September 21, 2017

Red Sox Clinch Postseason Spot

The 2017 Red Sox will be playing postseason baseball!

It was 1:48 AM (EST) when the Red Sox clinched a spot in the postseason, thanks to Cleveland's victory over the Angels.

Boston (88-64) is guaranteed at least a spot in the Wild Card game, though with a three-game lead in the AL East with ten games left in the regular season, they obviously have their sights set on the ALDS, which will begin on Thursday, October 5. If that happens, Boston would play the team with the lesser record: Cleveland (95-57) or the Astros (93-58).

Since September 11, the Yankees have gone 8-2, but have gained only one-half game in the standings. The Red Sox have been in first place since August 1.

The Red Sox will play the Reds in Cincinnati on Friday and the weekend before going home for three games against the Blue Jays and four games against the Astros.

September 20, 2017

G152: Red Sox 9, Orioles 0

Updated with stuff!
Red Sox - 000 420 021 - 9 10  0
Orioles - 000 000 000 - 0  6  2
Chris Sale (8-4-0-0-13, 111) became only the second pitcher in Red Sox history to strike out 300 batters in a season, joining Pedro Martinez, who set the franchise record in 1999 with 313 strikeouts.
That's special. I think we all know that's about as good a company as you can get. ... Being here and having that name thrown around is special to me. I don't take it lightly. He's one of the best to ever step on that mound. Being in the same sentence as him is pretty crazy to me.
Top 10 Red Sox Seasons For Pitcher Strikeouts
                  YEAR    K       K%    ERA+
Pedro Martinez    1999   313   37.5%    243
Chris Sale        2017   300   35.9%    158 (K%/ERA+ does not include tonight's game)
Roger Clemens     1988   291   27.4%    141
Pedro Martinez    2000   284   34.8%    291
Smoky Joe Wood    1912   258   19.4%    177
Roger Clemens     1996   257   24.9%    139
Roger Clemens     1987   256   22.1%    154
Pedro Martinez    1998   251   26.4%    163
Jim Longborg      1967   246   21.8%    112
Roger Clemens     1991   241   22.4%    165

Sale is only the 16th pitcher in major league history to have 300 strikeouts in a season. He fanned 166 different batters this year, with Aaron Judge and Steven Souza leading all batters with 10 strikeouts each.

Sale reached 300 strikeouts in 209.1 innings. Only Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson have done it faster.

Sale is the fourth pitcher since 1900 with 300 strikeouts in his first season with a team. He joins Steve Carlton (1972 Phillies), Nolan Ryan (1972 Angels and 1989 Rangers), and Randy Johnson (1999 Diamondbacks).

Sale also set a major league record with 191 strikeouts on the road. The old record was 189, set by Randy Johnson in 1999. The Big Unit threw 144 innings and faced 569 batters; Sale topped his mark in 18 fewer innings (126) and by facing 69 fewer batters (500)!

Tonight was Sale's fifth start of the season with no walks and 10+ strikeouts, tying a Red Sox record held by Roger Clemens (1997) and Pedro (1999). Sale also has seven starts this year with one walk and 10+ strikeouts.

Sale has struck out 10+ batters in 18 (of his 31) starts this year, one shy of Pedro's Red Sox record of 19 (set in 1999).

Sale has had 10 scoreless starts this year, which might have tied the franchise record. Pedro had 10 scoreless starts in 2000. In 1999, he had only four (though he did have nine starts (and one relief appearance) in which he allowed only one run).

Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero both hit two-run homers in the fourth inning off Wade Miley (4.1-4-6-4-4, 100). After Miley walked two batters in the fifth, Mike Wright took over and Hanley Ramirez smacked a double into the left field corner, scoring both men. Dustin Pedroia snapped an 0-for-18 skid with a two-run double in the eighth. Betts tripled to lead off the ninth and scored on Ramirez's single.

Ramirez went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs. ... Betts was 2-for-4 and scored three times. ... Sandy Leon did not score or drive in a run, but he singled and walked twice. And he called all of Sale's 111 pitches.

Sale was dominant from the first inning, when he struck out the first two batters. Baltimore had only two baserunners in the first six innings. Adam Jones singled to start the second, but was erased on a double play. Trey Mancini singled with one out in the fourth, but remained at first as Jonathan Schoop lined to third and Jones struck out looking. In the seventh, Mancini doubled to left and, after Schoop fanned, Jones dropped a single into short center. With runners on first and third, Sale calmly struck out Wellington Castillo and Mark Trumbo, sending them each back to the dugout after only four pitches.

With the Red Sox up 8-0 and Sale at 99 pitches, it was somewhat surprising to see him come out for the eighth. Was John Farrell avoiding the bullpen so Sale could go for his milestone punchout (he was at 299)? I assume that Sale will start at least one of Boston's remaining 10 games, so I'm not sure why he could not have gone for #300 against the Blue Jays or Astros.

But there he was, on the mound. Chris Davis grounded the first pitch to shortstop, and there was one out. J.J. Hardy fell behind 0-2 before taking two balls and fouling one pitch off. He tapped Sale's 2-2 towards third. Marrero ran in on the infield grass and made a remarkable barehanded grab-and-throw that nipped Hardy at first. Facing Ryan Flaherty, who had struck out and tapped back to the hill, Sale threw two balls. Flaherty fouled off a 96 mph fastball and swung and missed a 78 mph slider. Sale came back with another slider, at 83, on the inside corner - and Flaherty watched it go by for strike three. ... The Red Sox dugout went nuts.

I knew exactly where he was at. Wanted to check with him and just let him know we're aware of what's been transpiring the entire season on all fronts with him. An additional 12 pitches, you know what, he was in really good shape to do it tonight. ... [He g]ets an extra day this next time through the rotation. All those things were brought into play in the thinking of bringing him back out.
He came up and asked how I was doing, and I told him I was doing fine. Just kept rolling with it. Obviously tacked on a couple there in the eighth inning or seventh inning. Even more incentive to go out there and throw strikes.

Finally, the Red Sox pitching staff held the Orioles to zero runs (and only 14 hits) over the last 26 innings of this series. So, until we meet again for G13 of 2018 on April 13, have a long, cold winter, Buck, and go fuck yourself!
Chris Sale / Wade Miley
Bogaerts, SS
Pedroia, 2B
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Ramirez, DH
Travis, 1B
Marrero, 3B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
The Red Sox can clinch a postseason berth tonight if they beat Baltimore and the Angels lose to Cleveland (10 PM).

Chris Sale has a 4.64 ERA over his last six games. But two of those six starts are: seven shutout innings against the Blue Jays and six shutout innings against the Rays.

Sale needs 13 more strikeouts to become the first American League pitcher with 300+ K in a season since Pedro Martinez had 313 in 1999. (Yu Darvish came closest, with 277 in 2013.) In the National League, three pitchers have had 300+ K seasons since 1999: Randy Johnson (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002), Curt Schilling (2001, 2002), and Clayton Kershaw (2015). The high among that group was Johnson's 372 in 2001.

In his last start, lefty Wade Miley threw only 19 pitches against the Yankees, giving up six hits and six runs. In his two appearances this season against his former team, Miley has allowed only two runs in 12 innings.

MFY Watch: The Yankees beat the Twins 11-3, so they are 2.5 GB right now.

Only Four Red Sox Seasons In History With Two Shutouts Of 11+ Innings

The Red Sox have been in the American League for 117 years and in only four of those seasons has the team had two shutouts (wins or ties) of at least 11 innings*:

August 14: Red Sox 4, Browns 0 (11)
August 28: Red Sox 1, Senators 0 (11)

May 16: Red Sox 3, Cleveland 0 (14)
September 18: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0 (12)

July 14: Red Sox 0, Browns 0 (17)
August 15: Red Sox 1, Senators 0 (13)**

April 5: Red Sox 3, Pirates 0 (12)
September 19: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 (11)

*: The 1918 Red Sox had four extra-inning shutouts: one of 12 innings and three lasting 10 innings. The score of each game was 1-0.
**: Babe Ruth pitched all 13 innings, allowing only eight hits. He walked three and struck out two.

And: Before yesterday, the last time the Red Sox won 1-0, with the run scoring on a wild pitch, was on June 23, 1916. On that afternoon, first baseman Dick Hoblitzell scored in the seventh inning.

Craig Kimbrel's Historic "Game" Against Tampa Bay

Craig Kimbrel posted a historic pitching line against the Tampa Bay Rays this year.

9 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 23 strikeouts

Here are the nine innings of Kimbrel's "game":
1st inning - April 15        K    Kc   5-3        (13 pitches)
2nd inning - April 16        P2   K    K          (10 pitches)
3rd inning - April 17        K    Kc   Kc         (15 pitches)
4th inning - May 13          63   K    K          (16 pitches)
5th inning - July 7          K    K    K          (11 pitches)
6th inning - August 8        K    K    K          (15 pitches)
7th inning - September 10    K    K23  K          (15 pitches)
8th inning - September 15    BB   K    K    K     (16 pitches)
9th inning - September 16    K    K    63         (12 pitches)
[Notes: Kc = Called strike 3. The Rays saw 123 pitches and hit 3 fair balls (none of which left the infield). The batter who walked stole second after the first strikeout.]

No pitcher in baseball history has ever posted a K/9 rate higher than 20 against any opponent in any season (9 IP minimum). Until now.

Kimbrel's nine innings against the Rays are the most innings he has pitched against any team this season. He pitched eight innings against the Yankees (and racked up 18 strikeouts) and seven innings (so far) against the Blue Jays.

September 19, 2017

G151: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 (11)

Red Sox - 000 000 000 01 - 1  6  1
Orioles - 000 000 000 00 - 0  5  0
Jackie Bradley scored on Orioles reliever Brad Brach's bases-loaded wild pitch, giving the Red Sox their franchise-tying 15th extra-inning victory of the season. Boston is now 15-3 in extra-inning games. In 1943, the team went 15-14-2, playing in a major league-record 31 extra-inning games.

Tuesday's win was the 18th extra-inning 1-0 win for the Red Sox (since at least 1912) and only the fourth in the team's last 44 seasons. It was also only the third time the Red Sox have won an extra-inning game without recording an RBI - and the first time it has happened on the road:
June 29, 1917: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1 (10)
July 22, 1918: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0 (10) (G1)
September 19, 2017: Red Sox 1, Orioles 0 (11)
The Red Sox lead all teams with 17 wins when tied (12) or trailing (5) after eight innings. (All five of those wins have come since the All-Star break.)

After Brach threw only seven pitches to get through the tenth, he had a man on first base and two outs in the eleventh. Then his control suddenly disappeared. He walked Andrew Benintendi on four pitches. He walked Mookie Betts on five pitches*. With the bases loaded, his first pitch to Mitch Moreland bounced away from catcher Wellington Castillo, and Bradley scored easily from third.

[*: Actually, two of the balls to Betts may have been strikes, but home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski blew the calls.]

Drew Pomeranz (6.1-5-0-2-5, 98) needed some assistance from his fielders in keeping Baltimore off the scoreboard. Manny Machado doubled with two outs in the third and tried to score on Jonathan Schoop's single to left. Benintendi made a perfect, one-hop throw to the plate and Christian Vazquez slapped the tag on the doomed runner. In the fifth, Chris Davis walloped Pom's first pitch to deep right-center. Bradley raced to the track and matter-of-factly jumped up and pulled the ball back. Pomeranz stranded a runner at third when he struck out Mark Trumbo to end the sixth.

Pomeranz has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 22 starts this year, the most by a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez also has 22 in 2003. (!)

Kevin Gausman (8-3-0-1-7, 106) retired the first 14 Red Sox batters, his streak ending when Rafael Devers singled over the head of right fielder Austin Hays with two outs in the fifth. With two down in the sixth, Xander Bogaerts singled and Benintendi walked, but Betts grounded to shortstop. Sam Travis singled to lead off the eighth and Rajai Davis pinch-ran. Davis never attempted to steal, though, as Brock Holt struck out looking (without the glasses he was wearing for his previous at-bats) and Bradley grounded into a double play.

Facing Darren O'Day in the ninth, Benintendi doubled with one out, but Betts and Moreland both flied out. Devers singled with one out in the tenth, but pinch-hitter Dustin Pedroia grounded into a double play.

In the eleventh, Holt led off with a high chopper to the first base side of the infield. Brach and first baseman Davis converged. Brach reached up and caught the ball without breaking stride to the bag. Holt (stupidly) slid in head first, slowing himself down in the process. The play was extremely close, but Buck Showalter did not challenge the safe call. Watching one replay, it looked like Holt's right hand merely passed over the bag and did not actually touch it, which would have meant he was out. But who am I to question Showalter, aka Baseball Super-Genius? Maybe Buck wanted Boston to have the baserunner instead of his team recording the out.

Bradley forced Holt at second and Bogaerts grounded to third. X also went into the bag head first and was called out. (What the fuck is it with these idiots? Don't they want to get to the bag as soon as they possibly can? Isn't that the goddamn purpose of the game? Yet they do something that slows them down every time and, in Holt's case, risks an injury if the runner's hand is stepped on.) The Red Sox challenged the call, but it was upheld. Brach then walked Benintendi and Betts and uncorked his wild pitch.

After Matt Barnes got two popups to start the bottom of the eleventh, Adam Jones hit a routine grounder to third. Devers's low throw skipped past Moreland and Jones advanced to second. It seemed like the kind of throw that Moreland usually scoops up, but Devers was charged with his 13th error of the season. He has now committed an error in five consecutive games. (Devers has also been in a hitting slump for the last four weeks, coming into tonight's game with a .288 on-base percentage since August 20.) Barnes got an easy comebacker from Trey Mancini and made the game-ending play.

The Bullpen (Carson Smith, Addison Reed, Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, Barnes): 4.1 innings, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 runs, 8 strikeouts. (Only two of 16 batters reached base: Jones was hit on the hand by Kimbrel in the ninth and he reached on Devers's error in the twelfth.)

Back on April 5, in the second game of the season, the Red Sox and Pirates went into extra innings tied 0-0. Sandy Leon won that game with a three-run home run in the bottom of the twelfth.

MFY Watch: The Yankees beat the Twins 5-2, staying 3 GB. ... Since the Red Sox and Yankees last played each other on September 3, New York is 11-4 and Boston is 10-4.
Drew Pomeranz / Kevin Guasman
Bogaerts, SS
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Moreland, 1B
Vazquez, C
Devers, 3B
Travis, DH
Holt, 2B
Bradley, CF
Craig Kimbrel has faced 236 hitters this season - and has struck out 120 of them. That is an astonishing rate of 50.8%. Looking at all major league seasons of 60+ innings, only one pitcher has struck out more than half the batters he faced. ... That was Craig Kimbrel, in 2012 (50.2% (231 BF, 116 K)).

If we lower the minimum number of innings, Aroldis Chapman's 2014 season makes the cut (54 IP, 202 BF, 106 K, 52.5%). Other than that, however, no other pitcher has ever reached 50% in a season of even 30 innings.

MFY Watch: The Yankees are 3 GB in the AL East. ... MIN/MFY (a possible Wild Card Game preview).

A New Book From Bill James

Bill James - the iconoclastic writer, historian, and statistician, and a Senior Advisor on Baseball Operations for the Red Sox - has a new book on the shelves today - but The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery (written with his daughter, Rachel McCarthy James) - has nothing to do with baseball.

According to Scribner:
Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Jewelry and valuables were left in plain sight, bodies were piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases, like the infamous Villasca, Iowa, murders, received national attention. But few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station.

When celebrated baseball statistician and true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal. In turn, they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America.
James's intense interest in true crime was revealed in his 2011 book, Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence. Chuck Klosterman, who interviewed James for Grantland, called it "a fascinating, comprehensive, deeply strange book".

Harold Schechter, an Associate Professor of English at Queens College, has written extensively about American crime (especially serial killers) and popular culture. He says that James has
done something truly extraordinary. Not only has he solved one of the most tantalizing mysteries in the annals of American crime - the sensational case of the 1912 "Villisca Axe Murders" - but he has tied it to a long string of equally savage, though completely obscure, atrocities. The result is his discovery of a previously unknown serial killer who roamed - and terrorized - the country a century ago.
I don't know anything more about this book than what I read in the pre-publication materials, but I'm excited to read anything James writes (or says; the Q&A linked above is extremely thought-provoking). He has a natural, smooth, conversational (and often wryly humorous) tone, even as he explains research techniques and offers in-depth analysis. James, a born skeptic, has made a career out of asking questions, and his journey towards a possible answer is always fascinating and often more satisfying than the answer itself.

James, from the Preface:
In my day job I am a baseball writer. We know many, many things now about the baseball players of the 1950s and 1960s, about Willie Mays and Bob Gibson and Stan Musial, that those men themselves did not know and could not possibly have known when they were playing. We have pieced together records of their careers that are far more complete than the records which were kept at the time. Modern historians know things about the Romans that the Romans themselves did not know and could not have known.

A hundred years ago and a little more, there were a series of terrible crimes that took place in the American Midwest (although it actually started in the Northeast and the South, the midwestern portion of the series is the well-known part). The most famous of these crimes are the murders in Villisca, Iowa, but it is apparent to anyone who will take the time to look that the Villisca murders were a part of a series of similar events. I was reading about that series of crimes and I had a thought. "I'll bet there were others," I thought, "that the contemporary authorities never linked to the same criminal."

With modern computers, we can search tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of small-town newspapers, looking for reports of similar events.

And I found one.

And then I found another one, and another one, and another one. I hired my daughter as a researcher, and she started finding them. We had no idea what we were dealing with. And we never dreamed that we would actually be able to figure out who he was.

By the time he came to Villisca, The Man from the Train had been murdering randomly selected families for a decade and a half. People had been executed for his crimes; people had been lynched for his crimes; and people were rotting away in prison for his crimes.

Skeptical? Of course you're skeptical. You're either skeptical or you're stupid, and you don't look stupid. But hear me out. Have I got a story to tell you.

September 18, 2017

G150: Red Sox 10, Orioles 8 (11)

Red Sox - 000 160 100 02 - 10 12  2
Orioles - 131 120 000 00 -  8 11  0
The Red Sox rallied from a 6-1 deficit, tying the game at 8-8 on Xander Bogaerts's home run in the seventh, and winning the game in extras on Andrew Benintendi's bases-loaded single in the eleventh inning.

Boston is 14-3 in extra innings this season. The only Red Sox team to have more extra-inning wins in a season is the 1943 team, who went 15-14-2.

Mookie Betts drove in four runs. ... In addition to his home run, Bogaerts walked three times and scored three runs. ... Doug Fister had nothing: (2-4-5-5-0, 50). The Red Sox used nine relief pitchers.

In the fourth inning, Dustin Pedroia fouled a ball off the plate that bounced up and hit him in the face. Pedroia left the game with what was described as a nasal contusion.

AL East: Boston's lead remained three games as the Yankees beat the Twins 2-1.
Doug Fister / Dylan Bundy
Bogaerts, SS
Pedroia, 2B
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Moreland, 1B
Vazquez, C
Devers, 3B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF

Biggest Run Differential In Extra Innings

Eli in Connecticut read yesterday's post about the most innings pitched in a season and wrote:
I have a follow up question and am not sure how to find the answer. With the latest 15-inning win this past Friday (13-6), it made me wonder, "What is the largest run differential in an extra inning MLB game?" A home team, correct me if I'm wrong, can at maximum win by 4 runs, with a grand slam in the bottom of an extra inning. But away teams can pound away as we saw the other night! Any info is appreciated.
This is a great question because it gives me a chance to go find some cool-looking linescores. Once again, Baseball Reference's Play Index is the tool to use. Although BRef's data base goes back only to 1913, there is a good chance that the games listed below are the only ones in the modern era (since 1900). I searched for extra-inning games with a run differential of 10 or more runs:

12 runs
Rangers 16, A's 4 (15), July 3, 1983
Oakland tied the game 4-4 with two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but the Rangers exploded for 12 runs in the top of the fifteenth. Sixteen batters came to the plate and the Rangers scored their dozen runs without the benefit of a home run. The A's were retired in order in the bottom half: K, K, F8.

11 runs
Yankees 12, Tigers 1 (12), July 26, 1928 (Game 1)
A similar story to the game above. Detroit tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth. In the top of the eleventh, New York scored 11 runs. Losing pitcher Vic Sorrell threw a complete game for the Tigers. (Detroit won the second game 13-10.)

10 runs
Twins 14, A's 4 (10), June 21, 1969
Sixteen Twins came to the plate in the top of the tenth and 11 of them scored. Oakland scored one run in the bottom half.

10 runs
Reds 10, Dodgers 0 (13), May 15, 1919
This may not be the record, but it's easily my favourite linescore in this post. After twelve scoreless innings, Cincinnati went nuts, scoring 10 times in the top of the thirteenth. Brooklyn never went to the bullpen as Al Mamaux threw a complete game (13-13-10-10-4), facing 60 batters. Only one of the 10 runs was earned.

Number of extra-inning games (1913-2017) with run differential of 9 runs: 5.

Cubs 12, Pirates 3 (12), July 23, 1923
After seven innings, the score was 1-1. Both teams scored a run in the eighth. Both teams scored a run in the ninth. Both teams did not score in the tenth. Both teams did not score in the eleventh. And then ...

Cleveland 15, Tigers 6 (13), August 5, 1933 (G1)
Cleveland trailed 6-2 after six innings. They scored three runs in the top of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

Reds 12, Phillies 3 (10), August 24, 1947 (G1)
The first out of the tenth inning was made by the 11th Reds batter to come to the plate.

Red Sox 11, White Sox 2 (10), July 8, 1973 (G2)
Red Sox back-up catcher Bob Montgomery hit a grand slam in the tenth inning, pushing the lead from 6-2 to 10-2.

Angels 17, Orioles 8 (13), August 16, 2009
Los Angeles reliever Jason Bulger pitched the bottom of the thirteenth and retired the Orioles in order, with all three batters striking out looking.

Number of extra-inning games (1913-2017) with run differential of 8 runs: 14.
Two of them had the same score of 18-10: July 16, 1937 and June 3, 1972.

Number of extra-inning games (1913-2017) with run differential of 7 runs: 37.
In addition to last Friday's game, the Red Sox are on the list with their 11-4 win over the Angels on June 4, 1982.

September 17, 2017

2017 Red Sox Will Set New Team Record For Innings Pitched

After the Red Sox's 15-inning win over the Rays on Friday night - the fourth game of at least 15 innings this season - Dr. Jeff asked:
What's the regular season record for # of innings played by a team? And are the Sox close?
After getting nowhere with Baseball Reference's Play Index, I posted the question to SABR-L.

In the meantime, I looked at 2016's totals: The Astros played the most innings: 1468. At the bottom of the list was the Angels, with 1421.1. That's a difference of only 46.2 innings (140 outs) over an entire season.

(Note: Innings pitched is not quite the same as innings played. Visiting teams do not pitch the last of the ninth about 45-47% of the time (the team plays nine innings, but the staff pitches only eight). An extra inning in which the game is won can have zero or only one or two outs. But innings pitched seems close enough for this discussion. ... Q: Should the criteria perhaps be batters faced in a season?)

I also learned that the 1943 Red Sox set a record by playing 31 extra-inning games. Yet they pitched only 1426.1 innings - just five innings more than the last place team in 2016. (Of course, the Angels played a slightly longer schedule.)

On Sunday evening, I received two answers to my query. One directed me to Fangraphs, where the leaderboard function can search players, teams, and even entire leagues. The other response told me how to get the info at BRef. So here are the Top 10 teams and the Top 10 Red Sox teams:

Most Innings Pitched In A Season (1901-2016)
IP       Year  Team
1506.2   1964  Yankees
1497.2   1969  Twins
1495.0   2013  Diamondbacks
1493.1   1979  Pirates
1491.0   1973  Dodgers
1490.1   1967  White Sox
1490.1   1968  Reds
1489.2   2015  Pirates
1489.2   1968  Tigers
1489.2   1988  Athletics
Most Innings Pitched In A Season (Red Sox) (1901-2016)
IP       Year
1472.2   1978 (tied for 82nd all-time)
1466.2   1969 (tied for 156th all-time)
1465.2   2014
1464.2   2003
1463.2   1966
1461.1   1985
1460.1   1989
1459.1   1967
1458.0   1996
1458.0   1976
Through 149 games, the 2017 Red Sox have pitched 1361.1 innings. Assuming a minimum of eight innings in their last six road games and nine innings in their seven upcoming home games, the Red Sox will finish with 1472.1 innings, one out shy of the team record.

However, because I am sure that this team will not lose all six games in Baltimore and Cincinnati next week, I shall guarantee that the 2017 Red Sox will set a new franchise record for innings pitched on the final weekend of the regular season!

In case you did not know, a person can get lost in the Play Index:

Top 5 Red Sox Pitching Staffs With Lowest WHIP: 1914, 1917, 1915, 1918, 1916. ... Okay, so Boston had some good staffs in the mid-teens! The best WHIP was 1.120. Looking at three next-best WHIPs, we have 1967, 2002, and 2017.

The worst team WHIP was 1.610, in 1932. That team also had the worst winning percentage in Red Sox history (43-111, .279 (the only season the team ever finished below .300)). ... The #2-#7 worst WHIP seasons were consecutive: 1926, 1925, 1927, 1930, 1928, and 1929. Holy shit!

The 2017 team has the highest K/9 ratio of any Red Sox team (9.6), with last year's team at #2 ((8.5). The top 13 seasons are all from the 2000s. (Players strike out a lot more than they used to.) The lowest seasons are 1925 (2.1), 1926 (2.3), and 1922 (2.3).

Triples: The 1937 team gave up 79, while the 1926 team allowed only 13. (MLB record: 95, by the 1930 Pirates. (15 of the top 16 teams are from 1930-1937.))

Wild Pitches: The 2015 staff had 79, but the 1928 team had only 11. (MLB record: 94, by the 2012 Rockies.)

Complete Games: The 1917 team had 115 (the major league record), while the 2011 team had 2. (This one is not really fair ...)

Only two Red Sox teams finished a season with zero shutouts: 2003 and 2005.


Most and Fewest Extra-Base Hits Allowed In One Season
               GMS    2B   3B    HR   XBH
2001 Rangers   162   391   47   222   660
1916 Red Sox   156    60   17    10    87

G149: Rays 3, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 000 002 000 - 2  3  2
Rays    - 100 011 00x - 3  8  0
Jake Odorizzi (6-1-2-2-6, 96) did not allow a hit for five innings. But after he walked Brock Holt to start the sixth, Jackie Bradley belted a two-run homer.

Not long after Bradley's blast tied the game 2-2, Eduardo Rodriguez (5.2-7-3-1-7, 110) gave up a solo home run to Jesus Sucre, and Tampa Bay had its margin of victory.

The Red Sox had only five baserunners in the game:
1st inning - Dustin Pedroia walked with one out. Stranded at first.

6th inning - Holt walked with no one out. Bradley homered to right.

8th inning - Bradley singled to shortstop with two outs. Stranded at first.

9th inning - Andrew Benintendi singled to center with one out. Rajai Davis ended the game on the next pitch with a 6-4-3 double play. (The Red Sox saw only four pitches in the inning.)
David Price pitched two innings of relief, his first appearance for the Red Sox since July 22. He retired all six batters he faced, throwing 21 pitches (he needed only seven in the seventh). He recorded two strikeouts.

Before today, Price had pitched in a regular season game as a reliever only five times (all with the Rays): four appearances in September 2008 (when he was first called up) and one inning in the penultimate game of the 2010 season. Price has six postseason relief appearances: five in 2008 (against the Red Sox) and once in 2015 (for the Blue Jays).

Mookie Betts left the game in the fifth inning with a bruised right thumb. Betts grounded out in the fourth inning and was tagged by first baseman Lucas Duda, who came off the base to catch the wide throw from third base.

MFY Watch: The Orioles beat the Yankees 6-4.

Eduardo Rodriguez / Jake Odorizzi
Bogaerts, SS
Pedroia, DH
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Moreland, 1B
Vazquez, C
Devers, 3B
Holt, 2B
Bradley, CF
Mike Lupica, Daily News:
The Yankees, I believe, are a better team right now than the Red Sox, even running out of games and time. The Yankees, even with ground to make up on the Red Sox between here and the finish line, are set up better for the playoffs than the Red Sox are, and that includes with starting pitching, something nobody would have believed when the season started ...

But it is more than just pitching. The Yankees have something that the Red Sox, who chose to pass on Edwin Encarnacion, do not, and that is home-run danger up and down their lineup. ...

I think the Red Sox are young and talented and fun to watch ... They aren't going anywhere for years to come. But with all these kids, and all this talent, the playoff resume on this team — with the exception of Dustin Pedroia — is as thin as the Yankees'. The Red Sox may well hold off the Yankees in the East. The Yankees are still a better team.
(Yo, Chuck, he must be on the pipe, right?)

AL East: The Yankees are 3 GB. ... BAL/MFY. ... A Red Sox win today would eliminate both the Orioles and Blue Jays; if either of those teams lose, they would eliminate themselves. (I do not want the Red Sox to lose today, but watching Boston officially end the Orioles' hopes tomorrow night at Camden Yards would be nice.)

September 16, 2017

G148: Red Sox 3, Rays 1

Red Sox - 010 002 000 - 3  7  2
Rays    - 000 000 010 - 1  5  0
The Red Sox's bullpen pitched more than nine innings in Friday's 15-inning victory, so the team needed a strong start from Rick Porcello - and he delivered. Porcello (7-5-1-1-3, 94) pitched into the eighth inning and the one run charged to him crossed the plate after he had left the game, and was unearned.

Mookie Betts drove in Boston's first two runs, with a second-inning home run and a one-out single in the sixth. Betts later scored on Rafael Devers's double. Betts leads the team with 90 RBI.

The win kept the Red Sox's AL East lead at three games, as the Yankees beat the Orioles 9-3. Both Boston and New York have 14 games remaining in the season. Fangraphs' odds for making the postseason: Red Sox (100%), Yankees (99.9%).

After Betts led off the second with a line drive solo shot to left off Alex Cobb (5.1-6-3-0-5, 94), Mitch Moreland doubled. Cobb got the next three batters, however, striking the last two (Devers and Brock Holt).

Tampa Bay's first threat came in the fourth. Evan Longoria doubled with two outs and stole third. But Porcello got Lucas Duda to foul out to first.

In the sixth, Christian Vazquez - batting #2, though he had never previously started a game batting higher than #6 - singled to right-center and was forced at second by Andrew Benintendi. With Betts at the plate, Benintendi took second on a balk and then (three pitches later) stole third. Betts singled him in - and Cobb was replaced by Dan Jennings. Moreland walked and Young struck out, before Devers doubled to left. Holt grounded to shortstop and stranded Young at third.

Tampa Bay had a runner at first to begin the bottom of the sixth because of an error by Devers, but Porcello kept Mallex Smith from advancing as he got three straight fly outs.

Adeiny Hechavarria doubled to open the Rays' half of the eighth. After Brad Miller popped out, Porcello walked Smith, with Hechavarria going to third on ball 4 (which was also a passed ball). Addison Reed took over. Kevin Kiermaier grounded to first, but Moreland committed a throwing error that allowed Hechavarria to score. Smith went to third, but Reed ended the threat by striking out Steven Souza.

Craig Kimbrel retired the side in order in the ninth, fanning Longoria and Duda and getting Wilson Ramos to ground to shortstop.
Rick Porcello / Alex Cobb
Bogaerts, SS
Vazquez, C
Benintendi, LF
Betts, RF
Moreland, 1B
Young, DH
Devers, 3B
Holt, 2B
Bradley, CF
WEEI's John Tomase is worried about Chris Sale's effectiveness in October. Since August 1, Sale has a 4.25 ERA.

MFY Watch: The Yankees are 3 GB. ... BAL/MFY, 4 PM.

If old friend John Lackey did not want robots behind the plate before, he might be rethinking his stance after this blown call by Jordan Baker in Chicago yesterday:

Schadenfreude 215 (A Continuing Series)

The Commissioner's Office fined the Red Sox for "sending electronic communications from their video replay room to an athletic trainer in the dugout" while relaying stolen signs to batters. (The Yankees were also fined for a somewhat similar infraction in the past.)

Naturally, the Yankee-centric media went a little nuts. (Plus, a couple of them could not get the facts of the case right.)

Amara Grautski, Daily News:
In the wake of iGate, the Red Sox are getting off easy — and now the Yankees are getting punished too.

Major League Baseball announced Friday afternoon that Boston will be fined "an undisclosed amount" for using an Apple Watch to steal catchers' signs; it will then be donated "to hurricane relief efforts in Florida." ...

In addition, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said during the course of its investigation it determined that during an earlier championship season the Yankees "had violated a rule governing the use of the dugout phone," and they too will be fined "a lesser undisclosed amount," which will be donated to the same cause. ...

Dustin Pedroia, Brock Holt, Chris Young and a Red Sox trainer were among those involved in relaying signs from the watch.
Grautski writes twice in her article that the Red Sox used the watch to "steal catchers' signs". That is not true - and shows that she (along with Jon Heyman, below) does not really understand this incident. The watch was used to transmit information about the signs, not to steal them in the first place. The Red Sox were fined specifically for "sending electronic communications from their video replay room to an athletic trainer in the dugout". If the Red Sox had decided to simply yell from one place to the other, all of this would have been legal in MLB's eyes.

Mike Mazzeo, Daily News:
Major League Baseball went way too easy on the Red Sox. ...

Stealing signs on the field of play has been part of baseball forever, yes. But stealing signs with the help of technology is an absolute no-no.

Yet all MLB did during its Friday afternoon news dump was issue a slap on the wrist ...

[Manfred] could've issued harsher penalties for the Red Sox this time around for their proven and admitted violations. And for whatever reason, he chose not to.

This was certainly no 10-game suspension for Michael Pineda for going over the pine tar line in 2014. Or the Astros getting the Cardinals' top two picks and $2 million from St. Louis over its illegal breach of baseball operations data from Houston.

And so here we are, eagerly awaiting the next installment of Yankees-Red Sox after the Boston Cheat Party got off easy, with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
Jon Heyman, FanRag Sports:
The Boston Red Sox are cheaters. Of that, there is little doubt. ...

Let's not forget, too, that the Red Sox were involved with some serious shenanigans involving the signing of international players within the last year, as well, for which they have already been appropriately punished. MLB people can suggest many others do sign-stealing – and even some illegally use devices, as the Red Sox did – but the Red Sox were also the only ones caught skirting the rules to sign extra players.

So if you are scoring at home, the Red Sox have been caught and outed cheating twice in the last year; everyone else not at all. It's two for them, zero for everyone else. ...

The team should suffer a real punishment. ...

Boston is fortunate it's not my call, because I'd have them forfeit all their games to the Yankees.

Kevin Kernan, Post:
The Red Sox are cheaters. ...

No matter what the fine, essentially the Red Sox got away with the baseball crime of using an Apple Watch in an electronic espionage scheme to give their hitters advance notice of what type of pitch was coming. ...

"Now people will want to cheat more," one AL executive said when he learned of the light penalty. ...

For the Yankees it now comes down to street justice.

The way to get the Red Sox to feel pain is to try to steal the division away from them in the final 15 games. That's a tall order, but the Yankees certainly have even more incentive to beat the Red Sox now. ...

The Red Sox assured the commissioner they will no longer steal signs in this manner. That's nice. ...

The Red Sox got away with it. The Yankees must find justice on the field.
Buster Olney, ESPN :
Any parent who has worked to alter the behavior of a son or daughter understands baseball commissioner Rob Manfred's position as he decided what to do about the Boston Red Sox's violation of baseball’s rules against using technology in the dugout to steal signs. ...

Manfred essentially punted on the discipline and offered the weak refrain of worn-out parents everywhere: Well, the next time we catch you, you’re really in trouble. ...

Manfred's penalty was toothless for a franchise worth billions of dollars, and time will tell whether the get-out-of-jail free card will embolden other teams to try (or continue) to do the same -- and whether they’ll take the commissioner's warning against future violations any more seriously than a teenager who gets off with a warning. ...

Not only did Manfred pull his punches on his discipline of the Red Sox, but he also seemed to provide Boston some cover by simultaneously announcing that the Yankees had been guilty of a much lesser violation at the same time. ...

[I]t's as if Manfred's message is: I'm really punishing both of you, and you can both go to bed early without the sprinkles on your ice cream.

Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY:
Come on, you didn't really expect anything more than a fine, did you?

When the Boston Red Sox were caught illegally stealing signs using their fancy new Apple watches, and Major League Baseball acted horribly offended, did anyone really believe it was anything more than an act?

Sure, MLB and Commissioner Rob Manfred were irritated, but hardly affronted, knowing deep in their heart there were probably 29 other teams violating MLB's conduct policy regarding the illegal use of electronic equipment. ...

For those who thought Major League Baseball was going to strip draft picks from the Red Sox, or comically even force them to vacate victories, it's time to wake up and smell reality. ...

Times have dramatically altered the way we act in baseball [but] ...

You still do everything possible, whether it's legal or illegal, to gain an edge.

It doesn't matter whether you are taking performance-enhancing drugs or getting ADD prescriptions when you don't need it. Or you're juicing the baseballs to increase home runs and attendance?

The game of baseball, and sports, is built on cheating.

Red Sox Trying Another Form Of Relaying Stolen Signs