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The patient Sox walked all over LA of A to take a half-game lead in the AL East over the weekend, and Daisuke didn't even have anything to do with it. He gets the chance to extend Boston's 3-game winning streak tonight. Elsewhere, Terry Francona vaults himself to the forefront of progressive closer usage, and pizza flies at Fenway...

On to the Advance Scout!

Daisuke Matsuzaka: Patience counts. Go up hacking against Daisuke and he will make you look very inept. There really isn't anybody quite like him in the majors. He throws just about every common pitch there is in the book: mid-90s fastball, cutter, 'shuuto,' slider, curve, splitter, and a changeup with nasty movement that he uses as an out pitch. He also isn't shy about being eccentric in his pitch selection: he might start 40% of hitters off with a fastball, and he'll throw anything in the strike zone in fastball counts, especially the change. He's also very content to throw the same offspeed pitch 2, 3 times in a row. Hitters appear to be very conscious of the change: Daisuke is getting most of his K's off fastballs and sliders. So far, hitters who have the most success against Daisuke seem to be those who sit all over the high fastball and whack it in the unlikely event that it comes. Take a bow, David DeJesus. A team that looks for fastballs on a night when Daisuke happens to have trouble spotting his off-speed stuff should do well. In a very small sample, Daisuke's GB% sits at 33.3 - I'm curious to see whether Matsuzaka actually plays as a flyball pitcher as the AL gets used to him. I have a hunch Adam Lind hits his first big-league homer of 2007 tonight. I swear I wrote that last night.

Tim Wakefield: Some things never change. Wake turns 41 in August. Like you'd expect from a knuckleballer, he's a flyball pitcher who has sustained low BABIPs throughout his career. He also has a 1.77 lifetime K/BB - I had no idea he was actually that good at missing bats. Wakefield is 12-8 with a 3.93 ERA and a save in 217.2 career innings against the Jays franchise. No current Jays have particularly good or bad career numbers against Wake. Frank Thomas is 7-36 with 4 walks and 3 homers. Alex Rios is 6-16 with a double, triple and homer.

Julian Tavarez: Will be just a little bit anxious to get back on track after his command deserted him in a loss at Texas in his only other start of the year. Since that game, he's seen his second start pushed back twice due to inclement weather. He's a groundball pitcher who does his damage with a sinker and slider. Matt Stairs has managed to strike out 4 times in 6 PA against him; Alex Rios is 5-6 with a triple; Royce Clayton is 4-20 with 5 walks and a homer.

Curt Schilling: Was scheduled to pitch Thursday until the Sox decided that to make Tavarez wait any more than 12 days between starts would be completely inhumane. He won't pitch this series. However, if you are not regularly reading 38 Pitches, commence doing so now. Schill's blog offers insight into the mind of a really good pitcher that is unique among other sources of pitcher insight in that it isn't filtered in any way by the media.

Jon Papelbon: Papelbon, who stranded a jawdropping 88.6% of baserunners in 2005 and 92.4% in 2006, is off and running after being reinstalled as Boston's executioner. 3.1 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 6 strikeouts, 2 saves. Any questions? His last action came on Friday. With the Sox leading 4-1 in the eighth inning and one out, Vladimir Guerrero was due up, so Terry Francona went all Jamesian on him and decided to bring Papelbon in to stop the rally before it started. Papelbon struck Guerrero out and saved the 4-1 lead, and the Sox responded with a six-run eighth to blow the game open. Mike Timlin pitched the ninth. Progressive!

David Ortiz: Big Papi has been one of the biggest thorns in Roy Halladay's side throughout his career. He's 20-67 against Doc with 7 homers and only 9 K's.

Hideki Okajima: Boston's second lefty specialist, alongside J.C. Romero. Okajima is a 31-year-old career reliever who has posted very good strikeout rates since making his NPB debut in 1995. He throws around 90 with his fastball and dispatches hitters with a sweeping curveball. He also throws a fork. He's only allowed 1 run so far, but it came in the form of a John Buck homer on the first major-league pitch he ever threw. Okajima is the seventh pitcher in major-league history to give up a homer on his first pitch.

J.D. Drew: Hit a foul popup that just landed in the seats in the 7th inning of Monday's game against LA of A, triggering a sequence of events that will populate blooper reels all year long.

Dustin Pedroia: Miguel Tejada's a fan. “I had made a couple of real good plays against Baltimore, and all of a sudden he’s coming up to me and saying, ‘Make sure you don’t get down if you start slumping, because you’re going to be a real good player.' "

Wily Mo Pena: The ridiculously powerful righty outfielder is 0-7 with a walk and 4 K's; he's seen time in 6 different games. He thrashes fastballs. He doesn't really thrash anything else (to thrash things, you have to make them hit your bat, see.)

Mike Lowell: A professional hitter who doesn't strike out and hits tons of fly balls. The batted-ball stats in the chart are not far from his career averages. He's also an excellent fielder at third, with great range and reflexes.

Coco Crisp:
He sucks! Let us wash our hands of him! Crisp, who stands as close to the front of the batter's box as any hitter I can remember, has raced to a .111/.179/.167 start. Part of his struggles can be explained away by his sub-.150 BABIP and Pinto's PMR loved his defense last year, but the vultures are circling. He took a giant leap backwards with a .317 OBP last year and currently hits 8th in Boston's order, with Julio Lugo and Kevin Youkilis usurping the two top spots in the order. Tony Massarotti reasonably suggests that Crisp, as a fastball hitter marooned at the bottom of the Sox order, is stuck in a vicious cycle where he has to overcome unfavorable circumstances to earn protection and hence the fastballs he needs to thrive. Could the Sox be headed toward a Manny-Drew-Hinske outfield? It's early, but...

The Credit Section: Batted-ball and Leverage Index data are available at Fangraphs. K% and BB% are strikeouts and walks respectively as a percentage of plate appearances. Everything else, most notably the AL average statistics, is available at The Hardball Times. The "Rest" column for relievers is basically self explanatory: the number on the left of the forward slash is the number of days off the pitcher has had, while the number on the right is the number of pitches the pitcher threw in his last outing.

Chart Oddities: Check out those walk rates at the top of the order, and the sub-amazing pitches per PA that accompany them. Chacin and Ohka are not sure bets to make it out of the fifth inning. Even Halladay will have a tough time being as efficient as usual. Sample size disclaimer: the 2 through 5 hitters have current P/PA numbers well below their career averages.

Kaibutsu Advance Scout: Red Sox, April 17-19 | 32 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
ccarr - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#166038) #
Vernon wells has the flu. Gametime decision for tonight.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#166040) #
Over his career, Chacin has had a slight inclination to the FB side of things. An outfield of Lind, Rios and Stairs would be interesting; Alex (Rios, not Obal) would get a chance to flash his range.  Well, that's the positive slant on things, anyways.
Afterglow - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#166041) #
Here's the pizza video.
Alex Obal - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 05:05 PM EDT (#166042) #
The chart lies. Mike Lowell is a righty. Groan.

With that outfield and Boston's lineup, I would advise against starting Chacin in any fantasy leagues tonight...

robertdudek - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#166043) #
Those are some mighty nice tables, Obal-san.
FanfromTheIsland - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#166044) #
I don't know if there's anybody who has a larger reservoir of pitches than Dice-K.  Is there?
HollywoodHartman - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#166045) #
If they'd let him, Batista might.
#2JBrumfield - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#166047) #

An outfield of Lind, Rios and Stairs would be interesting; Alex (Rios, not Obal) would get a chance to flash his range.

I think I'd rather see Obal in the outfield than Stairs.  He has better range :).   Nice job again on the Scouting Report, Alex!

My expectations are not high for this series.  I hope they can avoid the sweep at the very least.  At least they miss Schilling again!  He hasn't faced them since September of 2005.



Ron - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 06:21 PM EDT (#166049) #
Here's the line-up for Game 1:

Red Sox

1. Julio Lugo, SS
2. Coco Crisp, CF
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Manny Ramirez, LF
5. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
6. Mike Lowell, 3B
7. Jason Varitek, C
8. Wily Mo Pena, RF
9. Dustin Pedroia, 2B

SP - Daisuke Matsuzaka

Blue Jays

1. Alex Rios, RF
2. Adam Lind, LF
3. Vernon Wells, CF
4. Frank Thomas, DH
5. Lyle Overbay, 1B
6. Aaron Hill, 2B
7. Gregg Zaun, C
8. Royce Clayton, SS
9. Jason Smith, 3B

SP - Gustavo Chacin

Alex Obal - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#166050) #
Thanks folks. I guarantee that Matt Stairs beats me in a footrace 11 times out of 10, but I can appreciate the sentiment... I almost wonder whether one of the pitchers would be a suitable late-inning defensive replacement. Maybe Casey Janssen.

10 points to HH for beating me to the punch line on Batista before I had the chance to say something nasty. The other guy who might throw pitches than Daisuke is Tom Glavine. Since the velocities of his fastball and change run along a continuous spectrum from 72 to 86 mph which he basically has complete control of, he really throws infinitely many pitches. Other than him? I'm stumped...

As for the lineups? I hope the Overbay-after-Thomas GIDP death march is short-lived. That is all. I'm beyond pumped for this game. 'Jacked,' perhaps, best captures the intensity of my excitement. Maybe.
Rob - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#166053) #
The ridiculously powerful righty outfielder [...] thrashes fastballs.

Clearly, Alex was way off.
GregJP - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 08:09 PM EDT (#166054) #
It pains me to say this, but I "like" Pat Tabler compared to Rance Mulliniks.

Crap, I think he's a graduate of the Joe Morgan school for learning how to be a "dumb" colour commentator.

"Chacin pitches just well enough to win"  Ya, he knows exactly how many runs the jays will score before the game starts, and he pitches just well enough to give up one run less than that. 

Nice combination......dumb AND boring.

I go back to the days of Duke Snider with the Expos and Tony Koubek with the Jays, and I think only Joe Carter was worse than Rance.

fozzy - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#166055) #
I've got a good feeling about tonight's game. As good as Dice-K has been, you have to remember the opposition: Kansas City and Seattle aren't exactly fear-strikers in the hearts of opposing pitchers. The Jays are a good combination of power and patience, and though it will take some time, the Jays will get to Dice-K.

That being said, through four, the tide is turning in the Jays favour. It's in the hands of Chacin now, and how he handles the Sox bats
Alex0888 - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 09:12 PM EDT (#166056) #
If they can win tonight, the rest of the series looks pretty good. Wakefield's knuckle can't be THAT good in a closed dome can it?
jamesq - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#166057) #
I'll take Rance over Pat Tabler me he is much more a student of the game and offers more detailed analysis of play.  As far as pitching well enough to win,  in my opinion it is possible that a pitcher will pitch to the situaton, bear down in a tight game when necessary and get that big out or with a  big lead throw it over the plate and let them put the ball in hockey Grant Fuhr was heralded as one of the best goalies in the NHL despite having high goals against averages. He'd give up some goals, but when the score was 6-5 in the third period, he'd make the clutch save to get the win.

tstaddon - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 09:43 PM EDT (#166058) #
I'd think the Jays will give either Wells or Rios one of the next two days off. Do you risk it with Ohka on the mound to give Halladay your best lineup? Or would you think there won't be many FBs against Roy and wait until then?

Also, is it just me or are there 41 men on the Jays' roster with the recall of Roberts? Either someone was outrighted or Roberts was already on it. But I thought they'd removed him from it last fall... In any case, Santos would seem to be first on the chopping block, should anyone else need to go.
GregJP - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#166059) #
Grant Fuhr gave up a lot of goals because the Oilers didn't play much defense.  They new that their offense was potent enough that they could just outscore the other team.

So I guess you believe that Colon should have won the Cy Young over Santana a couple of years ago because he "knew" how to win more games.

Basically, over a relatively small sample size Chacin has had very good run support.  That is good luck and playing on a team with a good offense and nothing more.

As far as Tabler vs Mulliniks, I think they're both pretty much bottom of the barrel.  I can't recall one thing that Mulliniks said tonight that was any big insight into the game.  I already know that pitchers do better when they are ahead in the count and are less effective when they are behind in the count. 

Mylegacy - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#166060) #

Looks like Chacin bought into my dream!

Atta go Jays!

paulf - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#166061) #
tstaddon: it's not just you. I count 42 guys on the 40 man roster. Davis Romero on the 60 day DL still leaves them 1 over the limit. I'd imagine Reed would be placed on the 60 before anyone is chopped.
HollywoodHartman - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 10:12 PM EDT (#166062) #
Scouting Report on Sawx fans: Here's a page from the SOSH game thread from the bottom of the fourth. Very intellectual. Note, don't show around small children.

jamesq - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 10:28 PM EDT (#166063) #
You missed the point, when the game was on the line, Fuhr was clutch.
You can  say the same thing about a pitcher who will get the big out at a crucial point of the game with your team's about composure and confidence.  Lacking the mental make up to pitch to the occasion maybe why guys with  great stuff, ala burnett or Lily, are only 500 pitchers in their careers.

Chacin seems to  have the ability to pitch out of tight jams. Who can forget his first ever major league start in Yankee Stadium as a September call up from Double A in a game that, if I remember correctly, had some significance to the Yanks.  

PS-I would never use win totals as an the only factor in assessing a pitcher's effectiveness.  
westcoast dude - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 10:32 PM EDT (#166064) #
Three hits and 13 strikeouts I was expecting, winning 2-1 was a wish.  There were 42,162 reasons why this happened, in addition to a Blue Jays team effort.  Gus has the Bosox number and the W.  The Iceman, Jason Frasor: 8 pitches, 4 outs for the Save. Turning point: Smith's 8th inning double play. I love this game.
ahitisahit - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#166065) #

They are quite the intellects over at Sons of Sam Horn(e)...

As for the Rance/Tabler debate, neither is great. I really liked Darrin Fletcher the few times he got the call. I remember one time he was on and he said, "I don't like the Yankees, and I'm not afraid to say it on the air" or something to that effect. I love that. I find Fletcher's commentary almost a little too in depth though.

Adam Lind looked like a AAA hitter tonight. Dice-K owned him. Clayton or Frank Thomas looked only marginally better.

AWeb - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 10:55 PM EDT (#166066) #
About the announcers: It seems like they're giving a lot of the good information to the third guy (don't remember his name) who cuts in once in a while with facts and information, and seemingly has a better view of the game and the pitches. I don't like having random 3rd guy cut in once in a while, it has occasionally killed the flow of the main guys, and just seems pointless. If you need a third guy, you don't need one of the first 2. I kinda' like having more than one colour guy, one guy, no matter how good, can really wear on you after 100 games.

Umps might start complaining about the K-zone they have now, since it shows the umps as wrong so often. But they need to fix it so every pitch that misses by 6 inches or more doesn't show up as off the screen as a little arrow.

On the game: nice job by the defense this game, and good job by Chacin. I'm liking the defense of Smith so far, and he's been hitting the ball hard a lot, so go Smith. boston's lineup is looking like Ortiz, Ramirez, Drew, and not too much else above average. And to those who complain about the lineup black holes for the Jays: Pedroia (so far, he hit in the minors), Varitek and Crisp are all threatening the same thing.

And Thomas looks so out of whack at the plate right now, I'm afraid he's going to hurt himself. I'd give him a day off against Wakefield, who he's never hit well anyway (194/268/472, 41 PA). Put in Stairs as the DH tomorrow (273/385/515, 39 PA), and give the guy a day to clear his head.

Thomas - Tuesday, April 17 2007 @ 11:06 PM EDT (#166068) #
As far as Tabler vs Mulliniks, I think they're both pretty much bottom of the barrel.  I can't recall one thing that Mulliniks said tonight that was any big insight into the game.  I already know that pitchers do better when they are ahead in the count and are less effective when they are behind in the count.

I'm a Mulliniks fan. He gave a fairly good analysis of how a certain pitch sets up the following pitch during Ortiz's at-bat, I believe it was. And I only watched that one inning.

If you're going to fault every commentator on saying something along the lines of "he pitches well enough to win," you'll only have a handful standing. Almost ex-player turned broadcaster uses those cliches from time to time. You might as well criticize a player for saying "I just want to help the team win" in a post-game interview.
ahitisahit - Wednesday, April 18 2007 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#166097) #
The 3rd guy (Cosentino), basically regurgitated SI Baseball preview about Dice K.
BaseballNorth - Wednesday, April 18 2007 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#166103) #

Some defensive kudos are much deserved for Rios and Smith last night - Smith for the timely double play everyone's been talking about and Rios for being all over RF last night.

Vernon bailed the Jays out a couple times vs Detroit on Sunday making Towers look great...and I think Rios did much of the same on Tuesday for Chacin.  I haven't checked the stats but I'm pretty sure Rios had around 7 put outs Tuesday night - maybe even more?  Nothing too spectacular but very solid, making a few catches ranging into foul territory.

I'm REALLY glad JP didn't deal Rios for a SP this offseason, not only is he finding his stroke with the bat - this guy is solid in the field.  He's got the range of a CF and the arm of Jesse Barfield.

GreenMonster - Wednesday, April 18 2007 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#166106) #
And folks wonder why I hang out here instead.
VBF - Wednesday, April 18 2007 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#166111) #
Regarding commentators, the more I see and hear White Sox recaps, or watch bonus coverage of the White Sox, the more I grew a strong hatred and loathing for Hawk Harrelson. The way he refers to the White Sox as "Our Sox", referring to the White Sox by their first name, and the ever obvious and obnoxious home run and strikeout calls. But all this time, I've realized that it wasn't that I hated Hawk Harrelson, it was that we didn't have Hawk Harrelson.

So, while I do value a commentator being in depth and having a good voice of the game, to me, nothing beats a loud, obnoxious, homer.

Four Seamer - Wednesday, April 18 2007 @ 03:38 PM EDT (#166112) #
The 3rd guy (Cosentino), basically regurgitated SI Baseball preview about Dice K.      

I haven't had the chance to see many of the broadcasts this year, but he did the same thing during the Royals series, basically reciting word for word portions of an SI article on Alex Gordon and George Brett.  Clearly, somebody gave Sam an SI subscription for Christmas... 

FanfromTheIsland - Wednesday, April 18 2007 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#166128) #
For the announcers debate, I prefer Tabler over Mulliniks only because Mulliniks doesn't really have as much chemistry with Jamie Campbell. Rance makes some conversations seem quite awkward. I remember one time when Jamie and somebody else (I forgot who) were talking about a baseball movie they both saw, and Jamie asked Rance if he had seen it. Rance said "No" in a way that caused an awkward silence for about a minute.
DiscoDave - Wednesday, April 18 2007 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#166129) #
Oh my, they come off like slack-jawed twits.  Those are some foul mouthed sailors over there!

Scouting Report on Sawx fans: Here's a page from the SOSH game thread from the bottom of the fourth. Very intellectual. Note, don't show around small children.

Kaibutsu Advance Scout: Red Sox, April 17-19 | 32 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.