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LITTLE NELL
08-31-2006, 05:21 PM
This team is driving me crazy, just when you think they are going to win 8 or 10 games in a row, they fall on their behinds and lose. How many times this year have we won the first 2 games of a series and dropped the 3rd game.

batmanZoSo
08-31-2006, 05:24 PM
How many times did we do that last year? A bunch.

**** killer instinct. I'm sick of that term. It's called the middle bullpen sucks.

BeviBall!
08-31-2006, 05:25 PM
**** killer instinct. I'm sick of that term. It's called the middle bullpen sucks.

QFT

mikesouthside
08-31-2006, 05:28 PM
How many times did we do that last year? A bunch.

**** killer instinct. I'm sick of that term. It's called the middle bullpen sucks.

CAN I GET A AMEN.......

Dan Mega
08-31-2006, 05:34 PM
CAN I GET A AMEN.......

Amen! Preach it!

batmanZoSo
08-31-2006, 05:41 PM
QFT

Can I get an explanation?! :unsure:

samram
08-31-2006, 05:43 PM
This team is driving me crazy, just when you think they are going to win 8 or 10 games in a row, they fall on their behinds and lose. How many times this year have we won the first 2 games of a series and dropped the 3rd game.

There won't be any 8 game winning streaks with mediocre starting pitching and bad middle relief.

JB98
08-31-2006, 06:22 PM
This team is driving me crazy, just when you think they are going to win 8 or 10 games in a row, they fall on their behinds and lose. How many times this year have we won the first 2 games of a series and dropped the 3rd game.

To answer your question, 10. We have won the first two games of a series and dropped the third game against:

Cubs (twice), Detroit, Cleveland, Houston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Kansas City, Toronto and Tampa Bay.

Lip Man 1
08-31-2006, 06:27 PM
Even worse, in my opinion, is the fact that this is 10th time this year the Sox have lost a game when leading in the 7th inning or later. NINE of those blown games have come against teams with losing records.

Lip

slobes
08-31-2006, 06:29 PM
Even worse, in my opinion, is the fact that this is 10th time this year the Sox have lost a game when leading in the 7th inning or later. NINE of those blown games have come against teams with losing records.

Lip

This is one of the most mind-blowing stats I've heard in a while. Last year, we domina ted the one run games. This year, however, we're hovering around .500 in that category.

JB98
08-31-2006, 06:31 PM
Even worse, in my opinion, is the fact that this is 10th time this year the Sox have lost a game when leading in the 7th inning or later. NINE of those blown games have come against teams with losing records.

Lip

Of the clubs on my list above, only Detroit and Toronto are of any quality. If we could have finished off even three of those potential sweeps against poor competition, the entire complexion of this pennant race would be different.

Ol' No. 2
08-31-2006, 06:33 PM
This is one of the most mind-blowing stats I've heard in a while. Last year, we ted the one run games. This year, however, we're hovering around .500 in that category.There isn't any mystery why. They don't execute. Last Saturday's 11th inning was a great example. How did the Twins manage to score a run on two measly singles? Easy. They wrapped them around a successful sacrifice bunt and a productive ground ball out, advancing the runner. If that sounds familiar, it should. It's how the Sox played last year. This year they hit four home runs and lose. That and inconsistent starting pitching and that's pretty much all there is to it.

We've seen this kind of baseball before, and with pretty much the same result.

MarySwiss
08-31-2006, 06:38 PM
As I asked in the gamethread, did anyone TELL this team what the Tigers and Twins did today?

Hard to believe. A golden opportunity to close to 3.5 against Detroit and maintain a 1.5 lead in the WC. :angry:

Lip Man 1
08-31-2006, 06:40 PM
No. 2:

Can't argue with your comment...it's dead on. Which begs the question HOW does the same team that could execute bunts, hitting the other way and stealing a base forget how to do those things the very next season?

I'm still waiting for someone to explain that to me and to tell me who is responsible.

Lip

samram
08-31-2006, 06:42 PM
No. 2:

Can't argue with your comment...it's dead on. Which begs the question HOW does the same team that could execute bunts, hitting the other way and stealing a base forget how to do those things the very next season?

I'm still waiting for someone to explain that to me and to tell me who is responsible.

Lip

Because the two guys who played that style more often that anyone else last year haven't been very good this year.

Lip Man 1
08-31-2006, 06:45 PM
Samran:

I understand your comment but the Sox did have more then two guys bunting, hitting the other way and smartly running the bases in 2005. Where are those guys?

Lip

Ol' No. 2
08-31-2006, 06:50 PM
No. 2:

Can't argue with your comment...it's dead on. Which begs the question HOW does the same team that could execute bunts, hitting the other way and stealing a base forget how to do those things the very next season?

I'm still waiting for someone to explain that to me and to tell me who is responsible.

LipIt seems to me there have been PLENTY of people with opinions on who is responsible.:o:

But that's the $64,000 question. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that they were pretty much forced to play that kind of baseball last year because they did not have a very productive offensive team. This year they're scoring an average of about 1 run more per game, but I'd be willing to bet they've scored 3 or fewer at least as often, maybe more. Put it down to the law of unintended consequences.

samram
08-31-2006, 06:52 PM
Samran:

I understand your comment but the Sox did have more then two guys bunting, hitting the other way and smartly running the bases in 2005. Where are those guys?

Lip

Well, Rowand, if you want to include him, is gone. Carl, PK, JD, AJ didn't really do the whole small ball thing. Uribe has been off this year. So Pods, Iguchi, Uribe are the three still with the team who haven't done the little things as well. I can't complain about the middle of the order. I do think Iguchi has had to change his style a bit because Pods 1) isn't on base a lot, and 2) isn't worth taking pitches for anyway because he can't run that well anymore.

Chips
08-31-2006, 07:24 PM
What he said (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=1324063&postcount=30)

:sunshine:

batmanZoSo
08-31-2006, 07:46 PM
Even worse, in my opinion, is the fact that this is 10th time this year the Sox have lost a game when leading in the 7th inning or later. NINE of those blown games have come against teams with losing records.

Lip

Say we win 8 of those like a team with a great bullpen would and we're 86-47, 3 games up. Shows you the value of a pen. Then again who thought a bullpen would be that vital to this team going in?

BeviBall!
08-31-2006, 07:55 PM
Can I get an explanation?! :unsure:

Quoted For Truth. I.E., TESTIFY!

Ol' No. 2
08-31-2006, 09:08 PM
Say we win 8 of those like a team with a great bullpen would and we're 86-47, 3 games up. Shows you the value of a pen. Then again who thought a bullpen would be that vital to this team going in?Man for man, I don't think last year's bullpen was significantly better. The big difference is that the starters have been exiting much earlier, exposing the weaker relievers more. Last year guys like Vizcaino and Marte didn't get put into critical situations that often. A strong rotation can make your bullpen look a lot better.

Lip Man 1
08-31-2006, 09:33 PM
No. 2:

I disagree to a certain extent. The majority of those 'blown' games (seven to be exact) took place on or before June 1st.

That to me was the direct result of Kenny for whatever reason shortchanging the pen going into the season. He traded two guys, he had a third get hurt yet all he did was add Matt Thornton during the middle of spring training.

I and others thought this was a serious issue and stated so over the off season. Now add in the fluke seasons from Politte and Cotts and even though Kenny upgraded the pen by the end of July, it hasn't been enough to offset the shortcomings which started in the off season and built since then.

Hopefully he doesn't make the same mistake this year. He may need to replace Cotts and he may need to add another right hander to replace someone.

Oh and to your question about three runs or less. In 2005 the Sox did it 60 times in the regular season and three more times in the post season.

So far in 2006 the Sox have done it 37 times.

Lip

Ol' No. 2
08-31-2006, 09:37 PM
Well, Rowand, if you want to include him, is gone. Carl, PK, JD, AJ didn't really do the whole small ball thing. Uribe has been off this year. So Pods, Iguchi, Uribe are the three still with the team who haven't done the little things as well. I can't complain about the middle of the order. I do think Iguchi has had to change his style a bit because Pods 1) isn't on base a lot, and 2) isn't worth taking pitches for anyway because he can't run that well anymore.Pods was never a high OBP player. Last year he finished with a .351 OBP. He was at .348 on Aug 1 of this year. It's only the last few weeks where he's really dropped off, and even at that, his 2006 OBP is only down to .333. While people often make a big deal out of that, a difference of 20 pts amounts to reaching base one extra time every 50 PA (about 2 weeks). You'd hardly notice the difference if you weren't counting, and even if you did, you'd have to count for a month before you'd see it. Also, his SB% is pretty close to last year's numbers. So to suggest "Pods 1) isn't on base a lot, and 2) isn't worth taking pitches for anyway because he can't run that well anymore." is pure hogwash. The big difference is that he's not running as much as last year. The reasons for that are complex, but here's my take on it:

Every team I've ever been on has had its own character or personality. Even if it's substantially the same team as the year before, the personality isn't the same. Think back to how 2005 started. Dye was hitting about .180 into June. Konerko started out hot for about 3 weeks, then went into a month-long slump. Crede was struggling, AJ was not hitting well. There really wasn't much offense. If they were going to score any runs at all, they were going to have to manufacture them. Fortunately, Pods and Iguchi came out hot, and that set a tone that lasted all year. That's the personality the team developed.

Contrast that to this year. 2006 started with almost all the hitters tearing the cover off the ball. They had times when their 2 through 7 hitters were ALL hitting above .300. Thome was hitting tape-measure home runs almost daily. At the same time, Pods was starting slow because of off-season surgery. But even if he'd been 100%, it would have been crazy to risk a lot of SB attempts with that kind of hitting behind him, and in many cases they were way ahead anyway. The personality the team developed reflected what was winning games for them, and that was bashing the ball. Unfortunately, it was too good to last. Thome tapered off as did the rest of the team, but the character of the team was set. To this day they're extremely reliant on waiting for the HR.

Could they change to a small ball team? Theoretically, sure, but in practice, it's not that easy to just re-invent themselves in mid-season. It's human nature to tend to stick with what's worked before, sometimes long after it's stopped working.

0o0o0
08-31-2006, 09:46 PM
What he said (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=1324063&postcount=30)

:sunshine:
:rolleyes:
We played the worst road team in the AL. The Tigers played the Yankees at home. Break out the ****ing champagne. :party:

MadetoOrta
08-31-2006, 09:48 PM
Someone wake me on October 1st. I'm spent.

Ol' No. 2
08-31-2006, 10:08 PM
No. 2:

I disagree to a certain extent. The majority of those 'blown' games (seven to be exact) took place on or before June 1st.

That to me was the direct result of Kenny for whatever reason shortchanging the pen going into the season. He traded two guys, he had a third get hurt yet all he did was add Matt Thornton during the middle of spring training.

I and others thought this was a serious issue and stated so over the off season. Now add in the fluke seasons from Politte and Cotts and even though Kenny upgraded the pen by the end of July, it hasn't been enough to offset the shortcomings which started in the off season and built since then.

Hopefully he doesn't make the same mistake this year. He may need to replace Cotts and he may need to add another right hander to replace someone.

Oh and to your question about three runs or less. In 2005 the Sox did it 60 times in the regular season and three more times in the post season.

So far in 2006 the Sox have done it 37 times.

LipAll he did was add Matt Thornton? What about Brandon McCarthy? He traded two guys, Vizcaino and Marte, and replaced them with with McCarthy and Thornton. That's neglect???:?: Give us more neglect like that, please. The third that got hurt (Hermanson) was replaced by Jenks. What's your problem with that?

While you wouldn't expect Politte to repeat last year's numbers, no one could have predicted the full-scale implosion we saw from him. Cotts, while also not as good as last year, actually pitched pretty effectively up until the break.

The sixth member of the bullpen was Takatsu, who gave way to Adkins, Walker and an assortment of other forgettables. Logan wasn't any worse than these guys.

So I don't agree with your assessment of the bullpen as neglect by KW. Politte completely falling apart was the biggest blow, but no one could have predicted that, and he moved to replace him pretty quickly.

samram
08-31-2006, 10:09 PM
Pods was never a high OBP player. Last year he finished with a .351 OBP. He was at .348 on Aug 1 of this year. It's only the last few weeks where he's really dropped off, and even at that, his 2006 OBP is only down to .333. While people often make a big deal out of that, a difference of 20 pts amounts to reaching base one extra time every 50 PA (about 2 weeks). You'd hardly notice the difference if you weren't counting, and even if you did, you'd have to count for a month before you'd see it. Also, his SB% is pretty close to last year's numbers. So to suggest "Pods 1) isn't on base a lot, and 2) isn't worth taking pitches for anyway because he can't run that well anymore." is pure hogwash. The big difference is that he's not running as much as last year. The reasons for that are complex, but here's my take on it:

Every team I've ever been on has had its own character or personality. Even if it's substantially the same team as the year before, the personality isn't the same. Think back to how 2005 started. Dye was hitting about .180 into June. Konerko started out hot for about 3 weeks, then went into a month-long slump. Crede was struggling, AJ was not hitting well. There really wasn't much offense. If they were going to score any runs at all, they were going to have to manufacture them. Fortunately, Pods and Iguchi came out hot, and that set a tone that lasted all year. That's the personality the team developed.

Contrast that to this year. 2006 started with almost all the hitters tearing the cover off the ball. They had times when their 2 through 7 hitters were ALL hitting above .300. Thome was hitting tape-measure home runs almost daily. At the same time, Pods was starting slow because of off-season surgery. But even if he'd been 100%, it would have been crazy to risk a lot of SB attempts with that kind of hitting behind him, and in many cases they were way ahead anyway. The personality the team developed reflected what was winning games for them, and that was bashing the ball. Unfortunately, it was too good to last. Thome tapered off as did the rest of the team, but the character of the team was set. To this day they're extremely reliant on waiting for the HR.

Could they change to a small ball team? Theoretically, sure, but in practice, it's not that easy to just re-invent themselves in mid-season. It's human nature to tend to stick with what's worked before, sometimes long after it's stopped working.

You'll notice I'm not complaining about their not being a small-ball team. I am disturbed about their lack of execution in certain situations, but overall, I'll take this offense over last year's. As for my comments about Pods, on last year's team, because of its lack of production, it was worth it for Iguchi to sacrifice at-bats to move Pods along. However, this year, the combination of Pods performance and the increased production of the rest of the offense neither requires nor encourages Iguchi to sacrficice at-bats

batmanZoSo
08-31-2006, 10:16 PM
Man for man, I don't think last year's bullpen was significantly better. The big difference is that the starters have been exiting much earlier, exposing the weaker relievers more. Last year guys like Vizcaino and Marte didn't get put into critical situations that often. A strong rotation can make your bullpen look a lot better.

Yeah, it's a lot to do with the starters not being as effective. That and Politte and Cotts had career years, and Hermanson was incredible when he was healthy. We had three different, effective closers emerge at different times last year. That's gotta be pretty unusual.

caulfield12
08-31-2006, 10:19 PM
Doesn't the White Sox bullpen still have the least innings thrown in the AL?

I heard that a couple of weeks ago, maybe they're 2nd or 3rd now.

As mentioned, the loss of Hermanson was very much predictable. KW did a good enough job replacing Marte, but the combined losses of Hermanson and Politte were not adequately replaced until we got MacDougal.

Most of the bullpen problems happened in April and May...

And McCarthy just hasn't fit in as a member of the bullpen, nor has he been used effectively.

Riske was a very good pick-up as well. I would say that KW has done a good job. Every team has to adjust as the season goes along. We had more insurance than any other team for our starters and position players than team in the majors, even the Yankees.

JB98
08-31-2006, 10:22 PM
Yeah, it's a lot to do with the starters not being as effective. That and Politte and Cotts had career years, and Hermanson was incredible when he was healthy. We had three different, effective closers emerge at different times last year. That's gotta be pretty unusual.

It's pretty unusual that our three best relievers from last year all went to hell this season. Hermanson and Politte broke down. Cotts has gone down the crapper since the All-Star break.

I think bullpens are the hardest thing for a GM to judge. There are always surprises, both in a positive way and a negative way. For example, last year, Politte and Cotts were both pleasant surprises. Shingo and Marte were monumental disappointments. The guys who started out working the middle innings became the late-inning relievers. The guys who began the year pitching the eighth and ninth fell by the wayside.

We've seen something similar this year with the demise of Politte and Cotts. At the start of the season, we thought they would be the seventh and eighth inning guys. Didn't happen. They were negative surprises. Thornton, however, has surprised in a positive way and taken over the eighth inning job.

Bullpens are hard to predict from year to year.

Ol' No. 2
08-31-2006, 10:24 PM
You'll notice I'm not complaining about their not being a small-ball team. I am disturbed about their lack of execution in certain situations, but overall, I'll take this offense over last year's. As for my comments about Pods, on last year's team, because of its lack of production, it was worth it for Iguchi to sacrifice at-bats to move Pods along. However, this year, the combination of Pods performance and the increased production of the rest of the offense neither requires nor encourages Iguchi to sacrficice at-batsI guess my point was that it seems to me to be more the latter. They got used to waiting for someone to mash the ball, and for a couple of months they did. Unfortunately, it was too good to last. But execution is an inseparable part of it. When you're expecting someone to rescue you with a big hit, you don't concentrate on the little things. You just swing away and assume things will work out. That's when you lose the ability to execute in key situations.

It's also not confined to the top of the order. This goes way beyond Podsednik. Situational hitting on this team is atrocious, from top to bottom, with the notable exception of Jermaine Dye.

JB98
08-31-2006, 10:28 PM
I guess my point was that it seems to me to be more the latter. They got used to waiting for someone to mash the ball, and for a couple of months they did. Unfortunately, it was too good to last. But execution is an inseparable part of it. When you're expecting someone to rescue you with a big hit, you don't concentrate on the little things. You just swing away and assume things will work out. That's when you lose the ability to execute in key situations.

It's also not confined to the top of the order. This goes way beyond Podsednik. Situational hitting on this team is atrocious, from top to bottom, with the notable exception of Jermaine Dye.

Do you think some of the problem goes back to the spring-training talk about moving Iguchi down in the batting order? Tadahito was a great situational hitter last year. This year, he's been mediocre at best. I wonder if Ozzie's statements at the beginning of the year about wanting Iguchi to knock in more runs have changed Tadahito's mindset. I have no evidence; just speculation on my part. I thought it was insane that Guillen tried to make Uribe into a No. 2 hitter.

I agree; most of the team sucks at situational hitting. Iguchi's decline in this area seems to be the most glaring example.

slobes
08-31-2006, 10:43 PM
Do you think some of the problem goes back to the spring-training talk about moving Iguchi down in the batting order? Tadahito was a great situational hitter last year. This year, he's been mediocre at best. I wonder if Ozzie's statements at the beginning of the year about wanting Iguchi to knock in more runs have changed Tadahito's mindset. I have no evidence; just speculation on my part. I thought it was insane that Guillen tried to make Uribe into a No. 2 hitter.

I agree; most of the team sucks at situational hitting. Iguchi's decline in this area seems to be the most glaring example.

Looking back now, the fact that Ozzie wanted to have Juan hitting in the 2 spot sends shivers down my spine. I'm not sure if there's anyone on our team that would be worse in spot. Iguchi's season-long slump has affected this team more than people think, in my opinion. Last year Ozzie had called him the MVP of the team. He helped us out HUGE last year--clutch hits, moving runners over. This year, not so much.

caulfield12
08-31-2006, 10:50 PM
I wouldn't describe Iguchi as having a season-long slump. I seem to recall him coming up with a very big hit last night.

He's been streaky, but so have most of our hitters, Thome and Pods more recently.

Ol' No. 2
08-31-2006, 10:50 PM
Do you think some of the problem goes back to the spring-training talk about moving Iguchi down in the batting order? Tadahito was a great situational hitter last year. This year, he's been mediocre at best. I wonder if Ozzie's statements at the beginning of the year about wanting Iguchi to knock in more runs have changed Tadahito's mindset. I have no evidence; just speculation on my part. I thought it was insane that Guillen tried to make Uribe into a No. 2 hitter.

I agree; most of the team sucks at situational hitting. Iguchi's decline in this area seems to be the most glaring example.I just looked up some numbers that you may find interesting:

BA/BA with RISP

Konerko: .309/.358
Iguchi: .280/.309
Crede: .301/.373
Pods: .262/.284
Dye: .327/.358
AJ: .297/.268
Thome: .296/.348
Uribe: .243/.290
Anderson: .232/.219

Team: .285/.311

That .311 with RISP is the best in the AL.

So overall, they're mostly BETTER with RISP. Of course, that doesn't tell you what the game situation might be, which is the essence of situational hitting. But I thought it was pretty interesting.

NoNeckEra
08-31-2006, 11:04 PM
Yeah, it's a lot to do with the starters not being as effective.
For all the talk about the bullpen and our lack of execution on offense(both valid points), we wouldn't be talking about these if we got an occasional gem from our $50,000,000 in starting pitching.

soxinem1
08-31-2006, 11:05 PM
All I know is that the Royals and Yanks helpd us out, and the Sox played like crap winning 2 of 3. Will they ever show some consistency? That ''There are some good young players' crap about the D-Rays and teams like them is getting tiring.

Sweep a series against teams like this, for cricesakes!!!!!

JB98
08-31-2006, 11:06 PM
I just looked up some numbers that you may find interesting:

BA/BA with RISP

Konerko: .309/.358
Iguchi: .280/.309
Crede: .301/.373
Pods: .262/.284
Dye: .327/.358
AJ: .297/.268
Thome: .296/.348
Uribe: .243/.290
Anderson: .232/.219

Team: .285/.311

That .311 with RISP is the best in the AL.

So overall, they're mostly BETTER with RISP. Of course, that doesn't tell you what the game situation might be, which is the essence of situational hitting. But I thought it was pretty interesting.

I think there's a general feeling that we "pile on" exceptionally well. Either everyone is hitting well at one time with RISP or no one is. Of course, I'm not sure that's true either. If it were, you'd think we'd have more blowout wins.

I'd like to know what our numbers are in terms of getting the man in from third with less than two outs. We seem to have hit far fewer sacrifice flies this year than last.

FielderJones
08-31-2006, 11:14 PM
I'd like to know what our numbers are in terms of getting the man in from third with less than two outs. We seem to have hit far fewer sacrifice flies this year than last.

I'd like to know what our numbers are in terms of getting the man thrown out at the plate this year versus last. Those singles with RISP don't mean much if the S doesn't happen.

Lip Man 1
08-31-2006, 11:40 PM
No. 2:

When acquired as you recall, Matt Thorton was considered a failed #1 pick and was used like that by the Sox early. He was watched carefully and used guardedly. No one knew what to expect. Hold that thought it'll come into play in a minute.

Boone Logan was thrown right into the fire and predictibly imploded since he was in way over his head. Logan shouldn't have been in the bullpen of the defending World Champions to start with.

So basically Viz and Hermanson were replaced by Logan, and at that time, an unknown in Thornton.

In my opinion that was a major regression in the bullpen and it showed. As stated, the team blew seven games in the first two months. The bullpen as I recall (without looking it up) was directly responsible for losing five of those seven.

I agree with JB, bullpens are always the hardest to predict however given the amazing seasons turned in by Politte and Cotts... seasons so far different from what track record they had, you've think Kenny would have tried to guard against that being a fluke by having help available early in the year.

In other words bullpens are so unpredictable that if you have say 'six' good bullpen guys, you go out and get seven or eight total just in case. You can always deal the extra guys if you don't need them or if no one gets hurt.

It was the only shortcoming that I call Kenny to account for from this off season. The half dozen washed up, retreds he signed were of zero use to the club except for the guy they traded for Riske.

As stated I hope he doesn't make the same mistake next off season.

Also agree that McCarthy while a great prospect, doesn't seem to be cut out for the pen. It's an awkward situation for him this season and at times it's showed. Not his fault though, he's a starter taking one for the team.

Lip

kitekrazy
09-01-2006, 12:50 AM
As I asked in the gamethread, did anyone TELL this team what the Tigers and Twins did today?

Hard to believe. A golden opportunity to close to 3.5 against Detroit and maintain a 1.5 lead in the WC. :angry:
Imagine what Tiger and Twin fans are thinking right now.

Tiger fans are probably like the Sox fans of last year losing that optimism of winning the division.

Twin fans are probably baffled after watching their team take 2 of 3 in Chicago and then losing 2 of 3 to the lowly Royals at home. I'm sure they are questioning the team's killer instinct.

You gotta love this. How many times did we really care to even watch Sox baseball heading into Sept?

How often is there a 3 team race in a division?

Jurr
09-01-2006, 07:21 AM
Buddy Bell made one helluva statement the other day after beating the Twins. He said that players competing for jobs may be even more motivated to excel than those who are in a pennant race.

These teams are dangerous, because they can just go up to the plate, pin their ears back, and club away at first pitch fastballs in a more relaxed, free environment. This can make these "spoiler teams" tougher than you'd think.

Now, in football, you can have 'killer instinct'. You can have that desire to run that little bit harder and concentrate on a catch a little more to finish off a team, and it will show. In baseball, amping yourself up only allows for a loss of control on your pitches (overthrowing), putting too much pressure on yourself in the field (errors), and being too antsy at the plate (K's in the clutch). The Sox just need to stay relaxed and play ball.

I figured that winning 4 or 5 of 6 would put the Sox in good position going into the homestretch, and that's still a strong possibility. They've just gotta win this next series. In an August month that saw the Sox barely finish above .500 (16-13), they still gained 3 games on the Tigers for the division crown. This thing is totally up for grabs.

You've gotta figure that Detroit's not going to go on a really significant tear with the pressure on their young players. Minnesota's pitching woes will keep them from reeling off 8 or 9 in a row. If the Sox win 2 of 3 during this last month, they'll be 20-9 or 19-10. 97-98 wins will win this division. Bank on it.

Against Tampa, mission accomplished. Do the same against KC. You'd like to win all three, but it's baseball. That's why you don't have to sweep a series to win it in the postseason. Win 2 of 3. That's the mission.

samram
09-01-2006, 09:31 AM
I wouldn't describe Iguchi as having a season-long slump. I seem to recall him coming up with a very big hit last night.

He's been streaky, but so have most of our hitters, Thome and Pods more recently.

If you look at his numbers, they're strikingly similar to last year's. Same BA, same OBP, will probably have the same run production numbers. The thing is he sacrificed a lot of AB's to get to those numbers last year and he hasn't had to do it as much this year, but his numbers are the same, so it seems as if he's not playing as well (and I guess you can argue he isn't).

mrwag
09-01-2006, 09:51 AM
It all boils down to pitching with the ERA 1 point higher than last year. The offense has NOT been the problem. They are scoring more than enough runs to win MOST of these games. If the starters would do what they are capable of, we'd have NOTHING to be discussing here.

Frater Perdurabo
09-01-2006, 10:11 AM
That's why you don't have to sweep a series to win it in the postseason. Win 2 of 3. That's the mission.

That sounds good and I agree that winning 2 out of 3 will get the Sox to the playoffs. The problem is that the Sox have not played .667 ball since early this season.

They split a four game home series with the Royals. They have struggled against the Royals overall.

They lost two of three to the Devil Rays in Tampa.

They've been swept by the Twins at home, and have lost 2 of 3 during each of the last two series against the Twins (one home, one away).

Ozzie keeps making the same boneheaded lineup decisions (Mackowiak in CF, Pods leading off despite his despicable Ks and inability to bunt for hits) and pitching decisions (brings in Cotts with runners on base, McCarthy as a ROOGY).

Throughout the year we've heard, "we just need to play up to our potential." Well, there's a saying that in baseball, "you are what you are." For better or worse, expecting anything different from the results the Sox have produced so far is like expecting rain in the Sahara. We may yet be surprised, but don't expect it.

I believe the Sox will make the playoffs and play well in October. But my belief is based on faith, not empirical evidence.

Ol' No. 2
09-01-2006, 11:56 AM
No. 2:

When acquired as you recall, Matt Thorton was considered a failed #1 pick and was used like that by the Sox early. He was watched carefully and used guardedly. No one knew what to expect. Hold that thought it'll come into play in a minute.

Boone Logan was thrown right into the fire and predictibly imploded since he was in way over his head. Logan shouldn't have been in the bullpen of the defending World Champions to start with.

So basically Viz and Hermanson were replaced by Logan, and at that time, an unknown in Thornton.

In my opinion that was a major regression in the bullpen and it showed. As stated, the team blew seven games in the first two months. The bullpen as I recall (without looking it up) was directly responsible for losing five of those seven.

I agree with JB, bullpens are always the hardest to predict however given the amazing seasons turned in by Politte and Cotts... seasons so far different from what track record they had, you've think Kenny would have tried to guard against that being a fluke by having help available early in the year.

In other words bullpens are so unpredictable that if you have say 'six' good bullpen guys, you go out and get seven or eight total just in case. You can always deal the extra guys if you don't need them or if no one gets hurt.

It was the only shortcoming that I call Kenny to account for from this off season. The half dozen washed up, retreds he signed were of zero use to the club except for the guy they traded for Riske.

As stated I hope he doesn't make the same mistake next off season.

Also agree that McCarthy while a great prospect, doesn't seem to be cut out for the pen. It's an awkward situation for him this season and at times it's showed. Not his fault though, he's a starter taking one for the team.

LipYou're relying on some revisionist history, Lip. Viz and Hermanson were NOT replaced by Logan and Thornton. Thornton and Logan were added to the roster as lefties, and so obviously aren't replacing either Viz or Hermanson. They were intended to replace Marte as the LOOGY, and since the Sox started 2006 with an extra reliever, you could say that both of them took Marte's spot. Hermanson was replaced by Jenks last season. While Hermy came back for the end of the season, he was in no way a part of their plans for 2006. Viz filled the middle relief role last year and was replaced by McCarthy. Even without the benefit of seeing how they pitched this year,

Thornton/Logan > Marte
McCarthy > Vizcaino

Ol' No. 2
09-01-2006, 12:15 PM
I think there's a general feeling that we "pile on" exceptionally well. Either everyone is hitting well at one time with RISP or no one is. Of course, I'm not sure that's true either. If it were, you'd think we'd have more blowout wins.

I'd like to know what our numbers are in terms of getting the man in from third with less than two outs. We seem to have hit far fewer sacrifice flies this year than last.There may be some truth in that. ESPN shows numbers with RISP and 2 out, but the number of AB is not high enough to inspire much confidence in the meaningfulness of the numbers for individual players. As a team, the Sox are hitting .270 with RISP and 2 out, which puts them 3rd in the AL behind Cleveland (.273) and Minny (.302).

Another way of looking at it is RBI/AB with RISP and 2 out. There the Sox also rank 3rd in the AL at 0.370 (behind both Minn and Texas), well above the mean of 0.343. It's probably not coincidental that Minnesota ranks first in both categories. From what I've seen, these guys excel at situational hitting. Interestingly, even though the Sox lead everybody with 25 HR, they're still 3rd in SLG in those situations.

Linky (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/aggregate?statType=batting&group=7&seasonType=2&type=type1&sort=slugAvg&split=185&season=2006)

Overall, the Sox hit well and score a ton of runs, so I'd expect them to rank high in any aggregate statistic. But as you say, they seem to "pile on" a lot, and at other times they just can't do a thing.

samram
09-01-2006, 01:29 PM
There may be some truth in that. ESPN shows numbers with RISP and 2 out, but the number of AB is not high enough to inspire much confidence in the meaningfulness of the numbers for individual players. As a team, the Sox are hitting .270 with RISP and 2 out, which puts them 3rd in the AL behind Cleveland (.273) and Minny (.302).

Another way of looking at it is RBI/AB with RISP and 2 out. There the Sox also rank 3rd in the AL at 0.370 (behind both Minn and Texas), well above the mean of 0.343. It's probably not coincidental that Minnesota ranks first in both categories. From what I've seen, these guys excel at situational hitting. Interestingly, even though the Sox lead everybody with 25 HR, they're still 3rd in SLG in those situations.

Linky (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/aggregate?statType=batting&group=7&seasonType=2&type=type1&sort=slugAvg&split=185&season=2006)

Overall, the Sox hit well and score a ton of runs, so I'd expect them to rank high in any aggregate statistic. But as you say, they seem to "pile on" a lot, and at other times they just can't do a thing.

I threw the Sox runs scored in a spreadsheet to see what the differences were pre and post All Star break:

The Sox are averaging 5.61 a game this year. In the first half, they averaged 5.91 and in the second half, they're averaging 5.02. So, they're down almost a full run in the second half. Furthermore, the mode has decreased from 4 in the first half to 3 in the second half. When you score three runs or less as often as they have (15 times in 45 games in the second half), it puts a lot of pressure on a pitching staff that hasn't been very good. Put the two together and you've got a team that has a hard time putting long winning streaks together.

As for the killer instinct worries, in the nine games in which the Sox lost while attempting to sweep, they've averaged 5.9 runs. So you can look to the pitching as the reason for lost sweeps. As I said in an eariler thread, you can basically count on a starting pitcher blowing up at least once a series.

TomBradley72
09-01-2006, 03:35 PM
We're 10th in the AL in pitching since the All Star break...if the pitching was anywhere near 2005...we'd be in first place already. We're 7th in runs scored (we were #1 by far pre-All Star break). Our problem is mediocre pitching matched with sputtering offense.

JB98
09-01-2006, 03:59 PM
There may be some truth in that. ESPN shows numbers with RISP and 2 out, but the number of AB is not high enough to inspire much confidence in the meaningfulness of the numbers for individual players. As a team, the Sox are hitting .270 with RISP and 2 out, which puts them 3rd in the AL behind Cleveland (.273) and Minny (.302).

Another way of looking at it is RBI/AB with RISP and 2 out. There the Sox also rank 3rd in the AL at 0.370 (behind both Minn and Texas), well above the mean of 0.343. It's probably not coincidental that Minnesota ranks first in both categories. From what I've seen, these guys excel at situational hitting. Interestingly, even though the Sox lead everybody with 25 HR, they're still 3rd in SLG in those situations.

Linky (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/aggregate?statType=batting&group=7&seasonType=2&type=type1&sort=slugAvg&split=185&season=2006)

Overall, the Sox hit well and score a ton of runs, so I'd expect them to rank high in any aggregate statistic. But as you say, they seem to "pile on" a lot, and at other times they just can't do a thing.

Hypothetically, let's say the Sox go 6-for-11 one day with RISP and win. Then, the next day, they go 1-for-11 with RISP and lose. That pencils out to a very good .318 avg. with RISP, but at the end of the day, the record is 1-1. I don't have the statistical evidence in front of me, but it seems like we've seen a lot of the scenario I just described since the All-Star break.

But as we've talked about many times, it all goes back to pitching. We are winning the 7-5, 8-6 and 12-9 games. But if you want to get a winning streak going, sometimes you have to win 3-2. Just once, just once, I would like to see this pitching staff pick up the hitters and win a game when the offense is flat. Take yesterday's game, for example. The offense was flat, but we had an opportunity to win that game 3-2. And what happened? We lost 5-3. That's very frustrating to me.

caulfield12
09-01-2006, 08:35 PM
Buddy Bell made one helluva statement the other day after beating the Twins. He said that players competing for jobs may be even more motivated to excel than those who are in a pennant race.

These teams are dangerous, because they can just go up to the plate, pin their ears back, and club away at first pitch fastballs in a more relaxed, free environment. This can make these "spoiler teams" tougher than you'd think.

Now, in football, you can have 'killer instinct'. You can have that desire to run that little bit harder and concentrate on a catch a little more to finish off a team, and it will show. In baseball, amping yourself up only allows for a loss of control on your pitches (overthrowing), putting too much pressure on yourself in the field (errors), and being too antsy at the plate (K's in the clutch). The Sox just need to stay relaxed and play ball.

I figured that winning 4 or 5 of 6 would put the Sox in good position going into the homestretch, and that's still a strong possibility. They've just gotta win this next series. In an August month that saw the Sox barely finish above .500 (16-13), they still gained 3 games on the Tigers for the division crown. This thing is totally up for grabs.

You've gotta figure that Detroit's not going to go on a really significant tear with the pressure on their young players. Minnesota's pitching woes will keep them from reeling off 8 or 9 in a row. If the Sox win 2 of 3 during this last month, they'll be 20-9 or 19-10. 97-98 wins will win this division. Bank on it.

Against Tampa, mission accomplished. Do the same against KC. You'd like to win all three, but it's baseball. That's why you don't have to sweep a series to win it in the postseason. Win 2 of 3. That's the mission.

Mackowiak has played in 97 or 98 games now. Never would have predicted or hoped for that. The only players that have "regressed" with RISP are AJ and Anderson, and I'm sure Anderson's average the last two months is well above his "regular" average in terms of RISP. It was abysmal the first couple of months.

The bottom dwellers are the worst teams to play. They're all playing with no pressure. If you remember, it was the Royals and D-Rays that essentially knocked out CLE last year, not the winning teams.

Obviously, are struggles with average and below-average teams and starting pitchers has been well-documented here.

Tragg
09-01-2006, 10:45 PM
And McCarthy just hasn't fit in as a member of the bullpen, nor has he been used effectively.

He hasn't been used effectively. And he's had some crummy bullpen outings (a lot of good ones).
Execution, fundamentals are developed in spring training. In the spring of 2005, we worked like the devil on these things. Did we this year? The players aren't as focused, the manager's got an ego as big as the Cell - wasting time chest beating with the likes of Showalter - last year it was "All about them" (his players) - this year, it seems it's all about him.. I can't blame the personnel turnover....Rowand was the worst bunter on the team last year - he couldn't do it at all.

A non-productive spring killed us in 2001 and in 1995 (Lamont took a nap during the post-strike pre-season; that was a disgrace). This wasn't anything like that, obviously.

Lip Man 1
09-02-2006, 01:33 AM
And it's 25 losses (and counting) to crap, triple A baseball teams.

Lip

caulfield12
09-02-2006, 01:56 AM
I think we can all agree we're not going anywhere in the playoffs without a healthy and confident Contreras.

Vazquez, Garcia and Buehrle don't have the stuff right now to get through an offensive line-up like the Yankees.

One of them might get a win, but there's almost zero probability they can pull it off on the road without Jose.

Every team needs an ace the other team is "afraid" of and dreads facing. We don't have one now...the Tigers have two, the Twins have two (if Liriano is healthy). The Yankees don't have an ace exactly, but Wang has been close and their line-up just seems to manufacture runs a lot better than we do.

They have speed in Jeter, Cabrera, Abreu and Cano. High OBP team. They have everything but great starting pitching and solid middle relief. Farnsworth and Proctor have also been very vulnerable.

JB98
09-02-2006, 03:06 AM
I think we can all agree we're not going anywhere in the playoffs without a healthy and confident Contreras.

Vazquez, Garcia and Buehrle don't have the stuff right now to get through an offensive line-up like the Yankees.

One of them might get a win, but there's almost zero probability they can pull it off on the road without Jose.

Every team needs an ace the other team is "afraid" of and dreads facing. We don't have one now...the Tigers have two, the Twins have two (if Liriano is healthy). The Yankees don't have an ace exactly, but Wang has been close and their line-up just seems to manufacture runs a lot better than we do.

They have speed in Jeter, Cabrera, Abreu and Cano. High OBP team. They have everything but great starting pitching and solid middle relief. Farnsworth and Proctor have also been very vulnerable.

On the topic of the Yankees, the Big Unit has won eight of his last nine decisions. If he and Wang both continue to throw well, that team is going to be a tough out in the playoffs. They have a balanced, versatile offense. The achilles heel is middle relief. Most teams have a weakness there.