Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Natural

Game 140 – Red Sox

Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 4
Record: 84-56

This game was so largely uncharacteristic of the 2007 Sox that I’m gonna let it pass without a great deal of irrational ranting anger. They didn’t manage the fundamentals particularly well, which ultimately cost them the game. Three times, this team failed to execute sacrifice bunts. The bullpen first let the Jays tie the game in the 8th on Troy Glaus’ solo homer off Manny Delcarmen, then gave up the winning runs in the 9th when Vernon Wells took Hideki Okajima deep.

I did say “a great deal of irrational ranting anger” above, because there was this one minor issue that deserves a mention. The Sox’ offense, as has been its occasional wont this season, squandered several scoring opportunities in this one, exhibiting a great deal of creativity and savoir faire in so doing. Or, more precisely, J.D. Fucking Drew reared his ugly head and his hole-filled swing yet again in the clutch. Twice Drew came to the plate with 1 out and the bases loaded, and twice he failed to deliver. His better-than-average speed salvaged a single run in the first when he beat out the Jays’ attempted double-play turn. In the 7th, though, Drew’s unique ability to find rock-bottom in the clutch was on display, as he swung over yet another low, inside breaking pitch to strike out with the sacks filled and 1 out.

According to Baseball Prospectus’ Run Expectancy calculations, MLB teams average 1.65 runs when they load the bases with a single out. Last night, the Sox managed a single run in two such situations, underperforming by 2.3 runs in those innings alone. Drew himself was responsible for 673% of those squandered runs, according to my laser-sighted solar-powered math machine. He stinks and he sucks and he stinks, and I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I wonder if the Sox would be better off with Bobby Kielty or Eric Hinske as their starting rightfielder. Hinske’s got better SLG numbers and a comparable OBP, with only 2 fewer HR in 270 fewer AB. Hell, Rick Ankiel has exactly as many homers as Drew does this season. I’m not certain about this, but I’m fairly sure I heard Mike Lowell organizing a blanket party for Drew in the dugout during the late innings last night. And it’s long overdue.

But, back to equanimity, so, too was this Sox team overdue for a crappy loss. Off to see the Fighting Angelos' for a 4-game set in Charm City, with 'Take Back the Yards Night' slated for Saturday. Be nice to see the crowd 15% O's fans as opposed to the normal 5%.


Mike said...

I can't stress this enough. I think they are better of with Ellsbbury at the top of the order and in CF. That gives you he and Pedrioa 1-2 which is just what you want ahead of Papi and Manny. Put Coco in RF. Much more dangerous lineup for the post season and beyond.

rob said...

coco's noodle arm in rf in fenway scares me a bit. dwight evans just rolled over in his grave. or bed, whichever.