Royals - 000 001 000 000 02 - 3 12 1 Red Sox - 010 000 000 000 00 - 1 13 0Boston had (at least) two golden opportunities to win this game. In the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox had runners at first and third with one out, but Carl Crawford (who has three walk-off hits this year) struck out and Josh Reddick flied to right.
In the 12th, Reddick singled and, after Jarrod Saltalamacchia flew out to left, raced to third on Royals pitcher Louis Coleman's errant pickoff throw. Marco Scutaro missed the squeeze sign on his first pitch and Reddick was easily tagged out 2-5. Scutaro singled to left, but was cut down trying to stretch his single into a double. So Boston sent only three men to the plate in the inning and scored no runs and left no one on base, but had two singles and a two-base error.
Unlike Boston's recent 16-inning game against the Rays, in which Terry Francona was able to save his best pitchers to pitch deep into the marathon, the Sox used their best arms (Matt Albers, Daniel Bard, Jonathan Papelbon) in the 7th-9th innings, and were forced to rely on Franklin Morales, Dan Wheeler, and Randy Williams in extra frames.
It was only a matter of time before one of them wilted. Kansas City scored two runs against Williams (in his second inning of work) and the Red Sox came up empty against Joakim Soria. Reddick doubled with one out, but Salty and Scutaro both struck out.
John Lackey had gone down to the pen in the 14th and was getting loose, and would likely have pitched in relief if the game had continued.
Kyle Davies / Jon Lester
Lester returns from the DL (strained left latissimus) to make his first start since July 5. In that start, he threw four no-hit innings before being pulled. Lester will likely be limited to 80-90 pitches.
Now it's about building up endurance ... You try to balance winning the game and bringing him along where he can get on a roll. ... He's going to go out there and fire and try to win. And that's good, but we've got to keep an eye on him.How did Tito celebrate his 1,000th win as a manager on Saturday night? "Had a grilled cheese sandwich."
John Autin, Baseball Reference Blog:
Through Saturday 7/23, Red Sox hold 4 of the AL's top 5 spots in Wins Above Replacement [BRef version] for position players:The 1902 Pirates had Honus Wagner (8.1), Tommy Leach (6.4), Ginger Beaumont (6.2), and Fred Clarke (6.2).
#2 - Dustin Pedroia, 5.3All 4 hitters are on pace for at least 6.4 WAR. No team has had 4 position players at that level.
#3 (tie) - Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez, 4.8
#5 (tie) - Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Beltre (Texas), 3.9
Only one team ever had 4 position players with 6 Wins Above Replacement (often called the threshold of "MVP level"): the 1902 Pirates, who went 103-36, a .741 W% that's 2nd best in modern history.
Dropping the threshold a bit, here are the nine teams with 4 position players >= 5.5 WAR ...
SoSHer redoctober3829 posted some stats:
Looking at some other stats among AL players, it boggles my mind just how good this lineup is.MFY: Mariners/Yankees at 7 PM.
OBP - Red Sox players are 3rd, 4th, and 5th BA - 2 Red Sox in top 10 SLG - 2 Red Sox in top 5 OPS - 5 Red Sox in top 11 Hits - 3 Red Sox in top 10 Total Bases - 2 Red Sox in top 5 OPS+ - 3 Red Sox in top 10 wRC - 5 Red Sox in top 11 wRAA - 4 Red Sox in top 10 wRC+ - 4 Red Sox in top 10 wOBA - 5 Red Sox in top 10 WPA - 4 Red Sox in top 10Looking position-by-position, here is how the starters rank by OPS in the AL. We'll ignore Reddick because of his lack of ABs but we all know he's on fire right now. 5 of the 8 are ranked in the top 2 in their position and all but Crawford are in the top 10.
Salty - 6th Gonzalez - 2nd Pedroia - 1st Scutaro - 8th Youkilis - 1st Crawford - 29th Ellsbury - 2nd Reddick - [too few AB; 1.030 OPS] Ortiz - 1stWith Crawford starting to swing the bat well since returning from the DL, it's scary to think the lineup could get even better.