Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Boston 3, LAnaheim 2

Odds and ends...

  • Boston is back in the American League Championship series, for the fourth time in 6 years.

  • Do they give out an MVP award for the division series? If so, it has to be Jon Lester, right? Yes, he didn't get the win in last night's game, but it was all about him. For the series, he allowed 10 hits, 3 walks and only one run (none earned) in 14 innings of work. Can you say "dominant?" But it isn't a total shock - he's been one of the best pitchers in baseball since the end of April. From April 25 through the end of the regular season he was 15-4 with a 2.82 ERA (5th in all of baseball among pitchers with 20+ starts over that period.) He was a top prospect when he debuted, but he's got to have exceeded all but the most optimistic projections of what he would turn into.

  • The pace was much better last night. On Sunday, they averaged over 26 minutes per inning played, last night it was around 19 minutes.

  • When the Red Sox replaced Mike Lowell on the active roster with Gil Velazquez, they rendered Lowell ineligible for the ALCS. I am unclear on whether he is also ineligible for the World Series, but if they're going to get there, it's going to be without him. Which is a shame. But it had to be done - he was not an asset either offensively or defensively against the Angels, and the potential for him being an asset again with his hip the way it is is obviously small to non-existent.

  • Are they paying Buck Martinez by the word?

  • The Angels are (very understandably) not happy about the result. Chone Figgins: "I couldn't believe it. Once again, we're on their field, and they're celebrating. I'm just wondering: How does this keep happening?" Yeah, that's got to be not fun. As Red Sox fans whose memories encompass more than the past five years are well aware. I'm a Red Sox fan, so I'm very pleased with last night's outcome, but still, I can empathize with the Angels. It hurts to lose, and it's an insult to injury situation to keep losing to the same guys.

  • I'm going to disagree with John Lackey, though, who said that "we lost to a team that was not as good as we are." OK, I'll agree with the words, but not the sentiment. The Red Sox are not "as good as" the Angels. They are significantly better. As I said the other day,
    "1) They scored more runs and
    2) they allowed fewer runs while
    3) playing a tougher schedule"
    Now, nothing that's happened in the past week "proves" that I was right. The fact that Boston won 3 of 4 proves nothing except that, on three particular nights, the Red Sox were able to outscore the Angels. But as I also said, "they could get swept out of the playoffs over the weekend, and I'll still be saying it on Monday." I'm saying Boston's the better team, and I said it before the series, and I'd still be saying it even if they'd lost.

  • The Red Sox won. That means Red Sox fans get at least four more games of FrankTV promos! Woo-hoo!

  • I knew, when Pedroia stepped to the plate in the fifth, that his hitless streak was going to end. (Of course, I also knew, in the third, that they were headed back to LA for a fifth game, and I knew in the seventh that Boston was going to win a shutout.)

  • Defensively, Boston allowed 2 unearned runs, LAnaheim allowed none. If you watched the series, however, you understand what a ridiculously inadequate measure of defense that is.

  • Time for some numbers.
    • For the series, Boston outscored LAnaheim 18-13

    • Boston hit .250/.325/.375/.700 while the Angels hit .273/.339/.344/.683. It's not surprising to see the Angels with a higher batting average; it's a little bit surprising to see them with a higher OBP.

    • Each team drew 15 walks. During the regular season, the Red Sox drew over 34% more walks than the Angels.

    • Boston hit for more power. Both of the Angels HR and two of their three doubles, so four of their six extra-base hits, came in the one game that they won.

    • By Runs Created:

      Red Sox - ALDS

      Jason Bay417372025200.412.474.8821.3566.001015.01

      Jacoby Ellsbury418263006231.333.400.500.9003.38146.04

      J.D. Drew414241013000.286.286.571.8572.28105.71

      Jed Lowrie311240001100.364.462.364.8252.1077.48

      David Ortiz417141001300.235.350.294.6442.04133.93

      Kevin Youkilis418241001200.222.300.278.5781.62142.89

      Alex Cora24111000100.250.400.500.900.8537.12

      Coco Crisp24210000110.250.400.250.650.7536.21

      Mark Kotsay310130000000.300.300.300.600.5281.64

      Dustin Pedroia417011001200.

      Jason Varitek414230000000.

      Mike Lowell28000000100.

    • Angels - ALDS

      Vladimir Guerrero415271000410.467.579.5331.1124.93815.40

      Mark Teixeira415470001400.467.550.4671.0174.41912.25

      Mike Napoli412330024200.250.400.7501.1503.5099.71

      Chone Figgins421271101010.333.333.476.8103.40146.08

      Torii Hunter418070005100.389.421.389.8103.01116.84

      Kendry Morales44021000000.500.500.7501.2501.23215.42

      Juan L. Rivera38110001300.125.364.125.489.7472.65

      Jeff Mathis12010000000.500.500.5001.000.45111.15

      Garret Anderson419130000100.

      Howie Kendrick417020000000.

      Gary Matthews35000000000.

      Erick Aybar418020001000.

    • Boston starters - 24 innings, 2.635 ERA.

    • LAnaheim starters - 23 2/3 innings, 4.94 ERA

    • Boston's starter was more effective (more innings or fewer runs allowed) in each of the four games.

    • Boston relievers - 15 innings, 2.4 ERA

    • LAnaheim relievers - 15 innings, 3.00 ERA

    • Boston's rightie in the 'pen were tremendous - Papelbon, Masterson and Delcarmen combined to pitch 11 1/3 innings in 9 appearances, striking out 11 while allowing 9 hits, 4 walks and 1 earned run.

  • Buck Martinez obviously thinks he's getting paid by the word.

  • Just stumbled upon another Lackey quote: "We are way better than they are." Yeah, I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there, John...

  • The Angels big hitters in the middle were tremendous, but they did not hit for power. If you have big gaps in the lineup, where you're getting no offense (Rivera, Kendrick, Matthews, Aybar), you need to put together short sequense offense, extra-base hits, home runs, where you don't need a lot of positive outcomes to push runs across the plate. Instead, the guys who should be providing those hits, Texeira and Guerrero, combined to hit .467, but only had one double and no HR in their 14 hits. So they were on base all the time, but the guys behind them weren't getting the job done. The Angels scored three runs on HR in the series, and that led directly to their one win.

  • I think I'm going to do a full post on "luck" in baseball, and the reasons that one-run games are disproportionately affected by it, later in the week. I hope that people took notes on the last three innings of last night's game - it will make the lecture easier to follow.

  • This was sure a good night for Dustin Pedroia to come out of his 0-13 slump.

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