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News Archive for May 1-15, 2003
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May 15, 2003

Here are the latest numbers for Casey Fossum and Bartolo Colon:

       GS  IP     H   R  ER  BB   K  WHIP   BAA   OBA   SLG  W  L  ERA  TEAM  AGE  '03 SALARY
Fossum  8  42.0  37  20  19  17  34  1.29  .242  .326  .405  4  1  4.07  7-1   25  $  324,500
Colon   8  55.1  53  26  26  18  34  1.28  .262  .320  .426  3  3  4.23  4-4   27  $8,250,000   

ESPN Power Alley: Atlanta, A's, Yankees, Mariners, Red Sox ...
CBS Power Rankings: Atlanta, Yankees, Giants, Mariners, A's, Red Sox ...

Alex Rodriguez says he would have loved playing in Boston. ... Roger Clemens may chicken out of going for win #300 in Fenway. ... A look at Kerry Wood's recent 141-pitch outing ... Art Martone explains why he's a glass-is-half-empty guy and posts some Burkett stats showing that after two times through the lineup, all bets are off ... Joe Torre sees the light: "Derek is compared so many times to other shortstops, and I'm not sure he can match up ability-wise." Bob Klapisch adds: "[T]he Yankees have stopped leaning on him for A-Rod or Tejada-like numbers." ... Well, I thought about it and one nice thing about Grady Little is he doesn't shove his hands down his pants during the game. That's something.

 

May 14, 2003

Let's look at John Burkett's last 3 starts:

May 2 v. Minnesota (bold means the runner scored):

1st -- K, 4-3, BB, FC
2nd -- K, K, K
3rd -- BB, DP, 6-3
4th -- 1B, L4, CS, 5-3
5th -- 1B, FC, 1B, FC, F8
6th -- 4-3, 6-3, BB, HR, 4-3
7th -- 1B/E6, 4-3, HR, 1B ...

May 7 v. Kansas City:

1st -- P4, 1B, DP
2nd -- F9, K, F9
3rd -- F8, K, K
4th -- K, 3U, K
5th -- 6-3, 6-3, K
6th -- 1B, 1B, 1B, 3-4, Sac Fly, BB, 2B, 1B ...

Last night v. Texas:

1st -- 1B, F7, L6, F8
2nd -- 1B, F7, BB, DP
3rd -- F8, 4-3, 5-3
4th -- P4, P5, K
5th -- 6-3, 1B, DP
6th -- 1-3, F7, HR, BB, BB, HR, L7
7th -- K, 1B, F9, P6

Do you see a pattern? If you do, you're brighter than Grady Little. [And although he went 8 innings (9 hits, 3 runs) in the start before these three, Burkett was torched for 8 hits and 7 runs in 2.2 innings in the game before that.] ... It doesn't (or it shouldn't) take a rocket scientist to see that the Red Sox should get the bullpen going after the fifth inning of any Burkett start -- or when he's around 70 pitches -- and pull him at the slightest sign of trouble. Last night, that would have been -- at the latest -- after the 2nd consecutive walk. But at that point, Grady Gump didn't even have anyone with his jacket off in the pen. Mind you, Boston was off Monday, so everyone should be fresh. ... As they did in Kansas City, the Red Sox rallied to overcome the hole Grady helped put them in, but that (obviously) won't always happen. ... Maybe the players in the pen should size up the situation and simply start warming up; then they'd be ready when Gump woke up. ... Bill James's bullpen philosophy -- which Theo Epstein endorsed -- is that most games are won and lost in the middle innings, and when the game is (or appears to be) on the line in the middle innings, you want your best available pitcher on the mound. So Burkett had surrendered a solo home run and then two consecutive walks -- in the same inning he melted down in his previous two starts -- and Gump decides he's the best pitcher for that situation?!? ... If Theo is cool with that, all I can say is "Sox in '04!"

Still, the Yankees lost 10-3 in Jeter's return (the Curse of Erick Almonte anyone?) and Boston finally gained a game and are now 2 back.

 

May 9, 2003

Edward Cossette's "Diary of a Red Sox Fan" entry today is wonderful. It includes this quote from Roger Angell (which comes from this Q&A):

Baseball is meant to be watched all the way through. Sure, it's boring. There are boring innings and sometimes there turn out to be bad games, but you're not going to have a feeling for the good games unless you're willing to watch. I think I wrote once that baseball in many ways is very much like reading. I said there are more bad books than bad ballgames, or maybe it was the other way around. I can't remember. But each have formal chapters. There are wonderful beginnings that don't stand up and boring beginnings that are great in the end. You just don't know. They're both, baseball and reading, for people who aren't afraid of being bored.

 

May 7, 2003

Grady has asked Tim Wakefield to be the new Sox closer. "Some days (between starts), I can do it and some days I can't," Wakefield said. Little "asked me (to help) and I said, 'Sure'." ... This afternoon's win showed that when all is going well, this team can really hit. Grady was a little late with the hook when Burkett crumbled in the 6th; Woodard, Embree and Lyon gave another sterling performance out of the pen. The Red Sox stand only 2 games behind the Evil Empire this afternoon. ... A Shea Hillenbrand website BP: The Red Sox, who "are usually slower that a drugged sloth superglued to a glacier", lead all teams in stolen base percentage (81%) ... Al Leiter talks about plans to add wild card teams and expand the (already bloated) playoffs. ... In Queens, ex-Sox 2B Rey Sanchez apparently received an in-game haircut from fellow Met Armando Benitez!

 

May 5, 2003

Arrrggghhh. He did it again. Three very winnable games against Minnesota this weekend and Grady Gump managed to piss away two of them with some of the most moronic bullpen choices I've ever seen. Boston had a very good chance of being only 1 game behind New York right now, instead of 3. SoSH's Sunday game thread has some very choice R-rated comments. But first:

Lanternjaw:

Gump just hasn't had the mental faculty to utilize the hot hand out of the bullpen. ... Why would a manager summon a guy with a 7+ era in a tight ballgame [Mendoza on Friday] if there are better alternatives? Why hasn't the press asked Gump that very question? They gloss over that obvious question and instead attack the bullpen by committee principle. Gump's a fuckin' moron. ... [In the Twins 6th] Guzman has a shitty split vs LHP's and Koskie is a LH'ed batter -- why didn't he go to Fossum after the leadoff man reached? There's no good reason. ... complete fucking moron ... Any manager with half a brain who has his #4 starter on the mound in the 6th inning, and a fresh bullpen, should have a guy warm before the tying run crosses in a 4-run ballgame. Look at Gump go... that grinning idiot. Absolutely intolerable bullpen management. Red Sox brass needs to step up to the plate and stop this drooling vegetable before he costs the club any more games with his complete lack of common fucking sense.

dnramo:

fossum was the perfect guy to put in there in the 6th inning with the sacks juiced. minnesota has ridiculous problems with LHP, and fossum is a very good lhp... but grady brought in 2 rhp relievers and not surprisingly the results were unpleasant. Timlin and Shiell perhaps didn't throw as well as they could have, but they shouldn't have been out there in this situation to begin with... finally, now, after 9 runs in he brings in one of the two lefties he had in the pen [Tolar] ... You'd think if he were going to try to use a righty to get outs in a key situation (tying run at the plate) he'd at least go with Lyon. ... grady already had Fossum warmed, why the fuck did he do that if he wasn't going to put him in? ... Now grady calls on Lyon [in the 9th inning]? down 5? what the fuck is this dumbass thinking? Lyon should have been used in the 6th or 7th, not in the 9th... someone needs to teach grady the difference between having the lead and not having the lead, and the difference between high leverage and low leverage... we just gifted 2/3 games to minnesota in this series. ... damn fucking shit-for-brains idiot... he gives hayseeds a bad name...

Memo to Theo: This team can't and won't win shit with Gump behind the wheel. Anywhere this team gets will be in spite of the manager. Can you imagine Gump trying to match wits with *anyone* during the late innings of an ALCS or World Series game? ... Scary, isn't it? It's time to fire this moron.

 

May 3, 2003

Is Grady Little the dumbest human being in professional baseball? I'm convinced he is stupider than Pawtucket's infield tarp. Late in tonight's game, he almost made me miss Jimy Williams (I can't believe I just typed that.) ... Boston trailed the Twins 5-0 after 6 innings last night, and after playing like a bunch of single A rejects, they rallied for six runs in the 7th inning to take the lead. Kevin Tolar had relieved John Burkett in the previous inning and Boston needed six outs from the pen. Tolar got the first man and was replaced by Ramiro Mendoza. Now, the reason Boston's committee/closer idea hasn't worked out is because (as Theo Epstein said yesterday) they haven't really had the chance to try it out. Another reason is that Grady is simply too stupid to figure out how it's supposed to work. It's not simply a matter of bringing in whichever pitcher is freshest, regardless of his performance. It's bringing in your best available pitcher at the most important point in the game. Mendoza? He is the worst pitcher on the team. Indeed, Grady said a few days ago that until he gets straightened out, he's the Sox mop-up man. Grady, you don't bring your mop-up man into a 6-5 game in the 8th inning.

Grady told the press yesterday that Casey Fossum (who threw only 13 pitches in his start Thursday night) would be available in the Twins series. As far as I know, Fossum never warmed up last night. ... So Matt LeCroy homers on Mendoza's 6th pitch to tie the game. Grady should have yanked him right there, but he left him in for two more batters (which has become Little's signature (non-)move this season; it's like his brain is three steps behind what's going on). Torii Hunter singled and Bobby Kielty walked. In comes Alan Embree (a lefty like Fossum), just back from the DL. Embree is throwing about 3-5 mph slower than usually and his pitches are flat. The Twins single, single, double and single before Grady decides to make another move. Jason Sheill allows another hit before getting out of further trouble. Twins 11-6.

There is no friggin' way the Red Sox are going to accomplish anything in this (or any other) season with Grady Gump at the helm. The bullpen needs immediate attention, but it also needs a competent manager who knows how to use each man in the right situations and can finesse it through the rough patches. I also have a ton of problems with Grady's in-game decisions regarding the hitters, but that's another rant. ... Theo Epstein, it's time to say so long to Grady Little.

 

May 2, 2003

Phil Cuzzi's decision to eject Casey Fossum Thursday night - after 13 pitches - was inane. ... Yes, Fossum had surrendered a 2-run homer to Mike Sweeney and yes, his first pitch to Raul Ibanez went behind the left-handed hitter's back. Home plate ump Cuzzi's quick thumb apparently was triggered by the Kansas City bullpen, which hit 3 Sox batters in the 9th inning, although none of them intentionally. After Fossum got the thumb, Grady Little awoke from his nap, ran out and made enough noise to also get the heave-ho. ... There is some debate as to whether Fossum was throwing at Ibanez. I don't believe he was. Fossum said he simply overthrew.  ... Anyway, both benches were warned. What really set me off when Royals reliever Kris Wilson plunked Johnny Damon in the right elbow in the sixth inning. Nothing happened; not a peep out of Cuzzi. Since both teams were warned, shouldn't Wilson and his manager be automatically ejected? If I'm wrong, let me know. (The Royals were also miffed at the men in blue.) ... In New York, they are drawing up plans for Alfonso Soriano's Hall of Fame plaque.

Sons of Sam Horn (the best Red Sox discussion board) has begun an Adopt-A-Prospect program, where posters have signed up to follow and report each month on a minor leaguer's progress. It's a brilliant idea, allowing fans to get detailed information in one central location. I signed up for Anastacio Martinez; the first prospect reports are being posted and should all be up by May 7.

Art Martone mentions that this year the Red Sox have adopted some half-assed musical routine when the grounds crew drags the infield. ... No. NO. NO! NO! ... The Yankees have done something similar (with the song YMCA) for about six years now and just because they don't mind spitting in the face of their history and tradition every night, doesn't mean the Red Sox have to follow suit. ... Art points out that Fenway had a capacity of 96.6% last season. How many of those fans would boycott Fenway if there was pure baseball -- with no classless minor league distractions? If any exist at all, I'll bet you could count them on one hand.

Rob Neyer comments on Todd Jones (w/reader mail) and is part of an interesting Q&A with Alex Belth at his Bronx Banter blog (scroll down for comments from New York Times sportswriter Buster Olney). ... In less-publicized news, Julio Lugo of the Astros was arrested and charged with hitting his wife in the face and slamming her head on a car hood. ... It will be interesting to see what (if anything) Bud Selig does (or says) regarding these incidents.

 

May 1, 2003

Ian Browne of mlb.com got it right: last night's game was "painful and ugly [yet] something to savor." The Red Sox were unable to score with the bases loaded and one out in each of the 7th and 8th innings - actually, a run scored on a wild pitch - and there was Grady, grinning like a moron through the whole thing. The 3-run, game-winning rally in the bottom of the ninth provoked (typically, with this team in the month just past) mixed feelings. There was joy: they finally won the game (Lowe pitched well), even though Kansas City had to gift-wrap it. Another was frustration: the team has to score in the 7th and/or 8th because not every game will present the additional chances that arose in the 9th. This time, I'll take Choice #1. ... The Royals tied a major league record by hitting three batters in the 9th. It was the 17th time that's happened and only the second time in a ninth inning (1928, Cubs pitchers v. Boston Braves). ... Sean McAdam reports that the Red Sox have deemed the "experimental closer-by-committee approach" a failure and have scrapped it, with Brandon Lyon the new closer until Robert Person can move into the role. ... Johnny ".304 OBP" Damon was shocked to find himself out of the lineup for the fourth time in April (and 2nd time in 5 games). ... Could Roger Clemens get his 300th career victory at Fenway Park? And if so, would he become the first pitcher to be heavily booed while reaching that milestone? ... Now until Sunday, MLB.TV is free.

Todd Jones, Part 2: "I think my only mistake was that I made my views public." ... Fair enough. Jones did not commit a crime and I don't think he should be punished for voicing his opinions. Still, let's all hope his son (now 8 years old) is heterosexual. ... Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla: "[I]t's better to act stupid than be thought weak in the culture of the boys locker room..." Kiszla also offers this anecdote:

Know what's scary? Among ballplayers, Jones is considered a philosopher king. Manhood can be such a sick obsession in a major-league clubhouse that when I refused an invitation to fight former Rockies ace Mike Hampton last season, he tried to goad me to fisticuffs by repeatedly calling me a homosexual in the most profane terms.

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