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Home » September 2005 Game CommentsSeptember 2005 » Xeric


Game 152: September 21, 2005
Red Sox (88-64), 4
Devil Rays (64-89), 7
BS, L: Mike Timlin (7, 7-3)
W: Trever Miller (2-2)
S: Danys Baez (39)

0.5 game behind in the division
1 game behind in the wild card
1 game losing streak

I tend not to blame the manager for losses. In fact, I have only trotted out Second-Guess Sally once this season. Because it’s not Terry Francona that swings the bat. He doesn’t boot grounders, throw askew, get picked off second base, or let line drives whistle by him in the field. Neither does he hang curveballs, hit batsmen, give up bases on balls, or hurl wild pitches.

His sole purpose is to place players on the field who will be most likely put his team in the position to win. To do this, one hopes he considers many factors, such as:

  • Time of the year. It’s September and the team leads the division by only a half a game.
  • Men on base. Timlin has allowed 18 of 32 inherited runners to score.
  • Bullpen usage. This would be the 76th time Timlin would enter a game. He has pitched now pitched 75.2 innings. A comparable reliever is Tom Gordon with 74 appearances with 76.1 innings pitched. Remember how he worked out so well for Joe Torre last postseason when Gordon had a 8.10 ERA against the Red Sox.
  • Pitching staff characteristics. Wakefield has been nails, but when things to south for him, they do so quickly.
  • Proper timing. Given Wakefield’s tendencies, Francona could have someone warming in the 8th after the knuckleballer gave up a lead off single, a wild pitch, hit a batter, and had his bacon saved by a double play.
  • Pitching match-ups. The splits show that Timlin facing Travis Lee was a better match-up than Mike Myers, so I’ll give Francona that.
  • Empirical evidence. But after seeing Timlin getting lit up by line drive after line drive, the field manager failed to react.

Francona put his team in a position where he would be lambasted for either bringing in rookie pitchers in pressure situations or continuing with an overworked veteran. He managed himself out of options. He was lackadaisical when he should have been decisive. He was timid when he could have been bold.

Wakefield’s 7.2 inning, 7 hit, 4 earned run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, and 1 home run outing was wasted. Alex Cora, Bill Mueller, and Edgar Renteria’s 2nd inning RBIs were squandered. Manny Ramirez’s 5th inning homer was for naught.

There’s a saying known the world over: we never know the worth of water till the well has run dry. All season long Francona has drawn on Timlin. Will the reliever have anything in reserve when, or if, Boston makes the playoffs? Has the supply of good will Francona accumulated from the championship evaporated? It’s up to Francona to get water flowing again. Even if, or rather, especially if it’s dirty water.


You of course are wrong. Everyone knows the reason we lost that game was because Manny didn't bust his butt running down the 1st base line. God how can you be so myopic. If only he had ran as fast as he could, we would have won that game 18-7. It's all Manny's fault. All the time. Sheesh... /end whiny CFB

I agree that Timlin has been horribly overused, but really, what other options did Francona have? There's not a single person in the bullpen I'd have been happy to see come into the game in that situation.

I don't completely disagree with bringing Timlin in at that point. Francona painted himself in a corner by overusing him.

But would have left Timlin in even after he was smoked solidly, hit after hit? Why concede the game? Timlin either didn't have it that night or hadn't warmed long enough. Is Francona so scarred or scared after the Cla Meredith incident that he is completely unwelling to test the mettle of his rookie pitchers?

And Ed, you are so right about Ramirez not hustling. I absolve Francona of all wrong-doing and dub Manny the scapegoat. Sacrifice of said goat to begin on "The Big Show" this afternoon on WEEI.

I think it was Edger's fault for not being able to leap another 18 inches up to snare that liner over his head in the 8th that went for a triple. Eighteen measly inches!!!
OC could have jumped another 18 inches and then invented on the spot some cool handshake on the way down.
Boy did we sign the wrong guy

On Hansen probably being put in that situation, which was actually said by Gammons "The only time when Hansen has come into the game and not started a fresh inning during his time in teh minors, he ended up letting the inherited runner score" so Gammo defends me there

I do think we should've had somebody warming if need be in the 8th.

I agree on Francona being kinda scared because of the whole Cla Meredith thing.

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