Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A couple of thoughts on the Peavy - Iglesias trade...

  • I don't know how much I love the Peavy acquisition, because I'm not certain that he improves the rotation all that much. But I know that I LOVE the fact that they got him for Iglesias, who I have no confidence is ever going to be a Major League hitter (other than in occasional short stretches) rather than someone of real value. Who does he replace in the rotation? Workman, presumably, right? Does Workman go back to the minors or back to the bullpen?
    And then Buchholz comes back. [And none of them out-pitches David Price in a must-win...]

  • "The Red Sox made a bold move by acquiring righthander Jake Peavy from the White Sox in a three-team, seven-player trade. The price was steep: Jose Iglesias was traded to the Tigers."

    The headline writers at the Boston Globe website have a different opinion as to what constitutes a "steep" price than I do...
  • The Red Sox, I think, got a steal, for two reasons:

    1) For about 6 weeks, Jose Iglesias hit like Ichiro Suzuki, Jr., with several well hit balls that fell in, and a bunch of infield hits. He was tremendously productive over that stretch, but the question isn't that stretch - the question is, "was that success sustainable or reproduceable?" The smart money says, "no," so the Red Sox sold high.

    2) Even with the probably-illusory offensive high point that Iglesias' has given them to work with, he's probably still not enough to get Peavy. But luckily for Boston, Detroit's about to lose their SS to a drug suspension for the rest of the year, and that makes them desperate. The Red Sox didn't have to be desperate themselves, but they were in position to take advantage of the Tigers' desperation.
  • Over the last seven weeks (small sample, etc.) Iglesias has been the least productive hitter on the team of anyone with 25 or more at-bats (as measured by RC [Runs Created]/out).
    David Ortiz (.338/.424/.574/.999, 34.04 runs created, 8.34 RC/25 outs)
    Mike Carp (.327/.415/.527/.943, 12.22 runs created, 8.04 RC/25 outs)
    Jacoby Ellsbury (.331/.382/.479/.861, 30.19 runs created, 6.56 RC/25 outs)
    Jackie Bradley, Jr. (.167/.286/.667/.952, 1.21 runs created, 6.03 RC/25 outs)
    Jonny Gomes (.268/.307/.524/.831, 12.55 runs created, 4.98 RC/25 outs)
    Mike Napoli (.256/.333/.463/.796, 17.76 runs created, 4.72 RC/25 outs)
    Shane Victorino (.280/.313/.441/.754, 20.24 runs created, 4.60 RC/25 outs)
    Stephen Drew (.222/.273/.444/.717, 10.08 runs created, 3.88 RC/25 outs)
    Brock Holt (.290/.333/.290/.624, 3.91 runs created, 3.76 RC/25 outs)
    Ryan Lavarnway (.229/.308/.343/.651, 3.92 runs created, 3.63 RC/25 outs)
    Brandon Snyder (.212/.235/.455/.690, 3.66 runs created, 3.52 RC/25 outs)
    Daniel Nava (.256/.328/.342/.670, 12.76 runs created, 3.47 RC/25 outs)
    Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.231/.311/.333/.644, 12.48 runs created, 3.39 RC/25 outs)
    Dustin Pedroia (.245/.308/.344/.651, 17.10 runs created, 3.21 RC/25 outs)
    Jose Iglesias (.263/.306/.314/.620, 12.77 runs created, 3.01 RC/25 outs)
    Yes, Pedroia is second-worst. The difference, of course, is that Pedroia has a track record of being a great hitter, so this seems to be a slump, whereas Iglesias has a track record of being a dreadful hitter, so this seems like a reversion to the mean.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Pythagorean, 7/29/2013

"What does three up, three down mean to you, airman?" 
"The end of an inning?"
  • After what seems like several mediocre weeks in a row, we wake up this morning to see that the Boston Red Sox have fallen to ... first place in the AL East. And the American League as a whole. That's right - despite a stretch that's felt like a bit of a struggle, the Red Sox still have the best record in the AL.
  • A big part of the reason that it's felt like a struggle, of course, is not due to Boston's performance, but Tampa's. It's hard not to "hear the footsteps" as the lead keeps shrinking, but this hasn't been a case of the Red Sox failing to perform but of the Rays having an unbelievable stretch. "Maddon magic," if you will.
  • This was Tampa's worst week in a while, as they lost twice. It's the only time during the month of July that they've actually lost 2 games in a calendar (Monday->Sunday) week, having gone 6-1, 6-1 and 3-0 in the last three.
  • That rainout on Thursday was the game of the Tampa series that appeared to have the best pitching matchup from the Red Sox' point-of-view. And because of the way that it got rescheduled, not only do the Red Sox not get to get the Rays at a time when they've cooled off, they get David Price again tonight, for the second time in a week.
  • The big off-the-field news of the week was the Dustin Pedroia contract extension. The Red Sox and Pedroia agreed on a $100 million deal covering 2015-2021. That's about $14 million per year for his age 31-37 seasons. My take? I love it. Pedroia (very likely) gives up some money in 2015-2019 but takes the security of a $100 million deal. The Red Sox give up a little roster flexibility, and commit to pay him for the next nine years, but get their best and most important player under control for essentially his entire career at a very reasonable price. Good deal for both sides. I love it.
  • It's about time for him to break out of his current slump, though. He's had a very poor (.205/.283/.273/.556) month of July.
  • A hot start (and his was very hot) can hide a precipitous decline for a while, and Jose Iglesias is hitting .200/.244/.213/.457 in July. Is it time to bring Mr. Middlebrooks back up?
  • And I'm starting to feel a sense of deja vu, as I wonder - are we going to spend the next three years replaying the Alex Gonzalez argument/debate/discussion, with only the name changed? Or will Iglesias have enough hot stretches to keep his overall numbers productive and respectable?
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Stop me if you've heard this before, but ... David Ortiz (.450/.522/.600/1.122).
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - And just when you give up on thinking of him as an ace, Jon Lester has a week like this - two starts, 13-plus innings, two runs, including a 7 inning shutout in Baltimore yesterday that moves Boston back into first place.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/29/2013
Tampa Bay4.68(5)3.99(4)0.572(3)604562432
Kansas City3.95(12)3.96(3)0.499(8)515151510
NY Yankees3.88(13)3.95(2)0.491(9)525355503
LA Angels4.57(7)4.72(13)0.485(10)50534855-2
Chicago Sox3.72(15)4.42(9)0.421(14)43594062-3

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay9666

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay9567

Standings for the week
Kansas City3.71(7)2.57(2)0.662(3)52611
Tampa Bay4.33(5)3.17(4)0.64(4)42420
NY Yankees2.86(13)3.71(7)0.382(11)34340
LA Angels3.71(7)5.14(13)0.355(12)25250
Chicago Sox2.43(15)4.71(12)0.229(15)2516-1

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Monday, July 22, 2013

A portion of a graduation ceremony...

Associates Degree in Arabic Recipients, DLI, 7/18/2013

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Monday Pythagorean, 7/22/13

Short week, short report...
  • Two of three, as always, is a good thing. Normally, the fact that it was against the Yankees would enhance that, but the Yankees are not the Yankees, and are very lucky to only be seven games back right now. They are six games over .500 despite having been outscored on the season.
  • And there's no reason whatsover to think that it's going to get better for NY before it gets worse. They were further back in 1978 than they are now, but this is not the 1978 Yankees. The 2013 Yankees are a mediocre team, if that, and other than head-to-head games with Boston and Tampa, they are now irrelevant to the 2013 playoff race.
  • That's right - I'm saying, right now, July 22, 2013, that the Yankees are out of it. Over. Done. Stick a fork in 'em...
  • Frankly, that's not a particularly daring position to take.
  • One thing that the Red Sox have been thus far is consistent. They've played 100 and won 60%, three wins for every five games. Their winning percentage was 60% after 5 games, 10, 35, 45, 50, 55, 60, 70, 85, 90 and 100. They've basically played .600 ball consistently from the start of the season through the All Star break. Over 162 games, .600 ball equates to a 97 win season. That's a good year.
  • They've done it without any obvious statistical flukiness. They're only one game better than their Pythagorean projection, essentially right where you'd expect them to be, given runs scored and runs allowed. They've been good (14-9) in one-run games, but not outrageously so. They've been good (6-4) in extra innings, but not outrageously so. No, they've been a good, solid, consistent, effective team through the first 100 games, with a record that seems to accurately reflect on their capabilities.
  • And that leaves us with two questions. The first is, can the Red Sox sustain that pace? They've been consistently good from the start, and the offense continues to look strong. From a position-player standpoint, they're talented, they're deep and they're (at least relatively) healthy. They've scored more runs than anyone in baseball, and that looks more-or-less sustainable. Maybe they lead baseball in runs scored over the remaining 62, and maybe they're 2nd or 3rd. The pitching is a little (ok, a lot) iffier. Clay Buchholz has now missed six weeks, and we heard his name in the same sentences as "Dr. James Andrews" over the weekend, which is never a good thing. They started the season with two closers; both are on the DL and done for the year. (Not that either of them did much while healthy.) Jon Lester has been poor-to-mediocre for the past month and a half. However, despite all that, they've still been winning 60 percent of their games. So, will they finish with 97 wins? Well, there's no reason, right now, not to think that they'll get close. They've got 62 games left - going 34-28 (.548) would get them to 94 wins. Their worst 62-game stretch of the season, April 21-June 23, saw them go 33-29 (.532). If they did that again, they'd finish with 93 wins and almost certainly a play-off berth. So they are in very good shape right now.
  • And now we come to the second question and the elephant in the room. How good are the Tampa Rays? On May 25, they lost to the Yankees, falling to 24-24, six games behind 1st place New York and five games behind 2nd place Boston. Since then, they're 34-17, the best record in baseball. Their 236 runs scored are second in the AL behind Boston's 266; their 176 runs allowed are 2nd in the AL behind Oakland's 154. They've been scary good. And after sweeping Toronto this weekend, they're now 17-2 in their last 19 games, and have come from 7 games behind Boston to 1 1/2. And, given that they're only 1 1/2 out, if they're a better team than Boston, which is possible, maybe even likely, then they should be the favorites to win the East.
  • The inclination is to solemnly intone, "we'll know a lot more in four days." And we will, I suppose, if one team sweeps. We'll know a lot more about the current standings. What we won't know is a lot more about the quality of the two teams because, again, anything can happen in a short series. If one team sweeps, or the other sweeps, or they split, it doesn't really tell us any more about the teams, only about the week.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - The impact game of the week was Mike Napoli's (.222/.300/.889/1.189) two-HR game on Sunday, the first turning a 3-1 deficit to a 4-3 lead, and the second providing a walk-off in the 11th. But for the week, Jacoby Ellsbury (.364/.500/.727/1.227) and David Ortiz (.417/.500/.583/1.083) were both better, and the award goes to Jonny Gomes (.364/.385/1.000/1.385), who also went deep twice.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - There were no great starts, though Doubront was pretty good, and no stellar relief stints, though all of the relievers were pretty good. (Boston bullpen - 11 innings in 12 appearances, 3 runs [1 earned] for a .818 ERA on the week.) No really award-worthy performances, so, in this three game week, there's no award.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/22/2013
Tampa Bay4.7(5)4.04(3)0.568(4)564358412
NY Yankees3.95(13)3.97(2)0.498(8)494952463
LA Angels4.64(6)4.69(12)0.495(9)47494650-1
Kansas City3.97(12)4.06(4)0.489(10)46494550-1
Chicago Sox3.81(14)4.4(8)0.435(14)41543956-2

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay9567

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay9468

Standings for the week
Tampa Bay5.33(3)3.67(7)0.665(4)21301
Chicago Sox5.67(2)4.33(9)0.62(5)21210
NY Yankees4.67(4)4.67(10)0.5(8)2112-1
Kansas City2.67(11)3(6)0.446(10)12211
LA Angels2(15)2.33(2)0.43(11)12211

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Friday, July 19, 2013

A couple more pictures...

A few pictures from Charlie Company, 229th MI Battalion's Facebook Page...

Cobras continue to lead the battalion in the number of Associate of Arts Degrees awarded at graduation. Each of these Soldiers earned an additional 15 college credits from a variety of educational courses, in addition to their language class requirements.

The guidon bearer graduates after a distinguished period of leading from the front of formation!

1SG addresses her graduates for the last time.

A proud moment for 4th Platoon!

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Graduation Day

Our soldier graduated today, one of ~35 newly DLI-certified Arabic speakers, and one of seven awarded an Associates Degree in Arabic. 

And now he's on a plane bound for home...

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Pythagorean report, 7/15/2013

The All Star break arrives, and the most wins in baseball belong to your Boston Red Sox. As everyone no doubt expected before the season began...
  • Not much help forthcoming from the opponents of the Tampa Rays, who have won 9-of-10 and 14-of-16 to move to within 2 1/2 games of the Red Sox. (Not that much was expected, given that they were hosting the Twins and Astros.) Since 6/28, the Red Sox have gone 9-6, .600 ball, and lost 4 1/2 games in the standings to the Rays. But they've extended their lead over the Orioles and Yankees.
  • People are wont to speak of the All Star break as the halfway point, or "unofficial halfway" point of the season. Actually, the Red Sox have played nearly 60 % of their games. 97 down, 65 to go.
  • Of the AL East teams, the Red Sox have both the best home winning percentage (.659) and the best road winning percentage (.540).
  • The Red Sox also have the highest percentage of home games remaining (34-of-65, 52.3%). [The Blue Jays have 35 home games remaining, but also 33 road games remaining, as the Jays have played three fewer games than the Red Sox thus far.]
  • The Red Sox have the best record in the AL. They're one game behind the Cardinals, tied with the Pirates, for the best record in baseball.
  • Boston leads all of Major League baseball in runs scored, with 498, 21 runs better than 2nd place Detroit. Their run differential (91) is the second-best in baseball behind St. Louis (125).
  • Great first Major League start for Brandon Workman, who took a no-hitter into the seventh, and then lost it on an infield single. The 2nd-hit, unfortunately, left the park on yet another day when the offense was struggling, and they ended up losing, but Workman was excellent.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - I apologize if this is getting repetitive, but David Ortiz (.360/.433/.720/1.153) just continues to roll on. At age 38, he's as good now as he's ever been, and has been consistently excellent this year.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Workman's start yesterday was, despite the disappointing ending, excellent. John Lackey continues to dominate. But the most award-worthy performance of the week came from journeyman knuckle-baller Steven Wright, whose 5 2/3 scoreless innings allowed them to win a game in which they trailed big early, and do it without using anyone else out of the bullpen.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/15/2013
Tampa Bay4.68(6)4.05(3)0.565(4)544255411
NY Yankees3.93(13)3.95(2)0.498(8)474851444
LA Angels4.73(5)4.77(14)0.496(9)46474449-2
Kansas City4.01(11)4.1(5)0.49(10)45474349-2
Chicago Sox3.75(14)4.4(8)0.427(14)39533755-2

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay9369

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay9270

Standings for the week
Tampa Bay4.14(7)2.29(2)0.748(1)52611
Chicago Sox4.71(4)4.71(8)0.5(6)4334-1
NY Yankees3.57(11)3.86(5)0.465(9)34340
LA Angels4.2(6)5.4(13)0.387(13)2314-1
Kansas City2.86(13)4.57(7)0.297(14)25250

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Soldier update

DLPT passed. Graduation Thursday (7/18). Shipping Thursday. Home Friday.


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Monday, July 08, 2013

Monday Pythagorean, 7/8/2013

Some 4-2 weeks are more disappointing than others, and this one was about as disappointing as a 4-2 week could be...
  • Objectively speaking, of course, this was yet another successful week. Winning 4-of-6, increasing the division lead from 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 games, those are good things. But they were 3 outs away from a 5-0 start to the week with a four-run lead, and didn't hold on. And followed that up by getting shut out on Sunday, having now failed to score in 12 consecutive innings. So, relative to where they were after 8 innings on Saturday, yeah, the week's a disappointment.
  • In addition, both Tampa and New York picked went 6-1 on the week to pick up a game and a half.
  • (If Brandon Snyder doesn't throw the ball over Dustin Pedroia's head on Saturday night [Sunday morning], the tenor of this report is obviously slightly different.)
  • Lest we get overrun with negativity, this would be a good time to note that Boston has the third-best record in all of baseball (Pittsburgh and St. Louis are each half a game ahead of them), the 3rd best run differential in baseball at 89 (St. Louis [122] and Detroit [90]) and the best record in the American League. They are also tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the biggest divisional lead (4 1/2 games) in baseball.
  • Seven games remain before the All Star break, and the Sox will play them all away, on the west coast, with four games at a weak Seattle, and finishing with three at a pretty good Oakland team. Meanwhile, the Orioles host the Rangers and Blue Jays, the Yankees host the Royals and Twins, and the Rays host the Twins and Astros. So their division competition is all at home all week. If they can take this 4 1/2 game lead, or even 3 1/2 of it, into the break, they will be in very good shape.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - On a runs created per out basis, Jonny Gomes (.429/.467/.786/1.252) was the best hitter on the Red Sox this week, but he only had 14 at-bats. Of course, one of those was a walk-off HR. Daniel Nava (.421/.421/.579/1.000) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.357/.500/.571/1.071) were also productive in less than ull-time appearances. The most raw production on the team came from Jacoby Ellsbury (.360/.407/.520/.927), who started each of the six games, as opposed to the aforementioned three players who started three or four games each. So it's a tough call, but based on the production per at-bat, and the dramatic walk-off HR, I'm going with Jonny Gomes as the player of the week.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Jon Lester had an excellent, and encouraging outing this week, allowing one run in seven innings. But John Lackey had two excellent outings, continuing to demonstrate that he's all the way back (and then some) from his Tommy John surgery. In two starts, Lackey went 15 innings and allowed just 13 baserunners (11 hits, two BB) and 3 runs, while striking out 15.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/8/2013
Tampa Bay4.72(6)4.19(6)0.554(4)494049400
Kansas City4.11(11)4.06(4)0.505(8)43424144-2
LA Angels4.76(5)4.73(13)0.502(9)44444345-1
NY Yankees3.95(12)3.95(1)0.5(10)444448404
Chicago Sox3.67(15)4.38(8)0.42(13)36493451-2

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay8973

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay8973

Standings for the week
Tampa Bay6(2)1.86(1)0.895(1)61610
NY Yankees5.43(3)3.14(3)0.731(2)52611
LA Angels4.5(10)5.17(9)0.437(7)33421
Kansas City5.33(4)6.17(12)0.434(8)33330
Chicago Sox2.33(15)3.67(6)0.304(13)24240

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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

William Diamond Jr. Fife and Drum Corps at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

6/29/2013 - William Diamond Jr. Fife and Drum Corps at Disney World's Magic Kingdom

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Monday, July 01, 2013

Monday Pythagorean - 7/1/2013

So we pass the halfway mark in the 2013 season, and it's been a much better first half than the first half of the 2012 season...
  • With yesterday's win, the Boston Red Sox became the first AL team, and the 2nd overall behind the shocking Pittsburgh Pirates, to reach 50 wins.
  • What a difference a year makes: The 2013 Red Sox' 50th win came in their 84th game, on June 30, and raised their record to 50-34. The 2012 Red Sox won their 50th game in their 101st, on July 28th, and raised their record to 50-51.
  • A week ago, the big story in baseball was everyone's pre-season darlings, the Toronto Blue Jays, who had won 11 straight, getting to 2 games over .500 and within 5 games of the lead in the east. A 2-5 week, including losses in 3-of-4 in Boston, falling back under .500 and 8 1/2 games out, can be expected to cool that talk down considerably.
  • For the first time, we're starting to see some separation in the AL East. Yes, the Orioles are only 2 1/2 back. But the Rays (6), Yankees (6 1/2) and Blue Jays (8 1/2) are no longer breathing down the Red Sox' necks. No one is out of it yet, but everyone other than Baltimore is more than just a couple of games back.
  • To say that the Red Sox haven't had the injury problems that some other teams (New York springs to mind) have had isn't to say that they've had no injury issues at all. While they've struggled at closer with Andrew Bailey, let's not forget that the man who had that job is out for the season with Tommy John surgery. Their best starter (Clay Buchholz) has now been down for close to a month with a stiff neck. And Jon Lester finally put another good performance together this week only to leave the game with a hip problem. (His recent performances left open the quetion as to whether that was a positive or a negative.) The good news is that it's apparently not serious, and he's expected to make his next start.
  • I've spent much of the week on the road, getting score updates on my phone, and not having the chance to see much of the team, or follow the coverage carefully. And wondering, occasionally, "who is Brandon Snyder? Who is Jonathan Diaz? What are they doing getting at-bats for the Red Sox?"
  • Hopefully Stephen Drew will be back soon.
  • And hopefully Will Middlebrooks learns how to hit in the minors.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Stephen Drew (.400/.400/.933/1.333) hit really well before going down with the hamstring pull, but played in less than four full games. (He played in four games, so he played in fewer than five, but he didn't finish the fourth game, so he played in less than four full. It sounds a little awkward, but I do know the difference.) Jacoby Ellsbury (.385/.448/.462/.910) and David Ortiz (.333/.545/.467/1.012) produced a lot of offense. But the best player this week was Dustin Pedroia (.458/.481/.750/1.231) on another torrid streak.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Had he not allowed the game-tying HR in the 9th inning yesterday, this would have been Koji Uehara, who finished four games and settled the 9th inning issue, at least for the week. Ryan Dempster pitched pretty well in two starts. But the award this week goes to John Lackey for his dominant start against the Rockies, striking out a career-high 12 while allowing two runs over seven innings.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/1/2013
Tampa Bay4.61(7)4.39(7)0.522(7)433943390
Kansas City4.01(11)3.9(1)0.513(8)41383841-3
LA Angels4.78(5)4.7(14)0.507(9)42403943-3
NY Yankees3.83(12)4.02(4)0.477(11)394242393
Chicago Sox3.77(14)4.43(8)0.427(13)34453247-2

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)

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

Standings for the week
LA Angels6.33(2)3(3)0.797(1)51601
Tampa Bay3.17(13)2.5(1)0.606(7)42420
Kansas City4.67(6)4.5(8)0.517(8)33330
Chicago Sox4.33(7)7.17(15)0.285(13)2415-1
NY Yankees2.83(14)5.33(11)0.239(14)15150

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