June 13, 2011

Shorter Post: "The Red Sox Are Good"

The Red Sox have the best record in the American League (39-26) and are second to the Phillies (40-26) in MLB.
                  W- L  RS/G  AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS   ERA
Since April 16*: 37-16  5.7  .287  .355  .471  .826  3.51
Since May 13:    22- 6  7.0  .302  .369  .513  .882  3.66
Since May 24:    14- 4  7.7  .305  .368  .536  .903  3.84
Since June 3:     9- 0  9.2  .329  .401  .565  .966  3.56
That 37-16 (.698, a 113-win pace) is the best record in MLB since April 16. The Red Sox had the best AL record for May (19-10) and they have the best AL record in June (9-1).

RS:    350 (#1 in MLB; Yankees #2 with 330)
RS/G: 5.38 (#1 in MLB; Yankees #2 at 5.24)
H:     635 (#1 in MLB; Cardinals #2 with 629; Yankees #18 with 548)
2B:    142 (#1 in MLB; Cardinals #2 with 131; Yankees #23 with 99)
HR:     77 (#2 in MLB; Yankees #1 with 95)
BB:    241 (#4 in MLB; Yankees/Reds #1 with 246)
AVG:  .276 (#1 in MLB; Cardinals #2 at .274; Yankees #12 at .257)
OBP:  .349 (#1 in MLB; Cardinals #2 at .347; Yankees #3 at .340)
SLG:  .450 (#1 in MLB, tied with Yankees)
OPS:  .799 (#1 in MLB; Yankees #2 at .790)
TB:  1,034 (#1 in MLB; Rangers #2 with 968)
XBH%: 9.0% (#1 in MLB; Yankees/Diamondbacks #2 at 8.5%)
Boston is 25-19 against RHP and 14-7 against LHP. Both record are 4th-best in MLB and Boston is the only team in the Top 5 of both categories.

RA/G:        4.32 (#7 in AL; Mariners #1 at 3.70; Yankees #5 at 4.05)
ERA:         4.08 (#8 in AL; Athletics #1 at 3.35)
Fewest Hits:  535 (#2 in AL; Rays #1 at 516; Yankees #4 at 540)
Fewest Walks: 222 (#12 in AL; Cleveland #1 with 180; Yankees/Rangers #10 at 216)
Strikeouts:   470 (#2 in AL; Jays #1 with 486)
WHIP:       1.295 (#5 in AL; Mariners #1 at 1.216)
Red Sox pitchers have also hit 40 batters, nine more than Toronto and 17 more than Texas, Detroit, and Cleveland.
Adrian Gonzalez has had at least one RBI in nine consecutive games (a career-high). It's the longest streak for a Red Sox hitter since Manny Ramirez went 10 games in 2002 (September 14-24).

The Red Sox record (since 1919) is 12 games, held by Ted Williams (August 31-September 13, 1942) and Joe Cronin (June 27-July 9, 1939). Williams also had an 11-game streak (May 30-June 10, 1950).

Gonzalez's streak ties Jason Bartlett (May 8-18) for the longest in the majors this season. The longest MLB streak since 2000 is 15 games (Mike Piazza, Mets, June 14-July 2, 2000). The MLB record is 17 games, set by Ray Grimes of the Cubs (June 27 to July 23, 1922).

After David Ortiz had three straight dismal seasons years against left-handed pitchers, the near-universal sentiment for 2011 was that Flo should not be in the lineup against southpaws. ... Ortiz's success against lefties has been perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this season. Among all American League hitters with at least 75 PA against LHP, Ortiz is 4th in average, 3rd in OBP, 5th in SLG, and 5th in OPS.

Ortiz vs LHP
         PA    AVG    OBP    SLG     OPS
2008    121   .221   .308   .433    .741
2009    188   .212   .298   .418    .716  
2010    200   .222   .275   .324    .599  
2011     81   .343   .432   .571   1.004
Overall, Ortiz is 4th in the AL in average (.325), 5th in OBP (.395) and 2nd in SLG (.624). His 1.019 OPS is 2nd in the league. He is slugging was well as he ever has. His career-highs were in 2006 (.636, 54 HR) and 2007 (.621).

In 30 games since May 10, Ortiz is hitting .370/.423/.815/1.238. And since May 19 (23 games), he is hitting .396/.444/.857/1.302, with two or more hits in 14 of his 22 starts.

Jacob Peterson, Beyond the Box Score, June 5:
Ortiz struck out in 28.0% of his at-bats last year, and has fanned in 21.6% of his career at-bats. This year, his K rate is [10.5%]. ...

I would guess that both players [Ortiz and Prince Fielder] ... sought to make changes in their batting style over the offseason ... [and] became determined to make better contact. ...

Regardless of where this change has come from, the results are striking. Fielder has cut his swing-and-miss rate on pitches in the strike zone from 9.0% to 2.5%. ... Ortiz's story is similar. On pitches in the zone, his swing-and-miss rate has fallen from 9.8% to 8.1%. Out of the zone, the drop is from 9.6% to 5.8%. On all pitches, he's whiffed 3% less often (6.8% this year vs. 9.8% career).

You often hear hitters (and hitting coaches) preach increased contact rates, but rarely do you see such dramatic examples of this strategy being successfully applied. ... It should be very interesting to see what happens if/when pitchers start picking up on these new approaches, and what adjustments these two great hitters make in response.
I'm not sure where Petersen got the swing-and-miss rates. Fangraphs has Ortiz's 2011 rate of "contact with the ball when swinging at pitches thrown inside the strike zone" at 88.9%, down from a career rate of 86.0%. Another category is "percentage of strikes that were swung at and missed" (which is measuring the same thing from the other side, right?), but in this category, it's 9.5% for his career and only 6.7% this year. Maybe I am missing something obvious, but those %s don't add up. ... Flo's contact rate on pitches outside the zone is 77.6% this year (way up from his career rate of 51.9%).
Roster Moves and Rehabs: Drew Sutton was sent back to Pawtucket as Darnell McDonald (strained left quadriceps) is expected to come off the disabled list tomorrow. In nine rehab games with the PawSox, McDonald hit .345 and drove in 11 runs. Franklin Morales (left forearm strain) began his rehab with PawSox and threw one perfect inning of relief (nine pitches) yesterday.

The Red Sox traded catcher Mike McKenry to Pittsburgh which opens up a spot on the 40-man roster. That spot could be taken by right-hander Junichi Tazawa, who has been pitching for Salem (A) as he returns from Tommy John surgery. His first two starts were rough -- 12 earned runs in 7.1 innings -- but he has now thrown nine consecutive scoreless innings and will likely be with the Red Sox at some point in the second half of the season.

Jacoby Ellsbury has a 10-game hitting streak (21-for-49, .429); he has a hit in 16 of the last 17 games (30-for-75, .400). His .318 batting average is 6th in the AL. He has 84 hits (#2 in AL), 49 runs scored, (#3), 56 singles (#4), 21 doubles (#2), 24 stolen bases (#1), 109 times on base (#8).
When Do Standings Matter?
So when do the standings matter? At the end of the season, when all the playoff spots are set. But when can we tell who is good and who is bad? It looks like somewhere in August. The terrible teams and great teams separate in June, but the middle is still muddled. This appears to clear up somewhere in August.
Times Oakland batters have had a 3-0 count: 107.
Times they have swing at the next pitch: 0.

Finally, the Balk of the Year.


Benjamin said...

That's even better than Verlander's balk in April.

allan said...

A bit more on the Red Sox's recent campaign of carnage:

Tim Britton, Providence Journal:

"Boston had more runs than the Blue Jays had hits in each of the three games. ... The fifth inning was their domain in all three contests. Boston scored twice in the fifth on Friday, seven times on Saturday and six more on Sunday. Discounting the first four and last four innings of each game, the Red Sox still would have swept all three games by virtue of their production in the fifth alone."


In the six games of this road trip, the Red Sox have outscored the Yankees and Blue Jays 60-19, with a .330 batting average and 33 extra-base hits (19 doubles, 3 triples, 11 home runs). Yes, the Red Sox have hit as many doubles on this road trip as their opponents have scored runs!


After Sunday's game, the Red Sox had the Padres/Nationals game on TV. Adrian Gonzalez watched the Anthony Rizzo draw a walk: "It's about time they got a good first baseman there."

Benjamin said...

Sox top ESPN's Power Rankings this week. MFYs fall to #3, Blue Jays to #16.

(Also another accolade mentioned, if you want to get annoyed.)

laura k said...

Along with being the top-ranked team, the Red Sox are this week's U.S. Army Team of the Week.

An ad was running alongside the article. I couldn't tell if it was for the Army or for a video game of an Army. I'm thinking video game because it looked very violent. Usually ads for the real thing don't show the violence.

FenFan said...

So given how well Ortiz has faired at the plate this season, should the Sox sign him to a long-term contract? Was wondering that as I rode my lawn tractor around the yard today. Hey, I need to think about something out there?

Jere said...

Yanks LOSE. 2 and a half up.

allan said...

Thumbs up!

Burnett finally remembers how to pitch and the Dead Bats Society shows up! HAHAHHHAH!

Tom DePlonty said...

So given how well Ortiz has faired at the plate this season, should the Sox sign him to a long-term contract?

"You are old, Father David", the Sox fan said
"And the papers all said you were through
Now you're tearing the cover clean off of the ball
Prithee tell how you do what you do?"

"In my youth", Big Papi replied to the fan
"I worked hard in the cage, with my teachers
But now I just listen to Adrian G,
Then I pop the ball into the bleachers."

"You are old, Father David", the Sox fan said
"You could never hit lefties before
But now you're the nightmare of every southpaw
Pray tell how you run up the score?"

"In my youth", Big Papi replied to the fan
"Just to see, then to hit, was my aim
But now I try hard to stay inside the ball
And it helps me blast open the game."

"You are old for a DH" the Sox fan said
"But your hitting's so good, it's surreal
We just have to have that great bat in our lineup
We want Theo to give you a deal!"

"I love Fenway, and Tito, and Boston", said Papi
"And the fans here, but I gotta say
That hitting this good - well, it don't come so cheap
And the price just goes up every day!"