# A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to pumpsie-green's comment:

Teams win with good game callers. They can win much more, even if the other catcher is a way better hitter. Just because it can not be quantified with specific data, does not mean the catcher behind the plate doesn't have a large influence on how ell the pitcher does and hence how well the team does.

I agree. Some catchers, no doubt, call better games than others. I also agree that right now that ability cannot be quantified. You have produced a lot of data and facts about catchers and pitchers matching up. Again I ask you: are you a statistician? Do you know for a fact that what you have cited is statistically significant? Its interesting, for sure, but I do not know that it means much scientifically speaking. Can we call it "circumstancial evidence" for your case?

I was always pretty good at math even in college, but no, I am not a statistician.

I'd have to say that anyone with a half a brain who looks at all the evidence and results from hundreds of sample sizes from individual pitchers over several seasons (1 by 1), and realize that even though the individual sample sizes are small, that over a long time frame, the large sample size of the small sample sizes indicate a clear trend is noticable.

Here's an example:

Let's say we flip a coin in small sample sizes like just 4 times, but we repeat those small sample sizes 1000 times. We'd expect the results to come out pretty even, right? Like maybe:

375 times: 2H/2T

250 times: 3H/1T

250 times: 1H/3T

63 times: 4H/0T

62 times: 0H/4T

I'd say that if we had 1000 small sample sizes of pitchers with VTek vs pitchers with other catchers and found that the expected outcome should be about:

400 times very close ERAs

300 times a better CERA with VTek

300 times a better CERA with the other catcher

300 times with a very close CERA

600 times with a better CERA with Vtek

100 times with a better CERA with the other catcher,

one could say there is an influence working on the numbers in Vtek's favor.

We can not say it is because Vtek catches better pitchers, because that is taken out of the equation by counting each pitcher's individual numbers as an equal result one by one. Vtek caught a pitcher more in a good year than someone else in a bad year? Nope, we are taking each season one by one. One catcher has a worse defense behind him? Not likely, since for the most part each pitcher is pitching with the same team behind him night in and night out, but yes some variables are influential to some (small) degree. Strength of opponents? Again, some variables must be involved, but over long periods of time, one might expect them to even out or at least not be highly significant.

I do not take CERA at face value. I know there are outside influences on the numbers just like there is for BA, OBP, ERA, WHIP and any stat. I have never compared Vtek's CERA to a catcher on another team, or to a catcher on the same team but from a different season. To me, this severely restricts the useage of CERA and OPS against, but none the less, it does tell us one thing pretty clearly: some teams have one catcher that pitchers do much better with than the other one. Some teams have equal or close to equal catcher tandems. Some catchers have poor records with the staff they are catching, regardless of what team they are on (See Napoli with Texas and Toronto: he only has had one season where he did better than his co-catcher. See VMart with Cleveland before coming to Boston.) Some catchers have good records with their staff, regardless of what team they are on (see Mathis on Toronto last year).

I've seeen enough numbers to be pretty darn certain that other variables are causing the differentials. I've also heard countless catchers praise Vtek for his game-calling skills, his hard work and dedication to studying the game and batter tendancies, perhaps like no other catcher in baseball history has done. It worked. It made a difference. i am sure of it, even if I am but an math amateur.

When Vtek was showing a full run better CERA than VMart, I never claimed he was a full run better, but I would be pretty certain that he might have made a half a run difference on average at worst. The team record with Vtek, even if you take away the Beckett games, show the pattern continued.

VTek had a poor throwing record, one of the most over-used defensive catcher stat know to baseball, and yet teams scored less when he was the catcher. It didn't matter who was pitching, the results were nearly all the same. year after year after year. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to accept that Vtek was influencing the results, even if in some unkown way. I don't need to know the exact reason of the influence: it could be voodoo for all I care, but to me the facts are undeniable. VTek made a huge difference to the pitchers he caught, and they will all tell you the same thing. That's enough for me.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

VTek had a poor throwing record, one of the most over-used defensive catcher stat know to baseball, and yet teams scored less when he was the catcher. It didn't matter who was pitching, the results were nearly all the same. year after year after year. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to accept that Vtek was influencing the results, even if in some unkown way. I don't need to know the exact reason of the influence: it could be voodoo for all I care, but to me the facts are undeniable. VTek made a huge difference to the pitchers he caught, and they will all tell you the same thing. That's enough for me.

You know what: it looks the same way to me. I just don't know how to measure his effect objectively and put a number on it. Thats what I am saying. You can look at your data and watch him play, but you still cannot accurately put a number on his performance and compare it in a meaningful way to any other catcher by using CERA. CERA is simply not objective enough for me....or for Bill James.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

It's as simple as this...Tek's pitchers TRUSTED him to always call the right pitch in the right spot. If a pitcher and catcher believe in each other, better pitches are executed. One of the strongest pieces of evidence of this was when Schilling lost his no-no on the last out of the game after he shook Tek off.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

Statistics experts have said that the amount of data is insufficient to even quantify a noticeable difference in a CERA on a statistically relevant basis. I don't want to beat a dead horse over and over and over but that is what this issue is. Small sample size insight. In the same token that JBJ looks like an all star outfielder right now, given the data we have to work with for him. He may well end up an all star outfielder or he may be the second coming of Eric Hinske for all we know. The math does not give us definitive data. There are statistical axioms we just cannot wish away. Yeah, I do respect the guys who can really do the math. I personally cannot do all of it but I have definitely seen the benefits of people who can really do the math in my life. There is a huge difference between the top 1% in math and the top 20% and if people are not aware of that, after repeated explanations, then what else is there to say?

I get into discussions sometimes with people sending me conservative email after conservative email and sometimes I politely tell them that it's ok to be conservative but do you have to spread lies on a daily basis? Is it not relevant for such emails to actually be true? If the analysis is just flat out incorrect then don't spread it. Period.

Sometimes what appears to be true just isn't supported by the facts? For example, who doesn't respect Tek? At the same time, have we not all seen people in life who  have gotten more accolades than they deserved because of the effort they put in? Because of their personal integrity. As quality people even more than their performance as baseball players.

I have TREMENDOUS respect for the personal integrity of Chuck Hagel. Stand up guy to the max. War hero. Honest...etc...but even I have some doubts about his ability to run a huge organization like the defense department. In the same manner, Tek was a really good catcher for several years but was he the primary reason we won 2 WS? Probably not.

Would I rather have Yadier Molina during those years, rather than Tek? I'm pretty sure that's a given. Or even Miguell Montero but he gets nowhere near the respect of Tek. Sometimes just being part of a winning team gets you a ton of respect. The same can be true of guys catching a good group of pitchers. And there are tons of variables even between 2 catchers on the same team. Variables beyond the control of the catchers involved. Too many to be statistically relevant without huge data samples and even those are fraught with potentially huge statistical skewing errors. Was there a starting catcher and a back up catcher situation where the starter plays against the better teams? Was the pitcher injured for even one start if it involves 8 runs given up for example as that alone can make a huge difference. Does one guy get stuck with Wakefield only because he is willing to do it? Do some pitchers just like one guy over another interpersonally? Does one catcher just get lucky and catch a pitcher when he is hot and the other guy catch him when he is slumping? There just are a lot of variables, which are often completely beyond the catchers control.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

Does Iggy start the season...and just never come out?

Did Farrell and Nieves believe they could resurrect this staff--and thus no off season     persuit of starters?

Does JBJ start the season...and just never come out?

When do we start feeling about Papi the way we felt about Lowell in his last year or Catfish Hunter the last year he pitched?

Since we now have Aceves skill set well covered, is there any reason to want him to stay on the team?

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to moonslav59's comment:

In response to jidgef's comment:

Moon today his fastball was sitting at 93-94, his cutter at 88-90, and his breaking pitches at 80-82. That's if you can believe the board at Jet Blue. But his location was outstanding, only going to 3 balls on two hitters out of eighteen. For some perspective, Hanrahan was 96 on the fb and 84 on the slider. Cobb topped out at 90 and his off-speed stuff was around 78-80.

Maybe I shouldn't worry so much about Lester's loss of velocity. The guy can pitch. He was one guy I really had some doubts over this winter. I'm feeling better about him now. Now, if Buch can keep his back in check, Lackey return to form, Dempster and Doubront keep us in the games, maybe just maybe...

I can't bring myself to say it!

LOL!

Do I detect a hint of optimism there Moon ;)

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like they just wandered into a math class?

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to moonslav59's comment:

In response to RedSoxKimmi's comment:

In response to pumpsie-green's comment:

Here is one good quote from the article. It says what I have been saying all along: that there is no current methodology to measure how good a game a catch calls and that this represents a significant portion of his CERA. Not all of it, I realize, since you can measure how many pitches a catcher pulls back into the strike zone and how many balls he blocks from becoming passed balls and how many base stealers he throws out (though this data set is frequently due to the pitcher and not the catcher). There are some other links that I looked at that are very complicated but failed to convince me that you can measure the ability of any catcher to call a good game and hence reduces the value of CERA as a valuable measure for catchers. If you only have an understanding of 50% of someone's performance, as the article you cited implies, how can you really claim you understand the performance of a player? It would be like evaluating you on your job taking into account only 50% of what you do. Is it totally useless? No. But pretty close to it. I would have hated to have my raises determined by an evaluation of half of what I did if it was the bad half.

Here is the relevant take home message IMO:

We've made great strides with the last few years of PitchFX data and now have a basic understanding of the effects of pitch blocking and framing. Measuring game calling is probably the last big unknown, at least when it comes to the game on the field. To me, game calling will be the biggest single aspect of catcher defense, and also the hardest to isolate. Without it, we're probably 50-60% of the way to understanding.

As with any other stat, you can't get a complete picture of a player's performance by just looking at the one stat. CERA is no different.   That doesn't mean it should be disregarded.  If used in the right context, along with other stats and the results of these studies, you can get a very good idea of a catcher's impact on a pitcher.

The fact that the stat geeks are 50-60% of the way to understanding doesn't mean that what they have quantified isn't accurate.   It will be refined and tweaked, but the overall picture will likely remain the same.  I've read the same thing about defensive assessments in general, that the saber geeks are about 60% of the way to completely understanding defensive contributions.

This hasn't stopped them from using said stats in their assessments of players.  It also hasn't stopped just about every MLB team from employing these very same saber guys to interpret these very same stats to make assessments for them.

FWIW, I have also read that the saber community is only about 80% (IIRC) of the way to completely understanding the offensive contributions of players.  Again, it doesn't mean that the stats they have are inaccurate or that they have should be disregarded.

Well put, and I am pretty sure that smart management teams are not waiting for the proper expalnation as to why most pitchers do better with one catcher over another. If they do, they realize it and begin to make moves to maximize those gains.

The Angels clearly value the CERA related are of a catcher's game. They started Mathis over the much better hitter, Napoli more often than not. The team record when Mathis started was way better than when Napoli caught, even though mathis was one of the worst hitters in MLB during his tears with the Angels, and Napoli was one of the best hitting catchers of that time. (Another point in the argument of defense over offense at certain important positions.)

I know wins and losses are team stats, and crediting or blaming a win or loss on a catcher is heading into very speculative areas, but take a look at these numbers when Jeff Mathis was the Angel catcher vs when he was not:

w/Mathis  w/others  (Mathis OPS/Team catcher OPS incl Mathis)

2007  34-18    60-50  (.627/.672)

2008  58-32    42-30  (.593/.755) Napoli .971

2009  46-32    51-33  (.569/.725) Napoli .817

2010  29-33    51- 49  (.497/.667) Naps .801

2011  45-34    41-42  (.484/.555) Conger .656/Wilson .546

Look at the massive offensive disparity between Mathis and Napoli, and yet the team won more with Mathis. Can't say why, so let's ignore the numbers right?

The wins and losses are even more astounding between VTek and the other Sox catchers over the years, even the years where VTek was the worse offensive catcher:

These are the numbers after VTek's offense went south.

w/VTek  w/others (VTek's OPS/Team catcher OPS including VTek's)

2008  73-47    22-20   (.672/.650) Cash .620

2009  61-45    34-22  (.703/.750)  VMart .907

2010  18-9      71-64  (.766/.793)  VMart .884

2011  42-22    48-50  (.723/.737) Salty .741/Lava .833

Total  194-126  175-156

Now you can see why I value catcher defense and CERA-related areas of a catcher's game. I have also done studies on opponent's OPS with each catcher- very similar results as CERA.

Even if you take away Beckett's 20-10 team record in his starts in 2011 from VTek, the team still went 22-12 when Vtek was the catcher. This is much better than 48-50 with other catchers with pitchers not named Beckett.

I know this will upset some Yankee fans, but Posada's CERA numbers were usually worse than his back-up, and sure enough, even though he outhit his back-up by a ton, his winning percentage was lower than his back-ups'. I don't have the numbers, but harness did the legwork, and I trust his data like I trust my own above.

Teams win with good game callers. They can win much more, even if the other catcher is a way better hitter. Just because it can not be quantified with specific data, does not mean the catcher behind the plate doesn't have a large influence on how ell the pitcher does and hence how well the team does.

This one line says it all. There are so many things that stats cant tell when it comes to caters and their influence on their pitchers and teams.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to Critter23's comment:

Does Iggy start the season...and just never come out?

Did Farrell and Nieves believe they could resurrect this staff--and thus no off season     persuit of starters?

Does JBJ start the season...and just never come out?

When do we start feeling about Papi the way we felt about Lowell in his last year or Catfish Hunter the last year he pitched?

Since we now have Aceves skill set well covered, is there any reason to want him to stay on the team?

Hey critter,

I think Iggy starts the season as its getting to the point where Drew will need more AB's before hes in game shape.

I think they felt what I did. We have 2 young pitchers (Lester and Buch) that have TOTR stuff and believed in them. I liked the Dempster more, probably being in the minority on that one.

JBJ can start the season in Boston and as long as he is sent back down for at least 20 games his service time will not be affected. So I say theres a very good chance due to our lack of LHH because of papi and Drew injuries.

Its a tough call on papi. The MRI says the achillies is Ok, which is good. The swelling of the heels is an after effect of the injury, lack of use and probably age/wear and tear. I would wait and see how this year goes to get a better overall picture.

With Morales hurt and probably out for a while, Aceves is our spot starter unless they think Wright, Mortensen or someone else can do it. Webster and RDLR will start in AAA. If they can package him up and get something in return, I would seriouslt consider moving him.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to carnie's comment:

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like they just wandered into a math class?

Lol, yeah it does. Im just trying to keep up...

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to pumpsie-green's comment:

VTek had a poor throwing record, one of the most over-used defensive catcher stat know to baseball, and yet teams scored less when he was the catcher. It didn't matter who was pitching, the results were nearly all the same. year after year after year. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to accept that Vtek was influencing the results, even if in some unkown way. I don't need to know the exact reason of the influence: it could be voodoo for all I care, but to me the facts are undeniable. VTek made a huge difference to the pitchers he caught, and they will all tell you the same thing. That's enough for me.

You know what: it looks the same way to me. I just don't know how to measure his effect objectively and put a number on it. Thats what I am saying. You can look at your data and watch him play, but you still cannot accurately put a number on his performance and compare it in a meaningful way to any other catcher by using CERA. CERA is simply not objective enough for me....or for Bill James.

Not for comparing a catcher from team A with a catcher from team B, no. And, since that is how we are used to using stats, it's hard for someone to see the value in comparing one catcher from a team with the catcher from the same team. The limitations make some feel like the stats are near useless, but they do provide valuable data. The data can show if a catcher is improving as compared to his own earlier data or as compared to his team mate.

When people start using the data incorrectly, then guys like Bill James speak out.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to jidgef's comment:

It's as simple as this...Tek's pitchers TRUSTED him to always call the right pitch in the right spot. If a pitcher and catcher believe in each other, better pitches are executed. One of the strongest pieces of evidence of this was when Schilling lost his no-no on the last out of the game after he shook Tek off.

Certainly "trust", familiarity, and comfort plays into it, and part of that trust was based on former success following VTek's advice and suggested pitch calls. Everyone knew he did his homework on the hitters. He took a burden off the pitcher's mind, and helped them concentrate on one less thing during a game. There's no stat for that, except to see the success of the pitchers when caught by VTek vs those games caught with someone else.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to RedsoxProspects's comment:

Statistics experts have said that the amount of data is insufficient to even quantify a noticeable difference in a CERA on a statistically relevant basis. I don't want to beat a dead horse over and over and over but that is what this issue is. Small sample size insight. In the same token that JBJ looks like an all star outfielder right now, given the data we have to work with for him. He may well end up an all star outfielder or he may be the second coming of Eric Hinske for all we know. The math does not give us definitive data. There are statistical axioms we just cannot wish away. Yeah, I do respect the guys who can really do the math. I personally cannot do all of it but I have definitely seen the benefits of people who can really do the math in my life. There is a huge difference between the top 1% in math and the top 20% and if people are not aware of that, after repeated explanations, then what else is there to say?

I get into discussions sometimes with people sending me conservative email after conservative email and sometimes I politely tell them that it's ok to be conservative but do you have to spread lies on a daily basis? Is it not relevant for such emails to actually be true? If the analysis is just flat out incorrect then don't spread it. Period.

Sometimes what appears to be true just isn't supported by the facts? For example, who doesn't respect Tek? At the same time, have we not all seen people in life who  have gotten more accolades than they deserved because of the effort they put in? Because of their personal integrity. As quality people even more than their performance as baseball players.

I have TREMENDOUS respect for the personal integrity of Chuck Hagel. Stand up guy to the max. War hero. Honest...etc...but even I have some doubts about his ability to run a huge organization like the defense department. In the same manner, Tek was a really good catcher for several years but was he the primary reason we won 2 WS? Probably not.

Would I rather have Yadier Molina during those years, rather than Tek? I'm pretty sure that's a given. Or even Miguell Montero but he gets nowhere near the respect of Tek. Sometimes just being part of a winning team gets you a ton of respect. The same can be true of guys catching a good group of pitchers. And there are tons of variables even between 2 catchers on the same team. Variables beyond the control of the catchers involved. Too many to be statistically relevant without huge data samples and even those are fraught with potentially huge statistical skewing errors. Was there a starting catcher and a back up catcher situation where the starter plays against the better teams? Was the pitcher injured for even one start if it involves 8 runs given up for example as that alone can make a huge difference. Does one guy get stuck with Wakefield only because he is willing to do it? Do some pitchers just like one guy over another interpersonally? Does one catcher just get lucky and catch a pitcher when he is hot and the other guy catch him when he is slumping? There just are a lot of variables, which are often completely beyond the catchers control.

There is ample evidence to compare some catchers to another on the same team and make a definitive judgement about who gets more from the individual pitchers. The small sample sizes add up and do become significant when you see that year after year they almost always come to the same result: VTek got better results from the same pitchers than the other Sox catcher.

I truly believe we do not win the WS in 2004 or 2007 with an average CERA-related catcher behind the plate (not to mention VTek at bat). Sure, we might have won with Yadier or others, but VTek was a big part of those 2 wins.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

Iglesias probably does start the year with the big club but we are probably looking at a .240 average or so. It may even be optimistic to project that at this point. i think over time he could well improve a lot because he has excellent intangibles in my view and his fundamentals do not look that bad. Of course, we don't know what he will do but my best guess is that he will get significant PT this year in some capacity.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

http://blogs.providencejournal.com/sports/red-sox/2013/03/freeze-frame-saltalamacchia-ross-two-of-the-games-best-at-stealing-strikes.html

Both Saltalamacchia and Ross placed in the game's top 10, each saving 10 runs per 120 games played.

Ol' Harness would like this one.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to RedsoxProspects' comment:

Iglesias probably does start the year with the big club but we are probably looking at a .240 average or so. It may even be optimistic to project that at this point. i think over time he could well improve a lot because he has excellent intangibles in my view and his fundamentals do not look that bad. Of course, we don't know what he will do but my best guess is that he will get significant PT this year in some capacity.

If he is the fielder he looks to be, I'd be OK with a .220 BA.

I can't wait to see all the bashers come out of the woodwork the second he makes an error.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to tom-uk's comment:

http://blogs.providencejournal.com/sports/red-sox/2013/03/freeze-frame-saltalamacchia-ross-two-of-the-games-best-at-stealing-strikes.html

Both Saltalamacchia and Ross placed in the game's top 10, each saving 10 runs per 120 games played.

Ol' Harness would like this one.

Some posters only want to look at CS% and PBs and OBP to judge a catcher's value. So much goes into the total package of being a catcher (and some areas are hard to quantify with numbers) that choosing just a few to judge by is short-sighted.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to tom-uk's comment:

http://blogs.providencejournal.com/sports/red-sox/2013/03/freeze-frame-saltalamacchia-ross-two-of-the-games-best-at-stealing-strikes.html

Both Saltalamacchia and Ross placed in the game's top 10, each saving 10 runs per 120 games played.

Ol' Harness would like this one.

Good post tom...There is so much more to being a catcher that even stats cant provide, but this is just more info to help Salty's case as an improving catcher and not the "butcher" behind the plate that some seem to think he is.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to southpaw777's comment:

In response to tom-uk's comment:

http://blogs.providencejournal.com/sports/red-sox/2013/03/freeze-frame-saltalamacchia-ross-two-of-the-games-best-at-stealing-strikes.html

Both Saltalamacchia and Ross placed in the game's top 10, each saving 10 runs per 120 games played.

Ol' Harness would like this one.

Good post tom...There is so much more to being a catcher that even stats cant provide, but this is just more info to help Salty's case as an improving catcher and not the "butcher" behind the plate that some seem to think he is.

After softy watched VTek lead the league in passed balls for 2 straight years, he probably thought he was a "butcher" too.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

Tonight's report from the fort...

Stayed for all nine today, especially after a Pawtucket-fueled six-run eighth, only to have one of our scrubs from last year (Valencia?) homer in the ninth off of Doyle. We got fifteen hits, but couldn't put anything together until the eighth. Some highlights and lowlights...

Dempster gave up three in the third on four straight loud hits, including a leadoff homer, to start the inning. He settled right down and only allowed three runs, and pitched four other very strong innings, five total. Except for that one lapse when every pitch seemed to be right down the middle, he was efficient and kept an 88 mph fastball down in the zone. Even in the bad inning he got out of trouble with minimum damage ( the inning started homer, double, double, single if I remember correctly and the final run scored because a bleeder was hit too softly to turn two.). It's refreshing to watch a guy catch the ball from his catcher and immediately be ready to pitch again, and pound the strike zone!

Ells looks like he's got a stopwatch on him, only allowed so many seconds per at bat before he hits his weak grounder to second. I think he saw four pitches today in three at bats.

Victorino doubled in the first and scored their first run; it's the hardest he's hit the ball all spring.

Middlebrooks is hitting the ball very hard and seems poised for a big RBI season.

Tazawa had a great inning, but Bard may well have punched his ticket to Pawtucket allowing three runs on a couple rockets and his usual walk and hit batsman. He also threw in a balk, the first time I've seen the lame old fake to third play this spring. Danny boy mustn't have gotten that memo.

The fourth outfielder/fifth outfielder back up first baseman conundrum is still a mess. Sweeney started at dh today and got a hit and both Carp and Nava had hits in the six-run eighth. I was talking to a guy who claims to be buddies with Nick Cafardo and he says Carp and Sweeney stay and Nava and Bradley get farmed. It makes some sense because of the options, but not in terms of bringing the best 25 north. That would also make Overbay the odd man out. From what I've seen, the backup firstbase job is not going to be as crucial as they feared as Napoli seems very comfortable there and is making all the plays.

Next home game is Thursday night...

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

Jid, I realy enjoy your reports.  Feel you have a lot of insight on the players, more than I get from reading the Globe.  For example, the last few days you've really seemed to capture where Ells is right now at the plate, how the pitchers are doing, etc.  Thanks...

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

Jid, great report.

When I read about all the tough choices we have coming up, I keep going back to the point I made last November: we should make a 2 or 3 for 1 deal before we end up losing some decent talent to the DFA. I guess we can play the phantom DL game.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

Moon, unless we start dealing prospects, the guys competing for these last few jobs are all either on minor league contracts or will fetch very little in a trade. And a few of these guys, like Overbay, Carp, Sweeney are not likely to take a demotion to AAA, more likely to become free agents and go somewhere else. We are also faced with the dilemma of what to do for April 1st then what to do when Drew and Papi are ready. Not sure I'd want to be making those calls, but there are others getting paid to do just that. What I would do is keep the kids (Bradley and Iggy), the heck with the free-agent clock. I know Iggy is not subject to that issue. But the only way to keep them is to play them.

What was our biggest problem last year? Pitching! You want to fix the pitching? The pitchers are already throwing great, adopting what Farrell and Nieves are preaching. The only missing link is making our up-the-middle defense spectacular, and with Pedroia and Iggy we would have the best middle infield defense in baseball, Add in an outfield of Victorino, Ellsbury and Bradley and you probably back up the best middle infield with the best outfield. Want to talk CERA, how about DERA? Defensive earned run average. Pitchers want to throw strikes when they know that balls put in play are going to be handled.

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Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II

In response to jcri's comment:

Jid, I realy enjoy your reports.  Feel you have a lot of insight on the players, more than I get from reading the Globe.  For example, the last few days you've really seemed to capture where Ells is right now at the plate, how the pitchers are doing, etc.  Thanks...

Where Ells is at the plate is acting as if he doesn't want to be there. I'm sure it has more to do with spring training already being more than a month old and he probably just wants it to end and the meaningful games to begin, but man he's not getting it done right now.

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