April 19, 2021

MLB.com Does Not Know The Difference Between An "At-Bat" And A "Plate Appearance"

The Red Sox rebounded from losing both ends of Sunday's doubleheader against the White Sox by scoring six runs in the first inning on Monday. The first six batters hit safely – a home run by Enrique Hernández and five singles – in what became an 11-4 rout. The Red Sox pounded Lucas Giolito (1-8-8-2-0, 54) and cruised to their 11th win in their last 14 games.

In the six-run first inning, Bobby Dalbec fouled off eight pitches to draw a walk in a 14-pitch battle. MLB.com published the list below with this comment ("Only three other Red Sox players have had longer at-bats that ended in a walk since 1988"). Does this mean there have been longer post-1988 plate-appearances that did not end with ball 4. Who knows?

Longest Red Sox Plate Appearances (Since 1988)
15 pitches – Danny Heep, against Tom Henke, June 4, 1989
15 pitches – Alex Cora, against Paul Byrd, April 27, 2006
15 pitches – Victor Martinez, against Cole Hamels, June 13, 2010
14 pitches – Dalbec, against Lucas Giolito, April 19, 2021

Mlb.com called Dalbec's 14-pitch plate appearance "the fourth-longest in Sox history", which is (almost certainly) incorrect. MLB started keeping records of individual pitches in 1988, which is only 27.5% of the Red Sox's existence (33 of 120 years).

Mlb.com got something else wrong, too. When a player walks, he has not had an "at-bat". He had a "plate appearance". (I know you know this.) And this bizarre way of doing things – which would never pass muster if it was being instituted now – has been going on since before the Civil War. So please try to keep up, MLB.

Alex Verdugo (18-for-50 (.360) with a 1.064 OPS in his last 13 games), J.D. Martinez (leads MLB with 20 RBI), and Christian Vázquez (has three three-hit games this year) each had three hits and the first five batters in the lineup each scored two runs.

Nathan Eovaldi (6.1-9-4-0-10, 100) matched a career high with 10 punchouts, on of which was Nick Madrigal, who had not whiffed in 42 previous at-bats. Also, Eovaldi has walked exactly none of his last 51 batters.

The Red Sox (11-6) will finish this homestand with two games against the Blue Jays and four against the Mariners.

MFY Watch: They did not lose today. But that's only because they did not play.

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