Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Pythagorean - 8/10/2015

Kind of sad that a 3-3 week where they're only outscored by one is a good week, but for this team, that's where we are...

The Week That Was:

  • 8/4 - @New York 13 - Boston 3 - Highly-touted Boston left-hander Henry Owens makes his Major League debut and is effective, taking a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th. But the first two runners reach, and the bullpen allows them to score, plus one more, and then 9 more in the 7th, so he takes the loss.

  • 8/5 - Boston 2 - @New York 1 - For the second night in a row, a top pitching prospect makes his debut, pitches well through five innings, but takes the loss anyway. This time that's the fate for the Yankees' Luis Severino, who gets matched up against Boston knuckle-baller Steven Wright who is dominant, allowing only four hits and one run through eight innings.

  • 8/6 - @New York 2 - Boston 1 - Eduardo Rodriguez pitches well, but the Boston bats are silent. Jacoby Ellsbury's 7th-inning HR breaks a 1-1 tie and provides the eventual winning run.

  • 8/7 - Boston 7 - @Detroit 2 - Joe Kelly manages to limit his bad inning to two runs, and the Red Sox score early and often en route to a 7-2 win in Detroit. In the process, the Sox lose Koji Uehara on the last play of the game, as he takes a ball off of his pitching forearm. Preliminary indications are that it's not serious.

  • 8/8 - @Detroit 7 - Boston 6 - Boston scores first, Detroit scores last, as a Victor Martinez HR in the bottom of the 7th provides the last lead-change in a game full of them. Wade Miley pitched well through four innings and OK through five, but not particularly well through six, and the bullpen struggles continue.

  • 8/9 - Boston 7 - @Detroit 2 - Jackie Bradley, Jr., has a dominant day, combining a couple of spectacular catches in the outfiield with driving in five runs with a HR and a bases-loaded triple, providing all of the offense necessary for Henry Owens to pick up his first Major League win.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • Congratulations to Henry Owens, for picking up his first Major League win in his second of two pretty good starts this, his Major League debut week.

  • Mike Napoli did some great things in a Boston uniform. But not this year or last. In the long-run, the flag from 2013 will always be there, and so will my affection for him as a Boston fan.

  • David Ortiz hit two monster home runs this week. The one in New York on Wednesday night was measured at 441 feet, the one in Detroit on Friday night was even further.

  • Ortiz' vesting option for next year kicked in, so we will see his 14th season in a Boston uniform next year. He's 11 HR away from 500, which he'll almost certainly get to either in September or early in the 2016 season. And 432 of those have come in a Boston uniform, so he's 18 away from 450 in a Boston uniform, and only 20 behind Yaz' 452. So there's a strong likelihood that a year from now, we'll have seen his 500th, his 450th in a Boston uniform, and Ortiz move into second place on the Red Sox All-Time home run list.

  • Can Jackie Bradley hit Major League pitching? The question remains to be answer, but he sure did yesterday...

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - David Ortiz (.304/.407/.739/1.147, 6.40 runs created, 10.00 RC/25 outs) went deep three times (very deep), and, in the process, locked in his contract for next year.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Steven Wright pitched eight outstanding innings in New York, giving up only four hits and one run.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/10/2015
Kansas City4.33(7)3.75(2)0.565(3)624866444
NY Yankees4.81(2)4.25(9)0.556(4)614961490
LA Angels4.18(10)3.78(3)0.546(6)60505951-1
Tampa Bay3.71(15)3.79(5)0.49(8)555756561
Chicago Sox3.74(13)4.41(11)0.425(15)466351585
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9765
NY Yankees9072
LA Angels8775
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9567
NY Yankees9072
LA Angels8775
Standings for the week
LA Angels3.67(12)3.67(3)0.5(8)33421
Tampa Bay5.5(4)4(7)0.642(4)42420
Kansas City4.5(7)3.83(4)0.573(6)33421
Chicago Sox4.17(9)6(14)0.339(13)2415-1
NY Yankees2.83(15)2.67(2)0.528(7)3324-1

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Monday, August 03, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 8/3/2015

If the opposition is scoring in the first inning of every game (ok, there was one in which they didn't), it's hard to expect much better than 3-4...

The Week That Was:

  • 7/27 - Chicago 10 - @Boston 8 - Joe Kelly's struggles continue, as he allows four runs to Chicago in the top of the first. Boston, in doing what has been very unusual during the 2015 season, battles back, taking one run leads in the bottoms of the 4th and 5th innings, but neither lasts as Craig Breslow and Robbie Ross perform nearly as ineffectively as Kelly, and the White Sox win 10-8.

  • 7/28 - Chicago 9 - @Boston 4 - The night after Joe Kelly allowed four runs to the White Sox in the top of the first, Wade Miley allows five. Before the Red Sox sent a single batter to the plate, the White Sox had already scored more runs than the Red Sox would manage as they fell 9-4.

  • 7/29 - Chicago 9 - @Boston 2 - Rick Porcello allows as many runs scored as batters he retires, leaving after 2+ innings with a 6-0 deficit. Boston's initial offensive attempts in the game end with a runner thrown out, by a wide margin, with none out, as third base coach Brian Butterfield adds his contribution to the offensive ineptitude.

  • 7/30 - @Boston 8 - Chicago 2 - For the fourth consecutive game, the White Sox take a lead in the top of the first. This time, however, Stephen Wright, and the bullpen, manage to hold them off the board the rest of the way, while the Red Sox are putting up 8 of their own for the second time in the series. Tonight, it's enough.

  • 7/31 - @Boston 7 - Tampa 5 - Eduardo Rodriguez struggles through five, but never allows a big inning, holding the Rays to one run in each of the first three innings and nothing in the next two. Boston's 'pen outpitches the Rays', and Mike Napoli's 2 run HR in the bottom of the 7th after Tampa took its only lead in the top, results in a Boston win.

  • 8/1 - @Boston 11 - Tampa 7 - For the first, and only, game this week, Boston bats without the opposition having scored in the top of the first. Joe Kelly is dominant for three innings as Tampa gets a Porcellish start from Matt Moore and Boston builds an early 6-0 lead. Kelly nearly gives it all away, but the offense continues producing, and the game ends with the Red Sox evening their record for the week at 3-3.

  • 8/2 - @Tampa 4 - Boston 3 - With a chance to end the week with a win and a winning record, the Red Sox get a strong performance from Wade Milay and take a 3-2 lead into the 8th inning. But Junichi Tazawa gives up two, and the Sox don't score again, falling 4-3 in the game and on the week.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • The Red Sox retired Pedro's number twice - first, in English, on Tuesday night and then, in Spanish, on Wednesday night. I know NESN had Tuesday's, but I was in the park on Wednesday. Very cool to see Pedro and El Tiante on the mound together...

  • Quite a day for Travis Shaw on Saturday. He's not a real prospect at this point, but it's always nice to see someone who has toiled for years in the minors have a moment of glory in The Show. Two HR, four hits, five runs scored - that's a better day than many players who will have better careers will ever have.

  • Sorry, but I just haven't got much more to say. It's been a trainwreck from the start. They've not only been not good, they've been not interesting.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Hard to believe, with just two games of action, but Travis R Shaw (.750/.778/1.625/2.403, 6.10 runs created, 76.22 RC/25 outs), in those two games, produced more than anyone else on the team this week. He had one walk to go with his 6-8 with a double and 2 HR.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Stephen Wright was effective on Friday, but I am going to dock him some for allowing runs in the first inning and putting the team in a whole. So I'm going to go with Craig Breslow, who threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings over three appearances, including getting out of a first-and-third, no out situation that Porcello handed him on Wednesday night.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/3/2015
Kansas City4.32(7)3.75(2)0.564(3)594562423
NY Yankees4.92(2)4.35(12)0.557(4)584659451
LA Angels4.21(8)3.79(5)0.548(6)57475549-2
Tampa Bay3.61(15)3.78(3)0.479(9)515552541
Chicago Sox3.72(13)4.32(11)0.432(15)445950536
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9765
NY Yankees9270
LA Angels8676
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9567
NY Yankees9171
LA Angels8775
Standings for the week
NY Yankees8.86(1)5.14(8)0.73(2)5243-1
Tampa Bay5.33(6)4.5(6)0.577(5)33330
Chicago Sox6.71(2)7(15)0.481(8)34431
Kansas City4.14(11)5.71(11)0.357(12)25341
LA Angels2.5(15)5.33(9)0.2(15)1506-1

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 7/27/2015

2-6 is never going to get it done, unless you're in the last week with a magic number of one. The Red Sox aren't...

The Week That Was:

  • 7/20 - @LAAnaheim 11 - Boston 1 - In the first game of a day-night doubleheader, making up for the game which was rained out on Sunday night, Eduardo Rodriguez gets hammered, allowing 7 runs in the second inning, and leaving after only retiring five batters. The Boston offense finally scores it's first post-All Star break run in the 4th inning of their third game in Anaheim, but it obviously is irrelevant to the final outcome.

  • 7/20 - @LAANaheim 7 - Boston 3 - Steven Wright allows home runs to Albert Pujols and Mike Trout as the Angels take a 5-0 lead into the 6th inning. Boston does eventually score a couple of runs, but are never in the game, being swept in the double-headed by a combined score of 18-4.

  • 7/21 - @Houston 8 - Boston 3 - Brian Johnson makes his Major League debut, and it's somewhat less than a roaring success, as he allows four runs while only pitching 4 1/3 innings. The Red Sox, for the first time on the road trip and the first time in over a week, actually held a lead 3-1 into the bottom of the 5th, but the Astros tie the game as an attempt to throw out a runner stealing second with runners on 1st and 3rd ricochets off of the sliding runners forearm into no-man's land in left field, and two runs score. They score two more off of Johnson and reliever Justin Masterson, and the Red Sox fail to do anything offensive en route to their 6th straight loss.

  • 7/22 - @Houston 4 - Boston 2 - Joe Kelly's return to the Major Leagues, and to the Red Sox starting rotation, is better than some of his outings, but not great, as he allows four runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched. He keeps the team in the game, but the offensive struggles continue, and Boston falls again.

  • 7/23 - @Houston 5 - Boston 4 - The losing streak runs to 8 games as the road trip finishes the way it began - with the bullpen surrendering a walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9th inning of a tie game. This time it's Jose Altuve homering off of Craig Breslow, as Boston's longest winless road trip in 64 years comes to a painful end.

  • 7/24 - @Boston 2 - Detroit 1 - In a battle of former rotation-mates, Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander each allow one run in the third inning and nothing else. Porcello's seven inning, one run performance is his best in months and one of his best in a Red Sox uniform. The game remains tied into the 11th and Xander Bogaerts drives in Mookie Betts to end the game and the 8-game losing streak.

  • 7/25 - Detroit 5 - Boston 1 - Boston's offensive ineptitude continues, and Steven Wright continues to demonstrate the knuckle-ballers traditional susceptibility to home runs and passed balls as the Tigers score in the first and Boston trails the entire way.

  • 7/26 - @Boston 11 - Detroit 1 - The week ends similar to the way in which it strarted - with Eduardo Rodriguez starting a game which ends 11-1. This time, it's the Red Sox offense doing the damage, led by two home runs from David Ortiz, as Boston takes two of three from the Tigers.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • For those of us harboring hopes of a second-half surge, the post-All Star break road trip brought them to a quick and painful end. Two weeks ago, they entered the break just 6 1/2 games back - this morning it's 12. And over.

  • The only questions remaining for 2015 are these - can they avoid their second consecutive, and third in four years, last place finish? And what can they do in 2015 to make 2016 less likely to result in another disaster?

  • The anatomy of a disaster: The Red Sox 0-7 road trip was the longest winless road trip for the team since the 1951 Red Sox lost its last 8 road games.
    Angels/Astros 39 Boston 13 Boston offense - (.204/.249/.296/.545, 14.89 runs created, 1.97 RC/25 outs) Opposition - (.245/.333/.523/.856, 37.18 runs created, 5.44 RC/25 outs)

  • A big part of the problem on the trip was the top of the order. Top 3 (Betts, Holt, Pedroia) (.111/.152/.175/.326, -.40 runs created, -.17 RC/25 outs)

  • I am of the opinion that there is no hitter in MLB who has been more negatively effected by the stretching of the strike zone than Mike Napoli. Napoli's skill set is look at a lot of pitches, take the ones that he can't hit, and hammer the ones that he can. It seems that the umpires, by widening the zone, have made it possible for pitchers to throw a lot more pitches that are simultaneously a) not hittable by Napoli and b) strikes. Is he finally adjusting?

  • I very rarely have much interest in what any athlete has to say in an interview. There are exceptions, and Pedro Martinez was one. Always insightful, always interesting, and he was again yesterday.

  • ESPN put up a graphic last night, comparing Pedro to Koufax over their best four-year peaks. If you don't know anything about context, it looked like Koufax was better. He wasn't. Taking into account ballpark and league offensive context, Pedro was much better. Koufax' ERA+ from 1963-1966 was 172. Pedro's, from 1997-2000, was 219. Pedro was the greatest.

  • There are a few athletes that I feel privileged to have been able to watch. Tom Brady. Larry Bird. And Pedro Martinez.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Mike Napoli (.400/.444/.680/1.124, 6.36 runs created, 9.94 RC/25 outs) is finally showing signs that he might still be able to hit. Xander Bogaerts (.455/.441/.485/.926, 6.73 runs created, 8.86 RC/25 outs) continues to be effective both at the plate and in the field. But the award goes to David Ortiz (.357/.400/.857/1.257, 8.57 runs created, 11.90 RC/25 outs), whose two home runs on Sunday night brought him up to 485 for his career, just 15 away from 500.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Rick Porcello threw seven innings of one-run ball against his former team, and former teammate Justin Verlander, leading the Red Sox to a 2-1 win that broke their 8 game losing streak.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/27/2015
Kansas City4.33(7)3.61(1)0.583(2)574059382
LA Angels4.32(8)3.69(2)0.571(4)56425543-1
NY Yankees4.64(2)4.29(10)0.536(7)524555423
Tampa Bay3.51(14)3.74(4)0.471(10)475349512
Chicago Sox3.5(15)4.13(7)0.425(15)415546505
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9963
NY Yankees9270
LA Angels9171
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9765
LA Angels9270
NY Yankees9072
Standings for the week
Chicago Sox5.5(4)2.67(1)0.79(1)5142-1
LA Angels6.38(2)3.38(4)0.762(2)6253-1
NY Yankees5.33(5)4.17(8)0.611(4)42511
Kansas City3.57(10)3.14(3)0.558(7)43430
Tampa Bay2.33(13)3.5(5)0.323(12)24240

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 7/20/2015

Outscored 4-0 over two games doesn't provide much fodder for commentary. After you say that the pitching was pretty good but they didn't hit, what's left to say? Not much...

The Week That Was:

  • 7/17 - @LAAnaheim 1 - Boston 0 - Wade Miley makes his second consecutive start, thanks to the four-day All Star break, and is outstanding, taking a no-hitter into the sixth and allowing only 2 hits and no runs in seven plus innings of work. But it all goes for naught as the Red Sox do nothing offensively, and Mike Trout breaks a personal 0-5 against Koji Uehara with a 2-out 9th inning HR for a 1-0 Angels win.

  • 7/18 - @LAANaheim 3 - Boston 0 - Rick Porcello allows three runs (two earned) over five, and Justin Masterson pitches three strong shutout innings out of the bullpen, but, for the second consecutive night, the Red Sox are held scoreless by Angel pitching.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • Due to the All Star break, they played two games. Due to the All Star break and awful performances, they scored 0 runs. The pitchers were fine, in general. Miley was excellent in particular.

  • There's really not much more to say.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - They scored 0 runs on the week. 'Nuff said...

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - I almost left this unawarded, too, but Wade Miley was so good on Friday that I'm going to give it out. In seven plus innings of work, he walked 2 and allowed 1 hit. He was perfect through five innings and had a no-hitter through six. That he, and the team, didn't get a win has nothing whatsoever to do with his efforts.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/20/2015
Kansas City4.39(6)3.64(1)0.584(2)533755352
LA Angels4.13(10)3.72(2)0.548(6)494150401
NY Yankees4.59(2)4.3(11)0.531(7)484350412
Tampa Bay3.59(13)3.76(3)0.479(10)454947472
Chicago Sox3.37(15)4.22(10)0.398(15)365442486
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9963
LA Angels9072
NY Yankees8973
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9765
LA Angels8973
NY Yankees8874
Standings for the week
LA Angels2(13)0(1)1(1)20200
Kansas City3.75(6)2.75(6)0.638(6)31310
NY Yankees3(8)2.67(4)0.554(8)21210
Chicago Sox2.75(10)3.75(10)0.362(10)13130
Tampa Bay1.67(14)4(11)0.168(14)12120

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 7/13/2015

While 3-2 isn't a bad week, this particular 3-2 week was a week with a squandered opportunity to close the gap in the East...

The Week That Was:

  • 7/7 - @Boston 4 - Miami 3 - There is some second-guessing after John Farrell sends Wade Miley back to the mound in the 7th inning of a one-one game, and he gives up back-to-back extra base hits as the Marlins take a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the 7th. But Boston loads the bases with two outs, and Xander Bogaerts, on the 8th pitch of his at-bat, clears the bases on a single to provide the final, and winning, runs in a 4-3 Boston win.

  • 7/8 - @Boston 6 - Miami 3 - The Red Sox take a 4-0 lead in the third inning and hang on for a 6-4 win as Rick Porcello breaks a -ersonal 8-game winless streak (0-7) and, on their 4th attempt to do so, Boston becomes the last Major League team to put together a 4-game winning streak in 2015.

  • 7/10 - New York 5 - @Boston 1 - Having played themselves back on to the edges of the division race, with a chance to go into the All Star break with momentum, the last thing that Boston needs is a loss to first-place New York in which Clay Buchholz leaves the game in the 4th inning with an injury. But that's what happens, as Boston's defense struggles, as does its offense, and the winning streak ends, and the deficit in the division goes back up to 6 1/2.

  • 7/11 - @Boston 5 - New York 3 - For the second consecutive night, Alex Rodriguez goes deep in the top of the first to give the Yankees an early lead. The Red Sox tie it in the second on a ground ball, and take a lead they'll not relinquish in the third when Hanley Ramirez goes deep with a man on. Eduardo Rodriguez pitches well for 6 1/3, allowing two solo HR, and the Red Sox increase their lead with two in the 7th before holding on to a 5-3 win.

  • 7/12 - New York 8 - @Boston 6 - Boston ties for its high runs scored total on the week with six, but Wade Miley leaves in the 6th after alliowing five, the bullpen allows another inherited runner to score, and then two more in the 9th, as they come up short yet again, to end the "first half" on a down note.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • The Boston Red Sox enter the All Star break 6 1/2 games out in the AL East with 73 games left to play, including 10 remaining against the first-place Yankees.

  • They had a chance to get the deficit in the division down to 4 1/2 game twice this week. Each time, they lost to the Yankees.

  • There will be many, I am certain, who will claim that Ortiz was not sick yesterday, just unwilling to play first base. I am not one of them, but they'll be out there. I expect that Boston sports talk radio will be fairly toxic today.

  • In his last 9 appearances, each one inning, Koji Uehara has thrown a 2-hitter, with no walks and no runs allowed, while striking out 10. I made a comment earlier in the year to the effect that I had been happy to have them sign him and bring him back, but was concerned that it had been a mistake. Well, they were right and I was wrong. He's been spectacular for most of the year.

  • Whether your position was that they should trade Buchholz (not mine) or hold on to him (mine), him leaving the game during the fourth inning on Friday night hurt your position. It made it impossible for them to trade him, and it made his presence on the roster pointless and unhelpful, at least for the next few weeks.

  • They scored some runs this week, other than Friday, which is interesting, because other than David Ortiz, there were not any particularly good offensive performances.

  • One of the great at-bats of the year came on Tuesday night, when Xander Bogaerts faced the Marlins' Carter Capps with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 7th, and Boston trailing 3-1. Capps has a delivery which is borderline legal at best (in my opinion it's on the wrong side of the line and not particularly close to it), which involves him pushing off rubber and sliding his plant foot forward before completing his windup and releasing the ball. As a result, he's not only thrown 99 MPH, he's doing so from 1 1/2-2 feet closer to home plate, which increases the effective velocity. If the normal release point is ~58 feet from home plate, and Capps release is ~56 feet from home plate, than Capps' 99 MPH fast-ball looks like ~102.5 MPH. And Bogaerts fought off several of them before drilling one in to right field to score all three runners, including Betts who had, with a full count and two outs, been off from first with the pitch.

  • Red Sox Player of the Pre-All Star Break - This will be a controversial choice, I'm sure, but I'm going with Mookie Betts (.277/.328/.464/.792, 54.49 runs created, 5.24 RC/25 outs). OK, maybe it's not controversial. On per-plate appearance basis, a few others - Pedroia, Holt, de Aza - were more productive, and in that sense, hitting lead-off every night helps Mookie. But he worked through an early slump and adjustment period, and has been productive both offensively and defensively, and for the past two months has been outstanding.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Pre-All Star Break - Clay Buchholz. His second start was a disaster, and it took a long time for his ERA to come down from that disaster. He's also had very little run support, resulting in a 7-7 record. But he has consistently been effective, with a 3.26 ERA for the season, more than 6 innings pitched per start for his 18 starts, and an excellent 4.65 K/BB ratio. As bad as this stretch has been, it could have been much worse, and it's largely due to Buchholz that it hasn't been.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - I am tempted not to award it, because the only really good week came from David Ortiz(.308/.438/.692/1.130, 3.77 runs created, 10.47 RC/25 outs), who only played in four games. But the team only played five, so Ortiz it is.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - In the absence of a good starting pitching candidate - ok, Eduardo Rodriguez was good, albeit unspectacular - I'm going to choose this week to recognize Koji Uehara, who has been outstanding again. In three appearances this week, he allowed one hit while striking out five and walking none.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/13/2015
Kansas City4.42(4)3.69(1)0.582(2)503652342
LA Angels4.18(11)3.81(5)0.543(6)484048400
NY Yankees4.65(2)4.35(11)0.53(7)474148401
Tampa Bay3.65(13)3.75(2)0.488(9)444746452
Chicago Sox3.4(15)4.24(10)0.399(15)345241457
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9864
LA Angels8874
NY Yankees8874
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9666
LA Angels8874
NY Yankees8775
Standings for the week
LA Angels5.33(4)3.67(5)0.665(4)42420
Tampa Bay3.71(8)5.29(13)0.344(13)25341
Kansas City7(1)4.57(11)0.686(2)52611
Chicago Sox3(12)2(1)0.677(3)52520
NY Yankees5(5)3.67(5)0.638(5)42420

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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

"The socialist surge "

So, a media outlet is willing to actually acknowledge that the American Democratic party is not a centrist party.
Democratic primaries have always featured liberal insurgent candidates, but perhaps none quite so liberal or insurgent as the socialist senator from Vermont. Sanders’ comments are a reminder of just how far the second-place Democratic presidential candidate stands from the American mainstream on some issues, and the looming reckoning Democrats face with their party’s leftward drift.
I've got several FB friends and relations who would argue any allegation that Barack Obama is a socialist, and I always wonder, if pressed, if they could name a single issue on which Bernie Sanders is any further left than Barack Obama.

I can't, and I suspect that they couldn't either, because I don't think that there is any such issue...

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Monday, July 06, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 7/6/2015

You can play yourself into a situation in which a 5-2 week is not good enough to help, but it's always a good week, and the Red Sox haven't gotten to that situation - quite - yet...

The Week That Was:

  • 6/30 - Boston 3 - @Toronto 1 - Following a successful weekend in Tampa, the Red Sox open a four-game series in Toronto with a win. Xander Bogaerts drives in two with a third-inning double and that would prove to be all of the offensive support that Clay Buchholz would need, allowing just one run over eight innings before Koji Uehara finishes it off.

  • 6/31 - Boston 4 - @Toronto 3 - The Red Sox score in each of the first three innings, taking a 4-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings, and then watching the pitching hold on for seven more inning. Eduardo Rodriguez' attempt to fix his "pitch tipping" issues were effective, if not completely so, and he ends up allowing only one run in six innings of work. Tommy Layne allows a 2-run HR to cut the lead to one in the 7th, but Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara combine to retire all seven batters they face, and the lead holds up.

  • 7/1 - @Toronto 11 - Boston 2 - After Boston fails to score in the top of the first, Rick Porcello takes the mound and puts his team in a hole that they won't climb out of. He allows a three-run HR and a two-run HR as the Blue Jays score 5 before the Red Sox cleanup batter hits. Another two-run HR in the second makes it 7-0, and Porcello's day ends early and ugly, enroute to a Blue Jay blowout.

  • 7/2 - Boston 12 - @Toronto 6 - As bad as Rick Porcello's first inning was on Wednesday, the Red Sox come out and make Matt Boyd's first inning top it on Thursday. Like the Wednesday first, there were two HR, one of which was a three-run HR. But Boyd ends up retiring no one, leaving with a 5-0 deficit, and seeing the first batter faced by the bullpen give up a two-run triple, leaving him with a pitching line of 7 runs allowed while allowing six hits and a walk, and retiring no one. Wade Miley has one tough inning, allowing four runs in the second, but it's far too little, and the Red Sox pad the lead later in the game, building a 12-4 lead before allowing a couple of garbage time runs in the ninth, and leaving Toronto having won 3-of-4, and 5-of-7 on the trip.

  • 7/3 - Houston 12 - @Boston 8 - Not for the first time, the Red Sox have a starter pitch very effectively for three innings only to completely lose it in the fourth. This time it's Justin Masterson, who takes a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth and hands a 5-2 deficit over to the bullpen. The Red Sox battle back repeatedly, scoring 3 to tie after falling behind 5-2, scoring 2 to tie after falling behind 7-5, and scoring 1 to tie after falling behind 8-7. But they ran themselves out of a bigger potential inning in the 8th when Mookie Betts was throwing out trying to steal third, and the bullpen couldn't keep the Astros down. When Noe Ramirez' ignominious Major League debut ended with Houston scoring four runs in the top of the 10th, that was a bridge too far.

  • 7/4 - @Boston 6 - Houston 1 - Boston evens the series with AL-best record Houston as the offense continues to produce, and Clay Buchholz outstanding run continues. For the second time on the week, Buchholz allows only one run, this time in a complete game six-hitter with no walks and 8 strikeouts.

  • 7/5 - @Boston 5 - Houston 4 - In a match-up of talented young AL starters, neither wins, as Eduardo Rodgriguez and Lance McCullers both reach 100 pitches and exit the game after 5. Objectively, Rodriguez pitched a little bit better, allowing 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 8, vs. 7, 3 and 3 for McCullers, but the bottom line is that they each allowed one run over five innings. Boston scored two against the Astros' bullpen in the 6th, but Alexi Ogando's string of scoreless appearances ends at 12, as he allows back-to-back HR in the top of the 7th, the first coming with one man on, as Houston takes a 4-3 lead. But the Red Sox battle back in the bottom, as David Ortiz draws a walk on an 11-pitch at-bat, and Hanley Ramirez follows with an off-balance swing that puts the ball into the Monster Seats, and the rest of the Sox bullpen hangs on for the 5-4 win.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • As poorly as they've played, as disappointing as they have been, the Red Sox enter the final week before the All Star break only six games out in the East, and finish the "first half" with a three-game series at home vs. the first place Yankees.

  • Through April 26, Mookie Betts struggled, hitting a lot of shots right at fielders, and with pitchers adjusting to what they'd seen from him last year and in spring training. He also displayed less patience than we'd like to see. But there was no panic, just confidence that he would adjust to how he was being pitched. And he has.
    Through 4/26 (18 games) (.189/.274/.297/.571, 7.43 runs created, 3.00 RC/25 outs) Since 4/26 (63 games) (.310/.356/.512/.868, 45.46 runs created, 6.31 RC/25 outs)
    He is currently 7th in the AL in WAR (Wins Against Replacement). He's not going to make the All Star game because a) Boston's record and b) Mike Trout, but he's been one of the 10 most productive players in the AL thus far.

  • I remember, in the olden days, having conversations and expressing satisfaction that the Red Sox had managed to extend Rick Porcello. Ah, it was a younger and more foolish time...

  • Honesty compels me to say that I have never heard of Noe Ramirez, and when reading the recaps of Friday night's game (I was completely off the grid for Friday-Sunday morning) I had no idea who they were talking about.

  • Three weeks ago today, the Red Sox lost to Atlanta, running their current losing streak to 6 games, and moving them 9 games back in the east with the 2nd-worst record in the AL, just ahead of Oakland. Since then, they've gone 12-7, half a game behind the Angels for the AL's best record over that stretch. They've scored more runs than they've allowed, and they've gotten back to six games out in the East. In short, they've looked a lot more like the team that a) we expected to see and b) saw for the first few weeks of April. Is it too little, too late? They have four teams in front of them, but they're in position to make a run. They go into the All Star break after five more home games, the last three against the first place Yankees. If they could sweep that series, or at least take two while sweeping two from Florida, they would be in a competitive position to start the second "half" of the season.

  • I suspect that Alejandro De Aza is Spanish for "lightning in a bottle." Wow, has that acquisition turned out well. As long as they don't allow themselves to be fooled by the hot streak into believing that he's a better player than he actually is. He's a 31-year old 8 year Major League veteran whose line before arriving in Boston was .265/.328/.401/.728. You need to take the last month, express tremendous gratitude to the baseball Gods, and replace with something better, rather than depending on him to carry your lineup.

  • Hanley Ramirez, on Sunday, hit possibly the worst looking HR that I've ever seen. He was off balanced, reaching, losing his grip on the bat. But it was in Fenway, and he made good contact, and it won the game.

  • With yesterday's win, the Red Sox have now won three consecutive series for the first time since the first three series of the year. Two of them were in the division, where they've struggled.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Alejandro De Aza (.391/.462/.696/1.157, 6.68 runs created, 11.92 RC/25 outs) is worthy of mention. Xander Bogaerts (.367/.424/.467/.891, 5.57 runs created, 6.96 RC/25 outs) continues to shine. But the award goes, again, to Mookie Betts (.419/.457/.710/1.167, 8.56 runs created, 10.19 RC/25 outs), who is rapidly establishing himself as one of the best players in baseball.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - In some weeks, what Eduardo Rogriguez did - 2 runs over 11 innings in 2 starts, would have been enough to win this award. But not this week. His very good week is completely overshadowed by the dominant effort from Clay Buchholz. Buchholz, who threw 17 innings and allowed just two runs, one in each of his dominant starts this week. He allowed 11 hits and no walks while striking out 13 and hitting one. Absolute dominance.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/6/2015
Kansas City4.19(9)3.61(1)0.568(3)453446331
LA Angels4.1(11)3.82(4)0.532(6)443844380
NY Yankees4.62(2)4.4(10)0.522(7)433944381
Tampa Bay3.64(13)3.62(2)0.503(9)424243411
Chicago Sox3.43(14)4.44(11)0.384(15)304936436
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9468
LA Angels8775
NY Yankees8775
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9369
LA Angels8775
Standings for the week
LA Angels6.67(1)2.17(3)0.887(1)51510
Chicago Sox2.8(13)2.6(5)0.534(6)32411
NY Yankees2.67(14)3.67(7)0.358(12)24331
Tampa Bay3.29(11)5.29(11)0.295(14)2516-1
Kansas City2.14(15)3.86(8)0.254(15)25250

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