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Entries in Boston Red Sox (105)

Friday
Aug022013

Red Sox getting less than expected from Ryan Dempster

From 2009-13, Ryan Dempster has had one half of one good season.

That's it.

Which is why, Red Sox Nation should not have expected very much from him.

Yet even with these low expectations, they are getting less.

Ryan Dempster 2009-13
 ERAWHIPWLIP/GGSAVGSLUGOBPHRHR/9
2009-13 4.02 1.346 54 51 6.16 149 .254 .412 .325 110 1.08
2013 4.54 1.496 6 8 5.77 22 .259 .441 .343 21 1.49

There are only 10 starters with an ERA over 4.50 and WHIP over 1.450

Dempster's 2013 Cohorts
 ERAWHIPHRHR/9GSIPIP/GAVG
Ryan Dempster 4.54 1.496 21 1.49 22 127.0 5.77 .259
Edinson Volquez 5.56 1.591 11 0.78 23 126.0 5.49 .281
Joe Blanton 5.52 1.563 24 1.82 20 119.0 5.41 .313
Scott Diamond 5.52 1.551 16 1.34 20 107.1 5.38 .311
Lucas Harrell 5.24 1.645 16 1.20 20 120.0 5.01 .281
Jason Hammel 5.20 1.512 20 1.46 21 123.0 5.86 .290
Barry Zito 5.09 1.680 12 0.97 21 111.0 5.30 .313
Yovani Gallardo 4.91 1.481 13 0.91 23 128.1 5.58 .276
Joe Saunders 4.65 1.496 16 1.11 22 129.1 5.89 .298
Wily Peralta 4.57 1.462 13 0.90 23 130.0 5.65 .271

Obviously, this is not great company.

But it wasn't like this last season.

Ryan Dempster started off great for the Cubs last season

Dempster was a Cubs hero last season.

  • Batters were hitting .210 against him. 
  • His ERA was 2.25 and his WHIP was 1.038.
  • In 104 innings he allowed nine homers, a rate of 0.78 HR/9. 

He was so good that at the trade deadline on July 31, 2012, Dempster was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers for Christian Villanueva (minors) and Kyle Hendricks (minors).

Briefly, the 23-year old Hendricks this season pitching for Double A Tennessee is 10-3 with a 1.85 ERA and a 1.053 WHIP and Villanueva, playing on the same team, has 14 homers.

The Cubs couldn't ask for anything more.

Unfortunately, the Rangers could

Dempster was 7-3 with Texas after the deal, but there is a reason why more and more people are ignoring W-L records as a measure of pitching efficacy.

Dempster had a 5.09 ERA and a 1.435 WHIP.

So when the Red Sox offered the now 36-year old pitcher a two-year, $26.5M contract, I'm sure the Rangers responded with a hearty handshake.

When he signed with Boston last December, Boston Globe national baseball writer Nick Cafardo wrote:

One National League GM cautioned about Dempster’s ability to handle strong AL lineups. He had a 11.20 ERA in three starts against the Angels last season, and he was hit hard by the Yankees and A’s.

“If he’s your fifth starter you can be a little bit more picky who he pitches against,” said the GM. “Obviously, Texas didn’t re-sign him feeling he was more suited for the National League. But if you’re careful and pick your spots, he’ll do a great job. He’s a competitor.”

Cafardo's source was correct.

Since the deal

  • Batters are hitting .265 against him. 
  • His ERA is 4.73 and his WHIP is 1.474.
  • In 196 innings he has allowed 31 homers, a rate of 1.42 HR/9.

No magic

On a team that has been producing miracle games, there has been no magic for the Red Sox from Dempster.

So as the Red Sox wait for the prodigal son Clay Buchholz to return. And hope that Jon Lester has regained his mojo. And hope that John Lackey has something left in the tank (in his last three starts he has a 5.49 ERA, a 1.475 WHIP, and a .333 BAA). And hope that Felix Doubront continues to thrive (in his last eight starts he's allowed as many as three runs only once). And hope that Jake Peavy has something left in the tank.

In the meantime, Dempster remains in the rotation, probably a littled dinged, but then again we're getting to the time of the season where many pitchers may be hurting.

But in all honesty what you see is what you get from Dempster.

And probably a little less.

Wednesday
Jul312013

Peavy changes his Sox

There was a time when Jake Peavy was one of baseball's premier pitchers.

With the Padres from 2003-08 

  • Peavy was 80-55 (.593) for mediocre Padres teams that 473-500 (.486).
  • He had a 3.14 ERA and a 1.166 WHIP.
  • He allowed 7.6 hits per nine innings.
  • He allowed 0.9 homers per nine innings.
  • He walked 2.9 per nine innings while averaging 9.0 whiffs per nine innings. He had a 3.12 walk to whiff ratio.
  • He was a Cy Young Award winner once and an All-Star twice. 

The White Sox were hoping to capture his Padres success

That why on:

Now, the Red Sox are hoping to recapture his Padres success

But 2013 is not 2008

  • Batters hit .229 against Peavy in 2008. They had a .299 OBP and they slugged .345
  • Righties hit .194 against the righty, lefties .263.
  • His fastball averaged 92.6, peaking at 96.4.
  • Batter hit .239 against his slider.
  • He threw 35 cutters and batters hit .200 against them.

  • Batters have hit .244 against Peavy in 2013. They have a .285 OBP and they slugged .439.
  • Righties hit .218 against the righty, lefties .265.
  • His fastball averages 90.5, peaking at 94.2.
  • Batters hit .357 against his slider.
  • He's thrown 265 cutters and batters hit .286 against them.

With the White Sox from 2009-13 

  • Peavy was 36-29 (.554) 
  • He had a 4.00 ERA and a 1.155 WHIP.
  • He allowed 8.2 hits per nine innings.
  • He allowed 1.1 homers per nine innings.
  • He walked 2.2 per nine innings while averaging 8.0 whiffs per nine innings. He had a 3.66 walk to whiff ratio.
  • Last season, he was an All-Star. It was the only season in which he reached 20 starts in a season.

This season Peavy has allowed 14 homers

While he's not the only pitcher who has allowed 14 dingers, take a look at some of the other pitchers who have done it as well.

14 Gophers
 SLUGHRIPGSERA
Jake Peavy .439 14 80.0 13 4.27
James Shields .369 14 148.1 22 3.09
Max Scherzer .336 14 143.1 21 3.01
Jordan Zimmermann .373 14 141.0 21 3.19
Scott Kazmir .419 14 105.0 19 4.11
David Price .404 14 103.0 15 3.57
Erik Bedard .435 14 103.0 19 4.28
Created by BaseballAnalytics.org on 7/31/2013

 

Peavy was not a cheap acquisition for Boston

Not only does Boston assume the rest of Peavey's salary (he's signed through 2014 at $14.5 million), but they gave up three low-level prospects and an important trade chip in Jose Iglesias.

Forget the inflated Iglesias batting average, the Tigers don't need bats. He is a spectacular fielder who may do for Detroit what Orlando Cabrera did for the 2004 Red Sox when he was picked up on July 31, 2004 and has the ring to prove it.

The White Sox needed Peavy to pitch like an ace.

The Red Sox don't need that.

They just need Peavy to stay healthy and keep the ball in the park, pitch like a number three, and then his new Sox will do the rest.

Sunday
Jul282013

The facts behind the At Bat that upset Big Papi

Last night, David Ortiz took out his frustration that he felt about the acumen of home plate umpire Tim Timmons on the bullpen phone in the Sox dugout last night, narrowly missing Dustin Pedroia on his backswing.

You can see the video below.

That's the summary, now here are the detes.

Here's what happened

It was the top of the 7th inning in Camden Yards and there was one out and the bases empty in the game that that would eventually end in a 7-3 Boston win over Baltimore.

David Ortiz went to a 3-0 count against the O’s Jairo Asencio and as the pitch was about to be delivered, Papi appeared to step out of the batter’s box, without asking for time. 

Gordon Edes of ESPN.com describes what happened next:

Ortiz was incredulous when Timmons called it a strike, barking at the umpire. He became more agitated when Timmons also called the next pitch, which appeared out of the zone, another strike, and became inconsolable when he swung at the next pitch, which was down and in, to strike out.

After the at bat

As Big Papi left the plate he complained about the call to Timmons:

"When I'm walking away, I'm telling him he was acting like he was right about the call. No, he wasn't. He wasn't right. Don't be giving me that BS. If you miss it, tell me you missed it and I'll walk away. I don't have a problem with that. You're not perfect. You're human, you know what I'm saying. But don't act like you made the right call. It was ball four."

Ortiz continued seething as he returned to the dugout and then headed into the dugout, attacked the bulpen phone, was ejected and then got his money's worth screaming at Timmons.

He burst out of the dugout and started heading towards home plate but was interecepted by manager (and free safety?) John Farrell. Ortiz returned to the dugout, threw some of his protective batting gear onto the field and called it a night.

Ortiz was wrong

It is sacreligious in Red Sox Nation to criticize David Ortiz. But I will take my chances now.

Umpires make bad calls. They sometimes vastly miss balls and strikes. Timmons didn't in this case.

Look at the map of the at bat above and you can see the location of the fourth pitch of this at bat that upset Big Papi so much. It's at the top of the strike zone.

  1. 0-0 - Ball on a 86 MPH Changeup - Outside
  2. 1-0 - Ball on a 87 MPH Changeup - Low
  3. 2-0 - Ball on a 92 MPH Four Seamer - Inside
  4. 3-0 - Strike Looking on a 91 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate
  5. 3-1 - Strike Looking on a 86 MPH Changeup - Outside
  6. 3-2 - Strike Out on a 87 MPH Changeup - Low

Now I understand that (unfortunately) umpires don't frequently call high strikes, but as Ortiz backed out of the batters box, Timmons called one.

If Ortiz wanted to complain about a call, it should be on the fifth pitch of the at bat, but after showing up Timmons on the previous pitch, Ascensio could have thrown the pitch into the press box and gotten a called strike. In fact, if there was any bad judgement shown it was on the swing and miss by Oritz on the sixth pitch of the at bat, but once again Ortiz would have swung at any pitch there short of it being thrown in the dugout.

Just so you know, according to the rule book, Timmons could have called the pitchin question a ball even though Ortiz was stepping out the batter's box. 

Rule 6.02
(a) The batter shall take his position in the batter’s box promptly when it is his time at bat.
(b) The batter shall not leave his position in the batter’s box after the pitcher comes to
Set Position, or starts his windup.
PENALTY: If the pitcher pitches, the umpire shall call “Ball” or “Strike,” as the
case may be.
Rule 6.02(b) Comment: The batter leaves the batter’s box at the risk of having a strike delivered and called, unless he requests the umpire to call “Time.” The batter is not at liberty to step in and
out of the batter’s box at will.

What should happen next? 

What happens next is anyone's guess. My feeling is that MLB should suspend Ortiz for a couple of games and the Red Sox should fine Ortiz for the cost of repairs and at least a little more.

If that's all that happen, the Red Sox should consider themselves lucky.

The bat and shards of wood came dangerously close to Pedroia, if he had been in any way injured the Sox postseason chances would have been put in jeopardy.

As for Ortiz, a couple of days in the clubhouse would do him good.

He has no problems in showing up pitchers as he preens after a home run so he's in no position to speak about being disrespected on the ball field.

Ortiz was quoted as saying:

“I want to hear what the argument’s going to be [in favor of a suspension]. I want to hear that because I have a good one,” said Ortiz. “When situations like that happens, I think MLB should do something because that was horrible. We’re not playing this game for fun, we’re playing to win and if you walk, I walk, I’ve got no problem with that. But you’re not going to take my at-bat away from me. I hit that’s what I do. And I work really hard to be who I am at the plate. That might be the worse call of the year right there. That was bad. Definitely.’’

When Papi says, "That was bad. Definitely.’’ I can only presume he's referring to his over-reaction.

Ortiz was wrong, not wronged.

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