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You know, I don't blame you if you react like Santa Claus in the classic M&Ms ad. Yes, Advance Scouts do exist, though not recently. Forget my earlier '61 Yankees comparison; Mike Denyszyn and I are more like Catfish Hunter and Mike Wallace from the '75 team. The absence of the Scouts can be explained by my transition from full-time student to full-time cubicle monkey. However, while I said earlier that the Scout will return in full capacity by the Red Sox series starting August 31, they're making an early return for first-place Boston now.

The Bosox have won four in a row after sweeping away the Devil Rays; the Jays have won two of three and face an stretch against AL East teams for the next 10. Boston has some hurting outfielders, a short-on-good-pitchers bullpen and will send the two worst Sox pitchers out against Toronto this week. Of course, the third pitcher scheduled to start is just a little bit better...

On to the Advance Scout!

Note: The hitting splits are mostly only through Saturday. The starting pitchers are up to date and so are the relievers, I believe.

Matt Clement: Is this foreshadowing? He was hit in the right leg by a line drive two days before David Wells met the same fate ... Hasn't really been great against anyone this year; his best start was May 4 against Toronto in a game that, let's be honest, nobody really watched after the first inning ...

Josh Beckett: Has been quite good as of late, and impressed me on Thursday night against the Devil Rays ... Is there some reason that his ESPN page tells us that his name is pronounced "BECK-it"? Did anyone not know that? ... In 10 starts, has passed 100 pitches eight times, but never more than 109 ... Has pitched better at Fenway, interestingly ... K-rate down and HR rate up, though I expect those to even out in time ...

David Wells: Has made two starts this year: a bad one against Toronto and a better one against Tampa Bay ... Was on the DL with a knee injury, then was activated and promptly took a line drive off that same knee and left the game. Still expected to start Wednesday, as far as I can tell ... Anyway, if he's replaced, it won't be by Jon Lester, who threw 89 pitches for Pawtucket on Sunday ...

Kevin Youkilis: Hit very well from the leadoff spot, with a .950 OPS through Saturday's game ... Started in left field (and led off) on Saturday when Manny Ramirez had a sore back, then moved to first base and cleanup when the back problems continued on Sunday and Coco Crisp returned at the top ... Has an 11-game run-scoring streak ...

Coco Crisp: As one of the few players I actually scouted, I've been waiting almost two months for this: he's a switch-hitter who absolutely rips anything inside down the RF line vs. righties ... Can be retired easily on slow stuff low and away ... Huge pull hitter, from both sides of the plate ... Not the fastest outfielder, but generally takes good routes to the ball and has a strong arm ... Traded spots on the DL with Wily Mo Pena, who has a sprained left wrist ...

Mike Timlin: Led the AL in appearances last year, but now on the DL with a right shoulder strain ... The Sox blamed it on the World Baseball Classic ... Replaced by Manny Delcarmen ...

Rudy Seanez: Nearly blew a 5-run lead on Sunday when he came into a 5-0 game, walked a bunch and all hell broke loose ... Last year doesn't look like a fluke to me, but he has some work to do to get back to that level ...

Keith Foulke: Four of his 14 runs allowed came in one game against the Yankees ... While better than last year, is still far from Classic Foulke levels in strikeouts, HR/F rate, slugging average and even runners left on base ...

Manny Ramirez: Out of the lineup the last two days with back stiffness and some issue with his right knee, which is not because of the WBC ... Might actually be human on Monday against Halladay (if he plays) ... He's off to a hot start, yes, but his BABIP is at Jonny Gomes v.2005 levels ...

Advance Scout: Red Sox, May 29-31 | 26 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Magpie - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 11:49 PM EDT (#147917) #
Just back from the ballpark. Once again, Doc did not have bring his A game, but what the hell. He's Roy Halladay. He finds a way.

His two-seamer wasn't sinking tonight - he got one ground ball to third, one to second (his last pitch of the evening), and four grounders down the line to Overbay at first. The outfielders were much busier than usual.

He didn't really have his curve working either. He got just four swing-and-a-miss strikes all night long.

But he finds a way, doesn't he?

And now - a word of praise for Jerry Howarth. Since watching Janssen pitch on Saturday, I've been racking my brain trying to figure out who he reminds me of the mound. It's the way he cocks his right elbow, parallel to the ground, before he starts his delivery. I remember a pitcher who did that, I thought it was a Blue Jay and possibly a reliever.

I asked everyone I saw. No one could remember. Finally tonight I bumped into Jerry, described the Janssen move, and he instantly said "Robert Person."

Robert Person!
Of course! How could I have forgotten?

Wildrose - Tuesday, May 30 2006 @ 01:15 AM EDT (#147923) #
Gibby should be cracking open a brewski  about now and thanking his lucky stars.

Not bringing B.J. Ryan into the game to face the heart of the Red Sox order in the 8th. was a terrible mistake. In a game of this magnitude you need to go with your best against their best. Hopefully the lesson was learned.

Mike Green - Tuesday, May 30 2006 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#147931) #

This discussion should really be in a TDIB thread, but seeing as we don't have a current one going yet this morning, I'd like to address Wildrose's point.

I don't agree that John Gibbons made a mistake when he didn't bring in Ryan with a 6-3 lead, either starting the eighth or when there were two runners on.  It was a modest leverage situation, and you can't have Ryan throwing 2 innings every other day.  After Varitek hit the homer to tie the game, I certainly wondered about leaving Speier in to face Lowell (before Lowell hit the double), even if Speier did have the platoon advantage. 

ScottTS - Tuesday, May 30 2006 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#147935) #

<i>I don't agree that John Gibbons made a mistake when he didn't bring in Ryan </i>

The only thing I wondered about was why Gibbon's didn't just bring in Speier to start the 8th, rather after Scott Downs put two runners on. I guess he wanted to have a lefty face Big Papi.

Given that the first two batters Speier faced went strikeout-weak fly ball, there was no reason to think he couldn't get Varitek to end the inning. Even on the homer, I thought Speier threw a decent pitch. Sometimes, the other guy wins.

Fawaz - Tuesday, May 30 2006 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#147956) #
I think (I hope?) that having Downs, Walker and Rosario (I include Rosario because I think he can be stretched out, making one of the other two redundant in a normal situation) in the bullpen is a considered response to the relative inexperience in the rotation and the potential for very short outings, but I'm glad last night the Jays didn't pay too heavy a price for constantly running Downs out there as a one-inning reliever. I thought that Speier should have started the eighth, with Ryan ready to come in if the tying run came up, even if it meant going two innings because I liked the Jays's chances of winning last night better than I like their chances tonight, with Chacin fresh off the DL and I doubted we'd see Ryan tonight. Alternatively, Halladay could have faced Loretta, SS LOOGY could have seen Ortiz and then Speier could have finished it off. My point is that I'd rather not see Downs or Walker in high (or even moderately high) leverage situations, something that Gibbons is going to have trouble avoiding with the bullpen constructed as it presently is.

I'd also be curious to hear what others thought of this You Be The Managaer moment. With Hill on first and nobody out in the sixth, The Fonz comes up to bat having grounded out twice and having not registered a hit in about 4 years. Up behind him are Rios and Cat. The Jays are up three against an uber-offence that might not see any difference between a three-run deficit and a four-run deficit since they intend to hang a 7-spot on you anyway. Do you bunt Hill over? Ordinarily I say it's too early to play for one run, but I really wanted to see a bunt last night because I thought the BEST thing that could come of swinging away would a fly out. Halladay was still on the mound, so scoring an extra run would prove that much more difficult for the Sox.
JaysNJets - Tuesday, May 30 2006 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#147957) #

I have to respectfully disagree with ScottTS' assessment of the pitch Varitek jacked into the bullpen. If you watch Molina's glove, the pitch was intended to be a two-seamer off the outside corner of the plate. Instead, Speier started the pitch on the inside corner and it worked back over the middle. He missed his location badly.

It was a poor pitch that an solid hitter like Varitek will usually take advantage of. Unfortunately for Speier, I thought he made a number of great pitches in the inning, but the home run pitch was not one of them.

Mike Green - Tuesday, May 30 2006 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#147961) #

In response to Fawaz' question, is the difference in hitting ability between Alfonzo and Rios/Catalanotto as large as the difference between your average pitcher and your average NL 1/2 hitters?  I think that it might be, with the strength of Rios/Cat and the weakness of Alfonzo both contributing.  That being the case, a bunt is a good idea assuming relatively typical positioning.

I still hate the compelled bunt.  With the third baseman bearing down knowing the bunt is coming, the execution rate falls dramatically.  Alfonzo still makes enough contact that you want him swinging away if the third baseman is playing way in. 

#2JBrumfield - Tuesday, May 30 2006 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#147979) #

The next time the Jays get a 6-0 lead, I'm breaking otu the Pepto Bismol.  As Danny Glover says in "Lethal Weapon" - I'm too old for this &*(S!   They've blown three 6-0 leads at home this year, losing to Tampa but managing to beat Oakland and Boston last night.  Last night, this team showed a lot of heart, guts, and character to come back like that.  If the Sox had won, that momentum would've carried them the rest of the series after getting a win in a game that Doc started.  

As far as last night's bullpen use, I had no problem with Downs coming into the game last night.  Halladay didn't have his "A" stuff but it was still good enough for 7 strong innings and a quality start.  It wasn't like he was facing the 2003 Tigers, the Red Sox have a pretty potent lineup that just got better with Crisp back. 

Schoeneweis had worked 3 days in a row and Downs was excellent Saturday against the Pale Hose.  It was unfortunate he plunked Loretta after getting ahead of him 0-2.  The only thing I disagreed with was Speier not getting pulled after Varitek's homer because you could see how pissed he was afterwards (not that I blame him!) but he did so well to punch out Manny and get Nixon to pop out.  With his tendency to give up gopher balls, I thought Speier was in the clear after he got Nixon and I was surprised Varitek's ball made it out.  Anyways, thank God for B.J. Ryan! 

After seeing Johnny Mac's wizardry Saturday, the Jays threw some more leather at the other Sox yesterday with nice catches by Wells and Cat and a nice snare by Doc on that comebacker.   Now would be a good time for the Jays to get their first sweep of the season.  I overheard someone on the GO Train afterwards say their first sweep last year was against Boston. In that case, here's hoping history repeats itself.

Magpie - Tuesday, May 30 2006 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#147991) #
I overheard someone on the GO Train afterwards say their first sweep last year was against Boston.

While overheard gossip on the TTC is one of my favourite sources of information, I must reluctantly point out that in this case, it's not accurate. The Jays' first sweep of 2005 came against Tampa Bay (April 26, 27, 28); they also swept Kansas City in mid-May.

And then they got the Red Sox...
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 31 2006 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#148068) #

Righthander David Pauley gets the start tonight for Boston.  Here are his 2006 splits from Double A Portland. One guesses that his reverse platoon splits are a small sample size phenomenon, but youneverknow.

Advance Scout: Red Sox, May 29-31 | 26 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.