July 5, 2006

Giving Runs Back II

Following up my previous post, I checked out box scores for all 81 games this year, looking for instances of Red Sox starters allowing runs immediately after Boston had scored. I counted only instances in which the Sox (or the opposing team) scored to either trail by one run, tie the game or take a lead. (In other words, if the Sox took a 4-0 lead and the starter then allowed one (or even two) runs in the next half-inning, I didn't count it.)

It seemed like Curt Schilling had allowed the opposition to score in close games quite a bit this year. But with so many things -- especially individual moments in baseball games watched over the course of several months -- what we think happened doesn't always match reality.

In this case, however, it does. Schilling has given back a run or more in the above instances in 10 of his 18 starts, including five outings in a row (April 25-May 16) and in seven of eight starts at the beginning of the season (April 8-May 16).

No other Red Sox starter has done it more than four times. (There isn't a lot of context to this, however; I have no idea how this compares with any of Schilling's other seasons or the careers of the other Boston starters. I had a question and went off to answer it.)

These are the games (T & B are top and bottom of innings):

April 8 at Baltimore: Sox take 2-0 lead in T6, Orioles get solo HR in B6. Sox win 2-1.

April 14 vs Seattle: Sox score 2 in B4, leadoff double in T5 scores. Sox win 2-1.

April 25 at Cleveland: Sox score 2 in T2, Cleveland ties game with 2 in B2 (and 2 more in B3). Sox win 8-6.

April 30 at Tampa: Sox score 1 in T4 (cutting TB lead to 2-1), Rays get 1 in B4. Sox lose 5-4.

May 5 vs Baltimore: Sox take 2-1 lead in B4, Orioles get 2 in T5 to lead 3-2. (Note: Ortiz hits 3-run double in B6, Schilling allows nothing in T7.) Sox win 6-3.

May 16 at Baltimore: Sox lead 6-1 after T6, Orioles get 4 in B6. Sox win 6-5.

May 27 vs Tampa: Sox get 1 in B1, Rays get 2 in T2. Sox win 6-4.

June 8 at NYY: Sox get 1 in T1, Yanks get 1 in B1 (and 1 more in B2). Sox win 9-3.

June 13 at Minnesota: Varitek solo HR in T7; Cuddyer solo HR in B8. Sox lose 5-2 in 12.

July 4 at Tampa: See below.

Other instances: Clement (4 times; April 13, April 23, May 19, May 24)), Lester (3; June 10, June 27, July 2)), Beckett (3; April 21, May 30, June 5)), Wakefield (1; June 26), Synder (1; June 19), Pauley (1; May 31) and DiNardo (1; April 17).

Schilling's record is 10-2, and 13 of his 18 starts have been "quality starts" (including the first two on the above list), tops on the club. The Sox are 14-4 in his starts, so this hasn't been a problem in the actual outcomes of games.

But it's frustrating as hell.

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