[insert excuse here]

March 11, 2008

Yeah, I haven’t been posting. But I’m busy/I have a life/etc etc etc.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on this, the quintessential Manny Ramirez:

AP.

Junior of Fire Joe Morgan wrote earlier this week about how Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated called him, and other stats geeks, “VORPies”. For those who don’t know, VORP is a statistic that stands for Value Over Replacement Player. It measures how many more runs a player should score than a backup at that same position would (Baseball Prospectus and Stathead explain it pretty well).

Now, I like VORP just fine. But I have a confession to make.

If Junior & Co. are VORPies, I’m a WHIP-py. (I promise, this is about baseball.)

Personally, I like pitching stats more than hitting or fielding stats. It’s just more interesting to me. Hitting is both hard to do and hard to quantify. Fielding is really, really hard to quantify. Pitching can be looked at in a lot of ways, and there are so many stats that give different dimensions. A strikeout pitcher has an impressive K/9IP ratio, while a finesse pitcher will have a good K/BB and a workhorse starter will have a high IP/GS (FWIW, I also like ratios).

In my opinion, though, WHIP is the best measure of any pitcher.

A pitcher’s job is to get outs as quickly and efficiently as possible. A pitcher also has to not let up a lot of runs. A pitcher then has to not allow a lot of baserunners. How do you measure how many baserunners a pitcher allows? Walks and hits. What’s one general measurement of how much any pitcher–a starter or a reliever–throws? Per inning. So that’d be walks and hits per innings pitched.

Also known as WHIP.

Let’s take a look at some of the 2007 WHIPs of some top starters in the AL, huh?

Pitcher WHIP
Johan Santana 1.073
Erik Bedard 1.088
Josh Beckett 1.141
C.C. Sabathia 1.141
Dan Haren 1.208
Fausto Carmona 1.209
John Lackey 1.210
Chien-Ming Wang 1.294

So, looking at this, there’s a bit of surprise–but not much. Santana comes out on top, which I wouldn’t have really expected (I would’ve guessed he’d be in the top five, but not number one). Bedard is a strange case. He won 13 games with a team that won 69 all together last season. Beckett and Sabathia tie exactly, which isn’t surprising at all.* Haren is just a hair ahead of Carmona and Lackey, which I wouldn’t have guessed, but isn’t really all that unexpected. Wang, on the other hand, is the odd one out. I’ve never thought he was a true ace, and not just because he was on the Yankees. (I’m glad he isn’t one.)

What does this mean for the ’08 Red Sox? Good news, mostly. Santana’s in the other league now, and unless the Sox and Mets both make it to the World Series, we’ll never have to play against him. Bedard is in Seattle now. The Mariners won 88 last year, but finished 6 games behind the Angels. They could compete for the AL West, though, this time around. Beckett is good. That’s all there really is to it. Sabathia is good, too, and there’ll most likely be a fierce division battle between the Indians and Tigers (unless one or the other gets lots and lots of freak injuries). As for Haren, he’s in the NL as well, and Carmona’s in the same situation as Sabathia. Lackey and his Angels are good, and that’s all there is to it. They’ll have to defend against the Mariners to keep their division this year. As for Wang… well, let’s just say that he’s hoping Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy come up big.

*By the way, Beckett’s postseason WHIP was 0.700. Sabathia’s was  2.217.

True: I have no life.

February 28, 2008

I have decided to record every pitch thrown by Sox pitchers in this game. I’ll post inning-by inning updates.

Disclaimer: I’m getting this information by ear from WEEI. I don’t guarantee this is correct at all. There’ll be gaps. I’ll try and get everything right, though.

Update, 8:08: Gaah. First, my radio mangled the sound throughout the bottom of the fifth and much of the top of the sixth, then Firefox died (how often does that happen? Seriously.) and I lost all of the bottom of the sixth. I hear Craig Breslow did a good job, and I know Hunter Jones did pretty well after giving up a single and quickly getting a double play. Jones through a lot of balls, but did get the outs. I’ll try and get Kyle Jackson’s inning, but the fifth and sixth aren’t going to surface.

FIRST INNING

Pitcher: Justin Masterson (8 pitches, 6 strikes, 2 balls)

First Batter:
Ball
Ground to 3 – GROUND OUT

Second Batter:
Foul
Swinging strike
Swinging strike – SWINGING K

Third Batter:
Ball
Called strike
Ground to 1-3 – GROUND OUT

SECOND INNING

Pitcher: Justin Masterson (9 pitches, 6 strikes, 3 balls)

First Batter:
Called strike
Called strike
Ball
Line drive to 9 – SINGLE (possibly double; the phone rang inconveniently)

Second Batter:
Ball
Strike (unspecified by radio)
Ground to 4-6-3 – DOUBLE PLAY

Third Batter:
Ball
Fly to 7 – FLY OUT

THIRD INNING

Pitcher: Craig Hansen (14 pitches, 11 strikes, 3 balls)

First Batter:
Strike
Strike
Strike – K (sorry, I was totally not paying attention here)

Second Batter:
Swinging strike
Grounder to 5-3 – GROUND OUT

Third Batter:
Ball
Strike
Ball
Bloop to 8 – SINGLE

Fourth Batter:
Called strike
Ball
Called strike
Foul
Swinging strike – SWINGING K

FOURTH INNING

Pitcher: Michael Bowden (11 pitches, 6 strikes, 5 balls)

First Batter:
Ball
Swinging strike
Ball
Pop up to 2 – POP UP OUT

Second Batter:
Called strike
Foul
Ball
Ball
Swinging strike – SWINGING K

Third Batter:
Ball
Ground to 6-3 – GROUND OUT

FIFTH and SIXTH INNINGS are M.I.A.

BB + TB = ?

February 25, 2008

If Barry Bonds goes to Tampa Bay, I will punch something. And then laugh. Do they have enough on their payroll to pay for him? (No offense, Rays. Honestly.)

That is all.

Let’s Go Mets! Wait, What?

February 25, 2008

Nah, I’m not a Mets fan. But I was sure surrounded by them on Friday.

I was planning on seeing the Sox, as I mentioned before, but it didn’t work out. Instead, I went to Port St. Lucie to see the Mets. I also wanted to see the Marlins and Cardinals at Jupiter, but they packed up just as we arrived (boo! I wanted to see Anibal Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez!).

Back to the Mets.

Yes, I saw this guy in person.

Yes, it was amazing.

Yes, he will be batting this year (HAHAHAHAHA. Ahem).

This kind of blew my mind. I totally fangirled. It was a bit humiliating in retrospect.

Seeing David Wright was pretty awesome, too–he almost gave me a high-five, but a Mets fan barged in front of me and put his hand where mine was. Ugh. (He is, for the record, extremely extremely extremely good-looking in person.) I also almost got into an argument with a Mets fan over who was better, Wright or Lowell. You can probably guess my position.

I even got to see Ruddy Lugo, the younger Lugo brother! I wanted to shout, “Say hi to Julio for me!” but I didn’t–on account of the Mets fans who would glare at me, mostly, and also because he was a bit far away to really hear me.

Yeah–I took about 120 pictures all together, deleted 30 of them (all too blurry, badly shot, etc), and liked these ones, pretty much. I also got some video of Santana throwing live BP–to David Wright, no less, but I didn’t realize that until after he’d walked away (stupid! stupid!).

I’m baaaack!

February 24, 2008

Sadly, I didn’t get to Fort Myers (turns out it’s a 3 1/2 hour drive–one way–from where I was staying).

Instead, I went to Port St. Lucie to see the Mets!  As in, The Good Team From NY. As in, The Enemy-Of-My-Enemy-Is-My-Friend Team. As in, The Team With Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana.

It was AWESOME.

Of course, I would have preferred 1,000 times to see the Red Sox. Of course. But this was pretty good.

Pictures to follow soon..

And in other news, Tito FINALLY got his contract. Good. Of course.

MIA: Me

February 17, 2008

Yep–I’m (probably) not going to be posting for a week or so.

I’m going to Florida!

Well, I’m officially visiting my grandparents, but on Friday I’m going to the first whole-team workout. It’s going to be hot, crowded, and I’m going to wish for really long arms, but I’m going to take pictures and have a blast. I’ll try and keep up with all the Sox news, but I most likely won’t be online…

So, on that note, have a great week!

(I’m also going to the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington on Thursday. Woohoo!)

Honest Mike

February 16, 2008

You can always count on Admiral Timlin for a straight–and detailed–answer.

Question: Have you ever been offered performance-enhancing drugs?

“No, never have. But since I never had that chance to say no, I don’t know if I would have said no. Before they had steroid testing, there had always been, in any sport, a closed-door policy. What goes on back there, goes on back there. To a certain extent, things stay that way, but when you have things like [Roger Clemens' and Brian McNamee's congressional hearing], it doesn’t. Everybody wants people to be honest. We all make mistakes. We all screw up. We all sin. We all cuss. Nobody is going to hold that against you usually until you try to hide it. ‘I didn’t do this, I didn’t do this, I didn’t do this. I don’t care what you say, I still didn’t do it.’ Well, some people saw you do it and you still say you didn’t do it. ’Fess up. That’s all somebody is going to look for. Be honest in the beginning and we’ll forgive you.”

He also referred to Andy Pettitte:

“Andy Pettitte didn’t have to say he used it again, but he did. And his account, what was said in the hearing, was, ‘I don’t have to give an account to you. I have to give an account to God.’ That’s the whole thing. You have to be honest. At the end, it doesn’t matter what we think of each other, it’s what God thinks of you and how you lived your life. He used it, as he said he used it, in probably the same way I would have used it had I had the availability to it, through an elbow injury, trying to rehab your shoulder or your knee, or whatever your injury. Because it does help you get back to where you were at 25. There are cells throughout your body that are receptive to it and it’s going to give you a youth feel.”

Brr.

February 16, 2008

According to NESN, it’s 23 degrees Fahrenheit here in Boston.

Fort Myers?

76 degrees.

(They also just showed the pitchers doing some running. Buchholz and Matsuzaka were in the front. Julian Tavarez was lagging way, way in the back. Okajima was quite speedy.)

(Now they’re showing the catchers–‘Tek, ‘Belli, Cash, Kottaras–taking BP. Kottaras is looking good. I like his swing. I’d like to see him get some more playing time in the majors later on this year.)

(David Pauley and Julian Tavarez are now walking. No, wait–they’re jogging again, but Tavarez looks quite fatigued.)

Finally!

February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine’s Pitchers-and-Catchers-Report Day, everyone!

Yes… it’s finally, FINALLY here. Took long enough. 109 days… 109 long, painful (but still pretty fun, with all the bragging rights and all) days from October 29 to February 14. But look–we made it!

On a side note, I am quite enamored with Kevin Youkilis’s choice of attire as he arrived at Fort Myers, a week before position players were required to report…

 
Image from Jim Davis/Boston Globe.

Clemens, McNamee Hearing

February 13, 2008

I got home early today, so I’m going to put up some interesting bits I gather from MLB.com’s live stream. There’ll be periodic updates.

2:41: It’s over now. The closing remarks called the comments made throughout the hearing “robust”, and that was… um… one way to put it. MLB.com’s commenters just said the same thing. It was pretty heated, and there were a lot of people–a few congressmen and one congresswoman, I noted, especially–who wanted to talk for more time than they were allowed. It almost reminded me of debates in my history class, where some kids couldn’t care less and others were completely into it.

2:31: Congressman Shays and another congressman (I missed who–stupid finicky volume) just blatantly called McNamee a drug dealer. Several times. The second congressman also asked why McNamee had said that he was simply catering to athletes even when McNamee knew the things he was being asked to do were fully illegal. McNamee didn’t really give a satisfactory answer.

2:12: Clemens just read a statement from his wife saying that McNamee had approached her (she was not sure when, exactly, it was), while Roger was not around, and mentioned that HGH could be used to retain youthfulness. He asked if he could give her a “test shot”, and she said yes. He left to go to the airport, and later thta night, had troubles with circulation. She trusted him because he was a professional with a PhD. Clemens said she was “broken up over this. For–a long time.” He also said she feels like “a pawn”.

1:42: Rep. Bruce Braley just asked Clemens if he was anemic, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, senile, (that got some chuckles from the room), vegetarian, or vegan. He denied the first three but paused after vegan and confessed he didn’t know what “vegan” was. (The question was posed to ask why Clemens might have taken B12, which is mostly prescribed for people with these conditions.)

Around 1:20:

“This man has never given me HGH or growth horomone.”

Human growth hormone or growth hormone, Mr. Clemens? You’re quite sure?

Do It…

February 11, 2008

Jon Lester, this year, reporting early for Spring Training…

Marc Beaudin/News-Press. Thanks, Kelly.

Dice-K, at a workout in early October…


Image from boston.com.

And the pair of them, at the Rolling Rally…


Image from boston.com.

I saw A, immediately thought of B, and immediately thought of C. I think I spend too much time looking at pictures like these.

Manny Jr?

February 11, 2008

While I was browsing through the playoff galleries on boston.com (I was procrastinating–still am, for that matter), I came across this adorable picture…

Image from boston.com.

Now, isn’t that the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? He’s already got the double-point down pat. Daddy’s taught him well.

Ask me who my favorite baldie in the Red Sox organization is and, believe it or not, I won’t say Kevin Youkilis.

I’ll say Justin Masterson.

I had a chance to “meet” Masterson at the Rookie Development Program Autograph signing about a month ago, on January 16th. He was very silly and very sweet to poor little starstruck me.
I was quite literally struck speechless at being this close to Clay Buchholz.
I kept trying to zoom in on his face and catch him smiling or laughing.

As I zoomed out at one point, Masterson leaned back, trying to let me get a better view.

We both got laughs from that.

I asked him to smile for the camera and he pulled this face.

…and then waved.

He laughed again at that.

I handed him my baseball to sign and he handed it back, as the people in front of me had finally moved on from Clay.

I knew a bit about him before going to the signing (he has started and done relief work, has a funky sidearm delivery, throws two really good pitches and one good pitch that includes a 94-mph sinker, and basically anything else you can find out from his SoxProspects page), but I decided to look up a bit more about him.

I found out that he was 22 years old and predominantly a catcher until his sophomore year in college. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, because his father was working there. He doesn’t know if he wants to start or relieve, and even though he’d been told starters make more, he doesn’t care about the money (I know, they all say it, but it’s still fun to hear). He is often compared to Derek Lowe in terms of pitching style and projected to play a Mike Timlin-like role (which is a just fine comparison–Timlin has 4 rings!). He was also very relaxed and silly about being (at the time) in both possible packages the Sox were offering to the Twins for Johan Santana:

“It doesn’t bother me too much. I’m with the Boston Red Sox, the greatest organization, so it’s fun. Every once in a while, I’ll get a text from a friend: ‘I just heard this about the trade.’ OK, man, have fun with that.”

(I do like that he called the Sox “the greatest organization”. +1, Justin.)

His WHIP in 14 games in Class A Lowell (his pro debut, after being drafted in 2006) was 0.69 (all in relief). At A Lancaster, early this year, where he was converted to a starter, it was 0.82. At AA Portland, where he finished this year, also starting, it was 1.16. His ERA has been above 4 at every level (except for Lowell), but his 3.52:1 K:BB ratio is far above Mike Timlin’s 2.14:1 (for comparison, Josh Beckett’s is 4.85:1).

In 10 starts in AA Portland in late 2007, he averaged 9.16 K/9 innings pitched, and 2.79 BB/9IP.

And to close it off, some more pictures!

Image from RIGHT HERE.
This is the ball I got signed at the Development Program signing!
Image from San Diego State University.
Pitching in college… look how straight his throwing arm is!

All of the following are from sittingstill.net. (HUGE shout-out, Kelly, for your awesome pictures. They’re going to be on here a lot.)

And I have decided, in the spirit of papel-blog’s NDRaPRSFftEMRSoML, to begin tUfWJMSHH: the Union for Why Justin Masterson Should Have Hair. Take that last one, for example, and photoshop hair onto his head (and make it darker, because then it looks less like a bad ski hat):

Is it just me or, given what he looks like with “hair”, if he followed the advice of tUfWJMSHH, he could have as many girls chasing him as Jacoby does? Too bad he’s married… I wonder if he has any (younger) brothers?

This is relatively new…

February 10, 2008

…but I thought it was funny enough to bring up again.

During a question-and-answer session, a fan asked each GM whom he would take from the other’s team if given the chance. Cashman picked Jason Varitek, noting he’d like to take the catcher and, “put him [on] another planet,” to cripple the Red Sox.

Who would Epstein pluck from the Yankees?

“I’d take the gentleman on my left,” Epstein said, motioning to Cashman, “and make him [our] scouting director.”

-Mike Puma, New York Post

I’d hate if Varitek had to play anywhere other than Boston, MA, USA, Earth, but I wouldn’t mind Cashman as our scouting director. I don’t like the Yankees, but I don’t really have a problem with Cashman. It’s the Steinbrenners (especially Hank) that I have a problem with.

Rookies are the best.

February 9, 2008

Who needs Roger Clemens when you can have these guys?

All pictures from sittingstill.net.


I’m convinced these two are bestest buds. I love how much taller Buch looks than Jacoby.


Jed Lowrie, Jacoby, Buchholz, and Justin Masterson. Look how smiley they all are! More on Masterson’s funny-shaped head and my case for WJMSHH (Why Justin Masterson Should Have Hair) later.


Gee, how’d that one slip in there?


Lowrie looks every bit the part of “exuberant minor-leaguer on the first time he stood on the field at Fenway”. Buch and Jacoby look like old, wizened veterans in comparison…


…but who says they are?


Image from boston.com.

“I see him as a .340, 210-hit, 50-stolen-base guy–by ’09. I see him as being a transcendent player, an all-star player.”

-Bob Ryan

After his stellar game 3 of the World Series–4-for-5, including 3 doubles, two in one inning–during his press conference, there were a few priceless, adorable rookie moments.

One was that he began talking sitting up ramrod-straight, and talked for maybe 20 seconds like that before realizing nobody could hear him and leaned forward to talk into the mike.

Another was at the very end, right as he was leaving. The woman who was directing the whole affair said, “Thank you for coming in.” He just sort of looks around, not understanding that it’s over. “Thank you, Jacoby,” the woman repeats. He looks around more. He looks kind of confused. “That’s good. Thank you.” He suddenly gets it, leans forward as if to speak into the mike again, smiles embarrassedly, and hurries away.

After the Santana deal was finalized, he said he’s “happy to be a Red Sock.” Well, Jacoby, I’m happy you know your singular from your plural.

And, um…


No idea where this one’s from.


Or this one.


Image from sittingstill.net. 


Don’t know where this one came from either.


Image from gettyimages.com… in case you couldn’t tell or anything.


Or, uh, this one.

Is it just me or could he be a model in that last one?

Big Papi likes to sing

February 9, 2008

This is one of my favorite tidbit types: little clips from old articles about the players being nutty in the locker room.

Ortiz was still light on his feet after the game, dancing in the buff back and forth in the shower room while singing over and over at the top of his lungs the theme from “Monday Night Football.” “Dah-dah-dah-DAH, dah-dah-dah-DAH,” sang Ortiz, apparently jacked up that the team’s fantasy football draft was about to commence as soon as he could find a towel.

-A Gordon Edes article, August 2007

I already suck at posting.

February 9, 2008

Ah, well. I promise I’ll post more.

I can’t say much about Schilling that hasn’t already been said. I hope he gets better, I don’t think it’s a total bomb if he never pitches again. I definitely want the guy to come back this year, but it isn’t as if Beckett needs his right arm amputated.

In other news, IT’S TRUCK DAY!


Image from boston.com.

Today I officially begin posting my promised tidbits. Any people who look at this may have already seen them, but whatever. I’ve decided that, since pitchers and catchers report on Thursday (an infuratingly close 5 days–I can nearly taste it!), I’ll start the tidbitting (I have officially invented this word as of right now) with a strange picture included in the Globe’s Truck Day album


Image from boston.com.

I can’t imagine why this was here, unless Pedroia finally decided to return Jeff Francis’s dignity. (Just kidding. I like Francis.)

I had a nice long post all typed up and then WordPress went and flipped out on me.

Basically, I’m glad Santana’s in the NL, I’m glad Sean “Mr. Nice Guy” Casey is on our team, and Jacoby Ellsbury is good-looking. Also, what is Beckett throwing here?

Image from MLB.com. 

11 days until pitchers and catchers report.

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