Monday, May 09, 2011

Monday Pythagorean, 5/9/2011

Obviously 4-3 is better than 3-4, and better than they've done in all but one week so far, but this was an ugly week of baseball...

  • The week started on a scintillating note. They beat the best pitcher in the AL thus far, Jered Weaver, and the key to the game was a 13-pitch 2-out, 2-on at-bat by Dustin Pedroia, which ended with a single that drove in two to take them from one down to one up. It also contributed greatly to cutting Weaver's outing by an inning, and they beat up on the Angels' 'pen to put it away. It was one of those seminal "storyline" moments of a great season.
  • They beat another excellent starter, Dan Haren, the following night, and looked like they were really on a roll. Not only had they gotten to within one game of .500, their run differential was positive (+3) - for the first time, they'd outscored their opponents on the season.
  • And one of the reasons that you can't always trust "storylines" is what came next. When they tied up the Wednesday night game in the bottom of the 9th, it felt as if they were at the inflection point, ready to race to the pennant. Then they allowed 22 runs and scored 2 over the next 21 innings, while losing three straight, and *poof!* - the storyline's up in smoke. Instead, you've got people wondering if Theo failed to take "hunger" into account when constructing the team.
  • Here's a "storyline" comment - man, did John Lackey ever come up small when they needed a good performance! After that Wednesday night disaster, in which rain limited Josh Beckett to 4 1/3 innings and 5 hours of baseball over 7 1/2 hours of real time had them use one more of their starters plus their "first alternate," as well as everyone in the bullpen, what they needed was a quality performance on Thursday afternoon, good pitching and lots of it. What they got was 8 runs allowed. That's bad, of course, but they ended up getting shut out so one would have been bad enough. What was worse was that he only managed to pitch 4+ innings, recording only 12 outs, so they need to get 15 more from the already overburdened relief corps. It was, under the circumstances, the single worst performance by a Red Sox starting pitcher this season.
  • The good Tim Wakefield showed up last Sunday. The far more predictable Tim Wakefield showed up on Friday, leading to a second straight bad loss and a third straight day of decimating the bullpen. From Wedneday through Friday, the starters pitched 12 1/3 innings - the bullpen pitched 18 2/3 innings. That's not a recipe for success.
  • Jose Iglesias' Major League career started on a not-particularly memorable note, with one inning as a defensive replacement and one routine play made.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - On a per at-bat basis, Marco Scutaro (.545/.583/.818/1.402) was the most productive hitter this week but only had 19 at-bats. David Ortiz (.391/.440/.652/1.092) also had an excellent week, but, factoring in playing time, defense, and offensive performance, the player of the week is Jacoby Ellsbury, who hit .387/.406/.516/.922 and stole five bases.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - There are three good candidates this week. Daniel Bard was outstanding, unscored upon in 5 1/3 innings over five appearances. Jon Lester had the best start of the week, striking out 11 while allowing only one run in seven innings of a tight pitchers' duel (until the Sox blew it open against the Angel's bullpen late). But this week, the award goes to Clay Buchholz, who allowed two runs over 11 2/3 innings in two Red Sox wins. The most important thing that he did, though, was come back for three more innings at the end of a two-hour rain delay that followed the second inning on Saturday afternoon, holding the Twins scoreless and limiting the bullpen exposure after two days of bad and brutally short starts.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 4/18/2011
New York5.31(1)4.13(5)0.614(2)20121913-1
Tampa Bay4.32(6)3.47(2)0.599(3)201420140
Los Angeles4.26(7)3.6(4)0.576(4)201520150
Kansas City5(2)4.62(12)0.536(5)181618160

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York9666
Tampa Bay9567
Los Angeles9369
Kansas City8676

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York9963
Tampa Bay9765
Los Angeles9369
Kansas City8775

Standings for the week
Tampa Bay4.5(4)2.17(2)0.792(1)51510
Kansas City4.17(6)3.33(6)0.601(4)4233-1
Los Angeles5(1)4.14(9)0.585(5)43430
New York4.43(5)4.29(10)0.515(9)4334-1

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