Monday, June 20, 2005
A new place to post
Nothing's over, I just need something to drink. Errr...I mean, nothing's over. I'm just moving most of my thoughts over to there. The benefits to this is that I get to get more in depth with minor league ball, don't have to post here if I don't want to, and I'll be posting to an audience that's about 5 times bigger than the one I get here. Plus, Randy promised me riches beyond my wildest of dreams! But I don't think he'll come through on that.
I'm going to be taking down the standings, MVP watch, and last 5 games. I haven't really been updating any of them on a regular basis and I think that with this moves, those would become even less up to date.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
They could've had yesterday if it wasn't for that meddling bullpen
Wanna know what the worst thing about Tivo is? It doesn't record an entire baseball game. I missed out on the bottom of the 9th last night. Luckily nothing happened. I'm going to have to start recording the post-game show just in case the game runs over from now on.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Meet the catchers
Earlier in the week I posted a list of the top ten catching prospects in baseball. Since this is a Red Sox site I figured I'd have a list, in no particular order, of the catchers in the Red Sox system. They have a solid catching core at the top consisting of Varitek, Mirabelli, and Shoppach, but below that they really don't have much of anything. But I listed them all anyways. Here is a list of all the organization's catchers from the majors to low-A Greenville.
Jason Varitek - Over the last couple of seasons Varitek has catapulted himself towards the top of the list of best catchers in baseball. Very few in the game are more respected than the man that the Red Sox have behind the plate. While I am a little worried that he's getting to be overrated, it's hard not to like the guy. I just don't want him to turn into a Red Sox version of Captain Intangibles. Either way, the guy is good and is entrenched behind the plate for quite a while making life a little bit grim for a catcher in the Red Sox system.
Doug Mirabelli - Not only do the Red Sox have the best starting catcher in the league, but they also have one of the best back ups. No one has ever seen how Mirabelli would handle a full workload behind the plate, but many believe that he could be a starting catcher on half the teams out there. His numbers are way down this year compared to last year and not just because of the few weeks that he lost to injury. I think he just hasn't had the playing time to start coming around yet.
Kelly Shoppach - The trend doesn't stop with two of the best at the major league level. Kelly Shoppach is a name listed near the tops of most people's top catching prospects list. Shoppach is known mostly for his defense and for the power in his bat. He strikes out a lot and, like most catchers, can't run, but he produces some pretty solid numbers. He struggled at the plate last year, but after having a little while to adjust, he's doing just fine this year. He does have a low batting average at .264, but walks enough for a .374 OBP and his 11 homers and 8 doubles in 148 AB's give him a very respectable .541 SLG. He could be trade bait or he could be injury insurance. He could be a very valueable piece to the organization.
Shawn Wooten - Wooten was a non roster invitee to spring training this year, signed to add a little bit of depth and major league experience to the club. When he's not backing up Shoppach behind the plate, he's in the line up in Pawtucket at either first or DH. So far the signing has not been a good one as his .232/.291/.394 line in 203 AB's shows how much he's struggling. He was the 501st selection of the 93 amature draft by Detroit. He's also been part of the Angels and Phillies organization. He's had some good years at the minor league level, but so far at the age of 33, he's never put it together in the bigs despite getting a few shots.
Alberto Concepcion - Concepcion is known more for his defensive skills than for his light bat. He's hitting .269/.321/.366 as Portland's primary catcher and hits at the bottom of the line up. He hit the ball well in his senior year at USC going .363/.466/.637, but so far at the age of 24 he hasn't hit the ball all that well. He was a second round pick by the Padres coming out of highschool, but decided to attend college instead and fell to the 21st round when the Sox took him in 2002.
Jim Buckley - Buckley is essentially a 25 year old organizational filler. So far the best portion of his professional career was when he hit .236 in 55 AB's in high-A in 2003. He was drafted in the 25th round in 2002, has never hit a thing as a professional, and was called up from his back-up job in Portland when Wooten was called up to the majors in mid-May. In limited playing time so far in Pawtucket he's hitting .158/.289/.184. He's struck out 18 times in 38 at bats.
Clint Chauncey - Here is a guy who is 24 years old and is hitting .159/.222/.244...in A ball. He's working in his fourth organization since the Yankees drafted him in the 16th round in 2000 and he has exactly one home run as a professional. I'm willing to be my life on the fact that this guy will never even get a sniff of the big leagues.
Jeff Ontiveros - Oniveros was never drafted, but has been in the Red Sox organization since 2002. He's currently 26 and still playing in Wilmington. He's been getting the bulk of the team's time behind the plate and even batting clean up, but his .239/.352/.471 line isn't impressive for someone his age. He's taking the walks and hitting for power, but he's also striking out a lot.
Mitch Stachowsky - In 103 at bats the 20 year old Stachowsky has been Greenville's worst hitter with a pitiful .165/.298/.350 line. 11 of his 17 hits have gone for extra bases and he has walked 14 times, but so far the guy jsut can't hit. He's in his second year as a pro after being selected by the Sox in the 50th round of the 2003 draft.
Salvador Paniagua - Paniagua, 22, has walked 1 time in 104 at bats and has a .240/.248/.462 line. He's getting the extra base hits, but a 29-1 k-bb ratio will never cut it. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the Sox in 2001 and has so far had a professional career identical to the numbers he's putting up this year. He doesn't hit for average, doesn't draw walks, but manages an extra base hit every now and then.
Edit - Former fan favorite Brian Daubach is back up in the bigs with the Mets. Daubach will be sharing the first base duties with another former Sox first baseman, Doug Mientkiewicz. Minty has been struggling this year and is hitting only .208/.306/.354. Kevin Millar might be struggling at .278/.364/.400, but I've always believed that the Sox made the right choice when they shipped off Minty instead of Millar. You can argue the defense case all you want, but the Red Sox do not need a hole that big in their line up. Anyways, I wish the best of luck to Daubach. He was 0-1 with 3 BB's in his first game as a Met. If he wants to start getting some hits, I strongly recommend that he regrow the Amish beard.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Ready to trust Wells? Not yet.
So far so good in this series. The Sox are doing what they're supposed to do and that's beating Cininati's bad pitchers. Tonight will be a little more challenging when they send out their surprise ace, Aaron Harang. I can feel a sweep though. I think the Sox will get it done.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Top 10 catchers
Name - age/club - AVG/OBP/SLG/R/RBI/2B/3B/HR/SO/BB/SB/CS
1. Brian McCann - 21/ATL - .265/.359/.476/27/26/13/2/6/26/25/2/3 in 166 AB's/48 games in AA. He was recently called up to the big league club.
2. George Kottaras - 22/SD - .299/.385/.433/24/25/13/0/4/34/25/1/1 in 187 AB's/50 games in high-A
3. Kelly Shoppach - 25/BOS - .279/.392/.471/30/28/8/0/11/43/21/0/0 in 140 AB's/40 games in AAA. Just finished up a short stint in Boston.
4. Ryan Doumit - 24/PIT - .345/.415/.630/41/35/11/0/12/36/16/1/3 in 165 AB's/50 games in AAA. Currently in Pittsburg
5. Russ Martin - 22/LAD - .308/.442/.418/35/34/8/0/4/23/37/7/3 in 182 AB's/57 games in AA
6. Kurt Suzuki - 21/OAK - .275/.403/.455/41/23/13/3/5/31/34/3/2 in 189 AB's/51 games in high A
7. Jeff Mathis - 22/LAA - .263/.330/.500/32/27/12/1/8/34/16/2/1 in 160 AB's/43 games in AAA
8. Ryan Garko - 24/CLE - .263/.343/.488/40/31/12/2/10/35/20/0/1 in 205 AB's/56 games in AAA
9. Josh Willingham - 26/FLA - .343/.474/.759/48/47/11/2/18/37/37/4/1 in 166 AB's/50 games in AAA
10. Dioner Navarro - 21/LAD - .300/.414/.429/19/16/6/0/4/13/26/1/2 in 140 AB's/44 games in AAA
The Red Sox representative on this list is, of course, Kelly Shoppach. With his performance this year Shoppach is moving up on a lot of people's lists. He wasn't too impressive in his short big league stint, but his numbers in Pawtucket are very impressive. His defense is another plus that many people seem to like. The only problem is that this year is likely Shoppach's last year on this list. Once he hits the ripe old age of 26 it's going to be harder to consider the guy a prospect. He's wasting away his career in AAA, but as a Sox fan I don't really mind. I don't want to see him moved unless the Red Sox can get a really good deal. It's good for them to have him waiting in case Mirabelli or Tek goes down. Depth is something that the Sox have had a lot of in the last few years and it's something that a rich baseball team really should have.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
The Sox are starting to develope a little pattern it seems. They start off a series with two embarrassing wins before a strong pitching performance allows them to keep a little bit of dignity. On paper tomorrow should break that trend. Matt Clement takes on Eric Milton and the Reds. That is the definition of an easy win. So chances are good that the Sox will blow it.
In roster movement news, Doug Mirabelli is back and as expected, Kelly Shoppach's stay with the team is over.
Interleague play has not been kind
Friday, June 10, 2005
A long overdue minor league update
Pawtucket Red Sox (PAW 12/NOR 2, PAW 4/NOR 1, PAW 4/NOR 3, PAW 6/NOR 2, RIC 9/PAW 4, PAW 8/RIC 5, PAW 11/RIC 3, PAW 3/RIC 0)
Pawtucket has outscored their oponents 60-25 in their last 9 games, winning 8 of them. That's an average of 6.7 runs scored and 2.8 runs allowed. Everything is coming together for the team. The starters have been very solid, although for the most part, not spectacular, the bullpen has done its job, and the offense is pounding the ball. The only thing the team isn't doing as good as they were before is running the bases, but that's a minor point to nitpick about. They are now 5 games over .500, in 2nd place, and are only 4 games behind the 1st place Buffalo Bisons.
The biggest blow to the Sox organization when Doug Mirabelli went down with an injury wasn't in Boston itself, it was in Pawtucket. It would be downright scary to see how many runs the Paw Sox would've scored last week had they had their biggest offensive weapon, Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach is in the bigs, taking in the scenery and backing up Jason Varitek for the time being which leaves a very large hole behind the plate in Pawtucket. Jim Buckley, a 25 year old who has shown zero skills in his professional career, was riding the bench in Portland before the Sox called him up. So far in 34 AAA at bats he's putting up a .176/.317/.206 line. Sadly, that's better than he was doing in Portland. Shawn Wooten, recently back down from the big league club, went right back to his low production ways last week. He went 5-22 with 3 2b's and 4 k's while scoring twice and
knocking in 0. Wooten also got in a couple of games at first when Buckley was behind the plate. Boston will survive without Mirabelli, but Pawtucket would love to get Shoppach and his .279/.392/.571 line back.
Despite Shoppach not being around, the Paw Sox's production has only increased thanks, in large part, to Roberto Petaine. Petagine has been tearing the cover off of the ball putting up a .330/.430/.725 line with 9 HR and 24 RBI in only 91 AB's. He went 13-31 last week with 4 2B's and 3 HR's. Petagine's production is making the John Olerud signing look like a bad one. With his track record and current performance it's quite possible that Petagine could be outperforming both Olerud and Kevin Millar. I hope that the Sox are able to find a spot on the big league roster for Petagine sometime this year. The one time I saw him play was probably his only unimpressive game so far as he struck out twice in 4 at bats so I'd like to see what he can really do.
Adam Stern is hurt again. I don't know if he's hurt or if he's "hurt", but he's currently sitting out thanks to a hamstring injury. The Red Sox are going to have to get very creative if they want to keep this Rule V pick around for the entire year, but so far have done a good job. I don't really hear about it with other teams, but with Lenny Dinardo last year and Stern this year, the Sox seem to have a tendancy of bending the rules when it comes to this kind of thing. Stern, so far, is putting up a .273/.370/.455 line in 22 AB's over 6 games. He's stolen 2 bases without being caught, walked 4 times, and struck out 3 times.
The members of the Paw Sox outfield that aren't suffering from mysterious injuries are performing very well so far this year. Justin Sherrod, a 27 year old who has spent his entire pro career floating around the Red Sox system, is putting up some of the best numbers of his career with a .282/.361/.505 line in
188 at bats, but has struck out 59 times to go along with his 35 RBI and 33 R in 52 games. Last week he went 8-30 and most of those hits were for extra bases as he hit 2 doubles and 5 home runs. He struck out 8 times and walked 5 times. The only man on the team that has struck out more than Sherrod is George
Lombard. The 30 year old has played for 4 different organizations in his career and will likely never be an impact player in the bigs, but he's helping Pawtucket so far this year going .269/.356/.472. He is second in the Internation League with 41 runs, but his 68 K's are also good (or bad) enough for second place in the league. Last week he went 6-20, struck out 6 times, walked 4, and scored 5 times. The real star of the Pawtucket outfield so far has been Chip Ambers. Ambers spent 6 years in the Marlins organization before this year and now, at the age of 25, he's not really considered a prospect, but he's very fast and has the ability to get on base. He also has a bit of pop to his bat. This year has been the best year of his professional career. He leads the team with a .331 average and with a .426 OBP and his his .569 SLG is behind only Shoppach and Petagine. His stolen base percentage was great before last week. He started the year off with 12 steals in 13 attemps, but after being caught 3 times last week he is now 13 out of 18. He always seems to be on base and last week he went 8-25 with 4 walks, continuing the trend. He also had a 5 RBI game last week. Whether he's at the top of the order or in the middle, Ambers has been enough of a success that I've actually heard mumblings of Ambers taking over for Johnny Damon in center next year. I don't know if I'd go that far as this is Amber's first really successful season, but he could be a valueable fourth outfielder.
The only negative thing about the Paw Sox lately has been the play from their middle infielder, Alejandro Machado. Machado has been above .300 for much of the season, but his lackluster play lately has dropped him down to a .282/.343/.340 line. He has been successful in 11 out of 12 stolen base attempts with his first time getting caught coming on Monday, but with zero power in his bat, he needs to keep his batting average high to be of any value. He was advertised as a guy that can work the pitch count and get on base, but he has walked only 12 times this year. Two of those walks came in the game I was at last Monday.
The best pitching performance of the week came from Abe Alvarez who pitched two games. His first game was average when he walked 4 and struck out 7 in 5.2 IP, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits. His second start was the great one when he went 7 IP of nearly perfect ball allowing only 1 hit while striking out 9 to get the win. Alvarez has been performing well this season, but not spectacular. He's 5-2 with a 3.91 ERA in 69 IP with a 52/16 k/bb ratio.
The worst start of the week came from Lenny Dinardo who lasted only 4.2 IP and allowed 10 hits and 1 walk for 3 runs. He struck out 3. Dinardo has pitched 9 games this year, all starts and is 1-1 with a 4.19 ERA. Personally I think he'd be more effective out of the bullpen, the posistion where the Sox are most likely to use him if he gets the call once again to Boston, but so far it appears as if they're grooming him to be a starter, or at least a long reliever.
Chris Naverson won both games he pitched with a 6 inning performance where he struck out 7 and walked only 2, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and a 5 inning game where he wasn't as impressive, walking 5 while striking out 4 and allowing 3 runs on 3 hits. From the looks of things, Naverson typically gets roughed up in the early goings before setting down. He typically gets better as the game goes along. So far on the season he is 3-2 with a 4.05 ERA in 53.1 IP with a 35/26 k/bb ratio. His ERA would actually be a lot lower if you took out his one horrible performance where he let up 7 ER in under 2 IP, but in reality his ERA probably should be higher than it is. His strike out numbers are pretty low and his walk numbers are very high. If he keeps that up it's only a matter of time before he starts getting hit a lot harder than he's getting hit right now.
The best news in the pitching department for Pawtucket last week was the performance of their closer, Cla Meredith. Meredith hasn't skipped a beat after his poor showing in Boston. He pitched in 4 games last week, all of which were 1 IP outings and he didn't allow a run. He saved 2 games and struck out 5 while walking only 1 and allowing only 1 hit. In the last game he pitched in he faced 3 batters and struck all of them out.
Portland Sea Dogs (POR 14/NOR 2, POR 3/NH 1, NH 4/POR 1, POR 5/NH 4, POR 10/NB 2, POR 10/NB 9, POR 6/NB 4, NB 12/POR 9)
The Sea Dogs are nearly as hot as their AAA counterparts, winning 6 out of their last 8 games. The pitching that has always been there is still there, but the offense woke up a little bit, managing to hit double digits in runs scored 3 times last week including a 14-2 victory over Norwich. Their recent hot streak has not been enough, however, as they have dropped down to second place in the Eastern League North standings behind New Hampshire, the worst offensive team in the Eastern League. Portland's middle of the pack offense has scored 246 runs so far. New Hamshire is dead last scoring only 187 runs, the next lowest scoring 209. Their league leading 3.15 team ERA is an indicator of their success. Portland has a team ERA of 3.57, good enough for 5th out of 12 teams.
One of the reasons why the Portland offense is starting to get it together is because of Brandon Moss. After a great year last year Moss was considered by many to be the system's number 2 prospect behind Hanley Ramirez. I'm still not impressed with the guy because he's had only one good year and most of his stats last year were heavily reliant on his very high BABIP. But after a horrible start to the year, hovering around .230 for most of it, his bat is starting to wake up. After a week where he went 16-31 with 5 2b's, 3 HR's, 3 K's, and 7 BB"s his line for the year is already up to .293/.370/.494. Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez, now usually always mentioned in the same breath as Boston's top two hitting prospects, are starting to cool off after both started the year red hot. Ramirez went 5-26 last week and is down to a .279/.335/.421 line. He does have 15 steals in 20 attempts, but his power isn't there this year with only 2 homers and his average has been in a steady decline for a while now. When it's said that Pedroia has cooled off, that only means that he is doing really good instead of great as he was during the first month of the season. He has a .312/.390/.497 line and still seems to be on base every game. He only went 8-34 last week, but did walk four times with only 2 K's. I think Ramirez is falling off the Sox radar as far as 2006 goes, but I still think that Pedroia should be playing second in Boston on opening day 2006. Get him up in Pawtucket now to see how he responds. If he still performs, then sign a cheap vet at second for one year as a safety net and trot Pedroia out there every day. It's still early to be talking 2006, but so far Pedroia looks like he can handle it.
When it comes to first base, the Boston system is nearly devoid of prospects. Ian Bladergroen was considered the top dog in the minors by most, although I never saw what was so impressive about the guy. Either way, he went down with an injury leaving Jeremy West as the only healthy first base prospect in the system. Well, you can cross him off the list too. He went down with an injury last week, although I can't find any information as to what kind of an injury it is. If anyone knows where I can find injury reports on minor league players, let me know. West was second on the team with a .319 AV to go along with a .376 OBP and .462 SLG. He's not quite a power threat with only 2 homers on the year, but he has doubled 15 times, tops on the team.
With a couple of exceptions, the pitching was strong for Portland all week long. The worst performance of the week came from the ace of the staff, Jon Papelbon. Papelbon's first start of the week was fantastic. He went 8 innings for his longest outing of the year, but didn't get the win thanks to some poor run support. The Sea Dogs won the game in extra innings, but Papelbon let up only 1 hit and 1 walk for 1 run. He struck out 4. His second start was as bad as his first was good. He went 6 innings and despite giving up only 2 walks, he let up 7 runs, 4 of them earned. He allowed 10 hits and struck out 5. 10 starts into the year, Papelbon is 3-2 with a 2.48 ERA in 61.2 IP. He's struck out 53 and walked 17.
The next three guys in the rotation have been throwing the ball well this year. Jon Lester, just behind Papelbon on the prospects list is 3-1 on the year with a 2.98 ERA in 57.1 IP over 10 starts. He's struck out 59, good enough for tops on the team and third in the Eatern League and has walked only 19. He lasted 5 innings in his last start, earning the win by allowing only 1 unearned run on 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6. Dave Pauley, the 22 year old who came over in the Dave Roberts deal has quickly made a name for himself and established himself as a solid prospect. So far this year he's putting up numbers similar to Lester's only he has struck out far fewer. He's 3-1 with a 3.02 ERA and has struck out 40 while walking 14 in 56.2 IP. He's allowing a few too many home runs with 7 already, but his career rate is much better. This year could easily just be a fluke created by a few bad pitches and a few good swings. He was named the Eastern League pitcher of the week last week when he pitched twice, winning both of his starts. He went 7 IP in both and in both let up only 2 runs. In his first game he fanned 3, walked 2, and allowed 5 hits, one of them a homer. In his second outing he allowed 6 hits, 1 a homer, but did not record a strikeout or a walk. Chris Smith, limited to only 5 starts so far this year because of an injury, has been making up for lost time. In 30 IP he has a 3.30 ERA and has struck out 20 to go along with only 5 BB's. He's 2-1. He earned the win in his last start despite a shaky performance, going 6 IP and letting up 4 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 5.
I think this has gone on long enough. So I'll just be ending it here.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
As for the 2005 draft, from what I hear the Sox did pretty well. To see a list of who the Sox took, Baseball America has the complete listing for every team. The most in depth analysis of the Red Sox picks that I've seen came from a livejournal user and can be found here.
There's a minor league update that was supposed to be posted yesterday that's still on its way. I guess I just got a little bit lazy with that.
As for the big league club.....even after a win I don't even feel like talking about them. They shouldn't be scuffling this bad. They won't go on a 24-2 run again like they did last year. That doesn't happen for any team every year. That's hard to do. They need to start winning games on a consistant basis and they need to start doing it now.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
A lack of posts
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Gotta love the Damon heroics
Once again Keith Foulke's boxscore looked worse than his actual performance. He did let up a few singles to load the bases, but they were all just ground balls that found holes. He's coming around. I don't know if he'll be the dominant force that he was in last year's playoffs, but I'll just settle on reliable.
Edgar Renteria was finally started to get some support. After a great month of May the fans were starting to warm up to the guy. He's actually even received a few cheers this week. Of course after an 0 for 4 night with 3 k's and one of the worst errors I've ever seen a major leaguer make I think the boo birds might be back. I mean, come on, it was a pop up right to the guy. A pop up that I could've caught. And it dropped right out of his glove. His bat is coming around, but I'm still waiting for that gold glove defense that we've all heard so much about.
How bout them Yanks, eh? Six losses in a row...It's good to see them with a nice losing streak to help cancel out the hot streak they went on.
Friday, June 03, 2005
For now, just a couple things.
The only baseball I really got a chance to see was the Pawtucket/Norfolk game that I went to on Monday. The Paw Sox are on fire, especially against the International League South division leaders, the Norfolk Tides. The Sox are riding a five game winning streak and they just plain pounded the Tides on Monday winning 12-2. It was my first look at Adam Stern who went 2-5 in the game with 3 RBI's. My friend and I joked that now that he's making his rehab from the DL, he's going to have to have an "injury" again if the Sox want to keep him around. Sure enough, the next day I hear reports that Stern tweaked his hamstring. I don't know if it's an actual injury or some Rule 5 rule bending, but it's going to take a lot of creativity if the Sox want to keep him around all year, especially since there's really no room for the guy on the big league club. The biggest news of the night was the manager/third base coach for Pawtucket. It was very un-Sveum like when Ron Johnson actually held runners up at third and didn't run the team out of rallies. As my friend Kellen screamed out, that guy needs to be promoted to Boston.
Yesterday's game was a great game to see as my first game back in the cable world. What else can you say except for the fact that David Ortiz is frickin' amazing. Out of all the moves that Theo Epstein has ever made from the trading for Byung-Hyun Kim to the Thanksgiving dinner with Curt Schilling, the Ortiz signing was, in my opinion, his best move. The game was almost lost by Keith Foulke, but it was another example where the boxscore looked worse than the actual game. His command was a little lacking, but the only mistake he made was one walk. The hit to lead off the inning was a soft rolling ball that Kevin Youkilis made a really good play on, but David Newhan beat it out by half a step. A steal and a bunt later and Newhan stood on third. Miguel Tejada was walked intentionally so now Foulke looks like he has allowed a walk and a hit when in fact the walk was intentional and the hit was pretty weak. Foulke then made his only mistake by walking Sammy Sosa to load the bases. Rafael Palmeiro was next up and hit what could have been an inning ending double play ball, but he just beat out the throw at first allowing Newhan to score on a fielder's choice. Small ball nearly won the game for the Orioles before Ortiz showed them that the Sox don't need no stink' small ball to win games although Edgar Renteria did lay down a perfect bunt for a base hit. So Foulke's boxscore line looked bad and he continued his struggles, but last night was mostly just a case of bad luck and good baseball strategy.