August 31, 2007

Rookie Starters v Red Sox

There is a perception among Boston fans (including me) that the Red Sox do poorly against starting pitchers they have not seen before, specifically rookie pitchers just promoted to the major leagues.

But is it true?

In the last four seasons -- 2004 to 2007 -- the Red Sox have faced a starting pitcher with 10 or fewer career appearances 31 times. (They will face #32 tonight.) Here is the list.

There are some gems in there (Scott Kazmir's first start, Brandon McCarthy, Joe Saunders, Micah Owings, Jesse Litsch), but there are also plenty of duds (Josh Stewart, Shawn Hill, Alay Soler, Jeff Karstens, Chase Wright).

Stats by season:
         G   IP    H   R  ER  BB   K  HR   ERA
2004 7 35.2 25 13 12 16 35 3 3.03
2005 5 25.2 18 11 10 16 23 1 3.51
2006 12 60.0 85 49 46 30 36 13 6.90
2007 7 31.1 45 18 18 16 19 6 5.17

Totals 31 157.2 173 91 86 78 103 23 4.91
The Red Sox went 15-16 in these games, including losing six in a row in 2006. I'm not sure when this perception really took hold -- it goes back to at least 2003 with me -- but it undoubtedly got a big boost in early July 2006 -- after Boston lost three of these games in approximately two weeks (although were also some of the worst starting performances on the list).

This theory may have held water in 2004 and 2005, but it doesn't reflect the reality of the last two seasons.

15 comments:

redsock said...

I generated this list through Baseball Reference's database.

BR is run by Sean Forman (Red Sox fan!) and seems to have new and amazing stuff every day. The $30 I spent for a year's use of the database will be a great investment.

Remember we were talking about a team's record with a lead after 6 innings or 8 innings? Check this out. Plug in any year between 1957 and 2007 and any team, and presto!!!!

Plus: Stats for all minor leaguer Sox sorted by position (pitchers too)

redsock said...

Games in which David Ortiz has hit a triple and a home run.

There have been 3.

redsock said...

Here is a list of Red Sox games from 2000-2007 in which they scored 0, 1 or 2 runs, ranked by most men LOB.

(One of the two worst games was 9 days ago.)

L-girl said...

Uh-oh. Allan has a new toy. :)

Jeff in PA said...

Don't you love it when RedSock get's all stats-y?

redsock said...

I'm amazed at the access we have to all this stuff. It wasn't very many years ago that it was beyond belief that anything approaching this could become a reality.

Jeff in PA said...

I always see a lot of stats get referenced to the Elias Sports Bureau (or something like that). Obviously they have some pretty cool stuff as well. I was just thinking that working at a place like that must be pretty fun. Especially around the playoffs where you get all those crazy stats like post season extra base hits in a night game against a left hander who is working on 4 days rest in a deciding game.

Anyway, love the stats. Thanks!

mrflip said...

For "pitchers with 10 or fewer appearances when the sox meet them": can you compare their record in their first 15 appearances with their record vs. the Sox? Because my perception has been that they get a lot better (pitch over their ability) not as much that they get Cy Young-ish.

Jere said...

This is what I was using that time when you talked about Bonds and the consecutive intentional walks....

About rookie pitchers: this goes along with my theory that an odd thing occurring a few times is perceived by humans as happening "all the time."

Amy said...

You all are so much fun. I love all these stats. But I have a word question (since I am more a word person than a number person). This summer we had a big family debate over whether you refer to a single Boston player as a Red Sock. We split on this one. So, Red Sock et all, what do you think?

redsock said...

I vote Sock.

It gets used in the papers sometimes, also.

Amy said...

I figured that you would :)

I meant et al, by the way. Bad typing

redsock said...

For "pitchers with 10 or fewer appearances when the sox meet them": can you compare their record in their first 15 appearances with their record vs. the Sox? Because my perception has been that they get a lot better (pitch over their ability) not as much that they get Cy Young-ish.

You might have to look at their game log for their first season to see if the Boston game stands out among the other outings.

In that linked list, you should be able to click on the names and check it out.

redsock said...

Here is Jesse Litsch's log.

Shelled by the MFY, great game against A's, very good against us, not so good against Seattle, great against Twins and DRays.

phrenile said...

Two hypotheses:

1) A team that normally wins .600 of its games but only wins .500 against crappy rookies is probably underperforming against crappy rookies.

2) If a team loses against the same crappy rookies that other teams crush, then that team is probably underperforming against crappy rookies.

No idea how they fit into your data, though.