Monday, April 04, 2011

Monday Pythagorean, 4/4/2011

There's been a lot of talking about this Red Sox team, about what a juggernaut they are expected to be, about how they've got no apparent weaknesses. Even some of the players have said that they expect to win 100 games. Lots and lots of talking, from all over the place. But then spring training ends, and it's time to play the games...

"When it's time to shoot, shoot. Don't talk..."
- Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez

This week, it's time for The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of the Red Sox' opening weekend Lone Star State debacle...

The Good
  • That Adrian Gonzalez fellow looks as if he might be able to swing a bat, doesn't he? While it's early and he hasn't gone deep yet, it sure looks as if he is over that shoulder problem that resulted in off-season surgery.
  • In 2010, David Ortiz hit his first home run of the season on April 18, and his second on May 1. He's got one in each of the first two games.
  • Youkilis and Pedrioa are both healthy and on the field. Ellsbury's healthy, walked a couple of times and went deep. The early season "on a pace to" game tends to grow old really quickly, but if Ellsbury's healthy and puts up an OBP of .355+ at the top of the lineup, they will score a lot of runs.
  • The end of Jonathan Papelbon's performance. The double allowed to Michael Young was bad, but the rest of what happened was either intentional (hitting Kinsler, walking Hamilton) or accidental/lucky (Blanco's double should have been handled by Gonzalez.) Having loaded the bases with no one out, he proceeded to strike out the next three batters. Certainly not a clean performance, not what we're looking for in terms of results, but that part of it was encouraging.

The Bad
  • Where to begin? With the starting pitching. In 15 1/3 innings, the starting pitching allowed 18 earned runs. That's rarely going to yield positive results.
  • Buchholz allowed four solo HR, and left after 6 1/3 with a 5.68 ERA and a 4-1 deficit. That was the best starting pitching performance of the series for the Red Sox.
  • David Ortiz tied game 1 in the eighth with a HR, and Daniel Bard was only able to retire one batter before allowing two runs to give Texas back the lead.
  • In the first two games of the season, Red Sox pitchers couldn't even get through one batter before Texas scored, as Ian Kinsler led off with a HR in each of the first two games.

and The Ugly
  • I'd be willing to bet that Jon Lester won't allow three HR in a game again in 2011. I'd be willing to bet that Daniel Bard won't allow four runs in an outing again in 2011. That they both did it on opening day made it one of the uglier openers in recent memory.
  • John Lackey - 3 2/3 innings pitched, 10 hits, 2 walks, 9 earned runs. His ERA is 22.09.
  • Daniel Bard's ERA is over twice as high as Lackey's.
  • Three games, three right fielders. Cameron, Drew, McDonald, 0-9 with three walks.
  • Scutaro-Saltalamacchia - 0-18, one HBP.
  • Homer, homer, everywhere...Boston pitchers allowed 11 home runs in the three-games series, almost four per game.
  • Boston pitchers took the mound to start an inning six times with a lead, and allowed at least one run in four of those innings, They allowed at least the tying run to score in three of them.

There will be no Player of the Week awards this week, given the minimal length and maximal putrescence of what we witnessed over the weekend.

That all said, this was three games, and three games means...well, not nothing, but in the scope of the baseball season, not much. There were no "fatal flaws" revealed, anyone who says that "they can't beat Texas" is a moron, and it's just three games. Awful games, true. Disappointing. And magnified in our perception because a) they're the last three we've seen and b) for the 2011 Red Sox, they're the only three games we've seen. It doesn't matter, it's still a three-game series.

Obviously, all sensible people of proper moral framework loathe the Yankees, but it's worth noting, in this context, that the 1998 Yankees lost their first three games (while being outscored 21-6) and four of their first five. They finished with a record of 114-48, which is not too bad. That doesn't mean that this Red Sox team will win 114 games, of course. It just means that losing the first three isn't always indicative of a disastrous season...

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 4/4/2011
New York7.67(3)6.33(9)0.587(4)21210
Kansas City5.25(7)4.5(7)0.57(6)22311
Los Angeles4.5(8)5.25(8)0.43(9)2213-1
Tampa Bay1(14)4(5)0.073(14)03030

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City12240
New York10854

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York9567

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