Friday, September 19, 2008

Final Ninal

Why is it that when a grounder goes to Papelbon, he turns into a bumbling fool? He pitched out of his own little mess to get the save tonight. Rays killed Minny, so we're still 1.5 back with nine to play. Our magic number for officially clinching a playoff spot is 2. I'll take that in two wins by us, please, as we need to root for the runner-up against the Rays over the next two days. (Actually, the Yanks are tied with Minnesota now to confuse things further.)

Two wins by us in the next two days also eliminates the Yanks during their final homestand. We could also take them out tomorrow with a win and a loss by them.

It would seriously be great if we won the division--I just bought a ticket to ALDS home game 3, which won't happen if we're the wild card. The non-refundable fee is $15, so I essentially have bet 15 bucks that we'll win the east. And go to a game 5. If you wanna place the same bet, you may still be able to get singles--call 617 482 4SOX. The first two games are sold out (I'm going to game one anyway), but try for three. I got mine after 5, and they put them on sale at 3. I called at 10 and they still didn't have an "all games sold out" message. Oh, and infield grandstand are only 55 bucks for round one. Only a 5-dollar increase from regular season!

I was really convinced Papelbon was gonna blow that game. I have little confidence in him right now; seems that he can't throw anything other that a fastball for a strike, so the hitters all wait for it.

And it sounds like our Division/Postseason hopes took another hit this morning. In addition to Lowell being well below 100%, it sounds like Drew might be done for the year.
And not to overload the pessimism bandwagon, but I felt this post over at YFSF did a pretty good job of articulating why trying to win in October this year as the Wild Card would likely be a daunting task:
Not gonna read the negative article, because I don't want to--but I couldn't help but notice they're the ones on the MVN roundtable that said our weakness was our performance on the road--just days after I noted how only three teams in the AL have a better road record than us. If you look at our road record since the end of May, it's totally fine.

People also said we were dead after being down 3-1 in the ALCS. The playoffs haven't even started yet! This is the reason the major radio station has a "whiner" line in a town where all the teams are constantly winning championships. And instead of no one calling it because there's nothing to whine about, a million people call it and it has its own award shows and everything.

Can you imagine Yankee fans, after winning in '96, '98, and '99, going into the playoffs saying, "Well, it doesn't look good..."

I say let the other teams be afraid of the World Champs. Who else has Beckett, Lester, and Dice as their top three? As Mike Lowell said today, Nobody's going in saying Woohoo, we get to face those three. Okay, he didn't use the word Woohoo.

Granted, we got rid of Manny for some reason, and he was the key big bat in the lineup, but if the pitching is as strong as it can be, we win.
Not sure why you're comparing 'Paul SF' of the YFSF Blog to the EEI whiner line idiots; he's pretty much a thousand miles removed from that crowd in terms of temperment and intelligence. And he's not a pessimist by nature, just a realist; I find his analyses to be very well thought-out and presented, and he's one of the big reasons to read that site. And the post that I referred to which you refuse to read focuses not on the Sox' overall road record, but on their record v their likely playoff opponents, which (in stark contrast to the last several years) is poor in general (except against the Chisox) and absolutely abysmal on the road. Does it mean that the Sox have no shot? No, of course not, but it's certainly not encouraging. As I've said before, we'd be far better off playing Chicago in the first round.

And I agree with you that the playoff rotation of Beckett/Lester/DiceK is this team's greatest strength, and the biggest reason for optimism. But the bullpen really scares me right now, and it's pretty clear that the Angels and Rays have a big advantage in that department. That, along with the banged up lineup, are clear areas of concern.

As an aside, it's interesting to note that Jason Bay's stat line in Boston is not that far below what Manny was doing pre-trade; a lower OB%, but slightly higher SLG%. The biggest difference, not surprisingly, is the lower walk rate. Factor in defense and baserunning, and the overall package has been pretty much a wash.

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