August 12, 2004
Hot Topics: Dale Sveum
I’d like to review a few recent hot topics:
Dale Sveum – In today’s 6-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Red Sox had 2 runners thrown out at home plate. In both cases, Rocco Baldelli was behind the outfield throw.
After the game today, instead of focusing on the great shutout thrown by Pedro Martinez, Red Sox fans and WEEI host Pete Sheppard called for Dale Sveum’s head. It wasn’t all Sveum talk, but it was more than half of the first hour.
Sveum is the Red Sox thirdbase coach. Sveum is a fairly young coach and given that he was playing in the majors up until 1999, he couldn’t possibly have that much experience as a coach. He must have shown Terry Francona and Red Sox brass something during the off season.
Is Sheppard right? You judge.
Here is a list of Sveum’s failures at home plate this season (on plays from the outfield. I also assumed in each case the runner didn’t ignore a stop sign b/c I just don’t know).
8/12/04 – Millar at home. Assist R. Baldelli. Red Sox win 6-0.
8/12/04 – Varitek at home. Assist R. Baldelli. Red Sox win 6-0.
8/8/04 – Cabrera at home. Assist C. Monroe. Red Sox win 11-9.
8/6/04 – Mientkiewicz at home. Assist R. White. Red Sox lose 3-4.
8/4/04 – Roberts at home. Assist R. Baldelli. Red Sox lose 4-5.
8/2/04 – Ramirez at home. Assist C. Crawford. Red Sox win 6-3.
7/4/04 – Mueller at home. Assist C. Thomas. Red Sox lose 4-10.
7/3/04 – Ramirez at home. Assist A. Jones. Red Sox win 6-1.
6/4/04 – Bellhorn at home. Assist M. Stairs. Red Sox lose 2-5.
5/12/04 – Ramirez at home. Assist M. Lawton. Red Sox lose 4-6.
It is interesting to note that 6 of the 10 outs at home (on throws from the outfield) have occurred in the past 10 days and Rocco Baldelli had 3 assists himself.
Is Sheppard right? I have no idea. In fact, I don’t even know if anyone has ever decided to record thirdbase coaches success/failure rates before. I had to go through each Red Sox game this year to come up with the data above.
No where on the world wide web did I find a stat source that compiled this crap. I’m not saying it is meaningless, but instead an unknown. Bill James, can you help us out here?
It might be possible the average team has 20 runners thrown out at home each year and that Sveum is well under that pace. Maybe the average team only has 10 and Sveum has already reach that. I don’t know and I bet Pete Sheppard doesn’t know either.
Additionally, you’d expect a high scoring offense like the Red Sox to be in a position to have more runners trying to score than a low powered offense. More times heading toward home is of course going to lead to more outs at home.
Sheppard went as far to say that Dave Roberts being thrown out at home on 8/5 “lost the game for the Red Sox.”
They weren’t exactly winning the game when that out occurred, where they Pete?
-Top of the 9th inning
-K Millar singled to left.
-D Roberts ran for K Millar.
-D Roberts to second on passed ball by T Hall.
-D Mientkiewicz singled to center, D Roberts thrown out at home. D Mientkiewicz to second advancing on throw.
-B Mueller grounded out to second, D Mientkiewicz to third.
-G Kapler hit by pitch.
-J Damon popped out to first.
Above is the Red Sox ninth inning play-by-play for the 8/4 game.
Even had Sveum held Roberts, the infield probably would have been in and Mueller’s subsequent grounder to second would have either led to Roberts staying on third and Mueller getting thrown out at first or Roberts being thrown out at home if he’d run (with Mueller reaching first and Mientkiewicz reaching third)
Then Kapler gets hit by a pitch. The situation would have been bases loaded and one down.
Damon’s pop out to first would have made it 2 outs and then the big question is what would the next guy have (Youkilis) done? Sheppard suggested he’d have won the game for them….or at least tied it with the Red Sox winning later.
My point here is that this is a typical knee-jerk reaction. Look at the big picture and then judge. Additionally, until anyone has stats or historical performance for this sort of thing, zip it!
Now that I’ve said that, watch Epstein fire Sveum tomorrow…..
Nomar – I wish this whole Nomar debacle would just go away. He is gone. Let’s take the high road here and wish him luck, congratulate him on a wonderful career with the Red Sox and lastly welcome the 2 new guys and focus on winning.
Both Nomar and Red Sox management have looked pretty foolish in this mess. Let’s not forget the Boston media too. They will do anything to keep this garbage alive. I sometimes wonder why we seem to be the only town in America to let this sort of thing happen.
Millar – Wow has he been hitting the stuffing out of the ball. Since the all-star break (through 8/11) he has gone .395/.457/.691.
He’s also shot off his mouth a bit too. Last week he openly questioned Terry Francona’s line-up inconsistency. If I were Francona, I’d have A.) fined him as heavily as I could under current laws/rules, B.) told him to shut-up from now own or have his ass married to the bench.
Francona is the one guy that stuck with Millar through his positively horrid first half. Millar had 25 RBI in his first 81 games to go along with 5 home runs. That isn’t first baseman/DH production. In fact, Millar’s slump could be traced back to last year. His 2003 second half yielded .251/.331/.421 with 11 HRs and 35 RBI.
So the fact that Francona stuck with him despite much rumbling from fans only to have Millar sell Francona down the river is pathetic. If Millar is the leader he’d like you to think he is, he should show more respect for his manager and get in better shape. That would show leadership.
Ok, that probably goes too far on my part. Millar did apologize, but man, what was he thinking? He still could be in much better shape though. Tubby.