Red Sox: Why I Don’t Know What To Think…

 

Well, Opening day is a bit too close for me to stand. I know for most of you it seems far away, but I tend to think very far ahead. To me, it feels like tomorrow. This year is the first year that I have no strong feelings about how the Sox will perform. I saw the potential to be great last season, and I saw that potential get squandered.

This year we have a few big changes including Bobby V. However my concern doesn’t lie in the trades or lack thereof, Bobby V, or who’s in the rotation now. My concern is specifically focused on one thing: Young Talent. I want to see where the new (i use this word lightly) kids end up and how they do. I’m interested in Kalish, Lavarnway, and how the other young players factor into how the Sox do this year.

The main thing to notice with this is: No matter how much we will miss the Sox of old, this team has been moving into a new era. Before you know it, Pedroia and Ellsbury will be considered veteran in the way Varitek was considered veteran and players like Lavarnway will be the core of the team. I grew up with the last generation of Sox just like many of us did, but it’s time let go of that if you haven’t already. Bobby V just serves as a marker for that.

I’d like to hear some other opinions on this. Leave a comment if you have one!

-Foxx

Distractions!

So I was going to throw myself completely into baseball… and then something wonderful happened. I was going to be posting about the Rockies and the Sox, my team, and what was going on. I was planning to just be there for every second of spring training news and take it all in. All that changed.

It happened, my school overcame the snub from last year and worked their way into the celebrations of March Madness. This section of the state already takes their sports quite seriously, and CU hasn’t had a whole lot of success in the major sports. Our football team has been awful for quite some time, we don’t have a baseball team, and I don’t believe we have a men’s soccer team. However, CU’s basketball team found a nice groove a few years ago and it appears they’ve been working on it. I watched them get snubbed from the tournament last year and my heart sank. I covered a few games of the NIS tournament working with my school’s sports broadcast but it simply wasn’t the same.

I apologize if I flood some of you with updates on this for the next few days, I know it’s a baseball blog but THIS IS SO EXCITING FOR ME. I want to see how far they can go, and I’m excited that we finally made it.

Well… That was refreshing.

Just don't ask...

Jeez, where has the time gone… Somewhere apparently?

I think coaching baseball became a black hole where time doesn’t escape and light struggles to reach the outside. I’ve taken on more responsibility than I should, but dammit it’s fun.

Three teams.

You heard me correctly, three. I’m assistant coaching two 10s teams and managing one 13s team. I coach a practice every single day, sometimes I run them sometimes I assist, depending on the team and the day. Pitching, batting, catching, throwing. Technique technique technique…

This weekend I’ll spend half my Saturday at a tournament in Dakota Ridge, CO after practicing with my juniors team earlier in the day. Then the weather will warm up and I’ll be out on the field every day instead of indoors. Soon my arm will become rigid and wickedly stiff and I’ll start ranting about games that were “ours to lose.”

In the mean time, I’m going to get back to actually writing about baseball. I’ll be more general sure but I won’t stop. I’ll be here instead of being stupid and depriving myself of quality alone time with my keyboard.

Here’s to my return, and hoping that I lay low while I fail at baseball analysis.

Later today or early tomorrow: I’ll give my thoughts on my team…

Eat, Sleep, Baseball… wait… no sleep

-Foxx

Tulo Shirt Experiment: Day 3

Well. This has been a quick running success. Day 4 looks promising *cough* Padres *cough*.

So anyway, Most of you were superbored today. No baseball for a lot of people.
Me? I had baseball. I got my sweep.
Oh and Rockies Homestand: 9-1
Yeah, you saw that right.
Last time Rockies were this hot? 2007
World Series Appearance? I think this is likely.
Lets get to it!
 Colorado: Scruffy Don’t Like You Stealin’ His Home Run There Boy!
 

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Indeed, Giambi got revenge.
Stubbs robbed a very nicely hit homer from Giambi. 
As we know, Giambi doesn’t take that from anyone.
Later on he launched a ball deep to center, Stubbs ran as fast as his legs could carry him but it just carried right over him and plated two runners.
Scruffy gets revenge.
While we’re on the topic of how this occurred, lets talk about this.
Last night I practically had a seizure over Seth Smith.
Two outs…
Two on…
Guess who comes up to bat?
Mr. Clutch, Seth Smith.
Lines it to right, one run comes in and here comes the rally.
Giambi comes up, deep center, two runs come in.
Garrett Atkins comes up, HOME RUN, two runs in.
Yeah… thats essentially how we went from down by one, to up by four.
That lead didn’t go away despite Contreras getting some bad luck by pulling a muscle while running.
Fortunately, we had the ever ironic ex-Tiger Juan Rincon, who managed to not only pitch three scoreless, but fan five in the process.
The rest of the game, oddly enough, was a bit of a blur for me.
Tulo Shirt Day 4 coming up! Lets see how long I can correlate ridiculous superstition with a fantastic win streak!
TOMORROW:
Rockies go up against the Padres, who my friend once referred to as the Madres…
De La Rosa, aka one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball (most wins in the majors since June 1st, take that Wainwright… Yes, I know he doesn’t have more wins total…)
Tulo is now available as a… pinch hitter? 
Alrighty then, I’ll just go sit over here… my head hurts.
Red Sox take on 80% of the Tampa Bay Rays. Lester takes the mound looking to extend his ridiculous 21-5 lifetime at Fenway. Good luck Tampa! =P
Note on my personal life:
If you’re still reading, now I get to bore you!
On Saturday is my first Cross Country run out of many I plan to run this year (including one in the middle of winter in freezing temp!) 
Its only 4.5 miles but it will be the first time I get to experience beautiful Estes Park.
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I’ll be waking up early, running for a little under an hour, and then the fun part:
Breakfast cookout!
Woo!
Beautiful views, good exercise, and an awesome hot breakfast. Saturday will be fun!
Crazy with anticipation,
-Mike

Special Update: My Team Doesn’t Suck :D

I’m not sold on Boston. Sure, they’re beaten up the weak teams, but
they’ve struggled against winning teams lately and that’s what the
playoffs are all about. Pitching is getting weak, shaky, suspect… I’d
say they’re the dark horse now, even more so than Texas (who I think
will overtake them).

–Jeff

Hello Jeff!

I have a response to this. I’m going to talk about some of your wording. Specifically these:

“Struggled against winning teams”
“Pitching is getting weak”
“Dark Horse”

From the top, here we go =)

“Sure, they’re beaten up the weak teams, but
they’ve struggled against winning teams lately and that’s what the
playoffs are all about.”

I’m sure we can get somewhere by talking about these “weak teams” and “winning teams”
Lets take a look at August and September, shall we?

The beginning of August started with the major team slump coming off the all star break.
The first team we beat out of that slump?

Detroit Tigers

In fact… we won 3 of 4 there. That team spent a lot of time winning around that period, I would not say they were slumping. The fact that we beat them 3 straight is pretty damn good if you ask me.

In the same month we had that 14-1 win against the Yankees. Now you cannot tell me, in ANY situation that the Yankees are incapible of scoring more than one run in a game. Furthermore, you really have to SUCK that day to give up 14. You and I both know the Yankees starting rotation and pen does NOT suck that much.

Also we swept Toronto twice that month. There’s no luck there. Toronto isn’t terrible enough to lose 6 straight. Even teams like Oakland can ususally scurry up 1 or 2 in the series.

Next, series win vs Tampa in the beginning of September. PRE pena injury. Considering that we haven’t won a series at the trop since 2007, thats big. VERY big.

If you’re not sold, we have two series to prove it: Angels and Yankees.
Done deal.

Also… prove to me Texas isn’t slumping hardcore. They beat the Indians… who I consider the Pirates of the AL right now, they don’t have much of a team left.

Other than that, they beat… Baltimore and Toronto, what do you know, the teams we beat. You have to notice that clear 7-0 loss to baltimore though… I think thats far worse than losing to the White Sox.

Next they go up against a pitcher who is 0-4 with Seattle. Then against the A’s, who by the way beat them 3 straight and swept last time they played.
Weak?
I say so.

 “Pitching is getting weak, shaky, suspect..”
Ok no.
Lets start out with the NEW pen member. Billy Wagner. Take a look at his pitching lately and try and tell me he’s been terrible.

Clay Buchholz has been solid lately, he found his groove and he seems to be working much better.

Quote from MLB.com:
“Buchholz won his fourth consecutive decision last Tuesday, shutting out
the Orioles over seven innings of three-hit ball at Fenway Park.”
“The 25-year-old right-hander is 4-2 with a 3.00 ERA in seven outings since Aug. 8, posting six quality starts over that span.”

Thats right, six of seven were QS. I don’t see shakey.

Beckett is looking to bounce back. You can’t really take him as the whole team. EVEN ROY HALLADAY had a slump. It happens

Jon Lester: if you can’t tell me he is solid, who is?

Quote:
“The lefty has been utterly dominant for more than three months. In an
18-start run that began on May 31, Lester is 9-2 with a 2.25 ERA. He
has given up one earned run or less 10 times over that span. In his
last start, he became the 10th pitcher in Sox history to notch 200
strikeouts in a season. In that win over the White Sox, Lester fired
seven shutout innings, walking two and striking out eight. Lester is
21-5 lifetime at Fenway.”

I see solid as a rock, shakey does not exist.

The only real problem I see is the 4 spot. Once Wakefield is back for good I wouldn’t worry about it.

So there was once a stat calculated, essentially a combination between “Well hit average” and “chase rate”. Basically how many pitchers fool hitters into swinging at a bad pitch and inducing a weak hit or a swing and miss.

Tim Wakefield tops that stat.

Byrd looked OK but he’s really just a replacement.

The bullpen is on and off. The only person I worry for is Okijima. The rest are solid and Papelbon has gotten BETTER not worse.

So essentially.. you have the solid 2 and 3, the questionable and likely to bounce back 1, and the open 4 spot. If Beckett bounces back, which he is liable to do before October, you get a solid 1,2,3 and a sketch 4. Sounds pretty good to me. You don’t need to win 4 straight to win a series.

So Jeff..

Dark Horse?

Has Boston, post 2004, EVER been the Dark Horse?

I don’t think so buddy.

-Mike

(more…)

Tulo Shirt Experiment: Day 2

Well HELLO THERE folks.

I had to wash my Tulowitzki shirt last night… I want to get more use out of it this week.
I’m willing to see how long it works even if people start asking questions like:
Has that been washed since tuesday?
Do you only have one shirt?
Aren’t you tired of wearing the same shirt?
Anyway… lets talk about Day 2 of the Tulo Shirt Experiment, which looks like it just got a Day 3.
Rockies: Mr. Clutch in the Clutch

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Let me set up the situation of my miniature heart attack for you…
Bases loaded, One out bottom of the ninth. 
Carlos Gonzales up to bat.
He’s a solid hitter, all he has to do is hit a sac fly deep, something he can do with his eyes closed generally.
Cordero can’t throw strikes to save his life at the moment… So i’ll take a walk too.
Cordero suddenly learns what a strike zone is and starts throwing to it.
Gonzales goes down.
I start to feel very hopeless, but I watch anyway because theres always a chance.
Heres where hope comes back.
Seth Smith
Currently: .317 average 15 HR
that doesn’t tell the tale. (The .968 OPS helps…)
Current Average at Home:  .369
But I’m not done… In the last 28 days, this man’s OPS is 1.364… yeah… think about that for a minute at tell me how often this crazy guy gets on base.
More proof of his amazing clutch skills? He’s the best pinch in baseball..
Average in a pinch: .485
Thats pretty fantastic.
So I did a little research this morning. There is a stat that I have found called Batting Average Late and Close
Heres how “Late and Close” is defined.
Late & Close are PA in the 7th or later with the batting team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run at least on deck.

Seth Smith’s Late and Close BA? .392
Seth Smith’s Late and Close OPS? 1.141
Essentially this means… this guy will get on when you absolutely need him on. He is definitively clutch without an argument.

That is why the Rockies need Seth Smith, and why he is perhaps one of the most exciting players currently.

Anyway… Hammel pitched amazingly but I’m so drained on talking about Smith that I’m not sure I have a ton to say. The bullpen imploded a little but the recovery was made. Matt Daley messed up, Joe Biemel couldn’t throw a strike… Things got a bit tough, but we pulled through.

ON TO THE NEXT GAME!

Boston: Two Game Sweep

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Just another great thing about VMart. He IS the hitter we’ve been looking for. These are games we not only SHOULD be winning, but we NEED to be winning. Texas is nipping at our heels and someone needs to kick them in the face. 

(Side Note: Paul Byrd only gave up 2 ER, thats more what we expected from him than that amazingly terrible start against Chicago)

Interesting fact:
Boston is averaging seven runs a game at Fenway

That is really helpful considering this homestand. Tomorrow begins the series against the struggling Rays, then against the Angels (who the Red Sox have always been very good against)

The offense has to keep up with us for the remainder of the month if we want to take the Wildcard.

Finally: I know this isn’t too much to ask. We should have a good series against NY towards the end of the month. NOTHING would boost our World Series chances more than that. If we can manage to take them out in this series, a WS spot is not hard to imagine.

Anyway… 

THE TULO SHIRT EXPERIMENT CONTINUES. Day 3 lets roll.
Expect something on this after the game tonight.

The roof might be on fire but I have a fire extinguisher,
-Mike

The Completely Necessary Jeter Post

OK I need to clean this post before I start

The line represents me shutting of my Red Sox blinders.
Just an FYI… Yankees fans don’t expect me to post on your team often.
As the Rockies announcer says when a ball leaves the park:
Take a good look, you won’t see it for long.
————————————————————————————————————

A New Iron Horse?
Jeter 9-9-09.jpg

CONGRATS DEREK JETER
Tied the team hits leader: Lou Gehrig
Take a look at the number 2,721
Thats incredible. Now, I’ve never seen Jeter as a defensive shortstop, but he does get the job done. On the other hand, I have always known him as a great hitter. This man is definitely a showstopper. He has gone through many different stances, each leading to a new a different swing and a load of new hits.
He is a pure hitter. He is the type of guy I would NEVER expect to come up on a PED list.
I’d probably pass out.
He doesn’t get his hitting skill from just anywhere. As I mentioned before, this is the guy who has had a number of different stances. He adjusts his hitting for every problem he finds.
THAT is the sign of a quality hitter.
He doesn’t look like he’s anywhere near slowing down. He seems to be getting BETTER. How long will he go? Only time will tell.
Either way, the Yankees and their fans should be grateful for what they have:
An everyday player who is always looking to improve and has a constant drive to succeed in every aspect of his game.
Thats your captain. Don’t take that for granted.
————————————————————————————————————
Now that my Red Sox blinders have returned… you know what?
Carl Yastrzemski
 3,419 Hits…
Yaz.jpeg
I feel better now.
Thats OUR hits leader. Your move yankees…
We’ll wait for you to catch up Derek 
=)

Tulo Shirt!

Oh Tulo shirt, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Interesting, so I wore my Tulo shirt again yesterday… LOOK WHAT HAPPENED!
Rockies 3 Reds 1
Red Sox 10 Orioles 0
I’m taking Jeff’s advice and wearing it again today… It has a good track record.
Oh also… I know I’m pimping my other post, but if you haven’t read it… GO READ MY FOOTBALL POST! I mean, if anyone can give me a reason to watch or not watch, its someone here.
Today we shall see if Tulo shirt magic works only after a wash or if it just… works.
Anyway… that shirt is working. Damn straight.
Ace Flu Update:

The problem here… my update overlaps with my game summary. Well whatever,
Jason Marquis
He’s definitely a false alarm case. One bad outing but he didn’t catch it. Good lord.
More on this later.
Scott Kazmir
Boy did he recover… Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, he recovered after leaving. Good going guys.
Brad Lidge
I think he is the prototype of the Closer Strain of the Ace Flu… its kind like how Bird Flu jumped to humans… Ace Flu might jump to Closers. He’s been on this BLAH streak all year after a perfect season. You’ve gotta be kidding me. How? You can’t manage to crash that hard. I don’t know.
Red Sox: Boy Wonder and The Derby

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Ok… so I think the offense here outshined our boy, but lets take our eyes off it for a moment.
Clay aka Boy Wonder went 7 IP on 3 hits. Very nice. Lately he’s been a very solid piece of our rotation. I hope this continues because we sure as hell need it down the stretch as October is approaching.
He had everything working for him, and he pretty much mowed down the opposition’s lineup. Thats exactly why we didn’t want to trade him.
NOW the offense. Yeah sorry, I made you wait.
Ok… so this i heard this morning, I hadn’t thought about this but It makes this victory so much better:
Over the entire series in Chicago… we scored 10 Runs.
In this SINGLE GAME… we scored 10 runs.
Side note: Papi tied the record for most home runs by a DH. Papi get one more in so you can break it. BECOME LEGENDARY. end note.
Wow.
That’s a big improvement. Thats a great sign.
With the shimmering light of hope that seems to signal Beckett’s return, Lester’s emergence as the most dominant thing in the rotation, Boy Wonder’s solid pitching, and the offensive prowess, we seem to be lining up for a good September. Lets make it work. Our schedule seems good right now, hopefully it works out as planned and ends with a Yankee smashing.
Colorado: I’m Sorry Giants, We Deserve This…

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Look who returned from fantasyland!
Jason Marquis!
He comes back to pitch a nice 7 shutout innings.
Oh yes Giants, we are going to fight you tooth and nail every step of the way. We will grasp that wildcard lead until October. Even if you kill us all, we will still be clutching that lead in our  very dead hands. 
This relentlessness is what is working for us right now.
Tulo has a back problem… but I have a good feeling he’ll be back soon as its not anything terribly serious. However, he doesn’t want to risk a major injury in this critical time so he’s taking a break to make sure his back loosens up.
Street is on his way back, I’m not too worried because I know he’ll be just as dominant as when he left. Morales in the mean time is pitching some NASTY breaking balls. Exciting guy to watch. 
Cook is also on his way back. As much as I want him back, I strongly encourage him not to rush. Contreras looks very good right now and I don’t want a half injured pitcher coming back too fast. I trust he’ll take the time.
In other news… Erik Young Jr. took the ball out of the park. 1st Career Homer. Good start.
Clint Barmes was taking over at SS today making a terrific running grab. Its good that we still have good defense with Tulo out.
Anyway… I’m looking forward to tonight. I wanna see two more goo
d games.
Tonight: Hammel for Colorado, not too worried there. He’s solid
Byrd for Boston. We’ll see. I have nothing else to say.
Question for today if you got this far: 
Brought up on ESPN radio… I was wondering this. How stupid do you think this is… Baseball is the only sport where you can make a great play and the other team retaliates. I am reffering to the PLUNK many receive after hitting the long ball. I think this is incredibly stupid.
Agree? Disagree? Why?
Hoping for an Ace Flu vaccine,
-Mike

I’m not a football guy…

So Sue Me…

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So wait… stop me if you didn’t know, but I don’t watch football and never have.
The problem is… OTHER THAN HOCKEY, I have nothing else to watch until March. Its depressing and boring. I can only make virtual baseball happen after October. I can’t spark the entire MLB to continue to play for our amusement. If only…
Working out here, since I like the Rockies/Red Sox, every kid at my job assumes I like football and continue to assume that I like the Broncos/Patriots.
Why must you assume these things? It hurts when I have to say: “I don’t watch football,” and then the conversation dies.
My dad has got his sports (hockey not being one of them):
Baseball
Basketball
Football
Tennis
Golf
Out of everything I’m willing to watch… I don’t want to watch Golf or Basketball. I will watch Tennis occasionally, mostly because everything tennis related on TV is a high pressure tournament so theres always that atmosphere.
We get down to football.
I never watch it, why? I don’t know… theres really not a good reason besides I’ve never felt like  it.
That being said… I know nothing about it. If someone bothered to show me I might be remotely interested, but as it stands I haven’t been given a good reason to start watching.
Anyone want to give me one?
/rant
-Mike

I had things to do…. Don’t blame me.

I had a long weekend, so I was busy (meaning I was too lazy to post)…

With that being said… I can talk about what happened over the weekend if any of it was truly worth speaking about.
This is going to become a very frequent part of my blogging… so get used to this next part;
Ace Flu Update
So… Recovery seems to be coming along nicely, with two new victims that I noticed:
Jason Marquis
Wow that last outing of your against the mets was QUITE bad. For someone so solid, its depressing. Hopefully this case isn’t so serious. He’s very much needed for this Wildcard run.
J.A. Happ
It’s less Ace Flu and more the Mediocrity Bug. The last start he had wasn’t awful, but it was not that great. Lets see how he gets along soon.
On the side of recovery we have:
Roy Halladay
Shut down the entire NY lineup. Good stuff. Looks like you’re back, no question. I didn’t notice a single thing wrong with his start
Josh Beckett
A solid 3 ER outing on sunday, more on this later. I noticed a lot of trouble with the breaking ball, but he seems to be throwing his fastball more in the location he wants it for strikes. Also his velocity jumped back up to 95+ instead of the 93 and below he’s been throwing it.
Back to your normal programming…
Colorado: Check Out My Win Streak

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Ok, we’ve got a few things on tap today because of my laziness.
1) Scruffy (again)
2) Tulo?
3) Ian Stewart and His Loud Bat
4) Morales/Street
5) Torrealba 

First up… Giambi
Scruffy actually gave Helton a day off!
His stat doesn’t show a good game but I can attest to the fact that he hit the ball very well, he just got some VERY unlucky positioning going on in the field which led to some very fine outs. He continues to look like he can actually swing the bat. I think he will prove quite useful for this team.

Tulowitzki
Well, he strained his back getting to first on an RBI. Thats gotta suck. It doesn’t seem like I need to slam the panic button just yet. We’ll see if he’s in the lineup. Either way, we need him to be in that lineup. Fowler should be back this week as well, expect a full lineup to slam our way to the playoffs.

Ian Stewart
4 homers in the last 5 games? I like that stat. I don’t know what else there is to say about him. His power surge couldn’t have come at a better time. This is when we need him.

Morales/Street
Doing OK in the closer role for now, but if we want to seriously compete, Street needs to come back so Morales can put the depth back in our pen.

Torrealba
Best hitting streak in the majors eh? Clutch hitting? 
He hit .500 in the second round of the playoffs in 2007, look for that to return.

The game that occurred on Sunday was interesting. Someone’s winning streak had to come to an end. Rockies at 4, Reds at 7.

Rockies decided that it was time for the Reds to stop winning.
Ian Stewart and his home run made that point very clear.

Lets see how the rest of the series plays out (including Marquis and his Flu Recovery)

Boston: I Predict A Comeback

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Ok… so the stint on the road with Chicago was a failure but I found out some really good things during the series loss.
1) Lester is very consistent
This guy doesn’t know how to stop his roll. He’s flat out the best thing for this team right now. Even during everyone’s individual slumps and streaks, he’s been red hot. He knows how to get the game going and get the offense moving. Heres to hoping he’ll keep up the great work.
2) Beckett might be over this… thing… that got into his pitching arm
I saw the most recent outing. The fact that he can now throw his fastball for strikes again is very important. That was what was killing him before. The last step is fixing that breaking ball. 3 ER without a long ball is VERY promising to his recovery. One more start and I’ll know if he’s over it. I am desperately wanting that.
3) Clay gets it now
He seems to be figuring out his stuff. He knows what pitches to throw and when to throw them. It works for me.
Lets see what happens tonight.
The loss yesterday was very disappointing as nobody seemed to be taking the chances given to the team. Throughout the series… it seemed like every time runners got into scoring position, the offense would just DIE. It wasn’t the opposing pitcher being great, it was the offense being scarce. This MUST BE FIXED if Boston wants a playoff spot this year.
On the hunt, but not necessarily after you,
-Mike
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