Monday pythagorean, 7/21/2014
Yeah, it's just three games, and yeah, it's just Kansas City, and yeah, they only scored two runs on Saturday, but 3-0 is 3-0, and it's better than any of the alternative possibilities...
- It clearly cannot all be blamed on AJ, but the post-Pierzynski record is now 7-1.
- They're also 2-0 in the triumphant return of Shane Victorino.
- Reason for optimism - Over the last month (6/21-7/20), Jackie Bradley, Jr. (.309/.356/.353/.709, 8.06 runs created, 4.03 RC/25 outs) has been a very productive hitter. Corner turned or just a fluke? Either way, he's been a very productive player for the past month. His defense is good enough that he doesn't have to be a great hitter to be a productive player, but if he can keep is OBP above .350 with that defense, he's a good player.
- This is going to reveal me to be a bad baseball fan and possibly even a sub-human, but here it is anyway - I do not like Derek Jeter. I have watched the All Star Game less and less over the years, but I didn't watch a second of the game or the coverage this year. I had no interest in the glorification and paeans to the wonder of the most overrated great player in the history of the game, a player who happened to be in the right organization at the right time to accrue tremendous acclaim based on the accomplishments of others. He played for the one team that was never going to require public contract squabbles to result in being overpaid, was never going to require a move somewhere else to get paid, was never going to put him in a situation where he had to move to have a chance of winning. I think he's as big a phony as Alex Rodriguez, just better at it. He hurt his team defensively for his entire career, and his Gold Glove award is one of the biggest jokes of any award ever given to anyone. Rafael Palmeiro's Gold Glove at first the year he DHed in Texas is less of joke than Jeter's.
And just like the soccer afficianados turn my dislike of the game into loathing by repeatedly telling me that I should love it, the Jeter krishnas and New York media suck-ups (ok, that's redundant) have turned my dislike of a great player into loathing by telling me, over and over again, about how he represents truth, justice and the American way. If he was what they say he is, he would have moved to third when his team acquired a better - much, much better - shortstop. He would have welcomed Rodriguez to New York instead of playing the kind of passive-aggressive games that made the NY media and fanbase choose sides, his of course. He's been as big a problem in the Yankees failing to win more than one World Series in the last 13 years as he was in their success in the five years before that, but he's taken none of the heat that others have taken. When the Yankees were losing four straight in the 2004 ALCS, and everyone on the Yankees was taking blame for the collapse - except him - he was going 4-19 with no walks and no power. But everyone else was to blame and St. Jeter got to sit in judgement on his underperforming teammates.
I don't like him, I never liked him, I won't partake of any celebrations of his career, and if he were still great, or even good, I'd be glad he was going.
- So we know two things right now - the American League team will have home field advantage in the World Series, and that team won't be the Red Sox.
- Does that seem strong? They're 7 1/2 games our in the East with 64 games left to play. They're six games out in the Wild Card race with 64 games left to play. But they are behind three teams in the division and 6 in the Wild Card, and tied with Tampa in both. It's difficult to imagine that someone will get into the post-season with fewer than 90 wins, and to get to 90, Boston would have to play .688 ball, 44-20, the rest of the way.
- If we weren't anchored to the idea of the Red Sox as a good team, we would look at their current state very differently. There have been many teams, and many times that this team, have been this far back in the third week of July, and no one would consider them contenders. But this is a team that won the World Series last year, a team that many predicted to return to the playoffs, with players that are highly regarded and that suffered many injury troubles during the first three months of the season. So we hesitate to give up on the season.
- It's absolutely not impossible for the Red Sox to get to 90 wins, or even 93 or 94. It's absolutely not impossible for the Red Sox to take one of the Wild Card spots, or even win the East. It's just unlikely. They can't just play well - .600 ball from here to the end of the year, which is a 96 win pace for a whole season, will just get them to 84-85 wins. That's pretty clearly not going to get it done - someone ahead of them will finish with 83 wins or fewer, but they won't all finish with 83 or fewer. So they need a significant hotstreak, where they win 15 of 20, and then they need to play well. They cannot afford any more losing streaks. They cannot afford any more 10-10 stretches. They don't have that many more losses that can go on to their record without taking them out of the playoff hunt.
- Since he returned from Pawtucket on 5/24, Daniel Nava (.306/.392/.352/.744, 15.85 runs created, 5.02 RC/25 outs) has been productive again. Would that have happened without the trip down? There's no way of knowing, but if you wanted to argue that Farrell panicked and pulled the plug on Daniel Nava 2014 too quickly, you won't get an argument from me.
- Red Sox Player of the Week - It was a short week, and some were shorter than others, but even in two games, Mike Napoli (.571/.625/1.000/1.625, 3.30 runs created, 27.50 RC/25 outs) created more runs than anyone else on the team.
- Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Jon Lester was excellent, again. That is all.