very ill-thought out retalliation came too fast.
Again, sorry.

Blowing the division is more embarrassing to the fans, I would guess, than it is to the players, though I imagine every single player on the Sox wants to win the division. But the long picture is the playoffs. If Manny comes back and plays hurt and reinjures himself and is lost for the playoffs or completely useless, then is he back in your good stead, Brad, just because he 'sacked up'? If he comes back early to DH does that mean that Papi has to play the field, thereby risking his further injury? There's a little bit of a snowball effect here, and I am sure the Sox are considering the consequences, both short-term and playoff-term.

The Sox are in a bad spot right now, the Youkilis thing (no matter how many times he was striking out, he's a darn solid Major League hitter), the Manny thing, the Gagne thing, the Oki thing. But they need to plan for October considering these injuries. They need to get guys healthy first, play them later, if need be. That has nothing to do with Tito playing amateur psychologist with Gagne, mind you. But getting Manny as close to 100% for the playoffs and mitigating the injury risk for him is of absolute, primo importance, more important than getting him back to secure the division and injure his playoff effectiveness. I'll trade the latter for the former any day.

Now, as for the bullpen management, that's something else entirely...

Pete, again: Please just avoid all things to do with me. I don't like you, and really I just don't want to have anything to do with talking to you. Now, there is no way you can possibly know that without me telling you so, so that is why I'm typing at all. Leave me out of your posts, and I'll do the same. You say your part and I'll say mine, but don't belittle, compliment, argue, converse, or think of some way to respond to something I've said, and I'll do the same respectfully. I really, really dislike you, but I love this board, so let's just avoid it please.
Thank you.

I love you both.

Actually, I am just saddened that this board can go negative without the presence of...the floppy-shoed one...

No, SF. I could really care less at this point about what Manny does or does not do. I don't expect anything from him, nor do I think he's going to try to prove any of the media or fans wrong.
I'm so down on the Red Sox lately that it just doesn't matter to me what he does. At this point, just let Ellsbury have the AB's and let the cards fall where they will. I just have very little faith in Manny, and while I clearly don't want him playing "hurt", he has been given clearance to play.

Again, I'm sorry for the attack. It was not well thought out. I could actually use a smile, so BR would be well appreciated rigtht now:)

Iron -

You're absolutely right. The trade and results are completely different matters. But Paul conflated them in the post:

"Some thought the trade unnecessary. They were wrong."

I probably would have felt less motivated to respond without the second sentence. And that's what I realized after I had to think about what got me so fired up.

On Paps - See, they should be trying that against the Jays and O's. I'm not saying it will work, but it can't hurt to try this week and next (or when they had a six game lead this weekend).

On Buck - They acquired Gagne in July. They could have been transitioning Buck through August. And if that didn't work, they still had time, and games, to spare. Now they don't. But Buck did dominate in his one three inning stint. He could have been a two inning guy two to three times a week. There's nothing to suggest now he wouldn't have dominated. Instead, he will have racked up over 20 innings starting when he could have given those in relief.

IH about nails it, Pete. You insist you were right -- I saw the back-patting in the gamer last night -- but you never said you thought Gagne would suck, and you argued in fact the exact OPPOSITE of what would happen -- that the Sox didn't need him. Well, they do need him. Badly. In fact, who here doesn't say the Sox now desperately need a reliable bullpen arm? Unfortunately, Gagne, who was brought in precisely to be that arm, is not delivering. I don't think that's Theo's fault. You think he should have "forced" Tito into using a rookie starter as a setup man or trusting Delcarmen more or whatever. That's fine. But Theo's influence over Terry can only extend so far. And if you truly think using guys like Kyle Snyder and Javier Lopez MORE would have solved the problem abny better than bringing in Eric Freakin' Gagne, I have nothing else to say.

Neither I nor you nor anyone I've ever read online or in the papers ever predicted the simultaneous need for/collapse of Gagne. So, in my opinion, you were wrong. Just as wrong as I was and everyone else.

"he has been given clearance to play"

Is this true? I hadn't heard that. Until now (and despite my own distaste for all things Manny) I would have been more partial to the view that obliques take a while so the guy needs the time to get right. But if the above statement is true, I can see Brad's point pretty glaringly and would be pissed as a fan.

Brad -

First, how's your plan of controlling my behavior working out?

Second, if you don't like what I say, it's up to you to ignore it, tough guy. From my experience, that's how these discussion board best work. If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing. My mom taught me that when I was six.

Third, I don't tend to make personality pronouncements of people I barely know. So, I will be responding to you if you ever manage to say something intelligent or interesting.

Thanks.

I'm also of the opinion that obliques suck, and we have all seen how long it takes for players to recover from those injuries. It's hard to criticize Manny for that. I'd rather he be healthy for the playoffs.

Another thing is we haven't had any of the Gordon Edes anonymous-implication hatchet jobs like we saw when Manny sat last year, which also indicates to me the beat writers think this is serious.

Paul, but has he in fact been "cleared to play"?

Pete and Brad, I thought you were on the path to an on-line hug there for a second, then it went south again. Yes, we do need the floppy-shoed one after all to make us all realize what real inanity is. I will do my best to summon him...sadly, he tends to appear where I am all too regularly.

GUYS, GUYS, GUYS. Come on.

Pete, whether you like what he said or not (and what Brad said was inappropriate and shouldn't be said again) Brad apologized for his outburst. Coming back at him antagonistically serves no purpose, other than to fan the flames.

This can/should be a reasonable an intelligent debate about the Sox, Gagne, the bullpen, etc. Can we not make it into a circular firing squad, please?

"Actually, I am just saddened that this board can go negative without the presence of...the floppy-shoed one..."

Thanks IH, I'm now cleaning spit up coffee off my desk. LOL.

As I said, Paul, you conflated things in the post. You brought up the trade.

And you're opinion is that they needed him.

My opinion is that without him, they would have come up with a smarter plan (Buck, Delcarmen, Lopez, heck even Romero). Good luck trying to tell me I'm wrong on that one.

Further, the reason I said the trade was a mistake (As I said a few days ago when you proclaimed Paps+Gagne > Joba + Mo) is that relief pitchers ARE a variable bunch. You can never be sure what you'll get. That was part of my thinking in regards to the trade.

Hey, I'll admit that I never thought Gagne would be this bad. But I also never thought he'd be lights out (as almost everyone seemed to think).

And I don't need to pat myself on the back. It's your insecurities about being wrong that caused me to get so fired up. How could Paul be wrong when EVERYONE was wrong?

SF: Good call. But if the floppy-shoed one does appear, can we call the circular firing squad back and put him in the middle of it?

Just asking.

SF -

Please explain how Brad's post at 11:24 is an apology.

by78: send me the bill.

heck even Romero

Jeez, what about Tony Fossas? Why not convince him to get off the couch and rejoin? I heard he just lost 10lbs on Atkins and is back to his playing weight of 220, none of it muscle.

Not sure that suggesting JC Romero might have been the answer is helping your case, Pete.

Try 11:29, Pete.

Well in mild defense of Pete on this one, he could throw any name out there and make a plausible argument that the guy would not have blown 4 games already and have only one 1-2-3 inning in all his 14 IP. Even, dare I say it........KYLE FARNSWORTH!

Romero is a strawman. I'll freely admit that. But they did have other internal options that they didn't try or trust. That's the real problem with acquiring Gagne. And that's what haunts them to this day. They never figured out what they had.

As for our friend Brad, I see he never apologized to me. He apologized to SF at 11:19 and made a general apology at 11:29. But he called me a "dickhead" and twice told me not to talk to him. Sorry if I'm not feeling the warm fuzzies.

?

I can't believe how hard I am trying to make SFs feel better today, but isn't yet another incredibly fine performance by Lester being overlooked in all this? That guy has been A LOT better than I ever expected.

And does anyone have the final word on whether Manny has indeed been "cleared to play". I am harping on this because a. I soak up negative things about Manny like a sponge does water and b. I think that, if it is true, this has implications for his attitude, performance, etc. the rest of the way...and, well, I'd like that.

P.S. Pete, I said I love you and now you say you don't feel the warm fuzzies. I'll never share my feelings again.

IH: first of all, you're killing me this morning.

secondly, you deserve a medal for your work with despondant SFs.

C) i have been looking and have found no mention of manny clearance.

Wow, this board has gotten a bit testy lately. Calm down, guys. Relax.

One thing I noticed after the games last night was the comments from both managers. Now, I recognize that some of this is boilerplate reaction to their respective situations, but I still think it's interesting.

Francona's reaction was basically, 'We're looking at October, getting things ready for the playoffs. Losses now, including losing the division, don't matter as long as we get into the postseason.'

Torre's reaction was basically, 'There's room for improvement, but we can't take a postseason berth for granted, and we need to keep winning games until the end."

Like I said, some of that is pretty standard fare in response to a loss and a win, but I still think it's valid. Francona is managing like he's assuming he'll be in October. That might be a reasonably safe assumption to make, but it's still dangerous. And it frustrates the fans, as we're seeing.

How these philosophies translate into October will be interesting. I think resting everybody up before October can be overrated, because momentum can help a lot. At the same time, I think Boston thrives on the underdog thing, and they might actually get a boost if they have to go in as a wildcard.

At this point, NY and Boston are both, in all likelihood, playing in October. And, really, it doesn't matter much who wins the division. But the philosophy that guides the teams, and their managers, into the postseason matters a lot, and it's unclear whose philosophy is going to win out.

It's your insecurities about being wrong that caused me to get so fired up. How could Paul be wrong when EVERYONE was wrong?

Hmm, guess saying in the very same post, "We were wrong, too," does nothing for you. This post wasn't about calling you out, Pete. It was about stating the facts: NO ONE knew this would happen. Not you. Not me. Not anyone. And going back, rewriting your opinions and saying that anyone who has ever pitched a game this season would have worked better than Gagne is a desparate argument. It might be correct, but it smacks of hindsightism.

I'm sorry you took it personally, Pete, but frankly, that's not my problem.

Sorry, Iron, but it's going hard for me to love a guy named Ironhorse, unless I'm stuck in the pen and he decides he likes me. Even then I might have to shank him.

OK, Pete, if you can explain to me why you used my handle "SF" up above I would be happy to hear it.

Fire away - this doesn't look good for you right now.

KM: I agree with you on the momentum thing up to the point when it affects one or both fo the following two things:

a) your starting rotation being ready and in order for the ALDS. On this front, they are both doing well - Torre with his 6-man rotation, which I LOVE and Froncona with his shuffling of Schilling and others.

b) the fatigue of your bullpen. On this point, Francona is in a mess that I am not sure anyone could easily manage. He doesn't know who to trust and needs to establish that by throwing guys out there. But as he gets closer to the ALDS he doesn't want to throw anyone, especially seemingly tired Okajima, out there too much. As for Torre, he knows he trusts Joba and Vizcaino hands down. Beyond that he has nice options of surpringly good Veras and the 5th/6th starters going to the pen as long relievers.

Thanks to YFiB, for the props and for the info. Damn. And I was hoping to find proof that Manny was dogging it.

If you left it at that, Paul, I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten fired up. But in saying:

"Some thought the trade unnecessary. They were wrong."

You were specifically calling me out given our previous disagreements on the subject.

Listing all the pitchers is silly - as I freely admit - but the Sox did have options. They chose the easy, expensive path.

Pete: "Even then I might have to shank him". Very funny.

Actually, I dare you to do just that. To assist you I will give you my physical description: I am 5'5 with orange hair, a red-ball nose, floppy shoes, and a bike horn in my hand. And my screen-name ends in RAW.

IH: if there was any "proof," it would be plastered over these internets.

What? Where?

I'm sorry. I need to just sign up for an account. Last time I did that I was responding to a YF. This time I'm responding to you. That's the only explanation I can offer. My mind works faster than my fingers and I'm bad at proof-reading.

Sorry, everyone. The post at 11:49 AM is mine.

I guess this comes down, too, to how "creative" you want the Sox front office to be. Acquiring Gagne was not creative -- more creative than throwing millions at Drew, Lugo or Matsuzaka (which was a little creatrive, considering the difficulties of blind bidding), but not as creative as finding David Ortiz or turning Nomar Garciaparra into a World Championship, certainly.

But, also, what was the need at the time for being creative? The criticism I heard most at the time of the Gagne trade was that the Sox didn't need him, that they were messing with the one part of their team that didn't need work. Considering that, would not a move of Buchholz to the bullpen been criticized the same way? Why add more relievers -- and mess with a successful formula in Buchholz -- unnecessarily (as was thought at the time)?

Let's say the Sox did see a concern with Okajima's performance and got Gagne knowing they would need him to essentially replace Oki. Going forward, which option was most likely to produce positive results for the team in August, September and the playoffs? Convering a rookie starter and throwing him in pressure situatuions, even if the conversion occurred slowly, or acquiring a proven veteran reliever who had performed well all season?

In the heat of a pennant race, how creative could the Sox afford to be? I would submit that it's very easy after the catastrophe to look back and say: "See. They had better, more creative options. They took the dumb, easy way out." I'm not sure that accurately reflects the complexities of the situation in late July.

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