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Not another hiatus? Frig.

Yes, once again the hoary hand of commerce has beckoned Brachen and interrupted the day …

Lisa the Temp:
Deal with it, people.



HB must be out trying to talk Fausto Carmona from jumping off a bridge. We must be living decent these days, because that meltdown was something else. Lester really struggled early but toughed through it, so good deal.

This is the way it's got to be the rest of the year, I guess. No easy games and take the gifts when they arrive.

Wait a minute ... Fausto, Faustus ... uh oh.

Man, did you see their manager start to have a trembling nervous breakdown in the dugout? Looked like Kramer when he heard Mary Hart on TV.

Great win last night...almost missed it though. Had some pretty severe T-storms here in the western part of the Commonwealth, and power didn't return until middle of the 5th inning. I know it seems cliche, but I believe these types wins are team-building. It is fair to say that it is going to be a dogfight for the AL East title. And I have to respectfully disagree with the pundits who think the Wild Card is definitely coming out of the AL Central.

BTW, anyone else read CHB in the Globe today. Dude's off his meds again, I think he and Fausto may be on the same ledge this morning.

No shit, Ike! CHB's channelling Michael Jackson's moonwalk? Oh, my freakin' Mohammed!

Nice win last night. Glad to see them muster it in the late innings. It's going to be another close race for the balance as best as I can see. Hope some of those early season give-away losses don't jump up to bite us. As much as I'd like to believe otherwise, the Skanks aren't going to go quietly into the night.

Ooops. Sorry, Ike, I meant FoTito.

I added Carmona to my fantasy team when the Tribe traded Wickman. That was a brilliant move! However, I'll happily trade my chances at the fantasy pennant for a real one for Red Sox.

I also added Wily Mo when Trot went down. That move is looking pretty smart so far.

What a swing in 48 hours.
Papi's walk-off.
Tek's injury paired with Indian win.
Loretta's walk off.

Let the emotional pendulum swing.
August is going to be a long month.

Let's win tonight before heading to the black hole of TB, where bizarre things happen. End of the month has NYY and a west coast swing.
Keep the faith. Or for those who remember the earlier version: Keep your Sox on!

Why does "Hot For Teacher" start playing in my head when Lisa shows up?

And once again, in connection with Mark Loretta, you are welcome.


"Cla-ass...CLA-ass....SHUUTTT UUUPP!!"

Oh, Fausto. As of today, the Sox have the third best chances of making the playoffs in the AL, behind the Tigers and the Yankees, according to BP's playoff odds report (takes their adjusted Pythag record and games out the rest of the season vs. scheduled opposition 1,000,000 times, Monte Carlo style, taking into consideration home team, etc). The WC coming from the AL Central is pretty far from being a lock. Here are the chances, by team:

Team W L Division WC Playoffs
Tigers____ 103 59 94.0 4.2 98.2
Yankees___ 97 65 60.4 18.9 79.3
Red_Sox___ 95 67 37.7 26.8 64.5
White_Sox_ 92 70 4.5 30.4 34.9
Athletics_ 83 79 32.7 0.0 32.7
Angels____ 83 79 30.9 0.0 30.9
Rangers___ 83 79 28.5 0.0 28.5
Twins_____ 90 72 1.5 16.0 17.5
Mariners__ 79 83 7.9 0.0 7.9
Blue_Jays_ 87 75 1.9 3.7 5.6
Indians___ 76 86 0.0 0.0 0.0
Orioles___ 70 92 0.0 0.0 0.0
Devil_Rays 65 97 0.0 0.0 0.0
Royals____ 58 104 0.0 0.0 0.0

Exciting! This is shaping to be another terrific season.

You know how yawns are contagious and that's basically a general mystery of the universe? You can yawn in your car and look over at another driver who hasn't even looked your way and he's yawning, too...it's very spooky and my most sound proof so far of a collective conscious.

However, I think we can add one to the list here: the general collective feeling right before a key pitch where you know your guy's going to be a hero. All the fans and the enemies know exactly what's going to happen in the split second right before it does. Damn cool.

I'll get back to my Deepak Chopra book now.

By the way, if that last table was confusing, the last number is the one to look at for total percent chance of making the playoffs (chance of winning the division + chance of winning the WC...as of now, the Sox are at 65%, the Yanks at 79%...overall, the WC comes out of the AL East 50% of the time...)

Hey, Sister Mary Elephant (er, Dave S.) - Nice Cheech and Chong reference.

Tell me how BP's Monte Carlo simulation factors in known injuries and expected player return dates. Seems that would have a fairly major impact on outcomes. I, for one, have no idea how to program those additional variables into the simulations.

Not trying to be snide here. I'm actually a little interested on an intellectual level. (I can't believe I used the words "I" and "intellectual" in the same sentence...)

...Rob, that would definitely reflect a major shortcoming of their system, in that injuries/trades aren't considered in the stats I referenced. It looks at team performance to date through the season, and uses that to project going forward. They do have an additional stat report that considers the impact of individual players' contributions according to pre-season projections blended with season actual performances, but that one also neglects to account for the effect of injury. It's clearly a big-time caveat.

the general collective feeling right before a key pitch where you know your guy's going to be a hero. All the fans and the enemies know exactly what's going to happen in the split second right before it does. Damn cool.

Ater the game was over, I realized that when Loretta was up, a simple base hit never even entered my mind. I was thinking "off the wall" the whole time. And, no, that is NOT a Micheal Jackson reference.

That's a nice table there, Dave. I guess you could get your info that way, or you could just look at the divisional and WC standings.

Whatever floats your boat.

Divisional and WC standings don't take into account the strength/weaknesses of opposing teams (pitching and hitting) for the remainder of the season...whether the remaining games are home or away...

In fact, the most glaring difference of looking back (what you suggest) vs looking forward (what BP's calculations do) to determine our outcome on the season: The Red Sox through ALL sabermetric calculations have won more games than their run totals (for and against) suggest. If you step away from the statistics a bit, that means that "they just know how to win". I think that speaks volumes about how well this team will do down the stretch (especially in lieu of not being able to predict injuries, etc). Late-and-close suddenly becomes a W as opposed to a total crap shoot and when it comes down to the wire or post-season, that's when those games matter the most.

Hey H.B., more news on the (former) Wonkette:


Kaz...In addition to the intagibles you mention, I think that the Sox outplaying their projected wins and losses also speaks very well about Francona's usage of the bullpen. I know that a lot of Sox fans get angry even thinking about Tavarez and Seanez, and Timlin's performance last night makes recent memory of him a little clouded, but overall, Francona has done a great job of giving his pitchers in the bullpen the right job based on their ability. So with Timlin and Papelbon, Francona makes absolutely sure that he isn't wasting them is losing efforts or blowouts in favor, but is keeping them for the close ones. The more a team has its best relief core pitching in one-run situations, the better chances they have at outperforming their projected wins/losses.

Points taken, albeit with a grain of salt. I'm not what you would call a stathead, and projection numbers are my least favorite of all. Show me the beginnning of season projections that say who will end up where and with what record and I'll say "Great- thanks for taking all of the fun out of the game". Regardless of my feelings, it seems that these numbers are little more than educated guesses. I, personally, feel much better calling my Pop-pop and asking him how he feels about our chances. He was the one who told me to hang in there in '04. I wonder what the numbers said...

I thought Tito over-managed last night. Delcarman had only thrown 16 pitches with 2K's so he was obviously "on". Why bring in Timlin for the 8th just because it has always been done that way. And then, after the double Timlin gave up, why not go with Papelbon? THAT MOMENT was the "save situation".

//Delcarman had only thrown 16 pitches with 2K's so he was obviously "on".//

Delcarmen's coming off a nagging thumb injury and I have no doubt they're being super careful with him.

The "What do you think, Pop-Pop?" variable has NEVER been successfully introduced into Monte Carlo simulations. Some guys at MIT got close, but miscalculated the 0-3/2004 factor.

Statistics and probability are just that...probability. If someone told you we had a 95.4% chance of losing after staring 0-3 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS...we still did. Fortunately for us, the 4.6% chance was the part of the spectrum we actually landed upon. Probability is never an "answer"...it's a likelihood of being right given a certain answer. Most good gamblers will tell you that you always take the best crack at having the right answer...but you're never going to have it 100%. That's not a gamble...it just doesn't follow.

We have a 64.5% chance of making the playoffs. That is a likelihood (and one a little too close to 50/50 to make me feel good about the rest of the season at this point if you ask me). But since it's only a likelihood it's not the answer of who will or won't make the playoffs, but just how good our chances are given everything the equation can encompass. The method used is pretty sound though (both the calculation of chance to win any given game and the "Monte Carlo" method for deciding whether the better team actually does win that game given the discrepancies between the two teams).

In the meantime, here's something completely different to marvel at. I hope h.b. is reading the comments today...it's his favorite: clipart. :)


Kaz -

Agreed, the BPro method is quite sound - a few other sites use slightly different methods, but are reasonably close in result . . . google turns them up, if you're interested.

One quibble, though - the Sox aren't outperforming their pythag record by enough to really say that there's been a 'reason' . . . for instance, a shut-down back end of the 'pen can account for improvement in 1-run games, or a few extreme scores one way or another (see: Indians, Cleveland) can skew the pythagorean record by making rs/ra into a bit of a mockery.

They're well within fluctuation - intangibles or no (after the last few days, though, the intangibles are feeling moderately tangible).

Maybe the "What do you Think Pop-Pop?" variable is the key to accurately predicting the outcome of the next millenia of baseball. Worth investigating- I could be sitting on a friggin' gold mine here.

Kaz- thanks for the breakdown- Like I said, I "get" probability statistics and their application, I just don't subscribe to them. Rhetorical question, but if the Sox only had a 1.9% chance of winning after the end of the 8th last night, would the good gamble have been to head for the car? That sums up my feelings about projection.

Nate -

If the "Pop-Pop variable" is as efficacious on outcomes as "Logan's Corollary" (ask Tessie), then I'm all in at the Sports Book. :-)

But truthfully, isn't it for the Hometown Boys (or Girls) overcoming the odds that we all enjoy sports so much, anyway? That's from where the best memories come, anyway. (See ALCS, 2004)

The Yankees laugh at us when Brachen takes a day off. They say Yankees fans never take a day off.

It's time for guest authors. I nominate Dave S. as the voice of Marty.


Thanks, Mike. You know, I always think Marty makes such salient points and never understood what you all hate about him so much. Clap Clap Clap-Clap-Clap!

Actually, I think the whole internalized-voice-of-Marty that HB has going on makes him that much more insidious than any Yankee fan could be.
We all imagine our worst nightmare as being so much worse than it ever really could be. It lends Marty such a true archetypical quality of the RSN- perceived MFY fan...real Yankee fans are rarely as perfectly evil as Marty is. We try, but it's pretty hard.

Last bit on the stat thing: I saw a pretty good analsis BP did on its own stat report...it went back over the last century and calced postseason odds across different seasons at different points from 1871 to 2004, I think, and then checked the actual year-end results against, say, the odds assigned by the Monte Carlo simulation in mid-May for each team, each year.

Here's the link to the full article(requires BP Premium, sorry):


Here's the short of it, tabular form:

Odds Teams Act. Proj.
90+ 9 9 8
80-90 28 25 24
70-80 25 17 19
60-70 47 28 30
50-60 69 28 38
40-50 85 39 38
30-40 143 45 50
20-30 198 51 49
10-20 315 56 46
5-10 326 28 23
1-5 518 11 14
0-1 680 2 2

So, while it doesn't tell you the why of the variance (that elusive 1% chance), it tells you that it's pretty right on for betting purposes.

Keep in mind, of course, that this article was written in response to last year in mid May the Orioles having a 60% chance of making the playoffs and the Yanks only having a 10% chance...

Got a couple of nice wagers in for tonight's scheduled HR barrage vs. Beckett. Indians +140 AND OVER 9.5 RUNS.

Shit- If I bet on "Logan's Corollary" and took the over on a 10 game winning streak for the Sox, I'd be bellybutton deep in crates of Fenway Franks and Papelbon bobbleheads.

Ahhh, hindsight...

I hope you put enough on the over to cover your loses on the moneyline.

Westbrook was last in Fenway to give up 4 ER in 2.2 innings. Boston has torched Cleveland's bullpen for 16 ER in 20 IP this season (9 ER in 9 IP in Fenway).

As for Beckett, the red hot Angels didn't get a HR off of him Saturday. We'll have to see if the cooling Indians can catch up to him.

Kaz, except for your last sentence I think you and (Poor) Paddy (Works on the Railway) are still in sync. Paddy still collects if the Sox win 16-10, for instance.

No. He bet on the +140 Indians moneyline bet. He's saying that the Indians will win the game straight up (if he bet $100 then he will win $140+ his $100). Moneyline shows the favorite through the difference in amount to win and the sign in front (+ = underdog, - = favorite). If he'd bet on the Red Sox, then he would have announced -115 or -120 (bet $120 to win $100).

His bets pay big if the Indians win AND the score from both teams added together is 10 runs or more.

I'm telling him that I can see the score being 10 runs or more total, but it's because we're going to whomp Westbrook and the bullpen...not because Beckett has been lit for HR this year (and still putting up one of the best records in the majors, mind you).

Without going back to find previous comments from paddy, I'm sure he's just being a MFY cock (his service provider is Time Warner in NY ... aka Road Runner) and thinks he totally bagged on Beckett...yo.

Indeed fernsco, I seriously thought the right play would be to intentionally walk Travis Flintstone and let Timlin go after Casey Blake (1 for 7 lifetime). But what do I know? sheesh!

Kaz -

I'm from New York. Huge Red Sox fan for 29 years now. Not emotional when I bet. This team is in trouble. They are lacking in depth. Abreu is 30th all tome in on base pctg. (.411 going into 2006). Wilson will be the best bench player in baseball. I'd be happy to have him as a starter. Those were great pick-ups. The Sox have generally had scoring problems with Mirabelli in the line-up. I want to be wrong but:
Schilling is old.
Wakefield is hurt.
The captain is out four to six weeks.
Coco is useless and can't throw. I was crazy to suggest earlier this year that he bat sixth.
Lowell is in a huge slump.
Manny and Papi can't play any better, yet they are in 2nd. If either misses ANY time at all, we're through.
Johnson is 55-97. That's 55 and.....97.
Papelbon can not do any better, yet they are in 2nd.
Timlin is old.
Huckaby stinks.
Beckett knows his outfielders' uniform #s by heart. This is not a good thing, as uniform #s are on the players' BACKS.
Seanez stinks.
Loretta needs to hit 9th IF Nixon comes back. He won't.
Nixon is hurt, and was slumping.
Wells' career is over.
I said earlier that Youlilis needed to be spelled once in a while by Snow. He wasn't. He's tired. He's in a brutal slump.
Clement is a mental weakling. Complaining about not making the 2005 All-Star game has produced a never-ending run of bad Karma. We secretly hope he will never return to the Red Sox.
The Sox have some dominant players that carry the team. But I've read some posts from Sox fans who are in la-la land. This race is over. Let's hope we can back into the wildcard. And Kaz, I root every day for a Red Sox victory and was thrilled by last night's win. Also, I admit I was mistaken about Ramirez hitting third. I've reconsidered. Papi is so clutch he needs every opportunity to get to the plate in the ninth. Also. I think Papi benefits from protection, more than Manny, who can go it alone. But I still insist that something is wrong for Loretta to barely have 50 runs with the seasons Papi and Mannuy are having. Trot should have been in the 2-hole. And it was insane to bat Varitek sixth and even sometimes fifth. I hate the Yankees. But they will go something like 40 and 17 the rest of the way. This is the deepest offensive line-up in 50 years.

Why don't you tell us ow you really feel, paddy?

Paddy, this is distressing stuff. Funny too. Some (if not much) of it true. But 'Coco is useless' seems a little harsh after the double play yesterday (admittedly with a relay). Wells career over - I sure hope not. There's nothing like a great big fat old bloke with a nasty curve ball. As to the bullpen, I remember Embree and Timlin and Foulke looking pretty aweful in 04. I guess you should have more faith in people! Horrible loss today though, Josh reading the numbers on the outfielders shirts is, as you said, 'not a good thing' ... sinking ...

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