17 weeks down, 8 to go - they've played ~2/3 of the season...
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/1/2005
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Standings for the week
With a 5-1 week, the Red Sox have increased their lead to 2 1/2 games over the 4-2 Yankees. The Orioles, losers of 6-of-7, are, in my opinion, no longer part of the discussion. The Blue Jays are more relevant than the Orioles, but not a part of the division race until they get closer.
- After playing 98 games, a new Major League record, without going to extra innings, the Red Sox played 10 innings in back-to-back games in Tampa, losing 1 and winning 1.
- Real nice effort from John Papelbon yesterday, making his Major League debut. I was reminded of another rookie that started for the Red Sox - about 20 years ago, the Red Sox had another 6'4" hard-throwing right-handed pitcher debut.
Red Sox Rookie Debuts
Not that there's any reasonable expectation of Papelbon having a career like Clemens, but that was a nice way to start...
- Speaking of which, two of the Red Sox "untouchables" made their Major League debuts this week (Delcarmen and Papelbon). Whether it's an omen or not, I don't know, but they each struck out the first Major League hitter that they faced.
- On May 26, the Orioles beat Seattle 5-2, completing a 3-game sweep and running their record for the season to 30-16, 14 games over .500. They had a lead of 4 1/2 games in the east over New York and Toronto, 5 over Boston. But I said that they were over-rated, playing over their head, and couldn't continue. I was never worried about the Red Sox trailing them.
Since that time, they've gone 21-37, to fall to 51-53. They're 8 games behind Boston, and basically out of the race.
- I was not surprised that Manny wasn't traded. The likelihood that they would be able to trade him without seriously negatively impacting their chances of winning the AL East this year weren't ever good. Theo's not an idiot, and while I'm concerned about Lucchino's authority and his willingness to cater to the vocal nitwits at WEEI, I just thought they wouldn't be able to make it work.
But I will confess that I was concerned on Saturday night. We'd just sat down to dinner (with the radio on) and the announcement came that Manny had been pulled from the lineup right before game time. Frankly, while I knew (and have made abundantly clear) that I didn't want Manny traded, I hadn't realized how much of a Manny fan that I am until that happened. I was really upset. I went out for a ride, and was just depressed, thinking that they'd never be able to replace him, and that the statement being made about the management team was not a positive one. But then they reported that Huff was playing in Tampa, and flipping through WFAN, I discovered that Cameron was, as well. So if there was a trade, it wasn't the one that had gotten all of the press. Eventually, of course, it became clear that there was no trade.
As for yesterday, and Manny's dramatic re-appearance, there's just nothing more that needs to be said. It was, of course, perfectly Manny...
- I have a certain level of contempt for various sections of the Boston media (*cough* WEEI *cough*) and the hysteria that took place over the events of Wednesday. And, from what is now public knowledge, it seems that Manny actually has a real legitimate complaint about the coverage. It now appears that Brad Mills, making his nightly rounds in the clubhouse on Tuesday, asked Manny whether he still needed the day off on Wednesday. Manny said "yes." This has gotten reported, in terms of high dudgeon, as "Manny refused to play even though the team needed him with Trot gone." As I've said already, they didn't "need" him - counting Millar, there were four other out-fielders on the roster, he was still available in the dugout if someone got hurt, and they won the damn game anyway. But from the reports, it seems that Mills didn't even mention Nixon, didn't even say "under the circumstances we need you" - he just asked "do you still need tomorrow off?" I wasn't there, and that may be inaccurate, but that's what the sum of the reporting and Francona sounds like. If so, that's not Manny's fault - it's Mills' and Francona's, and Manny's right to be ticked off with the way it was reported, and with Francona's comments and with Lucchino's comments.
- Other than the Jose Cruz acquisition, which is probably useful but not much of an impact move, they accomplished nothing at the trading deadline. They really could have used some more bullpen help, a Ron Villone or a JC Romero, but that never got done. I fear that the failure to do anything else is a by-product of the Manny hysteria, that Theo was tied up with ridiculous "Manny trades" and didn't get the stuff that needed to get done done. I hope that that's wrong...
- After watching Alan Embree be terrible out of the Red Sox 'pen this season, it's been rather amusing to see him pitch for the Yankees. He's faced 4 batters and retired 1, giving up 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 run, and having a batter reach on an error that he made. Keep it up, Alan!
- After all of the raving about the Angels bullpen, how they'd all gone so many games without giving up a run, they blew 4 run leads in back-to-back games in New York.
- Congratulations, Wade Boggs and Peter Gammons.