May: Red Sox discussion, observations and trend tracking...AKA It's not all about the Benjamins

Benj4ever

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Things actually happen in the real world. Specifically in the context of a sport where the participants actively seek to maximize the chances the outcomes resolve in their favor.

This is not the context of a guaranteed even chance. And even if it were, the deviation in outcomes (2-12 instead of 7-7) would cause one to look for what actually impacted the outcome.

So here's a suggestion for you. Why don't you look at the extra innings of those 14 games under discussion. You could see if there was data that showed true randomness. You could catalogue all those fluky incidents - all those dropped balls and blooped singles in 5 or the 14 games. You could note any countervailing luck in the two wins. Or you could see, say, if Melvin intentionally walked a shit-ton of guys and how that worked out for him.
You mean that the games are not played on paper? Who knew!
 

Tony Pena's Gas Cloud

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Just a note on Devers. Since Opening Day, he has three homers and 10 rbis. The three homers and five of the rbis were in 12-2, 8-0, and 9-2 victories. Two others were when they were down by five runs very late in the game. Again since Opening Day, in one and two run games he's 9-40 with ONE extra base hit and ZERO rbis. He's been ARod-esque, compiling his numbers in garbage time. Small sample size warning of course, but in a season where the team has desperately needed clutch hitting, he's been a complete non-factor.
 

Fishy1

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Just a note on Devers. Since Opening Day, he has three homers and 10 rbis. The three homers and five of the rbis were in 12-2, 8-0, and 9-2 victories. Two others were when they were down by five runs very late in the game. Again since Opening Day, in one and two run games he's 9-40 with ONE extra base hit and ZERO rbis. He's been ARod-esque, compiling his numbers in garbage time. Small sample size warning of course, but in a season where the team has desperately needed clutch hitting, he's been a complete non-factor.
Last night's LOB-fest was frustrating for sure.

On the other hand, Devers is posting the best wrc+ of his career so far, and boasting a walk rate of 15%, which has led to an OBP over .400.

I'm not going to make too much of that either, but the guy has always hit. I'm more confident that the BB rate might stick to an extent than I am that he's suddenly lost the clutch gene, or whatever.

Big difference, by the way, between this year's team and last year's, is the discipline. That's six regulars with BB% over 10, and Duran sitting at 8.9% is 2, almost 3% better than his mark last year. Encouraging stuff. Rafaela and Wong are obviously dragging those numbers down pretty egregiously, but I didn't really expect anything else from them.

82294
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Just a note on Devers. Since Opening Day, he has three homers and 10 rbis. The three homers and five of the rbis were in 12-2, 8-0, and 9-2 victories. Two others were when they were down by five runs very late in the game. Again since Opening Day, in one and two run games he's 9-40 with ONE extra base hit and ZERO rbis. He's been ARod-esque, compiling his numbers in garbage time. Small sample size warning of course, but in a season where the team has desperately needed clutch hitting, he's been a complete non-factor.
For the season, Devers is OPSing .956 with runners in scoring position and 1.039 with runners on any base. Tough to ask for much more. I put more faith in those numbers and that the close vs blow-outs thing will balance out over the course of the whole season. Also, isn't the "his numbers are better in blow-outs" kind of an obvious thing? I mean, if the team is scoring a bunch then it stands to reason that everyone's numbers will be better in those games.
 

nvalvo

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For the season, Devers is OPSing .956 with runners in scoring position and 1.039 with runners on any base. Tough to ask for much more. I put more faith in those numbers and that the close vs blow-outs thing will balance out over the course of the whole season. Also, isn't the "his numbers are better in blow-outs" kind of an obvious thing? I mean, if the team is scoring a bunch then it stands to reason that everyone's numbers will be better in those games.
Well, that logic holds for the blowouts that we're leading. If he hits three solo HRs in a game we lose 9-3, clearly a different dynamic is in play.

But back to this season, we've won 8 blowouts and lost 5, and at least 3 of those losses came in the period when he was on the non-IL IL. So I think it's safe to say that the bulk of Devers' blowout PAs came in blowouts we won.

Just a note on Devers. Since Opening Day, he has three homers and 10 rbis. The three homers and five of the rbis were in 12-2, 8-0, and 9-2 victories. Two others were when they were down by five runs very late in the game. Again since Opening Day, in one and two run games he's 9-40 with ONE extra base hit and ZERO rbis. He's been ARod-esque, compiling his numbers in garbage time. Small sample size warning of course, but in a season where the team has desperately needed clutch hitting, he's been a complete non-factor.
I don't see the origins of the precise stats you're looking at, but here's what B-R's splits page has: in the 80 PAs that took place with the score within two runs (which is obviously more than those PAs in *games decided by two or fewer runs*), he has a .304/.400/.507 line, with 3 HR and 7 RBI. 10 walks, too, which is sort of a lot. 2 outs, RISP: .300/.500/.600 in 14 PA, including 4 BB and 4 K. Late & Close: .222/.417/.333 in 12 PA.

The theme emerges: opponents aren't pitching to him with men on — and why should they? Would you?

If you have it at hand, how many walks were included in that 9/40?
 

grimshaw

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Tony Pena's Gas Cloud

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Well, that logic holds for the blowouts that we're leading. If he hits three solo HRs in a game we lose 9-3, clearly a different dynamic is in play.

But back to this season, we've won 8 blowouts and lost 5, and at least 3 of those losses came in the period when he was on the non-IL IL. So I think it's safe to say that the bulk of Devers' blowout PAs came in blowouts we won.



I don't see the origins of the precise stats you're looking at, but here's what B-R's splits page has: in the 80 PAs that took place with the score within two runs (which is obviously more than those PAs in *games decided by two or fewer runs*), he has a .304/.400/.507 line, with 3 HR and 7 RBI. 10 walks, too, which is sort of a lot. 2 outs, RISP: .300/.500/.600 in 14 PA, including 4 BB and 4 K. Late & Close: .222/.417/.333 in 12 PA.

The theme emerges: opponents aren't pitching to him with men on — and why should they? Would you?

If you have it at hand, how many walks were included in that 9/40?
Seven walks in those games. I'd have to deep dive to see if those walks were close and late.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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I'll point out O'Neill is 3rd worst, Rafaela is 13th worst, and Devers is 34th worst among qualified MLB players at Clutch. Lower the minimum PA to 5 (and this is a cumulative stat, so i don't think we need PA minimums for the worst and best), O'Neill is 5th, Abreu 12th, Rafaela 19th, Casas 22nd, Dalbec 58th, Devers 68th. 26 players in MLB have a Clutch of negative half a win or worse, and the Sox have 4 of them (the average team has just under 1). 101 players are at a negative quarter of a win or worse, and the Sox have 7 of them (the average team has just over 3).

On the other end of the spectrum, Reyes has the 72nd best with 0.35 wins of Clutch and Duran is 101st with 0.23.

The Padres have 3rd/9th/28th, the Cubs have 4th/8th/19th, the only teams with three players in the top 30.

ETA: You can look up totals for the team! The Sox are by far the worst with -3.15, followed by HOU -2.70 and LAD -1.55. CHC leads with 2.16, CLE with 2.15, SDP with 1.92. Correlary - HOU/BOS/ARI are the three teams that are three wins below their Pythag record.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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3 Red Sox make the early top 10 rookie of the year list (Abreu 4, Criswell 7, CR 9). Nice to see Criswell getting some love.

https://theathletic.com/5481513/2024/05/09/american-league-rookie-rankings-2024/
MLB Rookies ranked by bWAR (obviously a blunt tool this early in the year):
  1. Imanaga 2.1
  2. Abreu 1.4
  3. Masyn Winn 1.4
  4. Jared Jones 1.3
  5. Jacob Young 1.2
  6. Mitchell Parker 1.1
  7. Bryan Hudson 1.1
  8. Kyle Harrison 1.1
  9. Slaten 0.9
  10. Yamamoto 0.9
  11. Luis Gil 0.9
  12. Max Meyer 0.9
  13. Evan Carter 0.9
  14. Jackson Merrill 0.9
  15. Colton Cowser 0.9
T-21 - Criswell 0.6
Rafaela is -0.1 bWAR, with below average defense (compared to position) and hitting (compared to all hitters). I think it's reasonable to project better for him.
 

YTF

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The next 10 games...4 at home vs Tampa, 3 in St. Louis and 3 in Tampa. It's a big ask, but it would be nice if they can somehow find a way to take 7 of these 10 games before the schedule gets tougher with Milwaukee and Baltimore coming up after those ten games. Too many runners left on the bases lately and they need to stop striking out so much. A few productive outs here and there and some of those runners score.
 

simplicio

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Having Romy back the last week has felt pretty great. It seems like Cora has been subbing more aggressively this season, and having a 2nd capable shortstop beyond Rafaela is really giving him more run to mix and match with his outfield crew. I'm a fan.
 

Rovin Romine

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You never want to say that a stretch this early can make-or-break a team, but it's mid-May and we're hovering above .500. The reasons why are well-discussed and understandable, and .500 isn't a bad place to be, given all that.

That said, we're 1/4 of the way through the season and need to start to move up in the rankings to be viable by the trade deadline.

We've got:

4 TBR
3 @ STL
3 @ TBR
3 MIL
3 @ BAL
2 DET
(end of May)
2 DET

STL isn't having a great year. However, BAL is, MIL is a legit team, and DET is a .500 club.

So, (IMO) much depends on how we pitch to and hit the Rays, who seem much more vulnerable this year. We've got 13 games against them and the upcoming block accounts for just over half those games. Last year we went 2-11 against them. I hope the team is being prepped accordingly.

Having a nice win-harvesting streak headed into MIL/BAL/DET would be a very good thing.

(I feel the '23 Sox would have lost 6 of the first 10 with the Cora press-argument of players taking steps forward and improvement and poor luck and tip-your-cap, then gone 3-5 with the argument of man-those-are-just-tough-teams.)
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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You never want to say that a stretch this early can make-or-break a team, but it's mid-May and we're hovering above .500. The reasons why are well-discussed and understandable, and .500 isn't a bad place to be, given all that.

That said, we're 1/4 of the way through the season and need to start to move up in the rankings to be viable by the trade deadline.

We've got:

4 TBR
3 @ STL
3 @ TBR
3 MIL
3 @ BAL
2 DET
(end of May)
2 DET

STL isn't having a great year. However, BAL is, MIL is a legit team, and DET is a .500 club.

So, (IMO) much depends on how we pitch to and hit the Rays, who seem much more vulnerable this year. We've got 13 games against them and the upcoming block accounts for just over half those games. Last year we went 2-11 against them. I hope the team is being prepped accordingly.

Having a nice win-harvesting streak headed into MIL/BAL/DET would be a very good thing.

(I feel the '23 Sox would have lost 6 of the first 10 with the Cora press-argument of players taking steps forward and improvement and poor luck and tip-your-cap, then gone 3-5 with the argument of man-those-are-just-tough-teams.)
Strongly agree. In one of the threads (maybe even this one) I posted something similar about having a much better idea of what the team really is after the May to mid June gauntlet that they have to go through.

Not off to a great start (3-5), however they're starting to get the pitching back in order now, so it'll be interesting to see what it looks like over the next three weeks like you outlined above.

I just hope that after the end of May (roughly 1/3 of the season) they've basically made a call and start looking to make a move one way or the other. It'd be nice if they were good enough to add, but just don't do the same thing that has sunk the past two seasons and do nothing. The good news is, I don't think there is any chance that Breslow repeats prior mistakes and does nothing, I think he's going to make a call.

The next three weeks should help decide what that call is going to be. A name I'd like to see them in if they choose not to sell is Paul Goldschmidt. Yes, he looks awful - which is what makes me think he could be obtained going into his FA year for prospects below the top 10. That would be a "name" add for the clubhouse to show they're believed in, while addressing a need and not costing much. I will also continue to hope for a piece like Paul deJong (whom I wanted them to try and acquire once Story went down to keep the OF consisting of Duran, Rafaela, O'Neill / Abreu L to R - with one of Abreu / O'Neill basically being the every day DH) to solidify the defense in the middle of the infield.
 

The Gray Eagle

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I am so sick of Tampa kicking the Red Sox asses. Over the previous 2 years we have gone 9-23 against them. Since 2019, we've lost the season series against them every time and our record against them is a pathetic 27-63 for a .337 wining percentage.

Most of the losses have been absolutely brutal, with the Sox either stupidly blowing close games with clueless plays, or just getting stomped.

Enough of this.

They are having kind of a down season so far, with a 20-21 record, 1.5 games behind us.
Seems like in these 7 games in 10 days, either we stop sucking against them and stay ahead of them, or else they keep pummeling us and leapfrog over us in the standings. Again.
 

grimshaw

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I'm still feeling pretty good about the season overall. It has been a difficult schedule with more than half their games (22) vs. good to great teams.

4 games vs the Mariners (.537)
3 games vs the O's (.667)
7 games vs the Guardians (.610)
3 games vs the Cubs (.585)
3 games vs the Twins (.600)
2 games vs the Braves (.649)

The Yankees have faced the O's 6 times, the Brewers 3 times and the Guardians 3 times Every other team is .500 or lower. Though a lot of those teams are decent or likely underperforming.

They Sox have destroyed the lesser competition 15-4 despite only facing one doormat - the Angels.

The lineup is being exposed vs good pitching, but - as illustrated by the Rafaela example of him facing the best stuff+ of anyone in the league, it stands to reason the Sox have also gotten a good taste of that.
 

simplicio

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What an incredible picture. Too bad it's wasted on a Tuesday game against the Rays in May and not a playoff clincher.
 

RS2004foreever

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I really like this kid. I wanted him traded after his dumb statements but his honesty, openness about his feelings, and determination and hard work to get better has really made me a fan
Kind of worried he is regressing offensively. His OPS and slugging is down 100 points from last year and his ISO is about where it was in '22.
 

Rovin Romine

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Kind of worried he is regressing offensively. His OPS and slugging is down 100 points from last year and his ISO is about where it was in '22.
Yeah, I noticed that too, so I did some poking around. He's trailed off a bit lately, and is currently sporting a 101 OPS+. Still very valuable with the defense and the speed though. He leads the team position players with 2.3 fWAR. (Abreu is 2nd at 1.6 fWAR.)

He's played in all 42 games though, which helps WAR but probably indicates he might need a break. He leads the Sox in total fielding innings with 370.

Rafaela has also had 42 games to this point with 356 fielding innings. Abreu is #3 at 36 games, 263 innings.

As for the bat, his SLG v. RHP is pretty close to what it was last year. Also, his overall split (.100 OPS) between LHP and RHP is consistent with last year. So he hasn't platoon-pumpkined, although he is facing more lefties. Overall though his numbers are down v. both RHP and LHP. Interestingly, he's been really productive in high leverage situations this year (per bRef) which mitigates things somewhat, I'd expect.

Last year he had a very rough May (.670 OPS) and August (.602). I don't know if he played somewhat injured in Aug. or came out immediately, but looking at the logs he just had an 0-9 stretch followed by an 0-10 stretch. Those (per savant) seemed to be an unlucky mix if anything - there were no shifts in patterns that I could see. This year seems more even so far (SSS) in that he's not logging long stretches of not getting on base.

Compared to last year his K% and BB% are slightly better (but by a few percentage points, so basically the same.) His hard-hit % is down a tad, but again, in the range of basically the same, given SSS. So it comes down mostly to field outs.

Last year he had 133 field outs in 332 ABs (40%). 32% were hard hit, and the average LA was 11 degrees. This year he already has 77 field outs in 172 ABs (44%). 29% were hard hit, and the average LA was 2 degrees. That's not a huge difference really - a 4% swing. But that's basically the difference between last year and this.

I didn't think I'd see anything, but I sorted the data anyway and something did jump out. His ratio of pulled-pitches to hits is pretty far down. He's only batting .140 overall when he pulls. 3 triples, 3 singles, 1 error, 35 field/force outs.

Both Duran's 2023 and this year feature a fairly even spread of putting balls in play - slightly favoring an up-the-middle approach. He's not pulling more - it's just the pull results are bad.

And there, the results are pretty stark. Out of 43 balls in play to the right (pulled) only two balls were hit at an angle of 30 or more. 7 were between 10 and 25, which contain two of the triples and a single. 33 were an angle of 9 or lower. And 25 of those were 0 or lower. So he's grounding when he pulls.

Of the 35 field outs to right balls in play, 18 of those were on fastballs of some type (5 hard hit.) He's still getting good results on fastballs hit to center and left this year. He just seems to be grounding out when he pulls. That's the same for pulled offspeed (0-5).

Some of that is probably luck. . .but it could also be approach. Last year he put 80 balls in play to the right. 4 were hit at an angle of 30 or more. 19 were between 10 and 29. 57 were an angle of 9 or lower. And 40 were 0 or lower. Still a groundball hitter, but you can see the mild trend in downward angles in 2024. Couple that with a 41 hard hit % decreasing to 33% - and there you have it I think. There's something about the swing when he pulls.
 

Sin Duda

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Yeah, I noticed that too, so I did some poking around. He's trailed off a bit lately, and is currently sporting a 101 OPS+. Still very valuable with the defense and the speed though. He leads the team position players with 2.3 fWAR. (Abreu is 2nd at 1.6 fWAR.)

He's played in all 42 games though, which helps WAR but probably indicates he might need a break. He leads the Sox in total fielding innings with 370.

Rafaela has also had 42 games to this point with 356 fielding innings. Abreu is #3 at 36 games, 263 innings.

As for the bat, his SLG v. RHP is pretty close to what it was last year. Also, his overall split (.100 OPS) between LHP and RHP is consistent with last year. So he hasn't platoon-pumpkined, although he is facing more lefties. Overall though his numbers are down v. both RHP and LHP. Interestingly, he's been really productive in high leverage situations this year (per bRef) which mitigates things somewhat, I'd expect.

Last year he had a very rough May (.670 OPS) and August (.602). I don't know if he played somewhat injured in Aug. or came out immediately, but looking at the logs he just had an 0-9 stretch followed by an 0-10 stretch. Those (per savant) seemed to be an unlucky mix if anything - there were no shifts in patterns that I could see. This year seems more even so far (SSS) in that he's not logging long stretches of not getting on base.

Compared to last year his K% and BB% are slightly better (but by a few percentage points, so basically the same.) His hard-hit % is down a tad, but again, in the range of basically the same, given SSS. So it comes down mostly to field outs.

Last year he had 133 field outs in 332 ABs (40%). 32% were hard hit, and the average LA was 11 degrees. This year he already has 77 field outs in 172 ABs (44%). 29% were hard hit, and the average LA was 2 degrees. That's not a huge difference really - a 4% swing. But that's basically the difference between last year and this.

I didn't think I'd see anything, but I sorted the data anyway and something did jump out. His ratio of pulled-pitches to hits is pretty far down. He's only batting .140 overall when he pulls. 3 triples, 3 singles, 1 error, 35 field/force outs.

Both Duran's 2023 and this year feature a fairly even spread of putting balls in play - slightly favoring an up-the-middle approach. He's not pulling more - it's just the pull results are bad.

And there, the results are pretty stark. Out of 43 balls in play to the right (pulled) only two balls were hit at an angle of 30 or more. 7 were between 10 and 25, which contain two of the triples and a single. 33 were an angle of 9 or lower. And 25 of those were 0 or lower. So he's grounding when he pulls.

Of the 35 field outs to right balls in play, 18 of those were on fastballs of some type (5 hard hit.) He's still getting good results on fastballs hit to center and left this year. He just seems to be grounding out when he pulls. That's the same for pulled offspeed (0-5).

Some of that is probably luck. . .but it could also be approach. Last year he put 80 balls in play to the right. 4 were hit at an angle of 30 or more. 19 were between 10 and 29. 57 were an angle of 9 or lower. And 40 were 0 or lower. Still a groundball hitter, but you can see the mild trend in downward angles in 2024. Couple that with a 41 hard hit % decreasing to 33% - and there you have it I think. There's something about the swing when he pulls.
This is why I come here. Thank you RR!
 

RS2004foreever

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This is why I come here. Thank you RR!
Great research.
Of course Duran last night goes 2-3 with two doubles last night. I am a Duran skeptic - hopefully I am wrong. Abreu looks like the better prospect FWIW - but his BABIP (.378) isn't sustainable.
 

Max Power

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Great research.
Of course Duran last night goes 2-3 with two doubles last night. I am a Duran skeptic - hopefully I am wrong. Abreu looks like the better prospect FWIW - but his BABIP (.378) isn't sustainable.
Duran would be great as the worst hitter in your regular lineup. Unfortunately he's in there with Rafaela, the replacement-level first base platoon, a weakened Grissom, and whoever is left over to play DH. That leaves the team relying on him to produce runs rather than looking at what he does as a bonus.
 

Humphrey

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Jesus Christ, what does it say when you're down a run in the 9th and you put Hamilton up there? No one better on the bench?
 

Max Power

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Jesus Christ, what does it say when you're down a run in the 9th and you put Hamilton up there? No one better on the bench?
The options were Grissom, Romy, and Refsnyder with the platoon disadvantage or lefties McGuire and Dom Smith. I probably would have used Reese, but you never know when catchers need a full day off, so he might not have been available outside of an emergency.
 

Fishy1

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Yeah, the injuries they've incurred so far mean that while the bench has players who are useful, none of them are world-beaters on offense or good pinch-hitting options. With Yoshida and Casas and Story all out, they've had to make Dom Smith and Cooper into starters when they would be perfect as bench bats for these scenarios. It's not an ideal situation, but I'm not sure slotting in Reese McGuire or Refsnyder improves their chances overmuch in the game. I don't know, I'd probably have pinchhit Ref for one of the other right-handed guys because he's at least patient, but I'm also pretty sure it wouldn't have made much of a difference.
 

Brohamer of the Gods

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Yeah, right now they are carrying at best three sub-100 OPS batters in the line-up, with a couple of them being below 70. I'm confident he will come around (or at least improve) but I think Grissom would have been better off with another week or so in Worcester.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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The options were Grissom, Romy, and Refsnyder with the platoon disadvantage or lefties McGuire and Dom Smith. I probably would have used Reese, but you never know when catchers need a full day off, so he might not have been available outside of an emergency.
Generally agree, but FWIW, Rafaela has been a +.800OPS hitter for the past 3 weeks.
 

Fishy1

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The Pythag for this team has them at 25-18, so underperforming pretty dramatically. I'm not saying that means that's definitely their true talent level, but I would have to think Breslow and co are asking themselves if this team can go on a pretty substantial run if things start to align and they stop losing close games. They've lost ten games (TEN) by 2 runs or less. That's almost half their losses, despite an excellent ERA+ and a great bullpen.

Some of it is definitely on the defense (last night Devers was the culprit), but then there's other weird stuff: All the solo homers. It doesn't account for the fact their OPS with RISP is .680 versus .710 on average and .719 with no one on base. Slightly better with men on: 699. Compare that to league average with RISP is .737, while league average with the bases empty is .676. So while the Sox have been an average offense, they're performing worse with runners on. That doesn't make sense.

So the Sox have a reverse split, if you will, with runners on so far. I'd think there's no reason to think that the 413 or so plate appearances they've accumulated, while a fairly large sample size, are likely not predictive, and that going forward we can hope they'll see a swing in the other direction and start hitting better with RISP.

Look at this shit:

The Sox:

82736

League average:
82737

28 home runs with no one on! Just 15 with men on. Miserable stuff.

I mean, a game like last night, if Abreu or Devers just hits their home run with guys on base, it's halfway to a blowout.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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O’Neill and Wong, the teams primary sources of RH power, seem to be the primary culprits here; Tyler has got an 1167 OPS and 8 HR with bases empty, and a 645 with men on. Wong has a 1023 OPS and all 4 of his homers with bases empty, and a 582 OPS with runners on.
 

joe dokes

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The Pythag for this team has them at 25-18, so underperforming pretty dramatically. I'm not saying that means that's definitely their true talent level, but I would have to think Breslow and co are asking themselves if this team can go on a pretty substantial run if things start to align and they stop losing close games. They've lost ten games (TEN) by 2 runs or less. That's almost half their losses, despite an excellent ERA+ and a great bullpen.
I haven't done the legwork that others have, but this year's close losses seem to be from the lack of hitting. The pitching holds everyone to 4 or fewer. The offense just can't get there. "Things starting to align" is almost entirely "if the offense can get a bit better." (and hopefully the defense simply does not get worse).
Losses are losses, but losing 4-3 *seems* like a better time at the ballpark than falling behind 6-2 and making it close and losing.

The funny part of all this is that "they will have league-leading pitching but the offense will hold them back" was not the expected formula for mediocrity.
 

ookami7m

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Mobile, AL
The Pythag for this team has them at 25-18, so underperforming pretty dramatically. I'm not saying that means that's definitely their true talent level, but I would have to think Breslow and co are asking themselves if this team can go on a pretty substantial run if things start to align and they stop losing close games. They've lost ten games (TEN) by 2 runs or less. That's almost half their losses, despite an excellent ERA+ and a great bullpen.
If you take out the 17-0 game vs the Cubs we are only underperforming our pythag by 1 game which "feels" more correct based on what I've seen watching the games. This early in the season a huge blow out in either direction can make a giant (in this case nearly 3 whole game) swing in record.
 

Fishy1

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Nov 10, 2006
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If you take out the 17-0 game vs the Cubs we are only underperforming our pythag by 1 game which "feels" more correct based on what I've seen watching the games. This early in the season a huge blow out in either direction can make a giant (in this case nearly 3 whole game) swing in record.
You don't throw out results just because they're outliers or because they make the data match what you feel. Isn't that the definition of motivated reasoning?

Ask yourself: Why would you throw that result out altogether? They scored eleven of those runs against big league pitchers. Maybe reducing it by five runs would give you a more realistic result, but they did most of their damage against major league pitchers.

Anyways, I admitted myself there's noise with Pythag having to do with defense and bullpen quality, if anything it's the former that's killing them, along with the miserable performance with runners on base. Weird to me that we're quibbling over the Pythag while ignoring what I thought was the most relevant and interesting data, the gap between their hitting with RISP and bases empty. That is what I think makes a case for this team performing better offensively going forward regardless of their Pythag. That and the return of Casas and Yoshida, even if the latter has a limited role. But whatever.
 

ookami7m

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Jul 15, 2005
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You don't throw out results just because they're outliers or because they make the data match what you feel. Isn't that the definition of motivated reasoning?

Ask yourself: Why would you throw that result out altogether? They scored eleven of those runs against big league pitchers. Maybe reducing it by five runs would give you a more realistic result, but they did most of their damage against major league pitchers.

Anyways, I admitted myself there's noise with Pythag having to do with defense and bullpen quality, if anything it's the former that's killing them, along with the miserable performance with runners on base. Weird to me that we're quibbling over the Pythag while ignoring what I thought was the most relevant and interesting data, the gap between their hitting with RISP and bases empty. That is what I think makes a case for this team performing better offensively going forward regardless of their Pythag. That and the return of Casas and Yoshida, even if the latter has a limited role. But whatever.
I'm not trying to go all EV here but that game was such a huge anomaly compared to other results. And knowing how much one huge game like that can skew a think like pythag where you're deal with exponents - removing a single sample that is not representative of the rest of the data doesn't seem extravagant.

Agree 100% with your last paragraph, Runs Scored and Allowed are all going forward going to be based on better RISP hitting and power.
 

Fishy1

Head Mason
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Nov 10, 2006
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I'm not trying to go all EV here but that game was such a huge anomaly compared to other results. And knowing how much one huge game like that can skew a think like pythag where you're deal with exponents - removing a single sample that is not representative of the rest of the data doesn't seem extravagant.

Agree 100% with your last paragraph, Runs Scored and Allowed are all going forward going to be based on better RISP hitting and power.
Yeah, I don't mean to be hostile, either. But like, they had a 12-2 game against the Angels, and we wouldn't throw that out either, would we?

Anyways, it's all pretty early, but I think there's some talk in another thread about how the team should throw in the towel, and I think that's premature. They're only a couple out of the Wild Card right now, and while there's plenty of good competition for that spot, given the RISP stuff, the possibility that the team might be operating at fuller strength going forward, the strength of the pitching -- plenty to be optimistic about.

Things could still fall part: pitchers falling back to Earth, more injuries, etc. But there's a good case for this team competing.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Dec 7, 2022
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They are 12th in OPS out of 30 teams.
Edit - here is a stat that better encapsulates what I'm trying to get across.

They seem to not have the ability to do - or at least haven't to this point have not done - anything impactful with runners in scoring position (which I'd say means they're incredibly "un-clutch" in laymen's terms - as in I don't think "clutch" has to be close and late.

For instance, I'd say - shocking from my screen name, I know - Ortiz home run just after Damon got thrown out trying to score in the first inning of Game 7 in 2004 was just as "clutch" as anything else he did in that incredible post season. At that point I'm sure we were all thinking "of course, here comes the inevitable dick punch in Game 7" while 50,000 Yankee fans are screaming their heads off. Then Ortiz shuts them all up with a 2 out, 2 run home run and here we go - and it's getting dusty here, I have something in my eye, I'm cutting onions, etc, etc...)

Reminiscing about the most important player in team history aside...




In terms of batting average with RISP the Sox are 24th in baseball, for slugging in that situation, they're 21st (they're 21st in OBP as well, for the record).

Just for some "Red Sox" comparisons, (and I just looked at batting average and slugging):

2024 - 24th and 21st
2023 - 11th and 10th
2021 - 4th and 4th.
2018 - 1st and 2nd
2017 - 5th and 12th
2013 - 3rd and 3rd
2008 - 5th and 5th
2007 - 7th and 6th
2004 - 1st and 2nd

Again, obviously a lot of this has to do with losing Casas (I'm sure 2004, '07, and '13 would look a lot worse removing Ortiz or Manny/Napoli in '13 too) but they have been basically incapable of actually getting hits when there is an opportunity to drive in runs.

I'm not trying to say it's "predictive" or even trying to guess at how to "fix" it, but just isolating a major problem in what has happened since the winners and losers of the season are determined by actual results and not theoretical outcomes.

https://www.mlb.com/stats/team/batting-average?split=risp
 
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Petagine in a Bottle

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Jan 13, 2021
13,242
Sure, but O’Neill and Wong seem like major league hitters and they are the ones dragging the teams numbers down with runners on. They have minimal RH power, and the two guys they do have haven’t hit with runners on. It’s probably not all that meaningful, though.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Mar 11, 2007
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I'm not trying to go all EV here but that game was such a huge anomaly compared to other results. And knowing how much one huge game like that can skew a think like pythag where you're deal with exponents - removing a single sample that is not representative of the rest of the data doesn't seem extravagant.

Agree 100% with your last paragraph, Runs Scored and Allowed are all going forward going to be based on better RISP hitting and power.
But every team likely has a crazy blowout (or 2) and also every team likely gets shut out completely several times. Even the outliers level out