TCFB Stat Man Says: The Red Sox May Need To Be Investigated For Unfair Practices
August 13th 2010 16:01
( I mean, is there any doubt that if I was kicking it full time with this site that we would be kicking some serious ass right now? Now that I've added the Stat Man to the fold, watch out. It's called diversification, folks. And yes, it is true that Stacey Dash sent me a message thanking me for making her a femme fatale a couple of weeks ago, to all of you who keep asking me if that was real. Yes. It was. It's an honor to be featured here. Don't sleep on TCFB!-----Chuck)
The powers that be at Major League Baseball may very well want to take a look at The Boston Red sox in the off-season for unfair practices. While most of Boston’s competition has been playing this season by fielding 14-18 players, the Red Sox have fielded up to 34 different players over the course of the season, resting many All-Star players by virtue of ‘injuries’ and placing them on the DL. Now that the last third of the 2010 season is upon them, miraculously these players are stepping in almost without missing a beat.
The Sox’ very plucky resolve during an ‘injury-plagued’ season has been seen by some as miraculous. To this observer, when one steps back, the pieces are plainly obvious and resemble an early 70’s Newman/Redford movie. To wit:
The Bait: New Red Sox team starts terribly slow, compiling a .500 record after 40 games, one-quarter of the season. This lulls some of the competition into thinking, ‘hey, maybe the Sox just don’t have the right combination of players this year’; a notion that seems laughable in hindsight.
The Test: The Red Sox start piecing it together immediately after a blown save in the first game of a two-game series with the Yankees. Unknown names such as Nava, McDonald, Hall, Hermida, Doubront, Bowden, Brown, Patterson all start to contribute strongly to the winning ways of the team. From this point, the Red Sox compile the best record in MLB, including the post-all-Star swoon due to ‘injuries’. Of note should be that this team, designed as a pitching and defensive behemoth, proves to be the number one offense in baseball, often compensating for both on-field and on-mound miscues. Similar to the steroid era being so obvious in hindsight, it is this point which should ring the bell for league officials to start inspecting the overuse and rotation of players.
The Hook: Post All-Star Game, the plan goes full throttle. Players start dropping like flies; a rag-tag bunch of journeyman do an admirable job of not losing too much ground, but at this point, to every observer, the handwriting is on the wall. Water will reach it’s own level. It’s just not Boston’s year. What slips by the watchful eye of most, is that the pitching is now starting to improve. Beckett comes back and every game, save that in New York, is a gem. Lackey, following that same Big Apple dip, is very similar. Their number 5 starter Dice-K has stats that resemble those of a number one or two for most other teams. Let the records show, that on Wednesday, August 11, against a Toronto team that stole the lunch money of the Rays and fought the Yankees well, were beaten by the Sox worse than a minor leaguer who touches Adrian Beltre’s head. Well almost as badly.
The Sting: The pitching is on, the shaky mid-relief is buoyed by the resurgence of Manny Delcarmen and the new-role pitching of Misters Doubront and Bowden in relief has subtly taken a toe-hold on the cliff of the AL East. As of August 12, the team is on the cusp of adding a well-rested warhorse in Dustin Pedroia. Beltre is still hitting on his season’s pace. Lowrie is proving well-disciplined at the plate and available to spell a season-worn Scutaro. In his first game sitting behind the plate for Victor Martinez, Saltalamacchia doubled and threw out a runner at second. While the pitching and defense of the Red Sox has raised its game, quietly, the hitting is showing signs of the mid-May-June run of earlier. With the Boston team current composition as of this printing, the Red Sox are unfairly the best team in baseball in overall batting and pitching.
The Epilogue: It remains to be seen if this works out for the Boston Red Sox, but in future years, Major League Baseball would do well to keep a finger tightly grasped on the pulse of teams’ roster moves, as this looks to be very much bush-league gamesmanship. While possibly within the letter of the law, there is no way a proving-to-be superior team should be allowed to take up to 5 All-Stars and 2 Cy Young vote-getting pitchers and place them on the shelf to rest, while the competition burns the midnight oil through the dog-days of summer.
The strategy of ‘getting by’ while not heavily taxing your best players was best seen recently being purportedly employed by another storied franchise of The Hub, the Boston Celtics. When reached for comment, Danny Ainge seemed to not know a thing about any copycat resting techniques – the same Danny Ainge that was employed by the Toronto Blue Jays prior to his Celtic life on the parquet.
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