New leading man

Even with a near double-digit lead in the AL East, it was obvious the Red Sox could not go on any longer with Julio Lugo (.274 OBP, .318 slugging) batting leadoff. Pedroia at the top makes sense. Like Youkilis, he waits for his pitch. I think the trickle down effect of having both those guys work counts before Oritz and Manny come to the plate will pay dividends.

The more mentally and physically exhausted the pitchers are by the time they get to Papi/Manny, the better chance there is of a meatball being left over the heart of the plate.

Maybe hitting at the bottom of the order can revitalize Lugo. He’ll stop worrying about his burden of being the leadoff man and just think about getting hits.

It’s a windy night here at Fenway. So far, it hasn’t had a negative impact on Wake. I must say, I’m a little tired after the journey back from Phoenix. Coming from West to East knocks you out with the time change.

I’ll have more pep in my step tomorrow.

Ian.

51 Comments

I agree with pacol. But i got to say : that double by Lugo, then the SB and then the Youk’s clutch hit to bring Lugo in ….. i got flashbacks from April and early May.

I like it.

First post! :-D

Yeah, those west to east coast (and vice versa) are draining. Then again, international flights are even worse. I just sleep honestly. :-)

I’m with you Ian, having Lugo near the bottom will help ease the burden on his confidence. However, I would have rather have seen Youk batting 1st and DP batting second. Youk has the lead-off experience and at the same time, there would be less pressure (if any at all) on DP.

Why is my comment posted BEFORE pacol’s one ?????????

I hope Lugo regains his confidence and returns to the leadoff spot because he is ideally suited for the role. He was very productive with Tampa Bay as a leadoff hitter. I think Pedroia should be No. 2 or No. 8. Crisp should be the No. 9 hitter – a second speedy leadoff man.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Well, you can’t pitch much better than Wake has tonite. Now the Sox need to score some runs.

Wow, great game, Wake and JP!!

I don’t like Pedroia much in the leadoff spot. Ever since they moved him up in the lineup, he has shown signs of struggling. He’s a huge bonus to the lineup in the 9th spot. I wouldn’t mind seeing Youk leading off and Lowell batting second until Lugo and Crisp get on track. I think Drew, who is swinging a little better, and Tek behind Manny and Papi is sufficient to protect them. Youk has a great OBP and Lowell almost never strikes out. He’s slow, but he can go the opposite way and has a little pop.

Nice job by Wake and Pap tonight. Strikes, strikes, strikes…… when you pitch ahead, you can succeed.

Ok, I have a question. Who is our lead off man now is it Pedroia or is it still Lugo? Because I know that when the Sox were playing the Dbacks it was Lugo so….

rsox_34, I have no idea. You took my spot as first post you first post stealer you! :-P :-D

Jeff, the way Lugo plays along with his attitude, I have complete faith he’ll turn around the 8-9 spot and he’ll be back in the lead off spot soon enough. His average is pretty good, and I think he’ll be fine once he figures things out.

Great job by Wake tonight; I’m guessing he’s going back into one of his winning cycles again; typical for a knuckleballer. But hey, when he’s on, man is he on. :-) Can’t also forget Papelbon’s save there; 3 batters faced and that’s it.

And props to J.D. on sacrifice; granted he went 0-3, but here’s to hoping that was just a blip on his current streak of hits.

Don’t be surprised if this move of Lugo to the 9th slot in the Batting order works. In his career Julio has batted .306 in 219 AB’s with a .766 OPS.

I think if Lugo isn’t The Sox lead off man I think Coco should be. He has the speed and then with Youk hitting No.2 he could drive Coco in if he steals. But I guess the same is with Lugo so. Who would be the Better lead off man Coco or Lugo?

OK everyone… where are the props??? I predicted tonight’s lineup about 2 weeks ago and everyone was aghast. Pedroia at the top, Yugo and Crisp at the bottom. Plain and simple… you earn the spot, you get rewarded. You stink, you get sent down.

Maybe we will generate more runs at the top of the order… putting less pressure on our deadbeats? Thats the plan.

Anyone notice Big Papi is hitting .340 with .452 OBP? Home runs are down, but 25 doubles is mighty nice.

Well, rayman, you called it.

And the Sox responded with 2 runs. Looks like the pitchers will have to carry the team until the hitters get back in a groove. But it sure is nice to have the pitching staff we have!

Yes, Papi. The plan with the shift is to take away those hits and he’s beating it like a drum. Go Papi!

Yup, you called it Rayman; however I needed to look that up after you mentioned it. I did remember somebody mentioned it, but I clearly didn’t remember it, heh. :-)

gsm52, you make a good point, however, keeping Lowell near the mid-bottom would be better since he that pop in the bat you speak of. Personally today’s line up looked fine, except I’d just swap Youk and Dustin and bat them 1 and 2, respectively. That or the line up that Zachary had posted in the last blog post would work too with again a preference for Youk leading off.

Bottom line, Youk gets on base, can drive the ball, and they didn’t call him “The Greek God of Walks” for nothing. And if you haven’t figured out I’m a big Youk fan (since I saw him during a few PawSox games and then clearly now), well, now you know :-D

hahaha Arnie, rough.

What, no mention of Yankees updates when they beat cy young winners?

btw, that response about A Rod’s slide was the most ridiculous thing I’ve read in awhile. The angle of his slide made it dirtier than a guy who went into it with more force? You have got to be kidding me, what did A-Rod kill your dog?

So if I were to punch someone straight on and knock them out, it’s less vicious than if i jabbed them and they stood standing? Come on, it’s ok to admit you hold Yankees to double standards than the rest of baseball, but don’t try to justify it. Both were means to break up double plays.

Lowell was clean despite elbowing someone while running, but A-Rod is dirty because he popped up from a slide and elbowed someone? Please, that doesn’t make sense and I know half the people on this blog know it.

Do you guys ever wonder if Wakefield had better stuff tonight or the Rockies just don’t see knuckleballs?

Sorry yankeevmm… I’ll check the rule book when I get some time over the next few days. You’re wrong and I’ll prove it. You didn’t even read/interpret my post accurately.

Yes I agree. The “half the people who know it” on this blog would be wrong. Cano was standing within Lowell’s running path, he is perfectly entitled to do what he did. He isn’t allowed punch someone in the face but if someone blocks his running path Lowell is allowed do what he did there.

As you said, “The angle of his slide made it dirtier than a guy who went into it with more force” – that’s exactly how to put it. The one with the angle took him off his base running path, the other one didn’t.

That said I thought Renteria’s was unnecessary given it used excessive and unnecessary force.

That’s wrong if you’re going strictly on rules. What lowell did was technically legal because cano was in his path, but he still threw an elbow, which is dirty. Which there is no problem with, but then you can’t say A-Rod was dirty and you especially can’t say more dirty than Renteria.

A runner has to be within arm’s length of second base in order to take a defender out. A-Rod was more than within that range. If you can find a rule that says he should not slide through the bag and offers nothing about umpires consent than yeah, I’ll believe it was illegal, thus more dirty than Lowell. But in terms of vicious, if you’re standing and running, compared to popping up from a slide where your momentum is already gone from hitting second base, you can’t tell me the latter is dirtier. Then if you have two guys in the exact same situation, and one does it rougher, you can’t tell me that’s less dirty.

A-Rod only had to be within arms length of second, regardless of what angle he was sliding in at.

There is no way on earth, if A-Rod threw an elbow after sliding directly into Pedroia, there wouldn’t be whining here anyway. It is bias, plain and simple, and like I said, this is a Sox blog, there is nothing wrong with it, but denying it is pointless.

You’re not going to find an imaginery rule that says sliding into a guy with an elbow from a different angle, despite being within reach of second base is illegal.

Looking at the rules, there doesn’t seem to be a standard one for this situation. Lowell’s play was legal because the base path belongs to the runner, and he ball was already fielded so he wasn’t interfering with the ball in play. Pedroia already fielded the ball as well, but it is unclear whether A-Rod is still a runner on the base paths, or if it is the umpires consent. Though, seeing as this kind of play whether it be taking out the ankles, spiking the middle infielder, or trying to trip them is done all the time, I doubt there is a rule against it. It probably falls under the category of it being the fielder’s responsibility to get out of the way.

Who cares anymore?

The A-Rod Haters, that’s who.

Honestly, give him a break, and just have fun bashing him when he’s at Fenway or playing the BoSox. Otherwise, those who care, should just stop caring about A-Rod.

Just take a look at a slow-mo version of a video of his slide. It looks more like he’s in the process of popping up from the slide than jabbing an elbow. Heck, Pedroia said it was nothing so why must we care?

Let’s just end it.

If Lowell’s play was legal, why are you whining that it was dirty? Is that not just Yankee bias?

There’s nothing wrong with your bias, but denying it is pointless.

no Brendan that would be changing what I’m saying. Lowell’s play, and A-Rod’s play were both legal and both dirty. I had no issue with either one. People here, and obviously not all, had a problem with A-Rod’s and not with Lowell’s, that’s the bias. Not me, to me, both were in the rules, but if you have a problem with one, you have to with both. And if you had to pick a level of dirtyness which is just dumb to me to begin with, Lowell’s was worse because he was standing and running.

But I agree to the common sentiments, which is to drop it at this point, A-Rod haters will be A-Rod haters whether they want to admit to bias or not.

Fair enough. Although I do think the picking of Lowell’s as a dirtier play is wrong. Cano was completely in Lowell’s way when that play happened. What was he supposed to do? Give Cano a hug? If you think Pedroia needed to get out of A-Rod’s way, then Cano needed to get out of Lowell’s way even more given he was standing directly in his base running path. I just think you considering Lowell’s play dirter is the same example of the bias you chastise.

Personally, I think both A-Rod’s and Mike Lowell’s plays were good plays. I didn’t see where either of them showed any intent to injure which to me is what makes a play dirty. Lowell’s play was mostly shoulder and very little elbow. A-Rod’s slide was right at the bag with a little pop up and bump. Both good ball players, playing hard, which is exactly what they get paid millions of dollars to do, and exactly how the game should be played.

I think if A-Rod wanted to take Pedroia out, or Lowell wanted to take Cano out, they were both in a position to do some real damage. They didn’t.

lol it’s something we’re not going to see eye to eye on then. Lowell was in the base path, true, but he blatantly threw an elbow, he could have very easily even still made contact with cano, but not throw an elbow, his body went upwards (lowells).

Plus, Cano had the ball and was attempting to throw to first, lowell blatantly tried to break it up with an elbow. Didn’t need to hug him, could have very easily avoided upending him though.

But, that’s something where neither of us will budge, so it’s not worth arguing over.

haha on the contrary, it’s entirely worth arguing over. What if it ever happened again?! Then at least we’d have a reference point.

There are a couple of things. First, Lowell didn’t throw an elbow, he dropped his shoulder when he ran and charged into Cano (an elbow sounds a lot more malicious). Second, how could he avoid upending him? The only possible way would be to stand there and get tagged. That’s not going to happen, especially because the fielder was standing is his rightful path. If Lowell had tried to go round him, he would have not have been running in the base paths.

A shoulder is a lot more vicious than an elbow, that’s ur entire upper body instead of one bone.

If there were no other options than the play wouldn’t have been singled out. Just like if A-Rod wasn’t the runner, the play wouldn’t have been questioned.

Cano was on the infield fringe, Lowell had the entire base line to dodge if he wanted to.

Here’s my question for the night:

Mike Lowell has his 12th error (still not time to be concerned?) and 12 homers tonight. Considering he is notoriously a first half hitter and a great defender, what do you think he ends with more of, errors or homeruns?

haha you’re joking right? Have you actually watched the play? Not only was Cano in Lowell’s way, he actually ran towards him. It’s on mlb in the past archives if you want. If Cano really was on the infield fringe, then Lowell would have stepped away from his base running path to take Cano out. That would be illegal. But thankfully that didn’t happen.

I actually didn’t see the play until a few days later and then I saw it and it was more blatant than I had imagined. There was plenty of baseline for Lowell to move to and a shoulder was not necessary. Like I said, if the play was something any baserunner does in Lowell’s situation, it wouldn’t have been questioned. At this point, the argument is pointless.

How pathetic are Lugo and Crisp? They don’t even make good outs. Lugo takes a strike right down the middle and strikes out on two pitches he couldn’t hit with a Wham-O bat. Crisp is always a weak grounder or fly ball. Cora’s average has dropped, but at least he makes good contact.

lol I don’t think I’ve heard the term “wham-O-bat in like 9 years.

what’s the score over there? 3-2?

Aww man. This is gunna be another drag to what culd be another schilling loss. I think he is a little bit too involved in his blog right now. Yanks r killin da D-backs. By the end of the night it most likely will be 8.5 Why is it dat the guys with horrible records dominate the sox. I reeli cant stand schilling right now.

Looks like this is going to be another Schilling loss and yup, at this point, hello 8.5 games.

With all the hits Schilling was giving up, this was not going to be a pretty game. Now it’s 9-2 Rockies. Yeah, the Colorado Rockies…

I’m not surprised the Red Sox brass didn’t give him an contract extension. The way he’s been on and off, I don’t expect anything big, if anything at all.

Here’s to hoping this is just one of those games…

This is a bad one, yikes!

Actually the Rox have been playing pretty well lately. Combine that with the Sox having a tough time and you get 12-2. The Sox are really starting to look like they need a wake-up call. The hitters are just plain struggling. Maybe some prunes, you know, get things flowing again.

Hey, these base-running plays…that’s what you do, take out the 2nd basemen/shortstop at 2nd. What’s the problem? How many slides do we have to see to show you that. Slide hard, take out the feilder at 2nd. If you are caught like Lowell, you knock over the 2nd baseman. That play has been made for 100 years. You try to break up the double play. I’ve seen guys in Lowell’s position just keep running and take the 2nd baseman with him. Lowell chose to knock Cano over. That’s baseball. A-Rod tried to keep Pedroia from making the throw to first. 2nd basemen sometimes go flying head over heels. It’s part of the job description. And to say one is dirtier is just plain silly, neither play was dirty.

My fellow Red Sox fans: how about we drop the issue about base running plays that seem dirty and lets talk about the bomb the Rockies (YES, THE ROCKIES!) dropped on us today, eh? :-(

Seriously, what the *bleep* was that all about? My jaw dropped when I saw the box score. If I was a kid, I might have shed a few tears…

My prediction: the Yankees gain another game or two in the standings and will continue this win streak to about 12-15 games and then come back down to Earth again. So in the end, I’d say a 5.5 game lead by the Red Sox in the AL East, and then the race is officially on.

I meant to continue my post, but I accidentally tabbed and hit enter…

Anyways, lets take a quick and rough look at every starter’s ERA:

Schilling: 3.80

Beckett: 2.88

Matsuzaka: 4.52

Wakefield: 3.92

Tavarez: 5.25

Not all that bad, but I wouldn’t consider that dominant either. Granted, that is probably more reflective of the past several starts for each of them, but minus Beckett, I’d be a tad concerned. Dice-K I still consider a rookie because Japanese baseball is essentially slightly below the MLB in how tough it is (hence the “AAAA” moniker I’ve seen thrown around) so there are adjustments he still needs to make. Tavarez has done all you could ask for in a 5th starter who hasn’t normally been a starter in his career.

Again, IMHO, there’s concern in regards to Schilling. His record is indicative of our offense bailing him out at times and while it’s probably very early to say this, and this is NO KNOCK on Wakefield WHATSOEVER, but Schilling is falling into the patterns of good and bad outings like Wakefield usually goes into. Wakefield is a knuckleball pitcher and that usually means if his knuckleball isn’t “dancing,” decently it’ll be a long night. Schilling has been a power pitcher throughout his career and while he knows he can’t bring the heat like he used to, IMHO, I don’t feel like he’s fully made the adjustments to compensate for that.

As for our bullpen, I’m too tired to go into detail, but Okajima and Papelbon have been great, and Donelley, Snyder, and Lopez have been good. However, there have been plenty of bumps on the road as of late.

Honestly, I’m not ready to hit the panic button just yet, but I’m still a tad concerned and I’m crossing my fingers and toes and getting some voodoo ready (who said there isn’t superstition in baseball?), hoping we don’t go into one of those mid-summer funky slumps.

And with that, my fellow RSN citizens, I bid you good night. :-)

That about sums it up pacol.
But if you look at the stats things are not that bad. ERA–2nd in AL. Runs, I think 4th in AL. Bullpen has one of the best ERA’s. yes, the worry is that they take too long to get out of this funk, but really, this year they have the tools to do it.

And as I said, the Rox are playing really well right now. A little while back they won 7 straight and they have won several series lately. But still the Sox should beat them.

And you are right on about Schill, still in adjustment mode, very inconsistant.

Maybe the Sox should be spending a little less time worrying about who’s on the All-Star Ballot,and a little more time trying to figure out how to get the offense back on track. That sound you hear in the background is the Yankees slowly,but seemingly surely,creeping back into things…

Is it just me or everyone else here thinks the Offense is the Sox biggest weakness this season?

Papi pulled himself from the ALL-STAR ballot to make room for Youk, reports ESPN. He said “I’ll do anything for a teammate”. Papi also pulled himself from the Home Run Derby, saying “I just don’t have it” (probaly his hamstring is bothering him).

However David Ortiz’s name hasn’t been removed from the ballot yet and replaced with Youkilis.

I think Lugo is hurting the team with his weak bat and shoddy defense. Bad enough he had the poor throw in the 1st inning last night, the missed stop of the grounder in the 5th (yes it was a hot shot), but he should have made that play! I really do not think his speed adds that much value to the team if he is not on base for the big guns, and does not make the plays in the field!

Hopefully Theo & Co. are looking at making a deal for a real shortstop!

I don’t know how long the Sox can be patient with Lugo & Crisp if they r hurting the team so bad. Why not bring up David Murphy from minors and play him in the CF and get rid of Coco for good? Even if he stuggles he can’t be as bad as Coco. Why is Pena(even though his defense is bad) on the bench and Coco on the feild on a daily basis? Should it not be the other way round? Why did Tito sit Pedroia to get Cora into the lineup? Lugo should be one that should be benched not Pedroia.

On the positive note even the Yanks had a offensive slump in April & May when Abreau, Cano, Damon were struggling and hurting the team. They r all out of the slump and all r swinging the bats well. Hope the Sox bats come out this slump soon and start swinging the bats.

I think the hitting coach is reponsible for all the offensive struggles for Sox.
RedSox should fire hitting Coach Dave Magadan for the Offensive stuggles.

JD Drew batting lead off today. Should be intersting.

Man you guys are tough on Schilling…holy **** give the guy a break. Yes he’s been slightly inconsistent but his era tells the tale…3.8 isnt all that bad in this division and league. Man he went to war last week and almost got his nono. Sure he’s not the ace of the staff anymore but I’d take him over many others right about now. Not to mention his ability to come up big in big games…Much like the new ace Beckett. I would worry way more about Lugo then Schilling, and why Crisp hasnt been able to find his swing. I’m in total agreement about Cora playing for Lugo last night. Whats this about Jd batting leadoff????? Whats up with that, kind a silly dont you think? Youk should be the leadoff man, followed by dp-papi-manny-lowell-drew-tek-cora-crisp…or lugo-crisp…or…..lol

Read something interesting, you know those Sports Illustrated Player POlls conducted for every new issue, well this weeks poll title was “PLAYERS WHO DO THE LEAST WITH THE MOST AMOUNT OF TALENT”. . . . .

One and two . . . . . Wily Mo Pena and J.D. Drew . . . . .

Schilling is going to go out and bust his hump every start. If he has good command, he’ll do fine. If he doesn’t, he just doesn’t have the tools to get by any more. That’s been pretty evident all season for him. Fastball is mostly under 90, he’s got the worst changeup in baseball (slows his motion down whenever he throws it), he needs to get rid of the cutter which loops in about belt high at 82-85, and his splitter is OK, when it’s good, and horrible when it isn’t. He’s got a pretty good curve which he rarely throws.

You can talk about Lugo and Crisp until you’re blue in the face, but Tito isn’t going to give up on them. Sox are looking very much like the early season Yankees, except the pitching is a little better.

New lineup:

Ortiz

Ramirez

Drew

Lowell

Youk

Tek

Lugo

Crisp

Pedroia

Stupid you say? Why not get the guys who are hitting more at bats? Lowell leads the team in RBI’s for a reason. There are runners on ahead of him.

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