Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Negativity In This Blog Stinks

The Red Sox are the hottest team in baseball right now and I want to feel good about this team and I haven't given up hope that this team can turn it around and get back into the Playoffs. Unfortunately, the Captain is being a negative Nancy and killing my buzz. Normally, I have DP's blind and baseless optimism to even things out, but he's been MIA. As such, I've taken it upon myself to write the overly optimistic counterpoint to Rob's cynical analysis.

1) I'm blaming the first half on AJ Pierzynski. He was a massive jerk and he was bringing the whole team down. He is washed up and couldn't frame a pitch to save his life.. or a run... or a game. He single-handedly ruined the chemistry on this team that helped them win a World Series last year. I have no idea how the White Sox managed to win a World Series with this guy on the roster. I guess he could hit back then. Maybe his clubhouse cancerousness and Ozzie Guillen's cancelled each other out, like when you multiply negative numbers and it makes a positive.Now that he's gone, they're back to business as usual.

2) Brock Holt is an absolute beast and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. You can put him anywhere and he hits and fields like a champ. Sadly, we didn't recognize his greatness immediately and it took some time for him to work into the regular rotation. Now that his awesomeness is widely known, he can be an important part of turning this team around in the second half.

3) We haven't seen the best of a lot of our veteran position players this season. We should see an improvement in the production from David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino for the remainder of this season.

4) Daniel Nava is back. In the past 5+ weeks he's brought his season average up from .134 to .256 and he's batting .410 in July. Whatever his issues were, he seems to have worked through them.

5) They must be letting Clay Buchholz use Bullfrog on the ball again, because he seems to have worked through whatever injury or mechanical issues were causing him to suck. He's 3-1 since he came back. His ERA is dropping, he's issued just 1 walk in 5 starts and he's had 0 meltdowns. He will contribute from the middle/bottom of the rotation by keeping games within reach and the occasional gem like he threw against the Astros.

6) Rubby De La Rosa is a solid big league starter. He hasn't had any meltdowns, always gone at least 5 innings and kept the game within reach for the Red Sox.

I said it was time for this team to prove to me that they had what it takes. I wanted to see them go at least 9-4 between the All-Star break and the trade deadline and make up a lot of that ground in the AL East and the Wild Card. They can meet my goal by going just 5-4 the rest of the way. I've raised my expectations. I want to see them go 11-2 over that stretch and convince Ben Cherington to get them some help at the deadline instead of selling off parts.

Don't worry Captain, I'll save you a seat on the bandwagon.
-Mike

5 comments:

bosoxfaninatl said...

oh, sure. you pick nava's best 5 weeks of the season. :)

i guess rob doesn't think players can get better or work out of a slump, since he doesn't want to consider their most recent stats. I believe that jbj's surge has been longer than the ten games i referenced earlier, but couldn't find anything readily available.

rob said...

How dare I not write playoff previews for this 47-52 team. I'm being negative.

I should be more like you guys, who want to give up prospects (even though in your minds every prospect is a future All-Star) so this .475 team can make a run at another ring.

Atl, it's one thing to focus on recent stats, it's another thing to focus on some players' recent stats, and then focus on other players' stats from April and May.

For the record, JBJ's entire month of July has been very good. You guys see players like he and Nava contributing, and you think it's the end of struggling, and the Sox will make a push toward the playoffs. What I see is that the Sox need JBJ to hit at an unsustainable level (.378 in July) to win. They need unsustainable hot streaks to not be a mediocre team.

When these guys cool off, this team will go back to losing games. Sorry, it's true. I'm enjoying the wins, they're fun to watch, I'm not banking on 40 wins in the last 63 games to make a challenge at the playoffs.

Here's a point that might take your heads out of the clouds. The Red Sox started last night 7.5 games out of first place. After hitting 4 homeruns, getting a great start from Lackey, and winning 14-1, where were they in the standings this morning?

7.5 games out.

That was one of my points that you guys missed in my article. Even if the Sox play great, the Orioles have a say in the Sox' destiny.

Before this amazing 8 wins in 9 games, the Sox had a 1-7 stretch. Yet they're on their way to the playoffs.

MIke said...

Jesus Rob you are SUCH a negative Nancy. It's killing me.

"For the record, JBJ's entire month of July has been very good. You guys see players like he and Nava contributing, and you think it's the end of struggling, and the Sox will make a push toward the playoffs. What I see is that the Sox need JBJ to hit at an unsustainable level (.378 in July) to win. They need unsustainable hot streaks to not be a mediocre team."

I call that a market correction. I think both players are better than their numbers earlier in the season would indicate. When they even out to more sustainable numbers guys who are currently cold will heat up to pick up the slack. That was what I was getting at with point #3. Pedroia has been ice cold since the All-Star Break. Xander Bogaerts might be heating up as well.

"Here's a point that might take your heads out of the clouds. The Red Sox started last night 7.5 games out of first place. After hitting 4 homeruns, getting a great start from Lackey, and winning 14-1, where were they in the standings this morning?

7.5 games out."

Maybe they didn't make up any ground on the O's, but they did pick up a game on the Yankees and the Blue Jays and picked up a half game lead on the Rays. They're also only 6 games out on the wild card and they've picked up games on KC, Cleveland and LAA there.

"Before this amazing 8 wins in 9 games, the Sox had a 1-7 stretch. Yet they're on their way to the playoffs."

There was a significant player transaction that happened immediately after that 1-7 stretch and immediately before that 8-1 stretch. Perhaps there was some intangible effect of removing that player that has been a greater benefit to the team than previously believed?

bosoxfaninatl said...

thank you, mike.

i was focusing on bogaerts' stats when he was playing a position he was most comfortable in. maybe it wouldn't make a difference offensively to get him back to shortstop, but i would certainly give it a try as soon as it is possible - if they intend to play him at shortstop long term.

the sky is not falling quite yet.

rob said...

Mike,you're entire argument is pinned on the unprovable notion that AJ Pierzynski had almost complete control over this team winning and losing. I guess that 10-game losing streak, then 7-game win streak, then 5-game losing streak earlier in the year was somehow also because of Pierzynski.

Maybe a trip to Houston had an impact on this winning streak too. Probably not as much as Pierzynski leaving, but maybe a small part.

Maybe JBJ is regressing to the mean. But where is that mean? So far it's barely above .200, and its OBP and SLG are awful.

My point about JBJ's hotness isn't about how good of a player he is, it's that he is performing at an extremely high level, but the level is temporary. He's not going to be this hot forever.
If that's the case then I contend that the Red Sox are dependent on him and others staying this hot in order to win. Which means that once some cool down, this team will struggle to win games at a pace that will get them into the playoffs.

Baseball is a game of streaks. This team needs a significant number of guys having their best streaks of the season in order to win. The team isn't strong enough to tread water when guys are cold.

This is a nice stretch, but the Sox are still 13-14 in their last 27 games. They've dug a deep hole for themselves, and they need other teams to fail in order to help.