Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bernie Sanders’s Dark Age Economics

Kevin D. Williamson, brilliant as always, on Bernie Sanders’s Dark Age Economics:
Bernie Sanders, the Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, generated a great deal of mirth on Tuesday when he wondered aloud how it is that a society with 23 kinds of deodorant and 18 kinds of sneakers has hungry children. Setting aside the fact that we must have hundreds of kinds of deodorant and thousands of choices of sneakers, Senator Sanders here communicates a double falsehood: The first falsehood is that the proliferation of choices in consumer goods is correlated with poverty, among children or anybody else, which is flatly at odds with practically all modern human experience. The reality is precisely the opposite: Poverty is worst where consumers have the fewest choices, e.g., in North Korea, the old Soviet Union, the socialist paradise that is modern Venezuela, etc. The second falsehood is that choice in consumer goods represents the loss of resources that might have gone to some other end — that if we had only one kind of sneaker, then there would be more food available for hungry children.


This is a very old and thoroughly discredited idea, one that dates back to Karl Marx and to the anti-capitalists who preceded him. It is a facet of the belief that free markets are irrational, and that if reason could be imposed on markets — which is to say, if reason could be imposed on free human beings — then enlightened planners could ensure that resources are directed toward their best use. This line of thinking historically has led to concentration camps, gulags, firing squads, purges, and the like, for a few reasons: The first is that free markets are not irrational; they are a reflection of what people actually value at a particular time relative to the other things that they might also value. Real people simply want things that are different from what the planners want them to want, a predicament that can be solved only through violence and the threat of violence. That is the first reason that this sort of planning leads to gulags. The second is that there are no enlightened planners; men such as Senator Sanders imagine themselves to be candidates for enlightened leadership, but put a whip in his hand and the gentleman from Vermont will turn out to be another thug in the long line of thugs who have cleaved to his faith. The third reason that this sort of planning always works out poorly is that nobody knows what the best use of resources actually is; all that the would-be masters know is that they do not approve of the current deployment of resources...

Read it all...

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 5/25/2015

A 3-3 week, at home, is not great. But all things considered, this was a much better week than I envisioned it being on Friday night...

The Week That Was:

  • 5/19 - @Boston 4 - Texas 3 - In their return home after splitting 10 games on the road, the Sox score in the first, Wade Miley puts up his fourth good start in a row in May, and struggling Mike Napoli goes deep for the first time in a week, and Boston starts the homestand with a win.

  • 5/20 - Texas 2 - @Boston 1 - The offensive struggles continue as Joe Kelly gives up single runs in the 2nd and 3rd, and that's all the Rangers would need, as Boston gathers 9 hits and 3 walks, and has the tying run in scoring position in the 6th, 7th and 9th, but only scores on a Xander Bogaerts solo HR.

  • 5/21 - Texas 3 - @Boston 1 - Clay Buchholz fights through a tough first inning and ends up allowing only two earned runs in 7 1/3 innings. But that was more than enough as the Red Sox' offensive performance drops to an almost unbelievable 2.32 runs/game for the first 19 games of May.

  • 5/22 - LAA Angels 12 - @Boston 5 - Following a nine-game stretch in which the Red Sox never score more than 4, and in which they average fewer than 2 runs per game, they manage to put up nine against the Angels. Unfortunately, Rick Porcello melted down in the 5th, and Boston had perhaps its worst inning of the season as the Angels score 9 runs against Porcello and two relievers in an inning that lasts nearly 40 minutes.

  • 5/23 - @Boston 8 - LAA Angels 3 - Mike Napoli hit two two-out HR, and the Red Sox, who have struggled to score runs all month, finally score more than six. After all of the games with two runs or fewer, they score two runs in three consecutive innings. Steven Wright pitches well, and they break the three game losing streak.

  • 5/24 - @Boston 6 - LAA Angels 1 - Mike Napoli, who was the source of such concern a week ago, goes deep for the fourth time in three games and fifth time on the week. Wade Miley is outstanding, allowing no baserunners through the first four innings, and finishing with 8 strong innings and fewer than 100 pitches, to get Boston even on the week.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • If you had told me before the season started that, when Memorial Day arrived, the Red Sox would be 2 1/2 games out in the East, I would not have been too surprised. If you'd told me that they would be two games under .500, I would have been a little more surprised. If you had told me that they would have the second-worst run differential in the American League, I would have been shocked. But that's where they are.

  • Given the third item on that list, they're lucky about the second. And phenomenally lucky about the first.

  • The fifth inning of Friday night's game may or may not have been the season's nadir, but we can sure hope that it was. I got in my car to drive to Boston as the second man of the inning was coming to the plate. When I stopped in Stoneham to get gas, the Red Sox were changing pitchers. When I got off at Government Center, they were changing pitchers again. When I turned on to Park Street, the inning was finally ending. It was one of the most miserable rides I can ever remember...

  • There are 250 Major League baseball players with more than 45 at-bats in the month of May. 2491 of them have driven in at least one run. The one glaring exception - Hanley Ramirez.

  • Friday night, in game 42, we first saw the outfield that many of us expected, and hoped, to see - Ramirez in LF, Betts in CF, and Rusney Castillo in RF. The night was a disaster, but not because of the outfield, and I expect that to be the defensive alignment more often than not the rest of the way.

  • Red Sox Goat of the Week - Rick Porcello was given a 3-2 lead as they headed to the 5th inning on Friday night. He proceeded to walk the first two men and allow two singles and a double (plus a steal of third) wrapped around a ground out before being pulled. He allowed 7 runs in just 4 1/3 innings and spoiled the best offensive performance in over a week.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Many members of the offense continued to struggle, with the 3rd-best offensive performance (Pedroia) being fairly weak. But there were two notable exceptions. Xander Bogaerts (.455/.478/.682/1.160, 6.21 runs created, 12.94 RC/25 outs) put up the kind of performance that very often results in a Player of the Week award. Unfortunately for him, he did it over the same stretch that Mike Napoli hit (.429/.500/1.190/1.690, 9.75 runs created, 20.32 RC/25 outs, 5 HR, 10 RBI).

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Other than Rick Porcello, the starting pitching was very good, and the best came from Wade Miley, who started, and won, two of the Sox' three victories on the week, pitching 15 innings and allowing only 3 runs for an ERA of 1.8.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/25/2015
Kansas City4.91(2)3.4(1)0.662(1)281528150
Tampa Bay3.82(12)3.51(2)0.539(5)242124210
NY Yankees4.41(8)4.48(9)0.493(9)222222220
LA Angels3.8(13)3.89(3)0.489(10)222222220
Chicago Sox3.59(15)4.59(13)0.389(15)162519223
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City10557
Tampa Bay8676
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City10755
Tampa Bay8775
Standings for the week
Kansas City3.8(11)1.8(1)0.797(1)41410
Tampa Bay2.67(14)3.17(4)0.422(11)33330
LA Angels4.71(4)6(14)0.391(12)34340
NY Yankees4.6(6)8.2(15)0.258(14)1405-1
Chicago Sox2.14(15)3.86(9)0.254(15)25250

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 5/18/2015

So, since they've apparently fixed the pitching that everyone was so upset about, things must be just hunky-dory right now. Right?

The Week That Was:

  • 5/11 - Boston 5 - @Oakland 4 (11) - Rick Porcello pitches fairly well, but three times the A's take a one-run lead, and three times the Red Sox come back, twice to tie, and then to take the lead. Boston's one-run lead in the 7th also does not hold up, but Pablo Sandoval leads off the top o f the 11th with a HR and Matt Barnes completes the game, pitching the last two innings and collecting his first Major League win.

  • 5/12 - @Oakland 9 - Boston 2 - Justin Masterson gives up 3 in the first, 1 in the second and 2 more in the third before leaving the game and heading to the disabled list with "fatigue."

  • 5/13 - Boston 2 - @Oakland 0 - Wade Miley outpitches one of the ALs leading Cy Young candidates, Sonny Gray, and needed to, as the Red Sox only 2 runs for the second consecutive day en route to winning two of three in Oakland.

  • 5/14 - Boston 2 - @Seattle 1 - For the third consecutive day, the Red Sox score 2 runs. For the second consecutive day, they allow fewer, and despite the excellent performance by Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes garners his second win in four days, and the second win of his career, as Boston opens the series in Seattle with a win.

  • 5/15 - @Seattle 2 - Boston 1 - The Red Sox offensive struggles continue, as they are held under three runs for the fourth time in five games on the week. They suffer a walk-off loss in the 9th, as Nelson Cruz is pitched to by Junichi Tazawa, and Cruz wins the battle.

  • 5/16 - Boston 4 - @Seattle 2 - With Porcello pitching very well, the Red Sox get solo HR from Pablo Sandoval and David Ortiz, and add a victory over Felix Hernandez to their west coast results.

  • 5/17 - @Seattle 5 - Boston 0 - Steven Wright fills in for the DLed Justin Masterson and is not ineffective, allowing 3 over five innings, but the Boston bats do absolutely nothing, and they leave Seattle with a 2-2 split.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • The Good News - the Red Sox league ranking in runs allowed per game has almost caught up with their league ranking in runs scored per game! The Bad News - it's more because of the dismal performance of the latter than the scintillating performance of the former.

  • The pitching has been much improved over the past couple of weeks, but the offense has completely disappeared. They averaged 5.14 runs/game in 22 games in April. In 16 games in May, thus far, they're averaging just 2.375 runs/game. Just stunning.

  • While "fatigue" was the official diagnosis as Justin Masterson headed to the DL, one suspects it more on the part of John Farrell's and Ben Cherington's eyes than Masterson's arm and shoulder.

  • You all know that I'm not a huge fan of bashing managers for tactical decisions. And I am not a big fan of intentional walks. But giving Nelson Cruz a pitch to beat you with, with one on and two out in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game is not a smart thing to do.

  • How bad was the offense?
    • They scored 16 runs in 7 games, 2.286 runs/game.

    • They hit .212/.280/.303/.583 (18.60 runs created, 2.41 RC/25 outs) as a team.

    • They scored 2 runs or fewer in 5 of their 7 games.

  • How bad has May been?
    • Mookie Betts is leading the team in Runs Created. He's hitting .210/.250/.452/.702 (7.64 runs created, 3.74 RC/25 outs) for the month...

    • You don't expect much offense behind the plate, but you need more than this: Catchers (.167/.196/.241/.437, 1.54 runs created, .80 RC/25 outs)

    • The "power positions", where you're paying big money to big-time offensive producers have not been quite that bad, but, position-adjusted, they may have been worse: Corner infielders, corner outfielders, DH (.202/.288/.322/.610, 22.36 runs created, 2.50 RC/25 outs)

  • I'm concerned that I've seen some of this before...
    David Ortiz (39) (.236/.322/.402/.723, 15.40 runs created, 3.67 RC/25 outs)
    Mike Napoli (33) (.162/.269/.282/.551, 8.06 runs created, 1.97 RC/25 outs)
    Jim Rice (36) ['89] (.245/.272/.374/.646, 14.07 runs created, 3.11 RC/25 outs)

    Too early to pull the plug? Yes. Too early to start getting very worried? Not at all...

  • One suspects that young Mr. Barnes may have made his last trip on the Pawtucket shuttle for a while. It seems quite likely that he's one of the 10 best Major League pitchers in the organization right now.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - In his return from the DL, Shane Victorino (.353/.421/.588/1.009, 4.23 runs created, 9.61 RC/25 outs) had a very good week. Had he not, this award would have been vacant for the week.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Wade Miley went 6 1/3 scoreless in a head-to-head matchup with Sonny Gray, albeit walking the tightrope the entire way. Matt Barnes picked up his first two Major League wins with four effective innings of relief over three appearances. Koji Uehara pitched 3 2/3 hitless innings while saving 3 of the Sox 4 wins on the week. But Clay Buchholz was dominant on Friday night, giving up only 1 solo HR and two other hits, while striking out 11 and walking none. That he didn't win had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the offense.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/18/2015
Kansas City5.05(2)3.61(3)0.65(1)25132414-1
Tampa Bay4(11)3.56(2)0.553(4)22172118-1
NY Yankees4.38(9)4(6)0.542(5)211822171
LA Angels3.62(15)3.49(1)0.517(7)191819180
Chicago Sox3.88(13)4.74(12)0.41(15)142017173
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City10260
NY Yankees9171
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City10557
Tampa Bay8973
NY Yankees8973
Standings for the week
LA Angels3.2(12)1.6(1)0.78(1)41410
Kansas City5.14(4)4(6)0.613(4)43430
Chicago Sox5.5(1)4.33(8)0.607(5)42511
Tampa Bay5(5)4(6)0.601(6)43430
NY Yankees3.14(13)5.29(13)0.279(14)25250

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 5/11/2015

If it's true, as I've said repeatedly, that winning 2 out of 3 makes for a good week and a great season, then you might think that losing 2 out of 3 would make for a bad week and a terrible season.

You would, of course, be right to think so...

The Week That Was:

  • 5/4 - Tampa 5 - @Boston 1 - Hanley Ramirez' running catch in the first inning is made just too close to the side wall in left field, and the subsequent collison ends up costing them two runs, as the ball pops out for a double, and Ramirez' services for most of the week. Clay Buchholz is mediocre, but the offense does nothing, as Tampa scores two before the Red Sox bat, and Boston trails for the entire>

  • 5/5 - @Boston 2 - Tampa 0 - For the second time in the 2015 season, and the first time since opening day, the Red Sox get seven scoreless innings from their starter, as Porcello dominates the Rays. Backed by 2 solo HR from Mookie Betts, Boston wins 2-0.

  • 5/6 - Tampa 5 - @Boston 3 - For just the second time in six games, the Red Sox score more than 2 runs, and just like the other time, they lose. Masterson is mediocre, not terrible, but the offense doesn't do much, and Boston loses its third consecutive serice.

  • 5/8 - @Toronto 7 - Boston 0 - The Red Sox go down in order of the top of the first, and Toronto scores the winning run when the second batter of the game homers. Boston plays its 4th consecutive game without Hanley Ramirez, and also plays without David Ortiz, as they stupidly didn't let him serve his one-game suspension on a scheduled day-off against a tough left-handed pitcher a week earlier, and his obviously pointless appeal turned out to be...pointless.

  • 5/9 - @Toronto 7 - Boston 1 - For the 2nd straight day, Boston does nothing right, as the starting pitching, bullpen, and offense vie for "most inept" honors. It's a close battle, but the offense wins. Again...

  • 5/10 - Boston 6 - @Toronto 3 - Boston scores four runs in the top of the first, and scores more than 3 runs in a game for only the second time in 9 May games, and Clay Buchholz pitches well as the Red Sox salvage the last game of the series in Toronto.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • There is no lamer or lazier sports-write trope than the sarcastic, "oh, that will certainly fix everything!" that greets all moves made by a struggling team. We heard or saw that several times this week, as the Red Sox made personnel moves in an attempt to prevent a severe slide from turning into catastrophe. It's a stupid comment for so many reasons, but there are two big ones. The first is this - no one suggested that any one of these moves would fix everything. And the second is that, regardless of whether it fixes everything or not, if it's a move worth doing, then it should be done.

  • Should they have fired Juan Nieves? I have no idea. I will say this, though - when it happened, there was a lot of snickering commentary, to the effect that they just have rotten pitchers, and how could anyone expect him to have done any better? Here's a little context for that - regardless of what you think of the particular pitchers on the Red Sox staff right now, the five starters all have Major League track records, and each one of them currently has a worse ERA than their career average ERA, by an average of 1.67 runs/9 innings. You can say that it's not Juan Nieves' fault, and you're almost certainly right in doing so, while at the same time saying, "we cannot continue this way - something needs to change." Does that make Nieves a scapegoat? Call it that if you like, but again, if something's not working, you need to change things.

  • As the skid continued this week, people continued to hammer the pitchers. The pitching wasn't great, but it was nowhere near as bad as the offensive performances. They allowed 4.5 runs/game, which was 11th in the AL. They scored 2.167, which was 14th. Just dismal.

  • I don't want to dislike Steve Lyons, but the more he talks, the more I want to hit him. He never says anything that isn't trite, obvious, and wrong. And he won't shut up...

  • I am rarely going to complain about David Ortiz. He is what he is, and what he is, and has been, is an enormous asset for the Boston Red Sox. But sometimes, there are things that he does that are infuriating. The constant whining about balls and strike calls is irritating, at best, and getting tossed for complaining, and then suspended for bumping an umpire, are both parts of the package that we could happily live without. But this is the part that's not acceptable, and it's partly David, and it's partly John Farrell. You need to recognize that there is no way on God's green earth that the one-game suspension is going to get overturned. None. Zip, zero, nada. So you can either choose to serve it at a time that's best for the club, or you can take your chances and serve it when the appeal is denied. The appeal was denied on Friday, so instead of serving it during a game that the team didn't have him in the lineup anyway two weeks ago, he ended up serving it on Friday night, against a tough right-handed pitcher, with Hanley Ramirez out of the lineup due to injury. And they got shut out. Would his presence have made a difference? Who knows. They lost 7-0, but it was close and competitive until late, and there were a couple of opportunities in the middle of the game where a hit might have made a difference. In any event, instead of choosing good timing for an Ortiz off-day, his pigheadedness and their refusal to address the matter of reality with him left the timing of his missed game up to MLB rather than themselves, and that's just stupid.

  • Down below, you'll see that the player of the week had a good and worthy week. What you won't see is the staggering gap between the best and second-best players on the team this week. So I'll tell you here that the second-best performance [Dustin Pedroia (.238/.320/.286/.606, 2.50 runs created, 3.68 RC/25 outs)] and third-best [Mike Napoli (.190/.292/.381/.673, 2.49 runs created, 3.66 RC/25 outs)] offensive performances were both bad. That should give you an idea as to how putrid the rest of the offensive performances were.

  • I remain optimistic that Blake Swihart is going to be a very good offensive catcher in the Majors. But he is not off to a good start.

  • Boston catchers, 2015 - .184/.288/.243/.531, 6.49 runs created, 1.80 RC/25 outs. Ugh.

  • Non-Betts/Ramirez outfielders (Victorino, Holt, Craig, Nava, Bradley) - (.190/.290/.256/.547, 15.50 runs created, 2.36 RC/25 outs). Ugh. (Obviously, that's only one game for Bradley, and Holt and Nava have played some infield, but still. Ugh.) "Where have you gone, Rusney Castillo, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you..."

  • From the Things-We-Knew-We-Needed-To-Worry-About Department: David Ortiz (.235/.328/.402/.730, 12.72 runs created, 3.74 RC/25 outs). Slow start, or the beginning of the increase of the decline?

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Unlike everyone else on the team, Mookie Betts (.320/.370/.840/1.210, 7.25 runs created, 10.65 RC/25 outs) had a really good week. We've seen better Player of the Week performances, but I don't that we've ever seen a bigger gap between the Player of the Week and everyone else than we saw this week.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Despite the offensive ineptitude, they managed to win two games this week, in one of which they did manage to score 6 runs. The other they won because Rick Porcello was absolutely dominant, striking out six and walking none while shutting out the Rays for seven innings, and pitching Boston to a win on a day on which the sole source of offense was two Mookie Betts' solo HR.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/11/2015
Kansas City5.03(2)3.52(2)0.658(1)201120110
NY Yankees4.66(5)3.72(3)0.601(2)191320121
Tampa Bay3.78(12)3.47(1)0.539(6)171517150
LA Angels3.69(14)3.78(5)0.489(10)16161517-1
Chicago Sox3.54(15)4.82(13)0.362(15)101812162
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City10557
NY Yankees10161
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City10656
NY Yankees9864
Standings for the week
Tampa Bay4.29(7)2.43(1)0.739(2)5243-1
LA Angels3.29(11)2.86(3)0.564(6)43430
Kansas City4.67(4)4.33(9)0.534(7)33421
Chicago Sox4.83(3)4.5(11)0.533(8)33421
NY Yankees3.57(9)3.71(6)0.482(10)34431

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Monday, May 04, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 5/4/2015

Challenged to write a sad story in the fewest possible words, Ernest Hemingway is reported to have written the following: "For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Used." One must applaud his effort, but I can top it. The saddest possible six word short story is clearly, "Swept. At Home. By the Yankees..."

The Week That Was:

  • 4/27 - @Boston 6 - Toronto 5. The Red Sox tie it in the 8th and walk off with a win in the ninth on a Mookie Betts single. The last series they play in April starts the same as all of the others have started - with a win.

  • 4/28 - Toronto 11 - @Boston 8. Clay Buchholz gets a nice cushion, as the Red Sox take a 4-0 lead in the second, and then melts down, giving up five runs, four earned, before leaving with 2 outs in the third, as the best Boston offensive performance of the week is spoiled by the least effective starting pitching performance of the week.

  • 4/29 - @Boston 4 - Toronto 1. In desperate need of a strong pitching performance, the Red Sox get one as Rick Porcello dominates the Blue Jays, retiring 13 Jays' batters in a row from the 2nd through the 7th innings.

  • 5/1 - NY Yankees 3 - @Boston 2. The string of series-opening wins ends on the 1st day of May as Justin Masterson follows Porcello's gem with a strong 6 innings, but gets no run support, and Tazawa gives up number 660 to Alex Rodriguez in the 8th for the loss.

  • 5/2 - NY Yankees 4 - @Boston 2. Blake Swihart makes his Major League debut and Wade Miley pitches well, but the offense does very little and the Red Sox fall to the Yankees for the second consecutive day.

  • 5/3 - New York 8 - @Boston 5. The Red Sox score five runs in the 6th inning, more than they had scored in the first two games of the series combined, but it's too little and too late, as they were already down 8-0 entering the inning. They get they tying run to the plate in the 6th, and the winning run to the plate in the 9th, but don't score again.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • Sometimes you have a busy weekend and miss all of the games, and say, "I wish I'd been able to see that." And sometimes, you say, "Thank God I was busy elsewhere." This past weekend was obviously the latter.

  • The Master Plan for 2015 said that the Red Sox' starting catcher would be Christian Vazquez, and that he'd be backed up by Ryan Hanigan. On Saturday, the Blake Swihart era in Boston began, as Hanigan joined Vazquez on the 60-day DL. Plans, as the poet Burns was known to note, "gang aft agley..."

  • It was a mediocre week offensively, as the Red Sox averaged 4.5 runs/game, seventh in the AL, and were held to two runs twice. And it seems odd that the top five hitters in the lineup could be so effective and yet the results could be so poor. Betts, Pedroia, Ortiz, Ramirez and Sandoval had an excellent week, hitting (.357/.408/.539/.947, 23.99 runs created, 7.50 RC/25 outs) as a group. Unfortunately, the rest of the lineup consisted of pitchers and NL shortstops. At least, that's what the numbers - (.163/.258/.267/.525, 4.94 runs created, 1.62 RC/25 outs) - would suggest.

  • For all of the complaining about the starting pitching (which has not been good) they got three consecutive strong starts, yet managed to go only 1-2 over that stretch.

  • There was obviously a lot of bad timing in the poor 2-4 record. In two of the four losses, they scored five runs or more. In the other two, they allowed four or fewer.

  • There was some bad timing in the offense, too. Their raw offensive numbers - hits, walks, HR, etc., suggests that they "created" just about 29 runs. They ended up actually scoring 27.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - The numbers say that David Ortiz (.409/.462/.545/1.007, 5.14 runs created, 8.56 RC/25 outs) had a very good week and that Dustin Pedroia (.348/.444/.478/.923, 5.06 runs created, 8.43 RC/25 outs) had a very good week, but that Pablo Sandoval(.478/.478/.696/1.174, 6.45 runs created, 13.45 RC/25 outs) had the best week.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - On the heels of an 11-8 loss to the Blue Jays, featuring yet another disastrous <3 inning start, this time from Clay Buchholz, the cries about the starting pitching, and its impact on the bullpen, were deafening. Rick Porcello allowed only one run over seven innings, and set down 13 Blue Jays' hitters in a row at one point, sending the team into an off-day on the heels of a 4-1 win.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/4/2015
Kansas City5.12(3)3.32(1)0.688(1)178169-1
NY Yankees4.96(6)3.72(3)0.629(3)1691690
Tampa Bay3.64(14)3.76(4)0.485(9)121313121
LA Angels3.8(11)4.04(5)0.472(10)12131114-1
Chicago Sox3.18(15)4.91(12)0.311(15)7158141
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City10458
NY Yankees10458
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City11052
NY Yankees10260
Standings for the week
NY Yankees4.17(8)2.5(2)0.718(4)42511
Kansas City5.57(5)3.43(4)0.709(5)5243-1
LA Angels3.33(12)4.5(9)0.366(12)24240
Tampa Bay1.67(15)3(3)0.254(14)24240
Chicago Sox2(14)7.8(15)0.077(15)05050

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday pythagorean, 4/27/2015

The first poor week of the season, as they lose back-to-back series on the road in the division en route to a 3-4 week... The Week That Was:
  • 4/20 - @Boston 7 - Baltimore 1 - In the rain on Patriots' Day, Justin Masterson pitches well and Wei-yin Chen does not. Boston breaks a 1-1 tie with four in the 3rd, making it a 5-1 game, with all five of Boston's runs being unearned, and the Red Sox eventually win a rain-shortened seven inning game.

  • 4/21 - Boston 1 - @Tampa 0 - Wade Miley's start is significantly better than his last one, as he allows no runs in 5 2/3, Alexi Ogando comes in to get the last out of the 6th with the bases loaded, and the Red Sox score yet another unearned run on yet another opponent error for Miley's first win in a Boston uniform.

  • 4/22 - @Tampa 7 - Boston 5 - Joe Kelly has an effective start as the Red Sox take a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the 6th. But he struggles and the bullpen comes in to pour gas on the fire, as Tampa scores four in the 6th and two more in the 7th.

  • 4/23 - @Tampa 2 - Boston 1 - The Red Sox lose their first series of the year as the offense fails to support a strong effort from Clay Buchholz. Each team scores one in the 2nd, and the Rays walk-off with another in the 9th.

  • 4/24 - Boston 7 - @Baltimore 5 - A mediocre performance from Rick Porcello is overcome by the offense, as Ortiz (3 runs) and Ramirez go back-to-back in the 5th, and then Brock Holt breaks a 4-4 tie with a 3-run HR in the 8th, as Boston continues its streak of winning the first game of each series it has played in 2015.

  • 4/25 - @Baltimore 5 - Boston 4 (10) - In a game that they've no business winning, Boston is aided by Baltimore base-running and defensive lapses as they tie it in the 9th, and then take a 4-3 lead on a Xander Bogaerts HR in the top of the 10th. But then Koji Uehara comes in to close it out, and gives up a lead-off triple, aided by an Allen Craig diving catch attempt, a sacrifice fly and a HR to lose the game.

  • 4/26 - @Baltimore 18 - Boston 7 - Pablo Sandoval hits his first Boston HR and Hanley Ramirez hits two more, but The Red Sox get another disaster start from Wade Miley as things start badly and go downhill from there.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • Three times this week, the Red Sox scored 7 runs in a game. In those games, in which they were 2-1, they were outscored by three.

  • Three times, they had a starter go at least five and allow only fewer than two runs. They were 2-1 in those two games.

  • So they were 1-3 when scoring fewer than 7 runs. They were 1-4 when allowing more than 1 run.

  • On the positive front - Pablo Sandoval and Mike Napoli each hit their first home runs of the 2015 season.

  • Hanley Ramirez continues to hit, with three more HR this week, bringing his total to eight on the young season.

  • I fully expect the "we need an Ace! We need more starting pitching!" brigade to be in full-voice mode this morning on the heels of another disaster start from Mr. Miley. It's worth noting, though, that in the first six games of the week, the starters had gone at least five, and averaged almost six, with an ERA of 3.63. That should be plenty good enough for this team, but they combined untimely offense (2-1 loss on Thursday) and untimely bullpen problems (4-3 loss on Saturday) to put up an under .500 week that could easily have been better.

  • Yes, they were outscored by six runs on the week, but they were outscored by 11 on Sunday in one disaster start. They outscored the opposition by five in going 3-3 during the first six games of the week, and each of the three losses could have easily been a win.

  • Nothing has happened yet to alleviate my fear that the Uehara re-signing was a mistake. I didn't dislike the signing, but felt uneasy, worried that it was more of a "wow, he was great in 2013 and we love him" move than a cold-hearted, "it's not personal, just business" move. Belichick wouldn't have done it. So it was concerning to listen to Don and Jerry discussing his velocity during the Adam Jones at-bat in the 10th inning on Saturday night, and while feelings of impending doom are not always and inevitably followed by said doom arriving, it was disturbing and disappointing to see that inning go so badly so quickly.

  • It's one thing for a pitcher to be up-and-down. A team doesn't need everyone of its starters to be great every time out. But what will kill you is the disaster starts, a start where a starter give up 7 or more without getting out of the third inning. Wade Miley's done that in two of his last three starts.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - The Brock Star [Brock Holt (.364/.533/.636/1.170, 3.79 runs created, 11.85 RC/25 outs)] had another great week as he's off to another tremendous start. But the player of the week award goes to the big money free agent who was brought in to hit and is doing so, Hanley Ramirez (.391/.440/.783/1.223, 7.16 runs created, 12.78 RC/25 outs)

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - The best start of the week came from Clay Buchholz, who allowed only one run in six innings in a loss in Tampa on Wednesday. But Justin Masterson was effective twice, allowing four runs in 12 innings, while coming one Uehara breakdown away from leading Boston to two wins vs. division rival and defending AL East champions Baltimore.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 4/27/2015
Kansas City4.94(5)3.28(1)0.68(1)1261260
NY Yankees5.21(3)4.11(7)0.607(2)127118-1
Tampa Bay4.26(8)4(4)0.529(6)1091181
LA Angels3.95(9)3.89(3)0.506(9)109910-1
Chicago Sox3.53(14)4.06(6)0.436(12)710891
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City10854
NY Yankees9468
Tampa Bay9468
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City11052
NY Yankees9864
Standings for the week
Tampa Bay5(3)2.17(1)0.822(1)51510
NY Yankees5(3)3.14(3)0.7(2)52520
LA Angels4.57(7)3.43(5)0.629(4)43430
Chicago Sox3.67(11)2.83(2)0.616(5)42420
Kansas City3.5(12)3.17(4)0.546(7)33330

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 4/20/2015

When you score runs and stop the other team from scoring, you win games. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, this was a week in which they failed to score runs or stop the other team from scoring, at least on too many occasions...

The Week That Was:
  • 4/13 - @Boston 9 - Washington 4. Tom Brady throws out the first pitch as the Red Sox open at Fenway on a beautiful day in Boston. Mookie Betts makes a HR-saving catch, steals 2nd and 3rd on the same play with the defense shifted against Ortiz, scores the first run of the day, and then hit a three-run HR to give Boston a 4-0 lead, all before the 2nd inning ends.

  • 4/14 - @Boston 8 - Washington 7. The Red Sox take a 5-1 lead with Justin Masterson outpitching Steven Strasburg through four innings. Masterson falls apart in the fifth, and Washington goes up 7-5. The Nationals' defense then falls apart, for the second day in a row, as Boston scores three runs in the 8th on a combination of walks and errors and defensive mental breakdowns to take the 8-7 lead which Koji Uehara, in his first appearance of the season, would protect.

  • 4/15 - Washington 10 - @Boston 5. Wade Miley gives up two in the first, then six more in the third, which he didn't get through, as Boston spends the entire afternoon trying - unsuccessfully - to come from behind. The 2 1/3 inning stint is the 3rd shortest start of Miley's MLB career.

  • 4/17 - @Boston 3 - Baltimore 2. Boston catches a break when Ubaldo Jimenez is thrown out of the game after intentionally hitting Pablo Sandoval in the 4th, Ryan Hanigan's 2-run HR ties the game in the 7th, and they collect their first walk-off win of the season when Xander Bogaert's bloop hit to right drives in Mike Napoli in the 9th.

  • 4/18 - Baltimore 4 - @Boston 1. Clay Buchholz allows only two runs in six innings of work, but the Boston offense does nothing, and the Robbie Ross' gives up a two-run HR in the top of the 9th to put it away for the Orioles.

  • 4/19 - Baltimore 8 - @Boston 3. For the third consecutive game, the Red Sox fall behind the Orioles 2-0, but Hanley Ramirez gives Boston the lead with a 3-run HR in the bottom of the first. The lead is short-lived as Porcello gives up another run in the top of the 2nd, then 2 more in the 5th and 3 more in the 6th for his first bad outing of the year, as the Sox lose consecutives games for the first time and fail to win a series for the first time on the young season.

Thoughts and commentary...
  • While down 2-1 against the Orioles, the Red Sox have not yet lost the series, as they played the wraparound Patriots' Day game this morning, weather permitting.

  • From Monday: "[W]e've got an early leader in the Player Of The Week Competition. So far, Betts has a 3-run HR, 2 runs scored, 1 walk, 1 hit and 2 stolen bases. And a 2-run catch. And they're not out of the 2nd inning yet..." Unfortunately for him (and the team), what Mookie's done best so far is hit line drives to outfielders on the warning track.

  • If you're concerned about Hanley Ramirez' defense in left field, you can find lots of people to join you in that concern, and commiserate with you, and spend time beating up on Hanley and his defense and his attitude with you. But you'll find them elsewhere, not here. As far as I'm concerned, Hanley's here to hit, and to catch the easy fly balls in left, and to track down and pick up and throw to second on the rest of them. Anything that goes beyond that does not interest me in the slightest.

  • Nothing good comes of competing with Washington on April 15.

  • There's been a lot of grousing - much of it well deserved - about the starting pitching during the second trip through the rotation. But they've lost 2-3 to Baltimore because they haven't hit. The Orioles have outscored them 14-7. They've gotten good pitching in 2 of the 3 games. Buchholz gave up two runs in six innings on Saturday, and Boston lost 4-1.

  • There has also been concern expressed about the bullpen. Thus far the relief pitching has been very good, or better.

  • Bad weeks (offense): Mike Napoli (.217/.280/.304/.584, 2.01 runs created, 2.79 RC/25 outs), Xander Bogaerts (.222/.300/.222/.522, 1.31 runs created, 2.34 RC/25 outs), Shane Victorino (.182/.400/.182/.582, 1.05 runs created, 2.62 RC/25 outs), Daniel Nava (.100/.100/.100/.200, -.72 runs created, -1.65 RC/25 outs). Yeah, Sandy Leon and Ryan Hanigan and Allen Craig were bad, too, but I expect that and will rarely bother pointing it out.

  • That was a quick hook on Jimenez on Friday night. And probably benefitted the Red Sox. I didn't have much of a problem with it, though. I thought that he intentionally threw at Sandoval, and it was close to his head. It was the kind of pitch that should lead to ejections, but usually doesn't. The fact that it usually doesn't is what leads me to label it both quick and questionable. If umpires consistently tossed guys for intentional pitches at the shoulder and head, I'd be fine with it.

  • Red Sox Goat of the Week - Justin Masterson was aiming for this, giving up 7 runs in just 4 2/3 innings, but Wade Miley matched him in runs while getting only half the number of outs.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - On a per-at-bat basis, it was Brock Holt (.412/.412/.471/.882, 3.29 runs created, 8.22 RC/25 outs), followed by David Ortiz (.375/.474/.625/1.099, 3.72 runs created, 7.75 RC/25 outs) (when he wasn't getting tossed for whining about calls.) For best cumulative performance, and Player of the Week, it's Dustin Pedroia(.333/.409/.556/.965, 3.88 runs created, 6.92 RC/25 outs).

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - The bullpen was, on the whole, effective, albeit with no standout performances. The starters, on the whole, were not, with a couple of performances that stood out. But not for good reasons. And there is no pitcher awarded this week.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 4/19/2015
Kansas City5.67(1)3.33(3)0.725(2)93930
NY Yankees5.33(4)4.67(8)0.561(6)7566-1
LA Angels3.58(11)4.17(5)0.431(8)57570
Tampa Bay3.92(8)4.85(11)0.405(10)58671
Chicago Sox3.45(12)4.73(10)0.36(14)47470

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City12240
NY Yankees8181

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City11844

Standings for the week
NY Yankees5.5(1)3.83(7)0.659(1)42420
LA Angels4.5(6)4(8)0.554(4)33330
Kansas City4.67(4)4.17(9)0.552(5)33330
Chicago Sox4(10)3.8(6)0.523(7)3223-1
Tampa Bay3.29(13)5.14(12)0.306(15)25341

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