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Wednesday Wallpaper: Fenway Follies; the Decline of Josh Beckett; Umps Don’t Love Yu; Credit Gary Carter for “F-Bomb”



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Jeff Passan of Yahoo! has details about the latest off-field incident to plague the Red Sox — a heated meeting a few weeks back between a majority of the players and ownership over manager Bobby Valentine’s managerial skills.

Eight days ago, besieged by questions about Valentine’s present and future, Red Sox general manager Cherington told reporters: “Bobby is our manager, and we’re not considering anyone else. He’s as committed to managing the team as he ever has been, and we’re committed to him and trying to do everything we can to support him and make this work.”

Henry emailed a statement to Boston media members that echoed the sentiment.

“To blame Bobby Valentine for the Red Sox being .500 at this point in the season,” he wrote, “is simply wrong.”

Some of the Red Sox’s biggest names disagree.

Issues that have inflamed players range far and wide. Leaving in Lester, a well-respected figure in the clubhouse, to get blasted for 11 runs and four home runs against Toronto soured players already beaten down by Valentine’s managerial style. Valentine uttering “Nice inning, kid” to rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks after he made a defensive blunder – an episode to which Valentine admitted on WEEI radio — only furthered the animus toward the 62-year-old, who is managing in the major leagues for the first time since 2002. Since spring training, players have chafed at Valentine’s careless – and occasionally self-serving — interactions with the Boston media, which his predecessor, Terry Francona, handled adroitly.

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Since we are already frolicking through Fenway Park, check out the latest from Dan Brooks of Baseball Prospectus, who examines the decline of Josh Beckett (5.19 ERA, 4.37 xFIP). The data appear to suggest that the one-time ace’s decreasing reliance on his four-seam fastball, particularly after the first two innings of his starts, is at least partially responsible for recent woes.

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Here’s another interesting discovery about a well-known American League pitcher: the inability of Yu Darvish (4.54 ERA, 3.89 xFIP) to get love from the home-plate umpire on pitches on the catcher’s-mitt side. Baseball Analytics’ David Golebiewski has the details.

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Batting with two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth of a scoreless game, Jay Bruce (.346 wOBA) sent the locals home deliriously happy with an opposite-field blast. With the victory over the Mets, Bruce’s Reds opened up a six-game lead in the National League Central.

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Inside the Book’s Tom Tango argues that “Willie Bloomquist is as immortal as Mariano Rivera, his performance never wavering, just always there doing his thing.” Here’s why:

Willie Bloomquist also has a career WAR close to zero (*), playing for a [way long list] of teams, played all over the field. He entered the league at age 24, and is still playing at age 34. Other than his 38-PA rookie season, his observed wOBA has been within 1 standard deviation of his career wOBA in every single season. . . .

(*) If ever I roll out my version of WAR, I’ll likely call it W/w (Wins over Willie).

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WTF?!? Via David Haglund of Slate, the latest edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary credits Hall of Famer Gary Carter with bringing the word “f-bomb” into the world.


Tags: MLB


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