Tuesday in the Bronx

I know we are jumping ahead of the game by a few days here, but it’s a real interesting dilemma the Red Sox have on their hands for Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. Who should pitch that game?

I doubt it’s going to be David Pauley.

That said, the choices seem to be: Jon Lester, Craig Hansen, Abe Alvarez or Lenny DiNardo (would be eligible to come off DL for that start).

My gut would be to throw Hansen out there and see what he’s got.

What does everyone else think?

Ian.

41 Comments

Ian and Redsox Nation,

I wasn’t sure whether to post this at the bottom of yesterday’s blog or on this fresh one, so I decided to post it here even though it doesn’t address Ian’s new question.

I have an issue to discuss that is costing the Redsox runs. Last night, the Jays were in the same situation and they executed correctly and gained a run. Twice in the last few weeks (Ramirez, Loretta) we have not scored on plays where opposing outfielders bobble the ball and our runner rounding third doesn’t see the GO sign after the STOP sign. The announcers blamed it on the Redsox runners having their heads down at the time the third base coach changed the sign.

I have a recommendation on how to avoid that bungle… or if this approach already exists, why aren’t we doing it? Ian, can you comment or ask the Redsox coaches why we are 0 for 2 on this play, yet our opponent got it right?

Here is the scenario… Man on second, batter singles, third base coach puts up the stop sign, the runner rounds third and puts on the brakes AND doesn’t see the outfielder bobble or misplay the ball AND doesn’t see the third base coach change to the GO sign AND I guess doesn’t hear the GO sign AND then has to stay at third and give up the run. I think at least one was stranded, if not both.

Simple solution… Third base coach watches the outfielder bobble and YELLS the Secret Go Word… Once the runner hears that, they immediately go for home. Sure it will take a nice stop-go maneuver, but these are professional athletes we are talking about. The outfielders in the 2 examples I gave totally botched the play and we could have fallen to the ground, got up, and ran home easily. Last night, Manny forgot that the leather thing in his left hand could be used to catch the ball and the Jays adjusted and scored. Maybe it was easier for the runner to see the blunder because it was in left field?

The Secret Code Word would only be used once. Something like Dynamite or Gorilla. The runner hears it, he goes home… no need to watch the play or keep his eye on the coach the whole time.

Hansen or Lester must pitch. Lets stop this make believe situation that our current number 14 starting pitcher can jump the queue to number 5. Pauley pitching at this stage of his career should only have happened in a fairytale story not real life. Theo and all of us know that Hanson and Lester are next in line. Its time gentlemen, let the rookies loose !!!!!!!
By the way, I read this blog daily and I am constantly amazed with some of the trivial stuff that has to have analysis to the point of paralysis. Secret Code Words for base running for goodness sakes…..what will we worry about next, life seems so much simplier over here in Sydney Australia…

Everyone who has posted comments that Pauley showed any promise at all-well I just didn’t see it. Pauley looked like the Double A pitcher he is, and will remain. The Sox knew they would have to score some runs and did so. If they had done what they usually do against Lilly, the would have lost 6-2 and no one who be talking about Pauley.
As for Tuesday, I would go with Lester. I think he is further along than Hansen, and is the type of pitcher that could give the Yankees fits, especially in spacious Yankee Stadium. Plus, while Hansen would be a “quick fix,” i.e. back in Triple A within a week, Lester could be the type that never goes back down once he gets his foot in the door.

I don’t think leaving gift-wrapped runs on third base is a trivial matter, especially when you have as many LOB as we do.

I did’t see the plays Rayman, but I am suprised that there would be a stop sign before the ball was fielded (cleanly or bobbled for that matter). If the outfielder doesn’t have the ball yet why would a 3rd base coach stop the runner? I can only spreak in theory on this one though because as I said I didn’t see the plays. Sounds a bit frustrating to watch though. Personally I like smart, but aggressive base running. If the defense hurries, they might bobble it or throw it away. Even if they field it cleanly, make them throw a strike to the plate. Certain situations call for holding the runner (score, #outs, who’s running, who’s throwing, etc), but overall I would like to see the Sox be a little more aggressive. I am hopping the return of Crisp would have a positive effect on our baserunning!

Signs/codes are a huge part of baseball, and though life might be MORE SIMPLE in Aus, we here on this blog take baseball very seriously. I think it was an interesting point Rayman!

LOBs have been an issue this season. Though we are very fortunate to have won many of those games, lowering our LOBs by scoring more runs would probably mean even more wins!

As far as who is pitching, it will be exciting to hear the announcement. I like the guys Ian mentioned and I also thought Pauley did well for his first regular season MLB appearance! Keep us posted Ian.

MORE SIMPLE…..Hmmmmm….I will let that pass through to the catcher as I dont feel the need to get into a debate about nationality and intelligence. As for not being serious about baseball… that can pass through as well.

I understand the need to analyse every little detail and I also understand the importance of baseball codes. The point I was trying to make is we have some more major issues than yelling out the word gorilla as Manny is rounding third. I am astounded that we are mucking around with the starting rotation and not allowing our better young pitchers a chance to grow and develope. Surely the major leagues is a steeper learning curve than AAA so why arent we throwing Hansen and Lester in and letting them make some mistakes in May so that they will be stronger in September/October. They have to be a better option than DiNardo and Pauley

First, thanks to hacaro for the clarification on why Pauley pitched last night. Those were things that should be obvious when one thinks about it, but weren’t to me. Thanks for pointing them out.

Second, since there’s plenty of time between now and what would be Wells’ next start, Ian is obviously right that young Master Pauley’s day in the sun (dome) is over for now. He may not have been lights out, but I still maintain that he did a credible job for a AA pitcher thrown into the bigs. rrossi, if I understand you correctly, you’re saying Pauley will never make it to the majors? I’m not sure how you can make that assessment at this point in his development, but I would like to hear more specific as to how you reached this conclusion. I mean that with all sincerity and no sarcasm intended.

rayman, I think that a different system of baserunning signals might help the Sox, but I think an easier solution would be just to get the runners to watch the coach more closely, even after they’ve started to put on the brakes. The situation can change in an instant, as you’ve pointed out, and until the runner has reached a dead stop on base and the coach is saying “Good job,” they should be ready to turn on the afterburners.

Ian, your question, while perhaps a bit early, is still fun to think about. While I haven’t written Lenny DiNardo off, I think it would be good to see what the others can offer. Alvarez, Hansen and Lester all have ERAs under 3.00. Hansen has pitched about half the number of innings that the other two have at Pawtucket (with 11 more at Portland in April). Alvarez has had a try at the majors this year. My choice would be Lester, but any of the three are reasonable choices.

Another thing to remember is that the coaches and the manager have so much more information than we have. Francona can talk to the minor league coaches and get a very complete rundown on each of them, which should help him make the decision much more easily.

And lastly, to ellencullum: I’m Rob (not to be confused with our cat Rocket), and my wife is Betsy (not to be confused with our dog Betty).

I agree with Ian that it will not be Pauly pitching in New York. Although I thought he pitched good enough for a guy that was thrown into the situation that he was. The interesting thing about that game was I have to believe that the team knew that they had to pick him up wherever they could, defensively and offensively. That being said I would prefer to see either Hansen or Lester given their shot in New York, after all what better way to find out what they have than to try them by fire. I think between the two of them I would prefer to see Lester get the start. After all how could we have ever known how great Pap would be as a closer had he not been given the chance.

In response to Rob, no, I don’t think you’ll ever see Pauley in the Sox starting rotation. Maybe in Kansas City’s,but not in Boston. He has a below average fastball. He kind of reminded me of a 2003-2004 Derek Lowe, i.e. thousands of baserunners, double plays galore, lots and lots of run support to cover his deficencies. He’s definitely not a top prospect, but who knows, maybe the Marlins will take him for Dontrelle Willis. That was a joke, but that would be nice.

Ian, nice article on Kapler. I am sure Arielle will be happy to read it, I know I was. Especially with Wily Mo out for at least 2 months (and from what Ortiz said, will probably not have full strength for even longer), we need a solid 4th OF.

Ian,
Bcpark33 got it right. The Kapler article . . . like wow! You basically summed his whole personality up with the line “He’s a guy who never leaves the field with a clean uniform.”

I know the Sox won’t rush him because of Wily Mo’s injury, but it will definitely make his road back to Boston easier. Is his contract a minor league one?

I have never been so excited to see a guy go down to Ft. Myers for extended Spring Training. When he ruptured that Achilles, I thought that could be the end of his career since Achilles injuries are so dangerous and take so long to heal. What club would want a guy with a bum ankle who is only a back up? It says a lot about Kapler that a team of the Red Sox caliber wants him back.

I’m especially glad he is bonding with Lowell. Lowell seems like a team leader, and him, Varitek, and Kapler hopefully can keep the high pressure clubhouse loose.

-A

http://catchingredsox.mlblogs.com

I tend to lean to the side of Lester or Hansen. I think DiNardo’s ego could get crushed to that Matt Clement stage if he’s thrown out there against NY. He really struggled his last few times out and to get back out there against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium might not be the best thing for him.
On the other hand, you’d think the same thing for Hansen or Lester making their first start out there as well, but these are guys that they’ve been grooming as the next big guns and I would think they could have a chance to come out and throw a decent game with more incentive to prove the organization has been right in treating them as the chosen ones.

RROSSI, I was one of the ones that thought Pauley looked like he had potential, which looking back might have been premature. He seemed to rush between each pitch. One bad pitch and he’d be back on the mound faster than Roy Halladay trying to make up for it. He also had a lot of trouble throwing a curveball over the plate.

I think 2 overlooked points on last night’s game was Van Buren getting out of the 5th with a runner on third and less then 2 outs (Sox fans know how that feels) and Foulke pitching a nice 8th to pave the way for Paps.

What is with Foulke? He’s lights out one night and he’s hammered for 2 runs in 2/3 of an inning another night.

Getting back to the D-Train issue that is sure to be discussed a lot more in the next couple of weeks.

Let’s say the Sox are able to give up either Hansen or Lester and other prospects not quite at their level. What is his contract status? I should know this, but unfortunately, I don’t. If we had him for a few more years, I think it would be a good deal. Schilling says he’s done next year, who knows how much longer Wake can go (but throwing that knuckler, it could be another 5 years)and Wells is done after this year if not sooner.

How bad would Beckett, Willis, Hansen/Lester (whoever we don’t trade) look as a top 3 in the rotation?

With Delcarmen and VanBuren in the middle and Paps closing, we could have a solid staff for quite a few years.

Let’s all hope Detroit takes out their frustrations on the Spanks tonight instead of saving it up for the weekend.

fbaran if you understand the importance to analyze and the importance of signs, why is it trivial that we are talking about it? I am “amazed” because that doesn’t make any sense. The definition of trivial is: of little value or importance. You have just as much right to post here as any of us, but you could have easily made your point by saying “I don’t think LOBs are as important an issue as our starting rotation.” Your first point about Lester and Hansen was well taken, maybe you could have even just left it at that.

I would like to pick Lester, who show good pitching recently. On the other hand, Hansen’s struggling in his command.
And as I said several times, Tito should give more opportunity to two farm kids such as Delcarmen and VanBuren.

I think Foulke has pitched pretty well in ‘high pressure’ situations. If you took away May 22nd 1.0/4ER he would have a 3.21ERA. He definately has to be careful of the longball, but he seems much better than 2005. With Timlin out, Foulke will probably get more pressure situations and we should get a better idea if he can return to his 1999-2004 form. I hope so!

I would just like to say hello to this blog as I feel I’m taking a bit of a risk entering here being a Yankee fan. However, I have heard a lot about Ian and his blog through Feinsand’s Yankee blog and the people posting on there. I come here to kind of see what’s going on with the team in the eyes of the fans since I don’t see Red Sox games other than against the Yankees.

Onto the commenting. As far as the baserunning, I don’t think any team needs a ‘code word’ from the 3B coach. I didn’t see either of the plays but playing baseball, you have to be rounding hard, and listen for a ‘code word’ of GO. Whether the 3b knows the runner is going or is hearing a word like “gorilla” has little to no affect on the potential play at the plate.

As far as the Kapler comments, I really had no clue that he was injured, or had even left. But even being a Yankee fan, I have to respect the guy for the way he plays the game. I love when guys go out there and play that hard no matter name they have across their chest. I hope to see him make a successful comeback.

FYI, I would suggest not taking the Tigers for granted in the upcoming series. Yes, they’ve lost 3 to the Yanks but their pitching is there, with the only pitcher the Yankees really hit hard was Colon. The defense has really hurt them in the series, other than that they have been playing well.

I left out an important, yet obvious point in my baserunning post… The verbal command from the third base coach can’t be something obvious like GO or RUN otherwise anyone could yell it and confuse the baserunner (third basemen, players on bench, fans, etc.). Players have been known to try all types of trickery in that kind of situation (fake tags, fake throws, etc.). It also has to be unique sounding so that the runner doesn’t make a mistake… Was that ‘NO’ or ‘GO’? I don’t think its always going to be possible for the runner to keep his eye on the third-base coach and/or the play in the outfield. Thats why I thought the verbal command was needed.

As far as the baserunning, you are going to know the voice of your coach and easily be able to decipher between him and the 3b if you are paying attention at all. And as far as confusing ‘No’ with ‘Go’, I haven’t had a 3b coach that would say ‘No’ in that situation. More often than not it would be ‘Right here’ or something similar to that. Being at the major league level you should easily be able to recognize the coach’s voice.

I don’t know if this was the case or not but a lot of times when it’s debatable whether the runner is getting sent or stopped at 3b, the coach will run down the line towards home while giving the sign (usually waving home at first) and then throw up the stop if needed after the runner rounds the base. I know last week there was a case when Cabrera was on first and a ball off the wall Bowa waved him home being aggressive (and the throw was going into 2nd not home) and Bowa was just about at the home plate circle when Cabrera crossed.

No brainer. ABE ALVAREZ

the guy is 5-1 down at Pawtucket. I think it’s unfair to Pauly to ask him to start again. DiNardo, I don’t know about him. But Abe, to me, is the real deal.

Gino,
I like Abe too. I think it would be a little premature to bring Lester up and throw him immediately into the playoff atmosphere this Redsox-Yankees games. Abe has pitched at the major league level for the Sox before and I think he’s earned the call. While still young, I can see Abe becoming a good back of the rotation starter for the Sox over the next few years.

I think its important for the Sox to protect guys like Hansen and Lester. These guys have been tabbed as the future of the Redsox along with Papelbon. I think it would be smarter to bring each of them up in a less pressurized situation. I’m a big believer that pitchers can be delicate. The Sox need to protect these guys confidence.

autreyj531 (any relation to Gene?): No reason for trepidation posting on this blog. Personally, I’m happy to have fans of any team participate, as long as they can do so in a civil manner (and as long as you don’t give the Yankees our secret baserunning code word).

rayman, I’m afraid I still remain unconvinced that a code word is necessary. Fake tag? If there’s really a throw coming in, the coach is going to be telling you to slide. If he’s telling you to go, he’s going to be windmilling like crazy. He wants you to stop? Both hands up in the air. These are obvious signals that can’t be masked by the opposing team shouting things. You yourself said that the reason Ramirez and Loretta didn’t score was because they had their head down after seeing the STOP sign. If they’d just kept looking at the base coach all the way in to the bag, they’d have seen the GO sign; no code word necessary. I can’t think of a situation where the runner would be running to third base and not be able to see the third base coach. A code word might work, but I think just being literally “heads up” would solve most of the problem.

No there is no relation to the former Angels owner Gene Autry (no ‘e’ in the name, just like all the famous ones). However, I did use to have an uncle with my last name who was named Gene, but he was born before the singing cowboy came about. With my playing baseball, and my american legion coaches being older, I did get tagged with the nickname “Cowboy”, which by my 4th year on the team I don’t think many people were referring to me (or in the rookies cases knew) my real name.

Robnbetsy, the runner puts on the brakes and starts back towards the bag. At that point, he sometimes can’t see the third base coach. That is what happened to Loretta. I used the ‘Fake Tag’ as an example of purposeful trickery against the opponent (It sounds like you don’t believe it’s out there?). I think it could extend to barking out unfriendly advice at key times. It works in Hockey, that much I know. By ‘Fake Tag’, I meant the fielder faking a tag into any base to cause the baserunner to slide or at least slow down. It’s sort-of a Bush League play in most of organized baseball/softball, except the pros (where just about anything goes). A more common example is the ‘fake catch’, which can be done during run-and-hit plays to effectively confuse the base-stealer.

Yeah, the fake tag or at least setting up for a fake tag is fairly common. I played baseball up until my junior year in college and being a middle infielder we were told to try and set up like you are getting ready for a throw to start a DP when the hit and run was on, especially when the ball is hit behind the runner stealing because they have no clue unless they pick up the 3b coach early and he is waving them.

I remember one time in high school though I got warned by the umpire for standing at 2B and putting my hands up like I was getting ready for a throw on a hit and run. I was shocked with this because I didn’t even put the glove down like I was putting a tag down. But I got the runner to slow up and he couldn’t advance to third so I didn’t care about the umpire.

No rayman, I’m not denying the existence of decoy plays at all. Cut-off men act like they’re going to take a relay and then let it go through all the time. Fake tags and fake catches are not uncommon in the least. But I think they are only effective against baserunners who are lax in keeping track of the ball or the base coach.

When either Manny or Loretta had rounded third and DeMarlo Hale was yelling “GO!” at them, he was very likely the closest person to them in the ballpark. Do you honestly think they disregarded him because they thought it was another player trying to trick them? I find that hard to believe. And if they didn’t go because they couldn’t hear him, he could have yelled “ONOMATOPOEIA” and it wouldn’t have made any difference.

The fact that they had their head down says to me that they had already concluded that the ball was coming in to the infield and they had no chance of scoring. THAT was their mistake. It wasn’t that they COULDN’T see the base coach or the ball; they weren’t even TRYING to see the base coach or where the ball was. If they had either looked at Hale or looked for the ball, they might have had a chance. Instead, they were looking at the ground. There’s rarely any useful information to be found there.

Autrey, I got warned like that too once. I think its paranoia.

Maybe it is our year to finally win the division. Rivera hurt his back tying his shoes and sure enough Farnsworth came in and blew the save/game. Maybe he should try those child-friendly velcro straps? Sheffield back on DL as well. Every Detroit Starting Pitcher in the series got hit hard… so hopefully we’ll continue that trend. Their bullpen is tired too (Rodney 1.08 ERA went 2 innings last night).

I was thinking the same thing rayman. This is the time to pull away. As you guys know, I only get to see the articles on line and not the local sports reports back home, so i don’t know what they are saying but we have to keep the reporters from writing the same sentiments. Bad things happen when they start writing/talking about it.
Last year around labor day-Article by Bob Ryan,(I think) basically sticking a fork in the Yanks and that the division was ours….3 weeks later we finish in a tie for 1st and we know what happened after that.

2 weeks ago I saw an article that said this is the year the Sox take the division because of all the Yankees injuries. Next week, we lose 2 or 3 to the Yanks and here we are in log jam again.

Detroit’s hitters seemed to have tough time against some decent Yankee pitching this week. With Schill and Wake, let’s hope that trend continues. Luckily when Clement pitches, Detroit has Colon going, so we could be looking at a 5 hour 13-11 final.

besides Rodney, that flamethrower Zumuya threw at least one inning and a lot of pitches last night. Can you imagine if Big Papi or Manny got a hold of one of this guys 101 MPH heaters?

Let’s hope Lowell’s hammy is allright.

Probably be starting 3 lefties against Rogers tonight with Youk having to move over to 3rd. Every team has that one platoon player that doesn’t contibute at the bat for most of the year and seems to have one good weekend where the opposing teams says “How come he only does that against us?”

Let’s hope this is the weekend that Detroit says that about JT Snow.

First of all, I think all the Pauley haters need to take it easy. This kid is 22 YEARS OLD! Where were you when you were 22? Not even out of college yet? Give him some time. It wasn’t his choice to be yanked straight from AA to pitch against a division rival in the middle of the season. They called him up and in my opinion, he performed very well. Here’s why:

-He only gave up 2 runs going into the 5th inning. Better than Beckett’s last outing, isnt it?

-Got into trouble three straight innnings and showed the composure and know-how to induce 3 straight double plays.

-After hitting 100 pitches and getting into some trouble, Tito leaves him out there to fend for himself when VanBuren (who’s been pitching very well) is sitting ready in the bullpen.

-had to throw to Mirabelli instead of captain and known leader Varitek.

I have never had anything against Tito but his playing people based on these hunches (like Mirabelli’s history against Lilly, even tho Belli’s hitting under .200 on the season and Varitek just got hot) and his leaving pitchers in way too long has gotten to a point where i’m very frustrated. Anyone with me?

I agree for the most part about Tito playing his hunches rather that his starters. Having the baseball package I tend to watch all the Yankees games hoping for them to lose and (injuries aside) they never seem to give their stars days off and it doesn’t seem to affect them.
But, I think the day off was good for Tek because of his strained “butt muscle.” In all seriousness, that has to be a tough injury to fight through. 2 days off in a row would do him a lot of good. Plus, and I guarentee no one in the organization would admit this, but you have to wonder if Tito even thought the Sox had a chance to win going into the game. Lilly had owned the Sox, rookie pitcher going, Toronto just lit up Beckett, etc. As bad as a thought that is, in the course of 162 games, maybe he thought this would be the best opportunity to have him not start a Non-Wake game.

kgr1, I’m with you on the “Leaving the starting pitchers in too long” issue. Pauley was hanging on by a thread the whole night. Clement is always left in too long. Our middle relief has been pretty good lately and should be used a little earlier in my opinion.

I’m curious as to what “professional” analysts have to say about Delcarmen and Van Buren. I tend to agree with folks around here who are relatively impressed with their performances thus far. But last night I watched Casey Stern’s weekly “State of the redsox.com Nation” for the first time, and in the middle of his lament about Red Sox pitching he said something to the effect of “For those of you who think Manny Delcarmen and Jermaine Van Buren are the answer…no.” But he didn’t elaborate on that. Overall I liked the segment, especially the interview with Trot Nixon (my favorite Sox player) about his draft day memories. I’m going to try to remember to check out this weekly compendium more often.

I’m with you — give the ball to Hansen and let VanBuren be ready in relief. I think both these pitchers deserve a shot.

I would just like to interject a few points here.

As far as the Detroit pitching and the starters in particular, the only one that was hit hard was Colon. For the most part it was grouping singles and some doubles together to put the runs across. Verlander also showed that he is for real with his pitching. I think he will be able to contribute a lot to the team.

kgr- I don’t think too many people were complaining about Pauley’s pitching realizing he’s young, just saying he shouldn’t be there right now, and there’s other people in line before him.

And gosoxred- The extent to what the Yankees starters get their rest is pretty much the rotating DH role, people get what has become to be known as a “half day off” when they are the DH instead of being in the field. Although Torre tries to get Cairo a start each week, usually taking over for Cano when going against a lefty that Cairo has good numbers against.

ESPN Power Rankings has the Redsox #7, behind both the Yankees and the Jays (even though we have better records)… and of course, behind the Tigers. I’d really like to see some big wins over the next week to get the recognition we deserve.

In the name of all that’s good and Holy, what else can go wrong….. Let me ponder…. Hmmmmm,
http://psycho.mlblogs.com/

rayman:

I don’t want to seem like I’m disagreeing with you all the time, because I enjoy reading what you have to say and learning from your posts. But I’m not sure I put a whole lot of stock in the Power Rankings. First, what does it matter what ranking ESPN gives the Red Sox? I don’t think they look at the Power Rankings at the end of the season when they decide who goes to the playoffs. I do think there is a value in reading the articles found on the site, but the rankings themselves don’t really mean a whole lot to me. I’ll just stick to their W-L record.

Yeah, I know the Power Rankings don’t mean that much… It’s just unfortunate that most of the ‘Experts’ don’t think we are that good. We’re all hoping they are wrong… but like most sports with real rankings, the winners usually come from the top, not the middle.

I say give pauly another chance. Toronto has a great lineup and It was his first MLB game. I think if you want to develope good pitchers you want to put them in tough situations off the bat(no pun intended). In other words, let him nkow what being a Redsox is all about.

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