Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Finally, the Terrible Twenty concludes. The Jays would do well, really well, to come out of Fenway with a split. Boston's hot hitters are staying hot, and their cold hitters are getting warmer. Maybe someone can step up with an Ernie Whitt/Junior Felix/Joe Carter-type big Fenway performance.

I'm still not crazy about the Beantown bullpen, in part because I'm not comfortable with the one-bad-outing-and-you're-demoted strategy, at least from a psychological perspective. Now, if a reliever has several Ramiro Mendoza outings in a row, then by all means I support handing him a mop. Even the bullpen, though, is showing glimmers of hope (read on below), thanks to a couple of unlikely saviours. The Red Sox are looking dangerous...

On to the Advance Scout!

Construction workers got to take in the Sox' home opener from the new Green Monster seats atop the 37-foot-high wall on Lansdowne...Only fair to offer the seats on Opening Day to those who built them...Kevin Millar continues to rake, as he's on an eight-game hitting streak. His average during the streak (.394) has lowered his numbers to a mere 408/482/755...North American pitching is so weak...After a brief slump, Manny Ramirez got his groove back against T-Bay...The Saber-Sox, certainly not reckless runners, have nevertheless outstolen the Jays 10-0, while being caught three times...Third base coach Mike Cubbage suffered a diabetic seizure during Saturday's game...He was held in the hospital as a precaution through Monday, but he's OK...Meanwhile, pitching coach Tony Cloninger has bladder cancer, but hopes to return to the club this weekend...Pedro's seven-run fifth inning was the worst inning of his career on Saturday...His vengeance, extracted from Tampa Bay last night, once again spares the Jays...Given that multiple rain delays created rotation flexibility for his manager, Derek Lowe thanked Grady Little for "letting [him] pitch" on Sunday after getting bombed in his previous two starts...But I bet he wasn't thankful for the hideous new stop-sign-red third jerseys, to be worn with pride on Sundays...Far from considering a skip in the rotation, Little felt it most important to get Lowe back out there immediately...Rubber-armed Tim Wakefield pitched two innings and got the save on Sunday, made himself available in relief on Tuesday and will start tonight...Shea Hillenbrand's 18th RBI of the season, and fourth hit of the game, bailed out the Bullpen by Calamity, which yakked up a 5-1 lead on Tuesday...Ramiro "Way Back" Mendoza was the culprit this time...Hillenbrand charitably spared the bullpen from verbal abuse, saying "It's a team. We've got to pick each other up"...In fairness to the Committee, good ol' Mike Timlin has been very solid, holding opponents to a .234 average with zero walks, five K's...Compare and contrast: Mendoza opponents more than double the Mendoza Line, hitting .419 with four walks, two K's...Little remains unfazed: "The kid will help us out. He's just getting off to a rough start"...But he hasn't used Mendoza since...Theo Epstein said the demotion of Bobby Howry was "not a message," but rather an attempt to kick-start the struggling reliever...Casey Fossum was good again, with no walks on Saturday...Jeremy Giambi is drawing walks, but has one home run, two doubles, two singles and 13 K's...David Ortiz snapped out of a deep slump on Wednesday with three hits, but didn't get into Thursday's lineup...Little: "The pitchers down in the pen will dictate when they'll be used"...Tampa's Travis Harper on Todd Walker: "The bottom line is you can't walk that guy with Nomar and Manny on deck"...Walker and Hillenbrand both made diving catches on Wednesday...Jason Varitek on Pedro: "You're talking about one of the most competitive pitchers in baseball"...After the rough ride by the Boston media and fans following the home opener, Pedro refused interviews after his dominating performance last night...Both Boston backstops, perhaps stressed out by their pitching staff, have been hitting poorly thus far. But Varitek had two hits last night and Mirabelli got his first hit of the season...Mirabelli was grateful for the opportunity to DH yesterday; he believes his hit will enable him to spot-start behind the plate "with the monkey off my back"...Cloninger says that he has identified several mechanical problems with Mendoza's delivery, most stemming from overthrowing. Little, again: "It's like driving in downtown Boston. One little minor mistake can create a lot of headaches"...So true, and either way you'll have thousands of Bostonians screaming at you with "we-ahd" accents...Kevin Millar's 13-game hitting streak to start his Red Sox career is the longest new-Sox streak since the immortal Lee Tinsley's 14-gamer in '95...Todd Walker is on a new-Sox 14-game on-base streak...The team is on an 8-game home run streak...Trot Nixon is murdering righties: 429/556/679...My word -- and he's the #7 hitter...End of the Committee? Little is coy, but here are his words on old friend Brandon Lyon: "We've been looking for a guy to step up, and I saw a kid [Wednesday] night stepping up...I wouldn't be surprised to see Brandon up there again tonight in the ninth inning."

Probable Batting Orders

vs. LH

8 Damon
4 Mueller/Walker
6 Garciaparra
7 Ramirez
3/9 Millar
5/3 Hillenbrand
DH Giambi/Mirabelli
9 Nixon/5 Mueller
2 Mirabelli/Varitek

vs. RH

8 Damon
4 Walker
6 Garciaparra
7 Ramirez
DH Millar/Giambi
3 Hillenbrand/Ortiz
9 Nixon
5 Mueller/Hillenbrand
2 Varitek

Committee Usage

Long: Shiell R, Wakefield R (when necessary)
Short: Tolar L, Mendoza R
Setup: Timlin R, Fox R
"Closer": Lyon R
Advance Scout: Red Sox, April 18-21 | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_M.P. Moffatt - Friday, April 18 2003 @ 01:12 PM EDT (#90257) #
Completely OT, but I think someone here might be able to help.

I'm interested in looking at players who could put up great stats if used properly in a part-time role. So I'm looking to find players who would make a good half of a platoon. However I want to look at more than just a L/R platoon.. like possibly an Earl Weaver-esque curveball/fastball platoon.

To be able to do this, I need to find a way to classify opposing pitchers. I was wondering if anyone knew where I could find such a classification, or atleast curveball/fastball ratings of pitchers. I'm willing to pay for a decent database if anyone knows of any.

The other thing I thought about doing was classifying pitchers solely based on stats.. like K/9 BB/9, GB/FB but I'm not sure how well this would work.

Does anybody have any ideas?

Coach - Friday, April 18 2003 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#90258) #
Advance Scout rocks! I've been looking forward to this all morning, and it's worth the wait. A lot of people aren't at work today, and many are travelling, so it's strangely quiet around here.

The pitching matchups couldn't be any better; we miss their ace and they miss our swing man. Hendrickson pitching to Nomar, Manny and Millar in Fenway makes me nervous, but if Lurch keeps the ball down and can hit both corners, maybe he can minimize the damage. I have a good feeling about Tanyon Sturtze, not just this upcoming start, but his whole season. I still expect Doc to find his best groove very soon, and Lidle might also be ready for a really good outing.

Mostly, I'm hoping Grady's latest vision comes true, and Brandon Lyon, who pitched one meaningless inning in a lost cause during the first Toronto-Boston series, faces the Jays with the game on the line. He struck Delgado out that night, and Carlos will remember. I hope it does happen tonight -- the effects on the fragile Sox bullpen's confidence might last through the rest of the series.

Wakefield has been tough on the Jays, though Delgado and Hinske have hit him well, and Cat has also had success against the knuckler -- 2 HR in just 19 AB. Interesting piece in the Sun today about Frank's offseason laser eye surgery; he'll be able to see the lack of rotation well tonight.

Also for your afternoon reading pleasure, ESPN's Alan Schwartz has an excellent interview with the thoughtful Josh Phelps, who explains:

"I've never gotten off to a good start -- even in the minor leagues. I don't know what it's like to come out of the gate hitting .450, .500. But I do know how to persevere and I do know how to work hard and keep going."

Rumour has it that Josh is also playing with a tender wrist, so it's a matter of time before he starts mashing again like he did last year. See you in the game thread tonight!
Gitz - Friday, April 18 2003 @ 01:41 PM EDT (#90259) #

I would be very concerned if Phelps has any sort of wrist injury, no matter how minor; there is no greater impediment to hitting than sore wrists.
_DS - Friday, April 18 2003 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#90260) #
Speaking of platoons, it looks like Hinske is finally going to play everyday. All I can say is it's about time; he needs to learn how to hit lefties.
_Shane - Friday, April 18 2003 @ 07:00 PM EDT (#90261) #
Absolutely, Hinske has to learn to hit lefties, Eric Chavez still can't. You didn't pay him 15 million over 5 years to get pinch hit for by David Berg.

The 'advance scout' went nuts, that's a lot of info.

Anyone else notice that through their "slumps" Eric Hinske gets 90% pitches away off the plate and low, and Josh Phelps gets everything burried in on his hands? Hopefully you did. Up until this week (I haven't seen three of four Yankee games) everyone of Hinske's hits have been inside pitches, or pitches that drifted in across the plate.
Advance Scout: Red Sox, April 18-21 | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.