Monday, August 03, 2009

Monday Pythagorean, 8/3/2009

Well, the offense returned. For the week, 5-2 works.

  • 2-2 vs. Oakland is not an impressive way to start a week. The loss on Tuesday, throwing away a three run lead in the ninght, was particularly painful. But these things do happen during the course of a season, and the issue isn't necessarily avoiding them, it's avoiding long stretches of them. The Red Sox have played poorly since the All Star break, but if you look at the standings this morning, what you discover is that as bad as it has been, they're actually only 7-8 since the break. Certainly not good, but considering that the stretch includes a 5 game losing streak, nowhere near as bad as it could be. That's one of the keys to compiling a good record - keep the extended bad streak at or near .500 as opposed to 5 games under.

  • And after the split with Oakland, they ended up putting together a good week by virtue of going on the road and putting together a sweep of Baltimore. They're now 11-2 vs. the Orioles (and it could easily be better, as they had a 9 run lead in one of the two losses before the rains came.)

  • Boston enters the first full week in August with the best run differential in the AL by 20 runs over the Rays, and the second best differential in MLB.

  • The Sox made up two games on the week, bringing the deficit back to 1/2 a game, tied in the loss column. This week provides and opportunity to make a move, as they've got two in Tampa followed by four in New York. My gut feeling is that the standings will look pretty similar next Monday to the way they look today, and that Boston and New York will be within two games of each other one way or the other.

  • During the roster juggling necessitated by the trades, they brought up Josh Reddick to provide depth in case Drew's groin injury proved worse than expected. He's now started a couple of Major League games and collected a bunch of hits, including a couple of doubles and a HR. I don't think he's ready to be here full-time, and I'm pretty sure that they don't either, but that's a nice start for him and worthy of notice.

  • On the other, I'm not crazy about the reasons that he's getting the playing time. In two consecutive games, one of the Red Sox starting corner outfielders has left with an injury. Neither seems to be serious, and Reddick and Baldelli have done a great job, but they're not going to win the division with the corners manned by Reddick and Baldelli as opposed to Bay and Drew.

  • I was going to address the Ortiz news here, but I'm thinking that I'll pull it into a separate post. The short answer is, the news is depressing because it's news and I'm sick of it all, and I don't care, and no, the titles are not "tainted." More later.

  • I was going to work the trade deadline stuff in here, and I've decided to pull that into a separate post also. Short answer - they got better, they didn't give up any of their untouchables, and I've got non-baseball reasons for being sorry that Masterson and Hagadone have gone.

  • The "big inning" is killing Smoltz (well, the "big inning" and the defensive stylings of Nick Green) and Buccholz. Why is the "big inning" killing Smoltz and Buccholz? I don't have an answer. Presumably, the answers to that question come from the likes of scouts and sports psychologists, and I'm neither. When they score runs, they can cover some of those big innings up, but it would be much better not to have to.

  • The top of the rotation is still dominant. Another week, another set of brilliant performances from Messieurs Beckett and Lester. (OK, Lester struggled a little bit in his start, aided by, again, a little bit of bad luck and a little bit of defensive players not getting to gettable balls.)

  • Daniel Bard is putting up video game numbers, and this seems a good time to mention it. It has been over a month since he last allowed an earned runs, giving up a total of two unearned runs in his last 12 apearances, dating back to June 28. In that span, he has pitched 14 innings, and allowed four (4) hits. Here's the silly number. In those 14 innings, he has struck out 23 batters, while walking none. 14 innings, no HBP or walks, only 4 hits, probably means 46 batters. He has struck out half of them. He has been spectacular.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - On a per at-bat basis, J.D. Drew (.600/.625/.933/1.558) was the best, but because of injury, he only saw 15 at-bats. Jacoby Ellsbury (.438/.513/.656/1.169) had an outstanding week, and Mike Lowell (.450/.435/.750/1.185) was excellent. Josh Reddick (.364/.417/.818/1.235) warrants mention in his big-league debut. But the winner is ... Kevin Youkilis (.552/.618/.828/1.445), who was 10-12 in Baltimore this weekend and reached base safely in 13 of 15 plate appearances.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - The pitching this week was unspectacular, from bad starts (Penny, Smoltz, Buccholz) to late-inning meltdowns (Papelbon1). But there are contenders. First, Daniel Bard, whom I've already mentioned, threw 3 2/3 innings in four appearances, allowing 1 hit and no runs, striking out 5 while walking none. Some weeks, that would get it done, and he'll get his share of these awards before his career is over, but Josh Beckett, in two starts, pitched 14 innings and allowed 3 ER for a 1.93 ERA.

1 - Yes, Papelbon's "meltdown" was significantly aided and abetted by horrendous defense behind him, and a very weak bloop hit. Still, he keeps putting guys on base via the walk, and the base on balls isn't Nick Green's fault.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/3/2009



Tampa Bay5.18(4)4.47(6)0.567(2)60455748-3

Los Angeles5.73(1)4.97(12)0.565(3)584563405

New York5.53(2)4.86(8)0.559(4)594663424










Kansas City3.86(14)4.95(11)0.387(14)406441631

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Los Angeles9963


New York9765


Tampa Bay8874

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

Los Angeles9666

New York9567


Tampa Bay8973

Standings for the week


Los Angeles8.14(2)4.57(5)0.742(1)52510






Tampa Bay4.67(10)4.33(1)0.534(7)33330

New York5.43(7)6.29(12)0.433(8)34340






Kansas City2.75(14)4.5(4)0.289(14)26341

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