Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 7/27/2015

2-6 is never going to get it done, unless you're in the last week with a magic number of one. The Red Sox aren't...

The Week That Was:

  • 7/20 - @LAAnaheim 11 - Boston 1 - In the first game of a day-night doubleheader, making up for the game which was rained out on Sunday night, Eduardo Rodriguez gets hammered, allowing 7 runs in the second inning, and leaving after only retiring five batters. The Boston offense finally scores it's first post-All Star break run in the 4th inning of their third game in Anaheim, but it obviously is irrelevant to the final outcome.

  • 7/20 - @LAANaheim 7 - Boston 3 - Steven Wright allows home runs to Albert Pujols and Mike Trout as the Angels take a 5-0 lead into the 6th inning. Boston does eventually score a couple of runs, but are never in the game, being swept in the double-headed by a combined score of 18-4.

  • 7/21 - @Houston 8 - Boston 3 - Brian Johnson makes his Major League debut, and it's somewhat less than a roaring success, as he allows four runs while only pitching 4 1/3 innings. The Red Sox, for the first time on the road trip and the first time in over a week, actually held a lead 3-1 into the bottom of the 5th, but the Astros tie the game as an attempt to throw out a runner stealing second with runners on 1st and 3rd ricochets off of the sliding runners forearm into no-man's land in left field, and two runs score. They score two more off of Johnson and reliever Justin Masterson, and the Red Sox fail to do anything offensive en route to their 6th straight loss.

  • 7/22 - @Houston 4 - Boston 2 - Joe Kelly's return to the Major Leagues, and to the Red Sox starting rotation, is better than some of his outings, but not great, as he allows four runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched. He keeps the team in the game, but the offensive struggles continue, and Boston falls again.

  • 7/23 - @Houston 5 - Boston 4 - The losing streak runs to 8 games as the road trip finishes the way it began - with the bullpen surrendering a walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9th inning of a tie game. This time it's Jose Altuve homering off of Craig Breslow, as Boston's longest winless road trip in 64 years comes to a painful end.

  • 7/24 - @Boston 2 - Detroit 1 - In a battle of former rotation-mates, Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander each allow one run in the third inning and nothing else. Porcello's seven inning, one run performance is his best in months and one of his best in a Red Sox uniform. The game remains tied into the 11th and Xander Bogaerts drives in Mookie Betts to end the game and the 8-game losing streak.

  • 7/25 - Detroit 5 - Boston 1 - Boston's offensive ineptitude continues, and Steven Wright continues to demonstrate the knuckle-ballers traditional susceptibility to home runs and passed balls as the Tigers score in the first and Boston trails the entire way.

  • 7/26 - @Boston 11 - Detroit 1 - The week ends similar to the way in which it strarted - with Eduardo Rodriguez starting a game which ends 11-1. This time, it's the Red Sox offense doing the damage, led by two home runs from David Ortiz, as Boston takes two of three from the Tigers.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • For those of us harboring hopes of a second-half surge, the post-All Star break road trip brought them to a quick and painful end. Two weeks ago, they entered the break just 6 1/2 games back - this morning it's 12. And over.

  • The only questions remaining for 2015 are these - can they avoid their second consecutive, and third in four years, last place finish? And what can they do in 2015 to make 2016 less likely to result in another disaster?

  • The anatomy of a disaster: The Red Sox 0-7 road trip was the longest winless road trip for the team since the 1951 Red Sox lost its last 8 road games.
    Angels/Astros 39 Boston 13 Boston offense - (.204/.249/.296/.545, 14.89 runs created, 1.97 RC/25 outs) Opposition - (.245/.333/.523/.856, 37.18 runs created, 5.44 RC/25 outs)

  • A big part of the problem on the trip was the top of the order. Top 3 (Betts, Holt, Pedroia) (.111/.152/.175/.326, -.40 runs created, -.17 RC/25 outs)

  • I am of the opinion that there is no hitter in MLB who has been more negatively effected by the stretching of the strike zone than Mike Napoli. Napoli's skill set is look at a lot of pitches, take the ones that he can't hit, and hammer the ones that he can. It seems that the umpires, by widening the zone, have made it possible for pitchers to throw a lot more pitches that are simultaneously a) not hittable by Napoli and b) strikes. Is he finally adjusting?

  • I very rarely have much interest in what any athlete has to say in an interview. There are exceptions, and Pedro Martinez was one. Always insightful, always interesting, and he was again yesterday.

  • ESPN put up a graphic last night, comparing Pedro to Koufax over their best four-year peaks. If you don't know anything about context, it looked like Koufax was better. He wasn't. Taking into account ballpark and league offensive context, Pedro was much better. Koufax' ERA+ from 1963-1966 was 172. Pedro's, from 1997-2000, was 219. Pedro was the greatest.

  • There are a few athletes that I feel privileged to have been able to watch. Tom Brady. Larry Bird. And Pedro Martinez.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Mike Napoli (.400/.444/.680/1.124, 6.36 runs created, 9.94 RC/25 outs) is finally showing signs that he might still be able to hit. Xander Bogaerts (.455/.441/.485/.926, 6.73 runs created, 8.86 RC/25 outs) continues to be effective both at the plate and in the field. But the award goes to David Ortiz (.357/.400/.857/1.257, 8.57 runs created, 11.90 RC/25 outs), whose two home runs on Sunday night brought him up to 485 for his career, just 15 away from 500.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Rick Porcello threw seven innings of one-run ball against his former team, and former teammate Justin Verlander, leading the Red Sox to a 2-1 win that broke their 8 game losing streak.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/27/2015
Kansas City4.33(7)3.61(1)0.583(2)574059382
LA Angels4.32(8)3.69(2)0.571(4)56425543-1
NY Yankees4.64(2)4.29(10)0.536(7)524555423
Tampa Bay3.51(14)3.74(4)0.471(10)475349512
Chicago Sox3.5(15)4.13(7)0.425(15)415546505
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9963
NY Yankees9270
LA Angels9171
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9765
LA Angels9270
NY Yankees9072
Standings for the week
Chicago Sox5.5(4)2.67(1)0.79(1)5142-1
LA Angels6.38(2)3.38(4)0.762(2)6253-1
NY Yankees5.33(5)4.17(8)0.611(4)42511
Kansas City3.57(10)3.14(3)0.558(7)43430
Tampa Bay2.33(13)3.5(5)0.323(12)24240

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 7/20/2015

Outscored 4-0 over two games doesn't provide much fodder for commentary. After you say that the pitching was pretty good but they didn't hit, what's left to say? Not much...

The Week That Was:

  • 7/17 - @LAAnaheim 1 - Boston 0 - Wade Miley makes his second consecutive start, thanks to the four-day All Star break, and is outstanding, taking a no-hitter into the sixth and allowing only 2 hits and no runs in seven plus innings of work. But it all goes for naught as the Red Sox do nothing offensively, and Mike Trout breaks a personal 0-5 against Koji Uehara with a 2-out 9th inning HR for a 1-0 Angels win.

  • 7/18 - @LAANaheim 3 - Boston 0 - Rick Porcello allows three runs (two earned) over five, and Justin Masterson pitches three strong shutout innings out of the bullpen, but, for the second consecutive night, the Red Sox are held scoreless by Angel pitching.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • Due to the All Star break, they played two games. Due to the All Star break and awful performances, they scored 0 runs. The pitchers were fine, in general. Miley was excellent in particular.

  • There's really not much more to say.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - They scored 0 runs on the week. 'Nuff said...

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - I almost left this unawarded, too, but Wade Miley was so good on Friday that I'm going to give it out. In seven plus innings of work, he walked 2 and allowed 1 hit. He was perfect through five innings and had a no-hitter through six. That he, and the team, didn't get a win has nothing whatsoever to do with his efforts.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/20/2015
Kansas City4.39(6)3.64(1)0.584(2)533755352
LA Angels4.13(10)3.72(2)0.548(6)494150401
NY Yankees4.59(2)4.3(11)0.531(7)484350412
Tampa Bay3.59(13)3.76(3)0.479(10)454947472
Chicago Sox3.37(15)4.22(10)0.398(15)365442486
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9963
LA Angels9072
NY Yankees8973
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9765
LA Angels8973
NY Yankees8874
Standings for the week
LA Angels2(13)0(1)1(1)20200
Kansas City3.75(6)2.75(6)0.638(6)31310
NY Yankees3(8)2.67(4)0.554(8)21210
Chicago Sox2.75(10)3.75(10)0.362(10)13130
Tampa Bay1.67(14)4(11)0.168(14)12120

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 7/13/2015

While 3-2 isn't a bad week, this particular 3-2 week was a week with a squandered opportunity to close the gap in the East...

The Week That Was:

  • 7/7 - @Boston 4 - Miami 3 - There is some second-guessing after John Farrell sends Wade Miley back to the mound in the 7th inning of a one-one game, and he gives up back-to-back extra base hits as the Marlins take a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the 7th. But Boston loads the bases with two outs, and Xander Bogaerts, on the 8th pitch of his at-bat, clears the bases on a single to provide the final, and winning, runs in a 4-3 Boston win.

  • 7/8 - @Boston 6 - Miami 3 - The Red Sox take a 4-0 lead in the third inning and hang on for a 6-4 win as Rick Porcello breaks a -ersonal 8-game winless streak (0-7) and, on their 4th attempt to do so, Boston becomes the last Major League team to put together a 4-game winning streak in 2015.

  • 7/10 - New York 5 - @Boston 1 - Having played themselves back on to the edges of the division race, with a chance to go into the All Star break with momentum, the last thing that Boston needs is a loss to first-place New York in which Clay Buchholz leaves the game in the 4th inning with an injury. But that's what happens, as Boston's defense struggles, as does its offense, and the winning streak ends, and the deficit in the division goes back up to 6 1/2.

  • 7/11 - @Boston 5 - New York 3 - For the second consecutive night, Alex Rodriguez goes deep in the top of the first to give the Yankees an early lead. The Red Sox tie it in the second on a ground ball, and take a lead they'll not relinquish in the third when Hanley Ramirez goes deep with a man on. Eduardo Rodriguez pitches well for 6 1/3, allowing two solo HR, and the Red Sox increase their lead with two in the 7th before holding on to a 5-3 win.

  • 7/12 - New York 8 - @Boston 6 - Boston ties for its high runs scored total on the week with six, but Wade Miley leaves in the 6th after alliowing five, the bullpen allows another inherited runner to score, and then two more in the 9th, as they come up short yet again, to end the "first half" on a down note.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • The Boston Red Sox enter the All Star break 6 1/2 games out in the AL East with 73 games left to play, including 10 remaining against the first-place Yankees.

  • They had a chance to get the deficit in the division down to 4 1/2 game twice this week. Each time, they lost to the Yankees.

  • There will be many, I am certain, who will claim that Ortiz was not sick yesterday, just unwilling to play first base. I am not one of them, but they'll be out there. I expect that Boston sports talk radio will be fairly toxic today.

  • In his last 9 appearances, each one inning, Koji Uehara has thrown a 2-hitter, with no walks and no runs allowed, while striking out 10. I made a comment earlier in the year to the effect that I had been happy to have them sign him and bring him back, but was concerned that it had been a mistake. Well, they were right and I was wrong. He's been spectacular for most of the year.

  • Whether your position was that they should trade Buchholz (not mine) or hold on to him (mine), him leaving the game during the fourth inning on Friday night hurt your position. It made it impossible for them to trade him, and it made his presence on the roster pointless and unhelpful, at least for the next few weeks.

  • They scored some runs this week, other than Friday, which is interesting, because other than David Ortiz, there were not any particularly good offensive performances.

  • One of the great at-bats of the year came on Tuesday night, when Xander Bogaerts faced the Marlins' Carter Capps with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 7th, and Boston trailing 3-1. Capps has a delivery which is borderline legal at best (in my opinion it's on the wrong side of the line and not particularly close to it), which involves him pushing off rubber and sliding his plant foot forward before completing his windup and releasing the ball. As a result, he's not only thrown 99 MPH, he's doing so from 1 1/2-2 feet closer to home plate, which increases the effective velocity. If the normal release point is ~58 feet from home plate, and Capps release is ~56 feet from home plate, than Capps' 99 MPH fast-ball looks like ~102.5 MPH. And Bogaerts fought off several of them before drilling one in to right field to score all three runners, including Betts who had, with a full count and two outs, been off from first with the pitch.

  • Red Sox Player of the Pre-All Star Break - This will be a controversial choice, I'm sure, but I'm going with Mookie Betts (.277/.328/.464/.792, 54.49 runs created, 5.24 RC/25 outs). OK, maybe it's not controversial. On per-plate appearance basis, a few others - Pedroia, Holt, de Aza - were more productive, and in that sense, hitting lead-off every night helps Mookie. But he worked through an early slump and adjustment period, and has been productive both offensively and defensively, and for the past two months has been outstanding.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Pre-All Star Break - Clay Buchholz. His second start was a disaster, and it took a long time for his ERA to come down from that disaster. He's also had very little run support, resulting in a 7-7 record. But he has consistently been effective, with a 3.26 ERA for the season, more than 6 innings pitched per start for his 18 starts, and an excellent 4.65 K/BB ratio. As bad as this stretch has been, it could have been much worse, and it's largely due to Buchholz that it hasn't been.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - I am tempted not to award it, because the only really good week came from David Ortiz(.308/.438/.692/1.130, 3.77 runs created, 10.47 RC/25 outs), who only played in four games. But the team only played five, so Ortiz it is.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - In the absence of a good starting pitching candidate - ok, Eduardo Rodriguez was good, albeit unspectacular - I'm going to choose this week to recognize Koji Uehara, who has been outstanding again. In three appearances this week, he allowed one hit while striking out five and walking none.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/13/2015
Kansas City4.42(4)3.69(1)0.582(2)503652342
LA Angels4.18(11)3.81(5)0.543(6)484048400
NY Yankees4.65(2)4.35(11)0.53(7)474148401
Tampa Bay3.65(13)3.75(2)0.488(9)444746452
Chicago Sox3.4(15)4.24(10)0.399(15)345241457
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9864
LA Angels8874
NY Yankees8874
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9666
LA Angels8874
NY Yankees8775
Standings for the week
LA Angels5.33(4)3.67(5)0.665(4)42420
Tampa Bay3.71(8)5.29(13)0.344(13)25341
Kansas City7(1)4.57(11)0.686(2)52611
Chicago Sox3(12)2(1)0.677(3)52520
NY Yankees5(5)3.67(5)0.638(5)42420

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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

"The socialist surge "

So, a media outlet is willing to actually acknowledge that the American Democratic party is not a centrist party.
Democratic primaries have always featured liberal insurgent candidates, but perhaps none quite so liberal or insurgent as the socialist senator from Vermont. Sanders’ comments are a reminder of just how far the second-place Democratic presidential candidate stands from the American mainstream on some issues, and the looming reckoning Democrats face with their party’s leftward drift.
I've got several FB friends and relations who would argue any allegation that Barack Obama is a socialist, and I always wonder, if pressed, if they could name a single issue on which Bernie Sanders is any further left than Barack Obama.

I can't, and I suspect that they couldn't either, because I don't think that there is any such issue...

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Monday, July 06, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 7/6/2015

You can play yourself into a situation in which a 5-2 week is not good enough to help, but it's always a good week, and the Red Sox haven't gotten to that situation - quite - yet...

The Week That Was:

  • 6/30 - Boston 3 - @Toronto 1 - Following a successful weekend in Tampa, the Red Sox open a four-game series in Toronto with a win. Xander Bogaerts drives in two with a third-inning double and that would prove to be all of the offensive support that Clay Buchholz would need, allowing just one run over eight innings before Koji Uehara finishes it off.

  • 6/31 - Boston 4 - @Toronto 3 - The Red Sox score in each of the first three innings, taking a 4-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings, and then watching the pitching hold on for seven more inning. Eduardo Rodriguez' attempt to fix his "pitch tipping" issues were effective, if not completely so, and he ends up allowing only one run in six innings of work. Tommy Layne allows a 2-run HR to cut the lead to one in the 7th, but Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara combine to retire all seven batters they face, and the lead holds up.

  • 7/1 - @Toronto 11 - Boston 2 - After Boston fails to score in the top of the first, Rick Porcello takes the mound and puts his team in a hole that they won't climb out of. He allows a three-run HR and a two-run HR as the Blue Jays score 5 before the Red Sox cleanup batter hits. Another two-run HR in the second makes it 7-0, and Porcello's day ends early and ugly, enroute to a Blue Jay blowout.

  • 7/2 - Boston 12 - @Toronto 6 - As bad as Rick Porcello's first inning was on Wednesday, the Red Sox come out and make Matt Boyd's first inning top it on Thursday. Like the Wednesday first, there were two HR, one of which was a three-run HR. But Boyd ends up retiring no one, leaving with a 5-0 deficit, and seeing the first batter faced by the bullpen give up a two-run triple, leaving him with a pitching line of 7 runs allowed while allowing six hits and a walk, and retiring no one. Wade Miley has one tough inning, allowing four runs in the second, but it's far too little, and the Red Sox pad the lead later in the game, building a 12-4 lead before allowing a couple of garbage time runs in the ninth, and leaving Toronto having won 3-of-4, and 5-of-7 on the trip.

  • 7/3 - Houston 12 - @Boston 8 - Not for the first time, the Red Sox have a starter pitch very effectively for three innings only to completely lose it in the fourth. This time it's Justin Masterson, who takes a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth and hands a 5-2 deficit over to the bullpen. The Red Sox battle back repeatedly, scoring 3 to tie after falling behind 5-2, scoring 2 to tie after falling behind 7-5, and scoring 1 to tie after falling behind 8-7. But they ran themselves out of a bigger potential inning in the 8th when Mookie Betts was throwing out trying to steal third, and the bullpen couldn't keep the Astros down. When Noe Ramirez' ignominious Major League debut ended with Houston scoring four runs in the top of the 10th, that was a bridge too far.

  • 7/4 - @Boston 6 - Houston 1 - Boston evens the series with AL-best record Houston as the offense continues to produce, and Clay Buchholz outstanding run continues. For the second time on the week, Buchholz allows only one run, this time in a complete game six-hitter with no walks and 8 strikeouts.

  • 7/5 - @Boston 5 - Houston 4 - In a match-up of talented young AL starters, neither wins, as Eduardo Rodgriguez and Lance McCullers both reach 100 pitches and exit the game after 5. Objectively, Rodriguez pitched a little bit better, allowing 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 8, vs. 7, 3 and 3 for McCullers, but the bottom line is that they each allowed one run over five innings. Boston scored two against the Astros' bullpen in the 6th, but Alexi Ogando's string of scoreless appearances ends at 12, as he allows back-to-back HR in the top of the 7th, the first coming with one man on, as Houston takes a 4-3 lead. But the Red Sox battle back in the bottom, as David Ortiz draws a walk on an 11-pitch at-bat, and Hanley Ramirez follows with an off-balance swing that puts the ball into the Monster Seats, and the rest of the Sox bullpen hangs on for the 5-4 win.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • As poorly as they've played, as disappointing as they have been, the Red Sox enter the final week before the All Star break only six games out in the East, and finish the "first half" with a three-game series at home vs. the first place Yankees.

  • Through April 26, Mookie Betts struggled, hitting a lot of shots right at fielders, and with pitchers adjusting to what they'd seen from him last year and in spring training. He also displayed less patience than we'd like to see. But there was no panic, just confidence that he would adjust to how he was being pitched. And he has.
    Through 4/26 (18 games) (.189/.274/.297/.571, 7.43 runs created, 3.00 RC/25 outs) Since 4/26 (63 games) (.310/.356/.512/.868, 45.46 runs created, 6.31 RC/25 outs)
    He is currently 7th in the AL in WAR (Wins Against Replacement). He's not going to make the All Star game because a) Boston's record and b) Mike Trout, but he's been one of the 10 most productive players in the AL thus far.

  • I remember, in the olden days, having conversations and expressing satisfaction that the Red Sox had managed to extend Rick Porcello. Ah, it was a younger and more foolish time...

  • Honesty compels me to say that I have never heard of Noe Ramirez, and when reading the recaps of Friday night's game (I was completely off the grid for Friday-Sunday morning) I had no idea who they were talking about.

  • Three weeks ago today, the Red Sox lost to Atlanta, running their current losing streak to 6 games, and moving them 9 games back in the east with the 2nd-worst record in the AL, just ahead of Oakland. Since then, they've gone 12-7, half a game behind the Angels for the AL's best record over that stretch. They've scored more runs than they've allowed, and they've gotten back to six games out in the East. In short, they've looked a lot more like the team that a) we expected to see and b) saw for the first few weeks of April. Is it too little, too late? They have four teams in front of them, but they're in position to make a run. They go into the All Star break after five more home games, the last three against the first place Yankees. If they could sweep that series, or at least take two while sweeping two from Florida, they would be in a competitive position to start the second "half" of the season.

  • I suspect that Alejandro De Aza is Spanish for "lightning in a bottle." Wow, has that acquisition turned out well. As long as they don't allow themselves to be fooled by the hot streak into believing that he's a better player than he actually is. He's a 31-year old 8 year Major League veteran whose line before arriving in Boston was .265/.328/.401/.728. You need to take the last month, express tremendous gratitude to the baseball Gods, and replace with something better, rather than depending on him to carry your lineup.

  • Hanley Ramirez, on Sunday, hit possibly the worst looking HR that I've ever seen. He was off balanced, reaching, losing his grip on the bat. But it was in Fenway, and he made good contact, and it won the game.

  • With yesterday's win, the Red Sox have now won three consecutive series for the first time since the first three series of the year. Two of them were in the division, where they've struggled.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Alejandro De Aza (.391/.462/.696/1.157, 6.68 runs created, 11.92 RC/25 outs) is worthy of mention. Xander Bogaerts (.367/.424/.467/.891, 5.57 runs created, 6.96 RC/25 outs) continues to shine. But the award goes, again, to Mookie Betts (.419/.457/.710/1.167, 8.56 runs created, 10.19 RC/25 outs), who is rapidly establishing himself as one of the best players in baseball.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - In some weeks, what Eduardo Rogriguez did - 2 runs over 11 innings in 2 starts, would have been enough to win this award. But not this week. His very good week is completely overshadowed by the dominant effort from Clay Buchholz. Buchholz, who threw 17 innings and allowed just two runs, one in each of his dominant starts this week. He allowed 11 hits and no walks while striking out 13 and hitting one. Absolute dominance.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/6/2015
Kansas City4.19(9)3.61(1)0.568(3)453446331
LA Angels4.1(11)3.82(4)0.532(6)443844380
NY Yankees4.62(2)4.4(10)0.522(7)433944381
Tampa Bay3.64(13)3.62(2)0.503(9)424243411
Chicago Sox3.43(14)4.44(11)0.384(15)304936436
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9468
LA Angels8775
NY Yankees8775
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9369
LA Angels8775
Standings for the week
LA Angels6.67(1)2.17(3)0.887(1)51510
Chicago Sox2.8(13)2.6(5)0.534(6)32411
NY Yankees2.67(14)3.67(7)0.358(12)24331
Tampa Bay3.29(11)5.29(11)0.295(14)2516-1
Kansas City2.14(15)3.86(8)0.254(15)25250

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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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