FanDuel - WFBC

October 29, 2013

Red Sox Win Game 5, Go Home to Fenway: Jon Lester outdueled Adam Wainwright and graybeard David Ross hit a go-ahead double, putting the Boston Red Sox over the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 and just one game from a World Series crown. The Red Sox go home to Fenway leading the series 3-2, with two chances to be the first Boston team to clinch at home since 1918. Just how hard is the task ahead for the Cards? "'It will be legendary if we go into Boston and win two games," Wainwright said.

posted by rcade to baseball at 10:41 AM - 30 comments

One win away, and I really like the last two being at Fenway. I think we see a slugfest on Wednesday, with the Sox victorious.

posted by hincandenza at 11:17 PM on October 28

I just have a feeling this thing has to come down to a Halloween Game 7.

posted by holden at 11:32 PM on October 28

Big Papi 3 for 4 tonight. What an amazing series this had been for him.

posted by Joey Michaels at 02:44 AM on October 29

I just have a feeling this thing has to come down to a Halloween Game 7.

The sense of dread you feel? It's your subconscious imagining the cheesy Fox promos.

Big Papi 3 for 4 tonight. What an amazing series this had been for him.

I think it was on his first single last night someone pointed out his OPS had just gone down.

posted by yerfatma at 09:01 AM on October 29

Ortiz has been unconscionable this series. Just an amazing performance.

Last night was probably the first game that did not have some weird, fluky, or sloppy play or highly questionable managerial decisions (you could argue Matheny should have pulled Wainwright at the first signs of trouble in the 7th, but I think if there's one pitcher on the Cardinals staff you stick with in that situation, it's him). Just a good, tight ball game with two starting pitchers who were really bringing it -- with the exception of the two doubles in the first inning and then Ross in the 7th, did not seem that there were many hard-hit balls off of Wainwright (and he obviously had the curve working for strikes) and Lester obviously threw an excellent game. If this does go 7, the Red Sox will be idiotic to not pitch Dubront in Game 7, as the Cardinals have continued to struggle with lefties (their battering of Kershaw in Game 6 of the NLCS notwithstanding).

posted by holden at 09:17 AM on October 29

The only question is "Which Felix Doubront will show up?" The one from the playoffs and much of the season, sure, but he's been an up-and-down pitcher this year.

posted by yerfatma at 10:02 AM on October 29

Ye Gods this series is not good for my heart. If there is a Game 7, I may watch it in the waiting room of a nearby ER, just in case.

posted by Rock Steady at 10:56 AM on October 29

Come a game 7, there is a formidable lineup in each bullpen.

posted by Scottymac at 10:57 AM on October 29

Yeah, my heart couldn't take a game 7, because it'll be some crazy 15-inning affair on Halloween night, where each manager is padding his personal highlight reel by LaRussaing all over the place, since as you say all 25 on each roster are available to play.

posted by hincandenza at 12:14 PM on October 29

Yeah, my heart couldn't take a game 7

I don't know if my kids' trick-or-treating plans can take a Game 7, but I am hoping we will have to adjust their Halloween schedule.

posted by holden at 01:39 PM on October 29

I just moved into a neighborhood with a ton of little kids ready to T-R-T and I think I'm going to be short by one or two mondo econo bags of Mounds and M&M's.

So rather than run out of goodies, I'm going to send the kids running for their mommas by answering the door dressed as their worst nightmare.

Bobby Valentine.

posted by beaverboard at 04:51 PM on October 29

Wacha vs Lester on paper bodes ill for Boston, but they rarely play the game on paper. Still, if St. Louis does win on Wednesday, the pitching match up for Game 7 doesn't look too good for Boston. Peavy will start, but the leash will be short - choke collar short. The rest of the game will be pitched by committee. DuBront, Dempster, Breslow, Workman, and even Lester might see work. It could be a really long ordeal.

posted by Howard_T at 05:18 PM on October 29

I saw a list of greatest Red Sox ever that had Big Papi at 15. Jeesh. How many rings does the guy need to crack the top 10?

posted by rcade at 06:15 PM on October 29

Hmmm....
Those that might rank above Big Papi...

Hitters:
Ted Williams (obvious)
Carl Yastrzemski (obvious)
Wade Boggs (people forget how crazy good he was)
Carlton Fisk (almost similar hitting value, but being a catcher makes him greater)
Dwight Evans (better hitter, plus fielding)
Tris Speaker (another forgotten one from the past)

Pitchers:
Cy Young (obvious)
Pedro Martinez (obvious)
Roger Clemens (obvious)
Lefty Grove (solid 2nd half of his career)

Hitter + Pitcher:
Babe Ruth (190 OPS+ in over 1300 PA and a 125 ERA+ in over 140 starts, and has won as many Red Sox World Series as Ortiz, including a 14-inning complete game 1-run win in the 1916 World Series, and 17 innings of 2-run ball in 2 starts in the 1918 World Series)

That's pretty much off the top of my head (except for looking up Ruth's stats, and comparing Fisk to Ortiz). I count 11 players I'd rank ahead of Ortiz. Someone could make a case for Rice, Wood, and maybe Wakefield.

posted by grum@work at 09:15 PM on October 29

Uh, grum, you're usually the man, but I think you might be under the influence of some illicit substances with that comment. I mean, it really depends on what you define as "greatest Red Sox ever"- is it greatness as a Sox player, or pure statistical greatness for anyone who happened to wear the uniform, that we're measuring?

Williams, and likely Yaz, are the greater career Sox players (although I think Ortiz will retire more beloved than Yaz, just for the recency of it). I'll grant you those. Maybe even Wade Boggs, although whatever edge he may have had in average I don't think it matters nearly enough. Dwight Evans was a great player, and probably should be in the HoF, but I think his longevity here is the best and really only argument to even consider ranking him above Ortiz, all things considered.

But for the older players, many you mentioned weren't really "Red Sox" players, no matter how storied their careers. Babe Ruth was a Yankee who basically used Boston as his farm team career; if we're going by "greatest player that ever wore a Sox uniform", then he and Williams are 1 & 2, but that doesn't seem a fair metric. Cy Young played a few seasons in Boston, but not the bulk or even majority of his career in Boston, similar to Tris Speaker (as great as his stats were) and Lefty Grove; I also strongly, strongly discount the stats from pre-1930s or so as being wildly inflated due to the era (no integration, no real international scouting, the lack of the strong farm system).

Among more modern players, Pedro Martinez had the best seasons of probably any pitcher in history while in uniform here, and will probably enter the HoF wearing a Sox cap... but I don't know how we put him ahead of Ortiz with only 7 seasons in uniform. Carlton Fisk played more of his career in Chicago than in Boston as well. Roger Clemens put quite a few years in, similar to Ortiz, but had as much/more success once he left (and isn't exactly well liked in these parts).

Mentioning Jim Rice or Smoky Joe Wood or Wakefield just makes no sense; they were not remotely "better" than Ortiz purely on the field, and don't even count when you add in impact/effect/stature in this city's sports history. And I say that even though for quite a while, Wakefield was my favorite Sox player.

So yeah... if I were to rank the "Greatest Red Sox Players of All Time" I'd put it as Williams, Yaz, and Ortiz, 1-2-3. Everyone else falls off for me due to limited playing time in this uniform or simply not being good enough to unseat Ortiz. And if Ortiz plays another 2-3 years at this level- especially if the Sox win the WS this week and he is named MVP- I might push him past even Yaz.

The only certainty is that Ted Williams is probably never unseated as Mr. Red Sox.

posted by hincandenza at 12:09 AM on October 30

Cy Young started 297 games for the Red Sox in his career with a 147 ERA+ over 8 seasons. That's only 3 seasons less than Ortiz, and I'm definitely going to say his impact on the Red Sox was greater than that of Ortiz.

Tris Speaker played 9 seasons with the Red Sox, only two less than Ortiz, and put up a 165 OPS+ (Ortiz only has a 149 OPS+ with Boston).

Martinez's 7 seasons with the Red Sox were greater than the 11 by Ortiz. Two Cy Young awards, five top 5 finishes, 190 ERA+...

Clemens had already put up a HOF career in just his Boston years (3 Cy Young awards and an MVP). I'm not even sure Ortiz is going to make it into the HOF.

Fisk has played as many seasons with the Red Sox as Ortiz has, and in a much more important position.

Boggs edge isn't in average, it's in OBP. 30 points higher as a Red Sox than Ortiz, and an almost equal OPS+ (142 vs 148). Like I said, everyone seems to forget how good he really was.

The point that also has to be made on why I'd rank Evans, Boggs, Fisk, and Speaker above Ortiz is that they also get to add in their fielding to their overall contributions. Ortiz has less than 130 games started in the field for his Red Sox career. Babe Ruth even has more games started as a fielder than Ortiz as a Red Sox player. As much as we love Ortiz's contributions with the bat, he provides almost zero in the field, while all of these other players (even the pitchers) provide more than him with their glove.

posted by grum@work at 08:23 AM on October 30

I think you might be under the influence of some illicit substances with that comment.

It feels like you're making an extra effort to denigrate the other players to make Papi seem even better than he is. I love the guy and I love the personality too, but I was struggling to follow your logic up until this point:

"Pedro Martinez had the best seasons of probably any pitcher in history while in uniform here, and will probably enter the HoF wearing a Sox cap... but I don't know how we put him ahead of Ortiz"

At that point I fell off the train and hit my head. If Pedro has only been here for '99 and 2000 he might still be my favorite Sox player. And you need to remember he also brought that same wonderful sense of personality to the park. People talk about certain players as "Appointment Television", that you plan your week to see them. Pedro's starts were more like being in prison: there was no chance you were going anywhere for anything. That question people ask about what you'd save if your home were on fire? I'm not sure I would have left the house.


So that's Pedro sorted from my perspective. For the rest, I feel like you're so enjoying Papi's amazing post-season, coming on the heels of a career Renaissance none of us saw coming and overvaluing the Now. You always have to discount Papi's numbers because he's "only" a DH. So it makes it hard on pure numbers to compete with someone like Evans who was an incredible fielder at a valuable defensive position. If you want to push Papi near the top of the list because of 2004, I'm ok with that. I'll buy it. But if we're talking metrics and statistics, I think most of grum's picks are good ones (though Fisk only played 8 full seasons with the Red Sox).

Taking the Long View, consider that 30 years from now some young punk will be saying how Player X is so fantastic and clearly miles better than that David Ortiz character people still drone on about. I'm only barely old enough to have been bawling when Yaz took his victory lap around Fenway (I was about 7) but I think it's reasonable to claim his popularity in Boston at the time was even greater, given baseball was still The National Pastime and given the '67 Series rejuvenated baseball passion in New England and the '75 Series is credited with rejuvenating baseball passion in the country as a whole.

posted by yerfatma at 09:18 AM on October 30

If Pedro has only been here for '99 and 2000 he might still be my favorite Sox player. And you need to remember he also brought that same wonderful sense of personality to the park. And you need to remember he also brought that same wonderful sense of personality to the park. People talk about certain players as "Appointment Television", that you plan your week to see them. Pedro's starts were more like being in prison: there was no chance you were going anywhere for anything.

I was a grad student in Boston in this period, and remember going through the schedule periodically during the season, figuring out when Pedro would pitch, and then getting tickets for just those games. These were the days back when you could actually buy tickets the day of games, or certainly within a couple weeks of a game (with the obvious exception of Yankees games and a few other marquee matchups). Best thing was that if the game was against lower tier or unsexy competition (saw a lot of A's, Rays, and Twins), the pricing was such that you could get decent seats for about $15. I think I saw about 15 games at Fenway from 1999-2002, and Pedro probably started 12 of them. I remember that every game he pitched, there was always a groan in the crowd when he gave up his first hit or walked his first batter, because the sense was always that today might be the perfect game or no-hitter.

posted by holden at 09:48 AM on October 30

Still, if St. Louis does win on Wednesday, the pitching match up for Game 7 doesn't look too good for Boston. Peavy will start, but the leash will be short - choke collar short.

Joe Kelly's leash isn't going to be very long either - his WHIP this postseason is nearly 1.5 and he's not won a game yet in the postseason. I don't think the situation for either squad is one where they're thinking they will get 6+ innings of quality starting pitching.

posted by dfleming at 09:55 AM on October 30

I remember that every game he pitched, there was always a groan in the crowd when he gave up his first hit or walked his first batter, because the sense was always that today might be the perfect game or no-hitter.

I was in third base seats, around 8 rows back in September '99 (thanks to that weird friend of my dad's who made that happen) when he went into Yankee Stadium and struck out 17 on his way to a one-hitter.

The home run was early, but even in Yankee Stadium you could just feel by about inning four that Yankee and Boston fans alike knew that might be the only hit they'd get. I've never seen pitching completely deflate a lineup like that before.

It's the only truly special performance I've been live for. I saw Pedro one more time and he was off, which at the time meant 2 runs over 6 1/3 with 6 or 7 K's.

posted by dfleming at 10:05 AM on October 30

If the argument is "Who are the most successful, celebrated, famous players who've ever worn a Red Sox uniform" then the ranking changes, and sure Ortiz isn't even in the top 10 if we're counting Ruth or Young. But I think it's more of a gestalt ranking, including both on-field performance as well as impact on the region's fans and sports history.

grum: Cy Young started 297 games for the Red Sox in his career with a 147 ERA+ over 8 seasons. That's only 3 seasons less than Ortiz, and I'm definitely going to say his impact on the Red Sox was greater than that of Ortiz.
I agree he started many games- third most of any Sox player- but he also wasn't really a modern era player, which is why I heavily discount him, and I wholly disagree his "impact" on the Sox was greater; he played in a totally different era, and I'm not sure what impact he really had other than wear the uniform for a while.

Yes, he's a legend, yes he's got an award named after him- but even though he is in the HoF as a Red Sox, is he really "Mr. Red Sox"? How many casual fans knew he played for the Sox, as opposed to Ruth-> Yankees, Williams-> Red Sox?

Besides, as I often do, I'd even argue that his gaudy, unbreakable stats are less him being a Nolan Martinez super-hybrid than his spending time playing against drunks, migrant farmers, and ex-convicts.

So sure, among the most famous names to play on the Sox? He's probably 3rd, behind Ruth and Williams. So... is that, or is that not, what is meant by "Greatest Red Sox player"?

grum: Tris Speaker played 9 seasons with the Red Sox, only two less than Ortiz, and put up a 165 OPS+ (Ortiz only has a 149 OPS+ with Boston).
Hey, Tris Speaker was a legend, and his doubles record has lasted almost 3 times as long as Ruth's HR record. But again, only 7 full season (his first two years he played 7 and 35 games) out of a 22 season career. That's where I go back to "More sure-thing HoF candidate than Ortiz, wore a Red Sox uniform, check and check"- if that's our metric, then yes. But I think it's more than that. He won two World Series with the Sox- and did anyone really care, like countless millions did in 2004? Sure that's a modern era bias, and sure that gives Ortiz a huge amount of credit for a championship drought he didn't make... but them's the breaks.

grum: Martinez's 7 seasons with the Red Sox were greater than the 11 by Ortiz. Two Cy Young awards, five top 5 finishes, 190 ERA+...
Look, I hope I didn't give the impression I don't highly regard Pedro; for my money, he is the greatest pitcher who ever lived, or certainly in the reckoning. Doing what he did, in the era he did, is unfathomable; I still recall a 16 or 17K game he had against the Mariners in September of I think '99 when I was camping with a bunch of Seattleites, and they all just kind of rolled with it, not even mad at being decimated because hey- it's fucking Pedro Martinez.

So... I can kind of begrudgingly admit Pedro might go higher, since he was part of that 2004 team as well, and jesus he could pitch- better than anyone else on that list. But I do give a lot of weight to being a guy who brought 2 and possibly 3 championships to a city starving for an end to the drought.

grum: Clemens had already put up a HOF career in just his Boston years (3 Cy Young awards and an MVP). I'm not even sure Ortiz is going to make it into the HOF.
Heh- let's not be so sure Clemens is making the HoF. He absolutely should- but you know these BBWAA writers, they're crackpots and charlatans. But yeah, I undersold Clemens' performance, as he's the 2nd best pitcher in Sox history behind Pedro, and in franchise history holds several key records as well. Still- most of us kind of hate the dude.

grum: Fisk has played as many seasons with the Red Sox as Ortiz has, and in a much more important position.
I don't agree with this; he has as many seasons at this point, but his WAR is considerably lower and that's with the adjustment for offensive position. Carlton Fisk should be on the list somewhere, sure- but I don't think he ranks above Ortiz (and a lot of my assumptions are based also in part on the jinx-ridden notion that there's a good chance tonight or tomorrow the Sox win the WS and Ortiz takes an MVP).

grum: Boggs edge isn't in average, it's in OBP. 30 points higher as a Red Sox than Ortiz, and an almost equal OPS+ (142 vs 148). Like I said, everyone seems to forget how good he really was.
I didn't forget, and I struggled with this one... in terms of OPS/WAR in his length of service at Boston, he's got Ortiz beat on sheer contributions (and was a pretty good 3B to boot). But on balance, there's no chance of a Boggs statue being unveiled outside Fenway anytime soon, where we can't say the same about Ortiz.

grum: The point that also has to be made on why I'd rank Evans, Boggs, Fisk, and Speaker above Ortiz is that they also get to add in their fielding to their overall contributions. Ortiz has less than 130 games started in the field for his Red Sox career. Babe Ruth even has more games started as a fielder than Ortiz as a Red Sox player. As much as we love Ortiz's contributions with the bat, he provides almost zero in the field, while all of these other players (even the pitchers) provide more than him with their glove.
Fair... yet no, not fair. First, I've long been very opposed to WAR "positional adjustments", because I don't think reassessing someone's offensive contributions by the position they play is fair or meaningful since we have a dWAR for that; a run-scoring double doesn't count for more if your centerfielder hit it. Yes, all things being equal finding a competent CF is worth more if he hits close to or equal to your 1B/DH, given how much harder it is to replace such a player.

Further, for example, Williams was by all accounts an atrocious fielder, but there was no DH position at that time- a position that he was born to play. The same arguments can be given to Cabrera now, that really he's hurting his team in the field but we'd somehow give him more of a HoF vote simply because he's out there?

So why are we penalizing Ortiz for playing in a time where the game allowed him to not field? That's the same logic that has Edgar Martinez not in the HoF when he absolutely should be. Actually, the case for Edgar and Papi are very similar, since they both basically got late starts as regular players due to their franchises mismanaging them, and they played their careers as DHs, being among the most feared hitters of their generation.

So to wrap this up (waaaaay overdue), if the metric is "Who were the greatest, most gifted players in history that played as Red Sox?" then yeah, Ortiz falls down quite a bit, more so if he doesn't make the HoF. But "Who were the Greatest Red Sox"? I think with the recent history and what it meant for the fandom, Ortiz benefits mightily and should be pretty high up that list.

posted by hincandenza at 01:09 PM on October 30

posted by yerfatma at 01:58 PM on October 30

Eh, I had that coming. Sometimes I have diarrhea of the keyboard. :D

Go Sox!

posted by hincandenza at 02:26 PM on October 30

To sum it all up in grum's defense: David Ortiz is the greatest player in Red Sox history the past 10 years. Every time I see one of these "Greatest Player of..." things, I see that most of those selected have played in the past 20 years or so. It's quite understandable because those doing the selecting probably have not seen anyone who played more than 20 years previously save in films. Grum looks at the numbers more deeply and with more understanding than any of us, and I presume to say with more acumen than many of today's sports writers and commentators. All said, it's a subjective and emotional thing, and one's frame of reference is probably the most important factor.

posted by Howard_T at 03:11 PM on October 30

grum: Fisk has played as many seasons with the Red Sox as Ortiz has, and in a much more important position.

I don't agree with this; he has as many seasons at this point, but his WAR is considerably lower and that's with the adjustment for offensive position

Career War (Boston Red Sox time only)
(from baseball-reference.com)

1. Ted Williams 123.2
2. Carl Yastrzemski 96.0
3. Wade Boggs 71.4
4. Dwight Evans 66.0
5. Tris Speaker 55.6
6. Bobby Doerr 51.3
7. Jim Rice 47.2
8. David Ortiz 41.6 (6556 PA)
9. Nomar Garciaparra 41.2
10. Carlton Fisk 39.5 (4353 PA)

I wouldn't say 2.1 WAR is "considerably lower", and in 2200 less plate appearances.

(Also please note the massive lead Boggs has on Ortiz as a Red Sox player.)

So why are we penalizing Ortiz for playing in a time where the game allowed him to not field?

Allowed? I think it's by necessity that he doesn't play in the field unless absolutely required, not by the whim of a manager (multiple, actually).

posted by grum@work at 03:41 PM on October 30

Besides, as I often do, I'd even argue that his gaudy, unbreakable stats are less him being a Nolan Martinez super-hybrid than his spending time playing against drunks, migrant farmers, and ex-convicts

I didn't realize that Miguel Cabrera, Johnny Damon, and Josh Hamilton played in those days! ;)

posted by grum@work at 03:48 PM on October 30

Okay... that was a pretty good line. :)

But you get my point; heck, when they showed that clip of Cabrera accepting the Hank Aaron award before game 4, the sheer size difference illustrates how wildly different the game is today compared to 50 years ago, compared to 100 years ago. For example, I've heard that there's reason to believer from anecdata as well as some archival footage that Walter Johnson, despite the reputation, was throwing his fastball at a Jamie Moyer-esque 80-85mph.

Howard_T: Grum looks at the numbers more deeply and with more understanding than any of us, and I presume to say with more acumen than many of today's sports writers and commentators. All said, it's a subjective and emotional thing, and one's frame of reference is probably the most important factor.
I agree; that's why I think the real question was what the ranking was for. If it's purely a "who was the most successful in terms of on-field performance" we can pretty much crank out WAR above (still saying I despise the positional adjustment for offense) and have our list. And who wants to talk about unambiguous stats when having HoF arguments in baseball? No fun in that... :)

But I think it is an emotional element, which is why the baseball maniacs over at Sons of Sam Horn- as sabermetrically inclined a group as any fandom around- are pretty much screaming in all caps "HALL OF FAME NOW!" after every epic Ortiz at-bat in this World Series.

posted by hincandenza at 04:01 PM on October 30

I do think that's a really interesting question: if the Sox win tonight on a late-inning David Ortiz home run and Ortiz announces his retirement tomorrow, he doesn't have amazing Hall of Fame credentials from a stats perspective, but how could you deny the guy (other than some PED-related thing)? He makes me believe in clutch hitting.

posted by yerfatma at 04:54 PM on October 30

Last night was probably the first game that did not have some weird, fluky, or sloppy play or highly questionable managerial decisions (you could argue Matheny should have pulled Wainwright at the first signs of trouble in the 7th, but I think if there's one pitcher on the Cardinals staff you stick with in that situation, it's him).

I think you can definitely question Matheny leaving Wainwright in, and I've seen it questions several places. He appeared to be running out of gas, and Red Sox hitters can be overpowered. I've seen Ross blown away by a good fastball. I agree that you have to give the benefit of the doubt to Matheny (hindsight being 20/20 and all) with his ace on the hill, but I'll just say that I was very happy he waiting to bring in Martinez.

I still believe the series could go either way. The Red Sox only have to win one game, and they're at home. And if you believe in momentum, which I really don't, they've got it. But both teams have proven they can win on the road, and the Cardinals have the most dominant pitcher of the post season going in game 6. If it goes 7, the Red Sox have no idea what they're going to get from Peavy, and from what I just read Lester will be backing him up on a days rest. I'm happy where the Red Sox sit, but if I was a Cardinal fan I wouldn't be too worried either.

that's why I think the real question was what the ranking was for.

Agreed. We don't know the qualifications used for the rankings. If it's simply statistics, there's obviously quite a few players in front of Ortiz (even considering the craziness of comparing players from previous eras with today). If Ortiz hadn't taken a few years to get started his overall numbers would obviously be stronger.

But if we're talking most important players in Red Sox history, he's much higher than 15. If the Red Sox win the WS, Ortiz would have been a major cog and the one player linking all 3 WS wins over the past 10 years after 86 years of nothing. Of course, some of that is being in the right place at the right time. But he's certainly done more than his part. Even if they lose to the Cardinals, his stats this WS are out of this world.

By far my favorite Red Sox player was Yaz, though I can only remember the tail end of his career. And Ted Williams is untouchable. But when you consider what Ortiz has done combined with when he came along and what has transpired in Red Sox history, he's my number 3, and the most likely to have a statue next to Yaz's one day.

posted by justgary at 05:25 PM on October 30

I'm glad to hear that, Gary. If the Red Sox win, I think Ortiz deserves to be the father, son or holy ghost of Beantown baseball. Having him out of the top 10 entirely, as some rankings do, is unthinkable.

posted by rcade at 05:35 PM on October 30

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.