It's the starting pitching,stupid.

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from dgalehouse. Show dgalehouse's posts

    It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    In a collapse of this magnitude , everything becomes scrutinized and magnified. Every at bat , fielding play , bullpen move , manager's strategy, umpiring call , baserunning , runners left on base , etc. , etc. , etc.  But , when all is said and done , it always comes back to starting pitching. I have said it all year , starting pitching is the single most important component of a championship team. That is not exactly a controversial statement.  The Sox starting pitching has been just plain awful. Some of the ERAs are an embarrassment. Even the two supposed aces have failed miserably when the chips were down. Just blaming the injuries to DiceK and Buchholz for this disaster will not cut it. There will always be injuries. Going into next year , improving the rotation has got to be the main focus, whether through the farm system , trades , free agency , or internal moves such as moving Aceves and/or Bard into a starting role , then rebuilding the pen.  You will not win a championship without greatly improved starting pitching.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from cpjohn1. Show cpjohn1's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    We don't have an ace anymore.  Beckett has been inconsistent his whole time with the Sox. One year he's good, the next he's not.  Lester was never an ace, imo... he chokes too much for my liking.  And they miss Buccholz real bad.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Mt200. Show Mt200's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    Yes the pitching is awful. They let teams steal at will. Beckett is a turtle if anyone gets on.

    Buchholz only pitch 100+ inning in the majors ONCE since 2007. ONCE! Does anyone thinks he's going to be a 200+ inning horse? I don't.

    Lackey is toast.

    Dice-K is done here.

    Lester let them down in crucial games. His control is awful this year.

    And to think what's to come next year makes me nauses.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from 1958lesspaul. Show 1958lesspaul's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    Its failure to score runs early, mental mistakes, mailing it in on field effort and basepaths and poor pitching.

    Take a look at starting pithing budget, Beckett and Lester will end up with year long rock solid numbers. Try another lame excuse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from jesseyeric. Show jesseyeric's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    Not one Sox pitcher will have 200 IP this year. The Sox rotation as a whole failed in September. But les paul is correct regarding runs and when they are scored.

    This is a total team effort. Two games left - you never know.

    Yanks/Sox - ALCS for 2011 - Just do it!
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from dgalehouse. Show dgalehouse's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    In Response to Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.:
    Its failure to score runs early, mental mistakes, mailing it in on field effort and basepaths and pour pitching. Take a look at starting pithing budget, Beckett and Lester will end up with year long rock solid numbers. Try another lame excuse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Posted by 1958lesspaul

    Maybe you are just trying to do some damage control for your favorites. That is understandable, but just look at the stats. The starting pitching has been brutally bad during this collapse.  Has nothing to do with budget or rock solid numbers. In the stretch , Lester and Beckett have choked. No matter how much you may like them , that is a fact.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from LloydDobler. Show LloydDobler's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    Gale, you're right on. I've seen at least two threads that suggested we'd be in such better shape had we kept Martinez and Beltre. But as far as I know, neither of them can pitch, so we'd be in the same mess we're in now.

    Hell, we should have kept Bill Hall, he of the career 0.00 ERA.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from DirtyWaterLover. Show DirtyWaterLover's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    I don't think it was just the starting pitching.  The should take most of the weight, but the BP picked some inopportune moments to have a few hiccups.  Bard had 3 blown saves this month and Pap had one.  But the SP is responsible for this mess.

    Anyone care to bet that the Sox will be in the market for a new pitching coach?
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from OnDeckCircle. Show OnDeckCircle's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    I've come to the conclusion that Curt Young is nothing more than a cardboard cutout that's placed in the Sox dugout before the start of games.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from fivekatz. Show fivekatz's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    You are correct Dgale! 7.18 ERA in the last 14 games. The math says you don't win when that happens. Nobody builds an offense to score 8 runs a game. It doesn't happen.

    Now I do happen to think that losing Dice-K and Buch combined with an epic bad year from Lackey was their undoing. It was a matter of time and the tipping point where the season spun out of control was Bedard's knee and lat injury followed the next day by Beckett's ankle injury. Beckett hasn't been the same since and the rotation after Lester was exposed, being Lackey, Miller, wake and Weiland.

    At that point hitters were trying to hit 5 run home runs, fielders make unassisted triple plays and the bullpen got worked into the ground.

    The blood lust will staggering given the expectations for this team but few if any FO's can compensate for that level of injury and no field manager could manage through it.

    It was the starting pitching! And even if the RS could have limped through September and won 4 or 5 more games to avoid "collapse" does anybody think Beckett-Lester-Lackey and Bedard were taking Boston all the way to a WS title?

    And for the majority of the whiners here, even if the RS got to WS there would have been a ton of whining when the RS fell to the NL champs.

    Take it on the chin I say and move on. Now each of will find out if we are real RS fans like the folks that came back every spring with hope for all those years or if we are just another bunch of front runners.

    Just my take.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    In Response to Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.:
    You are correct Dgale! 7.18 ERA in the last 14 games. The math says you don't win when that happens. Nobody builds an offense to score 8 runs a game. It doesn't happen. Now I do happen to think that losing Dice-K and Buch combined with an epic bad year from Lackey was their undoing. It was a matter of time and the tipping point where the season spun out of control was Bedard's knee and lat injury followed the next day by Beckett's ankle injury. Beckett hasn't been the same since and the rotation after Lester was exposed, being Lackey, Miller, wake and Weiland. At that point hitters were trying to hit 5 run home runs, fielders make unassisted triple plays and the bullpen got worked into the ground. The blood lust will staggering given the expectations for this team but few if any FO's can compensate for that level of injury and no field manager could manage through it. It was the starting pitching! And even if the RS could have limped through September and won 4 or 5 more games to avoid "collapse" does anybody think Beckett-Lester-Lackey and Bedard were taking Boston all the way to a WS title? And for the majority of the whiners here, even if the RS got to WS there would have been a ton of whining when the RS fell to the NL champs. Take it on the chin I say and move on. Now each of will find out if we are real RS fans like the folks that came back every spring with hope for all those years or if we are just another bunch of front runners. Just my take.
    Posted by fivekatz
    Good sense spoken here.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    Not one Sox pitcher will have 200 IP this year. The Sox rotation as a whole failed in September...

    Our healthy starters were babied and pampered and conditioned to only go 5 or 6.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from jesseyeric. Show jesseyeric's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    In Response to Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.:
    Not one Sox pitcher will have 200 IP this year. The Sox rotation as a whole failed in September... Our healthy starters were babied and pampered and conditioned to only go 5 or 6.
    Posted by moonslav59


    Do you believe this thinking should change? It certainly has not stopped the merry go-round to the DL list.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    Lester was never an ace, imo... he chokes too much for my liking. 

    Lester reg season: 3.54 1.289
    Lester in Playoffs:  2.57  1.119
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from fivekatz. Show fivekatz's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    In Response to Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.:
    Not one Sox pitcher will have 200 IP this year. The Sox rotation as a whole failed in September... Our healthy starters were babied and pampered and conditioned to only go 5 or 6.
    Posted by moonslav59
    I am surprised you say that. Moon you are somebody I look to to do deep game log research and such to prove or disapprove anecdotal observation. I sadly have neither the skill nor the time to do it.

    But here are my anecdotal observations. If anything when game conditions warranted it, Francona actual let his starters expand beyond 100 pitches more often that in many years prior. But too oftenhis pitchers had their pitch count swell early and/or got hammered in 4-5 IP.

    Francona by nature is most comfortable with long starts in terms of innings and short bullpen rotation that leans heavily of a few key guys. 2004 was all about getting 7 IP from the starter and going 2-3 or three relievers max. 2007 was similar, with 2 relievers getting leaned on, Oki and Pap.

    What changed was the guys were inefficient this year and too many of the starters just bad in too many starts. Maybe Harness was right about Young after all. But lost in all that somewhere is the fact that no matter how great a pitching coach is, you can polish a turd, but it is still a turd.

    Lackey stunk. Miller never has had control. Nobody including Wake really knows any mechanical secrets to the knuckleball. Weiland wasn't ready for prime time. Doubront's season of development was derailed by injury in AAA. Buch's back injury a freak and Dice K an all too common tale of a 30+ year old with high innings in his life finally paying for years of elbow stress.

    But I don't get the babied based on what I have seen. I think Lester, Beckett and Lackey for that matter all had near or career high single total pitch count starts this year at some point (120-130 range). In an ideal world Francona's comfort zone has always been long starts - short pen.

    Just my take
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from 1958lesspaul. Show 1958lesspaul's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    Few understand how scoring early and opportune times changes starter performance. Katz and his anectdotal starting pitching September numbers certainly does not. two or 3 blowouts will skew the numbers for that short a time. The pampering starters is not new on IP per game average.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from harness. Show harness's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    In Response to Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.:
    In Response to Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid. : I am surprised you say that. Moon you are somebody I look to to do deep game log research and such to prove or disapprove anecdotal observation. I sadly have neither the skill nor the time to do it. But here are my anecdotal observations. If anything when game conditions warranted it, Francona actual let his starters expand beyond 100 pitches more often that in many years prior. But too oftenhis pitchers had their pitch count swell early and/or got hammered in 4-5 IP. Francona by nature is most comfortable with long starts in terms of innings and short bullpen rotation that leans heavily of a few key guys. 2004 was all about getting 7 IP from the starter and going 2-3 or three relievers max. 2007 was similar, with 2 relievers getting leaned on, Oki and Pap. What changed was the guys were inefficient this year and too many of the starters just bad in too many starts. Maybe Harness was right about Young after all. But lost in all that somewhere is the fact that no matter how great a pitching coach is, you can polish a turd, but it is still a turd. Lackey stunk. Miller never has had control. Nobody including Wake really knows any mechanical secrets to the knuckleball. Weiland wasn't ready for prime time. Doubront's season of development was derailed by injury in AAA. Buch's back injury a freak and Dice K an all too common tale of a 30+ year old with high innings in his life finally paying for years of elbow stress. But I don't get the babied based on what I have seen. I think Lester, Beckett and Lackey for that matter all had near or career high single total pitch count starts this year at some point (120-130 range). In an ideal world Francona's comfort zone has always been long starts - short pen. Just my take
    Posted by fivekatz


    I have to agree with you in that I never bought into the pampering thing.
    It's more about pitch inefficiency. This is due to erratic form, which is due to inconsistent mechanics.

    I do find it alarming that the velocity with key personal went south this year. The diff between throwing 96 as opposed to 92-93 is huge. And it generally means more pitches are thrown and fouled off as compared to putting hitters away.

    Tito IMO has a good understanding of when pitchers have had it. And it's not just about pitch count. The parallel between the two is generally a good indicator, but not always. Tito has walked a fine line between an over-worked pen and a staff undermined by injuries and inefficiency. If he pushed starters beyond their capacity, we'd have likely seen more injuries and more blow-ups.

    Where I disagree with you is in the area of expectation regarding a healthy trio of Beckett/Lester/Bedard. Not saying they would have taken Philly, but I do think we would have been a force. I also believe Bedard, Beckett and Lackey were not near 100% healthy...and their performances echoed it.

    That's my take.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    In Response to Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.:
    In Response to Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid. : Do you believe this thinking should change? It certainly has not stopped the merry go-round to the DL list.
    Posted by jesseyeric


    Yes, I do, and it hasn't helped our top guys be "stonger" at the end of the season by being rested all tear long.

    It might also help if we pick up a pitcher known for pitching 220+ innings consistently.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    I am surprised you say that. Moon you are somebody I look to to do deep game log research and such to prove or disapprove anecdotal observation. I sadly have neither the skill nor the time to do it.

    But here are my anecdotal observations. If anything when game conditions warranted it, Francona actual let his starters expand beyond 100 pitches more often that in many years prior. But too oftenhis pitchers had their pitch count swell early and/or got hammered in 4-5 IP.

    I think 115-120 pitches is not too much, especially in big games. If you look at the game logs and pitch counts, our srtarters longest outtings were vs non-contending teams.

    Do Beckett and Lester look fresh now?

    Francona by nature is most comfortable with long starts in terms of innings and short bullpen rotation that leans heavily of a few key guys. 2004 was all about getting 7 IP from the starter and going 2-3 or three relievers max. 2007 was similar, with 2 relievers getting leaned on, Oki and Pap.

    What changed was the guys were inefficient this year and too many of the starters just bad in too many starts. Maybe Harness was right about Young after all. But lost in all that somewhere is the fact that no matter how great a pitching coach is, you can polish a turd, but it is still a turd.

    Lester's not a "turd", yet his velocity is down.
    Lackey was maybe a "turd", but now he is diahreia.
    Becket had a great year, but broke down.
    Dice-K and Buch's injuries certainl played a big role, but to me their injuries meant guys like Beckett and Lester should have been given a slightly larger workload to allow for better pen use with the 3-9 starters. Instead, Wake rarely got Bard and Papelbon available for hsi starts, as with other starters as well.
    Bedard was a good gamble pick-up, but we needed 2 guys not one.

    Lackey stunk. Miller never has had control. Nobody including Wake really knows any mechanical secrets to the knuckleball. Weiland wasn't ready for prime time. Doubront's season of development was derailed by injury in AAA. Buch's back injury a freak and Dice K an all too common tale of a 30+ year old with high innings in his life finally paying for years of elbow stress.

    But I don't get the babied based on what I have seen. I think Lester, Beckett and Lackey for that matter all had near or career high single total pitch count starts this year at some point (120-130 range). In an ideal world Francona's comfort zone has always been long starts - short pen

    Beckett had 125 pitches once in April vs LAA. He had 118 vs SEA in July. Other than that, he's never gone over 111. Never once in a needed game.

    Lester had 127 pitches vs the CWS late May, 120 @ PHI late June and 119 @MN mid Aug. He's had a few others in the 112-114 area, but hardly any vs NYY or TB.

    Lackey's top game was 118 vs Tor and 115 vs NYY. His starts were often limited by his poor performance.

    I see this as not effectively using our starters. If we are going to rest them all year long, then they should be expected to and able to carry a heavier load at the end of the season. They have not.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from Teakus. Show Teakus's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    It is absolutely all about the starting pitching, and what poor starters do to a bullpen over a year. It all goes back to Theo's abysmal decision to pursue John Shelackey over Roy Halladay IMO. For a measly $2 million bucks we could have had a proven workhorse starter who is a STUD. Instead he rolled his silly little gambling dice, digested some sillier "Moneyball" pseudostats, and jumped on a mediocre player. It's not Theo's fault Shelackey is a 7 ERA guy this year, I think he must be hurt or something to perform this poorly, but he IS a 4.5ish guy who's nothing to write home about. To give him the contract Theo did was an absolute crime! I don't blame him for Dice K being a nut job...who coulda known? Same for Lugo...guy was probably a roid boy and we just couldn't have known that. But Lackey?! PULEEEEEEZE!!! Theo's worst move ever, and so bad it should cost him his job IMO. Along with his frozen deer in the headlights response as this years team imploded, I can't help but marvel at Henry's failure to act. It's one thing to blow our post season chances when little was invested in going all the way. But when the ownership group stepped up this season the way it did, they should be furious at Theo's failure to manage things correctly. Performance matters.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from fivekatz. Show fivekatz's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    I guess the real question is are the RS starters really being "rested". We can only go by Beckett and Lester this year because the rest of the guys have unique circumstance that limited a lot of their starts (getting bombed early, being stretched out)...

    So I wonder how the average pitch count per start compares to other starting pitchers not named Halliday or Lee who get a lot of under 100 pitch complete games?

    As far Bard and Papelbon I certainly think we would have seen that pair "split" more with Bard closing more of Paps days off and Bard taking days off and another pitcher steping in for the set-up if injuries hadn't befallen Wheeler, Jenks and Hill. I might have even gravitated to Aceves if he wasn't being held to give the RS multgiple innings to cover often early departures of Lackey, Miller, Weiland and Wake.

    When it comes to Beckett and Lester I think their lousy September starts are disconnected misfortune. Beckett really hasn't been the same coming back from the ankle injury. Lester had a good year but it wasn't what people expected.

    The other thing to beware of is getting what we want. Now lots of folks complain about the number of days off Terry tries to give position players in a season. He did not do that with Adrian Gonzalez and by September A-Gon has been visibly gassed.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from royf19. Show royf19's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    In Response to Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.:
    In Response to Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid. : Maybe you are just trying to do some damage control for your favorites. That is understandable, but just look at the stats. The starting pitching has been brutally bad during this collapse.  Has nothing to do with budget or rock solid numbers. In the stretch , Lester and Beckett have choked. No matter how much you may like them , that is a fact.
    Posted by dgalehouse


    Great original post. I've been saying the same ting.

    Softy's posts are getting lamer. The inability to score early? Are you kidding? The Sox are consistently falling behind big in the first or second inning..

    Beckett and Lester were very good and consistent through August, but both blew up in September. They're elite pitchers who are supposed to keep their team in games regardless of run support. Beckett has had leads through five innings but coughed them up.

    The lousy pitching IMO has demoralized the team. It has put more pressure on the bats and IMO, it has led to some of the mental breakdowns in the field, although the guys I've seen make most of the bad plays have been the utility guys -- Aviles, Reddick, Lowrie -- although Crawford belongs in that category too.

    It's amazing how it's right there in black and white. 
    Team ERA through August:3.87.
    Team ERA in September: 5.90 (give or take).

    Yet everyone is pulling out their pet whinings, trying to make them as the chief reasons for the collapse. Every time a pitcher goes out to the mound, we as fans are expecting them to blow up. And fans don't think the players are playing with that same fear of doom, expecting the pitchers to get rocked again. And then we wonder why the batters are pressing and the fielders aren't sharp.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from fivekatz. Show fivekatz's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    Curt Schilling can be a blow hard at moments but he is a very smart man. I forget what year he said it, but he rather famously said that who ever got the most starts out of their opening day starting 5 pitchers would win the division.

    Add up the number of starts we got from Lackey, Lester, Beckett, Buchholz and Dice K and I think you will see that applied again this year.

    Every team is flawed and the RS are too. In the harsh light of Boston and an epic collapse folks can find a long list of stuff that led to this collapse but none is as big as just how depleted the starting pitching was and how that cascaded through every facet of the team's performance IMO.

    The RS got 103 starts out of a projected projected 160 for that group. NYY 132, Tampa and amazing 147.

    The rest is white noise and some of that noise can or should be addressed this off season but nothing is as glaring as the lack of stability at starting pitching, compounded by how bad most of John Lackey's 28 starts were (28% OF ALL STARTS BY THE ORIGINAL 5).
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from BeaconHill19. Show BeaconHill19's posts

    Re: It's the starting pitching,stupid.

    Why a thread that states that the starting pitching in September has been terrible? Doesn't everyone know that? The question is how much of it can we assume will repeat itself over a whole season next year. Will Beckett and Lester have a poor 2012 because they had a bad September? Will Bucholz remain injured throughout 2012? Can Lackey turn things around? I really don't see the need for this thread?
     
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