Sox starters are getting through opposing lineups three times at a 73.1% rate. That isn't good, but the AL average is only 74.7%, so there's only a net (1.6%) difference in how often the Sox starters make it through three full cycles of a lineup. Still slightly below average, but not too significantly.
What's significant is getting to that third plate appearance:
1st time through: .859 to .719 = net (.140) OPS difference
2nd time through: .899 to .751 = net (.148) OPS difference
3rd time through: .666 to .741 = net .073+ OPS difference
First the good news. As might be expected of a rookie and a converted reliever, Doubront and Bard get worse results as they get deeper into games. For both guys, though, the steady increase of HR and BABIP rates suggests both newbies have normal problems that could be managed to success by BobbyV using a quick hook in the 6th-7th innings and appropriate calls to the bullpen.
|1st PA in G, as SP||63||10||0||10||15||1.50||0.192||0.317||0.288||0.606||0.263|
|2nd PA in G, as SP||63||13||1||6||14||2.33||0.232||0.317||0.357||0.675||0.293|
|3rd PA in G, as SP||40||14||2||0||8||--||0.350||0.350||0.575||0.925||0.400|
|1st PA in G, as SP||55||10||0||7||7||1.00||0.213||0.327||0.277||0.604||0.250|
|2nd PA in G, as SP||53||13||0||5||7||1.40||0.271||0.340||0.313||0.652||0.317|
|3rd PA in G, as SP||48||14||1||3||9||3.00||0.326||0.383||0.488||0.871||0.394|
What's much, much more worrisome is how Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz have been unspeakably terrible the first and second times through the order, and consistently excellent the third time through. Meaning, it's up to that day's offensive output whether BobbyV can stomach leaving them in to get better.
|1st PA in G, as SP||63||18||2||4||12||3.00||0.305||0.349||0.492||0.841||0.356|
|2nd PA in G, as SP||62||15||1||10||9||0.90||0.300||0.410||0.480||0.890||0.341|
|3rd PA in G, as SP||49||5||0||2||7||1.75||0.114||0.204||0.159||0.363||0.135|
|1st PA in G, as SP||55||13||3||5||9||1.80||0.271||0.333||0.542||0.875||0.270|
|2nd PA in G, as SP||52||17||4||4||7||1.75||0.354||0.404||0.688||1.091||0.351|
|3rd PA in G, as SP||39||7||2||0||9||--||0.179||0.179||0.385||0.564||0.179|
|1st PA in G, as SP||64||21||4||9||8||0.89||0.396||0.500||0.736||1.236||0.415|
|2nd PA in G, as SP||63||17||3||8||5||0.63||0.327||0.419||0.538||0.958||0.311|
|3rd PA in G, as SP||50||12||2||1||4||5.00||0.245||0.260||0.367||0.627||0.238|
If it were a problem with pitch-calling, I would expect to see similar issues with Bard and Doubront. Nothing there. And all three of these guys should have good enough stuff to get MLB hitters out -- just check those 3rd-time-around splits, nevermind their career numbers. Not one of them can claim the excuse of injury, either.
Which seems to me to leave only sloppy pre-game preparation and poor in-game execution -- the implication of both being that these three guys just aren't consistently getting ready to compete when it's their turn to pitch.
If that's really the case, then sadly they can have all the talent in the world, and it still won't be worth a damn.
Edited by Buzzkill Pauley, 14 May 2012 - 12:38 PM.