Monday, July 21, 2008

EPIC FAIL



Hey, remember how I said this series against the AL West-leading Angels would be a good test for the Sox?

FAIL.

Let's recap the West Coast Weekend, shall we?

Friday:

Jars of Clay "Council" Meredith Buchholz [Ed. note: Seriously DaveR? NO MORE POSTING ON CRACK -- futuremrsrickankiel] helps us all relive the thrills and fun of the Home Run Derby, or the NHL All-Star Game, or possibly the Battle of Waterloo, giving up eight runs (four earned, thanks to a terrible throw by Julio Lugo Alex Cora) on the way to a 3-11 non-victory. The Sneering Corpse of Garret Anderson went 4-4 with 5 ribbies to lead the Halos in a game that took an excruciating 2:35 to play. Meanwhile, APNDR First Half co-MVPs David Aardsma and Javier Lopez were injured and shelled respectively. When your best pitching performance comes from Mike Timlin, that counts as a.....

FAIL.

Saturday:

Oh sure, you'd think that Home Run Beckett would at least get you some quality innings. And you'd be right. And you'd even excuse him for giving up a moonshot to Vladdy Guerrero, because that's what Vladdy do. But when you're up 4-1 late in the game, and you give up a bases-clearing triple to ERICK FUCKING AYBAR.....

FAIL.

Sunday:

Ah, Timmy. Sweet, sweet Timmy, and your dancing magic. Surely you will save us despite the horrid screw-you-Southern-California-we-need-to-air-the-ESPYs start time of 3:00 PDT. (Trust me -- the sun positioning gets obnoxious for the fans at Angels Field (f/k/a Anaheim Stadium, Edison Field) after about 4:00 in the summer. Plus, it's hot.) And yea verily did you deliver unto thine promise, Sweet Timmy, twirling seven quality innings with only one Vladdy moonshot (plus a subsequent Torii Hunter moonshot).

And then....

I'm not going to criticize Terry Francona for leaving you in to start the 8th. I'd have done the same thing. Since you're probably not going to use Papelbon to get six outs, what else are you going to do? Use Hansen???? (/mocking laughter) Nor am I going to criticize Terry for sticking with you after the leadoff batter (Juan Rivera) doubled. Nor was I suprised when Howie Kendrick (one of the most underrated players in the league) then doubled to tie the game.

But you, Manny Delcarmen... They GAVE you an out, and yet you still gave up not one, but TWO additional runs. That is not clutch. That is....

FAIL.

Add it all up and you get EPIC FAIL.

(And now for something completely different.)

Here's some food for thought for all those know-nothing pink hatters out there (/pokes bear): there's a reason why it was not wise to give away Coco Crisp for pennies on the dollar in spring training. Let's look at the lovely Mr. Ellsbury's monthly stats (in the format BA/OPB/OPS):

May: .281/.375/.771
June: .245/.265/.591
July: .239/.282/.565

For comparison, the Artist Formerly Known as Julio Lugo put up .260/.372/.749 in June, and Crispy put up .310/.359/.880.

Is this a "Jacoby Suxx" post? Not at all. What I see is a typical trend for a first-year player, who will struggle as other teams scout him better and adjust to his particular hitting style. I don't think anyone reasonably expected Ellsbury to be any different. No, the important thing the remember is that Ellsbury is not Fred Lynn. He is a good player who has a chance to be great. The Red Sox, however, are a great team that has a chance to be champion. I am all in favor of handing the primary CF job to Ellsbury and putting him out there often. But -- and this is an important but -- I am NOT in favor of handing him the EXCLUSIVE CF job. Because he is young, and he will struggle, as he is doing now. Arguably, both Lugo and Crisp would be better leadoff options right now if either one of them were completely healthy. That does not mean that Lugo or Crisp are superior players to Ellsbury -- just that they have been playing better.

People often wonder what managers and coaching staffs actually do in baseball, other than fill out lineup cards and attempt to correct mechanical flaws. Well, this sort of thing is one of the big challenges a manager has to face. Ellsbury is clearly struggling right now, and his struggles are beginning to hurt the team. On the other hand, if he doesn't get enough at bats, he'll never work his way out of the struggles. And he's still a human being, with pride and desire and the ability to go into snits or resent people and all the crap we humans excel at. So what do you do? Coco may be a better option in the leadoff slot, but do you want to risk harming Ellsbury's confidence? But how long can you accept 0-5 nights before you have to do something to get runners on ahead of Youkilis and Manny? And if you DO play Crisp as the primary CF, and he plays well, how do you justify working Ellsbury back in (which you have to do, because he's clearly the long term CF)? It's a tough balancing act.

Jacoby isn't going anywhere, obviously. But, unless he shoots his way out of town like Jay Payton, neither should Coco. This little discussion illustrates why. Flexibility = key to avoiding EPIC FAIL.

On to Seattle....

2 comments:

A Pimp Named DaveR said...

I will just note that you've never seen Cla Meredith and Clay Buchholz in the same place at the same time, have you....

/same guy, right?

Anonymous said...

Cla Meredith is fine with Clay Buchholz using his name, as long as he gets to use Clay Buchholz's girlfriend.