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June 14, 2006



I personally just think Francona can't manage the bullpen. He's pitching the guys who make the big bucks, not the guys getting the outs, and that's a problem. There's no denying that Tavarez, Seanez and Foulke have been bad. They're the guys getting the innings, they're the guys giving up the runs. Look at Riske, Delcarmen and Van Buren:

Riske- 3.72 ERA (4th best), 1.14 WHIP (3rd best), .222 BAA (3rd best)
Delcarmen- last 8.2 IP: 6 hits, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
Van Buren- even with his last bad outing, his BAA (.207) is second best on the team

These guys seem to be getting better while Tavarez and Foulke seem to be getting worse. And, in Seanez's case, he is getting better, I admit that, but he always seems to give up the crucial walk or hit.

I'm not saying we should fire Francona. I just feel like he's playing favorites again, when he should be playing the guys who have done well recently.

And I don't think there's any harm in letting Timlin go until he gives up a hit or a walk. He's done it for his whole career, he could do it after a trip on the DL. And it's not like he had surgery or anything; he had a 'tired' arm. The guy has been a rock for us ever since he's put on that Red Sox uniform, and I don't see a reason why he couldn't have 1+.


Seanez is getting big bucks?

I know you don't think that about Timlin. What I'm saying is you have no way of knowing whether or not any of what you said is really true. So let's toss out that argument.

It's all very 20/20 hindsight, this argument re the bullpen. If it was Van Buren or Delcarmen getting rocked, the howls would be about why he's going with these unproven guys while the guys who get big bucks aren't getting innings.

It's damned if you do and damned if you don't. But here are the two things no one has been able to tell me:

1. Who, among active major league managers, would be better at this job as a replacement, under all the same circumstances
2. Why the insistence on blaming Francona--why all the other issues about personnel and the front office's moves this year are being ignored in favor of constant critiques of the manager.


But let's say Francona sent him back out anyway and he'd gotten bombed. Or, worse, hurt his arm. Which is the greater loss? Letting Schilling, who's told you he's done, get shelled and possibly hurt? Or taking your chances with the bullpen

Maybe we should have sent Manny D out there to cough up the winning runs. You know, a kind of "Welcome to the big leagues, kid, where life's a bitch" thing.

I agree on the Schilling thing. For those who may have forgotten, this is the guy who had his ankle sutured so he could pitch Game 6 in '04, so I think it's fair to say that he knows the limits of his body. If he says he was done after 8, he was done.

And Timlin? I can't believe I'm hearing that he should have gone two. The middle of our bullpen flat out sucks right now, but Tito was supposed to send a guy back out there who came off the DL yesterday. Yeah, it's definitely worth risking losing one of the only decent relievers we have right now for one win against the Twins. I wanted last night's game pretty bad, too, but not that bad.

I'm pissed at Tavarez for giving up the grand slam, but I'm more pissed at the front office for acquiring him. As you said, Beth, Tito can only play the hand he's dealt, and right now that hand is not exactly stacked with aces. Last night's game was the perfect example of being between a rock and a hard place.

There's always a slightly skewed reasoning about situations like this. When the team is doing well, it's all credit to the front office for making the moves and to the players for executing. However, when the team sucks, for some mysterious reason it becomes the manager's fault. The situation really needs to be beyond dire for a team to eat a lousy contract (Russ Ortiz) or fire the GM. The manager is usually the first to go, but unless he's asking Alex Gonzalez to pitch and David Ortiz to play shortstop, I'm prepared to bet he's doing the best he can with the hand he's been dealt by someone else. Jesus - if you were given shit tools to do your job at work and were then fired for doing it badly, you'd be on to the union in a flash, but in baseball, it's par for the course. I don't get it.

OK - rant over.


well said, Beth


1) Lou Pinella, if you count him. It's highly unlikely, but I'm a big fan of his and I think he could do a better job than Francona.

2) It's all about how you handle players. He did a good job of giving Papelbon the closer's job (I assume Theo deserves some credit, also). And he knows what to do with Timlin. It's not really the players, though, it's who to pitch when.

I guarantee you if he pitched Delcarmen last night instead of Tavarez and the same thing happened, people would be saying, "Oh, I'd rather have Delcarmen out there than Tavarez." Even if he did blow it. That's how bad Tavarez has been in 'clutch' or 'save' situations.


all i can tell you, randy, is i could not disagree with you more. about every word you just posted. but especially lou piniella (which, i mean, what?!?) and what people "would be saying" re delcarmen. if we lose, it has been made clear this season, red sox fans are NEVER going to say "well, at least it wasn't..." nobody today is saying, "well, at least curt had a good start on the road". nobody's saying "at least it was tavarez and not papelbon--at least tavarez is a known quantity."

nobody looks on the bright side like that in this town.


People don't want to look at the brightside because we lost. If we looked at the brightside, we'd be going along with this bullpen that is extremely shakey. And I do care about one game against the Twins. It's one game we could have won. One game means a lot -- look at last year's standings. We would have won the AL East if we had one game -- one like last night -- just go our way. But we didn't, it made a world of difference in 2005.

A 162 game season is a marathon, sure, but I want to win every damn leg of this marathon. And last night's game is one would could have won.

And Seanez is one of those guys getting paid the 'big bucks' in terms of relief pitchers. Only Timlin, Tavarez and Foulke make more in the Sox bullpen.

And Lou Pinella is one hell of a manager. He doesn't let players get away with anything. He takes the blame when necessary, he dishes out the blame when necessary. Maybe Beantown needs a guy like that. Look at Belichick. He (arguably) is the most successful coach in Boston's history, and he's the complete opposite of Francona: after a 10-0 loss, he says the team sucked and he sucked. After a 10-0 loss, Francona says they tried their hardest and they worked hard. Belichick built a great team and has won 3 Super Bowls. Francona inherited a great team and one a World Series.


Lou Piniella is a clown, a terrible strategist, and would make Tito look like Connie Mack.


Lou Piniella managing Julian Tavarez - I would pay good money to see that!


Randy - yes, the 162 game season is a marathon, and a season can hang on a single game (especially in the AL East), but isn't that precisely the reason we shouldn't be taking risks with Schilling, Timlin & co. If that one win now means we have no starting pitcher or key middle relief aganst the Braves, Mets or whoever in a week's or a month's time, then where's the upside? A marathon is all about pacing yourself, not stringng together 162 short sprints.


I doubt it would have hurt Timlin to throw 5-10 more pitches, unless he was hurting at the time. And I am not one of those people saying Schilling should have come out in the 9th. Papelbon in the 9th and 10th worked.

We'll be arguing about this for a long time, I guess. Or until it happens again -- which may be tonight.


//I doubt it would have hurt Timlin to throw 5-10 more pitches//

how can you persist with this? YOU DON'T KNOW THAT. you can't.

//People don't want to look at the brightside because we lost.//

my point exactly. which was made in response to your "guarantee" that people would feel differently if delcarmen had delivered the same result.

randy, if lou piniella's awesome, why'd the devil rays fire him? what were his *results*? what was his record? and be careful before you argue that piniella's record was skewed by a poor team, because then you're making my point for me about how the quality of players and the composition of a team can render much of what a manager does right null and void. either the manager doesn't matter--terry francona "inherited" a team and won the world series, and therefore it's team composition and not the manager who cause the outcome of a game--or the manager does matter to the miniscule extent that a single bullpen decision can be the demise of an entire series or season, in which case i think francona's record with the red sox so far overall kind of speaks for itself. but regardless, you can't have it both ways.

re the belichick example, i really can't believe i'm even making this statement right now, but belichick isn't a great coach because of what he *says*. being willing to share many fans' sourpuss attitude toward a loss isn't what makes a manager or coach effective--though i guess it might make some feel better? you and i have no idea what goes on behind the scenes with *either* belichick or francona. they could be the same behind closed doors for all we know.

then there are all the other obvious responses to the francona / belichick comparison. this is a baseball town, always has been, always will be. the patriots don't get NEARLY the kind of scrutiny from fans and media as the red sox do. it's not even the same universe between the two teams. there is virtually *no* analogy between the sports. they could not be more different in every possible way, *including* the fact that belichick is the coach and the GM. he makes his own player selections and draft picks and puts together his own team according to the scheme he wants to follow. which is exactly the point i'm trying to make re francona, theo and the red sox.


Again, good points. This reminds me of a couple of sayings.
1. "There's no such thing as a good team with a bad bullpen." A former colleague (Dave Lee).
2. "A manager looks as good as his bullpen is." Or something like that, said by lots of people.
And, re Timlin... I don't understand why people think that an excellent one-inning setup pitcher will be excellent, or even healthy, if pushed beyond that. It's not as if he was a rookie and we're just finding out what he can do.


I just want to say that I advocate using Delcarmen, Van Buren, or Riske before Seanez and Tavarez. I think it is strange that Seanez and Tavarez get tapped for when we have the lead and those guys get tapped when we're behind.

And yes, I'm aware Van Buren and Delcarmen was not an effective combination last night. Even still, I feel our long-term chances are made better by giving those guys innings than they are by sending the Z-men in tied or with a one-run lead.


on the tired arm thing with Timlin when you're throwing it only takes one to make your arm hurt i'm a catcher and i know that if my arm is a little sore and i throw the ball to my best ability it just keeps getting worse until i rest it but after being rested if i throw to much it starts hurting again so you never know

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