The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:
 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

NESN: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

For those who want to bask in schadenfreude for a bit longer…

The Red Sox have won 100 or more games three times in their 110-year existence.

They will make it four in 2011. But this team has the potential to accomplish something even bigger than winning 100 games.

Boston actually won 104 games this year, if you include spring training.

In 2010, the Red Sox scored 818 runs (second-most in the majors), or 5.1 per game. They hit 211 home runs (second in MLB) and posted a .790 OPS (tops in MLB). The offense, with even more weapons now, could demolish those numbers.

Yet one run is all it might take to win a game on some days with the starting staff the Red Sox have assembled.

The Red Sox scored exactly one run in 12 games this year.  Their record in those games? 2-10.

Beckett will notch more than six victories.

Nailed this one.

Lackey should be better equipped to avoid the one-bad-inning syndrome.

Yep.  Replaced it with the bad start every time syndrome.

And Dice-K might be the best No. 5 starter ever.

Certainly the most expensive one.

When Red Sox starters have to hand the ball to the bullpen this season, Boston fans won’t have to have to cover their eyes and pray. The weak link in 2010 could be one of the best relief corps in the business.

Oops.

The Red Sox were slated to win about 95 games last year. They won 89 despite injuries to Pedroia (a former MVP) and Youkilis (a possible future MVP). Add them back, along with the new players and a healthy Ellsbury, and 100 wins doesn’t just appear plausible. It seems downright inevitable.

in·ev·i·ta·ble (n-v-t-bl)
adj.
1. Impossible to avoid or prevent. See Synonyms at certain.
2. Invariably occurring or appearing; predictable: the inevitable changes of the seasons.

The 2011 Red Sox could accomplish a feat that has never been done. They could unseat the 1927 Yankees as the greatest major league team of all time.

The 1998 Yankees were better.

That would be something to celebrate.

They have certainly given us reasons to celebrate.

--Posted at 11:08 am by SG / 95 Comments | - (0)

Comments

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Best non-piechart RLYW post EVER.

Boston actually won 104 games this year, if you include spring training.

Zing.

[2] Seriously, this fact is amazing.

Wait, why are the ‘98 yankees better than the ‘27?  Are you looking just at wins?  Is that a fair way to measure the team?

Sox suck, yeah, it’s pretty awesome. But I just have to complain about something. Because this is RLYW.

Teixeira this year against LHP: .302/.380/.587
Teixeira this year against RHP: .224/.325/.453 (plus 0-4 against righties as a righty, which I don’t feel like adding in)

Men on base: .289/.385/.601
Bases empty: .215/.302/.408

And similar, if slightly less extreme, splits in 2010.

It seems like the shift messes with Texeira’s head even more than CitiField’s dimensions mess with David Wright’s. We’re probably just going to have to deal with him sucking in the postseason, but I really hope Long can do something with him next season to make him spread the ball around a little bit more, or just do some zen exercises to hit into the teeth of the shift without caring, like Giambi and Ortiz.

Tex is apparently aware that he’s been crap from the left side and has said he plans to work with KLong in the offseason to retool his swing/approach from that side.

What worries me about the Tigers (or rather, one of the things) is that they’re bringing solid RHP.  The Yankees *murder* LHP, but the Kitties won’t be offering any up, will they?

Granderson, Cano and A-Rod have all hit reasonably well to great against RHP this season.  As for the rest of the team, much less so….

[5] - Agree.  The ‘27 Yankees lead MLB in OPS+ by a very wide margin and also lead in ERA+.  The ‘98 Yankees lead in OPS+ but by a much smaller margin and didn’t lead in ERA+ (a distant 3rd).

Almost everybody at BBTF is picking Detroit over the Yankees, which, of course they are, since everybody there hates the Yankees, but I don’t know, I’m getting shades of 45 of 45 from it…

You could put it in a pie-chart - assumptions that turned out correct in green, incorrect in red.  That green slice would be awfully small…

I mean, all these people picking the Tigers realize that CC is like 95% as good as Verlander, right?

The 1927 Yankees didn’t play against Latino or black players.  I have a hard time calling a team that didn’t face the best competition available the best team ever.

[12] - Do you realize the Tigers offense was better than the Yankees this year?

Edit: I take this back, SB puts the Yankees over them.

Nobody should be making any predictions until SG breaks down the expected playing time of each player, like he does for every playoffs.  That, by far, is the most useful stat on this site.  Love it.

[5 & 9] “Better” can be looked at in a few different ways.  One way, the level of competition wasn’t as high in 1927 as it was in 1998.  So against tougher competition, what the Yankees did is more impressive.

Mostly this gets into how difficult it can be to compare baseball accross eras, despite all the nice tools we have.  The 1998 Yankees are definitely the post WW2 standard, and the 1927 Yankees are the pre.

But the ‘98 players played in a world where young athletes specialize in a bunch of other sports too.  Would the ‘98 team beat the ‘27 b/c of conditioning, technology, scouting, etc etc.  Possibly.  But, I’m still not comfortable using THAT as a measuring stick either.

[13] - Due to the restrictions of the posting system, the 1998 Yankees weren’t allowed to face Japanese players.

[8] Posada was well above average against RHP as well.  The team as a whole had an OPS+ of 114 against righty pitching.  They’re fine.

Almost everybody at BBTF is picking Detroit over the Yankees, which, of course they are, since everybody there hates the Yankees, but I don’t know, I’m getting shades of 45 of 45 from it…

I don’t think it’s a stretch.  I mean, you’d probably take Fister over any other starter on the Yankees than CC right now, and Verlander’s better than CC.  Plus they all hate the Yankees, just like ESPN does.

I’ll post a more detailed break-down when I have more information, but right now I’d probably say something like:

Yankees: 53%
Tigers: 47%

[14] By BBRef.  By FanGraphs, Yankees wRC+ was 113 compared to the Tigers 109.  FanGraphs includes SB, and correctly weights the events.  I’ll take that, thanks.

[20] - FIP and xFIP both have C.C. better than Verlander.  I know.  It shocked me too.

[21] - I made that edit myself.

[18] Too lazy to determine if this is entirely true (Yankees had Irabu and other Japenese players were in the game, IDK if the Yankees faced any).  But if you’re saying the 1998 Yankees didn’t face as stiff of competition as the 2011 Yankees…okay.  I agree.  So what?

Question - will the Yankees go after CJ Wilson? If they go after him and the Red Sox go after him, the Yankees have to win that bidding, right?

Yeah, but we all agree that CC is a little off from earlier in the season, right?  Whether it’s injury or fatigue, the velocity hasn’t been there.  I still consider him a playoff-ace right now, but I’d say he’s more than a tick below Verlander.

[21] - I made that edit myself.

Didn’t see that until you posted 22.

[20] - FIP and xFIP both have C.C. better than Verlander.  I know.  It shocked me too.

Came up in a Dave Cameron chat the other day…he thinks there’s sufficient enough evidence that Verlander has control enough over BABIP that Verlander is better.  But yeah, I think CC vs the Det lineup is roughly equal to Verlander vs the Yankee lineup.  So hopefully it comes down to the bullpens…

[24] Yes.  No.  I think they should and will, but they don’t have to.  E.g. if Boston wants to give 7/154 to CJ - I don’t think they will but they could do some stupid bid - more power to them.  If the Yankees need to do 5/90…sure, why not?

[24]  I was enjoying Sons of Sam Horn last night, and a lot of people there were convinced that Crawford can’t stay a Sox.  I know the contract is untradeable, and who cares what fans think, but I could almost see it happening.  Fresh start w/ the angels, where the Sox eat some of the contract and get pitching back.  Impossible?

[26] IDK, Verlander has never had BABiP as low as he’s had this year. I think he’s been partially lucky. But he’s still probably better than CC right now.

I’ll just issue a friendly reminder that what teams did in 2011 doesn’t tell us who has the better offense.  You have to compare the projections of the current rosters and figure out who’s going to be playing in these games.  The Tigers don’t have Brennan Boesch anymore, the Yankees will conceivably have A-Rod for more than 60% of these games, stuff like that.

Oliver says the Yankees starting lineup has a collective projected line of .276/.355/.460 and would score about 27 runs over five games.  It says Detroit’s starting lineup has a collective projected line of .282/.337/.444 and would score about 24 runs over five games. This includes SB/CS and GDP.

I am hoping the six man rotation was the primary culprit for CC’s spottiness over the last six weeks or so.  I hated the way Girardi handled CC this year, to be honest.  Extra day’s rest and then pushing him to 120 pitches each time seemed stupid to me.

Yankees are even money to win the AL.  Even money to win two series can I sell that short.  Are we much better then even money to beat Detroit in reality?

[29] Right, he didn’t say give him full credit.  But that we probably shouldn’t give him 0 credit either, and that puts him ahead of CC.  Not a lot - but enough that I think it’s an equal matchup when taking the respective offenses into account.

Also, one of the reasons we use FIP for “who’s better” is to take defenses out of the equation.  If we’re doing Det-NYY matchups, we do want to include the defense.  Even if it just happens that the Det defense is particularly suited to Verlander, for example.

Whether it’s injury or fatigue, the velocity hasn’t been there.

I went to TexasLeaguers.com for their pitch FX.  I put in CC from 05/01 to 08/31, and his average FB velocity was 94.2.  I put in for the month of September, and it was 94.1.  His FB has been fine.

I hated the way Girardi handled CC this year, to be honest.  Extra day’s rest and then pushing him to 120 pitches each time seemed stupid to me.

The 120 pitches was meaningless.  Really.  The extra rest…eh.  Probably should have gone out of the 6-man earlier.  But that was a tough call, due to untimely injuries (Garcia), and the fact that no one would grab that 5th starter spot.

Catching up on some sports illustrated reading, just read a gem in last week’s issue about the brilliance of Theo and the townies organization. How sweet it is.

Also, what time is the playoff game today, 4 pm? I’m assuming Commissioner Selig has voided the results of last night’s games and mandated a one-game playoff at Fenway.

the Yankees will conceivably have A-Rod for more than 60% of these games, stuff like that.

But which A-Rod?  He hasn’t exactly been the A-Rod of old lately.  Hope that changes starting tomorrow.

And his knee is bothering him, at least a little bit (which is why, I think, he hasn’t been the ARod of old).

But really we don’t need the ARod of old.  We need an upgrade over Chavez/Nun-E/Laird.

Verlander scares me, but Fister… I refuse to accept he’s actually become an elite pitcher.  No.  They must pound him like the filler he is.  This is a requirement, damnit.  I insist.

“Yet one run is all it might take to win a game on some days with the starting staff the Red Sox have assembled.

The Red Sox scored exactly one run in 12 games this year.  Their record in those games? 2-10.”

So this is true.

So yeah, life sucks at the moment, but you guys are 11 wins away from being able to dance on our graves. I don’t love your chances, but if you guys face the Rays in rd two, I may stop by and cheer you on. Fuck everything about Tampa.

My latest LA Times Sports Legends Revealed is a bizarre tale of how a player conned his way on to a top English football club by having someone pretend to be a famous player who was recommending him.

Read the odd tale here. I am pretty sure that is how Tony Womack got signed.

[23] - I’m just saying it seems unfair to penalize players and teams for who is allowed to play given the rules at the time, especially when they had no say in those rules.  Who is to say if the blacks and Hispanic players were allowed to play the ‘27 Yankees wouldn’t have been better?  It’s not like all the black and Hispanic players would have been on other teams. 

You want to use that argument for individuals stats (like Babe Ruth vs. Pujols or something) then that’s a different story but even then if you expand the number of teams to account for the increased talent pool the overall talent level should be roughly the same.

If you want to say Josh Gibson is better than Ruth because of the numbers he put up then you have to get into discussions about the difference in league formats.  The Negro League teams typically only played about 40-60 games against other Negro League teams.  The rest of the games (and there wasn’t any standard of the number of games a team played, some teams played close to 200 total) were played against semi-pro teams.  So there are talent level issues there as well.

It is unfortunate it happened and I’m glad we moved on but I just hate the dismissing of everything that didn’t happen in the last 50 years.  Especially when MLB and Jackie Robinson played such a prominent role in the equal rights movement.

Check Dave Cameron’s post on FanGraphs.  Fantastic line: “If reality was dictated by the strength of one’s desire, every 18-year-old boy in America would be sleeping with Megan Fox.”

[40]  Nice, saw the teaser on twitter, but i was too lazy to read it on my phone.  Thanks for the easy access.

Wait. This actually happen? I wasn’t dreaming? But… butt.. everything happened was impossible!

[26] - Verlander and C.C. career BABIP are VERY close.  C.C. seems to have had bad luck in that area and Verlander had good luck. 

The K/9 difference isn’t a lot.  The BB/9 is significant (in Verlander’s favor) but the GB% is also significant (in C.C. favor).

[41] I don’t think anyone is dismissing the 1927 Yankees.  I’m not sure exactly where SG would rank them, but I’m confident they would be a top-20 team.  Probably a top-10 team.  SG is claiming (and I agree with it) that the 27 Yanks didn’t compete against nearly as strong of competition as the 1998 team did.  This is true.  SG (I think) is claiming that this makes the 1998 Yankees a better team.  I’m not going that far.  I think that *may* be true.  But there are difficulties above and beyond segragation for comparing pre-WW2 to modern teams. 

I *do* think that the 1998 Yankees should be the standard for any modern team.  Before you start trying to untangle how to compare the 27 Yanks to whatever modern team, at least be better than the best modern team.

[45] Right, everything is very close.  And the GB% in CC’s favor would actually also support a higher BABIP (all else equal), though (usually) lower slugging.  I guess it goes this way - if you believe 100% of the variance in BABIP (good or bad) should be assigned to the defense, you say CC and Verlander have been roughly equal this year (FIP).  If you say 100% (or near b/c the defense adjustment isn’t much) of the BABIP variance is on the pitcher, you go with Verlander as having a (much) better year (bbRef/RA).

The answer is likely somewhere in the middle, even if it is Verlander just having a better year at inducing weak-contact than normal.  So, if I had to pick ONE pitcher on the two teams to start a game (assume neutral platoon splits), I’d pick Verlander.  But if he wasn’t available, I’d take CC in a heartbeat.

Anyone else overdosing on schadenfreude? Because I’ve spent half my morning combing the NY papers, ESPN, Deadspin, New England media, Bill Simmons’ Twitter feed and anything else I can think of. I realize this likely is bad karma, but it feels so, so good.

EMAIL FROM SOX FAN BROTHER IN LAW: 

“God has a plan,” he [Adrian Gonzalez] said. “And it wasn’t God’s plan for us to be in the playoffs.”

‘nuff said.

ME: 

It’s enough to make me believe in God.

Anyone else overdosing on schadenfreude? Because I’ve spent half my morning combing the NY papers, ESPN, Deadspin, New England media, Bill Simmons’ Twitter feed and anything else I can think of. I realize this likely is bad karma, but it feels so, so good.

Sounds like my day. Haven’t stopped smiling. I’m sure my competitive juices will get going once the first pitch is thrown, but right now? Right this instance? Everything else is gravy.

[50] We have to recharge the complaint stores.

Ha, I rarely tune into Francesa but I did today and he just said “I can’t think of anyone on the Yankees that is a bad or atrocious baserunner.” 

Seriously, Mike?  Have you been watching the same team the rest of us have?  Does Posada need to run down the third base line instead of to first after putting the ball in play for Francesa to realize he’s a bad baserunner?

[49] So what he means is that God hates the Red Sox? Works for me.

It’s as I feared.  Posada’s recent “heroics” and experience have now made him the starting DH vs RHP

@Buster_ESPN
Buster Olney
Joe Girardi says Jorge Posada will be the DH against the Tigers’ right-handed starters.

What a stupid fucking move.

[48]

Yeah, I’m there too.  Reading everything I can about the collapses/comebacks and such.

I’m just reveling in the insanity of it all, with schadenfreude being secondary.  My wife’s a Sox fan, after all, so I can’t get too giddy.

[54] It’s not top-shelf stupid, as thankfully Po can still hit RHP. 

The experience thing is a joke, considering that Jorge’s post-season numbers are terrible.

“Girardi also said Jesus Montero is healthy after being hit in the hand last night, but the team plans to use Jorge Posada as it’s designated hitter throughout this series.”

(LoHud)

Gotta be because of the righties.

Edit: Beaten to it, so I’ll add that Pena and Laffey do not have full lockers anymore, which I guess suggests something.

[47] - Why does it have to be defense or the pitcher?  Why can’t it just be luck or just that… variance over SSS?

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=posadjo01&year;=&t=b#power

Posada has gotten destroyed by power pitchers this year. I guess some LHP are mixed in there, though.  Should be fun vs Verlander.

If Jorge goes 0-8 I bet Jesus is going to start looking pretty good to Joe, right-handed pitcher or no.

Also, what I have yet to see (and really want to) is a reaction shot of the Yankees dugout/players when Longoria hit the walk-off.

yeahm Jorge CAN hit RHP but do you suspect he’ll be better at it than Montero.  I think I’d rather see Montero hit vs RHP over at least Jeter, Tex, Gardner, Martin and Posada.  But nah, he’ll be on the bench.

For the record, CC’s line drive percentage in the second half is, as Michael Kay would say, “yuge”. So his BABIP troubles likely haven’t been just luck.

“I think I’d rather see Montero hit vs RHP over at least Jeter, Tex, Gardner, Martin and Posada.”

Except for the Posada case, that means either Montero+Pena, Montero + Chavez, or Montero + Andruw vs. a RHP, unless you want the rookie catching a playoff game, which I bet most here don’t even want. I’d rather have Jeter, Tex, and Gardner than their subs, even if it means Posada over Montero.

ahm Jorge CAN hit RHP but do you suspect he’ll be better at it than Montero.  I think I’d rather see Montero hit vs RHP over at least Jeter, Tex, Gardner, Martin and Posada.  But nah, he’ll be on the bench.

In Joe’s defense, Jesus was terrible against RHP in AAA this year.

Posada isn’t bad vs RHP.  I don’t hate the decision.

Whatever. I’m not going to get THAT worked up about Posada.  I’d prefer just sticking Montero in at DH the entire series and not worrying about it.  That would mean Romine would HAVE to be on the roster though.  I suppose if they want, Montero can ride the pine the entire series and Jones can be the PH if Posada comes up against a lefty.

The New York Times breaks down The Curse of Larry David.

[67] kronic.  seriously.  the joy is over, time to start complaining again.

[56]“The experience thing is a joke, considering that Jorge’s post-season numbers are terrible. “

Well, there’s one number of his that’s not terrible: Five.

Via another NYT piece, ” Jon Paul Morosi of Foxsports.com pointed out that Longoria’s game-winning homer sailed over a left-field fence that had been lowered so former Rays left fielder Carl Crawford could thrill fans by leaping to catch home runs.”

That’s just so beyond perfect.

My .02:  Players today are much better than players of 85 years ago.  They’re a lot bigger, stronger, and faster.  And the overall competitive environment is a lot more intense.  Professional sports wasn’t a viable career path for kids growing up in the 1910s-20s; even guys who made it to the bigs weren’t getting rich.  Today, the rewards are so great, there’s little doubt that the best potential future athletes are getting whatever coaching, recruiting, or other support they need to make a go of it.  Not a lot of teenagers these days have to forego a possible career as a pro athlete in order to help the family out on the farm or go work in a factory.

[74]  Yeah, for those reasons I think the 2011 Astros would give the ‘27 Yankees are hard time. 

As for the talent pool issue, no one has any problem with acknowledging the fact that WWII baseball wasn’t as good because the talent pool was artificially diminished, I don’t see how the exclusion of blacks and most Latinos doesn’t fall under the same heading.

Joe Girardi said he’s not ready to announce a full roster for the division series, but Chris Dickerson found out just a few minutes ago that he will be on the active roster. via Lohud

but Chris Dickerson found out just a few minutes ago that he will be on the active roster. via Lohud

I was wondering who was going to take Montero’s roster spot.

My brothers and sisters, the historic collapse of the townies is the best thing ever to happen.  This is beyond dispute.  Here in Boston the collapse is seen as a catastrophe of Biblical proportions.  There is a certain narcissism to the self-pitying keening.

Is Dickerson insurance for Swisher sucking, like when Hairston started in RF over him? Probably not.

[74] When we talk about the best team of all time, are we really thinking about it in terms of if the teams played against each other in some hypothetical situation? I always thought it was more of how each respective team did against their competition. In which case, I think the 1927 Yankees destroyed their competition like no other team has, ever.

[78] Ya know, I’m hoping the fall out from this results in Epstein and/or Francona getting fired thereby paving for the way for actual idiots to replace them. Epstein has made some pretty dumb acquisitions fairly recently, but it’s hard to argue that he builds an AL east title contender every year, and for about $30M less than what Cashman does. And Francona is still probably the best man for the job. Here’s to hoping they give Bobby Valentine the combined GM/manager job.

Epstein and Crawford to the Angels for Tony Reagins

I think it was Snuggles a few days ago who said Bobby Valentine in Boston would be the most epic 15 minutes ever.

Bobby V and Torre rumored to replace Francona if he goes.

[83] nah, it was Guillen. I would pay to see that.

This quote from A-Gon is priceless, via Pete Abe:

On Tuesday, when I asked him about the collapse of the team, Gonzalez blamed the schedule, not the Almighty.

“We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning,” Gonzalez said. “This has been my toughest season physically because of that. We play a lot of night games on Sunday for television and that those things take a lot out of you.”

I told Gonzalez that teams like the Red Sox and Yankees have long had those challenges, it’s part of playing for a high-profile team.

“Why does it have to be?” he said. “They can put the Padres on ESPN, too. The schedule really hurt us. Nobody is really reporting that.”

Welcome to playing for a team that the fans give a $hit about, dude.

Youkilis must be giving whining lessons.

Is Dickerson insurance for Swisher sucking, like when Hairston started in RF over him? Probably not.

Posada’s designated pinch-runner.

in·ev·i·ta·ble (n-v-t-bl)
adj.
1. Impossible to avoid or prevent. See Synonyms at certain.
2. Invariably occurring or appearing; predictable: the inevitable changes of the seasons.

Here, let me help.

So yeah, life sucks at the moment, but you guys are 11 wins away from being able to dance on our graves.

Better not look up. We’re already dancing.

Here’s to hoping they give Bobby Valentine the combined GM/manager job.

Is Steve Phillips available ?

Sure, Dan Duquette would listen if the Red Sox called.

90: OK, hope that works out for you.

And the Valentine combined Mgr/GM thing is definitely the funniest thing I’ve heard all day. There are definitely Sox fans who deserve exactly this, though I try not to be one of them.

Theo and Tito aren’t going anywhere. Well, Tito will need to retire before long, but it’ll be his choice.

Both Shaughnessy and Simmons seemed to think there was a good chance Francona would be gone.

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