With 11 starts in the books, Beckett leads the AL with a 1.80 ERA; he has a 1.01 WHIP. No AL pitcher has allowed fewer hits per nine innings than Beckett (5.9), and only two have allowed fewer HR/9.
Beckett has averaged a bit more than six innings per start and has allowed one or zero runs in seven of those 11 starts. In May, Beckett had a 1.00 ERA (six starts, 36.2 innings); 25 of the 26 hits he allowed were singles.
(Boston also has three starters in the top eight in LOB% (Beckett, Buchholz, Lester). Beckett's strand rate in 2011 is 85.8%, well above his career rate of 72%. It seems unlikely that the starters will be able to sustain that LOB% through the entire season.)
In the last six games, Jacoby Ellsbury has eight hits (including two home runs), seven walks, seven runs scored, and four stolen bases. He leads the Red Sox in May OBP (.394) and is third in average (.323).
Pitches seen in last five games: 24, 24, 24, 29, 25. As SoSHer Sprowl writes, "He's wearing out the opposing pitchers from the first inning on."
Ellsbury, among leadoff batters:
Pitches per PA: #2 in AL (3.89)In the last week, Carl Crawford has been white hot (.423/.464/1.000/1.464). His 11 hits include two doubles, two triples, and three home runs. He has scored nine runs and driven in eight in the last seven games.
OBP: #1 in MLB (.385)
AVG: #1 in AL (.318), #2 in MLB
SLG: #2 in AL (.462), #4 in MLB
Runs Created Per 27 Outs: #1 in AL* (7.22), #2 in MLB
(IYI: Derek Jeter is 10th in the AL, at 4.38.)
Adrian Gonzalez talks about hitting with David Laurilla. The Q&A is pure muscle, with none of the flabby cliches you usually hear.
DL: What do you see when the ball comes out of the pitcher’s hand?Joe Posnanski has more thoughts on stats and statheads:
AG: I see rotation. I can pick up on what the pitch is as soon as the pitcher lets go of it. Most of what you see is innate. If you ask some of the great hitters, they won't all say the same thing. Some just see balls. Some guys see speed out of the hand. I can't recognize speed, but I can recognize rotation. ...
DL: What do a lot of fans not understand about hitting?
AG: That hitting has evolved. It's not the same that it was 10-15 years ago. ... Pitchers are throwing more pitches now, and they're moving the ball more. ... Ten, 15 years ago, not every pitcher had four or five pitches. Now they do and you have to keep that in mind.
[T]heir methods may be baffling to those of us without much feel for math but in general they are working to find things that could be really interesting. There are people out there who work hard to come up with mathematical formulas to determine the run values of different actions (how much more a single is worth than a walk, for instance). There are people out there who work the numbers to separate the pitchers contribution in run prevention from the defense's contribution. Some try to break down the statistics to see if certain players have the unique talent to hit better in the clutch than they do in regular situations. ... Some just work through the numbers to find counterintuitive facts ...
Sometimes, these mathematical efforts go over my head. And sometimes they go WAY over my head. But the point is that much of baseball number crunching is for a purpose -- to answer a question, to prove a point, to discover a whole new way to look at baseball -- and that can be fascinating if you come at it with an open mind.