I had a few entries in my first blog elsewhere, where few people saw it. I’m moving my blog here, and hoping more people see it! Here’s what I wrote there.
August 23, 2007
Yesterday, Texas scored 30 runs in a game, breaking the Red Sox American League record of 29 set long before I was born. What hurt more: David Murphy went 5 for 7, and is now 11 for 20 (.550) for his new team, Texas. Who got the win? Kason Gabbard. Double-ouch!
This trade keeps haunting me.
August 12, 2007
Ouch! Gagne hasn’t gotten off to a good start with the Red Sox. Maybe the non-closer role just doesn’t remind him of his past success. Maybe he’s putting too much pressure on himself now that he’s finally on a team that’s very good. Who knows. But the trade which I already saw as a bad risk is now becoming a bad reality. I hope he turns it around soon, for everyone’s sake.
Again, the bright side of things: if not for Gagne’s implosions, this would have been a very impressive 6-3 road trip against 2 difficult teams and a hot team. Instead, it was 4-5. However, all you have to do is subtract Gagne to get a 6-3 record on a difficult road trip. You don’t have to add anything to the team. So the team itself is still solid. They just need to use Gagne more carefully the next few times until he gets his confidence back.
Their problems are not with the overall construction of the team. They’ll be fine! The schedule gets easier now, and they still have a multi-game lead, and they’ve still got a well-rounded excellent team. They’ll bounce back.
August 9, 2007
The Angels are good. What a brand of aggressive baserunning and baseball they play. They sure do make the game interesting. They’ve got good hitters, at least for half their lineup. It hurts to see Cabrera doing so well for another team. I still don’t understand why the Red Sox ever let him go after 2004. He seemed like the perfect fit, and for a lot less money than Renteria, who seemed like an obviously bad fit in Boston before he set foot in Fenway.
Overall, I love what Theo Epstein has done, especially in developing the farm system. He’s drafted well and built an organization that works hard on player development and support. At the big league level, he’s been aggressive in going after good players that he wants, while not sacrificing too much young talent. I look back at his attempts to get Jose Contreras out of Cuba, and Javier Vazquez from Montreal, and Curt Schilling (on a Thanksgiving week, no less!). Only one of those worked out, but he aggressively and creatively went after all of them.
That’s good. Theo just seems to make one really bonehead bad deal each year, obviously overpaying in dollars or young talent for someone who’s not a sure bet (Sanchez for Suppan, Arroyo for Pena [after having let a more promising “Pena” at the same position, Carlos, just go], JD Drew for too much money), or letting go of someone who is a sure value for the money to get someone who isn’t (Cabrera for Renteria, for example). On the other hand, he’s sometimes done just the reverse, to good effect. I loved it when he refused to overpay for Damon, and went out and got a much better value with likely future upside in Coco Crisp. He got Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar and others dirt cheap, and they all contributed in a big way. He should stick to what he does best, developing or acquiring top-notch young starting pitching talent, and getting mid-level players with intangibles or fundamentals that others overlook.
Now there’s Gagne for Gabbard. Too high a price for someone who’s not sure to stay beyond this season, and not sure to do well in a non-closer role.
I did hear recently that Gagne had to waive a no-trade clause to come to Boston. That bodes a bit better for the chance that he’ll want to stay a few more years. If the Red Sox can get 3 more years from Gagne, with him looking anywhere close to the dominant closer he once was, then perhaps this trade was worth it. But that’s too many big ifs.
Perhaps I’m too high on Gabbard. Perhaps I’ll be wrong. In a strange way, I hope so. Only time will tell.
August 3, 2007
I heard on the radio that Gagne’s contract is up at the end of this year, and that given his past as a closer, there’s a good chance that he won’t want to sign an extension with the Red Sox, since it would mean being a setup man for years to come, given Papelbon’s success and youth.
So now I’m liking this even less. A 3 month rental of Gagne in exchange for 10 or more outstanding years of starting pitching from Kason Gabbard, and who knows what from David Murphy? Yes, I’m that high on Gabbard. He doesn’t have a fastball in the 90s, but Maddux and Glavine have proven you don’t need one. No, he’s not up with those guys, but given how steadily and quickly he has improved at every level of the minors, and even from the beginning of this season at AAA to now, I don’t see why he can’t at least get close to their level soon. He’s clearly someone who’s smart, and “getting it” more every day, figuring out how to pitch at a very young age. It’s sad that he’ll finish his development into a top-notch major league starter for another team. Very sad. And all for a 3 month rental, to increase slightly the odds that the Red Sox will win the World Series this year. How frustrating!
August 2, 2007
The Red Sox now begin a 9 game, difficult road trip, starting in Seattle where they’ve lost a bunch of games in a row, then to the team with the next-best record, the Angels. The Yankees have an easier schedule during that time, after which the Red Sox schedule gets easier and the Yankees’ schedule harder. The Yankees have to make hay during this stretch, or the division race will be over. If the Red Sox win more than they lose in this road trip, they should be in great shape entering the easier part of their schedule.
July 31, 2007
I’m not sure why the Red Sox made this trade. Their bullpen is their biggest strength. Why give up 2 of your best young players to make a strength a little stronger? I can understand wanting to protect Papelbon, but it hasn’t been like he’s been needed much. There have only been a few days when Okajima has had to close. The middle relievers are fine. The starters are going long into games. I don’t get it. It such a high, high price to pay to lose many years of future fine performances of Gabbard and Murphy just to strengthen a strength.
I know, Gagne was once super-dominant, and is still semi-dominant, so we’re getting a proven very good closer. But we have a dominant closer already. We have a dominant setup guy already. I don’t get it.
July 23, 2007
Jonathan Lester. I’m proud to have the same first name as this man!
What a story. Maybe this is the kind of thing that will wake up the Red Sox from the funk they’ve been in, and getting them playing with some passion and inspiration. They certainly started to show signs of it against Chicago this weekend, winning the last 3 games of that series by a combined score of 29-10.
July 18, 2007
The Sox have now lost 11 of the 19 games they’ve played since June 26, inclusive, with a 1-9 record in one-run games and a 7-2 record in runs decided by 2 or more. They’ve outscored their opponents by a huge margin in that time. They just can’t seem to get the key hit with men on base when they need it. Despite speed from Crisp and Lugo, they can’t seem to manufacture a single run when they need it, either.
The bullpen is fine… it just hasn’t been needed much. There are no long-term concerns (unless you’re worrying about JD Drew living up to his contract, but that’s another matter).
Randomly divide up the runs they’ve scored and allowed over the last 19 games, and you’ll probably get an 11-8 record instead of 8-11. 3 games better in the standings would make a huge difference in how you perceive things, wouldn’t it?
So, no need to worry just yet!
July 15th, 2007
I wish all the Red Sox fans on the radio, and reporters on TV and in the papers would calm down and realize that the Red Sox recent woes are not due to “the beginning of the end” and any kind of long-term trend that will continue. It’s an anomaly. Look at these numbers.
Since June 26th, inclusive, the Red Sox are 7-9, but 8 of the 9 losses have been by ONLY 1 RUN! They’re 1-8 in one-run games in that time, and 6-1 in games decided by more than a run. It’s not a bullpen problem, either. That’s still a strength. The starters haven’t been great, but they haven’t been bad, either, and the starting rotation should get better soon as Lester and Schilling work their way back to health.
They’re outscoring opponents by a lot overall. The main problem is timely offense. Papi and Manny aren’t doing what they used to do. They’re leaving a lot of men on base that they usually drive in. Long-term, I’m not concerned. They’ll hit more consistently soon. The team as a whole is showing that it can score a lot of runs, they just aren’t doing it consistently. One game they have way more than they need, the next they come up just slightly short.
This has just been a long run of strange luck, either winning big or getting just barely beaten, making comeback attempts in games that come up just short, by one run, time and time again. It won’t last.
Again: 1-8 in one-run games. 6-1 in the rest. They should be 10-6 instead of 7-9 in that span!