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A Nation Rejoices: Cherington out as GM

August 18, 2015 Leave a comment

You read that right. The man who traded an All-Star (and two other guys) for nothing, who built three last-place teams in four years, who went into 2015 with a starting rotation of Clay Buchholz and four guys who aren’t as good as Clay Buchholz, who steadfastly refused to trade even the fringiest of prospects, and who also kinda built the team that won the World Series two years ago, is gone!

And in his place is Dave Dombrowski, a guy who actually knows how to build and run competent baseball teams, rather than just knowing how to make friends with guys who do. A guy who once found someone stupid enough to trade something of value for Rick Porcello! (Granted, that someone was Ben Cherington, but, details.)

Of course, this doesn’t mean that 2016 is suddenly a bright and shining beacon on the horizon; if ownership won’t let Dombrowski offer David Price all the money in the world, then I don’t know how he’s going to get the frontline starter this staff desperately needs. Or the #2 starter this staff desperately needs. Or the #3 starter this staff desperately needs. Or the…eh, Miley’s okayish.

But what it does mean is that there’s hope for something different. Like maybe not running Joe Kelly out there every fifth day, when it’s clear to just about everyone who has eyes that he needs to be a reliever. Or maybe not handing Jackie Bradley a starting job again, which I was pretty convinced was going to happen this winter. Or maybe not clutching ever so tightly to the likes of Blake “Who needs Cole Hamels when you could have a .633 OPS” Swihart. All of those seem like fairly simple, competent moves, but after four years of Ben Cherington, it’s amazing how great competent looks.

Sportspun might offer a slightly more objective, analytical take at some point. Maybe. For now:


Red Sox Game 61 reaction: I…I just…

June 12, 2015 Leave a comment

No, wait, here’s a better image.

Or, if you prefer:

I mean…at some point, you just run out of words, right? Matt Barnes is competent enough. Junichi Tazawa is good. Tommy Layne probably doesn’t suck. Did that matter tonight? Of course not.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Red Sox offense scored eight runs and the game was still in striking distance for the Blue Jays because Joe Kelly sucks. He gave up four runs in six innings, which sucks, because he sucks. Barnes and Tazawa and Layne all had worse nights, but Kelly sucks, and if someone who didn’t suck had started then none of those three guys would have been called on in the first place.

Positives. Okay. Eight runs! Yay! Pablo hit a homer! Mookie hit a homer! Pedroia hit a homer! Ortiz had two hits! Rusney had two hits! And…okay, that’s it for positives. Eight runs and they lose by five. Christ.

A hundred and one more games of this crap. For fuck’s sake.

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Red Sox Game 60 reaction: Bad, cheap and stupid is no way to run a baseball team, son.

June 10, 2015 Leave a comment

Highest WPA: Brock Holt, .204 (2-4. 2B, RBI)
Lowest WPA: Rick Porcello, -.330 (5.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 5 K, 0 BB)

Let’s do a comparison.

Player A: 1143.1 IP, 96 ERA+; 5 years, $95 million
Player B: 1888.2 IP, 125 ERA+; 5 years, $112.5 million (team option for 6th year: $20 million, $6 million buyout)
Player C: 1668 IP, 120 ERA+; 6 years, $155 million (team option for 7th year: $25 million; $10 million buyout)

Those are, as you probably guessed, the career pitching lines and future commitments (2015 included) of Rick Porcello, Cole Hamels, and Jon Lester.

I have no further comment at this time.

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Red Sox Game 57 reaction: Ketchup

June 6, 2015 Leave a comment

Highest WPA: Joe “What is happening with the world?” Kelly, .182 (6 IP, 4 H, ER, 6 K, 2 BB)
Lowest WPA: Blake Swihart, -.083 (1-4, 2B, K, GIDP, LOB)

See, because the Sox are trailing in the division, so they need to catch up, but also because Heinz puts a “57” on their bottles, and…look, I don’t have to explain myself to you.

Joe Kelly pitched well, which is a sentence you don’t get to type very often. Hanley Ramirez homered, which is a little more common. Everyone in the lineup got on base, even Blake Swihart, and for once those baserunners turned into enough runs to win.

The Red Sox are still bad, and still need a lot of things to go well in order to get back into contention, but they’ve taken two games in a row from the A’s, and that’s better than not taking two games in a row from the A’s. So hooray for that.

IN OTHER SPORTS: American Pharaoh won the Triple Crown. Mike Trout still deserved the MVP.

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Red Sox Game 56 reaction: Oh hey!

June 5, 2015 Leave a comment

Highest WPA: Wade Miley, .211 (7.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 K, BB, HR)
Lowest WPA: Mike Napoli, -.087 (0-4, K, GIDP, 3 LOB)

If it feels like a while since the Red Sox had a bad start, well, it kinda has! Like, a whole turn through the rotation! Surely this means that the problems are solved and the team doesn’t desperately need help if it’s going to have any prayer of contending, right?

Eh, maybe. But hey, a 4-2 win is better than a 4-2 loss.

BLAKE SWIHART WATCH: Still can’t hit. 0-4 with a K today, 17-82 with three walks and 24 K on the season. That’s a .207/.235/.280 line, kids. Blake Swihart sucks.

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Red Sox Game 50 reaction

May 31, 2015 Leave a comment

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Red Sox Game 49 reaction: Bleh.

May 29, 2015 Leave a comment

Highest WPA: Blake Swihart, .156 (1-3, BB, RBI)
Lowest WPA: Rusney Castillo, -.261 (1-4, 2 GIDP, LOB)

By stringing together four kinda okay outings in a row, Steven Wright has established himself as the Red Sox’ best, most reliable starting pitcher.

Cole Hamels went eight innings and allowed two runs tonight, by the way.

Jon Lester had a 1.76 ERA this month, by the way.

John Lackey has a 123 ERA+ on the season, by the way.

Anyway, “kinda okay” should sometimes be good enough, and it almost was; Wright allowed three runs, and the offense scored four, so it was conceivable that the Red Sox could win this one…except, of course, tonight was a night that the bullpen exploded. When you build a team with one strength, and then that strength falls apart, every game becomes an exciting adventure, where you’re never sure how you’re going to lose next.

Speaking of the Red Sox’ one strength, though, Hanley Ramirez homered again. That’s wonderful. He’s now gone deep in back-to-back games after not homering at all since he slammed his shoulder into the wall. Of course, nobody else really did much of anything; after Hanley, the best performance came from Blake Swihart, who is garbage. I was kidding when I tweeted this…

…but with a scant two games in the month, the man we wouldn’t trade for Cole Hamels totes a .224/.257/.269 batting line, good for a .526 OPS. Fun fact: Opponents facing Cole Hamels have a .643 OPS this year.

Of course, Swihart isn’t the only lottery ticket from which the Red Sox have scratched off one non-wionning number. Mookie Betts continues to play every day, and bat second, with his .302 OBP. Xander Bogaerts, who is now over 800 terrible plate appearances into his career, is still far too valuable to even consider trading for anything short of…I honestly have no idea what the Red Sox Prospect Hype Machine would consider a fair trade for him. I’d say Kershaw, but he costs money. Trout? Trout if the Angels take on most of his contract?

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