Monday, May 21, 2018

Boston fans are terrified, and they have reason to be

Yesterday, down the road in Rochester - (runner-up city for the 2017-18 Golden Snowball award!) - the traveling Pawsocks of Pawtucket suffered a tough 3-0 defeat. Damn. Hard to imagine, but their venerable Pawtucketian lineup produced only six hits. Mike Olt, the 3B cleanup hitter, went 0-4; by the way, he's 29. Catcher Mike Ohlman's average fell to .247. He's 27. DH Aneury Tavarez took the collar; he's 26. The team's top hitter - 1B Jordan Betts (no relation) - went 0-4. He's hitting .275. Oh, he's 26.

Wherever you looked - RF Cole Sturgeon, batting .071, age 26! - you see weathered mugs instead of the starry-eyed phenoms that fueled the Boston resurgence in this millennium. There are still prospects on the farm, but three fruitless years of reaching for the brass ring have drained the system, and Boston's best prospect, Jason Groome, this month left for Tommy John surgery. The cupboard is looking bare.

At Pawtucket, you see a lineups reminiscent of those trotted out by the Yankees in Scranton throughout the early 2000s, when the team pursued its relentless and impossible quest to win every year. 

Meanwhile, yesterday, against the O's, Boston CF Jackie Bradley Jr. smacked a double! As a Redsock fan told me last night, it's a wonder they didn't stop the game and give him the ball. Bradley is batting .165, and the golden memories of 2015 - when he started the All-Star game in LF, won the AL Player of the Month in May, and looked like the reason why Yankee fans should forget the next decade - look like a cruel practical joke by Ashton Kutcher. The way Boston fans once touted him, I used to call the guy Jackie Yastrzemski Jr. In fact, a better comparison would be Oddibe McDowell Jr.

Listen: John Sterling loves to say that you cannot predict baseball, Suzyn, but he's sorta wrong. You can't predict the next pitch, but over the course of a season, you can predict a lot of things. You can know that Brett Gardner will hit at least .260, that Giancarlo Stanton will belt at least 40 home runs, and that the 2018 Yankees will make the post-season. What you cannot do, Suzyn, is ever be certain... of anything. 

Boston opened 2018 by blowing a game against Tampa Bay in the ninth. After that, they went 17-1 - seventeen and one! - building a 7 and 1/2 game lead in the division. Yet today, they are in second. And make no mistake, the Redsock Nation has noticed. We have been witnessing one of the hottest streaks in Yankee history. Let us pause to consider that statement - ... in Yankee history - yet still, nothing is certain.

Yesterday, Didi Gregorius sat out his second straight game, so Ronald Torreyes could once again remind us that he is baseball's premier utility man, after Ben Zobrist. Didi had been AL Player of the Month in April, hitting .386 at one point. Now, he sits at .248, a torturous fall. Is he Jackie Bradley Jr? I don't think so... Didi has two solid years behind him; Bradley in 2015 abruptly burst onto the scene. Still, you can take nothing for granted, Suzyn.

Wait... that's not true. Today, there is a huge chasm between the Yankees and Redsocks, and you can find it in Pawtucket and Scranton. Boston is riding on two incredibly hot bats - Mookie Betts and JD Martinez - the game's top tandem, by far. They frame Babe Benintendi and Mitch Moreland (who is hitting .313, far above his career). But if either falters, Boston will replace them with - gulp - Oddibe Bradley Jr., and it's a long drop.

The Yankees have something entirely different going on. In his last four games, Aaron Judge is 0-15, but hardly anybody noticed. In KC, Gary Sanchez won one game, almost single-handedly, and yesterday, Tyler Austin won another. Stanton kicked in a few hits, and the Yankees rolled the Royals. When it was over, Clint Frazier - who contributed two walks and a double in his only outing - had to return to Scranton, where Brandon Drury, Greg Bird and Billy McKinney are preparing to kick down the door. Tomorrow, we could suffer a spate of injuries, promoting replacements who are up-and-coming stars, not minor league vets clinging to a final shot at the pension plan.

There is a lesson here, and let's hope Cooperstown Cashman gets it: The secret to building baseball teams is to always maintain a huge wave of talent. It's not enough to keep one or two targeted prospects, because nothing - nobody - is a certainty. Boston is choking on money and age, and their fans can sense it. They are starting to see the long term picture, and it terrifies them. They went 17-2 to open the season, and they are in second place. Wow.

65 comments:

TheWinWarblist said...

AAAaAaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHaaaa-ah-ah-ah-aaaaaaaaAaAaHaHaHaaaAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!!__+!!!'"£!!!

Parson Tom said...

What I live for and enjoy most: the delicious taste of Boston fear. 1978, 2003 and lots in between and some since. I don't know why but winning is not enough. Our enemies must also be vanquished and humiliated. Not unrelated to the idea that the fear of losing is much more powerful than the love of winning. I know this is not unique to me or us. Boston fans have the same feelings toward the Yankees, but fuck them.

KD said...

Love me some Toe but he does need to work some walks to go along with that incredible average. I can live with the modest power if he could just better extend rallies and wear down opposing pitchers. He'd then be the perfect utility guy.

John M said...

The only actual Red Sox fans I know are just like us. They think the front office is a bunch of idiots, they question every managerial move that turns out badly (or even not badly), they rank on sub-par player performances, etc.

Which is fine, because we can get along nicely, all of us complaining and kvetching. They hate our team, we hate their team, but we also kind of hate our own teams for the bonehead things they do.

It's really weird.

KD said...

I hear you, John. I know two rabid redsock fans and they are both wonderful men. (but, as Coney would say, that's a small sample size.) Tormenting them is all part of the fun. What is life without fun? Boring, IMO. My wife wonders why I spend so much time with duque's blog. No mystery. so much fun! I've even started laughing at stats anon. It is possible he is performing some bizarre parody of sorts. If true, he's pretty awesome. If not true, not so awesome but I'd laugh at him anyway.

Alphonso said...

Don't laugh at him KD, it just spurs him on.

It is like saying," Duque, you sound really good playing those bongo drums...."

But a few hours later, you are striking knives through the leather.

TheWinWarblist said...

'Phonso, you can put up with a few hours?

Anonymous said...


So we have this abundance of talent right now to where we might have to send potential rookie of the year Tyler Austin down when Bird comes back? Yeesh!

We have this log jam because Cashman either:

A) Panicked when he signed/traded for Walker and Drury or

B) Was smart to sign Walker and Drury because "what if the kids aren't ready?"

I guess it was A. But I really like Drury as our Zobrist.

The third base situation is kind of interesting. I'm a big AnDUjar fan but in watching him I'm beginning to see what his detractors are talking about. On the defensive side it's not that he's bad (as in errors) but I notice a lot of balls get by him for hits. Balls that maybe a better third baseman gets to.

He's still young, but I don't know if it's a learned thing. It seems more twitchy. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt but I'm starting to get it.

Regardless, at this point the Yankees should try to trade Walker if they can. Between Gleybar at second (with Torreyes, and Drury as backups. Short with Didi (with Torreyes and Drury) and third with AnDUjar (and Drury) and First with Bird (and Austin) he's the guy who should go. Keep the kids on the 25 man roster.

also, Gotta get Clint back up somehow as well before people start thinking of him as expendable. I think he's next year's starting Left Fielder right?

Something's gotta give. Plus we still need pitching. So some of the above are dead men walking (and hitting -- and will still go anyway.)

Doug K.



KD said...

Doug, It is very obvious to me that Clint will be in left next year. Gardner, sad to say, will be gone.

Anonymous said...

Doug K. would do well to check his subjective impressions against a wealth of available defensive metrics--you know, the kind that are used by GMs with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, not just indulging the joys of Internet babble. If he did so, he would find that Andujar's defensive WAR rating on Baseball-Reference is about the same as Drury's over the years--both in zero territory (meaning average)--and both in the same territory as someone like Todd Frazier--not a vast difference. Contrast this to someone like Brooks Robinson, whose dWAR peaked at 4.5 in the late sixties, or Graig Nettles, whose peaked at around 3.5 or 4 in his best years--one with Cleveland, one with the Yankees (1976), but otherwise, was in the 1.5 to 2 range. Mike Schmidt never surpassed a dWAR of 2.6, and spend most of his career in the one-ish neighborhhood.

So Andujar is about as good as Drury on defense, and not much worse than someone like Frazier. And even the reputed defensive wizards didn't sustain staggeringly high defensive numbers for as long as you might expect. In other words, denigrating Andujar over his defense--especially since he barely has his feet wet in MLB competition--is foolish.

Anonymous said...

spent most of his career (typo)

TheWinWarblist said...

Seems that way about Gardy. Will always be welcome at Old Timers Day.

Anonymous said...

I think that delaying the ascension of Clint Frazier is just more Cashman imbecility.

It's clear that Frazier, if given the chance, would be a more valuable player than Gardner or Hicks right now. Frazier has speed on the bases and in the outfield, a good arm, and a lightning-quick bat with power. Hicks, notwithstanding his mini-surge of the past week or so, is a chronic underachiever who is overrated on defense and a career-long bust on offense, with only rare spurts of productivity at the bat--another relic in the museum of Cashman's reclamation follies. He does have a good eye at the plate and gets on base a lot--I think he's an ideal fourth outfielder. If Cashman had any cojones, he would promote Frazier now as the left-fielder (with Stanton mainly as DH), and find a new home for Gardner, whose main asset--speed--is not going to wear well in his age 34 season and is only marginally superior to Frazier in this respect.

Frazier is the kind of talent you can build a dynasty around. Hicks--and, at this point, Gardner--not so much. By keeping Frazier buried and demoralized in AAA ball, the Yankees are simply not putting their best talent on the field. That is job one for a GM--if Cashman will never accomplish it unless he can get over his ego and acknowledge his past blunders.

KD said...

Could not agree more about Frazier. Coops must find a way to bring him up and make him stick. Every day that goes by with him in AAA is opportunity lost.

Anonymous said...

Anon,

Thanks for running those numbers. My eye said marginal (about AnDUjar.) but I had no (visual) basis of comparison to Drury.

I suppose if I was employed by a front office I would have had to look it up myself leaving me both joyless and babbleless. Fortunately, I can babble on as is my wont.

I agree with you about Frazier. I'd rather see him up now. I also agree about both his potential and the possible consequence of sending him down. Also, As I've said in the past, I am no fan of Hicks.

So, empirically speaking on these matters, given that you and are three for three on this thread (for a 100% agreement ratio - 100 AR) the odds of us arguing about this are zero.

Doug K.

Carl Weitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

If you could change history, you’d skip over slavery to which bad Cashman trade?

Carl Weitz said...

"There once were some over-the-hill Red Sox from Pawtucket.............."

Alphonso said...

Win Warble Person...YOu are quite right.

I am good for about 22 seconds of the bongo serenade. But he would bet great with a native tribe in Mali.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

I think I saw these guys on Gilligan's Island:

https://www.behance.net/gallery/8009669/the-last-head-hunters-konyak-tribe-warrior

HoraceClarke66 said...

Great to hear about Boston's future, Duque. Though I agree with John M.: having spent much of my youth in Red Sock territory, at a time when the Yanks were not great, I found most of the Carmine Hose fans I knew to be...pretty good people. Terrific people, in fact.

Really, this is the greatest rivalry in pro sports, and we have now become linked by it. Yeah, I hate the sort of constant moralizing Boston fans slide into—'Oh, we are such a plucky, deserving underdog!'—but I suppose we are just as unbearable in our arrogance.

The depth on this team—and in Scranton—right now is pretty amazing. I do think Gardner should go, in favor of playing time for Frazier. No matter what we do—keep Frazier or trade him and sign Harper to another staggering contract (Stanton largely cured me of that alternative, though I would still entertain the idea of Manny)—we need to see him, now.

I think we are all agreed that Neil Walker has to go, though even he contributed a (very) little something.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I worry that Didi might be hurt. But more than that, I worry that, for some reason, he may be reverting to mean—the sort of mean he played at in Arizona.

Manny Machado is another righty, he's a little inconsistent, and I would hate to be saddled with him in what Alphonso, I think, aptly called the mutual prison of an enormous, multi-year contract. But he's also three years younger than Didi, and better statistically.

If our Dutch knight cannot pull out of this tailspin...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Also, great question, Beauregard.

Nominee No. 1: February 1, 1999. Smitten by the potential of quarterback-third baseman Drew Henson, Coops deals promising third sacker Mike Lowell to the Florida Marlins for pitchers Ed Yarnall, Mark Johnson, and Todd Noel.

Yarnall goes undefeated as a Yankee: 1-0, with a 5.40 ERA, in 7 games. Mark Johnson is picked off the Yanks' roster by the Tigers before 1999 is out, under Rule 5. He will go 0-1 in his major-league career. Todd Noel, that Cashman favorite, a former no. 1 pick who has underperformed...never gets beyond Single-A ball at Tampa. Merry Christmas!

Lowell, of course, overcomes cancer to have an outstanding career as a Gold Glove third baseman. He not only helps Florida beat us in the 2003 World Series, but becomes the MVP of the 2007 Series...for the Red Sox.

Drew Henson...flops in the NFL as well as MLB. But he DOES turn in an excellent season for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe.

Next?

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

I don’t know how to google this... who is the now-oldest batter Colon has pitched to? Did he pitch to some 40 year old early on who is now 60?

Leinstery said...

I swear every time they play the Rangers John talks about the grassy knoll in center. I wish I had recorded each time he's mentioned it because there is no doubt he is speaking in code. With those tapes and hours of code cracking, we could finally solve what happened in the Kennedy assassination.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Best I can come up is Paul Molitor, he’s 61.

TheWinWarblist said...

IT'S GLEYBER DAYYYYYyyyyy !!!!!!!!!!

TheWinWarblist said...

The home run corker??? The. Home. Run. Corker. [blink blink] [blink blink]

TheWinWarblist said...

MalOdor.

Joe F said...

Can someone tell Odor to button his damn shirt, before I punch him in the face

Sincerely,
Bautista

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

The home run stalker! The home run focker! The should shower up and empty his locker!

Leinstery said...

He said it again. Something about Judges. Were Supreme Court Justices involved in planning the assassination? I can only hope to know.

And Tanaka would give up a 3 run bomb to Odor and his fucking .167 average.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Wow yeah he did, and it does come across as odd. I’m waiting for the next hint... like “walker cruz’s one to the grassy knoll” . Poor Teds Dad, I know it wasn’t him. Walker though... Every time I hear Walker I think the Bushs. The CIA-Bush’s. Texas Bushes. Like Lyndon Baines Johnson-Texas. It’s all so crazy and only mr Sterling knows the truth.

TheWinWarblist said...

Dammit.

TheWinWarblist said...

Oooh, the Master and Suzyn! He-he-he.

Leinstery said...

MY God Beauregard, Nelson Cruz used to play for the Rangers and hit plenty to the knoll. Who's to say Ted's father didn't sire Nelson as well? And perhaps Nelson learned of something he shouldn't have and has been cryptically telling everyone for years.

We need to get a detective's suspect board together consisting of every he's mentioned centerfield in Arlington. Then we need to determine which prominent political figures and potential gunmen the Master could be talking about and follow the trail to the truth.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Beau,

I came up with Eddie Murray, going through 1997 box scores. Didn't find anyone else.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Gleyber just shoved it up Colon's colon.

TheWinWarblist said...

IT'S AAAaAaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHaaaa-ah-ah-ah-aaaaaaaaAaAaHaHaHaaaAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh GLEYBER DAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TheWinWarblist said...

Why is Torres still hitting ninth?

KD said...

Judge breaking out of his mini-slump!

Rufus T. Firefly said...

WW:

Because he's a rookie. Give him time.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Well Nelson makes sense. Nelson was obviously named after Nelson Rockefeller, the one world government globalist crypto nazi who funded the council of foreign relations and... I had to google this... https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Council_on_Foreign_Relations#JFK_Assassination

It’s all there.

I full expect this blog to be shut down imminently. Put your browser in “porn mode” if you intend to view it further.

KD said...

Torres. He must prove himself, you know.

TheWinWarblist said...

DIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIDIIDIIIDIIDIDIDDIDIIIDIDIIDIDI !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TheWinWarblist said...

I would hit Torres out of order later this game to get him an additional at bat.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Rufus! Steady Eddie, good find. He’s 62.

Why can’t this chart have current age...

https://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/batter_vs_pitcher.cgi?pitcher=colonba01

Rufus T. Firefly said...

I would it *their* best rookie in the ass.

Wait, they don't have a good rookire?

KD said...

fuck Colon blow. Glad you made him pay, Gleyber.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

_hit_ not _it_

rookie , not rookire?

eYe bLaim sPell Czech

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Beau,

I am just glad they have the baseball reference site.

My favorite page:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS197810020.shtml

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

THE GUY PITCHING IS NAMED BUSH!

Leinstery said...

Fathered by Ted Cruz's father and named after his patron Nelson Rockefeller. That makes sense, but how do the Judges fit into it? Was it the entire Warren court involved or was it just Arthur Goldberg?

Goldberg left the court when the not good LBJ (long tipped as the ringleader of the assassination) appointed him ambassador to the UN. He later ran against Rockefeller for Gov of NY. Was this just a friendly rivalry and a way for them to hide the connection to one another? Or maybe I'm pointing the finger at the wrong man? Did he leave the court out of disgust for what his fellow justices did and sought to bring down Rockefeller? We'll need more homeruns so John can reveal more clues.

Also, Green is overrated. Big time dud this year.

KD said...

Green really off tonight.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

now John says WE call it the grassy knoll. Is Suzyn in on the secret? What exactly did Suzyn and Carmen Berra regularly discuss at the Carlyle? It surely was enough to blackmail Steinbrenner.

Anonymous said...

CAN YOU FEEL THE FEAR?

RED SOX FANS....

....AND MET FANS.

THEY'RE ALL ON THE QUIET SIDE THESE DAYS.

THEIR SILENCE IS GOLDEN.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Mets miraculously ran off their 4th straight tonight, with Vargas lowering his ERA to 9.87. Yeah, they got it together now.

Actually, an amazing couple of days for young talent in the game. Juan Soto got his first bomb today, as a 19-year-old with the Nats. And then there's The Gleyber.

I'd be mad at Colon, except that I don't think he throws hard enough to hurt anyone anymore.

Meanwhile, a double and a great defensive play by Didi, Mr. Judge rejoined the bandstand with an epic shot, and even that Hicks 9th inning belt served a useful purpose, helping to keep Chapman out of the game.

Also, Neil Walker homered in his 126th plate appearance of the season, which may prove more bothersome than helpful, along with Gardy's increased production.

And earlier today, Bird and Clint homered for Scranton, showing that at least Frazier doesn't seem demoralized by the demotion. And Brandon Drury is still hitting .311 down there.

Hey, as we've said before, first division problems, right? .705 winning percentage problems. But all of it draws us closer to that day when Coops makes his decision who to deal away...

HoraceClarke66 said...

And you guys are missing the obvious link to the grassy knoll. It's the Warren Court...but where was Adam Warren tonight? On the DL, right? MORE than coincidence???

Also, why has the IBS Lady been yanked off the screen? I think the Depp State knows the answer!

HoraceClarke66 said...

That should be "Deep State," of course. Johnny Depp has nothing to do with national security, I swear! His acting career isn't just some cover for a man who—GURGLE, SNAP, ARGLEBARGLE!

ranger_lp said...

Chris Moore on WFAN gave the best comparison of the Mets and the Yanks. With the Mets it's always "and" and with the Yanks it's always "but". Example...talking about the Mets...Rosario is 3 for his last 32 AND Smith is 4 for his last 27. Talking about the Yanks...Didi is 0 for May BUT Stanton hitting .350 over his last 20 at bats. See how much fun this can be? You can play this for hours. It's more fun than Bottlecap Baseball.

ranger_lp said...

Another but...BUT Phil Hughes has been DFA'd...

Parson Tom said...

Hughes: woulda, coulda, shoulda

TheWinWarblist said...

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TheWinWarblist said...

Don't feel bad for Phil. He was young and a Yankee. And earned 67+ SuperLarge over the course of his career.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Poor Phil. I know I don't know anything about assessing major-league talent, but you know, he never looked like the big star they were promoting him to be.

Hey, he did some nice middle-relief work for us in 2009—during the regular season, at least—and once won, what, 18 games for us as a starter?

The stupidest thing was that, once Coops decided he wouldn't re-sign him, that he didn't trade him for a body.