Totally typical conversation heard all over the Boston Metro area between fathers and sons:
Son: Rangers agaaaaaaaaaaain?
Dad: I'm afraid so, son. I'm sorry.
Son: Can I at least have a Series Preview?
Dad: Of course, son. Of course.
- It's not the Battle of the Network Stars this weekend. It's the Battle of the Third-Through-Fifth Rotational Starters which, I think we can all agree, is less likely to bring in the attractive advertising dollars. That isn't to say Andrew Miller vs Derek Holland isn't a sexy match up, just not in baseball. Maybe cooking. Or tire iron fighting.
- Answer this question truthfully. I will spend labor day weekend glued to my TV watching Red Sox/Rangers because I...:
1. Violently care about the Rangers playoff odds.
2. Want to see which drug Rangers Manager Ron Washington gets caught with next. My money is on ground zebra bones spray that gets you high for 3 seconds then causes your eyes to bleed for a week.
3. Am not legally allowed to leave this cell.
- The Red Sox leader in wRC+ is [drum roll] John Lackey!
- Terry Francona has never won the Manager of the Year award. This blows my mind. I'm not saying he's ever been the best manager in baseball -- how the hell would I know who the best manager in baseball is -- but winning Manager of the Year is not really about being the best anyway. It's about being the best story, and the Red Sox have been the best story on numerous occasions since Francona took over in the managers office. He's done an amazing job of dealing with a team with both outsized egos and a local press that could fairly be described as sharks waiting for a drop of blood to hit the water. You might fairly have expected Francona to have won it in 2005 simply for managing the team in 2004. Or how about his 2007 team that won the AL East and... oh, I know they won something else that year too... hmm.. well, it'll come to me. Anyway, Francona's list of accomplishments this season certainly merits consideration for the award. I hope he gets one eventually. His body of work certainly deserves it.
- If anyone is looking at this series as a sort of playoff preview, it should be noted that both Jon Lester and Josh Beckett, likely starters of playoff games number two and one respectively for Boston, will not pitch in this series. Neither will presumptive game one starter for Texas, C.J. Wilson.
- The Rangers have used seven starting pitchers this year, while the Red Sox have used ten.
- I'm going to go ahead and say what you are all thinking: it probably isn't a good idea for the Red Sox to resign Hideki Okajima.
- Jonathan Papelbon has not allowed a run, a hit, a walk, or even thrown a ball, since 1874.
Individual game notes after the jump!
- Andrew Miller's last start (6.1 IP, 6 Ks, 2 BBs, 0 runs) may just have been the best start of his career. It certainly was his best of his Red Sox career. Miller did strike out eight White Sox back on July 31, but he gave up three runs in the process. You have to go back to 2009 before you get some games that compare with his last start, and even then they weren't shut outs.
- Holland has been a serviceable starter this season, but not much more than that. He's striking out the bare minimum a starter can strikeout with either getting crushed or throwing a knuckleball. He's walking the maximum a starter can walk with his small strikeout rate and still survive. So what does Holland do? He gets some ground balls but mostly he throws hard from the left side. He's basically a more polished Andrew Miller. How about them apples, eh?
- Erik Bedard has been the recipient of possibly the worst luck outside of Pittsburgh Pirates fans born in late October, 1992. In his last three starts, Bedard has thrown 16 innings, striking out fifteen and compiling a 2.81 ERA. For his efforts he is 0-2. Through little fault of Bedard's the Red Sox are 2-3 in his starts. If Bedard has any fault in that record it is an inability to go late in games. He throws lots of pitches (though he's been the recipient of some questionable umpiring, as John Lackey would say, for sure) and as such his count rises quickly.
- Colby Lewis was supposed to be one of the Rangers best starters this season, and he has been, but other than CJ Wilson the Rangers starters have been on the serviceable but mediocre side. And yet after writing that, I have to point out that the starting staff as a whole has been somewhere in the upper middle in terms of production in the American League. My point: writing series previews on two hours of sleep and eight cups of coffee might not be the best idea ever. Maybe the second best.
- John Lackey's run of productivity coincides with a faster fastball. As a general rule I don't trust the radar readings on TV but during his last start Lackey hit 95 on the NESN radar gun. Even if that's really a 93 or 92 it's still better velocity than earlier in the year. Increased velocity can make up for bad location and I think that's what has led to Lackey's improvement.
- Matt Harrison has an awesome first name.
- Daniel Bard's beard will one day rule the world.