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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Report Card at the Break: C

- Red Sox: C-. Yup, 7 games back at the break and they should be better. Why are they were they are? That is the question. My answer is: injuries; bad managing (not just weak, but bad -- giving up games they could have won, for example, to rest players); and some poor performances from pitchers, which leads me to . . .
- D. Lowe: D. Every bit a D. Head case is irrelevant -- he cannot locate pitches he needs to and he has also had some bad defense at times behind him (if he does throw that sinker well, EVERYONE needs to be able to catch it and make the plays). Does he need a shrink? Probably. Is there one in the clubhouse? Schilling ("Get over it" is my guess at Schilling's advice).
- Schilling: A. Cannot fault him on anything other than -- perhaps -- being unable to shut up when he should. Gives it his all every time out.
- Pedro: B+. Now, a very good Number 2 starter -- and let's be very damn happy about that. Find me another Number 2 with his history, his pedigree, his combativeness on the mound, and his stuff. If he recognizes what he has and does not pine for what he does not have anymore - high speed - he can be as good as anyone in baseball because he has the brains.
- Nomar: I. I cannot rate him yet, but here are some interesting offensive #s vs. Alex from Manhattan: Alex: 86 games, .270 average, 337 AB, 61 R, 91 H, 22HR, 58 RBI, 172 TB, 73 SO, .361 OBP, .510 SLG, .871 OPS; Nomar: 26 games, .327 average, 107 AB, 16 R, 35 H, 4HR, 16 RBI, 56 TB, 10 SO, .365 OBP, .523 SLG, .888 OPS. Run the comps for yourself -- Nomar is better, based on relative games played. Pokey is also better than Nomar, hands and feet down.
More Alex vs. Nomar stats: With runners in scoring position: Alex = .217, with two outs: .100, bases loaded: .000; Nomar with runners in scoring position = .333, with two outs: .385., bases loaded: .400.
- Francona: D-. But no point in comparing him to anyone else in the league because we have no idea how Buck or Lou would actually do here. I have to question whether he a) knows what he is doing with the players he has or b) is doing what he knows (i.e., is he the REAL manager or is Bill James, et al.)?
- Manny: A. The Numbers say it all.
- Ortiz: A+. A true steal.
- Foulke: B. Needs more work. Has an ERA of 1.53 AND 4 blown saves AND 2 losses? Could the signing of Leskanic mean something more than it appears? Let's be glad we have them both.
- Theo: I. The jury is still out -- although it came back with a resounding affirmation during the offseason. But baseball is played on the field not in the management offices and I question whether the James Gang works. Looking at averages and data from whole seasons may say to them, Never run, Never give up an out, but game situations may demand deeper thinking than their data analysis. On paper, the Patriots should not be SB champs, but leadership got them there.
- Ownership: C. Blah, except for Lucchino on the radio -- he's topical. Has anyone actually seen Henry, Werner, et al., anywhere near the team?
- Bottom Line: Forget the $ invested. You win with the right people, top to bottom, and good leadership. They have the right people, I believe, on the team, but everyone else is suspect.