Francona is no Leyland, thats for sure

     Terry Francona is not a good manager.  I will stand by my argument that he is not giving the lineup the best opportunity to succeed, even more so on this day.  Now it probably would not have mattered all that much today, as Wang was nearly unhittable, but I detected a misinformed manager making out this lineup card…again.  I do not know how many times I have to explain myself when talking about JD Drew and Kevin Youkilis.  The best thing they offer from an offensive standpoint is that they both work the count as well as almost anyone, and find ways to get on base, via the walk quite well.  Neither of them possess overwhelming power by any means.  We can sit here and say all we want about Drew.  I know he is better than this.  Maybe he will never recover from the shoulder surgery he had.  Maybe he is still adjusting to the superior league (AL).  Who knows, but he cannot continually be put in situations where he is asked to drive in runs.  I don’t care where they originally thought he should bat when they signed him.  He hasn’t been able to drive in runs, so move him up and let him do what he [always] done best, get on base.  Today Wang was on the mound, and Manny was out due to injury.  The lineup, in my opinion, should have started with Pedroia.  Lugo was sitting because there was a tough righty on the mound.  So Pedroia was going to play.  We only have one middle infielder coming off the bench, and he (Cora) took Lugo’s spot.  This is where Drew comes in.  He is a left handed hitter, so bat him second and let him try and work the count, take some pitches, and do whatever he can to get on base.  After Drew should come Youkilis, he can do the exact same thing that Drew was doing.  Try and get on base for Ortiz, the one hitter that could change the outcome of this game with Manny absent from the lineup.  Give Ortiz every opportunity to drive in runs.  Then our second best RBI man in Lowell, can still bat fifth, right behind Ortiz, to give him decent protection and an ability to try and do what Ortiz will not always be able to do, succeed.  Then Varitek, Crisp, Hinske, Cora, whatever.

     Francona continues to make personnel mistakes and people still seem to praise him.  I have heard two "experts" include Francona as being the best manager this season.  And it is tough to comment on any manger outside of the one that someone watches on a daily basis.  So I am not going to sit here and say whether or not I believe Eric Wedge is a capable manager over in Cleveland.  Because I do not see the moves he makes, and the style he has, any of that stuff.  All I see is the record.  And Francona has a heck of a lot to work with.  Enough talent that they can make him "look" good in the standings.  He is similiar to what I have heard Ken Macha to be in Oakland.  He plays for the home run because we have Theo and Bill James sitting in the front office.  He manages less than a lot of other managers do.  But he makes too many bad decisions when he does choose to manage.  I don’t mind playing for the home run, limiting your bunts, and stealing bases when are you are more certain you can take them.  But I do take offense to making out lineups that don’t give this team the best chance to win.  Or leaving a struggling reliever in too long, etc.  He should be gone after the season.  And if they do win the World Series, which is obviously accepted here, then he will retain this job regardless of that bad decisions he makes. 

     But really, the Yankees did cumulatively pitch very well in this series.  The three starters all pitched well.  Joba looked very good.  Rivera was good.  Farnsworth wasn’t.  But still they gave up a combined six runs in three games.

     Which leads me to the Red Sox.  They pitched fine.  They went into the Bronx and gave up 14 runs in three games.  An average of just less than five runs a game.  They didn’t even use Papelbon and used Okajima only once.  Schilling pitched very well, especially with a lack of velocity.  And this "Big game" pitching will ultimately be his ticket to the Hall of Fame.  It was the lack of offense that hurt this team each game.  They struggle even more than they should against good pitching.  And Jermaine Dye is looking more and more like the move they should have made. 




    i had thought they drew should bat second as well, but the question for me is, has he got decent speed for the 2 spot? i don’t know as i don’t watch your team with any regularity

  2. joseph

    Drew is a five-tool player and has a little of everything. He gets down the line pretty well. The only starters that are faster are Coco and Lugo.


    so what was your take on joba being thrown out? surely he wasn’t trying to hit youk? at least not in my opinion.


    It is harder and harder to tolerate Drew…there’s no point in booing him, that’s not going to help. He’s on the Sox so we should support him, and hope he can add some productivity to the line up…he can’t be this bad. Maybe he’ll pull a Bellhorn and be a post season hero! Here’s hoping! Go Sox!

  5. PAUL

    You have to be fair; if Francona didn’t get credit for the wins, he shouldn’t get the blame for the losses.

  6. joseph

    He does get credit for some of the winning, Paul. But I believe, if I had to guess, there are probably 12 or so managers better than he is. He just doesn’t do a very good job.

    Bobby, I still feel Drew is better than the garbage that he throws out there some days. He failed in every clutch situation he had in this series. Small sample I know. He is a career .254 hitter in “late and close” situations. He is a career .246 hitter with 2 outs and RISP. In innings 7-9 he is a career .252 hitter. In extra innings he is a career .383 hitter. I dont why he has such success in extras. But the thing is he has a good OBP in all of these situations. Meaning he can get on if you need a baserunner late, but don’t count on him getting hits in these situations. He failed each time he had an opportunity after the sixth inning in this past series against the Yankees. He has value, but I don’t feel comfortable with him at the plate in the clutch, unless a walk is needed.


    people undervalue walks, but for the cash they are paying him, he has definitely underperformed. i think it has more to do with the shoulder than switching leagues.


    I understand where you are coming from Joseph regarding Drew and where he should hit. I think you are correct about putting him right with Youklis, up in the order. Just get on base and then Ortiz can hit with guys on base. The Sox bats were dead in this series. I give the Yankees pitching alot of credit. Let’s hope when they face each other at Fenway in 2 weeks, the story will be different. I am getting sick of watching the Yankees pound the Sox late in the year.


    I am wondering if there is a way you could help me find out what the Red Sox are hitting with the following. Bases empty—

    Runners in scoring position–

    Runners in scoring position with 2 out—-

    The averages and there ranks in the A.L. I am guessing with runners in scoring pos., 2 outs in that situation it must be pretty ugly. I would assume with the bases empty they rank very high in the A.L. Can you help me? It would be very much appreciated. If you can’t where would I go to look that up?

    Oh by the way Ellsbury should be up and spark this team.

  9. Jason

    Joseph, for goodness sake, would you please start taking your statistics more seriously? Only those three sources? :-)>

    I’ll leave it to you to determine if Francona is doing the right thing with Drew and Youkilis. Personally, viewing him from a distance, I think he’s a good manager, certainly with his use of the bullpen, in games I’ve seen anyway. But again, you watch far more of your Sox.

    On Drew, I liken it to the Yankees’ signing of Igawa after Matsuzaka went to the Red Sox–it’s a make-up signing, in my mind going back past Nixon to Damon. Not directly, because Drew isn’t a center fielder (nor is Damon right now, either), but that the Red Sox felt the need to adequately replace Damon’s bat in the lineup, and Crisp, for all his defensive prowess (though he’s far from the best center fielder I’ve seen), didn’t come close. They felt Drew might provide that pop, and they needed it even more after Nixon was allowed to leave. I thought right away that they overpaid, and he would have needed a .295, 30 HR, 105 RBI year (Matsui’s numbers extrapolated, more or less, and a very similar contract) to justify the deal. It won’t happen, not this year anyway.

  10. joseph

    It is kind of like that Igawa signing, except we took a guy who was more proven. They definitely overpaid, even more so in years. Had they given him 2 years $30 million it would have been much better. Now we have a player that is injury prone and will be 36 when the contract ends. I didn’t mind him for the short term, because we needed a bat, but I mind him long term.


    joe, aren’t there term in the contract that protect the sox in case of injury? i recall it took forever for them to finalize that deal in the off-season

  12. joseph

    Yes, I don’t know the exact details. But if he plays through it for five years and isn’t as good, then we are screwed.


    What bothers me is that everyone calls Francona a “players” coach. Supporting your players is what a manager is supposed to do. This shouldn’t put him in consideration for manager of the year. Although, I’ll vote for him if he benches Drew for Kielty.


    What bothers me is that everyone calls Francona a “players” coach. Supporting your players is what a manager is supposed to do. This shouldn’t put him in consideration for manager of the year. Although, I’ll vote for him if he benches Drew for Kielty.



    Thanks for letting me know where to find that. I am so curious to find out where they rank.

    Another disappoiting loss by the Sox tonight. Tavarez had that one bad inning and it cost him big-time. Timlin lost composure tonight, a very emotional time for him, getting that 1,000 appearance. That speaks of his talent and his durability for sure. His first appearance was against the Red Sox and Roger Clemens started that game. Interesting I thought you would enjoy hearing that.

    I believe this Red Sox team has a major hangover from the Yankees series. When you play a team that has been getting smoked lately, you bury them early and the Red Sox certainly didn’t do that. This Orioles bullpen is a mess right now. Red Sox should have fun with this pen for the next 2 games at Fenway. Big pressure on Bucholtz, we’ll find out alot about his makeup tomm. night. He’ll do just fine, give the Sox 6 solid innings.

  16. joseph

    This team should be fine. Drew can take a few days off. Ellsbury should fill in nicely, give the team some energy. Wakefield is out, don’t know how long. But Buccholz is a fine replacement. Lester goes tomorrow, giving the other pitchers an extra day of rest. Our bench with Ellsbury will be much better. We also added Royce Clayton and Bryce Corey. I don’t know that these guys will help, but we will see.

  17. joseph

    I feel really good about it. I had to work, but I will watch the BBTN breakdown of it as soon as it starts here. ESPN2 switched to it for the ninth inning, so I at least got to watch the ending. What a play by Pedroia too!


    that play by Pedroia was a saver…# 1 webgem. i tell you, he should be rookie of the year. a couple of catches by crisp
    were pretty sharp as well. it was a good day for rookies in the AL East.

  19. Jason

    I agree Mike and Joe. When Joe first commented on it, I hadn’t seen it, but saw it on highlights. He’s a player, with the potential to be a better David Eckstein–more pop in the bat, just as quick, good in the field, maybe a better arm as well. The kid can play. He’s a legit, top ROY candidate.

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