Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Thoughts during sporadic Dish Network outages due to thunderstorms that interrupted the Sox broadcast on ESPN…

You can’t call Pedro stat-hungry – he could have thrown another dozen pitches or so and picked up a W, but he shut it down due to his pitch count.

Jason Varitek is as locked-in as I remember him since 1998 – and he hustles down to first as hard as anyone on the roster.

Despite the bullpen’s problems, I’m not broken-up about letting Dustin Hermanson go.

Won’t ESPN please stop showing those damn Cardinals highlights from the ’67 Series? Thank God the Mets aren’t coming to town anytime soon…

In the seventh, Dave O’Brien, who was working the game on ESPN, mistook Freddy Sanchez for Nomar Garciaparra. Sanchez was hitting for Nomar and laced a double down the leftfield line. Gotta tell you, I made the same mistake; Freddy’s quick, aggressive, compact stroke looked pretty damn familiar.

Has anyone else noticed that Kevin Millar is putting up Scott Rolen-like power numbers this year?

Rolen (.302, 12, 51, 225 at bats)
Millar (.298, 10, 41, 188 at bats)

Those numbers are as of game time.

These numbers are year round:
Rolen: $7,625,000
Millar: $2,000,000

On June 4, Jonny Damon went 3-4 and then went into a 3 for 20 funk. Tonight he had four hits. Let’s hope he breaks out of it and stays on track.

And goddamn, anyone see that Yankees game?


Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Good News, Bad News. The Globe reports on two stunning statistics this morning, one hitting, and one pitching.

Bob Hohler writes:

“Here's another measure of how much more dangerous this year's Sox team is than last year's. Opponents intentionally walked Manny Ramirez 14 times last year. The batters behind him -- Tony Clark, Shea Hillenbrand, Brian Daubach, Cliff Floyd, Rickey Henderson, and Benny Agbayani -- went a combined 2 for 14 (.143) with one homer and four RBIs in those instances. The lone hits were Hillenbrand's pinch-hit grand slam against the Devil Rays and an infield single by Floyd. This year, Ramirez has been intentionally walked 13 times, one fewer than league leader Carlos Delgado, and the batters behind him have gone 5 for 9 with three walks, a sacrifice fly, a double, a home run, and 15 RBIs. David Ortiz is 3 for 3 with a walk, a double, and six RBIs. Kevin Millar is 2 for 5 with a walk, a sacrifice fly, a three-run homer, and eight RBIs. Trot Nixon is 0 for 1 with a run-producing walk . . .”

And for those who see the glass half empty, a second Hohler article reads:

“[The Sox] have the second-worst ERA (5.26) in the American League, better than only the Rangers (5.98). No Sox team in history has posted a higher ERA than the 1932 club, which finished at 5.02. And while the Sox offense appears poised to threaten the 1950 club's franchise record of 1,027 runs, the pitching staff is on track to surrender 914 runs, a total that only three Sox teams have topped: in 1925 (922), 1996 (921), and 1932 (915).”

Half empty indeed. I’ve wondered for some time if pitching coach Tony Cloninger’s periodic absences were hurting the staff’s performance. Cloninger, who is battling cancer, is popular among the team’s pitchers and did a nice job last year. Has anyone seen a thorough analysis of how his absences have effected team pitching?

Hiring a temporary replacement in Dave Wallace is an acknowledgement that the pitching stinks and needs immediate attention.

It’s also an acknowledgement that Tony Cloninger needs to save his strength to fight an aggressive illness, instead of worrying full-time about Ramiro Mendoza’s troubling ERA or trying to figure out who Matt White is. And that's about the best decision he could make.

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