Monday, August 24, 2009

Short Take On The Series

Too much to do at my real job today to work up a full post. But I can definitively state one thing right now: giving up five homers is not a good thing.

That was the second rough outing in a row for Beckett, who has surrendered eight homers in his last two starts. And this one presents a slight problem for those who wanted to put his last outing on the back of Victor Martinez (note that Beckett is NOT one of these people). Varitek was catching last night and now the chowderheads at WEEI may have to acknowledge that Beckett had a couple of bad starts. Well, it happens. No one is perfect all the time. For example, in 1968 Bob Gibson put together a great season. He was the NL MVP, NL Cy Young winner and TSN Pitcher of the Year. That same year he had a four-game losing streak and lost three of five to close the year out.

Losing streaks happen. Bad games happen. Even to the damn good pitchers. So yes, Beckett got rocked again. And the timing of it absolutely sucked. But it isn't the end of Boston's playoff hopes. Because the last time I checked, the season didn't end yesterday.

Also, if you could have bet on Junichi Tazawa being the best starting pitcher in the entire series I think retirement would be an option for you this morning. So that's an encouraging sign for Boston fans as well. As is the return of Tim Wakefield to the rotation on Wednesday.

Yes, it was a rough couple of games for the Sox, who are now 7.5 games behind the Yankees and just one game in front of the Rangers. But if the Sox can go town on the White Sox (and the matchups do look good for them), then Boston should be able to catch up on the Yanks and/or put some space between themselves and the Rangers since those two teams have three games together starting Tuesday. As long as the Sox win the games, they'll benefit in one fashion or another. This season isn't over yet. It's only over when the math tells you it is.

Oh, and I have to chime in on the Billy Wagner rumors. Are you f-ing kidding me, Theo? Really? Wagner is a loudmouth who pisses off his teammates wherever he goes. Ask the Philly clubhouse how much they liked him. Or the New York clubhouse, for that matter. And who blew that save in August of 2007 that ended up costing the Mets a shot at the postseason? Oh right...Wagner. You may as well call him "Gagne 2.0" because if this deal is real and goes through, that's what we'll end up getting. Blech.


Brent said...

If you don't mind me asking, I'm confused about what game you're referring to in August 2007. Was it the game vs. the Phillies towards the end of the month?

Even so, you can't pin one game like that that "ended up costing the Mets the postseason". They were inconsistent throughout the entire year, everyone was to blame.

However, I agree with everything you said about Wagner... so yes, I was nit-picking. =P

Unknown said...

I love the optimisim, even if it's misplaced. The Yankees can play .500 ball & the Sox would still have to play at .700 to catch them. Forget about Texas (although the Rangers do have a combined OWP of under .500 the rest of the way) - I'd worry about TB. You guys have 3 coming up against them this weekend and in their place. (Last time I looked, BOS never played well at the Trop). One slip up, from your team (playing around .500 since the break) and you could be 3rd in the WC standing a week from now.

Dave said...

Brent - It was the only big game I could remember that Wagner blew that year. It was the last game in that four-game set with the Phillies. And since the Mets lost by one game to the Phils in the standings... I cherry-picked, true. But man, I really don't want Wagner coming here.

Raymond - I am trying to pretend that Tampa is out of it. They scare me a lot. We have three in Tampa starting Sept. 1 and no, we haven't played them well at all.

That said, this team can put together a massive win streak. They have the talent. They just have to get everyone on the same page at the same time.

And the Yanks are admittedly playing great ball. But September could be hard for them. They start with a seven-game road trip and then play a double-header against the Rays the day after to start a four-game set. That's 11 games in 10 days. They have another six-game West Coast swing. And they end the season in Tampa. So nothing is written in stone yet.

Unknown said...

I don't think the Yanks will be choking this lead away, but stranger things have happened.

Totally agree re: Wagner being "Gagne 2.0." You'd think Theo would've learned his lesson. If not with Gagne, then with Smoltz. It's one thing to come off major arm surgery at an "advanced" age and pitch in the NL. It's an entirely different thing to pitch in the AL East.

I've been saying the same thing about Beckett for years, going back to when I covered him in FL. The summer months aren't so kind to Josh. If you look at his splits, I'm pretty sure his worst months come in July and August. Whether it's the dog days getting the best of his concentration, or the summer humidity (remember his blister issues in FL?), he always seems to hit a rocky patch this time of year before turning it on again in September.

Dave said...

Jason - I think the most encouraging thing about Beckett this year is that the blister issue has been non-existent thus far.

And you may be on to something about the months of July and August. If you look at his three year splits from 2006-08, his two worst months are July and August. They are the only two months where he doesn't have a cumulative winning record and the only two months where opposing teams have a cumulative batting average of .250 or better against him.

Unfortunately for the rest of the league, his second best month is September. His best overall is April. So I think you definitely have something here with Beckett and the time of the year.

Behind the Foul Pole said...

First of all lets just say there is no way that the Red Sox can catch up to the Yankees unless the best team in Baseball should suddenly melt down which seems unlikely. Boston should have gotten pitching at the deadline instead of a Bat. Offense has never been the Red Sox bane. The Red Sox are currently in the lead for the AL wildcard and that is a big currently. The Rangers and the Rays are going to make it very competitive down the stretch.
As far as the Wagner thing goes, it seems to me that the Red Sox should be begging for his services. How many lefties can hit 96 on the gun? Paplebon is the one who needs to learn to keep his big mouth shut and stop being so self centered. Jonathon should say something like Wagner is one of the greatest closers ever and it would be an honor to have him for a teammate im sure I could learn a lot from someone who is sure to be a Hall Of Famer. But instead he is insulting and degrading to him. If I were Billy I would say thanks but no thanks see ya later bubye.
For in your face baseball news be sure to vist Behind the Foul Pole @

Dave said...

"Best teams" in baseball melt down all the time. The '78 Sox are a perfect example of that. So while the odds are against it, until the math definitively states that the Yanks have won there is no reason not to think the Sox can come back.

More worried about the Rays than the Rangers. But as long as the Sox take care of their business, then Boston will be just fine. Still worried about the three games in Tampa, though.

As for Wagner, the Sox would be nuts to sign him. He is a divisive presence in the locker-room. He is coming off TJ surgery. And considering that Papelbon has closed out a World Series while Wagner has yet to even reach one...well, I think Paps has earned the right to talk.

Number of All-Star games Wagner went to in his first five years: 1

Number of All-Star games Paps went to in his first five years: 4

And considering the luck the Sox have had with reclamation projects like Gagne, thanks. The bullpen is just fine.