Game 16 Ramblings

by Sully on April 20, 2011

in Red Sox

Brett Anderson. Photo: Icon SMI

Brett Anderson was terrific last night as the Red Sox fell to the Oakland A’s, 5-0. The 23-year old continued his 2011 dominance with another gem, keeping the Red Sox quiet all night long by mixing pitches and hitting spots. He struck out eight, walked one and gave up only four hits. For the season he’s struck out 21 against just 3 walks.

While the K-ball was working for him last night, if there’s one nitpick with labeling Anderson a star at this point, it’s that he doesn’t strike enough guys out. But really, it’s just a nitpick. He walks so few batters that his relatively light K/9 doesn’t matter. Since 2009, among pitchers that have tossed at least 300 innings, he’s sandwiched between Justin Verlander and Adam Wainwright on the K/BB leaderboard. Pretty good company.

That’s all a long-winded setup to try to urge you not to worry too much about this one. Anderson’s excellent, and he took it to Boston last night. On the bright side, John Lackey pitched well. Granted it’s a lineup that goes David DeJesusJosh Willingham in the 3-4 slots and it’s about as friendly a pitching environment as you’ll find anywhere, but it’s a start. Lackey went six innings, struck out only three but walked just one and yielded four hits. He looked good.

There’s not much else to say other than to point out another few data points in a mounting list of them suggesting Terry Francona doesn’t really know yet how to deploy this team. I like Mike Cameron in there and I think I like him in there against just about every lefty. He’s going to hit, but he won’t hit until he sees more plate appearances. So I like that Tito is sticking with Cameron. I don’t understand Darnell McDonald playing last night, though. A .301/.355/.386 hitter against southpaws, Jacoby Ellsbury has a non-existent platoon split. He should have been playing last night. And while McDonald’s veteran and roster status made him the obvious choice out of Spring Training for the 5th outfielder job, there’s no need to force it trying to get him regular playing time.

Tito sort of fumbled his bullpen management duties last night, too. It’s a minor quibble because teams need to be able to rely on more than just three relievers over the course of a season, but sticking with Dan Wheeler to start the eighth after 23 pitches in the seventh, and then turning to Hideki Okajima, struck me as a bit careless. Bobby Jenks had thrown all of six pitches since Friday night and, at 1-0, the game was still very much winnable at that point. Two wall-ball doubles, a single, a walk and four runs later, it was no longer winnable.

It’s just a two-game set in Oakland, so there’s getaway day ball today. 3:35 eastern, Clay Buchholz and Gio Gonzalez.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

2White April 20, 2011 at 6:36 am

“Tito sort of fumbled his bullpen management duties last night” — Is this a fair criticism considering that he was ejected in the fourth inning and Lackey pitched six innings? This would makes sense only if you presume that somehow Tito was able to relay orders to acting manager DeMarlo Hale.

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Sully April 20, 2011 at 6:44 am

I can’t confirm, of course, but I think it is common practice for Managers to communicate back to coaches after being ejected.

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Jake April 20, 2011 at 6:42 am

Speaking of Tito’s ejection, how bullshit was that non-balk call? The reaction of the Oakland announcers was hilarious because they had to simultaneously admit it was a balk (impossible to NOT admit it) while also supporting the home team. So within a single sentence they would call it a balk but then say they wished more left-handed pitchers would “practice that move.”

They also HATE John Lackey and complained about his demeanor all game. All in all one of the more entertaining away-feeds I’ve watched on MLBtv this season.

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Matt April 20, 2011 at 10:03 am

I paid extra so I don’t have to listen to away feeds. A good 1/2 of them are just unlistenable.

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Jim April 20, 2011 at 7:11 am

Ellsbury sat because he’s 0-9 against Anderson, though it was interesting that Cameron started in right rather than McD. And agreed Cameron needs more at bats.

Just like the Oki we’ve come to know and fear.

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Matt April 20, 2011 at 10:04 am

9 at-bats isn’t enough to bench your starting center fielder over. If you were going to bench players for going 0-9 against Anderson the Sox would have to bench 2/3rds of their starting lineup.

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BigNachos April 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Yeah, 9 AB’s is meaningless, and yet it seems like Francona is constantly adjusting the lineup based on these miniscule sample sizes of batters vs. pitchers. It drives me absolutely insane.

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Jim April 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm

To hear you two, you’d think we were discussing Mickey Mantle. If Ells were on a streak like Lowrie, I’d question Ells not playing also, but he’s .200/.286/.460, oh and by the way against Gonzales today he’s 0-3 with 3Ks.

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Matt April 20, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Nobody said anything about how good Ellsbury is. The issue at hand is you can’t judge a match-up based on nine randomly selected at-bats. It’s not enough to tinker with your line-up over. Of course, there could be extenuating circumstances. Maybe Ellsbury wasn’t feeling well, etc. Absent that, it’s a highly questionable decision.

Jim April 21, 2011 at 7:49 am

Or perhaps it is what Peter Gammons said over at eei, that Ells has forgotten what the Sox want out of him and his value has changed in the eyes of the team. We can’t know what is going on in the clubhouse and more specifically in the manager’s office, but we can see that Ells’ number are poor, but has shown some pop, but when we look a bit deeper we also see that he’s hitting many ground balls to second and not seeing many pitches… Yes 9 is a small number of ABs, but when paired with recent performance sitting him made sense. Also we don’t know, but the Sox probably do, was that 0-9 heroic or dreadful, e.g. rockets hit at someone or flailing at balls out of the strike zone.

Ari Collins April 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm

As Matt said, perhaps there are other reasons to bench him. But a tiny sample size against a pitcher stretched out over the course of a couple years is not going to tell you anyting.

Regarding Ellsbury’s approach, he’s actually hitting fewer GBs than ever before, seeing a fine number of P/PA (3.9), and walking more than ever before. Even with a lower line drive rate than usual for him, he shouldn’t have this low a BABIP. The balls just aren’t falling in for him, and if he keeps the same approach (it’s a small sample, who knows if he will), he’ll have a nice OBP moving forward.

Sara November 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I think the yanks should bring back Damon, his price will coitnnue to drop. I also would like them to sign Derosa. He can play any position. Dont just go for the biggest or flashiest name build a team. As for pitchers, maybe offer Sheets a contract that reaches 12 million in incentives, make him prove himself and show he is healthy. No team will offer a guy like hime more than 6-7 million.

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