Monday, May 05, 2014

Monday pythagorean - 5/5/2014

And the frustration continues, as the Red Sox win three games by a total of twelve runs and lose three games by a total of three...
  • From the OED: frustration, n., Pronunciation: /fr?'stre???n/, Etymology: < Latin frustration-em, noun of action < frustrari to frustrate v. The action of frustrating; disappointment; defeat; an instance of this. See Red Sox, Boston, May 1-4, 2014

  • On April 2, the 0-1 Red Sox beat Baltimore 6-2 to move to .500. On April 5, they lost to Milwaukee to fall below .500 at 2-3. Since then, they have had six eight opportunities to get back to .500 (two of them this week alone). They are 0-6 0-8, and have been outscored 39-19 44-22.
    • April 6, 2-3 - Milwaukee 4, Boston 0
    • April 8, 3-4 - Texas 10, Boston 7
    • April 10, 4-5 - NY Yankees 4, Boston 1
    • April 12, 5-6 - NY Yankees 7, Boston 4
    • April 21, 9-10 - Baltimore 7, Boston 6
    • April 27, 12-13 - Toronto 7, Boston 1
    • May 1, 13-14 - Tampa 2, Boston 1
    • May 4, 15-16 - Oakland 3, Boston 2

  • And yes, you're going to keep seeing this until they get through it. Hopefully, this is the last time.

  • Many frustrations on the week. Two one-run losses to the Rays on Thursday, as Boston scored in just two of 18 innings. They scored one run in the first inning of the first game, and lost 2-1. They scored five runs in the fifth inning of the second game, and lost 6-5.

  • Let's look, briefly, just at yesterday's 3-2 10-inning loss to Oakland in yet another failed attempt to claw their way back to .500:
    • In the fifth inning, they get on the scoreboard when Sizemore doubles, leaving men at 2nd and 3rd with one out. They fail to score again as Will Middlebrooks walks to load the bases and Bradley grounds into a double play, leaving the score tied at 1.
    • After they tie it in the bottom of the fifth, Lackey immediately walks the lead-off hitter in the sixth, and a one-out double scores the go-ahead run.
    • In the seventh, Pierzynski ties it with a home run. Bogaerts walks, and in what could have been the play of the game, Josh Reddick fails to catch Johnny Gomes' wind-tortured pop-up to right, leaving runners at 2nd and 3rd with no outs in a tie game. And again, as has has happened far, far too often already this year, they fail to get a runner in from 3rd with no outs. Middlebrooks failes to put the ball in play, striking out. Bradley, with a chance to score a run with an out, bunts the ball right back to the pitcher. Pedroia grounds out to end the inning.
    • With two outs and no one on in the A's 10th, Capuano gives up a double and two walks (the first intentional) to load the bases. Badenhop comes in, throws two strikes, and induces a weak ground ball. Too weak - Middlebrooks makes a good barehanded play and throw, but too late to get Cespedes at first, and the go-ahead (and eventual winning) run scores.
    • After Coco Crisp turns what might have been an out with a better break into a single and error, leaving Middlebrooks as the tying run on second with no outs in the Red Sox' 10th, Bradley wastes some more pitches trying (and failing) to get a bunt down. [As an aside, what has this team done this year to make John Farrell, or anyone else, think that intentionally giving up an out to get a runner to third with one out is a good idea? Have they scored a runner from third with an out yet?] Eventually, he grounds to the first baseman, still playing in, who throws Middlebrooks out at third. Pedroia then grounds into a double-play, game over, and back to two games under .500. Again.

  • Here's a thought - since Jackie Bradley Jr. can't bunt, how about not asking him to do it on six straight pitches again?

  • This is surprising - through five weeks, the Red Sox have not yet swept anyone in a series of any length.

  • This is shocking - they have not yet had a winning streak of longer than two (2) games. In April of 2013, they had a five-game winning streak and a seven-game winning streak. They have not yet won three consecutive games in 2014.

  • There are positive signs. The offense continues to improve, the pitching was good this week, and it was far and away their best week thus far from a run differential/pythagorean standpoint.

  • The other big positive is this - there's no one in the AL East that's running away with the division. On May 5, despite all that's gone wrong so far, Boston is two games under .500 and only two games out of first. They'd be 12 games out if someone had started 27-5 like the 1984 Tigers. If someone had started 21-11, like last year's Red Sox, they'd be 6 games out. Or five games behind the 2012 20-12 Baltimore Orioles. Instead, no one has started fast, and the division race is still wide open, and all of the reasons for picking the Red Sox to win the East before the season started are still valid. It feels like they've gotten an extra five weeks worth of working things out before the race really begins.

  • It was actually a great week for the starting pitchers. Felix Doubront gave up four earned in six innings in the second game of the Tampa double-header, and that was the worst performance by a starter this week. On six starts, they averaged 6 2/3 innings pitched with a 2.21 ERA, .934 WHIP and 2.5 K/BB ratio. Excellent stuff, and a real shame to come out of a week like that at 3-3.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - There were a lot of ok, not bad, fair-to-good performances, even a couple of very good performances, but nothing really jumps out. The most production (in terms of runs created) came from Dustin Pedroia (.280/.379/.480/.859, 4.57 runs created, 6.01 RC/25 outs), but he led the team in plate appearances and was second in outs. The best production rate came from Mike Carp (.500/.500/.500/1.000, .91 runs created, 11.39 RC/25 outs), but he only had four at-bats. In the end, I decided to go with a split decision, and give out two awards, to Shane Victorino (.350/.417/.500/.917, 4.40 runs created, 7.85 RC/25 outs), because it's good to see him back in productive form again, and A.J. Pierzynski (.412/.412/.588/1.000, 3.77 runs created, 8.56 RC/25 outs), who had the highest productivity rate among the regulars.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - It's almost a tough call this week, because John Lackey was very good in two starts, allowing only four runs over 14 innings of work, and generally, a starter with two good starts is going to be the best choice. But. Jon Lester's performance on Saturday, allowing only one hit and no runs while striking out 15 in 8 innings against Oakland, was so dominant as to carry the day.

  • AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/5/2014
    LA Angels5.3(1)4.37(6)0.588(3)18121515-3
    Chicago Sox5.09(3)5.22(14)0.489(7)16161517-1
    Tampa Bay4.31(8)4.53(8)0.477(10)151715170
    Kansas City3.87(14)4.3(4)0.452(12)141614160
    NY Yankees4.23(10)4.77(12)0.446(13)131716143

    Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
    NY Yankees8676

    Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
    LA Angels9369

    Standings for the week
    LA Angels4.83(5)5(8)0.484(7)33421
    Tampa Bay4.71(6)5(8)0.473(8)34431
    NY Yankees4(12)5.6(12)0.351(13)2314-1
    Chicago Sox3.33(15)4.83(7)0.336(14)24240
    Kansas City4.17(10)7(15)0.279(15)24240

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