Back to the Bronx

Last week was a tease. One Red Sox-Yankees game to get everyone’s juices flowing, then a rainout, then the Yankees leave town.

Here we go again, back to New York, with Beckett pitching at Yankee Stadium for the first time since his epic performance in Game 6 of the 2003 World Series. That night is one that stands out for all baseball fans. This kid was on three days rest, and his old school manager Jack McKeon threw him out there for nine innings, and all Beckett did was pitch the game of his life to close down Yankee Stadium for the season.

At the time, it looked like Beckett’s coming out party. Instead, it was a little preview of what this man can do when he puts it all together, only circumstances have combined to prevent him from doing it on a consistent basis. Blisters, bad market in South Florida, little nags here and there, perhaps some inconsistency on Beckett’s part.

Perhaps being right in the thick of this Red Sox-Yankees thing, and pitching in Boston in general, brings Beckett to that peak he was at in Oct., 2003 more often. Beckett against Randy Johnson is going to be something. Can you have a baseball game with more sizzle in May than this one?

The other matchups are both pretty appealing also. Two old warriors in Schilling and Mussina. Talk about guys who know how to pitch. Both of them have looked rejuvenated this year. Then you have Wakefield and Chacon. Wake has pitched some of his best games in Yankee Stadium the last three years and Chacon is still a bit of an unknown in the context of this rivalry. Can he get it done against the Red Sox on a consistent basis?

The homestand was big for the Red Sox, particularly for Wily Mo Pena and Mike Lowell. These guys brought thump to the bottom of the batting order and gave the team better balance than they’ve had all year.

Also, Mark Loretta took some great swings today. That is a very good sign. And what can you say about Youkilis? The man is always on base. What should they do with the lineup when Coco comes back? Would you hit Youkilis second and move Loretta toward the bottom of the order, or would you go Coco-Loretta and Youk eighth like it was earlier in the year.

I’m curious to see what everyone has to say about that.

Ian.

45 Comments

I love Youk, he’s been doing fantastic in the leadoff spot. I think Coco would be well suited in the 5 or 6 spot, a guy who is certainly capable of knocking in Manny or Papi. Also, if he steals a base from that spot in the order, you wouldn’t have to worry about taking the bat out of the hands of Ramirez or Ortiz. So I say keep Youk where he is, until it stops working.

Crisp is clearly the lead off hitter of this team, as he showed when he was healthy. Youkilis may provide more value in the 9th hole, allowing Gonzalez that much more protection, as well as serving as that much elusive back to back lead off hitter type offensive player. Youkilis has done a fantastic job so far, as he fills in at the top of the order, but that slot needs speed only Crisp can provide. Loretta is too good of a #2 hitter to ignore. It might only be a couple of games where he goes 3/4 at the plate, and his average will bounce much closer to .300, where he will be for the rest of the year. Loretta is the least of the Red Sox problems. It will be fun to see this offense hit on all cylinders come June.

I agree with benromney, speed is overrated in the leadoff spot, and Youk has the highest OBP of all leadoff men. Crisp’s base stealing potential is negated by the presence of the monster of Manny Ortez, who can just get walked in pressure situations. Crisp could be an extreme threat lower in the order, his stolen bases and speed mean more with the singles/doubles hitters than the home run hitters.

In any case, it’s a good problem for the Red Sox to have.

The hard part with this one is deciding if you lose some of loretta’s value as a situational hitter by moving him down in the order. I find the thought of having two lead-off type OBP’s ahead of Ortiz and Manny to be very exciting.

Though Youk has been great, Coco’s the leadoff man, for sure. His switch-hitting ability and speed make it a no-brainer. Putting Youk at #2 would mean a virtual guarantee of having at least one person on base before you get to Big Papi and Manny. Loretta looks like he’s heating up, but it’s no insult to move him down in the order. Much like Bill Mueller in previous years, it’d be great to have a solid contact hitter at #7 or #8.

I think everyone forgot how the Sox started with Crisp leading off, and Loretta at 2. Yes Youk prospered in the 1 spot, but he’ll do the same in 9th. He needs to hit behind Gonzo, as this will increase the fastballs he’ll see. Followed by Crisp, and the top of that order, there’s no real soft spot until you get to Nixon and Varitek. God I wish I had Francona’s worries. One bad part, Wily Mo will see his at bat’s go down. What that kid needs is at bat’s. He’s going to be a very solid hitter with at bat’s.

I do agree with the people saying Youk goes to nine hole. Unless Coco needs time to regain his performances, I don’t see any reason to leave him out of leadoff.

isn’t this a problem; one that so many other teams would KILL to have;we’ve got so many good hitters that we can’t figure out what to do with them. i think what we need to do is concentrate on the bull pen. We’re really weak in the mid innings. Our 1-3(schilling,beckett,wakefield)are basically as solid as you can see today. clement is shaky, but getting more steady every day. dinardo has been less than good except for today (vs the o’s and with a ton o runs backing him up). What we need is a really solid 4th in the rotation, and the duo of tavares and seanez leaves one crossing their fingers and doing some really heavy praying most days until we get to foulke (and sometimes we’re wondering then) comes in.; papelbon, no problem. I think that when coco comes back and gets on solid footing, the batting order and position roster will shake itself out (with terry watching over it of course.)

there should be no question here, coco is the lead off hitter. kev did a great job leading off but he’s a more valuable #8-9 hitter. you can’t say that he’s better long-term thatn coco cause he (coco) has only played 5 games. coco will be the better option.

what’s up with papi? i think he only had 1 or 2 hits in te series. his average is below .270 now

anyway the offense is heatin up (even with papi in his slump. they averaged 6.5 runs/game this last week against the yanks, blue jays, and o’s. good sign that they can still hit pretty poor pitching.

Great pitching matchups seldom make for great games. Witness Beckett Vs. Halladay. Both were shelled early and did not end up being a factor in that game. They are always fun to anticipate I guess. The thing to look for with Beckett and Johnson, though, is if either gets through the third unscathed, look out opponent! We’ve both had real difficulty getting timely hits with men on base. No matter who’s pitching, I think this is the key to who wins these three games. Wake’s game will probably be a 1-0 score, us being on the winning end, assuming Tim The Knuckler doesn’t throw Giambi another curve ball like he did lasy year. I can’t believe bloggers are hung up on our lineup when we are on our way to “The House That Ex-Red Sox Built”!, although it has been something fans who like to play “you be the manager” have been toying with in our minds. And, blogger capt…if u think Nixon and Varitek are the “soft spots” in our lineup???? I guess that makes as much (non)sense as every thing else you said! Blogger “benromney” has Coco batting 5-6!?!? Go figure that one, too. Jeeeezzzz!!! Anyway, good subject, Ian. Years ago when Billy Martin was managing the A’s and they were in a prolonged hitting slump, he placed slips of paper with each player’s name on them and placed them in his hat and had one of his coaches pull the batting order out of his hat. With the cleanup hitter leading off, a .170 infielder batting cleanup, etcetera, Oakland won. I think Francona could do this and do quite well. Remember, the lead off guy is only guaranteed to lead off once (the first inning!). Matter of fact, one scenario where he would lead off all three at bats (1st, 4th, 7th) would mean the opposing pitcher was tossing a perfect game, or had double plays turned behind him every single inning, or–at least– was pitching a shutout against us. GO RED SOX. KICK THEIR @#$%^S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hazel Mae chatted Sunday with Red Sox Nation. Her 1st ? was from someone asking:”Will you marry me?” She said she doesn’t cook or clean or get home from work until 1 a.m. Ms. Mae, you are a pretty, pert, professional sports journalist achieving in an ultra-competitive world dominated by men. I applaud your success and respectfully respond to your response: Miss Hazel, you don’t need to cook or clean. And you’d have to come home sometime………and I’d be up waiting. WHAT A @!#$% CHAUVINIST, RIGHT? RIGHT!

On the topic of the batting order…

Coco is a lead-off guy speed wise, which has two major benifits:

1. Mark Loretta might see more fastballs with Coco on. Everything I’ve heard/read about him says that he is a very good fastball hitter.

2. Coco’s speed might allow him to score from 1st on a double, 2nd on a sharp single, or even 3rd from a shallow sac fly.

Granted speed doesn’t matter with a homer, and Ortiz & Manny are our two most likely homerun threats, but the majority of their hits are still singles! They also will likely hit almost as many or more doubles as homeruns. Plus when they do hit a homerun, if Loretta is on base too, it will be an extra run.

I think Youk has done a terrific job filling in, but he seems like he is very versatile and could do well in almost any spot in the line-up. At the bottom of the order, batting 8th or 9th, he would be a nightmare for opposing pitchers. Batting 8th he could wear down a pitcher giving Gonzalez the advantage of facing someone who is tired. 9th could mean Gonzalez gets some better pitches, maybe more fastballs. Personally I would put him 8th.

True, the leadoff hitter is only gauranteed to lead off the inning once per game, but he is also assured of getting to the plate more often than anyone else in the lineup. For this reason, OBP is important for the first spot in the order. Speed, is also important as bcpark so eloquently posted. So that’s the dilemna. Do we go with Youk, who has a better OBP or Crisp who is much faster? I like the idea of having Youk in the 9 hole. Imagine the opposing pitchers going through our lineup, only to find one of the best on base guys in the league hitting 9th– not to mention the fact that he will rack up some serious ribbies in that spot.

Youkilis should stay on the leadoff spot. This is a guy that gets on base all the time, makes pitchers work, and has occasional power. In Cleveland, with the presence of Grady Sizemore, Coco Crisp was usually second in the order and he did a pretty good job. I think Francona should send Loretta down the order and have Youkilis hitting leadoff and Coco behind him.

In the RedSox lineup THE MOST IMPORTANT THING for the #2 hitter to do is to get on base. Loretta has had over 100 at bats with Papi behind him for protection and …he is not getting on base folks. Youk has consistently got on base his entire career. Youk would benefit from the best protection in baseball and he would maybe keep his on base percentage up in the .380 range all year as a result. The baseball world has changed …put your best hitters where they get more at bats! Youk would give Coco more protection also.

Coco 1, Youks 2. Remember how many pitches Youks takes… more steal opportunities for Coco in big spots. People are suggesting Youks at the 9 spot? Thats ridiculous. There would be tons of times that Gonzales would be up with 2 outs and men on. Rally Killer!

No brainer, Ian…bat Youk second. Nothing else makes sense. 9th? Ridiculous…what sense does it make to ensure that a prime OBA guy willget up less than anyone else? Obviously Gonzalez has to bat 9th until the Sox give up and find someone who can contribute offensively. You want Youk and his .400 OBA in front of Papi and Manny. Loreetta’s OBA will be fine, but not that good…he’s a great #8 hitter. All the statistical models show that essentially a line-up is simple…Best hitters at the top, worst at the bottom, in descending order, with your top power guys in 3-4. It ain’t rocket science.One of the most efficient Sox line-ups ever was the 1984-85 model that had Boggs up first and Evans, with his great OBA, second in front of Rice and Tony Armas.
This first four would be better.

A few more things to think about:

I know Coco has only played 5 games, but during that time he was on base 10 times (OBP .385) and scored 6 runs! During those same 5 games Loretta hit .368 (OBP .478). Since April 8th Youk has been on roughly 49 times and has 18 runs. I don’t know if he has led off every game since then, but definately most of them. Scoring more runs than the other team is the most important thing in basesball. OBP doesn’t necessarilly equal runs (Youk OBP .434/ 19 runs & Loretta OBP .304/ 17 runs). Granted nobody has been hitting much consistantly behind Youk, but that is why speed is so important from the leadoff spot.

Coco can create chances on his own without Loretta or Papi even getting a hit. Say Coco gets on, steals 2nd, Loretta moves him to third even with an out, Papi hits a sac fly to RF…

As for the #2 slot, getting on base is not always as important as advancing the runner. Neither Loretta or Youk ground into DPs very often, but strike outs don’t usually advance the runner(s).

Youk: 112 AB /28 SO

Loretta: 127 AB/ 8 SO

Finally as far as consistancy, in 10years Loretta has been a .300 hitter with about a .360 OBP and has averaged only about 45 SO/season. Youk has only played 1 month as an everyday player. Don’t get me wrong, I love Youk. I honestly think he could be an All Star someday and hopefully even win some batting titles! However, when Crisp comes back I would like to see him replace Pena at the bottom of the order.

1.Crisp did great leading off 5games (plus Spring Training).
2.Loretta did much better with Crisp in front of him.

3.Youk batting 8th protects Lowell once Pena sits.

4.Youk batting 8th should give him more RBI chances (AB w/RISP).

5.Gonzalez hit well with Youk in the 8 slot at the beginning of the season (also has been hitting better since Pena started playing everyday/ hitting in front of him the last 10 games.

Verse RHP (non Wakefield starts)

Crisp (S)

Loretta (R)

Ortiz (L)

Ramirez (R)

Nixon (L)

Varitek (S)

Lowell (R)

Youkilis (R)

Gonzalez (R)

Verse LHP/Wakefiled starts maybe move Varitek, Lowell and Youklis up and hit Pena/Mirabelli 8th. If Wake starts against a lefty then Pena 7th, Mirabelli 8th.

I agree with bcpark. The Sox need Youk at the bottom of the lineup so they can be stronger 1-9. It was one of the many aspects of the 2003-2005 teams that kept them in the playoffs. Youk will be fine and Crisp can lead off.

What I’m more interested in right now are the pitching match ups. They are simply unbelievable. Talk about playoff atmospher.

-A

http://catchingredsox.mlblogs.com

Umm, Loretta will be just fine as a #2 hitter. The Sox fans who think he won’t have been asleep pre 2006. He’s one of the best #2 hitters in the game, period.

Just because he’s been stuck in a rut recently, doesn’t mean he can’t bounce his average 20 points very, very quickly, as we have seen the last couple games. Stability is the key in the lineup and bullpen.

Crisp and Loretta were working well just fine in the #1 and #2 slots. Congrats go to Youkilis for providing a great lead off option, but speed is VERY important at the top of the lineup. We have all seen what it can do.

Crisp’s ability to bunt, steal and switch hit are very nice additions at the top of the lineup. That’s what he was brough in here for in the first place. Yes, it’s a nice problem to have, but let’s not get crazy forgetting the dynamic Crisp offers and the professional hitter Loretta has been for more than 1 month (Youkilis).

David and Manny are set in stone, 3-4. It doesn’t matter who hits 5,6,7,8, Trot(Pena), Jason, Mike, Kevin. Trot-Mike or Kevin-Jason gives you that left,right,lefty thing. Gonzalez 9. Youk batting second would give him more ABS, a plus. Youk batting 8 gives us a good bat near the end of the order, a plus. But Loretta has been 2 all year and he’s coming around. I believe Loretta would say all the right things, but would consider being dislodged a demotion, no matter what BS Terry might feed him. And what he does not need at this time is a vote of no-confidence from management. If you have been paying attention, and some of you haven’t, virtually every hit by Loretta and Gonzalez have come at crucial times that led to wins. Many of you have been hyper-critical of our newcomers unfairly. Loretta, Gonzalez, early on Lowell, Pena, Saenez(sorry. I can’t spell it or pronounce it). Remember most if not all of them are transitioning from the NL to the AL…and all its nuances. New house or apt., new teammates, new manager, new town. It takes time. We’re not even into a fifth of the schedule. The clown that keeps calling Gonzalez a rally killer and saying we have to put up with him until management wakes up and gets someone better, should accept the reality that he’s staying right where he is. We have an air-tight defense–the best I can remember–to back up solid starting and relief pitching. All this has and will continue to save runs. A run prevented counts as much as a run scored. We don’t need more hitting(any more than the #$%@# Yankees needed Damon’s bat. They didn’t want us to have him…to have to play against him!). Ease up on these guys! They’re our guys now, and they’re beginning to come around. Root for ‘em! My biggest concern is playing all these guys regularly, yet finding ample–and I mean ample–playing time and ABS for Willy Mo, who’s more than impressed us all? In closing, reading several of these utterly vapid suggestions make me thankful: Thank God Francona is the manager of the Boston Red Sox…and not US!!!

Good post Daniel, I agree. Pitching and defense wins. Gonzalez is probably the best defensive shortstop ever in Boston.

“Kapler is making progress, but I don’t sense that his return is imminent. I spoke with him the other day, and he said he was running at about 80 percent. Kapler is very much a player that thrives off his speed, so you won’t see him come back until he regains the full explosiveness in that Achilles tendon.

Kapler doesn’t wish to set any time goals, because he thinks it would be counterproductive. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Kapler sighting at Fenway Park by some time in July. Look for him to make a lengthy Minor League rehab stint before that. If Kapler does come back to the Red Sox, he surely will bring down the house in his first at-bat at Fenway. He is an inspirational type of player.”

Ian, you made my day. It may be noted that Kapler is my most favorite player ever (besides Ted Williams and Roger Maris) and I did win the Will McDonough sports writing contest by writing about Kapler and his virtues. Which brings me to this question. My parents are really bugging me to send him the essay that won the contest to cheer him up during his rehab. Do you know any way that I can get it to him without it disappearing into the piles of fan mail at 4 Yawkey Way?

-A

http://catchingredsox.mlblogs.com

I’d bet all my money that Gonzales was on Roids a few years back. How does a guy hit 26 homers in the last year of the steriods era, in a big ballpark like Florida, and then not even reach the warning track in 100 at bats 2 years later? I certainly hope he gets up to .240 or so… but anyone that thinks he might hit .260 with 8-10 homers is on dope. I’m also suspicious of Loretta as well. The 60-homer guys weren’t the only one on Roids.

Roids here. Roids there. Roids, Roids EVERYWHERE!!! Suspicious of this. Suspicious of that. What am them Roids, rayman? Who am dem Roids? Be they a species of lice or crabs that Damon left behind in his locker?!?! BOY!!!! If you run out of places to gum shoe Roids, space…uh, rayman, try under your bed, in your closet, and across the street on the roof of your neighbor’s house. Remember, just because you’re paranoid DOESN’T mean someone ISN’T out to get you!!! Oh, and Ray, the way you keep knocking our guys, are you sure you’re not a closet Yankee fan? Or are you always miserable?

rayman, i think you’re a little misinformed about steroids. take a look at loretta. take a look at gonzalez. they are both lean, lanky types of guys. now look at barry bonds, rafael palmiero, sammy sosa, etc. they’re all guys w/ huge upper body muscles and necks about 4 feet around. loretta and gonzalez simply don’t have the physique of roid users. furthermore, you’ve commented on loretta and gonzalez’s drop in BA. unfortunately, roids do NOTHING to affect batting average. steroids only affects what happens after you put the ball in play. The drug that has an effect on batting average is amphetamines, which are in their first year of prohibition in MLB. now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Loretta or Gonzalez have done speed or anything, but if you’re going to complain, be informed.

What is “the Will McDonough sports writing contest”? I missed it…and…considering the competition…I think I could have won it.

I’m not saying these guys are on Roids now… I’m saying Gonzales WAS when he put up the numbers he did just 2-3 years back. Another correction, Roids can help the batting average. Gonzales put up 26 homers that very easily could have been flyouts to the warning track. It could also help turn flyouts into doubles with an extra 10-15 feet of carry. I thought people already learned their lesson about ignoring the affects of steriods on baseball? I just got used to believing the Redsox were somewhat immune to the steriods problem… I don’t think anyone ever accused Manny, Papi, Varitek, etc. of Roids… Now we’re pulling in suspicious guys that aren’t hitting anymore and it bothers me.

I have to agree with Daniel Fagan-shouldn’t be jumping down Gonzalez’ throat already-the poor guy just got here and is still adjusting. The plan for the Sox this year was to tighten up defensively and not just rely on the big hitters. Playing “small ball” and going for that sac fly or bunt once in a while. We’ve already seen more bunts than probably the last whole season.
Loretta starting to hit, Wily Mo is looking fine, so next will be Gonzalez.

Go Sox and kick some major butt tonight!

With Mike Vaccaro saying that the Yankees pitching staff is “mad as ****” at Ortiz, I’ll petition one more time.

Ortiz humor, Ian! Is he intimidated by the return of funny guy Mirabelli or what? Rudy Seanez seems like a nice guy and all, but I don’t see him as the one that keeps the clubhouse in stitches.

I’m praying for a game tonight.

-A

http://catchingredsox.mlblogs.com

I hope that Beckett is really on tonight!..and that the “Big Eunuch” is really off. You always mind losing (God I hate using that word anytime in regard to the Sox!!!)a game, but for that to happen in the house that the former Red Sox built, would be a travesty. Cross your fingers, say your prayers, do whatever it is you do, but… LET’S GO GET EM TONIGHT!!!!

Okay i personally think that benromney is a complete idiot!!! Ya i will admit that Youk is doing a fabulous job in the leadoff spot but Loretta needs a speed guy batting in front of him to accomplish anything. He did a great job hitting when coco was leading off. infielders were out of their positions incase of coco stealing. Even if he doesnt steal its a valuable asset to have a shortstop sneaking torward second where lorretta could drill one in that gap. Also as afmartin said it would make alot of sense to drop Youk down to the 9 spot. The bottom half of the order is not gettin near the production that they did last year and have Youk batting behind Gonzalez might pay dividends. Also since youk is almost always on base it could get coco more at bats wich could get papi and manny up in that same inning. Go Sox!!! Yankees ****!!!

Wow! I have never read so much baseball voodoo and nonsense in one thread! 1) The fact that Loretta was hitting when Crisp was leading off and NOT hitting with Youk explains 99% of the differential in their scoring. It has very little to do with speed. 2. All stats show that having a base stealer on in front of a player subtracts more from his average than it gains. 3. Who bats behind a player has NO impact on how a player hits except in rare and extreme situations. Pitchers try to get players out. Broadcasters keep talking about “protection,” and it’s total garbage. Read Bill James. And “protection” for a #7 hitter? Get serious! 4. “Pitching and defense” doesn’t win…getting more runs than the other team wins, whether it’s because you score more or they score less. 5. If you’re worried about a “stronger” 1-9 order, what difference does it make where the nine bat, if it’s the same 9?

jacko, are you serious? protection might not be a huge factor, but it IS a factor. as a pitcher, would you rather pitch to ortiz-varitek or to ortiz-manny? would you walk somebody (anybody) knowing that youkilis, rather than gonzalez, is on deck? why do you think ortiz and manny are the best 3-4 punch in baseball? if you’re facing them both in succession, you might want to walk one of them – like cleveland did with papi, only to allow manny a big homer. would it have been the same if a lesser hitter had been in manny’s place?
“Pitching and defense” don’t win games, but they can sure lose them. if the other team loses, it means they score less runs than you, and if that’s the case, chances are you’ve either hit more or allowed less.

And having the weakest hitter bat ninth is to make him get less at-bats as possible, since in the worst-case scenario he doesn’t hit until the third inning.

Great game tonight, hope Schilling can keep the momentum. Moose will be tougher than RJ, that guy is done like a barbecued steak.

OK, I’m pretty new here, so I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but I could stand just a little less name calling. If you disagree with someone, could you try to do it tactfully?

Here’s an example:

jacko, I think I take your point about the bottom line being scoring more runs than the other team, but certainly “pitching and defense” contribute to keeping that scoring differential in your favor, correct? If they can lose a game, it only makes sense that they can help to win a game as well.

See? I didn’t call him a pea-brain or a fungo-head, just stated my position in a mature, reasonable fashion.

Flame away.

I have just one question at this point, which has been nagging me since Game 1 this season: why did Trot Nixon start wearing a two-ear flap helmet this year, when he is not a switch hitter? If I recall correctly (and I think the press photos from last year support me here), he’s always worn a one-flap helmet up to this point.

I didn’t agree with everything mj2009 said, but it was nice to hear about old adage “pitching and defense” wins games. Last time I checked, the score started 0-0. You can be perfect in pitching and D, but if you don’t score, you don’t win… Didn’t we win the first game of the World Series giving up 9 runs and 4 errors?
I do disagree with the 1-9 comment. Over the course of the season, the #1 hitter will get about 140 more at bat than the #9 hitter. Or in other words, each guy in the lineup would be expected to get about 1/9 more at bats than the next guy down in the lineup. That adds up over time.

Its almost mind-boggling to see Randy Johnson walk so many guys when the umpire called anything within a foot of the plate a strike. Its painful to see a pitch 1 inch high or 1 inch low called a ball (very hittable), when a pitch 6-8 inches outside or inside is a strike. I was glad to see Bernie Williams throw his helmet at the ump and get ejected. That was a horribly called game. I just wish the helmut hit him which would have been a suspension for sure. Its certainly good to see the players I have been ragging on finally wake up (Loretta and Gonzales)… If they hit, we’ll run away with the East.

Ian
When a pitcher starts to doubt himself, I think his career is over … What do you think?

“I can’t remember the last time I pitched a good ballgame.” — New York Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson after giving up five hits and seven runs in only 3 2-3 innings of a 14-3 loss to Boston.

“Looks like we got a negative nelly in sector 7-G”
Uh, last I checked stats were a very important part of most/all sports (even if it is just simply W-L), but even more so in baseball where managers are constantly thinking about match-ups (both offensively & defensively and making changes accordingly… ask Tito if he thinks stats matter, or Curt Schilling or Jason Varitek). If stats were not important, why bother keeping them? Stats can be misleading or misused and I appologize if I overstated anything, but I wanted to give a different perspective than what many people were saying. On the other side of the argument, I also think a good manager goes with their gut feeling sometimes. And actually I believe this whole conversation started with Ian asking us what we would do when Coco comes back if we were the manager? I’ve tried to be positive and even limit my sarcasism(good point robnbetsy… I’m trying). However, I honestly felt people were being (have been) too hard on our new guys(specifically Loretta and Gonzalez). I really enjoyed reading the comments by others who were sticking up for them… My statistical references were to make people think and were primarily coming in defense of players or as justification of my line up choices. Furthermore the main point in MY second comment was “scoring more runs than the other team is the most important thing in baseball.” Also the order people bat makes a huge difference! If it didn’t, baseball would’t even have managers in the first place (good point MJ 2009 with Ortiz/Ramirez batting 3/4). I’ll take it a step further…Ask Ortiz if he would rather have Willie Harris or Manny Ramirez batting behind him? Most good teams find bats to protect their best hitter(s), the BoSox are just lucky enough to have 6 or 7 guys that protection CAN be a factor in who is batting 8th. Finaly, sticking with how order matters (even if you don’t buy into protection), having Youks bat at the bottom of the order gives the line up balance! A well ballanced offense is much more diffiult to pitch against, hence the score was 14-3 today against a future hall of famer (good luck and a few costly errors helped too, but guys really stepped up). Recently Pena has been doing a great job primarily batting 8th, but when Coco comes back Pena will most likely only play against LHP, which is why I strongly feel Youks should fill that void!!

Basball simplified: score more runs than the other team. Scoring runs, however, not so simple!

Another great quote from last night’s NYY meltdown:

It’s this apparent Red Sox phobia that makes Yankee fans crazy, and apparently George Steinbrenner, too. On his way out of Yankee Stadium last night, The Boss singled out A-Rod, though not by name, for criticism.

“I’m upset at a lot of them,” Steinbrenner said when reporters asked for his thoughts on The Big Unit. And then, unsolicited, he added:

“The third baseman.”

From my last 2 comments, it seems the ONUS is on the NYYs and less of a Bosox burden. Go figure. I say, just play on as Tito sees it and sort it all out when Coco returns. I like the fact that Wily Mo, Lowell, Loretta and Gonzo are doing the deal when it counts. So relax and enjoy the ride to September playoffs and everybody just stay healthy. And just follow the plan setup in April and execute.

You move Youkilis down in the lineup because he strikes out too much. Coco and Loretta will make a fine 1 / 2 and Loretta is patient but strikes out like once a month. Personally I would have him bat 6th after Nixon followed by Lowell, Tek and Gonzalez.

i would just like to apoligize ot benromney. I was a complete jerk and its America and you are entitled to your opinion. But I do belive that protection is an importan factor. take Barry Bonds for example. Barry was one of the only good hitters on the Giants and by just walking him and get the batters behind him out. So that is why you here both manny and papi wanting to bat third because they both know that they would have eachothers protection. Papi could be walked everytime and could be stranded sometimes without manny. (Manny knocked him in a few times last night) Oh and sorry to get of subject here but did you just see Loretta hit that homerun. Well i guess he got his stroke back. (heres hopin) well once again benromney im sorry I was a total jerk and i hope that you can forgive me. And go sox!!

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