Calling all lip readers: Jacoby does it again

October 2nd, 2008 → 1:07 pm @

I wanna know what Justin Masterson said to (what I assume was) second base umpire Kerwin Danley after last night’s eight-inning permanent highlight reel snag by Jacoby “Mr. October” Ellsbury in center. Judging from the grins on both of their faces, I’m guessing it was something along the lines of, “holy shit is he incredible”…

Post Categories: 2008 Playoffs & Jacoby Ellsbury & Justin Masterson

Where have you gone, J.D. Drew…a nation turns its sleepy eyes to you

October 1st, 2008 → 10:25 am @

I’ve been a fan Millers Falls statistician Chuck Waseleski — whose telling (and not so telling) bits of arcana have appeared the Globe under the heading “From the maniacal one” for lo these many years. There are a couple of particularly interesting tidbits in today’s end-of-season offering, including the fact that J.D. Drew had the most game-winning RBIs on the Sox this year, with 11.

I’ve always been a fan of Drew’s — he doesn’t get enough credit from the hoi polloi for his defense because he makes it look fairly effortless and he has a gorgeous swing — but even so, this surprised me. The guy, after all, missed almost a third of the season’s games — and of the games he did play in he had two or fewer at-bats in 14, including three games in which he had no official plate appearances. I’m in the school that feels that when you have a bunch of mid-30s players on your roster (Drew turns 33 in December; Lowell turns 35 in February; Tek will turn 37 (!) the first week of the ’09 season) you can’t ascribe injuries to just bad luck. It’s still painful to think of what the Sox would look like going into the playoffs with all of their starters healthy.

Two other things that popped out at me:

* Boston was 29-32 against the AL East in games not started by Jon Lester (this stat actually isn’t among Chuck’s offerings; I got it by doing some super advanced math and subtracting Lester’s 9-2 ALE record from the team’s 38-34 record against other teams in its division).

* 81 percent of Dice-K’s K’s were of the swinging variety. I’m not sure if that makes it more or less surprising that he had so many walks.

OK. Time for a nap in preparation for tonight’s 10:07 game time.

Post Categories: 2008 Playoffs & Chuck Waseleski & Daisuke Matsuzaka & J.D. Drew & Jon Lester

True fantasy baseball

September 28th, 2008 → 1:15 pm @

Let’s say the Mets and the Brewers both win — or lose — today, and there’s one final regular season game tomorrow. The game goes into extras, as it should. In the top of the 11th, one in the endless stream of ineffective Mets relievers plunks Corey Hart to give the Brewers a man on first, no outs. Rickie Weeks proceeds to dump a bloop single into right field; with a hit-and-run on, it’s first-and-third, no outs, and nothing but the Mets bullpen to keep the Milwaukee from being three outs away from the playoffs. Except…Hart is sent home. And he’s thrown out at the plate. And the Mets win on a Reyes walk-off.

Sound crazy? Only for those folks out there who didn’t watch then-Red Sox third base coach and current improbable Brewers manager Dale Sveum lead three Red Sox to getting gunned down at the plate by the Rays’ Rocco Baldelli in the course of one week in 2004 — including two in successive at-bats.

(For the record: I always thought Dale got a bad rap. Which doesn’t mean the above scenario wouldn’t be a fitting end to the ’08 regular season.)

Post Categories: 2008 Playoffs & 2008 Season & Brewers & Dale Sveum & Mets

The original gangsta

September 28th, 2008 → 1:02 pm @

Today’s do (and possibly only delay death by a day) or die Mets game makes me, once again, mourn for the great Pedro Martinez of yesteryear. I know Johan was gangsta and all that–but it was Pedro circa 99-00 who was the real assassin. I’m not talking about the whole “use your head” imbroglio or even the throw-down


with Zimmer. I’m talking about days like days like September 10, 1999, when, save for a right-field porch Chili Davis shot and a first-batter Chuck Knoblauch HBP, Pedro was perfect, piling up 17Ks on route to one-hitting the eventual Series champs. It was the height of Dominican fervor, and fans up in the nosebleeds above left were posting Ks in the Bronx, mind you; afterward, there were chants of “Pedro-Sosa” throughout the streets surrounding the Stadium. It was the most beautiful game I’ve ever seen pitched. (And yes, I was there: with four comrades from Newton North. Things got ugly there towards the end of the night. At one point, I appealed to a cop for help. His response? “What do you want me to do?”)

Post Categories: 2008 Playoffs & Johan Santana & Mets & Pedro Martinez

The boo-boo tally: Boston vs the Bronx

September 24th, 2008 → 12:58 pm @

Well, folks, it’s official – for the first time since 1994, the Yankees won’t be playing October baseball. Whatever you think about New York, it was an impressive run.

The Sox, meanwhile, will be going to the playoffs for the fifth time in seven years since the Henry-Werner-Lucchino gang took over, a stretch that includes the most exciting baseball playoff series in history and two world championships. (Read all about it in Feeding the Monster, the only all-access to the team’s current management and the ’04-’05 seasons. It’s available at Amazon for only $10.20 – cheap! And, as always, personalized, inscribed copies are still available.)

Plenty will be written about all of the above, of course. What I want to do is take a quick look at accumulated boo boos of the 2008 campaign. Everyone from Hank Steinbrenner to the sad-sack fans I work with have been whining about all the injuries those fragile souls in the Bronx have had to endure, and, to be sure, there’s a long list. But has it been all that much worse than what the Sox have faced?

Let’s go to the numbers.

The Yankees DL list includes, most prominently, Posada, Wang, and Joba, with Posada and Wang missing most of the season. They’ve also had A-Rod, Matsui, Damon, Pettitte, Phil Hughes, and Ian Kennedy on the 15-day list and Brian Bruney out for 60 days. And, of course, there’s Carl Pavano. (Hughes’ and Kennedy’s problems weren’t due to injuries as much as to ineffectiveness.)

The Sox, meanwhile, have had five of their six pre-season projected starters on the DL: Schilling was lost for the year before the season started, Colon was on the 60-day, Daisuke and Buccholz both did 15-day stints, and Beckett has been out of commission twice. (As far as pitching goes, Timlin also did two turns on the DL, but that might have helped the team more than anything else.) Offensively, Lowell has been sidelined twice, Lugo was lost for the season, and Ortiz and Drew both did their time. (Casey – twice – and Cora also got banged up enough to move off the active roster for stretches.) Oh yeah: they also had Manny mope his way out of town.

Is that worse than the Yankees? You could make a case either way; what’s certain is that the Yankees’ haven’t been snake-bitten to an unprecedented, or even all that unusual, degree. Ortiz has been considerably more hindered than A-Rod, and the Lowell-Drew injuries have been more lingering than anything the rest of New York’s offense had to deal with. Wang and Posada are obviously enormous losses, but the Sox’s rotation has had to deal with more injury-related interruptions than the Yankees. And Tek…well, yeah.

So why were the Sox wearing their champagne goggles last night while Girardi had the distinction of being the first Joe not to lead the Yanks to the playoffs in well over a decade? In a word (or three), home grown talent. But that’s a subject for another day.

Post Categories: 2008 Playoffs & 2008 Season & Hank Steinbrenner & Injuries & Red Sox & Yankees