Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday pythagorean - 9/29/2014

And so it ends...
  • After a season in which they were not just disappointing offensive, but outright bad, they finished with a very strong week. After scoring in double digits just four times in their first 157 games, they scored double digits in 3 of their next 4.

  • We now know that Rusney Castillo can make contact, hit with power, play defense and throw the ball. Which is all good. But many can do those things - the thing that determines whether he's a good Major League player or not is whether he can do those things consistently. That, we won't know. But we've seen enough to say this - there have been flashes and it's conceivable that he's a player that we'll be happy to watch going forward.

  • Believe it or not, they actually replaced Jacoby Ellsbury's production in CF. They just didn't do it until late in the season. But Mookie Betts was better in 2014 than Ellsbury was in 2013.

  • I hope to put together a season retrospective over the next couple of weeks, but I cannot promise it.

  • For those of us who don't care for Derek Jeter, the broadcasts this weekend were dreadful, bad enough to actually prevent me from watching much of it. He's the most overrated great player in the history of the game. A good defensive SS with his offensive numbers is an all-time great, but he was a bad defensive SS. And I don't think he's the epitome of clutch and class and all that, but largely a PR creation - I think he's Alex Rodriguez, just better at it. The New York media anointed him, and nurtured and protected his reputation. He's gone now, and I'm glad (except that he's hurt the Yankees if he kept playing...)

  • There's a lot of work to be done in the off-season. They've got some talent acquisition to do on the pitching, and a lot of sorting and decision making on the position players.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Rusney Castillo (.400/.500/.750/1.250, 7.10 runs created, 14.80 RC/25 outs)

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Another real strong outing from Allen Webster this week, one run allowed over seven innings in win over the Rays.
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 9/29/2014
LA Angels4.77(1)3.89(6)0.593(2)966698642
Kansas City4.02(9)3.85(4)0.519(7)847889735
Tampa Bay3.78(15)3.86(5)0.49(9)79837785-2
NY Yankees3.91(13)4.1(8)0.478(10)778584787
Chicago Sox4.07(8)4.68(13)0.437(13)719173892
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
LA Angels9864
Kansas City8973
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
LA Angels9864
Kansas City8973
Standings for the week
Kansas City4.38(5)3(5)0.666(3)53530
NY Yankees5.14(3)5.14(14)0.5(6)43430
LA Angels2.67(13)3.67(7)0.358(11)24240
Chicago Sox2.71(11)4.14(10)0.316(13)25250
Tampa Bay2.33(14)5.33(15)0.181(15)15241

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday pythagorean - 9/22/2014

Uncle Pythagoras looked at the 4.67 runs allowed per game, and the 2.167 runs scored per game, and said, "How the heck did this team win two games?"
  • As disappointing as this season has been in nearly every respect, it's still primarily sadness I feel as it winds down. I love the basebally season, having a game every night, and I'm always sad to see it go, no matter how it went.

  • The great thing about baseball is how, after watching for so long, you still see things you've never seen before. They aren't all good, of course, like Jemile Weeks, as the tying run at third base with no outs in the top of the 9th, gets hit - in fair territory - by a batted ball. It wasn't quite Steve-Lyons-thrown-out-trying-to-steal-third-with-Boggs-at-the-plate stupid, but on the other hand, all he had to do was stay in foul territory.

  • Daniel Nava (.368/.400/.421/.821, 3.18 runs created, 6.63 RC/25 outs) and David Ortiz (.308/.308/1.000/1.308, 3.93 runs created, 10.91 RC/25 outs) were productive (.344/.364/.656/1.020, 7.16 runs created, 8.52 RC/25 outs). The rest of team - not so much (.209/.263/.291/.554, 11.07 runs created, 1.91 RC/25 outs).

  • Another two Red Sox players picked up their first Major League hits this week, as Rusney Castillo and Bryce Brentz both debuted and both picked up hits.

  • Castillo has demonstrated, in his first week in the Majors, some defensive skills, including an outstanding throwing arm. And he's made contact at that plate, but he has not yet hit anything with any real authority. There are hints of the kinds of potential that would justify the contract to which they signed him, but also hints of the kinds of flaws that would make it a bad deal. The thing is, there's no reason to expect him, given what he's done and been through, for him to be ready yet. So I'd say that, on the whole, the Major League debut has been a positive.

  • David Ortiz became the first man ever to reach 8 30 HR, 100 RBI seasons in a Red Sox uniform. Since I don't care about RBI at all, this means not much to me. But there's no question that he's been a great player in Boston, and he's been fun to watch.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - With three HR on the week, David Ortiz (.308/.308/1.000/1.308, 3.93 runs created, 10.91 RC/25 outs) was productive when no one else - well, almost no one else - was.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Allen Webster had a good start. Joe Kelly had a good start. There were a bunch of decent relief performances. But nothing special, and no award.
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 9/21/2014
LA Angels4.85(1)3.9(6)0.599(2)936396603
Kansas City4(9)3.9(5)0.512(7)797584705
Tampa Bay3.83(14)3.8(4)0.504(9)79777581-4
NY Yankees3.85(13)4.05(7)0.477(10)748180756
Chicago Sox4.14(8)4.7(13)0.441(13)688771843
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
LA Angels10062
Kansas City8874
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
LA Angels10062
Kansas City8874
Standings for the week
Tampa Bay3.33(11)3.17(5)0.523(6)33330
Chicago Sox4.5(5)4.33(7)0.517(7)33330
NY Yankees2.86(12)3.14(4)0.457(8)34431
Kansas City3.83(10)4.5(9)0.427(9)33330
LA Angels4(8)5.14(13)0.387(12)34340

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday pythagorean - 9/15/2014

The record is no longer the story, so if you go 3-4 when winning is not the top priority, there's not much to say about it...
  • Dustin Pedroia's season comes to an early end with wrist surgery. For the second year in a row, we get to the end of a very disappointing season for Pedroia and hear that he hurt his wrist on opening day, and after that's fixed, it will be all better next year. I love Dustin, and I really want that to be true. But he'll start 2015 as a 31 year old middle infielder who is seven years removed from his MVP award and 3 years away from his last double-digit HR season. We all thought that the extension he signed last year was team-friendly; I'm starting to worry that we might have all been wrong.

  • Daniel Nava started slowly and, rather than letting him play through it, they sent him down to Pawtucket on April 21. Since that day, he's sixth on the team in Runs Created, despite spending over a month in the minor leagues. He's been the 4th best hitter on the team since the end of April, behind Ortiz, Betts and Napoli. Offensively, he's been the best outfielder in Boston in 2014, other than Mookie Betts.

  • "Xander Bogaerts finished his concussion DL stint and it looked on Sunday as if the reset might have done him good..."
    - Me, two weeks ago
    Since being hit in the head by Felix Hernandez and missing a week: Xander Bogaerts (.359/.373/.625/.998, 13.80 runs created, 7.84 RC/25 outs)

    Some have speculated that being hit by pitches on his wrist on consecutive days back in June (3-4 in Cleveland) is what sent Bogaerts into the tailspin that we've seen for the last few months. I don't know whether there's any causation there or not. Nor do I know if there's any causation between the week off and the return of the great prospect. But it's certainly been good to see what we've seen for the past couple of weeks since the week off.

  • I guess he appeared in a game a few weeks ago, but I missed it, and I suspect I was not the only one who turned on Tuesday night's game and said, "who is Carlos Rivero?" The answer is, of course, "a 26 year old non-prospect infielder who spent 8 years in the Cleveland and Washington systems before spending 2014 in Portland and Pawtucket." Well, if this is the only time in the Majors that he ever gets, he'll at least have a couple of good memories to take with him, with a couple of hits, including a double and a HR, in a good couple of games - Carlos Rivero (.500/.500/1.167/1.667, 2.66 runs created, 22.13 RC/25 outs).

  • Sometimes, the numbers speak for themselves...
    • Starting pitching - 35 innings, 6.43 ERA, 6.43 K/9, 1.63 WHIP

    • Bullpen - 27 innings, 2.00 ERA, 8.99 K/9, 1.07 WHIP.

  • The big thing for Red Sox fans to look forward to this week? The Major League debut and appearance of Rusney Castillo on Wednesday or Thursday.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Daniel Nava (.300/.364/.550/.914, 3.97 runs created, 7.10 RC/25 outs) had a really good week, but not as good a week as Xander Bogaerts (.379/.406/.724/1.130, 7.96 runs created, 10.47 RC/25 outs)...

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Again, some decent performances from Buchholz and Webster and the bullpen, but nothing that warrants an award.
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 9/15/2014
LA Angels4.89(1)3.84(5)0.609(2)915893562
Kansas City4.01(9)3.87(6)0.516(7)767281675
Tampa Bay3.85(15)3.83(4)0.503(9)75757278-3
NY Yankees3.9(12)4.09(7)0.478(10)717776725
Chicago Sox4.12(8)4.72(13)0.438(13)658468813
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
LA Angels10161
Kansas City8973
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
LA Angels10161
Standings for the week
LA Angels7.57(1)3(5)0.845(2)61610
Chicago Sox3.71(6)4.14(9)0.45(6)34522
NY Yankees3.14(14)3.57(7)0.442(7)34340
Tampa Bay3.83(5)4.5(10)0.427(8)33330
Kansas City3.71(6)4.57(11)0.406(9)3425-1

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Monday, September 08, 2014

Monday pythagorean - 9/8/2014

Splitting series is probably the best they can hope for at this point, and that's what they continued to do this week...
  • Friday night's extra-innings win over the Jays was as much fun as they have provided in any game this year. Except, possibly, for Tuesday's win over the Yankees in NY, with Bogaerts and Betts and Nava all hitting HR.

  • Two of the four losses were walk-offs, as they came from behind to tie Monday's game in Tampa before losing in extra innings, and then took a one-run lead into the ninth in NY on Thursday only have Uehara give up two solo HR.

  • One of the great stories of the season has been the "Brock Star," Brock Holt. I said, early on, that they wanted to thank their lucky stars for what they got from him, and get him out of the lineup as soon as possible. But he kept hitting for another three weeks after I said it, and he started off so hot that his numbers remained superficially attractive for a long time. And hey, he's been better than Middlebrooks. Or Drew. But...
    • Since 6/18 (.252/.307/.339/.645, 31.20 runs created, 3.32 RC/25 outs)
    • Since 7/1 (.253/.305/.333/.638, 25.63 runs created, 3.25 RC/25 outs)
    • Since 8/1 (.234/.288/.291/.578, 12.78 runs created, 2.78 RC/25 outs)
    Generally, having a player like Brock Holt be one of the attractions of your season is not a good thing. And that is definitely true for the 2014 Red Sox.

  • I said last week that it appeared as if the beaning and subsequent week off may have helped young Mr. Bogaerts. Correlation is not causation, but this was far and away his best week since his first week as a 3rd baseman back in June. Xander Bogaerts (.357/.357/.571/.929, 5.02 runs created, 6.28 RC/25 outs).

  • Not many make the last strides to the Majors more quickly and convincingly than Mookie Betts has. He started the year in AA for the first time, and young for the league, and hit .355/.443/.551/.994 in 253 plate appearances in Portland before moving up to AAA. In Pawtucket, even younger for the league than he had been in Portland, he hit .335/.417/.503/.920 in 211 plate appearances. And then, at the Majors as a 21-year old, playing a different position than he started at, he's hitting .287/.354/.470/.824 in his first 128 ML plate appearances, with an OPS+ of 130, meaning he's been 30 percent better than an average Major League Hitter this year.

  • I watch Betts play every night, and I look at the power he generates with that frame, I look at the speed, the plate discipline, the defense that he's already playing in Center Field, and I start thinking of names that I will absolutely not mention, because they are so preposterous. Let's just say that Alan Greenspan would say I'm suffering from irrational exuberance when it comes to young Mr. Betts, and he'd probably be slightly understating the case.

  • Congratulations to Joe Kelly, who got some run support - finally - and despite a not-awesome (but not bad) performance, picked up his first win in a Red Sox uniform.

  • On the flip side, Anthony Ranaudo didn't pitch particularly well, and didn't get much support, and picked up his first Major League loss.

  • Koji Uehara was absolutely awesome last year. And again for much of this year. But they appear to have worn him out. He's now given up four HR in his last six outings, and been pulled from the closer role until he can recover. Given that they are out of contention, he's a free agent at the end of the year, and he'll turn 40 during the first week of the 2015 season, it's not at all clear what the best way for the Red Sox to handle him is. There's no benefit to them "fixing" him if he's not going to be here. It's not obvious that they benefit from shutting him down completely, or from not shutting him down. I'm sure that they'd love to have last season's Koji back next year, and that they'd rather not have the last month's Koji back, but it's not at all clear if there's anything that can be done to accomplish the former, or whether they can bring him back without accomplishing the latter.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Mike Napoli (.400/.421/.667/1.088, 4.51 runs created, 10.26 RC/25 outs) had a good week, but it was shortened by illness. I've already mentioned Bogaerts, who had a very good week. But, for the second week in a row, the award goes to Mookie Betts (.367/.387/.600/.987, 6.68 runs created, 8.78 RC/25 outs).

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Clay Buchholz pitched pretty well, as did Edward Mujica and Steven Wright, but there were no award-worthy performances, so no award this week.
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 9/8/2014
LA Angels4.76(1)3.88(6)0.592(2)845887553
Kansas City4.02(9)3.84(5)0.521(6)746779625
Tampa Bay3.85(15)3.8(4)0.507(8)73716975-4
NY Yankees3.94(12)4.12(7)0.479(10)687373685
Chicago Sox4.14(8)4.75(13)0.438(13)628063791
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
LA Angels9963
Kansas City9171
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
LA Angels9963
Kansas City9072
Standings for the week
Kansas City2.5(13)1.83(1)0.638(4)42511
LA Angels6.33(1)5.17(14)0.592(6)42420
NY Yankees3.33(10)3.17(4)0.523(9)33330
Tampa Bay3(11)4(7)0.371(12)34340
Chicago Sox2.4(14)4.2(11)0.264(14)14140

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Monday, September 01, 2014

Monday pythagorean - 9/1/2014

As we've noted many times, winning two of three, four of six - that's good baseball. There's been far too little of that kind of performance for it to matter now, but for those of us still watching, it was a good week...
  • I don't know when Boston last won back-to-back extra inning road games (apparently, it was in May of 1986 in Oakland), but they did it on Monday and Tuesday in Toronto.

  • I also don't remember the last time I saw a team score three runs in extra innings and lose by four, but Boston scored seven in the 11th on Tuesday night, so when Toronto scored three in the bottom of the 11th, they were still four short.

  • Mike Napoli hit one of the longest home runs I've ever seen in that seven-run 11th inning. Into the 5th deck, it was nearly long enough to be two home runs.

  • Rusney Castillo made his US Professional debut, going 1-2 with a caught stealing down in a Gulf Coast League game. I expect that we'll see him in Boston for a week or so before the season ends, but he hasn't played in 13 months, so I don't expect to see much. Obviously, we've got 72 million convincing reasons to believe that the organization is high on him.

  • Xander Bogaerts finished his concussion DL stint and it looked on Sunday as if the reset might have done him good...

  • So the SS returned from his concussion DL stint on Saturday, and the 2nd baseman left the game with a head injury that same night. There's no particular reason that I'm aware of to suspect that Forsythe intentionally threw his elbow at Pedroia's head, but it sure looked bad to me. His left hand was already on the base, and there was no obvious reason for his right arm to come up - it looked like he intentionally threw his elbow at Pedroia's head.

  • One of the results of the poor season (and also one of the causes) is the number of at-bats which have gone to rookies. There have been 90+ plate appearances for four of them. The one that we did not expect to see in Boston this year has actually performed the best.
    Mookie Betts (.259/.344/.424/.767, 13.10 runs created, 4.96 RC/25 outs)
    Xander Bogaerts (.224/.293/.335/.628, 41.85 runs created, 2.91 RC/25 outs)
    Jackie Bradley, Jr. (.216/.288/.290/.578, 28.60 runs created, 2.51 RC/25 outs)
    Christian Vazquez (.218/.282/.264/.546, 8.30 runs created, 2.21 RC/25 outs)

  • This is scary. Here are Xander Bogaerts' first 221 AB and last 221 AB of the season:
    Xander Bogaerts (.299/.387/.452/.840, 38.59 runs created, 6.03 RC/25 outs)
    Xander Bogaerts (.149/.193/.217/.410, 3.83 runs created, .48 RC/25 outs)
    Did I say scary? I mean horrifying...

  • No, that does not coincide with switching him from SS to 3B. It's close, but the first week that he played 3rd was the best week of his season.

  • They weren't actually traded for each other, but Joe Kelly is clearly filling the Jake Peavy role on this team, veteran pitcher pitching fairly well and not getting any wins because the team doesn't score when he pitches. He's now made five starts, four of them excellent, in a Red Sox uniform without a win.

  • Will the real Clay Buchholz please stand up? If this one's going to hang around for a while, that's a good thing. If we get the one that we had earlier in the year back, it's not...

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - No one did this week what Ortiz did last week, but Dustin Pedroia (.263/.333/.579/.912, 3.88 runs created, 6.93 RC/25 outs) had a pretty good week before getting knocked out Saturday night, and Mookie Betts (.273/.360/.591/.951, 4.87 runs created, 7.61 RC/25 outs) is the Player of the Week as he continues to demonstrate more power than you'd expect to go along with his obvious speed and good plate discipline.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - As easy and clear-cut a decision as there's been all week, as Clay Buchholz threw 8+ scoreless innings in two of Boston's four wins on the week. He took the mound in the 9th inning with a 3-0 lead twice. On Monday, he left after 8 1/3 with the 3-0 lead intact, but left three base runners and Uehara allowed them all to score. On Sunday, he completed the shutout. Just dominant...
AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 9/1/2014
LA Angels4.69(1)3.82(5)0.592(2)815583532
Kansas City4.09(9)3.93(6)0.519(7)706574614
Tampa Bay3.9(14)3.79(4)0.513(8)70676671-4
NY Yankees3.96(12)4.16(8)0.477(10)647170656
Chicago Sox4.2(8)4.77(14)0.443(12)617662751
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
LA Angels9963
Kansas City8973
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
LA Angels9864
Standings for the week
LA Angels4.71(2)2(1)0.828(1)61610
NY Yankees4.14(7)3.14(4)0.624(4)4334-1
Chicago Sox4(8)4.71(13)0.425(9)34340
Tampa Bay3(12)4.29(8)0.342(11)25250
Kansas City2.83(14)5(14)0.261(15)24240

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