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Monday, October 22, 2007

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This World Series is interesting but if the Rockies have any shot they need two thing to continue:

1. Their bullpen to pitch lights out - This is one area where the Rockies have a clear advantage. The Sox basically have two reliable options out of the pen right now (Papelbon and Okajima) while Hurdle can realistically go 4 or 5 deep (Herges, Hawkins, Corpas, Fuentes, Affeldt).

2. Unlikely contributions - The Rockies' offense has actually been fairly anemic so far this postseason. If the Rockies are going to win the Series, they are going to need to get unlikely contributions from guys like Yorvit, Matsui, and Smith.

I just don't believe the Rockies are going to get away with throwing guys like Josh Fogg against the Red Sox. the Cards could get away with that because the Tigers didn't have the exceptionally patient, top-to-bottom offense of Boston, but I have to believe they're going to eat Fogg and Morales alive. even Jimenez and Francis are really going to have to step up if they're going to continue pitching well.

ae: Good point. The Phillies and D'backs both have guys in their lineups who aren't very patient and their approach played right into the Rockies hands. I think the Sox lineup will be far more patient, 1 through 9.

as some supporting evidence, here's how many pitches the Red Sox lineup sees per PA.

Pedroia 4.02
Youkilis 4.48
Ortiz 4.07
Ramirez 4.16
Lowell 3.82
Drew 3.97
Varitek 4.02
Crisp 3.82
Lugo 3.93

the MLB average is 3.74. this is what kills you against a team like Boston or NY - there's just no letup for the pitcher. even when you're going against the weak hitters like Crisp or Lugo, they're taking pitches and making you work.

for comparison, five of our Game 3 starters were below league average in P/PA - Ruiz, Nunez, Victorino, Rollins, and Rowand.

of course, there are other things you need to look at when you're assessing a player - any comparison between Rollins and Lugo is laughable no matter how many pitches Lugo takes. but this part of the Red Sox attack really kills a lot of teams. Sabathia gave up 7 walks in 10 IP in the ALCS; that's more than 450% of his regular season walk rate.

Not sure I missed this somewhere else, but the 2008 tentative schedule is out.

We'll raise our NL East championship banner on Mon. March 31st against the Washington Nationals. Our second series is on the road against the Cincinnati Reds. Any chance we actually start the season at least 3-3?

Our next two series are at the Mets and home against the Cubs. It should be a good gauge of the team we have coming out of spring training.

Our interleague games are: vs. Boston, vs. Anaheim, at Oakland, at Texas.

We have a 10 game homestand leading into the All Star break.

We close the season with 6 at home vs. the Braves and Nationals. Our last games against the Mets are a two game homestand towards the end of August and a three game road trip the first weekend of September.

Schedule at the end is the same as it was in 2007 (you'd think that they'd mix it up a little, not that I'm complaining ending with 6 at CBP).

I'm going to take the Red Sox in 6 in the World Series. The lay-off is going to hurt Colorado and I actually don't see them winning a game in Boston. Don't forget though the Red Sox have to be without either Ortiz, Lowell or Youkilis for the games in Colorado because of the lack of a DH. With Youk and Lowell each hitting right-handed, the platoon option is out because you know they won't bench Ortiz, even against a guy like Morales. It actually wouldn't surprise me if the Red Sox go up 2-0, drop Games 3 and 4 in Colorado to even it up before Beckett shuts the Rockies down in Game 5 and Schilling wins it in Game 6 back at Fenway.

Nice little posts from ae and CJ. CJ, I'll post on the schedule tomorrow.

Well, my favorite team is the Phillies... my second favorite is Cleveland. I don't want either of these teams to win.

[Don't forget though the Red Sox have to be without either Ortiz, Lowell or Youkilis for the games in Colorado because of the lack of a DH.]

The Sox could also pull Drew out of RF and stick Lowell out there, placing Youkilis at 3B and Ortiz at first.

Jason: When you post on the sked tomorrow please note the tougher AL foes than we had this season.

sophist: As far as I know, Lowell has never played OF in his life.

@Sophist: Lowell won't be playing in rightfield, he actually has never played there in his career.
The outfield of the Red Sox depends completely on whether Coco Crisp is healthy or not. If he is not healthy, they will be playing Drew and Ellsbury in the outfield every game, while if Crisp plays, it will be Crisp and Drew in each game with Ellsbury off the bench as a pinch hitter or pinch-runner late in games.
In Coors Field, they're actually going to have a ridiculous bench (Crisp/Ellsbury, Youk/Lowell, Mirabelli, Kielty, Cora), which would come in handy except bear in mind that they're being managed by Terry Francona.

I'm banking on the Red Sox winning in 6. I should also mention that, after having to deal with Beckett and Schilling in games 1 and 2, Dice-k will be an extremely tough match-up in game 3. If you look at his stats, Matsuzaka is incredibly tough when he faces an opponent for the first time. The Rockies hitters are young, and in order to succeed against Dice-K you need to be patient, work counts, and make him walk hitters to lead to the big inning.

I'm currently at school in Boston now - though *hopefully* coming back to Philly next year for law school after receiving my lsat score ;) - so I've seen them win consistently all year long. Colorado is hot, but I think Rocktober comes to an end in 10 days with Schilling winning game 6, bloody sock or not.

Sorry guys, I was writing from rumors I heard, though I can't remember now where I read them. Could it have been Youkilis in RF that I heard. I'll try looking around my internet footpath today to see if I can recover to source of my speculation.

diggity, how did the scoring go? I think I did well enough for Penn and was thinking about early decision. I'd love to come home, but I may hold out for Columbia/NYU or Chicago where I think I have a slim chance.

I can't found where I read that. It must have been a dream. Youkilis has played 3B and LF (18 games in 2006), though.

Sophist-
Youkilis has played leftfield a couple times, but he will not be placed in the outfield at the expense of Manny (whom they will DEFINITELY not put in Right). the only time they put Youk in left, as a matter of fact, was when Manny or Ortiz was injured, so the other could DH.
So most likely they will put Lowell at 3rd, Ortiz at 1st, and Youkilis will be a pinch-hitter off the bench.

Also, Sophist, I'm shooting for Temple/Nova with regard to law schools. Either way, I just hope I can get in somewhere in Philly and come home!

diggity - you are probably right. I was mindlessly quoting an idea I heard earlier in the day without checking it out myself.

Good luck with your applications! I've just got to write the personal statement. I hate these things.

I'm really pulling for the Rockies in this one. The more the Red Sox lose, the better the chance we get Schilling. However, the Sox can keep Lowell as he sounds a little too much like David Bell. I would like to give Dobbs a chance at starting for the season, or even better acquiring Atkins or Blalock in a trade. I'm not sure what their respective teams are asking for, though.

Anyway go Rox, sweep the Sox, make history!

The Rockies are playing so well, but one has to wonder if this long layoff will hurt them, similar to what happened to Detroit last year.

I would think Boston's mind is already made up on Schilling, one way or the other. Should we really be so excited if the Phillies pursue him? He would give up more homers than Moyer at CPB, and probably amass the same overall record if he can manage to keep his blobby body from breaking down. The one asset he still presents is that he is a certifiable big-game pitcher, and that means a lot for a contender.

It isn't like the Rockies have no chance, but they haven't exactly played dynamos to this point in the playoffs. They would appear in over their heads this time. If they can get the series back to Boston, it would be quite an accomplishment.

Between the Patriots and Red Sox, no American city has been spoiled more this decade than Boston. Once could say that as passionate about sports as they are in New England, the glory is well-deserved. Yet I can't get out of my head the 'Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye' taunting at Fenway after Game 7 had been broken open. That says to me they are in great need of humbling all over again, and I hope like hell the Rockies can take them down.

RSB, I agree. During all those years of losing, the Red Sox fans never learned to be gracious winners. Now that they've enjoyed some success recently, they don't know how to handle it.

The "hey hey goodbye" stuff is sophmoric at best, better left to squealing coeds at high school football games.

ZT: Compare Bell's career stats to Lowell's year by year. You will quickly see there is no comparison.

clout: Just did, you're right there really is no comparison. I don't know though, aging third basemen just does not sound good to me.

I think the advantage of schilling, in addition to his ability in big games, is the fact that he is a capable starter who we wouldn't need to commit more than one year to (unlike silva, etc.).

RSB,

Count me in on your comments about the Sox fans. If I hear one more comment from an announcer about long suffering Red Sox fans my TV is in serious danger.

Not only the Patriots and the Red Sox, but the Celtics have had some tough teams through the 70's and 80's that gave the town a lift and some championships even when the Red Sox were a little down and out.

Like the Red Sox players for the most part, they're good, they're entertaining to watch, and it's fun to watch games on TV that are being played in Fenway. But the fans are getting old fast.

BTW, Cleveland will probably remember the Na na na na chant for a long time too. The sun doesn't shine on the same dog's rear all the time, and these Indians are going to be around for a while. In the interviews I saw the players like Varitek were very respectful of the Indians, but those fans...

Here is a trade I would like to see the Phils explore:

Tejada for Burrell

Makes sense for both teams.

Positives for Phils:
1. Fills the hole at 3B for the next 2 years (Tejada is signed at $13 million/year through '09)
2. Tejada is a guy who gets on base, makes good contact, and doesn't strike out a lot.
3. Gives the Phils a plus right-handed bat in the lineup with some pop.
4. Tejada would likely be a decent defender at 3B and could even move over to SS to give JRol the seldom day off.
5. Burrell's day as a Phil are likely done after '08 and the only thing the Phils will get will be a draft pick.


Positives for the Orioles:
1. O's are able to move a player that is unhappy in Baltimore and was publicly critical of the franchise last year.
2. Burrell provides a considerable offensive upgrade in LF over Payton/Gibbons
3. Burrell would be a good compliment to DH with Huff (right/lefty combo)
4. O's have a bunch of players signed to contracts that they want to get out of (Gibbons/Baez/Mora to name a few) and Burrell's money would be freed up after '08 instead of Tejada in '09.

I don't understand all the backlash against the Red Sox. The Indians-Red Sox series was 10x better than any other postseason series this year.

Sure, there are a lot of annoying bandwagon jumpers in "Red Sox Nation." So what. That happens with any successful club though with a longstanding history/national presence.

Plus, people complain about some of their players. I agree about Manny (who is a jerk and a showboat yet for some reason escapes large-scale criticism nationally) but they have a ton of guys who play the game right and hard including Varitek, Youk, Pedroia, Lowell, etc.

Just look back at the 2001 Red Sox. I challenge you to find a team with a bunch of bigger jerks including Lansing, Bichette, Everitt, Offerman, etc. Now that was a hard team to root for while I was in Boston and generally very unpopular with fan base (including a personal story that involved one of my friends who is a Boston cop, was off-duty, and helped to settle down a yelling match between Lansing and a Red Sox fan in a bar after he made a comment stating that Lansing had the range at SS of a guy playing in the West Roxbury softball league).

I did find the "Na na na" chant a bit bush league but I have no ill will against the Sox for winning.

"Here is a trade I would like to see the Phils explore:

Tejada for Burrell"

I like the sounds of that. The money works out for both teams. I think with Gillick saying 08 is it for him (and likely Manuel as well), I think management "goes for it" in the offseason. With the NL as topsy-turvey as it is right now and with so many of the best Phils in their primes/or just hitting their primes, the time is now to make the move.

The Phils biggest off-season need for a position player is 3B. I think Joe Crede is definitly a possibilty with Gillick's buddy Ken Williams as a trade partner. Could the Sox take Flash Gordon back in that deal? Or would it take a Madson?

But, Tejada would be a perfect fit for Philly. A perfect guy to slot in as a #3 hitter, between Utley and Howard. A better all around player than Burrell.

I think Rocco Baldelli's name will come up in conjunction with the Phils in the off-season. The Rays don't have any room for him anymore as a starter. He has been injury-prone recently, but has 5-tool talent. Could probably pry him away from TB for a lot less than it should take for a player with his ability. When healthy, a much better player than Burrell. Could very well be the everyday LF in Philly next year and be that #5 hitter (behind Howard). Its a gamble that the Phils could take a shot on, if they move Burrell.

I think Vic is the everyday CF in 08'. I think some sort of Dobbs/Werth/??? platoon will be in RF. And, I think Bourn gets moved in the offseason (Houston maybe???) for another piece of the major league puzzle.

And, I think Schilling will be a Phil next year. It makes too much sense not to happen. He doesn't have the stuff he had 5 years ago, but he can still win big league games and he can still win big games. Could be a nice fit (if he can stay healthy) and the type of "personality" on the staff that is needed.

But, above Schilling (or any other starter that could be added), a 8th inning guy is DESPERATELY needed. Romero should re-sign and if Madson stays (which I think is 50/50 at this point), he will be solid. Gordon is iffy to stay healthy, and I think could be moved to a contender, who thinks they can get 1 more good year out of him (plus he pitched well at the end of the year). Myers will be the closer. Guys like Bisenius, Zagurski, Durbin, Mateo, Smith, Condrey and Mathieson could be in the mix for bullpen spots in ST. But, a solid 8th inning guy is the target for the off-season for Gillick. It has to be. Its what seperates the real contenders from the pretenders in current-day baseball. You can't win big nowadays without a solid 7th-8th inning-type pitcher. Its what killed the Phils this year so many times. For the team to take another step next year, that guy better be found.

Just my 2 cents. The Braves will be better next year. The Mets, we all know, will be super-aggressive (which might not always be good) to add to their team. The Brewers are coming along. The Rockies should still be good for another year (until some hit free agency). The D-Backs are young and talented at many spots. The Dodgers have young talent everywhere. The Cubs have good pitching and will try to spend money. The Marlins have some intriguing talent. The NL is down now, but with the young talent here or on the way with several teams, it won't be down for long. Time to strike now.

denny b - Good feedback. I disagree though about the need for an absolute "shutdown'em" setup guy. I would much rather have the Phils have 3 solid setup guys in the pen than one "shutdown'em" guy.

Plus, I disagree about the NL being much better next year. I don't know if the Phils will make the playoffs again if they win 89 games but there it is pretty unlikely there is going to be a juggernaut in the NL next year either.

I also like the Phils chances again in the NL East pending what happens this offseason. Braves will likely be trending water (around 85 wins) again, Mets still have some serious pitching questions to address, and Nats/Fish are unlikely to be contenders next year again either. If the Phils could somehow improve to 92 wins next year, I would be more than willing to bet they have a really great to clinch the NL East again.

You didn't hear much about it this year but Carlos Pena has my vote for the most overlooked player this season. He put up some pretty sick numbers (.286 46 HRs, 121 RBI, .411 OBP) on a terrible D-Rays team.

I have to disagree on a Burrell/Tejeda trade. my biggest concern would be Tejeda's consistent decrease in production the last few years. he plays a demanding infield position, and it's very possible that he could just be out of gas. look at his double numbers: 50 in 2005 (162 games), 37 in 2006 (162 games), 19 in 2007 (133 games). additionally, he's not at all a patient hitter (3.5 P/PA in 2007 and declining every year since 2002), which makes me think he won't age well.

the other problem is that you're replacing one hole with another hole. there's virtually nobody you can get to replace Burrell's production, unless you're willing to tie the team down with an even longer and more excessive contract than the one Burrell signed.

on Baldelli: When healthy, a much better player than Burrell.

no, he's not. he may play better defense (in left field, where defense barely matters) and he may be faster, but he's not even remotely close to the player Burrell is. true, you have to give him extra credit for hitting .280/.326/.436 at a very young age, 22. if he'd been in the lineup consistently since then, he'd be putting up much better numbers now. but in the three years since 2004, he's played only 127 games. you don't develop as a hitter when you're sitting in a doctor's office.

MG: The Tejeda for Burrell trade is very interesting. There would be a sharp dropoff in offense and the Phils would need to get a starting LF somewhere, but they are easier to get than 3B.

denny b.: I almost always agree with your posts, but have to take issue with your view that Bisenius, Zagurski, Durbin, Mateo, Smith, Condrey and Mathieson offer any kind of solution to the bullpen mess. This was kdon's view last offseason and we saw how that turned out.

I also disagree with you about how easy it will be to get Rocco Baldelli. If the Rays are serious about dealing him there will be serious competition from other teams.

I do agree with the rest of your post, although I don't like Crede at all.

MG: What's interesting is that Pena was signed by the Rays as a free agent last offseason.

Kinda hoping we're talking *Tejada* for Burrell and not *Tejeda*. Not sure we're ready for a return to Rob.

Ditto clout on the organizational Bullpen fillers. They are inadequate. Bisenius, Zagurski, Mathieson and Smith all need significant time in the minors just to work on stuff - without any guarantee that they're gonna make it.

Also ditto on Baldelli. Even though Tampa Bay may be eager to unload, surely they realize they have a desirable product and will be looking for the best offer. I'm not sure the Phils have the return product they're gonna want (probably starting pitching; their 3-4-5 is, um...., less than solid).

And Joe Crede = David Bell.

I am hoping for a flat out Boston in 4 to send a message toteh MLB bigs: Its clear from watching that the AL has becoem the premier league and teh NL while not the minor leagues is merely the major league.
The AL has won 16 of the last 24 World series; they have not lost a an allstar game this century.
And all this becuase they have implemented the DH which means they have an extra good hitter inthe lineup and tehy don't have t otake a pitcher out or have him bunt. There are other reasons but this is the major difference.

Yeah, the last thing the D-Rays need is another lumbering slugger, and the last thing the Phillies need is another CF.

Good numbers ae, you sense the Sox really wear down pitchers but those numbers highlight the patience.

I don't see anyway the Rockies win a game. The major difference between the AL and NL will be exposed in this series.

well, I'm pretty sure there are posters who would be willing to trade Burrell for Tejeda, too.

RK, I'm not sure why the DH would make the AL the superior league.

Seems to me that the vast majority of talent is in the AL, even if you take out the DHs like Ortiz and Hafner. Most likely it's circular and will even out. I don't see the NL as being permanently inferior.

Regarding AL vs. NL -- restore pitching balance to the league... raise the mound or expand the strike zone. This will help solve *some* of the AL / NL parity and at the same time fix the astronomical pitching salaries.

I actually went back to check the data, it all started about 10 years after the DH was implemented and here is why I think there is a direct relationshi: You see what happened is that guys who were good hitters but were to old or injured (Burrell) could continue to extend their career even get better (Manny Ramirez studies the vids inbeteen his at bats!) The effect is actually bigger. Becuase when we play by AL rules we are at a distinct disadvantage becuase we would not have that extra regular day-to-day hitter at best it would be our bench player. And when they play by NL rules their pinch hitter is a guy who hits regularly not just a bench warmer. The data is pretty clear, what would have happend if the Phillies did not have to trade Thome and could have him as the DH?

RK, you mean Ortiz? Even if it looks like Manny is studying video out there, he does actually play LF.

I see the point about the DH allowing you to keep an extra hitter, but that also means you have to *pay* an extra regular. Assuming that payrolls will be equal, AL teams (other than BOS and NYY) have to scrimp on the budget elsewhere.

I think the biggest difference is that in the last 10 years, the three highest payroll teams in the AL have all significantly improved in either management or ownership. Steinbrenner got out of the way, Henry took over for a terrible ownership group, and Artie Moreno started taking advantage of the LA market.

Add to that the fact that the two best GMs (Shapiro and Beane) are in the AL, and I think that explains a lot of the discrepancy.

The NL was the dominant league for a long time, when teams like Boston and the Angels were a mess and the Cards, Dodgers, and Giants were actually run well.

I'm not really convinced that the DH is the big factor. even good teams don't always have a lot of talent at DH/1B (assuming that first base is the easiest defensive position to fill, and thus closest to a DH): the Yankees gave garbage like Mientkiewicz and Andy Phillips almost 900 innings at first, and had mediocre years from Damon and Giambi at DH. Anaheim used Shea Hillenbrand as DH more than anyone else. Detroit had Sheffield as DH, but had to use Sean Casey at first.

other than Boston and Cleveland, the only teams that had above average production (i.e. OPS+ > 100) at both first and DH were Baltimore, Chicago, and Texas. (and considering that Baltimore's pair was Kevin Millar and Aubrey Huff, I'm setting the bar pretty low.)

now it's true that even a bad DH is going to be worlds better than a pitcher. but if tomorrow, the Phillies moved to the AL, I don't think they'd be at a huge disadvantage. plug Dobbs or Helms in at first and move Howard to a DH (or put Werth in left and DH Burrell), and our AL lineup is perfectly respectable.

adding, I don't think most other NL teams would be at a huge disadvantage either because of some inherent property of DHs. the NL is at a disadvantage because of a significant talent gap, and there's a talent gap because the AL is where the marquee/high payroll teams are, not because of the DH. (at least not directly.)

They need to get rid of the DH. As a baseball purist it takes away from alot of the game strategy,i.e. when to pinch hit for the pitcher. Plus how many of you are looking forward to Barry Bonds hanging around a couple extra years as a DH?

KDON, that was funny thanks for the corrction. I do agree with you about the management. But let's face it baseball is a both a business and a community responsibility. Ownership should strive to get the best talentand spend for it. I am sure the value of the Red Sox has gone up faster than their payroll. To me it's sad that the Phillies have this wonderful hitting machine and other then Cole and Brett and Romero (if he comes back) there is nobody that can even begin to comapre to what is available to Boston. Even the Rockies 2nd and 3rd string pitchers were better than ours. How can ownership squander this opportunity to build a championship tradition?

RK, funny that you consider Romero comparable to "what is available in Boston" - he was only on the Phillies because the Red Sox cut him.

You are absolutely right. The best we could do is feed on their leftovers. By the way he was doing well there, just not as well as some of the others.

I agree with you about Romero being their leftovers, but he was most definitely not doing well. 24 hits and 15 walks in 20 innings is nearly two baserunners an inning, and he wasn't striking anybody out. lucky, yes; good, no.

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