Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Old McDonald's Bullpen

Welcome back, Dirty Watah readers. I know it’s been a long couple of weeks. So far, the season, well, blows, and not having witty DW commentary only makes it worse. And yes, my farts do smell like roses.

So let’s see what we’ve got so far. This whole “pitching and defense” thing looks is turning out to be a bust, and the offense isn’t exactly over-performing to make up for it. The three amigos (Beckett, Lester and Lackey) have turned into the trio of doom (6.23 ERA). Our offense is completely schizophrenic. We’re down two starting outfielders, and while Ol’ McDonald has filled in admirably, Bill Hall is hitting about as well as one of Darnell’s animals could. Worst of all, we lost a game to the Orioles!

No, actually that’s not my biggest problem with this sub-.500 roller coaster season. My problem is the bullpen. In 20 games the pen has now blown FIVE saves. Think about that, it means that the Sox have had the lead in the 7th or later only to see it disappear. In fact, add those BS/Losses in and you’ve got a 12-10 team.

On a personal level though, what REALLY ticks me off about the pen, is what they’ve done to Tim Wakefield. For the long time readers of the blog, you may remember that I put up a countdown for Timmeh to 192 wins. Not only would it be a great achievement for Timmeh, but it would also mean that we could basically wipe Roger Clemens off the Sox record books. Somebody should check the financial records for the bullpen, because I’m guessing they may be on Clemens’ payroll. Of Timmeh’s four starts this season, he’s left in line for the win twice. And both times, the pen has blown it for him. That means that since July 8th, 2009 that countdown hasn’t budged.

So now Wake is headed down to the pen. If you can’t beat em, join em?

posted by Matt at 4:23 pm  

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Disgrace to Baseball
Provincias y Nacion

Before we get to yesterday’s game, I have something else to discuss. If you’ve been here before, you may realize that I think Joe West is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad umpire. Previously, I stuck to criticizing his performance on the field (small, moving strike zone and usually gets close plays wrong), but then he said this:

[The Red Sox and MFY are] two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest? It’s pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play…this is embarrassing, a disgrace to baseball.

Oh, Joe Joe Joe. Where do I begin? First, I wouldn’t be talking about disgraces to baseball, the only way you’re going to make it to Cooperstown is in an exhibit with Bud Selig for “Helping to Destroy Baseball”. And making your strike zone the size of a postage stamp probably isn’t helping the pace of a game. Of course, if you weren’t exhausted from taking the three steps necessary to be in proper position to make a call, maybe you wouldn’t care so much about the length of the game.

But here’s the biggest problem, Joe. You’re a grumpy, shitty, umpire who doesn’t realize that the strategy of the game has changed. You seem to always take the lazy, easy route when making a call. You eject players and coaches on a regular basis for questioning your incorrect calls. Maybe the reason they are two of the best teams in baseball is that they’re methodical? There’s nothing disgraceful on the players’ side about a Sox-MFY game.

OK, that’s not completely true. Paps, you were pretty disgraceful yesterday.

Update: Here’s Joe West’s normalized strike zone from Opening Day.

Mandalas indígenas del Cono Sur (Mandalas (mtm))
Funny how much longer games will be when you remove the bottom QUARTER of the strike zone.

posted by Matt at 11:24 am  

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Meet the New SS, Just Like the Old SS

Who let Marco Scutaro go to the Julio Lugo/Nick GREEEEEN “How to endear yourself to the Fenway Faithful” school over the winter? Theo, I’m looking in your direction. First he hits into an inning ending DP when the Sox looked like they had Burnett on the ropes in the 4th, which, while Lugo-esqe could have probably been overlooked. We know that he’s a contact-hitter, so some GIDPs are to be expected. And I don’t think even the most optimistic Sox fans think that he’s going to repeat his 2009 season at the plate. But the 8th inning throwing error that pretty much directly led to the go-ahead run? That reminded me just a bit too much of the SS triumvirate of Rent-a-wreck, Lugo and GREEEEEEN. (To be fair, GREEEEEN would never have short-hopped the throw, he would have thrown it into a luxury box.)

The sabermaticians (is that a word yet?) will tell us that 1.2% of a season is not statistically significant, but right now Theo’s pitching (Lester: 5IP, 4ER, 4Ks) and defense is bombing like Waterworld at the box office. So Lackey, you want to show the other “aces” how its done?

posted by Matt at 1:20 pm  

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

SiriusXM: The Washington Natinals of Radio

This is a letter I have sent to Scott Greenstein, the President and Chief Content Officer of SiriusXM. I know it’s not directly Red Sox related, but they recently replaced a number of their great baseball talk-shows with the audio feed from MLB Network’s TV broadcast. Needless to say, it’s terrible. I wanted to make sure that this email was available for other people who are as disappointed with SiruisXM as I am.

Dear Scott,

I have been an XM subscriber for over five years. Back in 2004 I was ecstatic when I learned that XM had made a deal with Major League Baseball to carry every game live, and I bought an XM radio soon thereafter. Since then, I have enjoyed being able to listen to my Boston Red Sox while living in California, in addition to getting to experience some of the other wonderful broadcasters throughout the country. But one of my favorite parts of XM has been channel 175, the baseball channel. The quality of the baseball experts on XM 175 was so much higher than that of ESPN Radio or MLB Network. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that XM had fired a good portion of it’s baseball talent only to replace it with the audio feed from an MLB Network TV broadcast!

The MLB Network audio feed is unlistenable. Hearing people discuss highlights that are not viewable to a radio audience is frustrating and pointless. And as a radio-based company, I’m dumbfounded that you would not have the foresight to think about how this would effect your customers. Unfortunately, I guess that describes XM radio ever since it merged with Sirius: the quality has gone down while the price has gone up.

This is the sixth season that XM has carried MLB games, and I cannot think of one thing that you have done to try and make the experience better. No away-team broadcasts, no dedicated channels for each team, nothing. Now you’ve also gotten rid of the one piece of programming that made XM more entertaining than streaming radio broadcasts through my iPhone. Replacing Joe Castallano with a made-for-TV broadcast is the final straw. After five years of my patronage, I will be canceling my service and moving on to the MLB At Bat app on my iPhone. For the sake your customers with even more patience than I, I hope that you realize the mistake you’ve made and are able to re-sign Joe and his former co-workers.


posted by Matt at 10:00 am  

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pitching and Defense Don’t Win Opening Day

I’ll be completely honest. I hated the idea of the Sox opening the season against the MFY. Opening Day is a holiday, and it doesn’t matter if you’re playing the RoyAAAls or the MFY, it’s still a big freaking deal. So why waste the excitement of a Sox-MFY series on Opening Day? Not to mention the fact that it’s the one day a year the rest of the teams are still relevant on ESPN, and they probably hate the fact that they don’t even get that anymore.

But when Pedro threw out the first pitch, Neil Diamond sang and Alan Dershowitz pissed off somebody in the middle east, all that other stuff was forgotten. It was time to Play Ball! Wait, is that Joe West giving Beckett the ball? And Angel Hernandez at first? Any chance we could get Dershowitz and Diamond to ump the game? There’s a better chance they’d get the calls correct…

We had heard all winter about “pitching and defense” from the Sox front office. Which is a great plan. Really is. The Sox could win 115 games this season. EXCEPT when you have terrible umpires. I’m not going to say that all of Beckett’s troubles were a result of Joe West. But there were at least two batters that should have been out on strikes to end an inning instead of extend it. So the Sox were down 5-1 entering the 5th, Beckett had been pulled, and due to the fact that the Sox have no offense, the MFY won opening day. The End.

Except for the eight runs the Sox scored from the 5th through the 8th. And yes, I know that Pedey’s game-tying 2-run homer was an out in EVERY other ballpark, but so was Jorge Posada’s Peskey Pole HR in the 2nd. (Joe Morgan was speechless when the Sox started scoring. And by speechless I mean that he keeps talking, but doesn’t actually say anything. Which, of course, is what he’s been doing on air for the past 21 seasons.) Now if only the Sox could get some pitching and defense, this team could be really good. Let the singing of Dirty Watah commence. It’s baseball season.

posted by Matt at 11:07 am