Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes check in every Monday with his take on the Red Sox. Ask your question now, and come back next week to see if it was answered.
I know this isn't a "fundamentals" type team ex: bunting, hit and run, stealing bases etc. But why with a 2-0 count do you allow a batter like McCarty swing resulting in a very unproductive pop out? This was in the Red Sox game against the Yankees on 04/06. It's really frustrating to see a very patient, wait on the right pitch, make adjustment at bats Yankee team do all the right things at the plate and watch the Red Sox struggle at the plate, looking lost at times. I know it's only three games into the season but this happened quite a bit last year. (They did this a lot against Baltimore as well.) Is it better scouting on the part of the Yankees as well as other teams?
A: Angel, let's go straight to the numbers to prove that your basic premise -- the Yankees do all the right things at the plate, are much more patient, etc. -- is fiction. Last season, the Sox hitters saw 25,621 pitches; 9,896 were balls, 4,445 were taken for strikes, and there were 11,280 swings. The Sox had 620 unintentional walks, 1189 K's. The percentage of pitches they took: 56 percent.
The Yankees? They saw 24,160 pitches, 9,659 walks, 4,114 taken strikes, and 10,387 swings. They had 630 unintentional walks, 982 K's. Take percentage: 57 percent.
It appears to me the teams were roughly the same in their approach at the plate. And by the way, the Sox hit .422 with a 2-and-0 count, the Yankees .394. Short of 3-and-0, that's the best count to be swinging away.
Have you asked Johnny Damon if there is anything to the rumors (started from Live With Regis & Kelly Show) that he'd consider jumping to the Yankees at the end of this season?
A: Donna, what Johnny told me is he'd like a six-year deal, and one that goes for at least four years. I can promise you there's no way the Sox will go six years with JD, and doubtful, IMO, that they will offer four guaranteed. So I think he'll listen to any and all offers, including the Yanks, if they jump into it.
Hey Gordon, what do you make of Pedro Martinez's latest Sox-bashing comments? Is he just being prodded on by the New York media? Or do you think he genuinely dislikes the Red Sox now?
Craig, Conway, NH
A: Craig, I talked to Pedro last Monday in Cincinnati, and he did no Sox-bashing. And if you read his comments Sunday after he beat Atlanta, I thought he was pretty even-handed in congratulating the Sox, saying how much they deserved their ring day, and wishing them well. I think he feels burned that the Sox did not re-sign him, and will do everything in his power to show them that they made a mistake. I think he also has no love for Sox management, his pride having been bruised during negotiations. But in the end, I think he'll look back at his Sox years with fondness.
Is Nomar Garciaparra a Future Hall of Famer? In my opinion he is one of the best shortstops in the game. Please give your reasons for why he is a Future Hall of Famer or he is not.
A: Colin, I think Nomar has to have at least two or three more superior seasons before he can claim Hall of Fame status, but if he does that I think he's a lock for Cooperstown. Let's go to the numbers again. Here's where Nomar ranks all-time in batting average among shortstops with at least 3,500 plate appearances, and you can see he ranks behind only A-Rod in OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage. Pretty impressive, no?
NAME AVG OPS 1 Honus Wagner .327 .859 2 Hughie Jennings .324 .824 3 Joe Sewell .323 .831 4 Arky Vaughan .322 .876 5 Nomar Garciaparra .322 .919 6 Derek Jeter .315 .848 7 Luke Appling .310 .799 8 Alex Rodriguez .308 .963 9 Harvey Kuenn .306 .760 10 Joe Cronin .304 .863 11 Ed McKean .302 .781 12 Lou Boudreau .295 .795 13 Travis Jackson .295 .788 14 George Davis .295 .745 15 Barry Larkin .295 .815 16 Glenn Wright .295 .778 17 Jack Glasscock .294 .723 18 Red Kress .293 .777 19 Al Dark .292 .752 20 Ernie Banks .290 .905
Hey Gordo! Glad to be back in the season "defending" the title. In the Sunday night opener against the Yankees, Wells looked like he got Varitek's signs screwed up a few times. Considering Wells' outwardly cavalier attitude regarding preparation heading into the game, (1) does Boomer typically work well with his catchers, especially ones as
authoritative as JV, and (2) will Tek have any problems with #3 if he continues to show up to work without having done his homework (if that was really the case)?
Dave, Los Angeles
A: Dave, Wells obviously got messed up on the balk, but I've never heard him accused of failing to do his homework between starts. Mel Stottlemyre, the Yankees' pitching coach, was unhappy that Wells didn't throw more between starts, but that's different, of course, than mental preparation. So far, his poor performance has been physical, not mental, IMO.
What is your opinion of Johnny Damon's book, especially the insulting remarks against his first wife? I, and I think many fans are greatly surprised & disappointed in his unfeeling manner, too bad!
Sylvia, Naples, Fla.
A: Sylvia, I confess I've only read the excerpts, but I think JD exercised poor judgment going down that road -- there was nothing to be gained for him to do so, and the day will come when he may have to answer to his kids for being so insensitive to their mother, and for that matter, to them. I also think JD's co-author, Mr. Golenbock, had no qualms with taking Damon down that path, which is regrettable.
Hey Gordo, just checking in from the Southern Hemisphere. Still celebrating from last October. If you remember about 4 years ago when I first started writing to you, you once offered me a free ticket to the World Series if the Sox made it in the hope of bringing good luck. I think it worked out well anyway. I will miss the start of the year as I'm about to board a plane bound for Paris, London and Dublin, so with Curt out for a month it might be a bit scary anyway. My question is about center field. What is your take on next year. Do they bring back Johnny Damon or go with a stopgap (hey bring back Dave Roberts! I watch the game with that stolen base over and over) or see how Hanley Rameriz goes? looking forward to another year.
Gavin, Geelong, Australia
A: Gavin, doesn't do me any good now, mate, but I wished you'd reminded me of my offer way back when. You have a standing offer from me any time you're in the States for tix to a Sox game, and if they make it back to the Series, I'll make good. I'll drop you an e-mail how to get in touch with me personally.
As for your question, what do you think of Hanley Ramirez, CF, next season? Could happen, depending on how much Damon commands on the open market. Don't forget, Marlins CF Juan Pierre, who had 221 hits last season and will be 28 at the end of the season, also will be a free agent and could draw interest from the Sox. Pierre's only downside? His arm, like Damon's, is below average.
Gordon, what are your predictions for the upcoming season? Who do
you think will win each division in the AL and NL, as well as the wild
A: My preseason picks: AL East -- Yanks, Sox for wild card. AL Central -- Twins, AL West -- Angels. AL pennant -- I picked the Twins, though losing Carlos Silva for the season will hurt.
My NL picks were Atlanta in the East, Cubs in the Central, Padres in the West, with the Marlins my wild-card pick (with the Cards right there). I'm shaky on my Cubs pick, with the uncertainty of the health of Woods and Prior, and the injuries to Joe Borowski and Todd Walker, though Jerry Hairston Jr., should do a nice job filling in for Walker. I've got the Cubs beating the Twins in the World Series; I wouldn't take that to Vegas!
Hi Gordon -- I love this feature. My question is one that has driven me nuts for years. Why do MLB teams always have a day off after the opener? They play exhibition games right up to the season opener, have the hype and ceremony associated with the opener and then an off-day. The Sox did the same thing after the home opener. Seems like a momentum killer to me.
Tom, North Reading
A: Tom, simple explanation: Teams always schedule an off-day after the opener in case bad weather causes a postponement.
I've read about a lot possible position changes already for the future years mainly because of free agency. My concern is future pitching prospects as our staff appears to be aging with some well respected veterans pushing 40 or more. Will we have prospects in the farm clubs to fill this need or will free agency and hired guns fill this inevitable
Rob, Syracuse, NY
A: Rob, they may be a year or two away, but I think there are kids in the pipeline that could help, guys like Jon Papelbon and Jon Lester and Juan Cedeno and Manny Delcarmen and Abe Alvarez. They're coming!