Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Pythagorean - 7/16/012

"...don't feel sad, 'cause two out of three ain't bad..."

  • The "second half" of the season starts out well, with the returns of Ellsbury and Buchholz, the imminent return of Carl Crawford, and taking two of three from the Rays in Tampa.

  • Which brings me to a question.  I have spent very little time recently, almost none, perusing or listening to the Boston sports media.  But I've heard a couple of snippets on the radio, and seem to have seen a headline or two, leading me to believe that there's a debate going on as to whether the Red Sox should be "sellers" at the trade deadline and play for 2013.  Is this true?   And, if so, let me ask this - is everyone nuts?  Let's remember that there are two Wild Card teams this year.  The nine game lead the Yankees have in the division is sizeable, but even if it's insurmountable, so what?  There are two more "golden tickets" to the post-season available, and right now, the Boston Red Sox, the most injured team in baseball in the first half, with 2/3 of their starting outfield just coming back, are currently 1 1/2 games out of playoff position.  It's preposterous to be suggesting that they should throw in the towel at this point.  Now, if two weeks from today they've lost 13 straight, and they're 7 games behind five different teams, maybe they should think about it.  Last week, this week?  It's silly conversation.  A team with this payroll and talent level doesn't give up without much better reasons for doing so.

  • Oh, and the Red Sox are still one of the top four teams in the AL by run differential, one of the top five by pythagorean, and, despite all that's gone wrong so far, still project (based on pythagorean) to finish with one of the top five records in the AL.  And one of the playoff spots.

  • It's nice to see Jacoby Ellsbury back in the lineup.

  • With the return of Carl Crawford, the Red Sox will put their starting outfield on the field for the first time.  Assuming that Cody Ross is the right fielder, they have filled in the holes the outfield due to the injuries to Ellsbury and Crawford (and Ross himself) with contributions from Scott Podsednik, Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney, Darnell McDonald, Marlon Byrd, Ryan Kalish, Che-Hsuan Lin, Brent Lillibridge and Jason Repko.  Those players have hit (.264/.324/.372/.696) in 702 at-bats.

  • One would expect an outfield of Crawford-Ellsbury-Ross to be slightly more productive than that.

  • Of the ten Red Sox pitchers who faced the Rays this weekend, six allowed, or at least were charged with allowing, no runs.  And a seventh, Scott Atchison, was charged with no earned runs.

  • From the "not all managerial nit-picking is second guessing" department:  I was surprised to see Buchholz take the mound for the seventh on Saturday night.  I know that he'd been fairly efficient through six, but given the totality of the circumstances, I thought six was enough.  And I wasn't surprised with what happened.

  • None of that means that it was a bad decision, of course.  There may have been no reason to pull him, and Valentine gets the benefit of the doubt, being much closer to the situation than I.  But I was surprised by the decision, and no surprised by the result.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - The Sox' lone All Star, David Ortiz, came out of the break as he went into it, hot (.444/.615/.778/1.393).  But Mike Aviles (.455/.500/.818/1.318) was even hotter...

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Yes, there were a lot of unscored on innings.  But the most innings pitched from that group was just the five that Franklin Morales threw in his start on Friday night.  So despite the excellent overall results from the pitching staff, there's no pitcher of the week this week.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/16/2012
New York4.9(4)4.15(5)0.575(2)513754343
Los Angeles4.45(8)3.97(2)0.552(4)494049400
Tampa Bay4.18(9)4.18(6)0.5(9)454446431
Kansas City4.13(11)4.59(10)0.452(12)39483849-1

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York9963
Los Angeles8973

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York9765
Los Angeles8973

Standings for the week
Kansas City5(5)4.67(8)0.532(6)2112-1
New York6.33(2)6(12)0.525(7)21210
Los Angeles6(3)6.33(13)0.475(8)12120
Tampa Bay3(12)4.33(7)0.338(12)12120

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