Saturday, April 29, 2006

Red Sox, 4/29

This is what we call a slump.

This is what we call a bad stretch.

This is ugly.

The Red Sox have just played what we hope is the ugliest week of their season. They may have another 2-6 stretch at some point, but it will tough to match what just happened for sheer unpleasantness. It started with their continuing complete and total inability to hit Tampa's Scott Kazmir, continued the next night when Josh Beckett and Mike Timlin coughed up a 4-run lead in the 8th by allowing 3 HR, and has basically continued through Toronto and Cleveland and into Tampa. Over the last 8 games, they've been outscored 56-28, allowing 7 runs per game while only scoring 3.5. And that includes the 2 wins in the middle. In the 6 losses, they've been outscored 47-14, an average of 7.8-2.3.


And it's been team-wide. It's not that they haven't reached base (though they haven't been great at it), as their team-wide OBP of .339 for this stretch is about AL average, but they've had an awful time driving anyone in. As anyone who's read me knows, I'm an OBP guy, and don't care for AVG as a stat. I love walks.

But the simple matter is, you can get 2-3 walks per inning - someone eventually has to get a hit, preferably an extra-base hit, in order to score runs. And they've had none of that in the past week. They've left God-only-knows-how-many runners on base (last night, in one of their closer losses, they left 14 men on base, 10 of them in scoring position - 6 at 3rd base, in a game they lost by 3) because they aren't hitting, and they definitely aren't hitting for power (as their .232 AVG and .368 SLG will attest).

AL Defensive Efficiency

Manny Ramirez 882769003681130000100.3330.50.6678.921

David Ortiz 883258003751160000000.250.3680.5315.911

Mike Lowell 773029300421010000200.30.3440.44.856

Jason Varitek 652046011141030110000.30.4170.553.971

Trot Nixon 862917300230040000100.2410.3120.3453.369

Kevin Youkilis 8831271002501101001000.2260.3420.2582.837

Josh Bard 43903100020010000000.3330.4550.4441.892

Alex Gonzalez 661613000040140010100.1880.3810.1881.892

Alex Cora 42522000020000000000.40.5710.41.452

Wily Mo Pena 641513101100070000000.20.20.4670.916

Dustan Mohr 43811001100040000000.1250.1250.50.319

Willie Harris 631521000030141000000.0670.2630.0670.175

J.T. Snow 61701000110020000000.1430.250.1430.055

Mark Loretta 883615000310130000000.1390.1840.139-0.152


Ugly. And as bad as they've been at the component's of offense, as compiling 36 Runs Created in 8 games shows, they've been even worse at even scoring the runs, as their 28 actual runs scored proves.

And the pitching certainly can't be let off the hook. Through 7 innings last week in Toronto, Josh Beckett had thrown 28 AL innings, allowing 1 HR, 5 earned runs, and was well on his way to a 4-0 start. In his last 4 innings of work, there have been 5 HR, 11 earned runs, and a blown lead and a debacle loss. The last 3 nights, the Red Sox have been behind early and stayed there. Foulke and Papelbon have been pretty good (the loss that Foulke got in Toronto was really Seanez' fault), and there have been performances from Clement and Wakefield that weren't terrible, but there's been nothing great, either.

AL Defensive Efficiency

Tim Wakefield 20213.6798526503.29

Matt Clement 21111.33128618824.76

Josh Beckett 20111111413679110.64

Curt Schilling 1006.6795512806.75

Lenny Dinardo 10131077111021

Keith Foulke 5116.6732201802.7

Julian Tavarez 4003.3353312208.1

Mike Timlin 4002.6731112403.38

Rudy Seanez 3002.3311102403.86

Jermaine Van Buren 100321101103

Manuel Delcarmen 2001.67864011021.6

Jonathan Papelbon 4005.3340000300


While the pitching hasn't been great, or even very good, it has really been the offensive ineptitude that's led to this 2-6 mark.

The good news is, of course, that this is temporary. As in "it won't continue." There's too much talent here. When everyone slumps at once, as is going on, you have stretches like this. Everyone has one or two during the course of the year, and as hideous as it is while it's going on, it always (unless you're the 2002 Tigers or 2005 Royals) ends. As this will for the Red Sox, possibly even tonight. In any event, as bad as this run has been, and it's been bad, they're still tied for first in the AL East and won't, as I say, continue to perform at this level.

But the past week has been ugly...



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