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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

  Paean to the New Guy and the Young Guy

We know how well Jason Bay has done since coming to the Red Sox in last Thursday's final-minute trade: A batting average of .381 with two homers and six RBI in five games. He has more than done his part to help Sox fans forget that other left fielder.

But what may not be as obvious is the coincidental (is it?) surge of Jed Lowrie in that same span. The young shortstop, tasting his first extended stretch of major league play since Julio Lugo went on the disabled lists, was hitting just .269 before the trading deadline. Since then, he has been every bit as impressive as Bay: .369 with a stellar nine RBI.

This is Bay's sixth year in the big leagues, and though he has never played in anything remotely resembling the super-charged atmosphere of a Fenway sellout crowd, he has enough experience not to be rattled by the attention of being the newest member of a team operating in a fishbowl. Lowrie is another story, four years younger and seven years less experienced than Bay, he was the Johnny-come-lately on the squad until last week. Might the diversion helped him to break out? I can't say for sure, but whatever the reason, I'll take it. When the old familiar faces are struggling/tired/hurt, it is reassuring to have two guys still getting their feet wet in Boston be able to take up the slack.

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Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 5

I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I am liking Jason Bay.

I am slowly starting to get over the Manny Ramirez trade.

I am glad to see there are Red Sox blogs. Yay!!

Interesting observation about Bay/Lowrie. I'm a big fan of both. Hopefully Jed will continue playing well and this will be the end of the Julio Lugo era. What are your thoughts on the recent Mark Kotsay acquisition?

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Forever in Dave Roberts' debt,
-Dave

WooooooooooooooooooT.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

  Michael Felger Makes My Ears Bleed

Dear WEEI,

For the love of God, PLEASE don't make me listen to Michael Felger on your station any more.

There are many factors that make a good radio host, but being a broken record is not one of them. Felger has been making the same two points about the Manny Ramirez trade (Ramirez is a future Hall of Famer and Jason Bay isn't, and Ramirez always throws a temper tantrum in July) since Friday morning, and after hearing them about 147 times, I'm pretty sure no one needs to hear them a 148th time.

Nor is ignoring the points made by your co-hosts and callers a desirable characteristic. If Felger weren't so stuck in the rut of his own narrative, he might occasionally say, "You know what? I see what you're saying, and it's a good point. But I think it's outweighed by [insert Felger Talking Point #1 or Felger Talking Point #2 here]."

So please, I'm begging you, put me out of my misery and stuff a sock in this guy's mouth. He can't possibly be helping your ratings. He sure isn't helping my headache.

Hugs and kisses,
The Triumphant Red Sox fan

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Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 3

Amen

I don't know why you torture yourself.

Also, your description of Felger is more proof of my belief that he listens to what the whiniest callers on EEI say and regurgitates it as if it's his own.

Please let him go back to covering football.

kudos to that


Friday, August 01, 2008

  A Post-Trade Poem, by an Unknown Author

'Twas the night before August and all through the Nation,
The fans on their feet in a standing ovation,
Ramirez — the baby — is off to L.A.
So who is this guy they call Jason Bay?

He bats from the right and throws that way too,
And produces the home runs; he has 22.
Will he ever be Manny? "Not a chance" might be true.
But when he hits his first homah, we’ll all say "Manny who?"

He'll protect our Big Papi and with Mike at his back,
He'll make up for what with Ramirez we lack:
Good defense in left field, base-running skill too,
And he'll run out the grounders unlike you-know-who.

If you look at the stats, Bay's a star on the rise,
While Manny — his stature is shrinking in size.
Just look at the stats. Can you guess who is who?
AVG.HRRBIOBPSLG
Player 1:.2822264.375.519
Player 2:.2992068.398.529
(I'll give you a hint: Good-Bye Player 2!)

With the A's due in town, get the offense on track!
But will Papi and Bay will be a formidable attack?
At the end of the day brings an unnerving truth:
Yes, Papi and Manny were like Gehrig/Ruth.

So here's some advice from a local Sox fan.
Please try to get it right if you can:
Say "Wall," not "Green Monster"; pronounce "Pahk" with no "R".
Produce like you've been doing and you'll be a star.
The "bleachers" are in right field, Pesky’s Pole's "down the line."
Say, "I hate the Yankees," and you'll fit in just fine.

By the way, Red Sox Nation, raise your glass in a toast;
Pay homage to an old friend who's on the West Coast.
He's a friend of the Nation and a really good sport:
Thank you, thank you, oh thank you, dear old friend Frank McCourt.

So we hope for the best as the day turns to night;
I'll just finish my poem and turn out the light.
But as I try to sleep, I turn and I toss.
Jason Bay for Ramirez, Hansen, and Moss?

Did we make the right choice? Did we give up too much?
Will Jason Bay ever hit in the clutch?
I find I can't sleep and I sit up in fright.
I know Manny was wrong; God, I hope Theo's right.

But what about Manny? How hard will he play
Now playing with Nomar and Lowe in L.A?
I promise you this, there's more to his story.
As you head off to bed, say a prayer for Joe Torre!


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 1

Gordon Edes first posted that poem and credits it to "e-mailer Mike Savio".


  Why This Was a Good Trade

I had an interesting experience on the Dodgers message board yesterday after the Manny Ramirez trade was announced. Besides discovering that moronic posters inhabit that board too, I had a productive exchange with one person. (Alas, only one. The others were, well, re-read the beginning of the last sentence.)

A board member calling him/herself "tennismenace" wrote, "I think your team will come in 3rd place. Drew is choking and you have two stiffs at the end of your lineup. You lose arguable your best hitter now. Good luck, but expect to see the NYY pass you."

Of course, I love a good baseball discussion and the chance to Here is my response to tennismenace about why I disagreed with his/her assessment:

1. You are making the mistake with Drew of assuming that the current trend (i.e. this July) is the trend that will continue. To make a more valid prediction, you should look at historical performance. For example, in the last couple years, he's been lousy in July, but much bettter in August and September. That's why we aren't particularly worried about him right now.

2. Manny, on the other hand, has a habit of missing games in September, when his at-bats plummet because that's when he is most likely to take himself out of games. We have already gotten from him what are typically his most productive months (excluding, of course, the postseason).

3. The other factor to consider is that Manny's production has begun to decline, as one would expect to happen with age. He is still a formidable hitter, better than many players several years younger than he is, but chances are he isn't trending upward overall. His batting average/homers/RBI in his eight seasons with the Red Sox have been (in chronological order from 2001 to 2008) .306/41/125, .349/33/107, .325/37/104, .308/43/130, .292/45/144, .321/35/102, .296/20/88, and this year projecting to (presuming games played in the last two seasons) .299/27/90. What we have now that we didn't have in Manny's best years are two younger players whose offense is on the uptick: Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. Obviously, neither has the power Manny has, but they are more than making up for his average. And Jason Bay is on pace with Manny this season with homers and RBI, so that's a better fit than one might expect.

4. Even with their weak bottom of the order, the Red Sox have the third most runs scored in the American League, the third best team batting average, the fifth most home runs, and the best on-base percentage. They can afford weaker hitters down the lineup because others are so productive.

5. The Yankees, though improving, still lag significantly behind the Sox in those offensive categories, as well as pitching categories like batting average against and, to a lesser extent, earned run average. Two of their historically most consistent players, Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada, are lost for the season. Furthermore, the Yankees are usually strong this time of year, when the Red Sox typically slump. Frankly, my bigger concern is not the Yankees but the Rays.

Whether I am correct remains to be seen. But his is hardly the gloom-and-doom situation many removed from the recent happenings here seem to think it is. And this information, looked at rationally, makes bloviators like Michael Felger, who has been foaming at the mouth on WEEI all morning, seem a bit unhinged.

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Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


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