25 June 2005

FOX on Sox, Matt v Carl...

Watching the Red Sox- Phillies game today, and while I didn't have to listen to the Joe Buck/ Tim McCarver idiot-take on a Yankee- Sox game, I got the idiot-take anyway, on a lot of different levels.

Like when Tim McCarver was talking about how the Red Sox chances look good, especially because they "didn't have the pressure of that stupid curse," and how they wouldn't have to hear about it from every commentator on earth if they lost a couple games. Now, this is true- but coming from a FOX baseball broadcast would be like Sue Ellen Crandell calling a fashion show "dated."

Like when they missed Bill Mueller's RBI 2B to show a replay of a pretty obvious error from a fourth different angle.

Or when Tim McCarver's head nearly exploded talking about Johnny Damon- how every "talk show host" was screeching after his "poor start" about how he made too many talk show appearances, and had too many distractions. And then, wondered Tim, "where are they now? WHERE ARE THEY NOW?!"

Ok, except where did Damon "start off poorly?" He hit .365/ .404/ .479 in April. He was hitting .273 on April 16th- his lowest point of the month. And if these nameless talk show hosts were screeching about all these things, does McCarver think he'd actually be above that fray?

Like when Joe Buck almost made MY head explode talking about Kevin Youkilis. Here was his brilliant soliloquy (paraphrasing):

Youkilis is one of those guys who, maybe he's not working his way into the lineup per se, but is a great player- like a Shea Hillenbrand, for example. So then you trade him away for NOTHIN'- Boston got Byun-Hyung Kim in trade- and Hillenbrand becomes a full time starter, and someone a team like Boston would absolutely LINE UP to trade for... Hillenbrand and Youkilis are very, very similar players too...

OK, let's take this point-by-point.

a) Shea Hillenbrand, when traded from the Red Sox in 2003, was the starting 3B/ 1B since the start of the 2002 season, unlike Kevin Youkilis, who's struggling for ABs.

b) The trade of Hillenbrand-for-Kim was, at the time, a steal for the Sox. Unforseen circumstances made Kim so bad in Boston as to make the end result less-than-positive... except that it also opened up playing time for David Ortiz and eventual batting champ Bill Mueller. A quality 24-year old pitcher isn't "nothing."

c) Boston would NOT line up for a player like Shea Hillenbrand, especially since he's already done his hitting for the year... like he always did. Here's Shea, by month in 2005:

APRIL- .390/ .421/ .530
MAY- .252/ .316/ .398
JUNE- .260/ .349/ .411

d) Shea Hillenbrand and Kevin Youkilis are polar opposites as players. That's why we traded Shea, but have kept Kevin (so far). One has strike zone judgement, the other doesn't. We still have the one that has it.

BUT, it was all made better by another dominating performance over the Phillies today, smacking Vicente Padilla around early and coasting on another great start from Matt Clement. Manny hit another HR, and it felt like every Sox had a big RBI 2B.

Then, watching the Yankees get their asses kicked again by the Mets- followed by the YES crew trying to find new ways to dance around saying "these guys suck"- was a treat. I really liked Bobby Murcer's cunning analysis that one way for the Yankees to pull out of this was to have, in his words, a "team barbecue." I'm totally serious.

In fact, the entire post-game report was about how these guys could become "more cohesive" and "more passionate"- how about just finding a guy who can run down a fly ball? Today's Yankee outfield- Ruben Sierra in LF, Bernie Williams in CF, and Gary Sheffield in RF- may be the worst defensive OF for a single game we've witnessed in our lifetimes. Tony Womack is still on their roster. They alternate between Jason Giambi and Tino Martinez at 1B. They start two non-prospects in Wang and Henn 40% of their games.

What about "cohesiveness" is going to solve that?

Meanwhile, guess who's in first fucking place?

And with that, it looks like it's just about time for...
Matt n' Carl!

9-1, 3.33 ERA, 102.2 IP, 96 H, 32 BB, 82 K, 6 HR, 7.19 K/9, 1.25 WHIP, .246 BAA

4-6, 4.69 ERA, 94 IP, 120 H, 17 BB, 56, 16 HR, 5.36 K/9, 1.46 WHIP, .310 BAA

Matt's last three starts have all been steady building on his step back performance against St. Louis on June 7th. In fact, in his last TWO starts, Matt has gone 7 IP, 0 ER, 9 K, BB and today's start, where he went 7 IP, ER, 4 K, 0 BB. The walk rate is improving, and this month he's walked only 6 in 5 starts, where he was 12 in 5 in April and 14 in 6 in May. Clement has been helped by a lot of run support, but this isn't a Derek Lowe situation- Clement has a 3.33 ERA- 9th in the AL.

Pavano's last good start was June 12th against St. Louis where he went 6 IP, ER, BB, 2 K. Since then though, he's had consecutive bad starts against the Cubs and Devil Rays. Carl received a ND in the Cub game, going 5.1 IP, surrendering 6 runs on 10 hits, but the Yankees won 9-6.

I was watching the Devil Rays game though, the one in which he went 6.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, BB, 7 K. The strikeouts tied a season high, which he's hit three times this season (4/5, 5/17, 6/22). But, he gave up two huge HRs, the last one a 3-R HR to Nick Green that coughed up the lead and turned his good outing into a bad one. He was probably left in there one batter too long.

Pavano is currently 2nd in the AL (Sidney Ponson- 121) with 120 hits allowed- 4th in MLB. He's uh, been a decent 4 starter at best. Where he's been counted on to be a #2.

Too bad he doesn't have Javy Vazquez' upside, otherwise they could trade him for some other old, breaking down superstar...

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