Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 6/29/2015

A team with a big lead can afford to alternate wins and losses for a while. A team with a big deficit is ill-positioned to play that way. Like the [LWLWLW] Red Sox...

The Week That Was:

  • 6/23 - Baltimore 6 - @Boston 4 - In what will be his last Major League start for a while, Joe Kelly allows four runs in the second inning, and the bullpen allows a fifth when he's pulled with two outs in the fourth. Boston scores single runs in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 9th, but can't put up a "crooked number," and the attempted comeback falls short.

  • 6/24 - @Boston 5 - Baltimore 1 - Another excellent start from Clay Buchholz, who strikes out seven while walking one, and allows only one run over seven innings. All of the runs score in the sixth inning, as Baltimore breaks a scoreless tie with one in the top half, and the Red Sox respond with six in the bottom half.

  • 6/25 - Baltimore 8 - @Boston 6 - For the second time in the three game series, Boston's starter fails to finish the fourth. Eduardo Rogriguez is perfect and unhittable for the first 3 1/3 innings, and then allows seven consecutive hits to the next seven batters, including two doubles and a HR. He finishes his day having allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings pitched. Boston fights back, scoring three themselves in the bottom of the fourth and a couple more in the seventh, but cannot climb all the way out of the early hole.

  • 6/26 - Boston 4 - @Tampa 3 - For the first time since May 16 in Seattle, a stretch covering six starts, Rick Porcello starts a game for the Red Sox and doesn't end up with a loss. He gives them a mediocre (albeit "quality) start, allowing 3 runs in six innings, and the bullpen holds the Rays scoreless for four as Brock Holt drives in Mookie Betts with the winning run in the top of the 10th.

  • 6/27 - @Tampa 4 - Boston 1 - Another strong start - 6 1/3, 2 runs - from Wade Miley, who has been consistently good since the middle of April, is wasted as the offense is limited to two hits and one run, and the bullpen gives up two more to prevent the tying run from ever getting to the plarte.

  • 6/28 - Boston 5 - @Tampa 3 - Justin Masterson returns to the Major League rotation with five strong innings, allowing only one uneared run, and the offense hits three HR and scores five runs against Chris Archer as the Red Sox win the series in Tampa.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • With Sunday's win in Tampa, Boston won a series against one of its AL East rivals for the first time since taking 2-of-3 from Toronto at the end of April. They had lost six consecutive series in the division, once to the Yankees and Rays, and twice each to the Blue Jays and Orioles.

  • In the last two weeks, Boston's only had one streak of any kind, and it only lasted for two games. They won on the 18th in Atlanta and on the 19th in Kansas City. Every other win has been followed by a loss; every loss has been followed by a win.

  • They've had several weeks in which they failed to score as many runs as they "created," with their actual run-scoring falling short, sometimes well short, of what their component offense suggested they should have scored. This week, the opposite occured, as they did not hit well, at all, but scored more (25) than they created (21).

  • On April 11, the Red Sox and Yankees played into the seventeenth inning on a Saturday afternoon in the Bronx, and Clay Buchholz, who normally has four days rest between starts, was warming up in the bullpen, in preparation for pitching the 18th, late in the game. The following night he started, and was shelled, allowing 10 runs, 9 earned, in just 3 1/3 innings, raising his ERA to 7.84, and reinforcing all of the negative Buchholz stereotypes. But in his other 14 starts this year, excluding the one following his bullpen-relief preparatory session, his ERA is 2.61 in over 6 1/3 innings per start. In other words, he has been a very good starter this year.

  • It's safe to say that Mookie Betts (.167/.259/.250/.509, 1.71 runs created, 2.14 RC/25 outs) won't be the AL Player of the Week this week.

  • He still had a better week than the recently recalled, again, Jackie Bradley, Jr. (.214/.200/.214/.414, .48 runs created, .99 RC/25 outs).

  • A nice return to the Majors for Justin Masterson (1 unearned run over 5 innings).

  • A difficult Major League debut for Jonathan Aro, who allowed 3 runs in 1 1/3 innings over two appearances.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Only one candidate worth discussing this week, but it only takes one, and Alejandro De Aza (.353/.389/.941/1.330, 4.67 runs created, 8.98 RC/25 outs) is he.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Clay Buchholz continues to pitch very well, allowing only one run over seven innings in his start against the Orioles this week.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/29/2015
Kansas City4.39(6)3.58(2)0.592(2)432944281
NY Yankees4.78(2)4.46(13)0.531(6)403641351
Tampa Bay3.68(13)3.47(1)0.527(7)413642351
LA Angels3.89(12)3.95(5)0.494(11)383839371
Chicago Sox3.47(14)4.57(14)0.377(15)284632424
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9963
Tampa Bay8874
NY Yankees8775
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9765
NY Yankees8775
Standings for the week
Kansas City4.17(8)2.83(1)0.669(3)42511
NY Yankees5.29(3)5.57(13)0.476(9)34340
Tampa Bay3.17(11)3.67(6)0.433(10)3324-1
LA Angels2.83(14)4(7)0.347(12)24422
Chicago Sox4.17(8)6.33(15)0.317(13)24240

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 6/22/2015

Given the competition and the overall performance level, this 4-3 week was more impressive than the 5-2 two weeks ago, and probably the team's best week since the first week...

The Week That Was:

  • 6/15 - Atlanta 4 - @Boston 2 - The losing streak reaches 7 as Rick Porcello is mediocre again, and the bats are silent again, with the Braves taking a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the 7th, and the Red Sox putting up individual runs in the 7th and 9th to create the mistaken impression that the game was competitive.

  • 6/16 - @Boston 9 - Atlanta 4 - Wade Miley is effective, Brock Holt hits for the cycle (and Mookie Betts misses joining him by a HR) and the Boston offense scores multiple runs in three different innings, and a single run in a fourth, as they score in half of their at-bats and put up one of their best outings of the years.

  • 6/17 - @Atlanta 5 - Boston 2 - The Boston-Atlanta split-site series moves to Atlanta, and the Boston bats put up another anemic performance. Joe Kelly is effective but not efficient for five innings, and the bullpen allows one inherited runner to score, and then allows three more runs, setting up the loss.

  • 6/18 - Boston 5 - @Atlanta 2 - The latest losing streak ends at one, with seven strong innings from Clay Buchholz, good bullpen support from Tommy Layne and Koji Uehara for one inning each, and three runs scored for lead-off-hitter-for-the-day Brock Holt.

  • 6/19 - Boston 7 - @Kansas City 3 - Boston's bats explode for seven runs in the second inning against the Royals' Yohan Pino, and Eduardo Rodriguez puts up 6 1/3 strong innings in the first start after his only bad start.

  • 6/20 - @Kansas City 7 - Boston 4 - The Red Sox score early and (relatively) often against Edinson Volquez, taking a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth, but Rick Porcello's terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year continues, as he gives up five runs in that half inning, and Boston's bats are held scoreless by the Royals' stellar bullpen.

  • 6/21 - Boston 13 - @Kansas City 2 - For the second time this week, Mookie Betts comes one hit away from hitting for the cycle, this time just missing the single. The Red Sox offense explodes for 13, providing tremendous support for Wade Miley for the second time during the week, and for the second time during the week he pitches well enough that they didn't need to, as they take two-of-three from the Royals with a 13-2 win.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • Uncle Pythagoras thought that they could have had a better record this week, but I'm very happy to take what we got. And what we got was a team that looked, for the first time in over a month, like a competent, real, live, Major League Baseball team. It wasn't perfect, and there were some frustrations along the way, but this was the first week since April when it felt like the lineup was capable of regularly scoring runs.

  • From May 28th until last Tuesday, a period of 19 games over 20 days, the Red Sox deficit in the AL was a monotonically non-decreasing series. Over that stretch, there wasn't a single day in which they finished closer to first than they started, not a single day in which they won and the first place team lost. On Tuesday, they beat Atlanta while Tampa lost to Washington, cutting their deficit from 9 to 8 games.

  • They finish the week 9 games out of first and in fifth place in the East. While it seems like time to give up, those of us who remember 1978 and 1988 have seen bigger and later comebacks. Things don't look good, as they've dug themselves a substantial hole. But it's too soon to say that it's too late.

  • Two of Wade Miley's first four starts were disaster starts, games in which he didn't get out of the third inning and gave his team almost no chance to win. Through those first four games, he averaged just under 4 innings per start with an ERA of 8.62. And there was, understandably, talk about whether they could afford to keep him in the rotation, how bad the trade which brought him had been, etc. Since then, however, he's made 10 starts, averaging over six innings per, with an ERA of 3.47.

  • The idea that a player liking something on Instagram during the course of a game qualifies as a "scandal" strikes me as beyond preposterous. Ok, MLB has rules, and Sandoval broke them, so he got sat down for a game. Fine. Can we please, please, not pretend that a) this is a big story or b) is indicative of anyone's "approach to the game" or the clubhouse atmosphere or c) carries any kind of larger meaning? Talk about mountains out of molehills...

  • Brock Holt hit for the cycle on Tuesday night. He finished it off with a triple into the triangle in the bottom of the eighth. If the next batter, Mookie Betts, had hit a HR in that at-bat, the Red Sox would have had two cycles in the same game. A quick glance down the list suggests that that's never been done before. Alas, Betts flied out, and it's still never been done.

  • Betts was actually closer to it on Sunday than Tuesday, as he batted in the ninth needing just a single to complete the cycle. Again, he flied out.

  • I wouldn't have pitched either Tazawa or Uehara yesterday, but I understand why Farrell did - they'd had three and two days off, respectively, and they've got an off-day today. If Tazawa hadn't pitched, he'd have entered tomorrow's game with five days off, and Uehara with four. It's not clear to me that that would have been a bad thing, but they know more about their pitchers' routines and needs than I do.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - There were several Red Sox who put up impressive offensive numbers this week, from Pablo Sandoval (.421/.421/.632/1.053, 4.11 runs created, 8.55 RC/25 outs) and Blake Swihart (.385/.429/.538/.967, 1.66 runs created, 3.77 RC/25 outs) to Alejandro De Aza (.333/.364/.619/.983, 4.69 runs created, 8.37 RC/25 outs) and Brock Holt (.448/.515/.897/1.412, 10.39 runs created, 14.43 RC/25 outs). Despite that, this was an easy call. Because there was a monster among them. Mookie Betts (.581/.594/1.000/1.594, 13.73 runs created, 22.88 RC/25 outs) looked like he was playing MLB in debug mode. He found the cheat codes. Just a monster week. I'd like to see a little more plate discipline, a few more walks, but what the hell - if you're going to hit .581, you can forgo a couple of walks...

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Eduardo Rodriguez followed up his awful start from last week with another very good one this week. Clay Buchholz continues to pitch well. But Wade Miley started twice, and was extremely effective twice, allowing just 2 runs in 12 1/3 innings for an ERA of 1.46, as the Red Sox put up two convincing and comfortable wins behind him.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/22/2015
Kansas City4.41(6)3.65(2)0.585(2)392739270
NY Yankees4.72(2)4.35(11)0.538(6)373238311
Tampa Bay3.72(13)3.45(1)0.534(7)383340312
LA Angels3.99(12)3.94(4)0.505(9)353535350
Chicago Sox3.41(14)4.41(13)0.385(15)264230384
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9666
Tampa Bay9171
NY Yankees8973
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9567
Tampa Bay8973
Standings for the week
Tampa Bay4(10)3.29(3)0.589(7)43521
LA Angels4.43(9)3.71(5)0.58(8)4334-1
Kansas City5.71(5)5(13)0.561(9)43521
NY Yankees5.57(6)5.14(14)0.537(10)43430
Chicago Sox1.57(15)3.71(5)0.172(15)16251

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 6/15/2015

That sound we hear, in the distance, but approaching rapidly, is Dandy Don Meredith and Maria Callas singing a duet of "Turn Out The Lights, The Party's Over..."

The Week That Was:

  • 6/9 - @Baltimore 1 - Boston 0 - Another outstanding performance from Eduardo Rodriguez, and another pathetic performance from the Red Sox offense.

  • 6/10 - @Baltimore 5 - Boston 2 - The offensive struggles, and Rick Porcello's unimpressive performance, result in another desultory loss in Baltimore.

  • 6/11 - @Baltimore 6 - Boston 5 - After pitching very well for a month and a half, Wade Miley struggles, as the Orioles score in each of the first innings. The Red Sox fight back, repeatedly, but never completely close the gap as the Orioles complete the sweep.

  • 6/12 - Toronto 13 - @Boston 10 - In a season filled with lowest points, we reach another, as the Red Sox take an early 8-1 lead back at home against the Blue Jays, and watch it disappear in an epic 7th inning in which the first 9 Toronto batters reach and score. The Red Sox do get the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the inning, but Mike Napoli strikes out to end any reasonable hopes of a comeback.

  • 6/13 - Toronto 5 - @Boston 4 - Buchholz gives up 3 in the second, putting the Red Sox in a hole, again. Toronto scores the first four runs of the game, but Boston comes back with three of their own in the bottom of the fourth, and ties it in the 6th. But they don't score again, and an 11th inning HR from Russel Martin gives the Blue Jays the winning margin.

  • 6/14 - Toronto 13 - @Boston 5 - Eduardo Rodriguez' string of spectacular starts ends at three, as the Blue Jays score six in the fourth, and four more in the process of knocking him out of the game in the fifth.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • In consecutive home innings (7 in the 8th on Sunday, 5 in the first on Friday), the Red Sox scored 12 runs. In 27 innings in between in Baltimore, they scored 7.

  • They got to 10 on Friday night, the first time in the 2015 season that they had scored double-digit runs. They allowed 13 and lost.

  • They continue to lose in every way possible. They lost a game this week in which they allowed only one run. They lost another in which they scored 10. They lose with bad defense, with bad offense, with bad pitching, with great opponent offense, with great opponent defense, with great opponent pitching - any way that there is to lose a game, they find it and use it.

  • I didn't want them to sign Pablo Sandoval, and I didn't like the contract. But I did acknowledge that it was my opinion that no team in baseball upgraded any single position over the offseason as much as the Red Sox upgraded at third base. That appears not to have been the case.

  • That said, he had a much better week than many that he's had thus far. Pablo Sandoval (.348/.348/.652/1.000, 4.51 runs created, 7.05 RC/25 outs)

  • I really expected great things from Mike Napoli, too. Wow, was I wrong. What a week - Mike Napoli (.063/.059/.063/.121, -1.02 runs created, -1.60 RC/25 outs) - ugh.

  • Red Sox Goat of the Week - This one is shared. The Red Sox led Toronto 8-4 on Friday night when Matt Barnes came in to pitch the seventh. Three hits later, he was replaced by Junichi Tazawa. Four hits and one error later, he was replaced by Tommy Layne, who allowed a HR to the first batter he faced. It was the ninth Toronto batter of the inning, and the ninth batter to score. Barnes and Tazawa allowed the 8 men that they faced to reach and score, turning (with the help of one pitch from Layne) a four-run seventh inning lead into a five-run seventh inning deficit. They did not retire a single batter.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - He insists that he's not done, and for one week anyway, that looks to be true. David Ortiz (.333/.455/.833/1.288, 6.16 runs created, 12.83 RC/25 outs) had a great, albeit meaningless in the long run, week.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - None. Three relief pitchers - Heath Hembree, Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara, allowed 0 runs. Everyone else on the staff had an ERA of 5.79 or worse.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/15/2015
Kansas City4.25(6)3.49(2)0.589(2)35243425-1
NY Yankees4.63(2)4.26(10)0.538(4)332934281
Tampa Bay3.69(13)3.47(1)0.528(5)343035291
LA Angels3.94(11)3.97(4)0.496(11)313232311
Chicago Sox3.62(14)4.49(14)0.403(14)253628333
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9369
NY Yankees8973
Tampa Bay8973
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9567
NY Yankees8874
Tampa Bay8775
Standings for the week
Kansas City2.8(14)2(1)0.649(5)32320
Chicago Sox3.5(11)3(3)0.57(7)33330
LA Angels3.83(9)3.33(6)0.564(8)33421
Tampa Bay3.67(10)4.33(8)0.424(10)33421
NY Yankees4.4(5)5.8(13)0.376(11)23230

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Monday, June 08, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 6/8/2015

All else being equal, 5-2 is a much better week than 1-6...

The Week That Was:

  • 6/2 - @Boston 1 - Minnesota 0 - For the fourth consecutive Clay Buchholz start, the Red Sox offense manages only a singe run. For the first time in that span, it's enough, as the Red Sox start their week at home with a shutout win over the Twins.

  • 6/3 [1] - @Boston 6 - Minnesota 3 - Eduardo Rodriguez allows only one run on a solo HR over 7 more outstanding innings, bringing his Major League record to 2-0. Meanwhile, the Boston offense, in what has become an unusual achievement, scores at least one run in five of their 8 innings.

  • 6/3 [2] - Minnesota 2 - @Boston 0 - In the night half of the day-night double header making up for Monday's rain-out, the bats are completely silent, with just two hits, as they waste a strong (8 innings, 2 runs) performance from Rick Porcello and the very modest winning streak ends at 2 games.

  • 6/4 - Minnesota 8 - @Boston 4 - Boston scores in three consecutive innings, building a 4-0 lead through four, but then melts down. Steven Wright gives up a three-run homer in the 5th, a Sandoval error in the 6th leads to the tying run, and another in the 9th contributes to a 4-run Minnesota 9th and an 8-4 loss.

  • 6/5 - @Boston 4 - Oakland 2 - The Red Sox get a strong performance (7 1/3, 2 runs) from Wade Miley, and a lot of help from the Oakland defense (3 errors) and manage to use those factors to put together a 4-2 win.

  • 6/6 - @Boston 4 - Oakland 2 - For the second time in three days, the Red Sox score four early and then don't score again. This time, it's enough, as Joe Kelly gives up 1 over 6 strong innings and the bullpen manages to protect the lead for three innings.

  • 6/6 - @Boston 7 - Oakland 4 - In a scene that we've seen too many times, the Red Sox enter a game on a bit of a roll and the bats are totally silent. They go to the bottom of the 8th down 4-0, and having had 13 batters in a row retired. But then everything changes, as Rusney Castillo leads off with a HR, Oakland pulls their starter, and Boston puts up 7 runs on 8 hits in its biggest inning of the year, and completes the sweep with a 7-4 win.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • At the end of April, after their first 22 games, the Red Sox had scored 113 runs, averaging 5.13 runs/game. Everyone who thought that this was a very good offensive team with suspect pitching looked to be correct. But in the 36 games since then, they've scored only 108, for an average of 3 runs per game. It has been stunning to watch. There have been no individual performances that are necessarily hard to believe, but to see all of Napoli, Ramirez, Ortiz, Betts, Sandoval and Castillo struggle the way they have simultaneously is not something that I would have predicted, and it's not something that can be overcome. If the Red Sox are the team that they've shown for the last month, they'll be drafting high again next year. If some of the offensive players can make adjustments, well, they're still only 5 1/2 games out in the East, with a lot of head-to-head games left in the division.

  • Quite a performance from the middle of the infield this week, as Pedroia and Bogaerts combined to hit .463/.500/.611/1.111 (14.64 runs created, 12.20 RC/25 outs).

  • As good a week as it was record-wise, they continue to struggle offensively. They only scored 3.7 runs/game, and it looked much worse than that before Sunday's epic 8th.

  • In seven games this week, Boston starters pitched 47 innings with a 2.49 ERA.

  • Wade Miley, season - 11 starts, 5.6 IP per game, 4.67 ERA. First 4 games - 4 starts, 3.9 IP per game, 8.62 ERA. Last 7 games - 7 starts, 6.6 IP per game, 3.33 ERA.

  • The 8th inning of Sunday's game more than makes up for the 9th inning of Thursday's game...

  • How good was Clay Buchholz on Tuesday night? He gave up four runs without getting out of the fifth inning yesterday, and it brought his ERA for the week up to 2.84.

  • It's amazing what one inning can do. They had another dreadful offensive week, and were going to be lucky to get out of the week at 4-3, and then, three outs and seven runs later, everything is sunshine and roses and momentum. Was that the start of getting the bats back on track? Or was it just one fluke inning that won one game for them, but meant nothing beyond that? If they go down and score five runs over the course of the next three nights in Baltimore, we'll know it was the latter.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Xander Bogaerts (.440/.462/.560/1.022, 5.88 runs created, 9.81 RC/25 outs) and Brock Holt (.375/.500/.438/.938, 4.30 runs created, 10.74 RC/25 outs) were excellent, both putting up performances that would warrant PotW consideration in almost any week. But whether it was the green fields of home, or the lead-off spot, or both (or neither), Dustin Pedroia (.483/.531/.655/1.186, 8.76 runs created, 14.60 RC/25 outs) had an outrageous week to walk away with it...

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Miley (7 1/3, 2 runs), Porcello (8, 2 runs) and Kelly (6, 1 run) were all good this week. Buchholz wasn't good yesterday, but he fought through it and could easily have put the team out of it but didn't, and was absolutly outstanding in 8 shutout innings on Tuesday. But the award goes, for the second week in a row, to young Eduardo Rodriguez, whose second ML start was nearly as good as his first, allowing only one run in 7 innings of work.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/7/2015
Kansas City4.39(5)3.63(2)0.586(1)32223123-1
NY Yankees4.65(2)4.12(7)0.555(3)322532250
Tampa Bay3.69(13)3.38(1)0.54(4)312731270
LA Angels3.95(11)4.04(5)0.49(12)282928290
Chicago Sox3.64(14)4.65(15)0.389(15)213425304
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9369
NY Yankees9171
Tampa Bay8775
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9468
NY Yankees9072
Standings for the week
NY Yankees6.17(1)2.83(3)0.806(2)51601
Tampa Bay3.14(11)2.43(1)0.616(4)43521
LA Angels4(6)6.17(15)0.312(12)2415-1
Kansas City2.17(14)3.5(9)0.294(13)24240
Chicago Sox3.5(9)5.83(14)0.282(14)24240

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Monday, June 01, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 6/1/2015

Lose three, win one, lose three is not a recipe for success, but that's what the Red Sox did this week...

The Week That Was:

  • 5/25 - @Minnesota 7 - Boston 2 - Whatever positive momentum the Red Sox brought out of Boston disappeared before they arrived in the Twin Cities, as Joe Kelly gave up 7 runs without getting out of the second, and a two-run third inning was the sole evidence of offense from the Bosotn bats.

  • 5/26 - @Minnesota 2 - Boston 1 - Clay Buchholz gives up two runs in the bottom of the first, and that proves sufficient for the Twins to build an insurmountable lead. Boston scores one in the second, and no one scores again, as the Twins hold on to their 2-1 lead for 7 innings.

  • 5/27 - @Minnesota 6 - Boston 4 - For the first time in the three-game series in Minnesota, the Red Sox take a lead, scoring two runs in the top of the third. The lead is gone five batters into the bottom of the third, and the tie is gone one batter later, as the Twins score three in the third and never relinquish their lead in an eventual 6-4 Boston loss.

  • 5/28 - Boston 5 - @Texas 1 - Eduardo Rogriguez, acquired at the trade deadline for two months of Andrew Miller's services, makes his Major League debut and far exceeds any hype that preceded him, allowing only 5 baserunners (3 hits and two walks) over 7 2/3 scoreless, while also striking out seven. The bats get some help from the Texas defense and the three-game losing streak to start the trip comes to an end.

  • 5/29 - @Texas 7 - Boston 4 - Having lost many games due to bad starting pitching and woeful offense, the bullpen takes a turn, as Steven Wright pitches fairly well, and the offense score more than he allows, but two each from Ogando and Breslow doom them yet again.

  • 5/30 - @Texas 8 - Boston 0 - As the Red Sox had two nights earlier, the Rangers start a pitcher making his Major League debut. As the Rangers had two nights earlier, the Red Sox don't hit, playing one of their worst games of the season, as they struggle offensively, on the mound, and in the field.

  • 5/31 - @Texas 4 - Boston 3 - Joe Kelly is effective for five innings, and the Red Sox manage to score three, taking a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth. The potential tying run reaches on an error by Sandoval, two outs later they walk the potential winning run intentionally with two outs to avoid Prince Fielder, and instead get pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton, who hits a ball into the left-center field gap as the Rangers walk-off with the win.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • Looking at the season thus far in its totality, there is one question that overwhelms everything else - how in God's name is it possible that a team playing this badly enters June only four games out of first place?

  • As bad as their record is, the Red Sox have actually been lucky to compile it. They're 22-29 - by runs scored and allowed, they should be 20-31 and 6 games out.

  • What went well this week - Eduardo Rodriguez made a stellar Major League debut. David Ortiz took a couple of days off, said he found and fixed something, and went 3-8 after coming back. Dustin Pedroia went deep twice. Hanley Ramirez went deep twice.

  • What went poorly this week - pretty much everything else.

  • I heard some comments about wanting the Red Sox to go get Jonathan Papelbon in the wake of yesterday's disaster. Given that the two runs that scored reached base on a Sandoval error and an intentional walk ordered by the manager, which brought up a great hitter who had been tormenting the Red Sox for the entire series, that one was not Uehara's fault.

  • Far too early to be too worried about Rusney Castillo (.222/.263/.222/.485, .45 runs created, .70 RC/25 outs), but he is not off to a good start in Boston this year.

  • I would not have believed this possible, but the Boston Red Sox enter the month of June with the worst run differential (-48) in the American League, and the third worst in all of MLB, ahead of only Milwaukee and Philadelphia. I thought the pitching would be ok, and it's been worse than I expected (though, to be fair, they were in the top half of the AL in runs allowed in May, which is about what I expected). But I expected the offense to be excellent, and it's been putrid.

  • The Red Sox scored 82 runs while going 10-19 in May. That works out to 2.83 runs/game. The second-worst AL scoring team in May, the Baltimore Orioles, outscored them by 13 (16%).

  • The Red Sox enter June with a 22-29 record and 195 runs scored. The dreadful Bobby Valentine-managed 2012 team entered June with a 26-25 record and 268 runs scored.

  • Coming next week - we go to Roget and list synonyms for "putrid"...

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Not a lot to choose from, here. Sandy Leon (.333/.429/.333/.762, .99 runs created, 6.16 RC/25 outs) made the most of his two games, but it was just two games. Dustin Pedroia (.333/.333/.533/.867, 4.78 runs created, 5.69 RC/25 outs) was productive, not great, but going deep a couple of times. But the best, albeit somewhat less than spectacular, performance came from Mookie Betts (.333/.400/.444/.844, 5.12 runs created, 6.74 RC/25 outs).

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - The only reason that it wasn't an 0-7 road trip was that Eduardo Rodriguez made his Major League debut and was absolutely stellar in the process, apitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings, holding Texas to 3 hits (and 2 walks), while striking out seven.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/1/2015
Kansas City4.67(2)3.65(2)0.611(1)291929190
Tampa Bay3.76(13)3.51(1)0.532(5)27242625-1
NY Yankees4.47(6)4.27(10)0.521(6)27242625-1
LA Angels3.94(11)3.78(3)0.519(7)262527241
Chicago Sox3.65(15)4.51(12)0.405(14)202923263
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9864
LA Angels8676
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9963
Tampa Bay8577
LA Angels8577
Standings for the week
NY Yankees4.86(4)3(2)0.707(1)5243-1
LA Angels4.86(4)3.14(3)0.689(2)52520
Chicago Sox4(7)4.13(10)0.486(9)44440
Tampa Bay3.33(9)3.5(6)0.478(10)3324-1
Kansas City2.6(14)5.8(15)0.187(14)14140

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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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