Red Sox October 2004

October 27, 2004

 

At Last

 

Amazing.

 

I don’t think I’ll fully appreciate this until days, months down the road. I jumped up and down a bit when Foulke tossed the ball to Mientkiewicz, but didn’t get the rush of joy and happiness I fully expected. Why? I think it is because my mind is trying to flush itself of 32 years of negative thoughts and results.

 

Still, even less than an hour after the game, I am getting little spells of joy and waves of bliss. The Red Sox won the World Series!!! The Red Sox won the World Series!!!

 

Not only that, no one can say anything anymore to the Red Sox and their fans. 1918 means nothing now. The Curse of the Bambino means nothing now. Boy, that is a relief.

 

I mentioned to a friend of mine after the game that now Red Sox fans can start yelling “2000!” to the Yankees next year.

 

Let’s hope tomorrow/later today we aren’t reading about senseless violence in Boston and beyond.

 

Be happy Red Sox fans. This is as good as it gets. 2004 World Series Champions!!!

 

Posted by Andy at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

Up 3-0 in the World Series?

 

The Boston Red Sox being up 3-0 in the World Series is probably the oddest feeling I’ve had, short of the full body massage I got when I was in…..wait, that isn’t right.

 

Seriously though, it is, as Butch Sterns said immediately after the game, “uncharted territory.”

 

This whole postseason, I’ve constantly felt that impending doom is right around the corner. In fact, I was talking with my brother the other day that the ALCS felt like the opening of Monty Pythons Flying Circus. The opening has the various animation and theme music (The Liberty Bell March) that reaches a peak and all of a sudden, a giant foot comes squashing down. Listen to the “pblblblbpt” at the end.

 

Well, even now, I still feel disaster is ready to rear its ugly head. It isn’t my fault, after all, the Boston Red Sox just proved it is possible to overcome a 0-3 deficit. Regardless, should the Red Sox pull this off, I hope I have a chance before the final out is made to really soak this in. To really let myself get carried away.

 

But because the worst of all bad things that could happen to Red Sox fans is most certainly around the corner, I fear I’ll remain ultra-guarded until the final out is recorded…should it be recorded.

 

Despite all of that, kudos to Pedro Martinez. What a start. 7 innings, 3 hits, 2 walks. Wow. I really had lost a bit of confidence in the man, but he proved me wrong, even it was just for one start, perhaps his last start for the Red Sox.

 

Trot Nixon also delivered a timely hit. I’ve said all along, Nixon really needs to contribute to make this team a winner.

 

Game 4 tonight, Derek Lowe vs. Jason Marquis. Lowe is coming off a great game 7 outing in the ALCS. Marquis is coming off a relief appearance in game 2 of the World Series.

 

Stay focused boys. This one isn’t over.

 

Posted by Andy at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2004

 

Game 3 in St Louis

 

The Red Sox took games 1 and 2 in somewhat craptacular style. They hit the ball well, but committed 8 errors in the 2 games combined. It was ugly in the field and, fortunately, ugly for the St. Louis pitchers.

 

First off, my experience with game 1 was as bad as I had feared. Deep in the Adirondacks, stuck in a valley, no TV in the house, just the radio and dueling banjos playing nonstop. The good news was that many AM stations were carrying the game, the bad news is it sounded like a wise-assed intern at the radio various stations was turning on and off the transmitter throughout the broadcast. “Broadcast on, broadcast off….”

 

AM 990, 1050 and 1090 turned out to be the 3 channels we used to get the game. I think 1050 is ESPN radio out of Manhattan!

 

Anyway, the Monday off-day could not have come sooner. All of Boston has been severely sleep deprived. Those in business, take note. If you are involved in any business deals, law cases, investments, you name it with people from Boston, now is the time to pull the wool over a Bostonian’s eyes. We are just too tired to catch you.

 

Ok, game 3 will feature Pedro Martinez vs. Jeff Suppan. On paper this looks uneven, but figuring Martinez has now pitched close to 237 innings this year, posted his worst ERA ever in the regular season and Jeff Suppan had been the Cardinals go-to starter in the playoffs and you have a close match, perhaps one tilted in the Cardinals favor.

 

Game 4 will feature Derek “I just increased my future worth ten-fold” Lowe for
Boston and Jason Marquis for St. Louis.

 

Playing in the Cardinals home park is going to be tough. The fans in St. Louis are some of the best and know how to make noise. Additionally, the idea of David Ortiz playing 1b is not appealing. Perhaps Terry Francona will have Pokey Reese play 2b for a game just to help tighten the team D.

 

Some keys to games 3 and 4. Trot Nixon has to show up. He has .205/.255/.295 numbers so far in the 2004 playoffs. If he can’t pick it up, look for Kevin Millar to get a start.

 

Check out the 2004 batting stat totals through game 2 of the World Series. It is pretty similar to the regular season totals.

 

NAME G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
Johnny Damon 12 61 11 16 2 0 2 8 3 11 5 1 .262 .297 .393 .690
Manny Ramirez 12 52 7 18 3 0 1 9 7 9 0 0 .346 .410 .462 .871
Orlando Cabrera 12 50 8 15 3 0 0 11 7 7 1 0 .300 .390 .360 .750
Bill Mueller 12 48 9 15 2 0 0 2 6 2 0 0 .313 .400 .354 .754
David Ortiz 12 48 12 20 2 1 5 19 12 10 0 1 .417 .533 .813 1.346
Jason Varitek 12 45 9 12 1 1 3 11 4 12 0 0 .267 .346 .533 .879
Trot Nixon 11 44 5 9 1 0 1 5 3 7 0 0 .205 .255 .295 .551
Mark Bellhorn 12 43 8 9 3 0 3 8 12 15 0 0 .209 .382 .488 .870
Kevin Millar 12 40 8 10 4 0 1 6 8 6 0 0 .250 .388 .425 .813
Playoff Totals 12 431 77 124 21 2 16 79 62 79 6 2 .287 .376 .450 .825
Reg. Season 162 .282 .360 .472 .832

 

Considering Mark Bellhorn and Johnny Damon are on the incline, that leaves only Trot really as struggling.

 

There is so much to say about the various individual efforts to date, but in the interests of remaining within expectations, let’s not talk about them today. There’s time for that next week.

 

Let’s hope Boston can stayed focused, go into St. Louis and take 2. Easier said than done as there is a reason St. Louis won the most games in the majors this year (105). Additionally, when Larry Walker (1.444 OPS in WS), Albert Pujols (1.270), Scott Rolen (.000) and Jim Edmonds (.347) all turn it on at once, watch out. They are arguably the 4 toughest 2-5 hitters in baseball. So far, only Walker and Pujols have shown up. That means Rolen and Edmonds are due.

 

Ok, that’s all I have. I’m very nervous, worried and borderline freaked out. Things are going to be very tough over the next 3 nights. St. Louis is very good and will be difficult to beat. Not good having to play 3 in a row there.

 

Talk with you soon. Oxygen……

 

Posted by Andy at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2004

 

The St. Louis Cardinals

 

First off, I will be away until late Sunday, unable to update this site. That’s too bad…for me anyway. Secondly, I’ll be in the middle of nowhere for game 1. Seriously, I’ll be in a valley, deep in the Adirondacks of all places with little hope of catching a radio or tv signal. Lake Placid bars here I come!

I was wrong about the rotation. Tim Wakefield will be pitching game 1 on 4 days rest.

It should be a great series. Here’s to hoping, win or lose, Boston and Massachusetts residents behave themselves lest we have another tragedy. It just isn’t worth it if someone gets hurt or dies.

Lastly, a reader of the site, Uri, gave me a well deserved slap on the wrist for my essentially giving up on the Red Sox after game 3 of the ALCS. He never, NEVER gave up even against all odds. So, I promised him I’d drag myself through the mud if the Red Sox came back and won. Here it goes:

Andy (that’s me) is a big fat DOOFUS!!!

I’m so happy I got to do that.

Anyway, let’s get this puppy started, I can’t wait.

 

Posted by Andy at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2004

 

Shocker

 

I admit it, I was wrong. I fully gave up on these guys after Saturday’s slaughter. While I’m certain I was not alone, I still feel a bit foolish. Perhaps it is part of being an avid Red Sox fan, something in me kept imagining just how the New York Yankees would come back, be it in the 4th inning or with 2 down in the 9th.

 

The Yankees are such a good team with such amazing leadership (Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams, I’m talking about you), it just seemed a given they’d figure out a way to pull this one out.

 

Well, I was wrong and I’m very happy about that.

 

Give Derek Lowe the bulk of the credit, he pitched 6 innings of 1 hit, 1 walk baseball. Amazing considering his status on the pitching staff. Scott Boros is wetting his pants with excitement right now (his own pants, now Lowe’s…not that I know of anyway.).

 

I suppose Johnny Damon deserves equal billing after hitting 2 dingers and driving in 60% of the runs in game 7.

 

We could go on and on about who played well and who was MVP, but regardless, the Boston Red Sox are heading to their first World Series in 18 years. They await an opponent (Houston or St. Louis) but certainly don’t mind as they can all use the rest.

 

Speaking of rest, Boston and I’m sure New England has been dragging the past few days. Dark circles under the eyes are the norm of late. It’ll be nice to get a few good days of productivity at work and sleep at home.

 

I believe the Red Sox will have 2 off days. That means Curt Schilling will have had 3 days rest, Tim Wakefield 3 days, Pedro Martinez, 2 days, Derek Lowe 2 days and Bronson Arroyo 3 days.

 

It’ll mean someone has to come back on short rest, but given it’s the World Series, I’m sure no one will mind a great deal. At least the bullpen will be fresh and ready to go.

 

So, let’s see who wins tonight, Houston or St. Louis, and then buckle up for what is sure to be an interesting ride.

 

Lastly a salute to the dude on the other side of this website, Peter. I had the benefit of reading his 10/21 post prior to posting mine. It goes without saying that each city has its own collection of yahoo fans, those that guarantee wins, chant obscene chants and show a legitimate disdain for their opposing fans.

 

But it needs to be said that there is another kind of baseball fan, one that can appreciate the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s the reason this site is up in the first place, to acknowledge good baseball, even it is being played by the opposition. My whole point here is that Peter is a class act as are most Yankee fans (and Red Sox fans too). That’s what baseball is all about, isn’t it?

 

Posted by Andy at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2004

 

A First

 

I’ll be brief as it is late and I am exhausted from this series.

 

The Red Sox are the first team to force a game 7 after starting a series 0-3 (as if Fox didn’t make that abundantly clear). Give all the credit to Curt Schilling. He went out there and pitched a gem, hurt or not. For those doubting the severity of his ankle woes, fine, but you have to admit that his outing tonight was good for a perfectly healthy pitcher too.

 

Game 7 looks to be Kevin Brown vs. Derek Lowe. Lowe, the starter relegated to mop-up duty early in the playoffs, is now starting game 7 for the Red Sox. A big start indeed.

 

Back at it again Wednesday night. Have you had enough? I hope not.

 

Posted by Andy at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2004

 

Am I a Bad Person?

 

I basically threw in the towel 2 nights ago. The Red Sox were down 0-3 and had looked pretty horrible getting to that point. Am I a bad person? Can you blame me? Well some of you did. I got assailed via email. Probably deservedly so. I was frustrated, but really had written these fellas off. Was that smart?

 

David Ortiz just delivered his 2nd walk-off hit in 2 nights and 3rd of the postseason. Wow. He has been über-clutch.

 

So now the Red Sox head back to New York for game 6, down 2-3. As a friend of mine pointed out last night, the Red Sox were down 2-3 in 2003 too.

 

From all I can tell, Curt Schilling is going to try and give it a go tomorrow night in New York. Starting game 6 and providing 7-8 quality innings would be a tremendous boost for Boston. Consider this, Boston trotted out the following tonight:

 

Martinez – 111 pitches
Timlin – 20 pitches
Foulke – 22 pitches
Arroyo – 17 pitches
Myers – 4 pitches
Embree – 9 pitches
Wakefield – 38 pitches

 

No big deal, right….wait, check out Sunday night’s pitchers:

 

Lowe – 88 pitches
Timlin – 37 pitches
Foulke – 50 pitches
Embree – 30 pitches
Myers – 4 pitches
Leskanic – 13 pitches

 

That means in game 6, the bullpen will most likely be hoping to avoid using Timlin, Foulke, Embree and Wakefield. That leaves them with Mendoza, Myers and Leskanic. Hmmm, that is unsettling.

 

But, given every game is possibly Boston’s last and given the character of these guys (despite what Gary Sheffield says….talk about character), Timlin, Foulke, Embree and Wakefield will probably make themselves available for game 6.

 

Cheers to two fun, if not exhausting games in the ALCS. What happened to a 9 inning, 2 hour and 30 minute victory…for Boston? My spastic colon can’t take anymore of this.

 

By the way, it’s also time for a few of the Boston bats to get it together. Ortiz can’t win these things alone. I’m talking about Johnny Damon, Mark Bellhorn, Kevin Millar, Trot Nixon, Jason Varitek and Bill Mueller. Or 2/3 of the Boston line-up. Come on, pick it up now!!!

 

Posted by Andy at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2004

 

A Total Embarrassment

 

As a Red Sox fan, I’m trying to figure out how I feel.

Past history certainly has prepared me for the outcome that surely awaits the Red Sox (down 0-3 as of this writing). That’s not feeling sorry for myself, it is the truth. But the Red Sox have a way of always topping the previous defeat. Or is it that any defeat seems worse than the last because it is so fresh?

I don’t know.

I do know that the Red Sox put on an embarrassing display last night. They have nothing to be happy about. Not the coaches, the pitchers and not the line-up. No one performed well. Sure they mustered 8 runs of the Yankees staff, but I wouldn’t pat myself on the back considering the total inability Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez to get men out on their own. Instead, the Red Sox ran themselves into important outs. Manny Ramirez at third and Bill Mueller at home.

Where does this leave the 2004 Red Sox? It leaves them preparing for a meaningless game 4 Sunday and it leaves Red Sox management preparing for the upcoming player transactions and important deadlines.

They’ve left me with no option but to start talking about the 2005 Red Sox. So, here it goes.

How’s signed for 2005 (club options and 3 yr or less players included):

$20m – Manny Ramirez
$12m – Curt Schilling
$8.5m – Johnny Damon
$6.5m – Trot Nixon
$4.875m – David Ortiz
$7m – Keith Foulke
$4.35m – Tim Wakefield
$6m – Byung-Hyun Kim
$3.75m – Doug Mientkiewicz
$3m – Alan Embree
$3.5m – Kevin Millar
$2.7m – Mike Timlin
$3m – Bill Mueller
$300k – Kevin Youkilis
$86.370m – Total

Who is a free agent or arbitration eligible?

Pedro J Martinez
Jason Varitek
Orlando Cabrera
Derek Lowe
Ramiro Mendoza
Scott Williamson
Pokey Reese
David Roberts
Doug Mirabelli
Gabe Kapler
Ellis Burks
Mark Bellhorn
Bronson Arroyo – Arb.
David McCarty
Terry Adams
Curt Leskanic

There are a few others that made minor contributions, but who cares.

Basically Theo Epstein needs the following assuming he doesn’t re-sign his free agents:

Starter – #2
Starter – #3, 4 or 5
Catcher
Shortstop
Second
Some bullpen arms
Some utility pieces

That’s a ton of work to do and he doesn’t have much to spend for it and doesn’t have much to pick from.

Theo has about $40m to play with to sign 11 players to fill out the 25-man-roster, assumign they land in the same area payroll-wise. In reality, teams usually have more than 25 players to juggle, so it probably means $40m to sign 13-15 players.

As for who is available via free agency this year, the pickings are slim. For starting pitchers you have Carl Pavano, Matt Morris and Matt Clemente. All are just fine, but have uncertain histories. Regardless, they will all probably be signed by the Yankees anyway because the Yankees staff is so terrible….said with tongue firmly in cheek.

So the Red Sox season is basically over and they have a ton of work to do and little to work with as far as talent. Another brutal ending to what was a promising season.

Oh well.

 

Posted by Andy at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2004

 

What Just Happened?

 

Hmmm, that wasn’t supposed to happen. I don’t think I expected the Red Sox to be down 0-2, I really didn’t.

 

I didn’t expect Curt Schilling to pitch like butt and I didn’t expect Jon Lieber to throw a 3-hitter over 7 innings. Well, it happened and the Red Sox have to deal with it and so do I. Sniffles.

 

Game 3 will be back at Fenway Park with Bronson “I don’t mind if you call me Charles” Bronson facing Kevin Brown. The only positive I can think of here is that in a best-of-seven series, home field advantage means you get to play 4 games at home. If each home team wins its respective games, the team with home field advantage wins the series.

 

So the Red Sox simply need to do what the Yankees have done and win their home games. The challenge comes in games 6 and 7 back in the Bronx. The Red Sox have to take one of those. Simple, right?

 

I’m trying to get my hands around what happened Tuesday and Wednesday. The fact Schilling was hurt in game 1 and now appears likely out for the season is about the worst thing that could have happened. Really, if given the choice of losing Schilling or Manny Ramirez for the playoffs, I think 90% would have preferred losing Manny. No offense to Manny, but great starting pitching wins games.

 

Add to that the fact Boston batters popped out about 50% of the time against Lieber, a ground-ball pitcher. So odd. I can’t figure it out. I can’t say it is unfair, because many teams go through adversity, but wow, what a time to go through adversity.

 

Let’s hope being back in Boston helps this team rally and string together 4 wins. The hard part to handle is that Boston has to win 4 of the next 5 (or 4) to advance to the World Series….against New York no less. Not an easy task.

 

Here’s to hoping a Red Sox player will tell his teammates “Jump on my back and let’s win 8 more games.” I don’t know who that player is and I don’t care, I just want someone, anyone to go out there and drag his teammates along kicking and screaming, if necessary, to a playoff level of play. Otherwise, we’ll be talking about the 2005 Boston Red Sox far too early. I don’t like the idea of that this early in the year.

 

Posted by Andy at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2004

 

Sweet Sweep. Rematch on Deck.

 

David Ortiz took care of bid-ness Friday putting the Boston Red Sox back in the ALCS. The New York Yankees took care of the Minnesota Twins Saturday setting up a rematch of last years ALCS series.

 

The Red Sox have had plenty of time to rest, so their rotation will be perfectly set: Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez (son of the Yankees), Bronson Arroyo and Tim Wakefield.

 

The Yankees should be able to set their ideal rotation too. By winning their ALDS in 4 games, Mike Mussina will be ready to go this coming Tuesday to face Schilling. The only question is who will Joe Torre actually want to follow Mussina. In the ALDS, it went Mussina, Jon Lieber, Kevin Brown and lastly Javier Vazquez.

 

What if Orlando Hernandez is ready to go by Wednesday (game 2), will he take Lieber’s spot? Too many rotation questions that will work themselves out in the coming days.

 

I have to assume most observers think Boston’s rotation is better than New York’s. Perhaps they are a more known quantity (quality) this season, but the fact remains New York has some stud arms in their rotation each of whom is capable of a shutout.

 

Here is a quick look at the expected starters:

 

Player Career 2004
Record IP ERA WHIP Record IP ERA WHIP Age
Schilling 184-123 2812.2 3.32 1.11 21-6 226.2 3.26 1.06 37
Martinez 182-76 2296.0 2.71 1.03 16-9 217.0 3.90 1.17 32
Arroyo 19-23 383.0 4.63 1.39 10-9 178.2 4.03 1.22 27 Avg. Age
Wakefield 128-111 2066.2 4.29 1.37 12-10 188.1 4.87 1.38 38 33.5
622-421 .596%
Player Career 2004
Record IP ERA WHIP Record IP ERA WHIP Age
Mussina 211-119 2833.1 3.59 1.17 12-9 164.2 4.59 1.32 35
Brown 207-137 3183.0 3.20 1.21 10-6 132.0 4.09 1.27 39
Vazquez 78-78 1427.1 4.26 1.28 14-10 198.0 4.91 1.29 28
Lieber 100-91 1687.0 4.20 1.27 14-8 176.2 4.33 1.32 34 Avg. Age
El Duque 61-40 876.1 3.96 1.24 8-2 84.2 3.30 1.29 34 34
596-425 .584% (not including El Duque)

 

Let’s assume for a moment that Lieber is the 4th starter for the Yankees and not El Duque (I have seen no word from the Yankees camp that El Duque is over his “dead-arm” issues).

 

Each team has a veteran all-star/possible Hall of Fame pitcher going in games 1 and 2, followed by a young, up and comer. In all fairness, Vazquez is the better pitcher than Arroyo, but in 2004, Arroyo would have to be given the nod. Vazquez started out very well, then posted, 6.61, 7.43 and 6.29 ERA’s in July, August and September respectively. There was no clear reason given as to why he struggled so badly.

 

Arroyo on the other hand posted 2.83, 4.01 and 4.24 ERA’s over the same respective months. His season record doesn’t show it, but he did have the better season (as evidenced by the lower 2004 ERA).

 

Regardless, they are both good pitchers.

 

Lastly there is Wakefield and Lieber. Both veterans that have similar career winning % and ERA’s. So overall, they appear to be quite evenly matched up. But, when you take 2004 performance, the Red Sox had the better staff.

 

That’s where the bullpens comes in. Boston’s relief corps were good in 2004, so were the Yankees. But the Yankees had extreme’s. Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera were amazing, while Paul Quantrill and the others (I counted at least 6 with at least 20 relief appearances) all posted ERA’s of 4.72 or higher.

 

This basically says the Red Sox batters have to get to the Yankees starters early and often in order to force Torre to bring in one of the lesser relief arms to bridge the gap from the starters to Gordon/Rivera. If the Red Sox let the Yankee starters off the hook and allow them 6 or 7 innings, then it’ll be tough to win many games.

 

The Red Sox bullpen is a bit more defined and its depth not as reluctantly utilized. Keith Foulke, Mike Timlin, Alan Embree, Mike Myers, Curt Leskanic and Derek Lowe might all see action. Of those, Terry Francona has confidence in Foulke, Timlin, Embree and Myers. Only Foulke had a great statistical season, but the other 3 had good enough seasons to be considered reliable relievers.

 

So the Yankees will have a different challenge, they will need to get to whoever they can, but won’t get to face some potential cream puffs relievers, but won’t necessary be faced with getting shut down in the later innings.

 

As if things are so cut and dried. The key is that in the playoffs, Torre won’t have a problem trotting out Gordon for 2 innings (maybe 3) and Rivera for 2 innings.

 

So unless the Red Sox can batter the starters in consecutive games, it’ll be an uphill climb.

 

As for the bats, both teams hit very well in the regular season. It’s close to an even match-up.

 

Using 2004 performances, here is how I see the line-up comparison:

 

Catcher: Jason Varitek vs. Jorge Posada
Nod – Even

 

First Base: Kevin Millar vs. John Olerud
Nod – Red Sox (although with Olerud’s good defense, this is close)

 

Second Base: Mark Bellhorn vs. Miguel Cairo
Nod – Even

 

Third Base: Bill Mueller vs. Alex Rodriguez
Nod – Yankees

 

Shortstop: Orlando Cabrera vs. Derek Jeter
Nod – Yankees

 

Leftfield: Manny Ramirez vs. Hideki Matsui
Nod – Red Sox

 

Centerfield: Johnny Damon vs. Bernie Williams
Nod – Red Sox

 

Right field: Trot Nixon vs. Gary Sheffield
Nod – Yankees

 

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz vs. Ruben Sierra
Nod – Red Sox

 

That’s 4 for the Red Sox, 3 for the Yankees and 2 splits. While I think Bellhorn is probably the better player at second I also realize my analysis could be biased, so I consider this an even match-up.

 

So here we find ourselves, the Yankees in their 6th ALCS in 7 years and the Red Sox their 3rd in 6 years. The Yankees have a decided edge in experience. Rivera, Williams, Jeter, Posada, El Duque and Joe Torre have all been part of the recent Yankee dynasty, but amazingly, from what I can tell, Rivera, Williams, Jeter Posada and El Duque are the only ones that have won a World Series as a members of the Yankees.

 

I guess I assumed it was more. Either way, here’s hoping the Red Sox can beat the New York Yankees and then find success in the World Series.

 

Posted by Andy at 09:08 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2004

 

Anaheim Angels

 

It took a while, but the Boston Red Sox finally learned who they’d play in the ALDS. The opponent, the Anaheim Angels.

 

I’m not particularly happy about this match-up, I’d have preferred the Oakland A’s being that Boston had success against them last year in the playoffs, this year during the regular season and the “Big Three” has been scuffling.

 

Let’s take a look at the 2004 regular season match-up against Anaheim. The Red Sox went 5-4 against them. The pitching staff really struggled against them, posting a 6.08 ERA. That’s one seriously ugly number. Of greatest concern, the Red Sox 4 schedule ALDS starters did the following:

 

NAME G GS W L Sv Hld IP H ER HR BB SO K/9 WHIP ERA
C. Schilling 2 2 2 0 0 0 15.2 12 4 1 0 11 6.3 0.77 2.30
P. Martinez 2 2 1 0 0 0 11 16 9 2 6 12 9.8 2.00 7.36
B. Arroyo 2 2 0 1 0 0 8.1 14 9 0 6 7 7.6 2.40 9.72
Tim Wakefield 1 1 0 1 0 0 4 8 5 2 1 4 9 2.25 11.25
Totals 7 7 3 2 0 0 38.3 50 27 5 13 34 7.99 1.64 6.34

 

Man, 7 starts, 38 innings and some ugly stuff. Yes, I know, the sample size is small, but wow. Let’s hope the law of averages applies here to everyone but Curt Schilling. The other 3 have been so bad, they are due for a good game.

 

So how did Boston win the season series against Anaheim, it must have been the offense. Yup, it was the offense. Here is the projected 9 for Boston in game one and how they did during the regular season against Anaheim:

 

NAME POS G AB R H 2B 3B HR TB RBI BB SO SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
Johnny Damon cf 9 35 9 13 3 0 2 22 3 4 3 1 0 .371 .436 .629 1.064
Mark Bellhorn 2b 9 31 7 10 5 0 0 15 2 7 5 0 0 .323 .447 .484 .931
Manny Ramirez lf 7 25 6 8 2 0 3 19 8 4 7 0 0 .320 .400 .760 1.160
David Ortiz dh 8 30 5 9 2 1 2 19 9 5 9 0 0 .300 .378 .633 1.012
Kevin Millar 1b 8 27 4 7 1 0 2 14 6 1 6 0 0 .259 .276 .519 .794
Jason Varitek c 8 31 3 11 3 0 0 14 2 3 6 1 0 .355 .429 .452 .880
Orlando Cabrera ss 3 13 4 5 2 1 0 9 2 2 4 0 0 .385 .467 .692 1.159
Trot Nixon rf 4 14 1 5 1 0 0 6 0 1 1 0 0 .357 .400 .429 .829
Bill Mueller 3b 6 22 3 6 2 0 1 11 4 2 7 0 0 .273 .320 .500 .820
Totals 62 228 42 74 21 2 10 129 36 29 48 2 0 .325 .401 .566 .967

 

The starting 9 as a total have close to a 1.000 OPS. That is good. Again, a small sample size indeed.

 

The good news is that Anaheim pitchers posted a 5.67 ERA in 2004 against Boston and hit just slightly less well that Boston batters did. So, perhaps both teams failed to put their best foot forward during the regular season.

 

Here are the expected match-ups and times, lifted straight from ESPN:

 

Tuesday, Oct. 5
Boston (Schilling 21-6) at Anaheim (Washburn 11-8), 4:09 p.m. (ESPN)
Wednesday, Oct. 6
Boston (Martinez 16-9) at Anaheim (Colon 8-12), 10:09 p.m. (ESPN)
Friday, Oct. 8
Anaheim (Escobar 11-12) at Boston (Arroyo 10-9 or Wakefield 12-10), 4:09 p.m. (ESPN)
Saturday, Oct. 9
Anaheim or Minnesota at Boston, if necessary
Sunday, Oct. 10
Boston at Anaheim or Minnesota, if necessary
The one thing here is that this absolutely stinks for Boston TV viewers. Game 1 at 4pm and game 2 at 10pm?!? That is bad news for Boston fans. That basically means all you managers out there, expect a large portion of your employee base to have to leave early for a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday and a total lack of production on Thursday…should anyone make it into the office. You’ll know which people watched the late Wednesday game immediately.

 

I can honestly say I wouldn’t be surprised at any outcome for Boston this 2004 playoffs. They might get swept by Anaheim or they might go all the way. There is no one team I’d consider the favorite in the American League. Each playoff team has its problems. I suppose St. Louis might be the favorite in the National League, they did win 9 more games than any other NL team in 2004.

 

Here are some hopes for the ALDS. I’m hoping Pedro has figured things out and is going to pitch lights out, I’m hoping Tim Wakefield’s last start was an indication of things to come and I’m hoping the Angels pitchers performing against Boston like the did during the regular season against Boston.

 

Jared Washburn had a 6.10 ERA in 10.1 innings, Bartolo Colon had a 5.52 ERA in 14.2 innings and Kelvim Escobar had a 4.50 ERA in 6 innings. Then again, Brendan Donnelly had a 0.00 ERA in 3.1 innings, Francisco Rodriguez had a 0.00 ERA in 5.1 innings and Kevin Gregg (who?) had a 0.00 ERA in 6.1 innings over 3 games. Yikes, their bullpen seemed to do well, especially their set-up men. The good news is that Troy Percival had a 9.00 ERA in 2 innings.

 

All this stuff mean squat as come playoffs, as something special seems to happen. That which made you successful during the regular season, seems to lose relevance. Just look at the Oakland A’s the past few years.

 

The playoffs produce special things. Does it matter that Terry Francona has never managed a playoff game, or that Orlando Cabrera has never played in a playoff game. Does that really mean anything? Does experience play a big role, or does an innate trait take over, something that can’t be learned?

 

Does a career .300 hitter hit .300 in the playoffs, or does he fail while the career back-up wins the ALCS MVP? That’s what makes baseball so wonderful. Anything can and does happen.

 

Anyway, here’s what we’ve all waited 162 games for, the playoffs.

 

 

 

Posted by Andy at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)