Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 7/13/2015

While 3-2 isn't a bad week, this particular 3-2 week was a week with a squandered opportunity to close the gap in the East...

The Week That Was:

  • 7/7 - @Boston 4 - Miami 3 - There is some second-guessing after John Farrell sends Wade Miley back to the mound in the 7th inning of a one-one game, and he gives up back-to-back extra base hits as the Marlins take a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the 7th. But Boston loads the bases with two outs, and Xander Bogaerts, on the 8th pitch of his at-bat, clears the bases on a single to provide the final, and winning, runs in a 4-3 Boston win.

  • 7/8 - @Boston 6 - Miami 3 - The Red Sox take a 4-0 lead in the third inning and hang on for a 6-4 win as Rick Porcello breaks a -ersonal 8-game winless streak (0-7) and, on their 4th attempt to do so, Boston becomes the last Major League team to put together a 4-game winning streak in 2015.

  • 7/10 - New York 5 - @Boston 1 - Having played themselves back on to the edges of the division race, with a chance to go into the All Star break with momentum, the last thing that Boston needs is a loss to first-place New York in which Clay Buchholz leaves the game in the 4th inning with an injury. But that's what happens, as Boston's defense struggles, as does its offense, and the winning streak ends, and the deficit in the division goes back up to 6 1/2.

  • 7/11 - @Boston 5 - New York 3 - For the second consecutive night, Alex Rodriguez goes deep in the top of the first to give the Yankees an early lead. The Red Sox tie it in the second on a ground ball, and take a lead they'll not relinquish in the third when Hanley Ramirez goes deep with a man on. Eduardo Rodriguez pitches well for 6 1/3, allowing two solo HR, and the Red Sox increase their lead with two in the 7th before holding on to a 5-3 win.

  • 7/12 - New York 8 - @Boston 6 - Boston ties for its high runs scored total on the week with six, but Wade Miley leaves in the 6th after alliowing five, the bullpen allows another inherited runner to score, and then two more in the 9th, as they come up short yet again, to end the "first half" on a down note.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • The Boston Red Sox enter the All Star break 6 1/2 games out in the AL East with 73 games left to play, including 10 remaining against the first-place Yankees.

  • They had a chance to get the deficit in the division down to 4 1/2 game twice this week. Each time, they lost to the Yankees.

  • There will be many, I am certain, who will claim that Ortiz was not sick yesterday, just unwilling to play first base. I am not one of them, but they'll be out there. I expect that Boston sports talk radio will be fairly toxic today.

  • In his last 9 appearances, each one inning, Koji Uehara has thrown a 2-hitter, with no walks and no runs allowed, while striking out 10. I made a comment earlier in the year to the effect that I had been happy to have them sign him and bring him back, but was concerned that it had been a mistake. Well, they were right and I was wrong. He's been spectacular for most of the year.

  • Whether your position was that they should trade Buchholz (not mine) or hold on to him (mine), him leaving the game during the fourth inning on Friday night hurt your position. It made it impossible for them to trade him, and it made his presence on the roster pointless and unhelpful, at least for the next few weeks.

  • They scored some runs this week, other than Friday, which is interesting, because other than David Ortiz, there were not any particularly good offensive performances.

  • One of the great at-bats of the year came on Tuesday night, when Xander Bogaerts faced the Marlins' Carter Capps with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 7th, and Boston trailing 3-1. Capps has a delivery which is borderline legal at best (in my opinion it's on the wrong side of the line and not particularly close to it), which involves him pushing off rubber and sliding his plant foot forward before completing his windup and releasing the ball. As a result, he's not only thrown 99 MPH, he's doing so from 1 1/2-2 feet closer to home plate, which increases the effective velocity. If the normal release point is ~58 feet from home plate, and Capps release is ~56 feet from home plate, than Capps' 99 MPH fast-ball looks like ~102.5 MPH. And Bogaerts fought off several of them before drilling one in to right field to score all three runners, including Betts who had, with a full count and two outs, been off from first with the pitch.

  • Red Sox Player of the Pre-All Star Break - This will be a controversial choice, I'm sure, but I'm going with Mookie Betts (.277/.328/.464/.792, 54.49 runs created, 5.24 RC/25 outs). OK, maybe it's not controversial. On per-plate appearance basis, a few others - Pedroia, Holt, de Aza - were more productive, and in that sense, hitting lead-off every night helps Mookie. But he worked through an early slump and adjustment period, and has been productive both offensively and defensively, and for the past two months has been outstanding.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Pre-All Star Break - Clay Buchholz. His second start was a disaster, and it took a long time for his ERA to come down from that disaster. He's also had very little run support, resulting in a 7-7 record. But he has consistently been effective, with a 3.26 ERA for the season, more than 6 innings pitched per start for his 18 starts, and an excellent 4.65 K/BB ratio. As bad as this stretch has been, it could have been much worse, and it's largely due to Buchholz that it hasn't been.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - I am tempted not to award it, because the only really good week came from David Ortiz(.308/.438/.692/1.130, 3.77 runs created, 10.47 RC/25 outs), who only played in four games. But the team only played five, so Ortiz it is.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - In the absence of a good starting pitching candidate - ok, Eduardo Rodriguez was good, albeit unspectacular - I'm going to choose this week to recognize Koji Uehara, who has been outstanding again. In three appearances this week, he allowed one hit while striking out five and walking none.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/13/2015
Kansas City4.42(4)3.69(1)0.582(2)503652342
LA Angels4.18(11)3.81(5)0.543(6)484048400
NY Yankees4.65(2)4.35(11)0.53(7)474148401
Tampa Bay3.65(13)3.75(2)0.488(9)444746452
Chicago Sox3.4(15)4.24(10)0.399(15)345241457
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9864
LA Angels8874
NY Yankees8874
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9666
LA Angels8874
NY Yankees8775
Standings for the week
LA Angels5.33(4)3.67(5)0.665(4)42420
Tampa Bay3.71(8)5.29(13)0.344(13)25341
Kansas City7(1)4.57(11)0.686(2)52611
Chicago Sox3(12)2(1)0.677(3)52520
NY Yankees5(5)3.67(5)0.638(5)42420

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