Series Preview - Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox

BOSTON, MA - MAY 20: Dennis Eckersley heads out to throw the ceremonial first pitch on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox haven't played each other at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

You really want to do this? Really? Sigh.

Series Notes

  • The Red Sox have now lost eleventy ginkillion games in a row. They've been outscored twenty poopillion to negative three in the process. Always looking for alternative sources of revenue, the City of Boston is making plans to tax jumping off of a bridge.
  • As I wrote about yesterday the Red Sox starting pitching has been atrocious since the calendar changed to September (and a little bit before that as well). The starters have the highest ERA in baseball in September. I don't want to rehash that whole piece again here, but if the Red Sox are to pull themselves out of what has quickly become a tailspin, they absolutely have to get competent starting pitching. Tim Wakefield and John Lackey will be tasked with achieving that competence, which should not fill any of us with a sense of joy or excitement.
  • Manager Terry Francona has been rumored to be considering changing his game time drink of choice from green tea to green apple vodka.
  • The Red Sox have used ten different pitchers for three or more starts this season. Let that sink in for a moment. Also, feel free to refer to that stat when ever anyone asks you why the Red Sox are falling like a dead donkey off a cliff  in the standings (rock was too cliched). For context, the Yankees, Tigers and Rangers have used 6 starters three or more times, and the Angels and Rays seven. 
  • The Blue Jays are hitting blah/blah/blah but their pitching is really blah blah blah when they blah blah blah in blah blah blah with goats.
  • In the battle for the highest sabermetric summation stat that no actual MVP voter looks at, Jacoby Ellsbury has passed Jose Bautista as the leader in fWAR. Though Ellsbury is hitting .317/.376/.533 to Bautista's .305/.443/.627, Ellsbury's defense and baserunning have pushed him ahead of Bautista, 8.2 to 7.8. This is inside the margin of error and too close to call via just one stat, but it does show one thing, and that is, both players are having Gary Busey-level crazy seasons.
  • Following the fWAR theme, Ellsbury's 2011 has, as I said above, been worth 8.2 fWAR so far. Last year Ellsbury was worth -0.1 fWAR. Yes, last year was negative. How much better is this year than last? I don't even know how to calculate it. 

Individual game notes after the jump.


Next Game

Toronto Blue Jays
@ Boston Red Sox

Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011, 7:10 PM EDT
Fenway Park

Brandon Morrow vs Tim Wakefield

Mostly clear. Hurricanes, earth quakes, and torrential downpours. Locusts out to left field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 75.

Complete Coverage >


 

- Brandon Morrow tried as hard as he could to hand the Red Sox a win last week, but like a running back with lube hands, the Sox were unable to take the hand off. Morrow gave up eight runs in 4.1 innings and the Red Sox were cruising to victory. Tim Wakefield was his opponent that day as well, and Wakefield was crappy (5 runs in 5 innings), but the wheels didn't fall off the wagon until Daniel Bard came in. Actually, the wheels didn't so much fall off the wagon as get blown off with C4. Bard gave up five runs and quite simply turned a win into a loss. That game perfectly embodies the Red Sox recently. Bad starting pitching, bad relieving and not quite enough offense equates to another loss.

- It's hard to tell for sure, but it looks like for the first time in a long while Tim Wakefield may become a free agent at the end of the season. I haven't heard any talk of him retiring and I have a hard time believing that he would play for another team at this point in his career. Meaning, he'll likely be back in Boston or call it quits. As much as I'd like for Wake to ride off into the sunset, I'm not sure the Sox won't bring him back. If you wonder why that might be, look no further than this season's injury list.


Next Game

Toronto Blue Jays
@ Boston Red Sox

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011, 1:35 PM EDT
Fenway Park

Ricky Romero vs John Lackey

Mostly clear. Winds swirling left to right field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 75.

Complete Coverage >



- The oft cited stat that John Lackey has been the worst pitcher in all of baseball this year is not true. In fact, Lackey hasn't even been the worst pitcher on his own team. To prove it, let's play everyone's favorite game, Pitcher A vs. Pitcher B:

Pitcher A: 6.30 ERA, 6.05 K/9, 3.12 BB/9, 1.59 WHIP

Pitcher B: 18.00 ERA, 0 K/9, 18/BB/9, 3.00 WHIP

Pitcher A is, of course, John Lackey, but who is pitcher B? Click here to find out.

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