Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday pythagorean - 6/30/2014

Another week of just treading water, 3-3...
  • Of course, treading water is much, much better than it looked like the week was going to turn out on Saturday morning. Through the first four games of the week, they were 1-3 and had been outscored 30-10. They had won a game by one, and lost three games by nine, six and six.

  • As bad as that beginning to the week was, things actually feel ok this morning. (That's the recency bias talking, of course.) They won a game with pitching on Saturday, they won a game with offense on Sunday. They beat the Yankees twice in a row in New York. They are back within six games of first place in the division.

  • Saturday's game marked the halfway point of the season. They got there at seven games under .500. They got there in the middle of the pack (7th of 15) in runs allowed. They got there, shockingly, in dead last in runs scored.

  • Through 81 games, they had allowed 3 more runs than the 2013 Red Sox. They had scored 114 fewer runs than the 2013 Red Sox.

  • The starters, for the most part, were shaky, leading to the league worst six runs allowed per game. Lackey, the only starter to make two starts, made two bad starts, allowing 12 runs (11 earned) in just 8 2/3 innings of work. Jake Peavey allowed seven runs in five innings. Those two were responsible for half of the Sox starts this week.

  • Six relievers combined to throw 9+ shutout innings, with only Breslow and the recently released Chris Capuano allowing any runs.

  • As we saw on Sunday night, David Ortiz can still hit a baseball a long way.

  • One of the great games of the year took place in New York on Saturday night, with Mike Napoli's ninth-inning HR leading to Boston's 2-1 win in a great pitching duel between Tanaka and Lester. If the Red Sox ever put a streak together and get back into the race, on the fringes of which they've been for the whole season thus far, that becomes one of the memorable reasons why.

  • Two weeks ago, Boston was 8 1/2 games out in the East, 3 1/2 behind the Orioles and 4 behind the Yankees. Over the last two weeks, they've gone 7-6. And this morning, they're 6 games out in the East, 4 1/2 behind the Orioles and 4 behind the Yankees. The Red Sox have done little to keep themselves in the division race, to the extent that they are, but they've gotten a lot of help from their competition.

  • Mookie Betts make his Major League debut and became yet another Boston player with a hit in his first Major League game this year, joing Cecchini and Hassan. On the night, he was 1-3 with a walk, which looks like a nice start. Unfortunately, he also hit into a double-play and ran into another out on the bases (caught stealing). Still, quite a night considering that he was an A ball infielder last year and a Major League outfielder now. He's had a very rapid ascent - 54 games in AA, 23 in AAA, and here he is.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - The biggest hit of the week came from the Player of the Week, but it wasn't the only hit that Mike Napoli (.412/.524/.882/1.406, 6.26 runs created, 14.22 RC/25 outs) had. Brock Holt (.292/.370/.542/.912, 4.79 runs created, 7.05 RC/25 outs) and Dustin Pedroia (.409/.462/.409/.871, 4.24 runs created, 7.07 RC/25 outs) each had good weeks and warrant mention.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - No-brainer here, as Jon Lester allowed just one unearned run in 8 innings on Saturday night, a performance that was necessary as the Sox only got two against Tanaka.
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/30/2014
LA Angels4.83(2)4.19(5)0.564(3)453545350
Kansas City4.14(10)3.99(3)0.517(6)423942390
Chicago Sox4.31(6)4.69(14)0.462(10)384539441
NY Yankees4.04(11)4.44(11)0.457(11)374341394
Tampa Bay3.79(14)4.23(7)0.45(13)38463549-3
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
LA Angels9171
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
LA Angels9171
Standings for the week
LA Angels6(1)4.5(8)0.629(3)42420
Tampa Bay4.86(5)4.57(9)0.528(7)43430
NY Yankees4.33(7)4.67(10)0.466(9)3324-1
Chicago Sox3.57(11)3.86(5)0.465(10)34431
Kansas City4(10)4.33(7)0.463(11)33330

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday pythagorean report - 6/23/2014

Generally, 4-3 is a good week. When you can do that while scoring only 18 runs, you praise the pitching staff...
  • Not only did they score only 18 runs in 7 games this week, they did it with three of the games going 10 innings, and they did it while scoring 7 of those runs in one game. During the first six games, they scored a total of 11 runs.

  • The swept a three-game series with the Twins while scoring only five runs total.

  • You can score and allow the same number of runs in a series of games without any of htem being close. That's not what happened with Boston this week. Six of the games they played were decided by one run. The "blowout" was a 2-run loss, 4-2, in Oakland.

  • Through 76 games, the 2014 Red Sox are 10 games behind the 2013 Red Sox. This difference is entirely due to the drop-off in offense, which has been prodigious. They have allowed the same 308 runs through 76 games, but they've only scored 291 against last year's 386. That's a 25% drop-off in runs scored, a stunning drop. Some of us expected the offense to be comparable to last year's team's, but even those who thought there would be a step back didn't foresee this kind of a drop.

  • Last year, they were first in the AL in runs scored. This year, they are tied for 13th.

  • The biggest drop-off has come in their power numbers. The batting average is down, and their OBP decline pretty much results from that. But the .072 points of slugging has been the biggest difference.
    2013 (.269/.345/.443/.788, 398.29 runs created, 4.93 RC/25 outs)
    2014 (.242/.321/.369/.690, 302.02 runs created, 3.63 RC/25 outs)

  • The easy assumption is that they failed to adequately replace the players that left in the off-season. And it turns out that it's true - the replacements have underperformed the replaced. In the aggregate, the replacements have actually created more runs than the players they've replaced, but they've made far more outs in the process, so they've been significantly worse. And this is skewed, to some extent, by the fact that Xander Bogaerts did not play in the first 76 games of 2013, so he's part of the replacement group, which Jackie Bradley, Jr. did, so he is not part of the replacement group.
    Replaced (2013) (.293/.358/.439/.797, 105.73 runs created, 5.45 RC/25 outs)
    Replacements (2014) (.258/.319/.368/.688, 109.17 runs created, 3.60 RC/25 outs)
    The CF and Catcher replacements have been bad:
    2013 - Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia (.275/.342/.423/.765, 74.96 runs created, 4.98 RC/25 outs)
    2014 - Bradley, Sizemore, Pierzynski (.228/.291/.331/.621, 56.19 runs created, 2.75 RC/25 outs)

  • But it's not just the replacements. The players that were here both years have also been significantly worse.
    Both (2013) (.261/.341/.444/.785, 292.58 runs created, 4.77 RC/25 outs)
    Both (2014) (.234/.322/.369/.691, 192.85 runs created, 3.64 RC/25 outs)
    The biggest drops in runs created have come from Daniel Nava, who started slow and was shipped out
    2013 - Daniel Nava (.205/.295/.299/.595, 9.92 runs created, 2.56 RC/25 outs)
    2014 - Daniel Nava (.275/.375/.449/.824, 40.77 runs created, 5.57 RC/25 outs)
    and Stephen Drew, who hasn't played most of the year
    2013 - Stephen Drew (.224/.307/.381/.688, 24.63 runs created, 3.62 RC/25 outs)
    2014 - Stephen Drew (.158/.200/.211/.411, .85 runs created, .64 RC/25 outs)
    and Mike Carp, who played frequently and well in 2013, but neither in 2014
    2013 - Mike Carp (.324/.379/.686/1.065, 25.49 runs created, 8.73 RC/25 outs)
    2014 - Mike Carp (.214/.317/.286/.603, 5.12 runs created, 2.07 RC/25 outs).
    And, of course, they've gotten nothing from
    2013 - Shane Victorino (.292/.351/.392/.743, 25.34 runs created, 4.91 RC/25 outs)
    2014 - Shane Victorino (.242/.276/.352/.627, 9.25 runs created, 3.17 RC/25 outs).
    Mike Napoli's created fewer runs, but that's due to injury issues - he's hit better in 2014 than he did last year.
    2013 - Mike Napoli (.262/.344/.454/.797, 39.68 runs created, 4.98 RC/25 outs)
    2014 - Mike Napoli (.268/.383/.431/.814, 34.32 runs created, 5.33 RC/25 outs)
    David Ortiz has created essentially the same number of runs as last season, but he missed time in 2013 and has not been as good this year.
    2013 - David Ortiz (.306/.386/.602/.988, 44.00 runs created, 6.71 RC/25 outs)
    2014 - David Ortiz (.248/.349/.474/.823, 44.25 runs created, 5.27 RC/25 outs)
    And Dustin Pedroia's performance is concerning.
    2013 - Dustin Pedroia (.309/.393/.419/.812, 48.62 runs created, 5.63 RC/25 outs)
    2014 - Dustin Pedroia (.265/.336/.381/.717, 37.82 runs created, 4.01 RC/25 outs)

  • Not a good week for super-Koji, as he gave up runs of his own in two of his four appearances, and gave up a first pitch hit to drive in the losing run in another. Two solo HR in Sunday's ninth inning almost ruined the Red Sox chances of salvaging one game in Oakland. Just a bad week, or the end of the magic?

  • Speaking of magic ending, Burke Badenhop has been outstanding, entering Sunday's game with an 18-inning scoreless streak. He allowed three hits without retiring a batter, as he and Uehara combined to blow a five-run lead in the 8th and 9th.

  • The Boston Red Sox just celebrated the 15th anniversary (plus four days) of one of the most unlikely walk-off wins in history with a significantly less unlikely walk-off win.

    On June 14, 1999, the Twins took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth at Fenway, and, with one out, Darren Lewis (2 HR in 528 PA) and Jeff Frye (1 HR in 131 PA) hit back-to-back HR to win the game. This afternoon, June 18, 2014, the Twins took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 10th, and, with one out, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli hit back-to-back HR to win the game.

    Not the same, of course, but walk-off back-to-back HR don't happen every day, and against the same team, it's a notable occurrence...

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Sure, there were some individual moments, from Brock Holt (defense) and David Ortiz and Mike Napoli (late-inning HR) and Dustin Pedroia (base-running), but given the choice between awarding the Player of the Week to Dustin Pedroia (.276/.300/.448/.748, 3.55 runs created, 4.03 RC/25 outs) or David Ortiz (.240/.296/.480/.776, 3.28 runs created, 4.10 RC/25 outs) or just not giving it out, this is a not-giving-it-out week.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Jon Lester had two very good starts, allowing four runs (three earned) in 14 innings of work. But, for the second week in a row, one of the kids was better, as Rubby de la Rosa allowed only five hits and one run in 14 innings, striking out 10 and walking four.
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/23/2014
LA Angels4.86(2)4.28(6)0.558(3)413341330
Kansas City4.2(10)4.01(3)0.521(5)393639360
Chicago Sox4.44(6)4.83(13)0.462(11)354135410
NY Yankees4.07(11)4.48(9)0.456(12)344039355
Tampa Bay3.79(15)4.31(7)0.441(13)34433146-3
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
LA Angels9072
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
LA Angels9072
Standings for the week
Tampa Bay4.14(9)2.57(2)0.705(2)5243-1
LA Angels5(3)3.17(6)0.698(4)42420
Kansas City4.57(7)3.71(7)0.594(5)4334-1
Chicago Sox4.83(5)4.5(9)0.533(8)3324-1
NY Yankees3.67(11)4.17(8)0.442(11)33421

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Deja vu, all over again...

The Boston Red Sox just celebrated the 15th anniversary (plus four days) of one of the most unlikely walk-off wins in history with a significantly less unlikely walk-off win.

On June 14, 1999, the Twins took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth at Fenway, and, with one out, Darren Lewis (2 HR in 528 PA) and Jeff Frye (1 HR in 131 PA) hit back-to-back HR to win the game. This afternoon, June 18, 2014, the Twins took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 10th, and, with one out, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli hit back-to-back HR to win the game.

Not the same, of course, but walk-off back-to-back HR don't happen every day, and against the same team, it's a notable occurrence...

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday pythagorean - 6/16/2014

The first rule of holes - when you find yourself in one, stop digging. 3-4, while not too much of a problem in the context of a good seaosn, doesn't qualify...
  • How bad was the offense this week? They scored 15 runs in winning Thursday and Friday night. The other five games, they scored five runs total. A spectacular performance from Workman resulted on winning one of those five, 1-0, but you cannot be consistently successful averaging one run per game.

  • They scored 10 runs on Friday, 10 runs in the other six games combined.

  • Is Jackie Bradley, Jr. ever going to be a Major League hitter? He looked like one (.267/.421/.400/.821, 3.10 runs created, 7.04 RC/25 outs) this week.

  • There have been many offensive problems this year. The struggles of the outfielders are legendary. But there have also been far too many weeks like this, when the two offensive stars, the guys making big money to carry the team, produce nothing. David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia this week, with the team getting shut out twice and scoring 2 in losing two 3-2 games, combined to hit (.157/.259/.275/.533, 2.60 runs created, 1.41 RC/25 outs). That's not going to get it done.

  • Twice this weekend, the Red Sox broke a 1-1 tie in the 6th and immediately turned around and gave up the tying run in the top of the next inning. Saturday's game was particularly frustrating, as defense could have saved the game but didn't. With runners at 1st and 3rd and no out, a ground ball to Pedroia could have led to a double-play and a tie game, or runners at 1st and 2nd with one out as the tying run was cut down at the plate. Instead, the throw beat the runner to the plate, the umpire made the out call, and then realized that Pierzynski had not caught it. So it was a tie game with runners at 1st and 2nd with no outs. (The tying run reached base on a ground ball to short that Herrerra handled but his throw bounced and Napoli couldn't handle it.) Neither defensive failure was egregious, but a good play in either case would have resulted in a preserved lead. After two outs, two Red Sox relievers issues back-to-back walks to score the eventual winning run.

  • It's only five starts, but Brandon Workman has clearly been one of the team's best five starters thus far. Better than Doubront, better than Buchholz, better than Peavy. He's a 25-year old with 74 minor league starts, over 400 minor league innings, and has pitched (successfully) in the Majors, including several post-season and World Series appearances. There's no obvious compelling reason for him not to remain in the Major League rotation at this point.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - On a per-plate appearances basis, both Stephen Drew (.500/.500/.500/1.000, 1.09 runs created, 13.64 RC/25 outs) and Daniel Nava (.375/.500/.500/1.000, 3.43 runs created, 7.14 RC/25 outs) were more productive than Brock Holt (.345/.387/.414/.801, 4.16 runs created, 4.95 RC/25 outs), but Holt did it in more games and significantly more plate appearances.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Lester had one very good start, Brandon Workman had two, allowing just 6 hits and 2 runs in 12 2/3 innings of work, while striking out 11 and walking 3.
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/16/2014
LA Angels4.85(2)4.38(7)0.546(4)373137310
Kansas City4.16(10)4.04(3)0.513(5)353336321
NY Yankees4.1(11)4.51(11)0.457(11)313735334
Chicago Sox4.41(7)4.86(15)0.456(12)323833371
Tampa Bay3.75(15)4.49(9)0.419(15)29412743-2
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
LA Angels8874
Kansas City8676
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
LA Angels8874
Standings for the week
LA Angels4(6)4.33(11)0.463(11)33330
Tampa Bay3.17(11)3(4)0.525(6)33330
Kansas City7(1)2.4(2)0.876(1)41501
Chicago Sox3.33(10)5.5(13)0.286(15)24240
NY Yankees4.33(5)3.67(9)0.576(5)33421

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Monday, June 09, 2014

Monday pythagorean, 6/9/2014

Another week, another streak. This one on the downhill side. The Red Sox are currently engaged in the greatest roller coaster of a season I can remember seeing...
  • Another streak built on close losses, as the Red Sox got swept in Cleveland on a one-run loss, a two-run loss, and a 12th inning loss.

  • It's nice to see Mike Napoli back in the lineup.

  • They are one 9th-inning 3-run David Ortiz home run away from a third consecutive "perfect" week (a zero in either the win or loss category). Their last 22 games have all been part of streaks of 5 games or longer.

  • I'm starting to wonder how much, exactly, John Farrell's players covered for weak tactical moves last year. Lord knows that they haven't done it this year, and there have been a lot of moves that have been questionable. To put it charitably.

  • One of the things that seemed like a poor idea was the burying of Daniel Nava in favor of Jonny Gomes during the post-season. Yes, they won the World Series, which eliminates an enormous amount of second-guessing. But it didn't make sense. (And Gomes hit .188/.188/.250/.438 during the ALCS and .118/.286/.294/.580 during the World Series. [Nava didn't hit any better, though he was much better in the ALCS, and didn't get the at-bats that Gomes did in the WS.])

  • That continued this spring, as Nava struggled mightily out of the gate and was quickly shipped out, despite what he did last year. And Jonny Gomes has gotten 81 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers, and has hit .169/.247/.296/.543, which is part of the reason that they've gotten nothing from the outfield. Nava has not been good this year, and was part of the reason that they got off to such a poor start, but after what he did last year, he shouldn't have been discarded so quickly. Well, this week, Nava finally got a few more at-bats and good things happened (.385/.467/.385/.851, 2.73 runs created, 8.53 RC/25 outs).

  • Brock Holt (.345/.345/.414/.759, 4.05 runs created, 5.33 RC/25 outs) had another productive week. He's now hitting .339/.376/.478/.854 for the season in 115 at-bats, while having played well at both corner infield spots and now, with Mike Napoli's return, in left. I know that just last week I was talking about how you need to be thankful for what you've gotten and get him out of the lineup, but now I'm looking again at a 26-year old with a .372 career minor league OBP and thinking that maybe he's actually going to have a couple of productive years as a Major Leaguer, in which case you need to keep playing him every day until he turns back into a pumpkin. Left field against right-handers, third base (with Bogaerts at SS) against lefties, and ride the streak.

  • Yes, last week's position and this week's position are mutually exclusive, and yes, I can defend either of them. Ask me again in ten years, and I'll tell you which one was right. I won't criticize the Sox, much anyway, for going either way on the Brock Holt call.

  • Twice in the last three weeks, Jon Lester, the Ace, took the mound with a chance to stop a Red Sox losing streak that had reached four games or longer. He failed to get out of the first inning unscored upon either time, and gave up 12 runs in 10 1/3 inning total. It's not going to affect his payday, come the end of the season, but he's been a major contributor to both of the Sox' long losing streaks.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Xander Bogaerts (.269/.345/.577/.922, 5.34 runs created, 7.03 RC/25 outs) continues to demonstrate that he's a star in the making.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - John Lackey pitched well enough to win twice with decent run support (or lose twice, with bad support, which is what would have happened had Ortiz hit into a double play in the 9th last night), finishing with a 3-2 loss and a 5-3 win, but allowing six runs (five earned) over 16 innings (2.81 ERA).
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/9/2014
LA Angels4.77(3)4.24(5)0.554(4)342834280
Kansas City3.87(14)4.11(3)0.473(8)303331321
Chicago Sox4.44(5)4.72(14)0.472(10)303431331
NY Yankees4.02(12)4.52(11)0.447(13)283431313
Tampa Bay3.69(15)4.48(8)0.411(15)26382440-2
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
LA Angels8973
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
LA Angels8973
Standings for the week
LA Angels4.14(10)3.71(6)0.55(7)43420
Tampa Bay2.38(15)4(7)0.278(14)2616-1
Kansas City4.43(8)3.29(4)0.633(4)43521
Chicago Sox3.17(13)4.17(8)0.377(11)24240
NY Yankees2.71(14)5(10)0.246(15)25250

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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Because the umpires didn't mistreat the Red Sox badly enough... Friday night's game, Major League baseball has decided to add injury to insult. This just doesn't seem right...
Brandon Workman gets suspended for Friday night's fiasco at Fenway while David Price can go about his business. Major league baseball today suspended Workman for six games for throwing a pitch in the head area of Rays third baseman Evan Longoria Friday night.
The Sox righthander was also fined an undisclosed amount.

Just wow.

There was one (1) pitch in that game which was indisputably thrown at a batter. It was thrown by David Price, at David Ortiz, in the first inning. The entire kerfuffle had one, and only one, instigator - David Price. And he walks, while Workman gets six games, and a fine, for a pitch that a) could conceivably have slipped and b) didn't even come that close to hitting anyone.

 Nice job, MLB...

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Monday, June 02, 2014

Monday pythagorean - 6/2/2014

As a general rule, I think that I'm as optimistic about the Red Sox as it's possible for a relatively realistic fan to be, and I knew that the losing streak couldn't continue forever, but I absolutely did not see this week coming...
  • As I say, I didn't see it coming. Apparently, there was no reason to. According something that was said on one of the post-game shows, if I heard it correctly, there's never been a team which followed a double-digit losing streak with a winning streak of 8 games. If Boston wins tomorrow, they would be the first.

  • Was that two sweeps or three? Did they play two 2-game series with the Braves or one 4-game home-and-home? I don't remember ever seeing that before in a baseball schedule, during the regular season, anyway. I guess I'm going to go with two sweeps, a four-game (Atlanta) and a three-game (Tampa).

  • There was certainly some help from the competition. Yes, Atlanta's a first place team, but in the NL, and they were not very impressive defensively during their games with Boston. And Tampa's now got the worst record in the AL. Still, they lost three to Tampa during the losing streak. Sometimes it doesn't matter what you do - the other team plays so well or so poorly that their performance is deterministic. And other times it doesn't matter what they do - you play so well or so poorly that your performance is deterministic. We saw some of that both ways in each streak.

  • It's interesting that they've made this rapid pivot without getting healthier. Buchholz joined Doubront, Napoli and Victorino on the DL. (Middlebrooks, too, of course, but Holt has been much better, and Drew will be here this week, so Middlebrooks' absence has been a positive rather than a negative.) Ryan Lavarnway was here for one day before breaking his hamate and heading to the DL. Pedroia missed time with a hand injury (thankfully, not serious) and now Mike Carp is headed to the DL with a broken bone in his foot. One of the strengths of the Red Sox organization coming into the season was its depth. They're using it now.

  • I don't know whether Clay Buchholz is on the DL for a hyperextended knee, as the official report says, or just for sprained mechanics, but once through the rotation, the de la Rosa for Buchholz substitution was a big win.

  • It was quite a week for the youngsters, as Holt, Bogaerts, Bradley, Hassan and Cecchini combined to hit (.337/.404/.533/.936, 19.91 runs created, 8.03 RC/25 outs) in 92 at-bats, while Rubby de la Rosa threw 7 scoreless innings on Saturday night. Both Hassan and Cecchini made their Major League debuts and collected their first Major League hits on Sunday.

  • Cecchini may be ready to perform at the Major League level, but, unless Drew or Bogaerts gets hurt, he's not going to be on the roster. I'm undecided on Alex Hassan. His career minor league numbers show decent plate discipline and a little pop, but he's 26 year's old and has put up some of his good numbers in leagues where he was older than the top prospects. He could concievably spend a couple of years in "the show" as a fourth outfielder/utility type, and might even have a couple of years with some value at the plate. But he's not going to be a star, maybe more of a Mike Carp type.

  • Despite what I wrote last week, about having played themselves out of playoff contention, they will start play tomorrow just 2 1/2 games behind the Angels and Yankees in the AL Wild Card race. And, believe it or not, there are only five AL teams with a better run differential than Boston's -6.

  • Again, when I was putting together last week's report, I had no expectation that they'd go 7-0 this week. I would have bet real money against it. If they go 4-2 next week, they'll be back at .500, despite being 9 games under just one week ago.

  • It's impossible to overstate how valuable Brock Holt was this week, as he stabilized the infield defense at 3rd, stabilized the lead-off spot, and then played a creditable first base on Sunday, while putting up an outstanding offensive week. But it would be very easy to overreact to the past week and say, as I'm hearing some say, "you've got to get him in the lineup every day!" No, you don't. What you need to do is thank all of the Baseball Gods that you got that performance from him, at a time you needed it, and go on your way, hoping that he's going to be a viable utility infielder.

  • Obviously, this was not the first time that two players have made their Major League debuts for the same team in the same game. And I'm sure it's not the first time that two players have collected their first Major League hit in the same game as their simultaneous debuts. But I would bet that both of those things have happened more often in September or April than June.

  • Hmm... Left-handed batting third baseman, not a lot of power but great plate discipline, repeatedly putting up OBPs over .400 in the minors, comes up and goes the other way, stroking a double off the monster. Let me just say this - as someone who was watching during the early 80s, I've seen this before.

  • Of course, it's unlikely that young Mr. Cecchini will have Wade Boggs' career. Very few have. Unfair to even make the comparison, I know, I know. (And as good as Cecchini's minor league numbers are, they aren't Boggs'.) But that's what I was thinking when that ball hit the monster...

  • They have a tough schedule stretch coming up. Six of their next eight series, and 19 of their next 26 games, are on the road. They'll finish that stretch at the Yankees on June 29, at which point they will have played 82 games, one more than half of the schedule. Currently, they are 27-29. If they can finish that series at 42-40, which means that they will have gone 15-11 over that stretch, they will absolutely still be in competition for a play-off spot.

  • Ok, a couple thoughts on Friday night's kerfuffle:
    • David Price's protestations that he wasn't trying to hit David Ortiz are beyond laughable. He fumed about the last home run that Ortiz the last time they faced one-another, he went on to social media to complain about Ortiz, he's reached the end of May with two hit batters and eight walks allowed and then, the very next pitch he throws to Ortiz, with two outs in the first, hits him solidly in the rump. And we're supposed to believe that it wasn't intentional? Please. I may have been born at night, but not last night.
    • I don't have a big problem with the way that Price hit Ortiz. I really don't. If he was going to do it, well, that's the right place. I don't think it was necessary, I think that he took offense at something at which he should not have taken offense (the Ortiz hit was either going to be a foul or a home run, and there was no point in running on a foul, and once the HR was called, he got around the bases as quickly as he ever does) but if you're going to hit someone, that's the right way to do it.
    • The hit-ejected discrepancy for the game is misleading. Both Farrell and Lovullo were ejected because they lost control with the umpires, regardless of anything that Tampa or the umpires did. If they maintain their composure, they don't get thrown out.
    • All that said, the umpires did not handle things well. Given what happened last Sunday, warnings should have been issued before the game. Failing to do that, and then immediately warning both teams, gave Tampa a free shot at Ortiz. And if the hit batsman is intentional, as was clearly the case in the first, they don't need to have issued a warning to throw out Price, which they should have done.
    • Which brings us to the thing that the umpires got most wrong. Having failed to warn before the game, and then having failed to either toss Price after he threw at Ortiz, and having failed to give the Red Sox the free shot at retaliation that would also have ended things, the single most inexcusable mistake from the umpires was the failure to toss Price after he hit Carp. Do I think he was trying to hit Carp? Probably not, but the ball was up and in and hit him and warnings had been issued. There was no excuse for not tossing both Price and Maddon at that point.
    • I'm willing to give Workman a little bit of the benefit of the doubt - he doesn't have Price's control, it was raining fairly hard, and the previous pitch had been in pretty much the same spot on the other side of the plate. If he was throwing at Longoria, it was very poorly done - the pitch was too high, and if Longoria had leaned back a little bit, it would have hit him in the head, which is not acceptable. (And is part of the reason I could believe that the ball slipped. Not that I do believe it, necessarily, but, unlike the Price-Ortiz situation, it's not fantastic.)

  • Speaking of the umpires, it sure seemed like someone on that crew had some rabbit ears going yesterday, as Pedroia was tossed from the game for something that was not apparent on any of NESN's video.

  • I've seen a lot of baseball over the years, and I don't ever remember seeing a pitched ball bounce off the plate, off the catcher's shin guard and hit the batter flush in the face and knock him out of the game. I don't ever remember seeing a leaping outfielder miss the ball and have it richochet off the wall and hit him flush in the face, knocking him down and resulting in an inside-the-park home run. I saw both of those things happen on Saturday night.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - When they took the field on Sunday afternoon, six games into the current seven game winning streak, I didn't think anyone could catch Xander Bogaerts (.367/.457/.500/.957, 6.83 runs created, 8.99 RC/25 outs), who had an outstanding week. But he went 0-5 in Sunday's game, while Brock Holt (.375/.429/.656/1.085, 8.43 runs created, 10.53 RC/25 outs) went 4-4 with four doubles, a stolen base and a walk, and finished as the clear Player of the Week.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Giving a split award this week. John Lackey had one start and was excellent. Koji Uehara finished three games, saving two and winning one. They both get mention, but no prizes. For the award winners, Jon Lester was good once and very good once, winning 2 and allowing 3 runs in 13 innings, and providing the most "pitching value" for the team on the week. And the most impressive start, all things considered, came from Rubby de la Rosa, who made his first start for the Red Sox in a nationally televised game between two teams which had cleared the benches in both of their previous two head-to-head games, and he absolutely shut down the Rays for seven innnigs, allowing no runs and just four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 6/2/2014
LA Angels4.85(3)4.31(6)0.554(3)31253026-1
Chicago Sox4.57(4)4.78(15)0.48(8)283029291
NY Yankees4.18(9)4.45(9)0.471(9)262929263
Kansas City3.8(14)4.21(4)0.453(13)253126301
Tampa Bay3.88(13)4.55(11)0.427(14)24332334-1
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
LA Angels8775
NY Yankees8577
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
LA Angels8973
Standings for the week
Chicago Sox3(12)2.33(2)0.613(5)42420
NY Yankees3.17(10)4.67(12)0.33(11)24331
LA Angels3.71(8)6.14(14)0.285(13)25250
Kansas City3(12)6.29(15)0.205(14)16251
Tampa Bay2.67(15)6(13)0.185(15)1506-1

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