The Sox/Indians ALCS Game 2 just went from extra-innings-edge-of-your-seat tense to offensive-free-for-all (well, for the Indians anyway—from the Sox side, it was utter-bullpen-suckage). Too despondent (or maybe just too tired after this preposterously long game) to actually write anything, reproduced below is part of my end-of-game g-chat with Nick:

[Ed. Note: Trot Nixon sends a bloop into shallow center, scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th]

Nick: well, that pitching change didn’t work out!

And to think, Trot was a career .214 batter vs. lefties…

me: I can’t believe Lopez is sucking this much

of course, it was Gagne who let all those runners on…

Nick: I can. Lopez was always pretty sucky

I still don’t know why the Red Sox love him so much

me: but he is the loogy!

Nick: yeah, he’s a “lefty specialist” who actually allows a HIGHER batting average to lefties!

feeding him to Trot was a stupid idea

me: yeah I was surprised, I thought they would let Gagne face Trot

then bring in Lopez to face Victor Martinez if necessary

Nick: yeah, I guess they really don’t have faith in Gagne!

me: and then just throw Lester out there for the rest of it…

wait, where is Kyle Snyder???

Nick: Snyder’s not on the roster

me: no Snyder

no Tavarez


Leave Gagne off the World Series roster, dude

I would rather have Tavarez frankly

Nick: I still think the Sox should have kept JC Romero and dumped Lopez when they had that roster crunch…

Romero actually had the lower ERA at the time, and performed well for the Phillies down the stretch

[Ed. Note: Indians continue to score an appalling number of runs]

Nick: Well, the wheels are all off now

me: the wheels?

there are no wheels!!

Nick: yup

me: the wheels are gone

goodbye wheels!

Nick: they’ve all gone rolling away into the autumn grass

Nick: oh look, the Sox have Crisp, Lugo, and THE MIGHTY ALEX CORA up next inning…

[Ed. Note: Indians cap big inning with a three-run homer.]





Nick: um, pretty much



why is the TV still on?

I could turn it off if I wanted to

I could spare mself

Nick: I dunno, because you are a true fan?

me: no

because I am a SOX fan

and anguish is just part of the deal

Nick: it’s true, Sox fans never surrender

they will defend the beaches of Red Sox nation with bamboo spears if necessary

Just like the Japanese were going to do if America invaded in WWII

me: It’s a plot!

Eric Gagne is a mole!



me: And Terry Francona played right into their hands!

Would you have trusted Gagne in that situation?

Nick: no

I would have brought in Lester to start that inning

me: no I would have saved Lester!

because he’s a starter and he could go for a long time

Nick: I bet Lester would have been fine if he could have come in with the bases empty to start an inning

basically, I would never pitch Gagne or Lopez in any playoff inning

If Theo gave me that roster, I would just say fuck it and pitch Lester til he drops

but no Gagne and no Lopez

not in the playoffs

me: I admire your cojones

Nick: Besides, I could always bring in Wakefield for endless fatigue-free knuckleball innings if I really had to

me: that’s true!

mmmmm knuckleball

Nick: sweet, dancing butterfly!

[Ed. Note: Sox are up to bat again in the bottom of the inning. It doesn’t look good.]

me: oh look, Varitek strikes out

what a surprise

[Ed. Note: Sox CF Coco Crisp singles, joining J.D. Drew on the basepaths. There’s only one out! We could still do it! David Ortiz could hit an 8-run homer!]

me: Crisp keeps my tattered hopes alive!


Now the Sox just need 6 more of those in a row, with the last one being a grand slam

me: yeah!

[Ed. Note: Lugo grounds feebly into a double play to end the game.]

oh goddamn.

fucking Lugo

Nick: wait, why is Lugo even on this team again?

me: THEO

Nick, your task is clear:

Nick: I should work my way up the ladder to replace Theo Epstein as GM of the Red Sox?

me: that also

but for now

make a new word in Scrabulous.

20 Responses to “Wrenching.”

  1. Coley Ward says:

    Sarah, I can’t support choosing anyone but Braun in the NL, but I respect you making defense a priority.

    But what about Matsuzaka in the AL? Not even a mention?

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Coley, I didn’t mention any of the Japanese “rookies.” I don’t think they’re actually rookies. Given what Matsuzaka accomplished in Japan, I think it’s insulting to view him as comparable to a total newb.

    That said, I think he had a very promising year in the majors. He had more innings, more starts, more decisions, and more strikeouts than Bannister and Guthrie. Yes, he had 12 losses, but some of those were very close games in which the Red Sox offense helped him very little. Fifteen wins is a great start, and I can’t wait to see what he does next year!

  3. Sarah Green says:

    Oh, and it’s not just Braun’s defense (or lack thereof) that lost him the hardware, in my book. He wasn’t truly an everyday player all season long. Poop on that.

    However, I do look forward to watching him in the home run derby in the future.

    Plus, I have to admit, he’s kinda cute.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Oh AND I forgot to mention this in my post, but the reason that Delmon Young doesn’t come up under Baseball Prospectus’s rookie category (for anyone out there looking) is because they’ve used plate appearances instead of at-bats as the cutoff. The technical rule is that to be considered a rookie, a position player cannot have had more than 130 at-bats or more than 30 days on the roster of a major league club in previous years (not including days on the expanded fall roster, for you Jacoby Ellsbury fans out there).

    Having heard all the hype about Delmon as a possible ROY winner, I emailed BP in confusion when I couldn’t find him on their ranking of rookie VORPs. They emailed back (I got a real person! amazing) and explained that though Young had 126 “at-bats” last year, he had 131 plate appearances. Thus, to the folks over at BP, Young wasn’t technically a rookie. Though, of course, by the official standards of MLB, he is. But a couple more singles last year, and we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Tricky!

  5. You single out Braun’s bad defense as the reason that he loses the award but you fail to mention Tulowitski’s built in advantage of playing half of his games in Coors.

    Tulo’s home/road splits:

    Home: .326/.392/.568
    Road: .256/.327/.393

    an OPS difference of .960 to .719.

    Braun all the way.

  6. Sarah Green says:

    gej, if Braun had been a merely mediocre fielder *and* had played in more games, sure I could have given him my ROY vote. But he is the absolute WORST third baseman in the entire national league! (Someone, please move that man to first base!) Meanwhile, Tulowitzki is the BEST shortstop in the league. You’re talking two defensively important positions, absolute worst versus absolute best. That, coupled with Braun’s relatively low 113 games, was just too much for me to ignore. When I look for a Rookie of the Year, I look for a mature, well-rounded, developed player. That means having a solid, all-round skill set and playing almost every day.

    Plus, though I didn’t read Nick’s post before I wrote mine, he talks about Tulowitzki’s splits so I felt I didn’t have to. :) I mean, yeah, that’s a factor, but I’ve never been one to fault a guy for playing in a park that suits him (or even a park with really thin air).

  7. Coley Ward says:

    Sarah, we’d all love to see Prince Fielder play short stop, but it’s not going to happen. He’s your Brewers 1B for the near future. There’s no room for Braun at first.

  8. Sarah Green says:

    Well fine, left field then. Or let some big, greedy AL team make a spectacular deal for him and then he can DH. Or just make him take 500 grounders every day in the offseason (he can team up with Fielder, who, as Coley intimated, is not very aptly surnamed). But something must be done. Because when you’re dead last in fielding percentage, zone rating, assists, and range factor, that’s just not okay. (To compare, the much-maligned defensive skills of Manny Ramirez put him second in assists, first in fielding percentage, and last in zone rating and range factor. So to be last in all of those areas takes a lot of work.)

    The more I think about it, the more preposterous it seems. 26 errors in 113 games! That’s monstrously bad! If he’d played all season, maybe he could have set a new record! (Don’t look that up. I’m going to use it as a trivia question.)

  9. Nick Kapur says:

    Sarah, you keep hinting at the fact that Braun “wasn’t an everyday player” or “didn’t play all season” but he absolutely was the everyday first baseman once the Brewers finally got around to calling him up. He hit something like 20 homers before that in Triple-A.

    If Ryan Braun does more for his team in 113 games than the other guys do in 140, shouldn’t he be considered to have had the better season?

  10. The *best* shortstop in the league? Do you mean overall or just defensively, because I disagree with both.

    I think that Adam Everett is easily the best defensive shortstop in the national league and there are 3 shortstops in the national league east that are better than Tulowitski all around.

  11. Adam Everett was out several months with a broken leg.

    Braun was taken out in the late innings of every game I saw him in. He had great offense, but obviously his coach held his defensive liabilities against him if he actually removed him from games regularly.

    I really do like Braun but I can see how it’s not a longshot that Tulowitski would get the ROY.

  12. Sarah Green says:

    gej, I meant defensively. Tulowitzki has a higher fielding percentage and range factor. Everett edges him out on zone rating.

    I assume your three better shortstops would be Renteria, Rollins, and Hanley Ramirez (isn’t it odd, btw, that two of those are former Red Sox?). I can only say that the NL is clearly where the AL was a few years ago when Jeter, A-Rod, and Nomar were all at the position: a state of unsustainable wealth akin to the dot-com bubble. I can’t hold it against Troy for coming up in such an economic climate!

    And Nick…I assume that was a Freudian slip on your part when you called Braun an “every day first baseman.” I, personally, would like to see Braun at a defensively forgiving position such as first, but alas for the Brewers and for me, he plays the defensively crucial position of third base. And yeah, I know once he was called up he was their everyday guy. But he still missed almost two months of the season.

    For me, it comes down to this: Tulowitzki, in his first year, played like a veteran. Braun played like a rookie. Therefore, Tulowitzki gets the ROY. But I’m sure next year, Braun will have the last laugh when he goes to the All-Star Game.

  13. If you’re going to take Renteria, then there’s four. One has to think that Jose Reyes is also better, correct?

  14. Pedroia? On this site?


  15. Sarah Green says:

    Pete, your sarcasm is duly noted. But who would you have picked?

    gej, Renteria has certainly performed for the Braves (in a way that he never performed for the Red Sox, grumble grumble). Reyes is okay but he’s not better than Tulowitzki either offensively or defensively, at least not this season. Reyes gets extra attention from the national media because he plays in New York, which is where most of the national media are located.

  16. Coley Ward says:

    Sarah, to be fair, I haven’t watched Tulowitzki much this season. But I’ve seen enough of Reyes to know that — his late season struggles aside — he is one of the best defensive short stops I’ve ever watched. I’m curious, was Tulowitski’s range factor better than Reyes’? What makes you think Reyes is overrated?

  17. Sarah Green says:

    Reyes’ fielding percentage puts him right in the middle of the pack of NL shortstops (which we admitted above is a deep field right now). He’s actually second-to-last in range factor, though he ranks third in zone rating (just behind T-Bone). Overall, the numbers don’t portray him as a great glove. Jeter is similar—middling to bottom-of-the pack according to most defensive metrics. Yet Jeter won a Gold Glove last year. There’s no accounting for hype.

  18. Nick Kapur says:

    Whoa! Look at you go, Sarah, you’ve become a stathead! Throwing range factor and zone rating in Coley’s face when he talks of what he’s actually seen with his own eyes!

    What happened to that old traditionalist Sarah, who didn’t like Murray Chass’s approach but felt she could at least understand his point of view that stats might be “undermining enjoyment of the game”?

  19. Sarah Green says:

    Come now, Nick. There’s room for both approaches! I like observation and gut feelings and not reducing everything to numbers, but when something is as obvious as being last in many statistical categories (as in the case of Jeter’s defense), one has to sit up and take notice. Reyes is good, to be sure. He’s just not the hands-down best, defensively. And he sure ain’t the best offensively.

  20. Urgh.

    The most demoralizing part was watching all the fans begin to file out of the ballpark as the runs mounted. I have never seen Fenway so empty during a game as in the bottom of the eleventh. You got the sense that even if there had been a rally, the black cloud of despair would have crushed it.

    Also, the game didn’t end until almost 2 am.

    Whoever decided on an 820pm start time needs to be nutpunched. Repeatedly.

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