Re: A Realistic look at 2012: Part I
posted at 10/9/2011 3:18 PM EDT
Moon, you make me work. I think we should both be on payroll for this discussion.
I'm still waiting for my check...LOL!
I originally took issue with "We played like losers" label. I don't like labels.
Did we play like winners? No. I don't like labels on either side.
I think we are not as far apart as it seems. I never intended to "label" our guys as losers, and I do not think saying they "played like" losers says they "are" losers. We lost 20 out of 27 games. We didn't do that by playing like winners. To me, it doesn't really even matter if were outmatched or not. We lost a lot, and it was because we played like losers. We didn't have our best team on the field- for sure. I agree. We do disagree on some of the games where I think we did have the better team on the field even with injuries and struggling pitchers on the mound, but it doesn't change the fact about how we played. We did not play like winners.
The reasons why the team performed as it did is more the sticking point.
And I clearly stated the reasons were largely due to pitching injuries. The track record for each pitcher when healthy is undeniable.
I never doubted that fact.
The odds of losing 4 main arms at key intervals in one year is probably astronomical. But it happened. That's why the team tanked.
They didn't suddenly play like losers after 4 months without a reason.
I think they did. We had Weiland, Miller, Lackey, and an over-worked Wake taking the hill 3-4 times out of 5. They did nt pitch like winners (maybe because some of them are not, in fact winners), or because they were worse on paper than our opponent's pitcher that game. Either way: they pitched like losers and we lost.
Were are expectations high playing teams they usually beat? Of course, because we thought we'd see a return to form by Beckett/Bedard/Lester.
That didn't happen. A Josh Beckett when healthy will hold down most teams.
A Josh Beckett at say 70% is no longer the Josh Beckett we assume will take the mound. He becomes a lesser pitcher with endurance issues.
Yes, and he pitched like a loser in September for the reasons you state.
That means he can and will fall prey to any M. L. line-up. And no healthy M.L. line-up can be taken lightly. I certainly wouldn't call the O's line-up a joke.
Their DH hit .290. They had an A.S. catcher. Hardy and Reynolds, two infielders, hit 67 home-runs and knocked in 186 RBI's. Markakis had a decent year. Jones hit .280 with 25 dingers. Keep in mind, they don't play half their games in Fenway.
I disagree. They were and are a joke. Most of the games we played them, they had 0-1 guys with an OPS over .800. Even with Youk out, we had line-ups with 4-5 guys with OPS over .800 with 3 over .900. We scored a ton more runs than the O's and Aviles filled in well for Youk, so even that excuse is flawed.
The O's scored 65 less road runs than Boston, but Boston didn't have Youk in Sept. How does that affect the difference?
See above: Aviles did great in September...better than Youk's season numbers,
Keep in mind, Youk's replacements, Lowrie/Aviles produce about 24 runs (RS/RBI) per every 100 at bats. Youk produdes about 35 runs per 100 AB's.
Put the O's line-up against a Bedard or Beckett at 70% - or Weiland at 100% - and they will get hit. And the team will lose. The Sept. ERA's don't lie. Just as the pitchers with Salty compared to Tek were compromised, and the results reflected in W/L, so were the pitching numbers compromised by injury, etc.
That means the team fielded an inferior product.
My point is that either way, we played like losers... one, because we were better and should have won, but didn't play like winners...or... two, because we were inferior due to injuries and because of that did not play like winners either.
The Run differential, as you alluded to in an earlier post, is easily skewed by a game or two where the team beats upon poor pitching. For example, We out-score Toronto 28-19 but lose 3 of 4. One of the games we trounce them 14-0. That means they out-score us 19-14 in the other three, two losses by a run.
That was my point. Our runs were skewed by playing like the Sox of the 70's... the Sox often allued to as "chokes" or "losers", although I would not call them that. The point is, we hit well when we didn't need it (when up 15-3), but didn't hit when we needed it (down 4-3). It reminded me of teams that find ways to lose even though they look good on paper.
Later we split with them: an 18-6 pounding and then lose 5-4. Obviously, run differential doesn't tell an accurate story.
But, that was my point. We outplayed them and just split.
The Rays pound the compromised staff 22-8 over 3 games. Then 24 - 14 in 4 games in Fenway. In 5 of the 7 games, the Rays scored no less than 6 runs.
We both know a catcher can't possibly hit enough to compensate for a half-run differential. In the same way, a superior line-up that scores 5 runs a game on the average can't compensate for giving up 6-7 runs per game.
Not unless the opposing pitcher was worse than ours.
We did not have better pitching than TB, particularly down the stretch. That's one reason why I projected 90-92 wins for TB. I still had hopes we'd do better vs TB than we did down the stretch, but our aces faultered and our hitting didn't step it up enough.
In the 4-game O's set, we out-score 'em 32-28, but one game was a lop-sided 18-9 win. The rest? Lost 6-5 6-4 7-5. One game again skews the picture.
Yes, I know. That was my point.
Yes the team scored 14 in the final three game-set with the birds. Isn't that about what the Sox average for the year? But the pitchers gave up 17 runs, so it really didn't matter.
There's two ways to look at this: From the top or from the bottom.
From the top, we expected them to pitch according to past performance.
From the bottom, they didn't because their past performance was when they were healthy. If we knew ahead of time that their form would be so compromised, then we'd have expected the inevitable.
I go through this all the time in horse racing, Moon. I expect certain horses to run according to form.They don't sometimes. Why? Because either they aren't healthy, or because other factors came into play that weren't envisioned.
I don't label them either way. I just learn and use the data for future reference.
If we center on the collapse more than the reasons for it, then addressing the issues to prevent a repeat occurrence is futile.
A couple of notes: I never advocated Crawford to hit 2nd, but that's neither here nor there. I also came across an amazing stat:
Home: 11-0 2.12 ERA
Away: 0-11 9.49 ERA.
Now that's a rare case where home advantage completely outweighs venue.
When I called Tito out for moving CC up to the #2 slot, I called it an "act of desperation" that did not send a good message to the team. Scutaro should have batted 2nd. I remember you saying I was wrong for saying that. Perhaps, I read too much into that by assuming you thought he should have batted 2nd that game. Sorry.