Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Red Sox Officially Out

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

For the last few weeks, the Boston Red Sox were hanging on to the slimmest of hopes to remain in the playoff hunt.  But as the New York Yankees were able to win a few games recently, the magic number has finally reached zero.

With a chance to end up with 90 wins this season, the Sox are going to finish third in the very tough A.L. East.  There record with five games to go in the season has them in a dead heat with the Texas Rangers in the West and five games behind Minnesota in the Central.  But that is the curse of playing in the toughest division in baseball.  Without a doubt the wildcard will be either New York or Tampa Bay as they are half a game apart, and Minnesota also vying for home field advantage.

I know that I’ve stated this before, but it was impressive that the Sox made it last this long.  I thought for sure that they would have been eliminated a while ago after having key player after key player either be lost for the season or have a stint on the DL.  Yes, of course I get the fact that a team like the Red Sox who had $168M in salaries (including players who were on the books but on other teams) should be able to to have other players on their team who should still be better than the more frugal teams.

And I also know that I have brought this up earlier, but in the end it was the pitching that did them in.  Very highly paid starters had terrible seasons:

Player Salary
(millions)
Starts W L ERA
John Lackey $18.7 32 13 11 4.47
Josh Beckett $12.1 20 6 5 5.77
Daisuke Matsuzaka $8.33 24 9 6 4.72

Jon Lester $3.75 31 19 8 2.96
Clay Buchholz $443K 28 17 7 2.33

The first three cost over $39M this year (add about another $8.5M for the amortized posting fee for close to $48M) and combined for a 28-22 record.  On the other hand, the saving grace hasn’t been the pitchers acquired via free agency or trades, but the two homegrown kids who totaled a record of 36-15 while hardly a burden on the ownerships’ wallets at just over $4M.  Lester will end up around second in the league in wins and fourth in ERA, and Buchholz will finish second with his ERA just a few points behind leader Felix Hernandez.

The bullpen was spotty as well as the season progressed.  When Jonathan Papelbon wasn’t blowing saves (similar to Sunday night against the Yankees), he would make the outing an adventure; there never seemed to be an easy 1-2-3 ninth for him.   Daniel Bard provided some energy in the setup roll, and is apparently the heir to the closing roll.  For the most part, the rest just weren’t good.

To go along with all of these issues were some bad loses down the stretch.  From September 10th, Boston lost two-of-three games in Oakland, to Toronto and to Baltimore (a .395 team they were 9-9 against this season).

But the injuries definitely was thing that kept them out of the postseason.  They played a good chunk of the season with Mike Lowell at first, Bill Hall at second, newcomer Ryan Kalish in the outfield, and a slew of other minor leaguers to fill in.

And we that, the baseball season in Boston will go quietly into the night, with nothing more than gobs of trade and free agency rumors that will over saturate the airwaves and blogosphere… I’m sure I will be writing one soon anyway.

Was Randy Moss Really Out?

Monday, December 28th, 2009

To clinch the AFC East division championship, the New England Patriots routed the Jacksonville Jaguars 35-7.  In the game, Randy Moss caught only four passes for 45 yards.  But three of those catches were for touchdowns.  This is just the second game after the Carolina Panthers claimed that they knew that if they shut down Moss, he would just give up on the field.

In that game, Moss caught one pass for 16 yards.  And the post-game talks were about how Moss mailed in the second half because he was frustrated.  Some “experts” said that he didn’t and was actually shutdown by the defense, and others said that he gave up.  One tiny fact wasn’t really talked about through all of it: The New England Patriots won the game 20-10.

And all the talk probably awoke a sleeping giant in the Brady/Moss combination.  The next game in Buffalo, Moss went 5-for-70 with a touchdown.  And then home against Jacksonville, a team that needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, they again went to the tandem utterly destroyed the Jags.

With one game left on the schedule, at Houston, the Pats don’t need to win.  They are assured a home game during the Wild Card weekend, and will either be in the third or fourth spot (depending on what happens with Cincinnati).  Coming out of a really tough stretch of five games of Miami and the Jets at home, and Indy, New Orleans, and Miami on the road, going 2-and-3, the Pats have won three in a row.  They are now 10-5, with all five loses coming on the road.  And with all home games played, they are definitely a tough-team-at-home.  Unfortunately, they will only have one game in the playoffs at home (barring some big losses by Indianapolis and San Diego).

But it was good to see the Patriots put together a nice string of wins using both offense and defense.  Many of the games that were lost were close games where one or two plays by the defense (or completions by the offense) in the fourth quarters would have made the difference.  Perhaps having a defense on the up-swing and an offense with a hungry Randy (and hopefully a complete set of running backs), this could be a fun postseason to watch.