Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Aloha Means Goodbye

Shane Victorino was traded yesterday. It was the right move to make as the Red Sox go into 2016 preparation mode. The trade ends Victorino's career in Boston. While he was injured often the last two years nothing can take away the 2013 season where he was one of the most important players on the eventual World Champions. His career in Boston can be summed up best by the 7th inning during Game 6 of the 2013 ALCS. The Sox were down 2-1 and the bases were loaded. Victorino walked to the plate as Bob Marley's Three Little Birds blared over the speakers. The fans began to sing along and Victorino went deep sending the Red Sox to the World Series. Everything truly was going to be alright. Aloha!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Anthony Wright Beats Clemson Again

Anthony Wright might be one of the most underrated players in Gamecock history. He had a very good college career which mostly went unnoticed because he played on some pretty bad Gamecock teams.

Wright played 40 games for the Gamecocks over four years and threw for just under 6,000 yards. Wright also tossed 38 touchdown passes to just 22 interceptions in his college career. This was all done without many weapons and a pretty bad offensive line. Can you imagine what he could have done with the recent Gamecock teams? Pretty scary.

Wright then went undrafted but made the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent. Wright would go on to play seven years in the NFL for the Cowboys, Ravens, Bengals and Giants. In his last year in the NFL he would get a Super Bowl ring as the backup QB to Eli Manning.

It was fitting that Wright was able to enjoy team success in the NFL since he didn't have that opportunity in college. However, in 1996 he was the starting QB for the Gamecocks in a win over Clemson in Death Valley. It was one of the most entertaining games in the rivalry's history.

Wright managed to "beat" Clemson again, this time in retirement. This is from Anthony Wright's Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. Great job A1!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Red Sox Missed Out on deGrom

Jacob deGrom lowered his ERA to 2.18 last night as he beat the Washington Nationals. He is the kind of pitcher the Red Sox need. Sadly, he was real close to being on the Red Sox. According to the great Peter Gammons, Ben Cherington wanted deGrom when having trade talks with Sandy Alderson back in 2012. The Mets needed a catcher and wanted Kelly Shoppach. Cherington had his eyes on deGrom. Alderson was fine with the deal until he checked with some of his minor league scouts. The scouts were pretty clear that deGrom wasn't a guy that should be traded. Alderson took the advice of the scouts and the Mets ended up getting Shoppach for Pedro Beato. Beato would throw just 21 innings after the trade and is now out of baseball.

This news does give you confidence in Cherington's eye and while mistakes have been made it makes you wonder if the mistakes are those made by Cherington or those made by John Henry and company? Ownership screwed up the Jon Lester talks and he easily could still be with the Red Sox if he wasn't low balled in the spring of last year.

With a little luck and common sense the Red Sox rotation could be Lester, deGrom, Clay Buchholz, and Eduardo Rodriguez. What about the fifth guy? How about Cole HamelsYesterday we posted why the Sox still need to trade for Hamels and in this scenario he would definitely make sense.

Even more impressive is how inexpensive that rotation would be. deGrom and Rodriguez make the league minimum and are under team control, Clay makes $13 million and Lester could have been signed by the Sox for $20 million a year for six years or the same deal the Sox were willing to give Rick Porcello. (Sorry if that makes you vomit.) Hamels would round out the rotation adding $23.5 million to the payroll rotation. $57.5 million for a rotation of Lester, Hamels, deGrom, Buchholz, Rodriguez. The current Red Sox rotation is right around $46 million. You have my permission to vomit now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Red Sox Need to Buy at Trade Deadline

The 2015 Red Sox season is over in mid July once again. This makes the Red Sox sellers but do the Red Sox have anything to sell? I think Jared said it best on twitter:

Do the Red Sox have to be sellers? The Red Sox need help for next season. They need pitching and the best way to get pitching for next year is going to be at the trade deadline this year. They must trade for Cole Hamels. How much will they have to give up? It is a given that the Phillies will want at least one guy from the group of Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson and Henry Owens along with the next tier of prospects to complete the trade. It is desperation time for the Sox. If Hamels gets traded elsewhere the Sox will then have to overpay in the offseason for Johnny Cueto or possibly David Price. Cueto looks like he is on the verge of breaking down and I think he is going to be a disaster for any team that signs him in the offseason to a long term lucrative contract. I have this awful feeling that team will end up being the Red Sox. It will be a move that stinks of desperation. We have seen moves like this in the past and it never ends well.

  Price is a very good pitcher, a much safer bet than Cueto but it is no guarantee he will make it to free agency and he will still command much more money then Hamels has left on his deal. Throw in the fact that you have no idea how Cueto or Price will adjust to being in a market like Boston and Hamels looks even better. If you can pitch in Philadelphia you can usually handle the atmosphere in Boston. See Curt Schilling.

Sellers? These Red Sox need to be buyers and they better hurry. Next season and seasons to come depend on it.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Angry at Spurrier

We all love Steve Spurrier at the end of the day. The Gamecock football program has never been more successful and that is all due to the Head Ball Coach. However, Spurrier is his own worst enemy in a lot of ways. He has brought success here which then leads to higher standards and expectations. When these expectations are not reached fans can get angry. This was definitely the case two seasons ago in Knoxville when the Gamecocks would lose to Tennessee. It would be the only conference win of the season for Tennessee and would end up costing the Gamecocks the SEC East title. Two days after the loss I received this message from a good friend and fellow alum of the University of South Carolina. The message is one of the all time greatest rants you will ever hear. It is a pure venting of frustration. I decided to set the message to pictures. (It ends abruptly because the length of the message was so long it cut him off) WARNING.....THIS HAS ADULT LANGUAGE. DO NOT PLAY AROUND CHILDREN.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

40 Years Later: The 1975 Super Sox

This season marks the 40 year anniversary of the 1975 Super Sox and their AL Pennant winning season. Throughout the year NESN has done a great job of looking back on each game of the 1975 season as the 2015 season plays out. We felt it was a perfect time to break out Out of the Park Baseball and take control of the 1975 Sox and see if we can lead them to the promised land.

For those of you familiar with Out of the Park Baseball, we are strictly playing in replay season mode with real transactions. We are not playing with real lineups though. In other words, we are free to make out our daily lineups with the players available on the 1975 Red Sox and the computer managers are free to do the same with the rest of the teams in the 1975 season.

For even more variety, we have turned on injuries. This means that anyone can get injured at any time and miss some significant time. In the real 1975 it was Jim Rice getting hurt late in the season which greatly hindered the Sox in the World Series against the Reds. Rice won't necessarily get hurt in this replay simulation but it doesn't mean the likes of Fred Lynn will remain healthy either and same goes for all the other players in this replay of the 1975 season.

Welcome to the new 1975 season and here are your 1975 Red Sox:

The real 1975 Red Sox finished their first week of the season at 3-2 and tied for first place

In our alternative 1975 season things have gotten off to a rocky start for the Red Sox

At 1-4 not much has gone right for the Red Sox as they finished the week by getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles. The starting pitching has been awful especially from staff ace Luis Tiant.

Dwight Evans has been a bright spot in the first week as he has been red hot at the plate and playing unreal defense in RF. Evans had three assists in the first week to lead all outfielders. Nobody else has more than one.

The Red Sox are not alone in their struggles. The Reds are off to a 2-4 start, Reggie Jackson of the Athletics won AL Player of the Week and Darrell Evans of the Braves won NL Player of the Week although you could also make a great case for Mike Schmidt who homered four times and drove in ten runs in his first five games of the season.

Predicting the 2015 Gamecock Football Season

Image result for Phil Steele 2015 college football magazine

Phil Steele's College Football magazine is out. If you have never looked at one, correct that right away and pick up a copy as soon as you can. Phil prides himself on detail and there is a ton of detail jam packed in this magazine. His power ratings have also proven to be a great predictor of the upcoming seasons. Has he been perfect? Of course not, but he has been better than most. 

That brings us to the bad news concerning the Gamecocks. The numbers don't look great for the Gamecocks in 2015. That being said, Phil Steele does say they could be a strong under-the-radar team in 2015. What exactly does that mean? Who the hell knows, but it sounds a lot better than the raw number projections.

The raw numbers are not pretty for the Gamecocks. Phil Steele gives them a Plus/Minus rating of 104.87 which I round up to 105. This is good for 12th in the SEC. This is pretty consistent with other predictions for the Gamecocks this season. These numbers are based on last year and of course projections for this year. Last year was awful so you come to expect this low number. Conversely, the Gamecocks were fantastic in 2013 which led to their strong plus/minus number in last year's magazine when they had the third highest number in the SEC.

This is where it gets scary, we went ahead and used these numbers to predict outcomes for each game this year for the Gamecocks. Home field advantage gives a team a boost of 3 plus/minus points. Here are the results:

OpponentProjected Result
North Carolina WIN by 1
Kentucky WIN by 5
at Georgia LOSE by 18
UCF WIN by 8
at Missouri LOSE by 12
Vanderbilt WIN by 9
at Texas A&M LOSE by 10
at Tennessee LOSE by 14
Florida WIN by 2
The CitadelWIN
Clemson LOSE by 5
6 - 63 - 5
Wins by 5 points or lessLosses by 5 points or less

Unfortunately, these results fall right in line with the current over/under win total number for the Gamecocks which sits at 7. The scary part is half of the Gamecocks projected wins are by 5 points or less while only one of their losses is by 5 points or less. We all would have felt a bit better if those numbers were reversed.

Is the season over before it even begins? Not at all. As we mentioned, Phil Steele is good but not perfect. We learned that last year as the Gamecocks fell well below their projections. Maybe this year they can rise well above them and be that under-the-radar team he is talking about.

One game of interest is the Tennessee game. Two years ago they ruined our season in Knoxville and last year we folded like a cheap suit against them late. It is very hard to believe that Tennessee native Steve Spurrier will lose a third straight game to Tennessee especially with it being played in Knoxville. The Gamecocks will be the third straight SEC opponent for the Vols and they will be just two weeks removed from playing Alabama. You could definitely see them coming out a bit flat while the Gamecocks come out on fire with a grinning Spurrier enjoying some revenge. As for the Clemson game, it is the only loss that is in that 5 points or less projected window. 8-4 sounds much better to us.