Red Sox in season discussion

tims4wins

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I think average-or-very-slightly-above is about right. In that sense he's expendable at the right time. But two caveats. It's Ok to have an average player at a position or two. It sure beats bottom 10%. Also, it appears from the outside that he plays hard no matter the circumstances, which is pretty handy to have around during, for example, a season-starting team slump. (tl;dr --- "good clubhouse guy," which has some value, however unquantifiable it is; and assuming he is one).
Plus it all depends on contract. An average player making $20M is horrible value. Verdugo makes $3.55M and is arb-eligible for the next two years. Average production at low salary = value.

It's kind of the equivalent of Bronson Arroyo back in the 2004 range. He was a slightly above average pitcher for the Sox (109 ERA+ in 2004-2005), but he threw a lot of innings and didn't make much money, so he had a ton of value.

Edit: and less this be misconstrued that the Sox are trying to win the "value" game... I'm not suggesting that is their goal. By having guys with average production at a low cost on the roster like Verdugo, it (hopefully) allows them to pay guys like X and Devers longer term.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I think average-or-very-slightly-above is about right. In that sense he's expendable at the right time. But two caveats. It's Ok to have an average player at a position or two. It sure beats bottom 10%. Also, it appears from the outside that he plays hard no matter the circumstances, which is pretty handy to have around during, for example, a season-starting team slump. (tl;dr --- "good clubhouse guy," which has some value, however unquantifiable it is; and assuming he is one).
My issue with him playing hard is that it constantly manifests itself in boneheaded decisions on the field. I don't think I've ever seen such a player with consistently wrong instincts.
 

sean1562

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The next month of games is a pretty great stretch to continue making ground in the standings. We have 5 games against the 18-26 Orioles, 2 against the 12-30 Reds, 6 against the 18-27 Athletics, 3 against the 18-26 Mariners, 3 against the 14-28 Tigers, and 3 against the 18-21 Guardians. The only games we have against teams with a winning record are a 4 game stretch against the 27-17 Angels in early June and a 3 game series against the 24-19 Cardinals in late June.

edit: The stretch in early July right before the ASB is brutal though. 17 days in a row, 7 games against both the Yanks and Rays.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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The next month of games is a pretty great stretch to continue making ground in the standings. We have 5 games against the 18-26 Orioles, 2 against the 12-30 Reds, 6 against the 18-27 Athletics, 3 against the 18-26 Mariners, 3 against the 14-28 Tigers, and 3 against the 18-21 Guardians. The only games we have against teams with a winning record are a 4 game stretch against the 27-17 Angels in early June and a 3 game series against the 24-19 Cardinals in late June.

edit: The stretch in early July right before the ASB is brutal though. 17 days in a row, 7 games against both the Yanks and Rays.
Yankees are starting to deal with some injuries and are beginning to slide a little. While I still expect them to win the division, I also won't blink if by the time the Sox have their next series against them they could be within 6 games of first place. The schedule is perfect for the Sox to really make a run to get them into serious contention and then divisional series that if they win could put them right in the thick of the leaders.
Of course the opposite could happen and they could start to play like crap again and then get stomped on and completely out of it by Tampa and NY.
If that happens then yeah.... bump up the "sellers" page.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I think average-or-very-slightly-above is about right. In that sense he's expendable at the right time. But two caveats. It's Ok to have an average player at a position or two. It sure beats bottom 10%. Also, it appears from the outside that he plays hard no matter the circumstances, which is pretty handy to have around during, for example, a season-starting team slump. (tl;dr --- "good clubhouse guy," which has some value, however unquantifiable it is; and assuming he is one).
I've always felt that Verdugo's ceiling is Trot Nixon. Not a superstar but not a JAG either. Just a mostly reliable cog in the team machine.

They're definitely different personalities, but they both seem like the type to run through walls whether it's 100% necessary or not (and occasionally get hurt in the process).
 

tims4wins

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I've always felt that Verdugo's ceiling is Trot Nixon. Not a superstar but not a JAG either. Just a mostly reliable cog in the team machine.

They're definitely different personalities, but they both seem like the type to run through walls whether it's 100% necessary or not (and occasionally get hurt in the process).
Trot was a better offensive player. 116 career OPS+ with the Sox, and 119 from 1999-2005. Trot also had a lot more power (career 3.2% HR rate vs. 2.5%)
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Trot was a better offensive player. 116 career OPS+ with the Sox, and 119 from 1999-2005. Trot also had a lot more power (career 3.2% HR rate vs. 2.5%)
This is why I said ceiling, not an exact comp. Verdugo might have the potential to get there, but he isn't there yet and may never get there.
 

tims4wins

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This is why I said ceiling, not an exact comp. Verdugo might have the potential to get there, but he isn't there yet.
Ah ok, that's fair.

Since he got here, I've basically viewed him as the same as Benintendi. Both are relative disappointments - feels like both should be a bit better.
 
Yankees are starting to deal with some injuries and are beginning to slide a little. While I still expect them to win the division, I also won't blink if by the time the Sox have their next series against them they could be within 6 games of first place. The schedule is perfect for the Sox to really make a run to get them into serious contention and then divisional series that if they win could put them right in the thick of the leaders.
Of course the opposite could happen and they could start to play like crap again and then get stomped on and completely out of it by Tampa and NY.
If that happens then yeah.... bump up the "sellers" page.
Absolutely. The Red Sox so far have had a very tough schedule (7th hardest in baseball). Here's where the rest of the teams within 5 games of a playoff berth in the AL fall:

  • Jays (3rd)
  • Rangers (4th)
  • Astros (14th)
  • Guardians (15th)
  • Yankees (20th)
  • White Sox (23rd)
  • Angels (24th)
  • Rays (26th)
  • Twins (27th)
And here is how they rank in terms of rest of season Strength of Schedule:

  • Yankees (7th)
  • Angels (9th)
  • Rays (10th)
  • Red Sox (15th)
  • Twins (21st)
  • Jays (27th)
  • Guardians (28th)
  • Astros (29th)
  • White Sox (30th)

Of the AL East teams, the Sox have the second easiest path after the Jays. The Guardians and White Sox really have an inside track though!
 

Ganthem

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Verdugo has 427 at bats against lefties at a 76 WRC+ and 906 at bats vs righties at a 118 WRC+. It seems pretty clear at this point if Verdugo is back next year, Bloom is going to have to get a platoon partner for him. I say if because I can see Bloom not wanting to pay Verdugo the increase in salary he will get. Much like he traded Renfroe and Beni when they got expensive, I can see him do the same with Verdugo. Then again that would mean a complete turn over of the outfield and I am not sure if Bloom would want that.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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This is why I said ceiling, not an exact comp. Verdugo might have the potential to get there, but he isn't there yet and may never get there.
So far, though, he seems to be getting further and further away from that ceiling. As a 24 year old with a 124 OPS+ (albeit in a short season), his upside looked pretty exciting. Now as a 26 year old with a 65 OPS+ in a sample size that's approaching 2020's, his future looks a lot cloudier.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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And yet those rate stats have produced 214/258/324/582 this year. And we're moving past SSS issues.

There's either something fundamentally broken with the way he's translating those rates into productive hits, or those stats simply don't correlate to success the way we think. No one is THIS unlucky. There's something else going on here. Damned if I know what.
 

Cesar Crespo

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And yet those rate stats have produced 214/258/324/582 this year. And we're moving past SSS issues.

There's either something fundamentally broken with the way he's translating those rates into productive hits, or those stats simply don't correlate to success the way we think. No one is THIS unlucky. There's something else going on here. Damned if I know what.
Or it's really just the .219 BAbip for a guy with a career rate of .312.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Or it's really just the .219 BAbip.
Which is so absurdly low that I can't help but think there's something else going on. It defies all explanation to have rate stats that good and a BABIP that low. He can't be THAT unlucky. People complained about the soft ball but the rest of the team has broken out lately and he has not.

This is where stats fail us and scouting can help us. Is he pulling everything? Trying to lift the ball too much? Have they shifted him so perfectly and he hasn't adjusted?

I wonder how much self-scouting the team does. It would really help here.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I don't really think that is true, I think we notice the few that do because they're so unusual and stand out so much. I strongly suspect that playing 30 games of .345 or .333 baseball isn't as common for good teams as we think.
Where is Eric Van when we need him?

I thought I remembered an article about bad stretches for good teams but I can't find it. I did find this article - https://www.mlb.com/news/slowest-starts-by-teams-that-made-playoffs - that goes through the slowest starts for any playoff team since 1995. There are only a couple that were below .400.

I also found this quora post from 2017 (in answer to whether any 100 win team lost 10+ games in a row):

At the time this question was posted (9/12/2017) the Dodgers were 92–52, but had just come off a 10-game losing streak - in fact, they lost fifteen out of sixteen games from August 26th to September 12th. They eventually righted the ship, finished 104–58 and won the NL pennant.

Is that the ONLY 10-game losing streak in the middle of a 100-win season? Yes it is. There are no other teams who lost NINE straight in the middle of a 100-win season. There are four teams who lost EIGHT straight in a 100-win campaign: the 1961 Tigers, 1976 Phillies, 1993 Giants and 2011 Phillies.

Note about the 1961 Tigers: on August 31st, Detroit was 86–47, just 1.5 games behind the fabled ’61 Yankees, with a huge three-game series coming up at the Bronx. The Yankees swept the series and that was the end of that; the Yankees cruised to the AL pennant. Detroit another lost five straight after the sweep in New York, but they did finish 101–61 in that expansion season.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Which is so absurdly low that I can't help but think there's something else going on. It defies all explanation to have rate stats that good and a BABIP that low. He can't be THAT unlucky. People complained about the soft ball but the rest of the team has broken out lately and he has not.

This is where stats fail us and scouting can help us. Is he pulling everything? Trying to lift the ball too much? Have they shifted him so perfectly and he hasn't adjusted?

I wonder how much self-scouting the team does. It would really help here.
Yeah, you are vastly overstating how rare his 159 PA stretch is. It's still very much sss and it can be luck. As far as I can tell, he's 27/124 with BiP. 124 is such a HUUUUUGE sample. Definitely getting away from SSS. Sure, boss.

Weren't you just arguing all this stuff about Story?
 

effectivelywild

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Yeah, you are vastly overstating how rare his 159 PA stretch is. It's still very much sss and it can be luck. As far as I can tell, he's 27/124 with BiP. 124 is such a HUUUUUGE sample. Definitely getting away from SSS. Sure, boss.

Weren't you just arguing all this stuff about Story?
I think its interesting how we view process vs. results for players, particularly because I feel like we treat pitchers and hitters differently. Obviously we would all be happier if Verdugo's time at the plate was producing tangible benefits to the team but in terms of trying to predict future performance, I'd rather have the guy who is hitting the ball hard and is getting unlucky rather than the guy putting up an unsustainably high BABIP through bloop hits, but during an actual game I would rather have the bloop hit than a ball scalded right at an outfielder. On the other hand, I think we're much more cognizant of process vs. results for pitchers---the other night when Barnes pitched a "perfect" ninth, many noticed that he had some hard hit balls than just happened to get caught and that the outing did not inspire confidence in his continued viability as a pitcher, regardless of the actual results. My guess is that with a pitcher we can see multiple events for that player strung together consecutively, whereas for a batter you have to wait for his spot in the order to come up again. Hence why its easier for us to separate out the luck from a series of plays from a pitcher but struggle more with batters.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Yeah, you are vastly overstating how rare his 159 PA stretch is. It's still very much sss and it can be luck. As far as I can tell, he's 27/124 with BiP. 124 is such a HUUUUUGE sample. Definitely getting away from SSS. Sure, boss.

Weren't you just arguing all this stuff about Story?
159 PA can be a slump, but if that were the case I'd expect to see his rate stats down. But he's hitting 41% of his balls hard and yet has absolutely nothing to show for it after two months. A slump is one thing, but this isn't a slump. It's more than just mere bad luck. There's something else at work here, which is why scouting still has a role to play in the modern game.

EDIT: I saw a brief clip a little while ago where he had a whole bunch of flyouts to the warning track and his swing had a noticeable uppercut. If he's trying to drive the ball out of the park and doesn't have the strength/contact to do so, I'd venture a guess that could be part of the issue.
 

BornToRun

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Which is so absurdly low that I can't help but think there's something else going on. It defies all explanation to have rate stats that good and a BABIP that low. He can't be THAT unlucky. People complained about the soft ball but the rest of the team has broken out lately and he has not.

This is where stats fail us and scouting can help us. Is he pulling everything? Trying to lift the ball too much? Have they shifted him so perfectly and he hasn't adjusted?

I wonder how much self-scouting the team does. It would really help here.
Does he miss Texas?
 

BringBackMo

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Absolutely. The Red Sox so far have had a very tough schedule (7th hardest in baseball). Here's where the rest of the teams within 5 games of a playoff berth in the AL fall:

  • Jays (3rd)
  • Rangers (4th)
  • Astros (14th)
  • Guardians (15th)
  • Yankees (20th)
  • White Sox (23rd)
  • Angels (24th)
  • Rays (26th)
  • Twins (27th)
And here is how they rank in terms of rest of season Strength of Schedule:

  • Yankees (7th)
  • Angels (9th)
  • Rays (10th)
  • Red Sox (15th)
  • Twins (21st)
  • Jays (27th)
  • Guardians (28th)
  • Astros (29th)
  • White Sox (30th)

Of the AL East teams, the Sox have the second easiest path after the Jays. The Guardians and White Sox really have an inside track though!
White Sox have had the 23rd easiest schedule thus far, and have the 30th easiest schedule the rest of the way? Am I understanding that correctly? Cleveland has had the 15th easiest and has the 28th easiest the rest of the way? Must be nice to play in the Central.
 
White Sox have had the 23rd easiest schedule thus far, and have the 30th easiest schedule the rest of the way? Am I understanding that correctly? Cleveland has had the 15th easiest and has the 28th easiest the rest of the way? Must be nice to play in the Central.
Yep, that's correct assuming you mean "23rd easiest" means that 22 other teams have had a harder schedule etc. AL Central is and continues to be easy mode. I can't even imagine being in that division instead of the hellhole that is the AL East. I think I'm going to have to go full Cato the Censor on this and sig it.
 

effectivelywild

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159 PA can be a slump, but if that were the case I'd expect to see his rate stats down. But he's hitting 41% of his balls hard and yet has absolutely nothing to show for it after two months. A slump is one thing, but this isn't a slump. It's more than just mere bad luck. There's something else at work here, which is why scouting still has a role to play in the modern game.

EDIT: I saw a brief clip a little while ago where he had a whole bunch of flyouts to the warning track and his swing had a noticeable uppercut. If he's trying to drive the ball out of the park and doesn't have the strength/contact to do so, I'd venture a guess that could be part of the issue.
I think if we want to attribute Verdugo's struggles relative to his rate stats to a specific deficiency, we should try to see if we can figure out what the problem is. In my thinking, there are two things we should then try to address:
1. Verdugo's underperformance in regards to his past: Verdugo's results have been at odds relative to his underlying rate stats (barrel%, hard hit rate, K%) and notably this is a new phenomenon for him (if you look at Fangraphs page for him you will see that this year his wOBA is .252 and his xwOBA is 350---the former being the lowest and the latter being the highest of his career). So if there is something that he is doing that is causing this gap---what has changed this year compared to last? He's hitting fewer line drives and more fly balls than in the past which could, in combination with a deadened ball, result in more of those warning track fly outs you mentioned. I don't know if the difference between this year and years past is enough to account for his changes in wOBA but its at least a possibility. Has the uppercut in his swing increased this year as compared to last? Are there other mechanical changes?
2. Verdugo's underperformance relative to his peers: as noted above, his xwOBA is much higher than his wOBA. I looked through a discussing the relationship between wOBA and xwOBA and it noted that in general, xwOBA and wOBA are pretty closely related and with a relatively normal bell curve distribution, so that that the standard deviation is around plus/minus 0.02 points of wOBA. That means that on average, 95% of players will have their wOBA be within 2 standard deviations (i.e. 0.04-0.045) point of wOBA.
Verdugo's difference is 0.1 That's a lot. The article also then looks at types of hitters that tend to underperform their xwOBA---again, this has not been an issue for Verdugo in the past, so the comparison may not be as useful, but it may point us to a reason why he is underperforming by so much. Two factors that seem to cause p[layers to underperform their xwOBA are slow speed and batted ball profiles that suppress BABIP (such as lots of pulled groundballs into the shift). Verdugo's no9t someone I think of as being very fast, but he's also not super slow. Is he pulling a lot of groundballs into the shift? His GB% doesn't seem particularly high. I'm sure there is a place that would list his pulled GB% for the year but I'm not sure where to look for it.

So overall, if we're looking for something other than bad luck to account for his underperforming relative to his expected outcomes, we should be looking for something that is a. new to him for this year and b. makes him an outlier relative to his peers. I understand that it seems like there should be something that is causing him to struggle but if we can't really point to a likely cause then....I don't see how we can say that it isn't just bad luck.
 

TheYellowDart5

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I imagine a lot of Verdugo's issues as a hitter can be tied to the fact that he's got average power at best and either smashes the ball into the ground or lifts it into the air without much loft or force behind it. Ideally he'd be a gap-to-gap contact hitter with above-average patience, and you can see that potential in his peripherals, but whether because of mechanics or approach, he's not doing that, and the result is a player with a ~2 WAR ceiling who doesn't do anything particularly well and who needs a platoon partner to boot. That's fine as a complementary piece on a contender or as a second-division starter, but it's less appealing both as the centerpiece of a trade in which you gave up a 6-WAR perennial All-Star and as a player who's going to start getting relatively expensive soon (and whose free agency is rapidly approaching).

The Benintendi comp from earlier feels appropriate, and I think that's the ultimate outcome for both the Sox and Verdugo: a fine but unspectacular outfielder who never puts it all together and whose time here doesn't end up being very long despite an excellent pedigree.
 

tims4wins

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That's fine as a complementary piece on a contender or as a second-division starter, but it's less appealing both as the centerpiece of a trade in which you gave up a 6-WAR perennial All-Star and as a player who's going to start getting relatively expensive soon (and whose free agency is rapidly approaching).
I know you know this, but the Sox traded one year of Mookie Betts (at $27M) for 5 years of Verdugo (who has made $4.8M through 3 years, so will end up in the ~$15M ish range (??) for the 5 years). Now there is a fair chance that Mookie produced more in that single season than Verdugo produces in those five years. But as recent as the Mookie trade feels like, this is the 3rd year of Verdugo being cheap. And if he continues playing at this level, he'll be pretty cheap in both 2023 and 2024 as well. I don't really think it's fair to say he is going to be getting relatively expensive soon and his free agency is fast approaching. He is more or less halfway through his controlled tenure on the Sox.
 

chawson

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Verdugo just turned 26. Here are his numbers compared with Benintendi's over their respective age 24-25 seasons:

AB - .255/.341/.410 in 667 PA, 96 wRC+, .155 ISO, 10.5 BB% (99 wRC+ vs. LHP)
AV - .294/.355/.440 in 825 PA, 112 wRC+, .146 ISO, 8.2 BB% (66 wRC+ vs. LHP)

My read on him at the time he was acquired was that he was Benintendi with a better arm who could hit lefties. The latter part of that has not been true. I think it's true he's been really unlucky (and should improve next year when the shift goes away), but I've never been a huge fan. Maybe I was spoiled in the Manny years, but left field just seems like a prime position where the Sox should staff a RHH bopper. Regardless, I wouldn't be surprised if he was dealt this offseason if the Franchy breakout persists and/or Duran busts through.
 

joe dokes

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That's fine as a complementary piece on a contender or as a second-division starter, but it's less appealing both as the centerpiece of a trade in which you gave up a 6-WAR perennial All-Star and as a player who's going to start getting relatively expensive soon (and whose free agency is rapidly approaching).
Last year he was exactly a complementary piece on a contender. I'm also not sure he was the "centerpiece." He may have been the best player coming back, but the centerpiece was moving Mookie (for whatever the reason, and whatever anyone thinks of that reason)
 

tims4wins

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Last year he was exactly a complementary piece on a contender. I'm also not sure he was the "centerpiece." He may have been the best player coming back, but the centerpiece was moving Mookie (for whatever the reason, and whatever anyone thinks of that reason)
That’s a good point.
 

Manramsclan

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Verdugo just turned 26. Here are his numbers compared with Benintendi's over their respective age 24-25 seasons:

AB - .255/.341/.410 in 667 PA, 96 wRC+, .155 ISO, 10.5 BB% (99 wRC+ vs. LHP)
AV - .294/.355/.440 in 825 PA, 112 wRC+, .146 ISO, 8.2 BB% (66 wRC+ vs. LHP)

My read on him at the time he was acquired was that he was Benintendi with a better arm who could hit lefties. The latter part of that has not been true. I think it's true he's been really unlucky (and should improve next year when the shift goes away), but I've never been a huge fan. Maybe I was spoiled in the Manny years, but left field just seems like a prime position where the Sox should staff a RHH bopper. Regardless, I wouldn't be surprised if he was dealt this offseason if the Franchy breakout persists and/or Duran busts through.
All of this is true.
It however bears mentioning their 2022 salaries:
Benintendi $8.5 M
Verdugo $3.5 M

Probably worth the savings if that $5 M is redistributed elsewhere.
 

scottyno

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I'm sure it means nothing, and will even out because the BABIPs are crazy, but JBJ has the most ridiculous home road split I've ever seen this far into a season. He's been Mike Trout at home and a pitcher hitting on the road.

Home: 309/356/527 slash with a 400 babip
Road: 141/218/183 slash with a 185 babip
 

CoffeeNerdness

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That for me circles back to how silly the 'Trevah Story can only hit at Coors!' concern trolling was. Dude didn't move from Coors to Pac Bell. He came to Fenway where the home hitters routinely outpace their road production.

I do recall Jackie slashing one the other way for a 9th inning double the other night and I don't recall him doing much of that at all in his years here. Perhaps he's made a meaningful adjustment? (Obviously, those numbers are inflated.)
 

BornToRun

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That for me circles back to how silly the 'Trevah Story can only hit at Coors!' concern trolling was. Dude didn't move from Coors to Pac Bell. He came to Fenway where the home hitters routinely outpace their road production.

I do recall Jackie slashing one the other way for a 9th inning double the other night and I don't recall him doing much of that at all in his years here. Perhaps he's made a meaningful adjustment? (Obviously, those numbers are inflated.)
I wanna think so but fact is that it‘s happened multiple times over the years where he has an insane hot streak and goes the other way all the time and then it just stops. Dude is just streaky.
 

scottyno

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As good as Story is hitting, somehow Devers and Martinez are both hitting even better. JD is hitting an absolutely insane .542 over the last 2 weeks, .443 for the month. It's no wonder they're absolutely pounding everyone, they have 3 guys hitting better than MVPs, several other guys hitting like all stars, and then several others hitting like average players. And then Dalbec.

I'm glad I don't have to decide who the player of the month would be, because I have no fucking clue how I'd decide.
 

joe dokes

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As good as Story is hitting, somehow Devers and Martinez are both hitting even better. JD is hitting an absolutely insane .542 over the last 2 weeks, .443 for the month. It's no wonder they're absolutely pounding everyone, they have 3 guys hitting better than MVPs, several other guys hitting like all stars, and then several others hitting like average players. And then Dalbec.
No wonder Story has so many RBI .
Supporting the theory that best "protection" for a hitter might be the batters in front of him, rather than the ones behind him.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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And just like that, their Run Differential (+21) is better than both the Blue Jays (-4) and the Rays (+12).
For what little it's worth, Baseball Reference's SRS (Simple Rating System) has the Sox ranked fourth in the AL behind just the Yankees, Astros, and Angels. I can't figure out a way to look at past rankings, but I've been watching it all year and it's consistently ranked them above their actual record (usually somewhere 8th to 11th of 15). Probably due to the number of close losses they had during that abysmal start.

People like to quote Parcells when it comes to win-loss records (you are what your record says you are) but that only applies with a proper sample size. Apparently less than 20% of the season isn't sufficient. A little over 25% isn't either, but we're getting a clearer picture of the total package.
 

joe dokes

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Which is why RBI are not indicative of a player's ability but rather of the opportunities provided to him.
Right. Somehow "RBI conversion rate" ("RBI average"?) never took hold like batting average ("at-bat conversion rate") did.

For what little it's worth, Baseball Reference's SRS (Simple Rating System) has the Sox ranked fourth in the AL behind just the Yankees, Astros, and Angels. I can't figure out a way to look at past rankings, but I've been watching it all year and it's consistently ranked them above their actual record (usually somewhere 8th to 11th of 15). Probably due to the number of close losses they had during that abysmal start.
IIRC BaseballProspectus had an analysis that targeted late-inning relief pitching as a key component in affecting Pythag over or underperformance. Again IIRC, the analysis jumped off the Rivera/Torre Yankees, who regularly overshot their Pythag. ("is Torre a great manager, or.....")
 

streeter88

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Apr 2, 2006
1,337
Melbourne, Australia
Recency bias is something.

The Sox have squeaked into contention range at the 41 game mark. But they are not yet out of the hole they dug for themselves during the first weeks of the season.

"True talent" level is something of a unicorn, but as a handful of players have come out of slumps to join the non-slumping, we've had more of an offensive cushion for the natural ebbs and flows of pitcher performance. IMO, the combination of cycling through many pitchers with no cushion is a terrible approach, and it's not clear the Sox have learned that lesson. In fact, lost in Franchy's slam last night were a few questionable pinch-hitting and relief pitching choices. Again, an offensive cushion can absorb a lot of these, and carry some dead weight on the roster, but the club has already spent its bone-head loss tokens early on.

So while I'm very hopeful they're on a path to salvaging a contending season, I'm not quite confident.
I’ve been looking for this post as it has become increasingly unlikely the Sox will win tonight‘s game after allowing 10 runs in the final three innings following up an excellent start by Whitlock.

So does this fit into your category of “bone-head loss“? I think we’re gonna need a definition, and somehow will need to come up with some analysis of how many is too many in a season…
 

soxhop411

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Dec 4, 2009
41,274
https://www.masslive.com/redsox/2022/05/boston-red-soxs-josh-winckowski-honestly-my-personality-ill-probably-be-pretty-frustrated-for-a-long-time.html

Winckowski comments on the baseballs he used tonight:
Winckowski — who has averaged only 1.7 walks per nine innings in seven starts at Triple-A Worcester this season — struggled with his command. He threw 62 pitches (36 strikes), 58% strikes.



“I honestly wasn’t too nervous. The balls were a little different,” Winckowski said. “Really in the first inning, the sinker just kept taking off down on me more than I’m used to. But then after that, kind of just started guiding the ball. I didn’t feel like I could let it rip. But it happens.”



How did the balls feel different?



“I’ve never described the ball like this but it oddly felt like damp today,” Winckowski said. “It was kind of weird. I don’t know. I was like searching for dry spots on my jersey pretty often, which is something I usually don’t struggle with. But it’s part of the learning experience.”
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Jan 23, 2009
16,721
Maine
Damp baseballs. Maybe he was sweating ? Haven't heard that one before, but I will take him for his word.
They're keeping balls in humidors now. Could be that's the dampness he felt, especially if minor league balls are not stored in humidors. I don't think the MLB and MiLB baseballs are the same to begin with, so different storage practices might only exacerbate the differences.
 

Jason Bae

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Jul 23, 2021
325
NJ
"I ran out of gas! I got a flat tire! I didn’t have change for cab fare! I lost my tux at the cleaners! I locked my keys in the car! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!!!"
 

sezwho

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Jul 20, 2005
877
Isle of Plum
"At the end of the day, didn’t throw the ball well and just sucked. I don’t know how else to put it."

Didn't hear it live but sounds like he took ownership to me. I don't mind a little added context about the tipping (or damp balls or whatever : ) as long as they own up. Otherwise everyone just Belichick's it..."Didn't pitch well enough. Didn't manage well enough".