Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Pythagorean - 4/21/2014

In the end, the record is what counts, so despite the fact that they continue to struggle offensively, and played some ugly ball, a 4-2 record makes for a successful week...
  • It's tough to overstate how much the offense has struggled. They were 12th in the AL in runs scored per game this week, at four runs/game, but even that overstates the offense. One of the games went fourteen innings. In that game, they scored two of their week's runs against a utility infielder. They were aided significantly by a bad rule interpretation and poor opposition's defense, as they managed to score 33 runs while their component offense suggests that they created only 28.

  • The cortisone shot to Pedroia's wrist seems to have helped.

  • The Ryan Roberts era did not last long, ending with a .105/.227/.105/.333 line, 2 hits in 19 at-bats. And Brock Holt (.400/.455/.600/1.055, 2.71 runs created, 11.31 RC/25 outs) wasted no time in making it look like a good decision.

  • That game on Wednesday had exactly one redeeming feature - the Red Sox won. But wow, was that the ugliest 5 hours and 17 minutes of the season thus far. Yeah, the Red Sox won. Yeah, they scored six runs. But it's actually an excellent illustration of how badly they've struggled offensively. It took them fourteen innings to score the six runs. They scored the final two against a utility infielder after the White Sox had burned through their bullpen. They were limited to four runs over thirteen innnings against Chicago's pitchers, despite the fact that those pitchers walked a better per inning over that stretch.

  • It does not seem to make sense for Boston to be playing a night game before the 11AM Patriots' Day start, the only morning MLB game played during the season.

  • I have avoided as much of the bombing-related coverage as has been humanly possible for someone living in Massachusetts and following the Red Sox for the past year. But I watched the pregame on Sunday night, because the bagpipe band on the field was the one that my son plays with and the solo pipe that started the Highland Cathedral is his teacher. And I came away with two thoughts. One is that it was a lovely and moving ceremony, and the Highland Cathedral is a lovely piece. The other is this - the Red Sox have got to start making it about 2014 and baseball. There seems to have been, thus far, a tremendous amout of time and energy expended on things that are ancillary and in the past. They can't keep focusing on other stuff before the games and expect to start the games well. And they haven't.

  • Boston has been outscored in each of the first five innings. They've both scored and allowed 8 in the sixth. The first inning for which the Red Sox have outscored their opposition is the 7th.

  • The baseball season is divided into series between two teams, sometimes two and sometimes four, but usually three. The easiest way to make the playoffs is to just keep winning series. The easiest way to win series is to win the first game. The Red Sox have played six series so far. They have lost the first game of the series five times.

  • Let's be honest - the interpretation of the "control/possession/transfer" rule that baseball is currently using with the replay is idiotic. The Red Sox benefited tremendously in the seventh inning of Sunday night's game when Brock Holt was called safe at second as SS Ryan Flaherty caught the ball to force him, but then muffed it when pulling it out of his glove to make the throw to first. Clearly out at every point in the history of baseball, but now, all of a sudden, they've decided that control of the ball isn't good enough anymore - it has to be voluntarily released, not dropped on the throw attempt. As a Red Sox fan, I'm thrilled with the way the inning played out, as the "error" directly led to the tying runs scoring, but as a baseball fan, I'm just appalled at the idiocy.

  • Does Victorino come back this week? When he does, how do they make a roster spot for him? Does Bradley go down? Nava's struggling and has an option - do they send him down? Do they trade Carp? My guess would be Bradley, but I could see them giving Nava some AAA at-bats to try to get himself put back together. There are a lot of people that want them to get rid of Carp, but I don't see any way that happens - he's too much of an asset, a good pinch-hitter who can play the OF or 1B, and they can keep either of the other two in the organization with Victorino in Boston.

  • Quite a week for Mike Napoli, who dislocated a finger sliding into second on Tuesday and then took a ball off the knee on Sunday. The finger only cost him one game, and he ended up taking his base after the HBP, but that knee has got to be pretty tender this morning.

  • It should be noted that, despite the slow start, the Red Sox are 9-10, and tied for third in the AL East, just two games behind the Yankees, who have just joined the Rays in losing one of their starters for the year to Tommy John surgery. (Ok, I guess the surgery isn't definite for Nova yes, but if the reports of a torn ulnar collateral ligament are true, you know it's coming.) In other words, they still look like the favorites in the east.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Dustin Pedroia (.318/.423/.455/.878, 4.30 runs created, 6.72 RC/25 outs) returned and had a good week. The fact is, it's a good-but-not-great week that usually isn't good enough to win Player of the Week honors, and the fact that it does is one more indicator of how weak the offense has been.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - On the night after emptying the bullpen as the Red Sox beat a utility infielder in the 14th inning of (hopefully) the worst Major Leaugue baseball game of the season, Jon Lester struck out 9 White Sox in 8 innings while walking none in a 4-1 Boston win. In the process, Lester dropped his ERA for the season to 2.17 and upped his K/BB ratio to 7.25. Whether or not Lester is really an "ace" is something that's much debated, but he's been dominant in the early going of the 2014 season.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 4/21/2014
LA Angels5.39(3)4.67(11)0.565(2)108810-2
Tampa Bay3.95(10)3.89(4)0.506(6)109910-1
Chicago Sox5.58(1)5.58(15)0.5(7)109910-1
Kansas City3.53(14)3.82(3)0.463(12)89981
NY Yankees3.95(10)4.42(9)0.448(14)9101182

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
NY Yankees9468
Kansas City8676

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
LA Angels8973

Standings for the week
Kansas City4.67(7)3.17(2)0.67(3)42511
LA Angels5(5)5(10)0.5(7)3324-1
Tampa Bay5.17(3)5.17(14)0.5(7)3324-1
Chicago Sox4.33(9)5(10)0.435(11)3324-1
NY Yankees4.33(9)5(10)0.435(11)33421

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