Bloody Sox Laundry - 8/15/09

HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ORIGINAL WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL!!!

Get ready for some song title puns, folks.

Gotta have faith, folks. "We Shall Overcome"

NESN - Bizarre Ninth-Inning Comeback Propels Red Sox Over Rangers

You could watch baseball for 100 years and not see what took place in the top of the ninth inning in Texas on Friday night.

Boston Herald - Victor Martinez keys 6-run 9th, Red Sox beat Rangers 8-4

Again, not a lot from the Herald in terms of content. Quick and dirty summary though.

THT Live - Will the Red Sox win the AL East?
John Beamer's created a playoffs odds calculator in Excel, and he's got some odds on the Sox winning the AL East. Trust me, this fits with the subheading - and no, I'm not calling Joan Baez fat.

Lots of great stuff after the link - both current and possible future roster moves, some standings, a feel good story, and Pitch F/X school.

"A Change Is Gonna Come," mostly because I'm pretty sure no one's thrilled about a certain position

ProJo - Why can’t the Red Sox figure out the shortstop position?

With [shortstop] a virtual merry-go-round since the departure of Nomar Garciaparra in 2004, management has tried to solidify shortstop with a bevy of players, starting with Orlando Cabrera (2004), then Edgar Renteria (2005), Alex Gonzalez (2006) Julio Lugo (2007 to 2009), Jed Lowrie (2008, 2009) and Nick Green (2009).

NESN - Red Sox Designate Woodward For Assignment

Woodward appeared in just five games for the Red Sox, going 0-for-4 with a walk.

Francona said that newly acquired Alex Gonzalez will be with the team on Saturday.

Extra Bases - Is Gonzalez an upgrade?

Wait, is someone in the mainstream media actually using sabermetrics in their work?

The Ultimate Zone Rating compiled at FanGraphs.com uses a formula based on errors, range, and arm strength to quantify how many runs above average a player’s defense creates for his team. This season, Green’s UZR per 150 games would give the Red Sox eight runs above average. Gonzalez’s would provide four runs above average.

That quote might be a bit selective, since I'm already on the record for how I feel about Gonzo. Ah well - SOMEONE disagrees:

38 Pitches " Best [defensive] season ever…

I never pitched in front of a player that had a better defensive season than Alex Gonzalez did when I was in Boston. Not sure what the defensive statistics say about that year, but I know as a staff we were all in love with the guy every day he was at SS.

Actually, Curt, you're spot on, as the link above yours mentioned. Problem is, he's lost most of his range, to the point where it makes no contribution to his UZR. If this doesn't work, and Jed doesn't have a miraculous recovery, then what might the Sox do later this year?

BABIP and Service Time End J.J. Hardy's season - Beyond the Box Score

The Milwaukee Brewers sent down shortstop J.J. Hardy and brought up prospect Alcides Escobar to the majors in a flurry roster moves designed to shake up the team. However, was it a good move personnel-wise, or was there an ulterior motive to the transaction?

I've said it before - Hardy's going to be too expensive. And now, if

THT - Marco Scutaro’s little things

Jamie Campbell started by saying "he's an absolute bargain at just more than one million dollars this year the way he's playing", and suggested that he "should generate a lot of interest in the free agent market".

Sam Cosentino followed depicting Scutaro's qualities this way: "[he's] doing a lot of the little things that help your ballclub win: he can bunt, he's a good two strikes hitter"; he then added some considerations on how well he plays defense and that he "runs the bases well".

Back in play-by-play mode, Campbell concluded by saying he "really knows how to work the count, never afraid to hit with two strikes".

None of these guys were "Born Under A Bad Sign[-ing]"

The Red Sox went on spending spree today, signing up several of their picks before the deadline on Monday at Midnight. Here's the rundown:

And, because I know I missed some, here's their recap tweet: @SoxProspects - Signings Recap

Standings Galore, or, "I Stand Accused"

Beyond the Box Score - BtB Poor Man's Projected Season Standings

The dog days of summer are upon us, at least here on the East Coast. And no teams have been more affected than the Red Sox and the Rays. Their recent poor performance (along with the Yankees winning streak) has both teams thinking about the Rangers and Wild Card more than the division.

These are based on Justin's Power Rankings that I linked to in yesterday's Laundry. Do these standings think that the Rays or the Rangers will be able to catch up to us for the Wild Card?

Comcast SportsNet New England - Playoffs?!
Negative Nancy, much? Maybe he was talking to Papi right before he wrote this, because Papi wasn't in a great mood either it seems.

Extra Bases - Ortiz: "If you want to judge me, it's on you"

He was dropped lower even than he was in the long days at the beginning of the season, when he wasn't hitting, and some left him for done. By batting .280 with 14 homers and a .591 slugging percentage from June 2 to July 31, Ortiz proved that wasn't quite the case.

Then came the news. On July 30, the news broke that Ortiz's named had been among the 104 on the now infamous steroid list. He hit a game-winning, three-run homer that day. But since then, he hasn't hit anything. And, yesterday, he explained part of what has been weighing so heavily on him, what has clearly made him angry as he tries to get past the story that likely will change forever how the slugger is perceived.

Papi's pretty perturbed by all this, from what I can tell. Hopefully the playoff race will raise some of the pressure off Big Papi - well, the unwanted kind, anyway.

"Getting My Heart Bone Marrow, Rival's Respect, and Shoulder Stamina Back Together Again"

NESN - Putting a Baseball Rivalry Aside for Something Much Bigger

It had been 15 years since Steve Karas registered as a bone marrow donor, but two years ago Karas got a call saying he was a perfect match for a nine-month old boy who was born with a potentially fatal bone marrow disease.

The boy was Matthew Welling of Portchester, N.Y., and after waiting the one-year period of anonymity following the procedure, the Karas and Welling families met for the first time at Steve's home.

Since their first meeting, the families have remained in contact, using the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry as a connection to build their friendship

Haven't watched the video myself, but how could that not be an inspiring story that reminds us that our enemies can be our friends too. In fact, our friends over at Pinstripe Alley have a question that we could give valuable input to, even if they didn't ask for it:

Pinstripe Alley - The Ted Williams Question: Nick Swisher Edition

One of the classic critiques of Ted Williams is that a hitter that powerful should swing the bat more and walk less.

There's a chicken and egg to this: he's a great hitter because of his reputation for only swinging at strikes and because he gets himself into hitters counts.

So I'm curious where Yankee fans stand on this topic considering the Yankee most likely to walk, Swishalicious.

On a related note - walks, nicknames, etc. - guess who's getting ready for a (possible) comeback in September?

Extra Bases - Matsuzaka throws again

Daisuke Matsuzaka threw his second bullpen session off of a mound in Fort Myers, Fla. today. He threw 65 pitches with increased intensity, throwing all of his pitches. He had no complains afterward, and he will throw another bullpen Monday.

The reason for the waiting is the extra pen arms we'd have at our disposal for a limited outing from Dice-K.

"Strawberry Fields For Ever" - Weird Choice of Buffet...

Yahoo! Sports - Major feast: Big leaguers bring rehab bonanza

Federowicz twice was called on this spring by the Class A Greenville Drive as Smoltz worked his way up to the Boston Red Sox. The second-year catcher discovered a patient, friendly and accommodating star, plus a generous, heaping postgame buffet.

P.S. - Pitch F/X School

Well, I forgot to share the answer to yesterday's question in the GT, so I've decided instead to share it here. Flows nicely with the new question, so I can build upon what was learned the previous question, right?

Anyways, here's your answer: Pitch F/X 8/14 Answer

And now for the next question: now that you have a general idea of what a pitch really looks like, it's time to learn to evaluate individual pitches based on movement. First, a quick explanation of what MOVEMENT is. From Gameday:

Break is the greatest distance between the trajectory of the pitch at any point between the release point and the front of home plate, and the straight line path from the release point and the front of home plate.

The Pitch-f/x or 'PFX' value is the distance between the location of the actual pitch, and the calculated location of a ball thrown by the pitcher in the same way but with no spin; this is the amount of 'movement' the pitcher applies to the pitch.

Now that we all understand the difference between the two, I can ask you this: which pitch is labeled suspiciously in this graph of our favorite opposing reliever, Frank Francisco:

Break_php_medium

via www.brooksbaseball.net - Click link for larger view

 

Alright, I'm off to celebrate the comeback and the anniversary. If you find any cool stuff on the web, "For Pete's Sake," drop a link in the comments.

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