Re: Project the Red Sox Playoff Stars and Goats and
posted at 10/1/2013 1:34 PM EDT
In response to RedSoxFireman's comment:
Uehara is always a good bet, agreed. Buchholz should also be fine. Nava should be fine against Cleveland, but might have problems against Tampa who will start very good lefties in games 1 and 2. I hope you are right about Middlebrooks, especially against Tampa, but we'll just have to see. Against Tampa I think Vic, Pedroia, Napoli, Gomes, and Ortiz are better bets for hitting well. Middlebrooks is also error-prone at 3B. Among the starters, I like Lester the best.
Stars: Buchholz, Uehara, Middlebrooks, Nava
Goats: Peavy, Drew, Carp
Can't Go: Ellsbury, Napoli
For practically all of this season, the Sox have not relied on stars per se. Ortiz is easily the best bat, but was a non-factor in the excellent road trip against the Dodgers and Giants when the Sox went 4-2. I do think Ellsbury is the best bet at leadoff, but the Sox have won without him too. Same goes for Napoli, Victorino, etc.
Ellsbury is a good bet to play every game. Napoli too, but Farrell might be tempted to go with lefty bats against Cobb in game 3 if the Rays face the Sox. Remember too, in the ALDS the Sox have off days on Sunday and Wednesday.
Hard to see goat being pinned on anyone given the Sox distributed lineup. Of course, a starting pitcher by himself can make a game easy or hard to win. But Peavy, according to most projections, won't pitch until game 4, which means he is the 4th best starter, so I just don't see how he can be the goat. Same goes for Carp, who probably won't play in games 1 or 2 with Moore and Price starting. Are you going to label him a goat for not being in the lineup when he has been a part-timer all season long?
So that leaves us with Drew, whom you have attacked incessantly all season long. For the record, his WAR is 3.1, 42d best in the AL among all players. Not too shabby. His fielding stats have been similarly impressive. His OPS's in August and September were both over .850. However, for the season he has about a 300 point difference in OPS between facing righties, whom he hits well, and lefties, whom he does not hit well. So, if the Sox play the Rays and the Rays start games 1 and 2 with Moore and Price, two very good lefties, Drew could be hurting. On the other hand, Farrell rarely bats Drew higher than 7th and against those two he will likely bat him 8th or 9th. So this raises a simply question: how can 8th or 9th batter even be eligible for a the goat label?