I come in this morning to find an email from a media member asking if I’m still convinced about this Bill James bullpen stuff. After two games. And they think the fans are bloodthirsty. I wonder if James knew when he got hired that he would be the lightning rod for this club. Anything that goes wrong can be blamed on him. Overshadowed by the Bobby Howry/Mike Timlin outings was 8…count ’em 8…scoreless relief innings by Mendoza, Embree, Woodard and Lyon. Of course, it is the Double A’s they’re playing here. Jeff Horrigan says good thing the Sox decided to carry 12 pitchers, huh? Sean McAdam says it is fitting that Kevin Millar hit the game winning homer. Bob Hohler says Millar’s homer saved the Sox bullpen from another round of ridicule. Somehow, I don’t think so. Nick Cafardo looks at the effort put forth from Woodard and Lyon. Tony Massarotti says this team is looking disturbingly like the team from the second half of last year. David Heuschkel has perhaps the most detailed account of the 16 inning marathon. Gordon Edes says the win takes a lot of stress, and pressure off. Massarotti says that Derek Lowe can relate to the bullpen struggles. Jim Donaldson gets former major leaguer and Rhode Island native Bill Almon’s thoughts on CBC, Rocco Baldelli, and sliding. Cafardo proclaims the Devils Rays reborn under Piniella. Steve Buckley looks at Piniella, hometown hero. Alex Speier looks at the other stat man in the Red Sox organization, Voros McCracken. For those of you eagerly awaiting Steve DeOssie’s expert analysis of CBC and the Red Sox, wait no longer. He also calls those who criticize the war talk on WEEI as “elitists” and I’m sure Jason Wolfe is very proud of the job DeOssie does spouting the company line. It’s all about the callers, don’t you know? Edes also looks at the Derek Jeter injury, Jack O’Connell knocks Jeter for the head-first slide. Gerry Callahan returns to sports, well, sort of, after he talks Peter Arnett for a bit, in his pay column, which is actually a defense of the Sox strategy of CBC. He notes:
The Oogster had six blown saves last year, including the infamous July 23 game against Tampa in which the Sox bullpen coughed up a 4-0 lead in the ninth. Of course, Oogie couldn't go the whole ninth because it wasn't an official save opportunity. That's another thing about those big, tough classic closers. They're nasty and fearless, but they don't really like four-run leads. Or tie games. They like saves, preferably easy ones, because easy saves mean easy money.
It is against this trend that the Red Sox decided to rise up and fight. Before Monday, much of the baseball world was applauding Theo Epstein & Co. for their bold experiment. At last, someone was trying to bring an end to rampant pampering in Major League Baseball. Now, after one real bad game, some people are ready to quit on them, which is like yanking your starting quarterback after one incomplete pass.
Ah, I see, so the CBC is actually something noble and honorable on the part of the Red Sox. Steve Buckley’s pay column today is about Kevin Millar, whom he calls “big boy” five times. The notebooks are on the Pedro contract talks being held over another day. Horrigan’s notebook also has Grady Little talking about his bullpen decisions, and Nomar talking about the botched double play Monday night. Hohler’s notebook has thoughts from Alan Embree and concerns about SARS in Toronto. And no, that isn’t some new fangled Bill James stat.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell calls last night’s 3-2 Bruins loss to the Eastern Conference’s best team an “astonishing meltdown”. Steve Conroy says that penalties killed the B’s last night. Dan Hickling thinks handing the other team 13 power plays and only getting beaten 3-2 is a mystery. Conroy also looks at Tim Thomas, losing his perfect NHL record last night. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook updates Jeff Hackett’s injured finger. Hickling’s notebook gets praise from his teammates for Joe Thornton. Conroy’s notebook looks at Sean O’Donnell losing his cool last night.
Carolyn Thornton says that the Celtics cannot be looking past the Heat. Michael Vega says Tony Battie’s knee is feeling better, and offseason surgery is only mentioned casually. Gus Martins, however, says that Battie is still limited by the knee, and that offseason surgery is something Battie is “leaning towards”.
Michael Felger has a look at some players the Patriots might or might not be considering for help on the defensive line. Michael Smith has a very brief piece focusing on nose tackle as the spot the Patriots are looking for help at.