Monday, July 06, 2015

Monday pythagorean - 7/6/2015

You can play yourself into a situation in which a 5-2 week is not good enough to help, but it's always a good week, and the Red Sox haven't gotten to that situation - quite - yet...

The Week That Was:

  • 6/30 - Boston 3 - @Toronto 1 - Following a successful weekend in Tampa, the Red Sox open a four-game series in Toronto with a win. Xander Bogaerts drives in two with a third-inning double and that would prove to be all of the offensive support that Clay Buchholz would need, allowing just one run over eight innings before Koji Uehara finishes it off.

  • 6/31 - Boston 4 - @Toronto 3 - The Red Sox score in each of the first three innings, taking a 4-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings, and then watching the pitching hold on for seven more inning. Eduardo Rodriguez' attempt to fix his "pitch tipping" issues were effective, if not completely so, and he ends up allowing only one run in six innings of work. Tommy Layne allows a 2-run HR to cut the lead to one in the 7th, but Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara combine to retire all seven batters they face, and the lead holds up.

  • 7/1 - @Toronto 11 - Boston 2 - After Boston fails to score in the top of the first, Rick Porcello takes the mound and puts his team in a hole that they won't climb out of. He allows a three-run HR and a two-run HR as the Blue Jays score 5 before the Red Sox cleanup batter hits. Another two-run HR in the second makes it 7-0, and Porcello's day ends early and ugly, enroute to a Blue Jay blowout.

  • 7/2 - Boston 12 - @Toronto 6 - As bad as Rick Porcello's first inning was on Wednesday, the Red Sox come out and make Matt Boyd's first inning top it on Thursday. Like the Wednesday first, there were two HR, one of which was a three-run HR. But Boyd ends up retiring no one, leaving with a 5-0 deficit, and seeing the first batter faced by the bullpen give up a two-run triple, leaving him with a pitching line of 7 runs allowed while allowing six hits and a walk, and retiring no one. Wade Miley has one tough inning, allowing four runs in the second, but it's far too little, and the Red Sox pad the lead later in the game, building a 12-4 lead before allowing a couple of garbage time runs in the ninth, and leaving Toronto having won 3-of-4, and 5-of-7 on the trip.

  • 7/3 - Houston 12 - @Boston 8 - Not for the first time, the Red Sox have a starter pitch very effectively for three innings only to completely lose it in the fourth. This time it's Justin Masterson, who takes a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth and hands a 5-2 deficit over to the bullpen. The Red Sox battle back repeatedly, scoring 3 to tie after falling behind 5-2, scoring 2 to tie after falling behind 7-5, and scoring 1 to tie after falling behind 8-7. But they ran themselves out of a bigger potential inning in the 8th when Mookie Betts was throwing out trying to steal third, and the bullpen couldn't keep the Astros down. When Noe Ramirez' ignominious Major League debut ended with Houston scoring four runs in the top of the 10th, that was a bridge too far.

  • 7/4 - @Boston 6 - Houston 1 - Boston evens the series with AL-best record Houston as the offense continues to produce, and Clay Buchholz outstanding run continues. For the second time on the week, Buchholz allows only one run, this time in a complete game six-hitter with no walks and 8 strikeouts.

  • 7/5 - @Boston 5 - Houston 4 - In a match-up of talented young AL starters, neither wins, as Eduardo Rodgriguez and Lance McCullers both reach 100 pitches and exit the game after 5. Objectively, Rodriguez pitched a little bit better, allowing 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 8, vs. 7, 3 and 3 for McCullers, but the bottom line is that they each allowed one run over five innings. Boston scored two against the Astros' bullpen in the 6th, but Alexi Ogando's string of scoreless appearances ends at 12, as he allows back-to-back HR in the top of the 7th, the first coming with one man on, as Houston takes a 4-3 lead. But the Red Sox battle back in the bottom, as David Ortiz draws a walk on an 11-pitch at-bat, and Hanley Ramirez follows with an off-balance swing that puts the ball into the Monster Seats, and the rest of the Sox bullpen hangs on for the 5-4 win.

Thoughts and commentary...

  • As poorly as they've played, as disappointing as they have been, the Red Sox enter the final week before the All Star break only six games out in the East, and finish the "first half" with a three-game series at home vs. the first place Yankees.

  • Through April 26, Mookie Betts struggled, hitting a lot of shots right at fielders, and with pitchers adjusting to what they'd seen from him last year and in spring training. He also displayed less patience than we'd like to see. But there was no panic, just confidence that he would adjust to how he was being pitched. And he has.
    Through 4/26 (18 games) (.189/.274/.297/.571, 7.43 runs created, 3.00 RC/25 outs) Since 4/26 (63 games) (.310/.356/.512/.868, 45.46 runs created, 6.31 RC/25 outs)
    He is currently 7th in the AL in WAR (Wins Against Replacement). He's not going to make the All Star game because a) Boston's record and b) Mike Trout, but he's been one of the 10 most productive players in the AL thus far.

  • I remember, in the olden days, having conversations and expressing satisfaction that the Red Sox had managed to extend Rick Porcello. Ah, it was a younger and more foolish time...

  • Honesty compels me to say that I have never heard of Noe Ramirez, and when reading the recaps of Friday night's game (I was completely off the grid for Friday-Sunday morning) I had no idea who they were talking about.

  • Three weeks ago today, the Red Sox lost to Atlanta, running their current losing streak to 6 games, and moving them 9 games back in the east with the 2nd-worst record in the AL, just ahead of Oakland. Since then, they've gone 12-7, half a game behind the Angels for the AL's best record over that stretch. They've scored more runs than they've allowed, and they've gotten back to six games out in the East. In short, they've looked a lot more like the team that a) we expected to see and b) saw for the first few weeks of April. Is it too little, too late? They have four teams in front of them, but they're in position to make a run. They go into the All Star break after five more home games, the last three against the first place Yankees. If they could sweep that series, or at least take two while sweeping two from Florida, they would be in a competitive position to start the second "half" of the season.

  • I suspect that Alejandro De Aza is Spanish for "lightning in a bottle." Wow, has that acquisition turned out well. As long as they don't allow themselves to be fooled by the hot streak into believing that he's a better player than he actually is. He's a 31-year old 8 year Major League veteran whose line before arriving in Boston was .265/.328/.401/.728. You need to take the last month, express tremendous gratitude to the baseball Gods, and replace with something better, rather than depending on him to carry your lineup.

  • Hanley Ramirez, on Sunday, hit possibly the worst looking HR that I've ever seen. He was off balanced, reaching, losing his grip on the bat. But it was in Fenway, and he made good contact, and it won the game.

  • With yesterday's win, the Red Sox have now won three consecutive series for the first time since the first three series of the year. Two of them were in the division, where they've struggled.

  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Alejandro De Aza (.391/.462/.696/1.157, 6.68 runs created, 11.92 RC/25 outs) is worthy of mention. Xander Bogaerts (.367/.424/.467/.891, 5.57 runs created, 6.96 RC/25 outs) continues to shine. But the award goes, again, to Mookie Betts (.419/.457/.710/1.167, 8.56 runs created, 10.19 RC/25 outs), who is rapidly establishing himself as one of the best players in baseball.

  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - In some weeks, what Eduardo Rogriguez did - 2 runs over 11 innings in 2 starts, would have been enough to win this award. But not this week. His very good week is completely overshadowed by the dominant effort from Clay Buchholz. Buchholz, who threw 17 innings and allowed just two runs, one in each of his dominant starts this week. He allowed 11 hits and no walks while striking out 13 and hitting one. Absolute dominance.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 7/6/2015
Kansas City4.19(9)3.61(1)0.568(3)453446331
LA Angels4.1(11)3.82(4)0.532(6)443844380
NY Yankees4.62(2)4.4(10)0.522(7)433944381
Tampa Bay3.64(13)3.62(2)0.503(9)424243411
Chicago Sox3.43(14)4.44(11)0.384(15)304936436
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Kansas City9468
LA Angels8775
NY Yankees8775
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Kansas City9369
LA Angels8775
Standings for the week
LA Angels6.67(1)2.17(3)0.887(1)51510
Chicago Sox2.8(13)2.6(5)0.534(6)32411
NY Yankees2.67(14)3.67(7)0.358(12)24331
Tampa Bay3.29(11)5.29(11)0.295(14)2516-1
Kansas City2.14(15)3.86(8)0.254(15)25250

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