So the White Sox rolled over for us this weekend.  And we had absolutely no control over the outcome.  Basically, they gave us 46 runs, but earned their seven runs.  At least this is what I have been hearing.  I mean, I understand the troubles of this fairly talented team throughout the course of this season.  They cannot hit, they can’t pitch, they can’t seem to wake up without hitting the snooze button first.  They are the worst team in baseball outside of Tampa, according to their record.  Of course it isn’t fair to compare them straight up with NL teams, or even outside of the division really as far as "wins and losses" are concerned.  But really, give the Red Sox a little credit, please.  They scored 10+ runs in four straight games.  They knocked around Buehrle a little, who has a 3.50 ERA and is a pretty good pitcher as some may forget.  They crushed Vazquez for seven runs in six innings, and he now has a 3.89 ERA after the shelling.  They swept a doubleheader, which is not easy to do against anyone in baseball, almost for the simple fact these are humans playing the game.  Back to Javier Vazquez for a second.  This is the same pitcher who in his last ten starts has thrown out [seven] quality ones.  And some of the opponents who he did this against were not pushovers by any means:  Seattle, Detroit (twice), The Red Sox, Minnesota, Toronto.  It isn’t like he threw all seven of them against the Royals.  And against the two pitchers mentioned above, who are [both] having good seasons, the Red Sox scored a total of one run in the first 5 innings against Buehrle, and the first 4 innings against Vazquez, COMBINED!  Meaning what?  That they figured these pitchers out on these particular days.    Just for some statistical fun/getting my point across some more…Buehrle is actually 8th in the AL in ERA+, while Vazquez falls in at 17th, both of course being in the top 20.  And during this doubleheader; Drew, Manny, and Varitek all received days off.  Just another added plus in this conversation.  The point is, the Red Sox had something to do with this.  A lot as a matter of fact.  When the Yankees went on their recent tear against sub-par teams, we all understood who they were playing, but the way they went about it was very impressive regardless of the opponent. 

     Kruk and the boys were discussing pitchers worthy of "Cy Young" candidacy on last night’s "Baseball Tonight."  And at the end of the discussion Kruk says "Escobar deserves to be a serious candidate right there with Josh Beckett."  I don’t know everything else that was said in this conversation, but what I do know is that they are both worthy of being considered, but that there are others that should be included in this discussion too.  And a few that are even more worthy.  Some names that are serious candidates in the AL:  Haren, Escobar, Johan, Beckett, Bedard, Carmona.  There are a few others like Sabathia, Lackey, etc, who should not be ignored either.  Beckett obviously has a few things going for him; "East coast bias," which seems to be more of a fact than just a theory.  Wins, which has a lot to do with the rest of the team’s success.  Let’s not ignore payroll, which gives a team a much better opportunity to put players around any given pitcher.  So they must strip away the payroll aspect, which in turn can help in the wins category.  Don’t ignore "wins" altogether necessarily, but look at the pitcher’s mentality rather than his record.  Beckett is a gamer, as are some of the others.  It isn’t solely because Beckett has 16 wins that he is labeled this by me.  It is the fact that I have faith in him when the later innings roll around (which is the result of watching him frequently).  In innings 1-3 Beckett’s opponents have an OPS of .665, innings 4-6 it is at .620, and innings 7-9 it is .591.  This is an indication that maybe he gets stronger throughout the game.  And from watching him freaquently, he does struggle early in some games.  But his worst inning statistically is actually the third inning, rather than the first.  And his strongest innings seem to be second, fourth, and seventh based on these stats.  But he did win a World Series MVP which helps his "Big Game" cause.  Although this did occur some time ago, and he was a different pitcher then.  Point is, Beckett deserves serious consideration, but others do too.  And if Beckett loses to Santana or Haren, etc, then I have no problem with that at all.  The voters must look beyond wins and losses though.

     Speaking of "Cy Young" candidacy.  Whoever the broadcaster’s were for Saturday’s White Sox/Red Sox game on FOX, were off base.  I will only use this one comment to show how they were just that.  One of them said "Tim Wakefield tends to get overlooked when speaking of Cy Young candidates."  This is not an exact quote, one built on memory.  But this is an absurd comment at this juncture in the season.  Wakefield has 16 wins, which is what the comment seems to be built around.  He is 22nd in ERA+.  He has pitched well recently and unless he some miraculous finish should not be considered in this discussion.  His 22 innings of scoreless work is amazing, and from a fan’s standpoint even more so as it is built from the emotion of watching it, or the "Gameday" version of it anyway.  But this doesn’t alone when the award.  And if you look at the 16 wins, then don’t forget the 10 losses either.  It is mostly because he has had a decision in every game as to why he has so many wins.  He is now an above average pitcher based on his season so far, but A) who knows how he will finish, and B) How much does he even know where his knuckleball is going?  I mean, he can control the secondary pitches that he uses on occasion, but the knuckleball has a lot to do with the wind and all that good stuff, and that is he has only been a little above average over his career.  He is not a viable candidate, at this point, period! 



i’ve been waiting for you to weigh in on your guys steamrolling activities in chicago. to sweep in 4 games including a doubleheader is quite an awesome achievement, no matter who you are playing.
so yeah, they should take a LOT of credit.

i didn’t see any of those games, but i am shocked that they couldn’t muster even one victory…for pride’s sake. but it seems as if the “good guys” seem to be just riding out what’s left of their abysmal season whilst cashing their fat paychecks.

beckett for cy young? why not? there aren’t may that would argue. i would like to say that i myself would vote for bedard. especially when you bring in the payroll aspect which is something i hadn’t considered.

maybe you should do a piece on rookie of the year, considering the sox have 3 legit contenders for the title. i’m also wondering what your opinion of allowing votes for japanese players as rookies considering their experience in japan.

i’m against it and if i were voting for rookie of the year i’d vote for pedroia.

I believe that Japanese players should be included up until a certain age maybe. Players that come over that are 25 or younger or something like that. Matsui and Ichiro’s debut seasons in the MLB were both in their general “prime.” And I don’t believe that is fair. I mean, if a player comes up from the minors late at the age of 27 or something and wins it, than that is very unlikely. But it would probably mean that they had injury problems and that kept them from developing properly or something like that. I don’t mind that a player is developing overseas professionally, what I do mind is that they win after they have already developed. I mean if Miguel Cabrera in four years goes over and plays ball in Japan for the first time, is that fair for him to be considered rookie of the year? And I believe very much that they have less talent over there, but that does not mean that they don’t have the smarts to develop players while maximizing their talent.

What I meant by the payroll is that it opens up opportunities for wins which opens up for awards, etc. It isn’t fair that Brian Bannister is on the Royals, and every time he leaves the game that outcome will be in question because they don’t have the resources to sign bullpen arms and offense. Wins are relied on way too much in the Cy Young discussion. It is so easy to strip away wins and look at what a pitcher has done. But so many seem to ignore it. It really annoys me.

i don’t know how long okajima played in japan, but he’s 5 years older than dice-k.

BTW i heard your boy drew got his first homer off of an AL pitcher since early april this weekend. if he can start swinging the bat, he couldn’t have picked a better time…

The truly long-lasting, successful knuckleballers know how to control it. Don’t ask me how because I never learned to throw it myself, but they can do it. With all due respect to the Cy Young candidates, you’re missing out on Jonathan Papelbon, without whom the Red Sox would probably be behind the Yankees right now. If they never gave it to Mariano Rivera, they’re not going to give it to Papelbon though. One of those guys is going to have a hot September and take the award. My guess is it’ll be Santana again.
And the White Sox have quit on the season. Guillen’s going to get axed. It was tolerable for him to be a lunatic when the team was winning, but his act wears thin on the players and the management. If he’s losing the players, there’s no point in keeping him around.

Oh, and we must have a title for our blogs!!

This time I actually forgot the title. I went back to edit it right after along with something else, but it would let me edit the most recent post. So I went to work. I will go try right now.

You know my position on relievers winning the Cy Young. If I include Papelbon then i should include okajima too. I know Papelbon has the saves and holds down the ninth, but Okajima has better stats, and has been awesome this year. I have more faith in Papelbon, and I do value the closer a little more than I do a setup man. Okajima has also thrown in 15 more innings. But I think Beckett deserves it more than the two bullpen arms do, personally.

so to continue with yesterday’s question would you say okajima should get rookie of the year, or would you say he played in japan too long to deserve it. or do you think he might get it anyway.
we’ll be live blogging tonight at heartland if you want to join us or if you’re going to as well let us know

I’m going to live blog tonight Mike (wednesday) because it is the only game I can watch it at home. It was my first time expect the worst, then it can only get better.

hey joe, i’ll definitely check in with you throughout the game. jason has been doing it the last few nights and we’ve been having a blast, so feel free to join us at his “heartland digital living room” . i know that we’re coming from the opposite sides, but it’d be fun to have you. you should let jason know about yours , as i’m sure he will drop over.

I’ll certainly pop over here from time to time, and feel free to come by the Heartland Digital Living Room.

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