for June 2003
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June 22, 2003
Some notes from Sunday's SoSH Game Thread and other discussions: "As much as Theo tried to be diplomatic on WEEI, it came through loud and clear that he was ripshit about yesterday's game. ... Pedro had a long, closed door meeting with Gump before the game. ... a series of meetings in the clubhouse - two of them involved Gump and Pedro and Gump and Millar. [NESN broadcasters] Jerry [Remy] and [Don] Orsillo were just saying that Grady got a bunch more questions this morning from the writers about pitching to Thome and that he responded quite testily. They said poor Grady seemed about as depressed as they'd ever seen him. ...
Eric Wilbur draws our attention to another mind-boggling Gump quote. In Thursday's Globe, Grady opined that Trot Nixon "earned the right" not to be platooned against lefties." Wilbur's response? "Maybe Anna Kournikova has earned the right to call herself Tennis Champion of the World." There was no indication that Grady gave any evidence to back up his statement, so let's take a look:
2003: 200/275/378 -- 46 AB
2002: 233/303/353 -- 116 AB
2001: 210/309/295 -- 105 AB
2000: 264/371/396 -- 53 AB
2000-02: 230/319/339 -- 274 AB
One recent complaint was Gump leaving Nixon in to face LHPs in the Cardinals series. In the 8-7 loss on June 12, Nixon stranded 12 men on base. Nixon will get a hit off a lefty once in a while, maybe even in the clutch, but he doesn't do it often enough to be considered good at it. ... Wilbur also notes the TCM's "NYY cap or Bust" statement, which "if we can decipher Clemens' history of lies and half-truths, means that if he goes in with a Boston cap, he'll attend the ceremony no problem, then deny ever having said that he wouldn't." ... Eric Van, who does some of the best stat analysis you will ever read re: the Sox, gets the last word on Gump (bold in original post):
The thing is, whether you pitch around or even walk Thome in the 12th is one of those thorny calls that can go either way.
The 8th inning was not.
Alan Embree, since May 5th, has allowed 5 runs (3 of them on one pitch to the league's best hitter in a game we were up by 4) on 10 H and 4 BB in 20 IP (2.25 ERA, 0.70 WHIP) while fanning 17. He is far and away the best reliever on this team, that's absolutely established, yet Grady resolutely refuses to give him the highest-leverage PA's. Mike Timlin gets to face Tim Thome (vs. Embree: 0/6, 5 K, 2 BB) and Bobby Abreu (vs. Embree: 1/14) while Embree gets saved for Ricky Ledee.
You can point at other reasons for the loss, like Manny having one of the worst days of his life, but those things will happen. They're part of the game and they're not something you can control.
Using a merely decent, homer-prone reliever to face the heart of the opposing order in the 8th and 9th of a 1-run game, instead of your dominating reliever who absolutely owns the opposition's two best hitters ... that's not something that's supposed to happen. That makes the loss excruciating in a very different way.
Do I have to remind folks that Embree also owns Jason Giambi, whom we instead walked on purpose to load the bases in another such loss?
I mean, it's beyond fucking absurd. If Alan Embree were your best reliever, far and away, but hadn't particularly dominated Jason Giambi and Jim Thome, you would absolutely want him in the game anyway. If Alan Embree were merely one of your top relievers but had dominated Giambi and Thome, you would absolutely want him in the game anyway. That Alan Embree is both your best reliever by a mile, and a guy who owns Giambi and Thome ... and he's watching from the bullpen ... that's beyond fucking absurd.
So, Gump Little, how does third place feel? "We like the way things are going along right now." That's great, Gump, you're an inspiration to the whole club.
June 21, 2003
Toronto lost, so the Red Sox maintain their grip on second place by 1/1,000th of a percentage point. Damn. I figured if Boston slipped to third, Theo would have an excuse to fire Grady Gump. ... It is mid-June and there is no time to waste. Watching Gump smiling in the dugout Saturday as he committed blunders a Little league coach should know better than to commit was too much to bear. Gump is a single-digit IQ jackass who is about as far over his head in the major leagues as I would be hitting against Pedro while blind-folded. If I had to guess, I'd say Gump was smiling because he just loves a good ol' game a' hardball. I know he sure does like his front row seat. Meanwhile, before the train wreck that was the 6-5 loss, Gump told the Globe (at a time when, if the season ended, the Sox would not make the playoffs): "We like the way things are going along right now." That should be front and center on Gump's Sox tombstone. Theo, earn the respect of the Nation and fire this dim-bulb hayseed. ... The SoSH Game Thread was highly entertaining. And damn near every one of the posters had a better grip of the game than Gump. Everyone knew what to do re: Thome in the 8th. Gump did not. [Thome was 0-6 with 5K v Embree (who has been hot) and 3-6 v fly ball pitcher Timlin; small sample size, yes, but still...; Gump stayed with Timlin; BOOM, game-tying home run] ... And that was only the beginning. Some small snips from this afternoon's rant-a-thon:
Timlin made a terrible pitch for sure, but once again, the manager does not put his players in the best position for them and the team to succeed. You have a flyball righthanded pitcher against a left handed homerun hitter, and you have a lefty ace in the pen, in a 1-run game. This isn't brain surgery, it's common sense.
that is exactly why gump shouldn't be managing this club... why pitch to Thome with a homer-prone rh'er like Timlin when you've got one of the league's hottest lhp's available in the bullpen?!?!? Indefensible managing, unless Embree is injured. Could also cost the Red Sox the ballgame, and perhaps more bullpen wear/tear by forcing it to extra innings. Gump is a fucking moron. Period.
Yup, by not using Embree for one batter, he may end up using him and the other members of the pen in an extra inning game. Actually I would have left Embree in for the 9th as well to get Abreu and maybe not have pitched Lyon. He didn't use Embree because he was locked into the idea of using Lyon in the 9th, when there is no reason for that, Lyon isn't so good yet that he has to come in every save situation. But Grady is simply stupid.
I have said this countless times - Mike Timlin is a gopherball pitcher. It is his m.o.- always has been. Pitched for the crappy Mariners '96 pen and I saw him blow many saves and give up many gopher balls. Pat Burrell is hitting below the Mendoza line. Make him beat you, not their best player.
Nice to see Embree warming now that they've already faced Thome and Abreu. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
Jesus fucking Christ! Shitcan him Theo. Shitcan him. You spent the whole fucking winter trying to drum it into his thick head that the best reliever you've got should be brought into not just official save situations but tie games in the 9th and other high leverage situations. Grady officially declares Lyon his closer and now with a tie game in the bottom of the 9th, he won't use him, in favor of the guy who let the game be tied in the 8th by throwing a gopher ball. Shitcan him.
I hope Grady has the phone number for Goober's Gas Station back in Mayberry. He's going to need a job pumping gas.
The announcers were amazed at Grady's calm and contrasted it to Larry Bowa's pacing. Hell, it's easy to be calm if you don't know what the fuck's going on around you. My poor dead grandfather seemed fairly calm all the time after he'd come down with alzheimers.
And not one writer in either the Globe or Herald, tomorrow will even mention the possibility that Embree ought to have been brought in to face Thome and Abreu.
[Varitek doubles in top of 10th; Nixon comes in to PH; Phillies bring in a LHP]
Now this shows you how goddamned stupid Grady is. He's got Jackson, a weak hitter due up with two good lefty hitters on the bench. So which one does he pick? The WRONG ONE. Because the Phillies aren't afraid to take out their RH pitcher and put in a lefty to get Trot out. Ortiz, at least, would have a chance against the lefty. Now Trot has no prayer. Fucking moron Grady Gump.
I agree, and I'm not a Grady basher...but Grady bears full responsibility for putting Nixon up against the lefthander. When the fuck will Grady get it. Is F. Sanchez available? If so, hit him. If you don't want to burn your bench, just don't pinch hit Trot at that time. It makes too much fucking sense, and I just don't get why Grady fucks up the simple calls.
[And on it goes to the 13th.......]
Grady deserves this loss but the team doesn't. This is what happens when you don't play to win, when you don't try to get every fucking edge that you can. There was a big edge left on the table unused in the 8th inning when Thome got to hit against Timlin, whom he hammers instead of Embree who blows him away. Embree could then have pitched to Abreu and either left in favor of "closer" Brandon Lyon or finished out the 9th himself. But nooooooooooooo.
I refuse to blame Timlin, Shiell or even Seanez for the loss today. Had Grady not pitched to Thome TWICE with a one-run lead, we would have won this game. Not only that, but we would have won it in nine. For the first time, I'm starting to believe Grady should in fact be fired. ... his refusal to issue intentional walks to Thome in this game was not just stupid, it was borderline pathological.
Gump defied any/all baseball logic by letting Timlin face Thome in the 8th with a 1 run lead... that bit of sheer stupidity forced the club into extra innings. Once the lead was regained in the 12th, Gump decides to go after Thome with a full count, bases empty, and Marlon F'in Byrd on deck. That inexcuseable blunder forced the game to go another inning, where the bullpen said uncle.
Gump Little lost this fucking ballgame, just like he's done at least a half dozen times already this season. His complete incompetence at handling a pitching staff is the sole reason we're not 4 games up on the MFY's right now. Today his lack of common fucking sense caused us to not only lose the ballgame, but waste a great effort by Pedro and the bullpen... and you can blame Gump if the gift-wrapped momentum he gave Thome carries over to tomorrow's game. ... please, theo -- fire this dolt before he dumbs away a playoff spot.
Saenez should be waived and forced to take a NJ garbage barge home. Why Timlin v. Thome in the 8th? WTF? Why wasn't Embree brought in there? I'm not even really upset. It boggles my mind they lost this one, and that Grady found a way to fuck it up 3 separate times in one game.
I just cannot get over the Thome vs Timlin match up. People on this board were dreading it even during the inning before. Please, somebody ask him to explain that bit of brilliance when he had Embree available in the pen. Unfuckingbelievable.
Why does Grady never bring in a lefty to face a lefty for one batter with the game on the line? Does he think saving a pitcher is more important than assembling the correct matchup? Every other manager has the sense to use a lefty specialist or similar type situational pitcher so as to win games. Every pitcher that Grady brings in pitches the entire inning, regardless. Why did Shiell get another shot after blowing the lead? Why did Shiell get another shot after losing the battle with Abreu? Why was Rudy Seanez the logical choice with the tying run on second base? Why are these clowns (Shiell/Seanez) even on the 25 man roster? Why do we need pitchers that SD and Texas have given up on? And why does Grady use them like they're Lyon or Embree (and by that I mean in important situations)? I don't understand how Theo can entrust a ball team constructed with a particular game plan in mind to a man who does not have the mental capacity to understand said game plan. Since Theo can not be in the dugout, he needs to hire someone who can understand what he is trying to accomplish and can execute his plan.
One quote stands out: "This is what happens when you don't play to win, when you don't try to get every fucking edge that you can." That is the main problem with Gump. He doesn't seem to want to win all that badly, or he is simply unable to muster the necessary brain power to get his team in a position to win. Hell, even if the Sox make the playoffs, Gump will be spun like a top by the other team's skipper. It'll be very, very ugly.
June 15, 2003
More beat writers are questioning Grady's ability to manage a big league team. In talking about Thursday's loss, Sean McAdam wrote "Incensed fans wanted to know how Little could, in no particular order: allow Trot Nixon to twice bat against left-handed relievers; order Bill Mueller to bunt in the 13th inning, then give Mueller the green light, ahead in the count 3-and-1; and start a slumping Jeremy Giambi over red-hot David Ortiz." John Tomase of the Eagle Tribune added his two cents in a column that ran the afternoon before that 13-inning loss. Art Martone weighs in. ...
The players union recently issued a memo to Latino players recommending they conduct all interviews with the Associated Press in Spanish. The union was upset that the AP recently quoted Sammy Sosa verbatim, in broken English, in a story about using a corked bat. ("You got to stood up and be there for it.") Sayeth Pedro:
I'm going to give one example. A person that comes from the Dominican understands that 'I want' is 'Yo quiero.' To want is a verb, right? Not knowing much English and not knowing how to use it, they might say, 'I want bitch' because they don't know the proper pronunciation for 'beach.' Then people are going to say, 'Oh, he wants a prostitute.' No, he wants to go to the beach.
Manny Ramirez is the second player to walk
five times in a game twice in his career. He had five walks Thursday
against the Cardinals and June 5, 2001 against the Tigers in an 18-inning
game. Max Bishop of the Philadelphia A's did it in 1929 and 1930. ...
Freddy Sanchez did not get a hit on Saturday night, but he collected 10
assists, one short of the major league record. After spearing a Craig
Biggio line drive for the final out of Saturday's game, the
his name. Millar said he got chills. ... Pedro says nice
things about Clemens. ... Roger Clemens is making more noise about the
Yankee cap he wants to wear to the Hall of Fame. Blister Boy is even talking
if he doesn't get his way. "I play 20 years, work my tail off,
they're not going to tell me what hat I'm wearing. I promise you that.
There might be a vacant seat there. I'll take my mother and we'll go to
Palm Springs and invite all y'all and we'll have our own
celebration." Ha. Roger is famous for making and breaking
promises (like vowing to never pitch for another team and to never pitch
against the Red Sox in Fenway), so when the Hall says sorry, you're a Red
Sock, he'll go. Maybe the Hall can tell him, "Oops, I thought it was
ball a Yankee cap."
June 14, 2003
Man, what a game Friday. The 3-run comeback (after the first 2 batters were out) in the bottom of the 9th was great and I freely admit I didn't think the Red Sox would come back with 2 in the bottom of the 10th (which they did) or come back with 3 in the bottom of the 13th (they got 2). I'm often pissed after Sox victories (I'm talking to you, Grady Gump), but after 64 games, could the best Game of the Year be an 8-7 loss? ... Pedro is set to pitch again Monday ... The Fat Bastard got his 4,000th strikeout last night (and 300th win (finally)). He actually had Renteria rung up twice before that, but plate umpire Gary Darling squeezed Clemens on two called strikes (bolded in the pitch sequence) - cfbfbfbs - like he was a green rookie facing Ted Williams. It seemed like the ump was demanding a swinging strike. ... When YES took Zim off the air:
[T]he "Zimmer ban" [no more camera shots of Zimmer during a YES telecast] went into effect on Friday, May 30, when the Yankees opened a three game series in Detroit. The "Zimmer ban" continued the entire series. And over the course of that series, word of the Zimmer blackout had reached the Yankees clubhouse. One spy said Torre kidded Zimmer, telling him if he wanted to get on camera he would have to sit on his lap in the dugout.
With Zimmer not getting any face-time in Detroit, YES voices also didn't refer to him at any length during the telecasts. However, they knew they were facing major problems as the Yankees headed for Cincinnati [Zimmer's hometown] ... When he arrived in the YES booth in Cincinnati, [Jim] Kaat was told there would be no camera shots of Zimmer. When Kaat said he could not ignore Zimmer's Cincinnati roots, and would talk about Zim on the air, he was discouraged from doing so. That night, Tuesday, June 3, Kaat did not mention Zimmer. ...
June 13, 2003
On this date in 1948, Babe Ruth's #3 is retired.
June 8, 2003
Pedro Martinez threw off the mound on June 3 for the first time since May 14. He threw off the mound again last Friday, reported progress, and will have another session Sunday. If all goes well, he'll start Wednesday against the Cardinals at Fenway Park. John Burkett will relieve Martinez. ... Pedro weighs in on Sammy's corked bat caper. ... Byung Hyun Kim on Martinez: "I always looked up to him. I loved watching him pitch. I learned a lot from just watching him. It's great to be able to meet him and join the same team." ... Manny Ramirez is talking. ... George Steinbrenner is whining about the injustice of this season's interleague schedule; John Henry says: "Suck it up." ... Who do you want pitching your must-win game? Clemens or Pedro? ... From a cool article about the major-league bat industry:
The worst-kept secret about big-league bats: They're not all created equal. One of the first perks that comes with reaching the majors is being able to order your own bats. This means more than seeing your name burned on the barrel. You choose the length, weight, diameter of the barrel, diameter of the handle, color and company.
But rookies beware: Don't think for a second that first shipment -- 12 bats to a box, $40 to $65 each, paid for by the team -- will be anything like the bats delivered to Nomar Garciaparra. There are rules to follow when it comes to getting good wood. Rule No. 1: Star players are treated like stars.
Here's a brand new Pedro blog.
June 2, 2003
Is Gump on the hot seat? Should pitching coach Tony Cloninger be replaced? ... I'll be absent for most of the month of June. Any updates that occur will be posted Friday and Sunday nights. Here's hoping June is more kind to the Red Sox than May. ... It's official: Roger Clemens is the least-liked player among baseball's best-known stars. ... Plus he couldn't quiet the Tigers' mighty bats and will try *again* for win #300.
June 1, 2003
According to the Sunday notebooks, Pedro is on schedule to pitch Friday night in Milwaukee. He plans on throwing off a mound on Tuesday or Wednesday. There are no plans for him to pitch a minor league game first. ...Grady Little is considering a six-man rotation.
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