Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Pythagorean, 8/24/2009

4-2, the return of the offense, and with assists from the Twins and Rays, the Red Sox have moved back into a play-off spot with a one-game lead over the Rangers and three over the Rays. From a big-picture point of view, it was a productive week.

  • The John Smoltz experiment failed. It's time to concede on the Brad Penny front, too. With Wakefield back, they've got at least five better starters, and Matsuzaka's on the horizon. I guess they're going to leave him in the bullpen for mop-up duty, and if they don't need the roster spot in the next week, they don't need to make one, so there's no real urgency to get rid of him. There is, though, a real urgency not to put him on the mound to start an important game again.

  • There was a lot of talk after Tuesday's game about how important Varitek is to Beckett. As the Varitek-lovers attempt to continue to perpetuate the myth that he's vitally important to the pitching staff. As if pitchers cannot succeed with Victor Martinez behind the plate (despite the fact that he's caught the last two AL Cy Young winners.) I'd love to think that last night would disabuse some of that notion, but since I don't think it's a fact-based position, I don't expect much to change.

  • They won two games in which the pitching matchup appeared to overwhelmingly favor the opposition. Wednesday night when Clay Buchholz "faced" Roy Halladay (though the two were never actually on the field at the same time) and Saturday when it was Junichi Tazawa "facing" AJ Burnett. In both cases, they got great offensive performances. But they got really good pitching outings from the rookies, too.

  • The little sports radio I heard on Wednesday irritated me greatly, as the great thinkers that make up the Boston sports radio decided that Martinez was to blame for Beckett's poor Tuesday performance.

  • Offense. It's a good thing. It's too bad that they scored 11 the night the Yankees scored 20 and 4 the night the Yankees scored 8. If they'd swapped those, they'd have taken 2 of 3.

  • Varitek caught Beckett Sunday night. He allowed 8 runs in 8 innings, including 5 HR allowed. Under the rules of debate in effect on Wednesday, it was clearly Varitek's fault that Beckett stunk.

  • Does ESPN think that the presence of Steve Phillips somehow mitigates the noxious effects of the presence of Joe Morgan? Does the director of game personnel for ESPN not watch the baseball broadcasts? Or is it just someone who hates baseball fans? I was off the grid for the first two games of the series, able to listen to parts of them, but nowhere near a television. The presence of Morgan and Phillips meant that I saw less than three innings of this series.

  • If Martinez took the blame for Tuesday, shouldn't Varitek take the blame for Sunday?

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - When you average over eight runs per game, with a low of four, there are bound to be some pretty good performances. And there were. Mike Lowell hit .389/.389/.611/1.000, and had six players better. The award goes to David Ortiz, who hit .400/.500/1.000/1.500 with 3 HR, and then sat out the rubber game of the Yankees series so that Jason Varitek could catch Josh Beckett.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - This one is a no-brainer. There were various good performances this week, but Junichi Tazawa shutting out the Yankees for six innings the afternoon after they scored 20 is not only the performance of the week, but one of the most important performances of the year for the Sox pitching staff. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. But six innings, no runs is all that it needed to be to give the team a big lift.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/24/2009


New York5.61(2)4.75(8)0.576(1)715378467


Tampa Bay5.15(4)4.54(6)0.557(3)69546756-2

Los Angeles5.78(1)5.13(11)0.554(4)685474486










Kansas City4.08(13)5.2(12)0.391(14)48754776-1

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York10260

Los Angeles9864



Tampa Bay8874

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York10062

Los Angeles9666



Tampa Bay8973

Standings for the week






New York6.5(2)6(10)0.537(5)33421

Tampa Bay4.17(9)4(2)0.519(6)33421




Los Angeles4.71(6)5.14(9)0.46(10)34431



Kansas City4.67(7)6.5(13)0.353(13)2415-1


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