Tuesday, May 17, 2005
The Red Sox had every opportunity to break this one open but they failed to get the big game breaking hit at every point. It seems as though when Arroyo is pitching, when the Sox get a lead they just settle in and don't do anything to add to their lead. Usually Arroyo is able to get out of jams and keep opponents to 1-3 runs but this game he was human. Plus, Damon and Nixon appeared to misplay some balls in the outfield and Renteria bumbled a ground ball with a runner on 3rd allowing Kotsay to score.
Let's look at the big opportunities the Red Sox had.
Top of 2nd, bases loaded, 2 outs: Bellhorn singles
Top of 2nd, runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 outs: Damon strikes out
Top of 4th, bases loaded, 0 outs: Bellhorn strikes out
Top of 4th, bases loaded, 1 out: Damon strikes out
Top of 4th, bases loaded, 2 outs: Renteria flies out
Top of 7th, runners on 1st and 2nd, 0 out: Renteria singles
Top of 7th, bases loaded, 0 outs: Ortiz doubles
Top 7th, runners on 2nd and 3rd, 0 outs: Ramirez strikes out
Top 7th, runners on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out: Nixon intentionally walks
Top 7th, bases loaded, 1 out: Varitek strikes out
Top 7th, bases loaded, 2 outs: Youkilis grounds into FC
Top 8th, runners on 1st and 2nd, 1 out: Renteria strikes out
Top 8th, runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 out: Ortiz grounds out
Top 9th, runners on 2nd and 3rd, 2 out: Mueller flies out
In 14 situations to score runs, the Sox capitalized only 3 times and got an intentional walk. Ten times in situations which made scoring alot of runs possible, the Sox failed utterly. They didn't even get sacrifice flies or groundouts that advanced runners. They utterly failed.
Myers didn't do his job either and in my opinion, he shouldn't have been in to face Durazo. Durazo was 11 for 33 against left handed pitching on the season and was 3 for 8 against Myers in his career. It was a freak hit but a hit nonetheless.
I don't know what it is about the Pacific Ocean but it seems to have some sort of effect on the Red Sox. Against Seattle and Oakland last week, we took 5 of 6. Now, we've been beaten 3 out of 4 and need to take the last two against Oakland to go .500 on the trip.
Renteria should not be batting 2nd. It just isn't working. Hopefully he'll come through and he's had a few good games to make you think he might be coming around but right now, I think he is a bottom of the lineup hitter and nothing more. I'd still like to see Bellhorn have a shot at batting 2nd. If not, I think Varitek should be up there.
Tek is batting .325 compared to Renteria at .246. This means Varitek is getting another hit more than Renteria every 8 at-bats or about every 2 games. Varitek's OBP, which is a crucial stat for the #2 hitter in this lineup, is .379. Edgar's is .296. This means Tek is getting on-base an extra time every 10 plate appearances, or once every 2 games. Their walk and strikeout numbers are similar. Renteria is faster and has stolen 2 bases but batting in front of Manny and Ortiz usually means the #2 hitter, if he gets on base, will stay put and avoid the risk of running into outs. So there is very little point in having speed on base in front of Manny and Ortiz. Maybe once or twice in a year, Tek might not be able to score from first on a double whereas Renteria could, but to me, this isn't worth the offensive downgrade from Renteria to Tek.
Not only does Tek hit more and get on base more, he has more power. Tek has 7 HRs and is hitting one out of the park once every 16 at-bats. Renteria only has 2 HRs and is hitting one every 71 at-bats. Tek is on pace to hit 30 HRs this season and Renteria is on pace to hit 9. Renteria typically gets in between 10-13 HRs a season and Varitek typically hovers near 20 in about 100 fewer ABs a season. Varitek has 14 extra base hits compared to Renteria's 8. This means that Tek gets into scoring position or scores on his own with a homer almost twice as often as Renteria.
I think Varitek would be a better set-up man for Ortiz, Manny, and Trot because he gets on base more, gets more hits, and gets more extra base hits. In this lineup, however, the #2 hitter often has opportunities to knock players in. The Sox have a lineup that has quality hitters from 1-9 so there are always runners getting on base from the 7-9 spots so the leadoff hitter and #2 hitter have to be able to knock guys in. Damon does this pretty well with 20 RBI so far. Varitek only has 15 RBI but compared to Renteria's 11 in more at-bats, Tek has an edge over Renteria.
Tek also does alot of the little things that a #2 hitter is supposed to do. He can hit for contact and when the opportunity presentes itself, he will steal a base here and there. He is an intelligent baserunner and an intelligent hitter. He should be given a shot at the 2 spot for a week or two.
The Man of the Game is Mark Kotsay who went 1 for 3 with a bases loaded triple. He then scored on a groundout. The next inning, he made a heads-up play in right center field to cutoff a double off the wall by Ortiz and keep Renteria from scoring what was the go ahead run at the time.
The Bitch-Goat shall be divided thusly:
Arroyo: 0.2 - 7 IP, 4 ER
Myers: 0.4 - 0 IP, 2 ER
Ramirez: 0.1 - 1 for 5, 2 Ks, 2 LOB
Damon: 0.2 - 0 for 3, 2 K, 5 LOB, misplay in CF
Renteria: 0.1 - 1 for 5, 5 LOB, misply at SS
Oil Can Boyd pitched 3 innings for the Brockton Rox against the Worcester Tornadoes. If I ever get a little bit of money, I'm gonna start a Can-Am League team in my backyard. We wouldn't be a good team, but we'd be entertaining.
The Red Sox play the A's again tomorrow night. Clement pitches for us and is due to have a bad start. Meanwhile, the Yankees are winning like crazy against these AL West teams. They've won 9 straight.