Where the Red Sox have gone wrong

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Apr 17, 2019
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So far, much of the bad Red Sox start has to be put down to bad luck, or random performance variance. There's no way that the team that won 108 games last year can be anywhere near this bad over a whole season. On the other hand, the Red Sox in my opinion did not assess themselves realistically after last season and failed to take some very simple steps that might have put them in much better shape for this year.

Last year's team, as I pointed out then, was a bit lucky to win 108 games--they projected to win only 103, while the Astros projected to win 109. They were good enough to finish 22 games over .500. Using Wins Above Average as I calculate it (see baseballgreatness.com if you are interested), I found that the lineup (hitting plus fielding) contributed 9 of those games (10 at bat), while the pitchers contributed 13 (which tied with both New York and Cleveland.)

Of the pitchers, Chris Sale contributed 4.7 of those WAA, a tremendous figure. He clearly doesn't look as if he is going to do that again. David Price contributed a fine 2.6 and could do it again. Then Rodriguez, Porcello, Kimbrel (RIP), Wright, Brasier, and Velazquez were all between 1-2 WAA, which is a very good situation to be in. It looks now as if the pitchers will not match last year's performance of 13 WAA but they may not be too far off of it.

As for the lineup, four full-time players contributed nearly 20 WAA: Betts (8.1), Martinez (6.6), Bogaerts (3.2), and Benintendi (2). Betts's 8.1 by the way is the highest figure for any player in the Millennial generation ever--Mike Trout has never had 8.1 WAA as I calculate it. That was wonderful, but the odds are way against him being that good again, obviously. The same is true of Martinez, for whom that performance was unprecedented, and Bogaerts, who did so well because he improved his defense. Don't get me wrong: all those guys remain big assets, but they are most unlikely to do as well this year. Benintendi had 2 WAA and could easily improve that.

The catch is--except for Steve Pearce, whose 1.1 WAA can't be taken very seriously since he played so little, those were the only significant assets on the team. Devers was average overall last year--he could improve a bit, certianly. Jackie Bradley was a full game below average. The combined first basemen (including Pearce) were average. The combined second basemen plus Brock Holt totaled a remarkable -5.9 below average. The three catchers totaled -4.7 below average. (Leon and Vazquez had been much better in recent years.)

Now that should have been, in a way, good news. The easiest way to improve your team is to replace dreadful players with average ones. An average catcher or an average second baseman would have helped the team this year as much as adding a new superstar. But the team did nothing to strengthen its catching and counted on Pedroia's return, apparently, to help at second base. It doesn't look like that strategy will pay off.

I still expect the team to win over 90 games and at least contend for a wild card but there was never any reason to think they would win anywhere near 108 games.

David Kaiser
Sorry I have watched our team for 48 years now and even though we were probably handed the worst schedule to start the season this isn’t bad luck. Last year was a rare year that will never repeat itself with the likes of Vasquez, Nunez, Leon, JBJ, Holt, Lin, Pierce and probably even Moreland by years end killing us offensively. The bullpen is also weak which will eventually play itself out.

We may too be strapped financially thanks to very bad signings by past and our present GM.
 

joe dokes

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Perhaps he would have used them the same way. And perhaps the fact that his starters pitched for an extra month and then in good amounts out of the pen influenced Cora's thinking.

I think the rejection of the notion that Cora factored in post season usage out of the pen to what he did this spring is beyond ridiculous. Also, there's no "rush" to blame the GM. What does "rush" even mean in this context? The fact is that many people thought that DD erred in 2018 by not adding an arm or two at the deadline. I fully appreciate that adding even one reliever would have been difficult, and that it was a seller's market. I'm sure DD tried to do just that. At the same time, the path they chose forced them to go into the playoffs needing to rely on the starters for lots of high leverage relief outs and probably more than most WS winning teams ever had, which thankfully worked to perfection. You may be right that Cora would have done exactly the same thing with his starters in 2019 but I choose to believe that the Manager considered all available inputs, including the October usage out of the pen, when he embarked on a relatively novel approach to getting his starters ready for the season.
You thought dombrowski screwed the team last year by not adding a bullpen arm. That turned out not to be the case. So you're just transferring your saved up "he screwed up points" and cashing them in now. 15 minutes after they won the world series. I don't know what the expiration date is on those points, so it's probably best to use them now.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Sorry I have watched our team for 48 years now and even though we were probably handed the worst schedule to start the season this isn’t bad luck. Last year was a rare year that will never repeat itself with the likes of Vasquez, Nunez, Leon, JBJ, Holt, Lin, Pierce and probably even Moreland by years end killing us offensively. The bullpen is also weak which will eventually play itself out.

We may too be strapped financially thanks to very bad signings by past and our present GM.
I know you've been given a vacation and may not ever actually see this response, but I'll ask the same question I asked in the thread you created:

What would have been the alternative? Pretty much every team has a mix of really good hitters and a mix of average or worse and the cost of signing 12-13 really good hitters to go with 12-13 really good pitchers would be astronomical for pretty much any team even if that many valuable assets were available, be it through free agency or a trade. It's also, as I'm sure you're aware, a long season and even really good hitters go into slumps, get hurt, get sick, or just have a rash of bad luck where fielders get great jumps or make otherwise great plays to rob hits, but the inverse is that even average hitters go on little hot streaks to offset it. Then there's the defensive component: not every great hitter is a great defender. When the Red Sox had David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, nobody brought up their value as defenders because they didn't have any, at least by comparison to their value as offensive players. You complain about players who aren't great hitters (and you're not wrong on that), but that ignores the other components of their games and what they bring to the table.

JBJ is not a good hitter any more and may never have been, but he's likely going to hit somewhere between .220 and .250 before the year is out with occasional pop and good baserunning ability. He's also possibly the best OF in all of baseball and has a good throwing arm. The runs he saves more than make up for the runs he may not generate. He is an elite defender and you don't just give up on that due to a low batting average.

Sandy León is only a season and change removed from batting .300 and is a strong defensive catcher. He also brings the weird intangible of being really good with pitchers and being a great game-caller. While the results may have been less than ideal on the scoreboard, just him being behind the plate was somehow the difference between Chris Sale pitching in the low 90s and not missing many bats to pitching in the mid- and upper 90s with lots of swings and misses (just not enough at the right times). His return has seemingly pushed Vázquez too, because he's suddenly been hitting the crap out of the ball and just won a game with a defensive play the other day to give the team a chance to go for the sweep they got against the top team in their division the very next day.

Brock Holt may not be an elite hitter, but he has a knack for coming up in the clutch, can play multiple positions fairly well, and is one of those "glue" guys you hear about that just seems to make teams better by being around. I can't quantify that, but the Red Sox have had plenty of chances to move on from Holt and haven't. There's a reason for that and we saw it on display last postseason and he hit for the friggin' cycle in a game, which got everybody in the dugout even more fired up.

Lin is not a starter and is not likely to ever be a starter for this team, but we haven't seen enough of him at the Major League level to make a concrete determination of his skill as a hitter or as a defender. Could he be terrible? Sure. But he's also cheap and easily jettisoned if need be. He is not going to make or break a team and is really out of place on your list.

I could keep going but I think you get the point. The only player in the list you gave that is (now) objectively useless is Eduardo Núñez, but it's not like he's never done anything good for the team. Who knows what happens last year if he doesn't hit that pinch HR? He's also been playing hurt a lot but has been a good contributor when healthy.

But if you've been watching the game for 48 years, you should know that hitting ability is not the be all, end all for any baseball player and a team with championship aspirations needs to focus on more than one stat or a slashline when evaluating a player's worth to the club. Hell, looking back at the teams that have won over the last few years, how many of the LCS or WS MVPs have been perennial All-Stars? Steve Pearce (that's how it's spelled, by the way) certainly isn't one but if anyone that only saw him during the Series might think he's the modern-day Babe Ruth since all he did was rack up big hits. That's why you need guys like him, even if it means he strikes out with the bases loaded in a one-run game in the 9th during Game 143 of the regular season and it leads to a tough luck loss. You take the good, you take the bad, you add them both and then you... get it.

Edit: Removing not-so-thinly-veiled shot at age.
 
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Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
2014 WAS .156 in 70 PA
2015 BOS .184 in 128 PA
2016 BOS .310 in 283 PA
2017 BOS .225 in 301 PA
2018 BOS .177 in 288 PA...which one of those five seasons looks like an outlier?
Which also happened to be the year he had a .392 BABIP (career .288). He was hitting the ball a little harder than usual that year, as his SLG and HR/FB indicate. But not 100 points of BABIP worth of harder. It was your basic age-27 peak season, combined with a hefty dose of luck. His realistic ceiling at this point is probably something like a slight improvement on his 2017 -- say .230/.300/.370. I'd be thrilled with that.
 
Jul 5, 2018
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Explains a lot.

I know you've been given a vacation and may not ever actually see this response, but I'll ask the same question I asked in the thread you created:

What would have been the alternative? Pretty much every team has a mix of really good hitters and a mix of average or worse and the cost of signing 12-13 really good hitters to go with 12-13 really good pitchers would be astronomical for pretty much any team even if that many valuable assets were available, be it through free agency or a trade. It's also, as I'm sure you're aware, a long season and even really good hitters go into slumps, get hurt, get sick, or just have a rash of bad luck where fielders get great jumps or make otherwise great plays to rob hits, but the inverse is that even average hitters go on little hot streaks to offset it. Then there's the defensive component: not every great hitter is a great defender. When the Red Sox had David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, nobody brought up their value as defenders because they didn't have any, at least by comparison to their value as offensive players. You complain about players who aren't great hitters (and you're not wrong on that), but that ignores the other components of their games and what they bring to the table.

JBJ is not a good hitter any more and may never have been, but he's likely going to hit somewhere between .220 and .250 before the year is out with occasional pop and good baserunning ability. He's also possibly the best OF in all of baseball and has a good throwing arm. The runs he saves more than make up for the runs he may not generate. He is an elite defender and you don't just give up on that due to a low batting average.

Sandy León is only a season and change removed from batting .300 and is a strong defensive catcher. He also brings the weird intangible of being really good with pitchers and being a great game-caller. While the results may have been less than ideal on the scoreboard, just him being behind the plate was somehow the difference between Chris Sale pitching in the low 90s and not missing many bats to pitching in the mid- and upper 90s with lots of swings and misses (just not enough at the right times). His return has seemingly pushed Vázquez too, because he's suddenly been hitting the crap out of the ball and just won a game with a defensive play the other day to give the team a chance to go for the sweep they got against the top team in their division the very next day.

Brock Holt may not be an elite hitter, but he has a knack for coming up in the clutch, can play multiple positions fairly well, and is one of those "glue" guys you hear about that just seems to make teams better by being around. I can't quantify that, but the Red Sox have had plenty of chances to move on from Holt and haven't. There's a reason for that and we saw it on display last postseason and he hit for the friggin' cycle in a game, which got everybody in the dugout even more fired up.

Lin is not a starter and is not likely to ever be a starter for this team, but we haven't seen enough of him at the Major League level to make a concrete determination of his skill as a hitter or as a defender. Could he be terrible? Sure. But he's also cheap and easily jettisoned if need be. He is not going to make or break a team and is really out of place on your list.

I could keep going but I think you get the point. The only player in the list you gave that is (now) objectively useless is Eduardo Núñez, but it's not like he's never done anything good for the team. Who knows what happens last year if he doesn't hit that pinch HR? He's also been playing hurt a lot but has been a good contributor when healthy.

But if you've been watching the game for 48 years, you should know that hitting ability is not the be all, end all for any baseball player and a team with championship aspirations needs to focus on more than one stat or a slashline when evaluating a player's worth to the club. Hell, looking back at the teams that have won over the last few years, how many of the LCS or WS MVPs have been perennial All-Stars? Steve Pearce (that's how it's spelled, by the way) certainly isn't one but if anyone that only saw him during the Series might think he's the modern-day Babe Ruth since all he did was rack up big hits. That's why you need guys like him, even if it means he strikes out with the bases loaded in a one-run game in the 9th during Game 143 of the regular season and it leads to a tough luck loss. You take the good, you take the bad, you add them both and then you... get it.
When Leon is catching, Sale's velocity increases? Can he do the same for other pitchers? He should be given a huge increase in pay.
 

TheoShmeo

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You thought dombrowski screwed the team last year by not adding a bullpen arm. That turned out not to be the case. So you're just transferring your saved up "he screwed up points" and cashing them in now. 15 minutes after they won the world series. I don't know what the expiration date is on those points, so it's probably best to use them now.
Yes, I did think DD erred last year. Yes, I was delighted when it all worked out in the playoffs. Cora and the starters, as well as Kelly, Brasier and Barnes, especially, made it a non-issue in 2018. Glorious.

But the suggestion that the fact that I see a correlation between Cora's usage and how he handled ST because I'm just jonesing to make the point that I didn't get to make last year is one of the dumbest things I have ever read on this site. Congratulations.

I mean, really, who gives a fuck about points that just go away? Who doesn't love when a manager's decision you don't like just works out in your team's favor? To me, this decision has not fully gone away. I might be wrong about the correlation I see. But that's where it begins and ends.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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2014 WAS .156 in 70 PA
2015 BOS .184 in 128 PA
2016 BOS .310 in 283 PA
2017 BOS .225 in 301 PA
2018 BOS .177 in 288 PA...which one of those five seasons looks like an outlier?
Fair enough, but my point was he's generally below average but showed signs of getting better not too long ago.

When Leon is catching, Sale's velocity increases? Can he do the same for other pitchers? He should be given a huge increase in pay.
I know, causation does not equal correlation, but I chalked it up to Sale having more faith to reach back for the extra zip since he knew León was likely going to handle it, even if it had a crazy break or took off a bit. It could have been a coincidence, but it was the hardest we've seen Sale throw this year.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
I know, causation does not equal correlation, but I chalked it up to Sale having more faith to reach back for the extra zip since he knew León was likely going to handle it, even if it had a crazy break or took off a bit. It could have been a coincidence, but it was the hardest we've seen Sale throw this year.
OTOH, considering that it was his fourth start after an abbreviated spring training, it could be neither coincidence nor catcher confidence, but just his arm finally getting fully loose. I hope so.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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OTOH, considering that it was his fourth start after an abbreviated spring training, it could be neither coincidence nor catcher confidence, but just his arm finally getting fully loose. I hope so.
A way more likely theory than Sale was afraid Vazquez couldn't handle his heat and held back. I get that people don't buy into him being any kind of defensive whiz, but he's no butcher either. If pitchers felt they couldn't let loose with their best stuff with him behind the plate, he never would have made it out of A-ball, let alone to the big leagues, I don't care how good his arm is.
 

AB in DC

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Put aside pitching for a moment.

JBJ is slashing .134/.203/.164
The Pedroia-Nunez-Lin triumverate is batting 11-for-77 with only 2 XBH
Vazquez/Leon are 12-for-66

Other than Vazquez, only Mitch Moreland has a higher wRC+ so far compared to last year.
 

BaseballJones

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Sox' AL (15 teams) offensive rankings (OPS) by position (from espn.com's sortable stats):

C - 9th (.665; 1st is Min at 1.208)
1b - 6th (.795; 1st is Cle at 1.060)
2b - 15th (.354; 1st is Hou at .970; 14th is Oak at .480)
3b - 11th (.681; 1st is Oak at 1.037)
SS - 7th (.849; 1st is Min at 1.046)
LF - 7th (.860; 1st is Tex at 1.060)
CF - 13th (.505; 1st is LAA at 1.075)
RF - 11th (.720; 1st is TB at .975)
DH - 13th (.664; 1st is Sea at 1.072)

So that's the state of the Red Sox' offense, measured by OPS, by position. I've been complaining a lot this year about the starting pitching (a valid complaint considering they are dead last in the AL in starters' ERA at 6.22). But the offense has been absolute fricking GARBAGE so far. The *best* position has been 1b, and even there, they're just barely above average. SS and LF have also been barely above average. Five of the nine positions are ranked #11 or worse. Not ONE of the offensive positions is performing well, relative to the rest of the league. Not one. I mean, this is just unfathomably, almost comically, bad.

(Note: clearly there are some individual players performing pretty well: JDM, Benintendi, Bogaerts, and Moreland, but they must be doing it in weird positional combinations to produce the awful positional numbers above)

So yeah, we wonder what's gone wrong with the Sox? When you have the worst starters' ERA in the league, combined with one of the worst offenses in the league, yeah, your record is going to S-U-C-K.
 

rhswanzey

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(Note: clearly there are some individual players performing pretty well: JDM, Benintendi, Bogaerts, and Moreland, but they must be doing it in weird positional combinations to produce the awful positional numbers above)
edit: my dumb brain read this as the strong individual performances must not be happening in clusters. Which I believe is true, but has nothing to do with what I replied to.

Sequencing has got to be playing a role here. The Red Sox aren't truly horrible with RISP this season. The team is batting .244 (19th), although it is 14th in OPS w/ RISP (.795), which is above average for both the AL (.779) and MLB overall (.775).

That doesn't mean there haven't been some extremely frustrating situations. Game 2 last night is the obvious one. I mean, it is plain bad, and funny, to accrue a solo home run, and turn 16 additional men on base into 1 run. I hope most people picked the Bruins game last night.

Game 1 was egregious, too, though. Sure, the bullpen gets exposed during a doubleheader because all three of our long men are no longer in it, and we only have two reliable hi lev arms. But the team was arguably lucky to be in the game late at all. Sox put runners on 2nd and 3rd in the 3rd with nobody out and proceed to generate two first pitch outs, neither of which score the runner from 3rd, both swinging at the opposing pitcher's best pitch. The radio crew was incredulous. Mookie bailed them out with the 2-out single, but that's just plain bad situational baseball.

How did the Red Sox fare with runners in scoring position in 2018? Of course we all know they were good, but they were abnormally good. They had more than .100 points of OPS (.872) on the MLB average with RISP (.751).

Here's a full list of all the other teams to accomplish that in the previous 10 years (2009-2018):

2018 Houston - .861 (751)
2016 Colorado - .870 (.754)
2013 St. Louis - .865 (.722)
2011 St. Louis - .832 (.731)

That's it. So, five of 300 team seasons, or 1.67%.

Performance with RISP isn't really thought to be a sticky skill, kind of like how we don't expect to see record in 1-run games hold across several seasons. Hindsight is 20/20, but we undoubtedly didn't factor in regression with sequencing and performance with RISP into expectations for this offense in 2019.
 
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Al Zarilla

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Sox' AL (15 teams) offensive rankings (OPS) by position (from espn.com's sortable stats):

C - 9th (.665; 1st is Min at 1.208)
1b - 6th (.795; 1st is Cle at 1.060)
2b - 15th (.354; 1st is Hou at .970; 14th is Oak at .480)
3b - 11th (.681; 1st is Oak at 1.037)
SS - 7th (.849; 1st is Min at 1.046)
LF - 7th (.860; 1st is Tex at 1.060)
CF - 13th (.505; 1st is LAA at 1.075)
RF - 11th (.720; 1st is TB at .975)
DH - 13th (.664; 1st is Sea at 1.072)

So that's the state of the Red Sox' offense, measured by OPS, by position. I've been complaining a lot this year about the starting pitching (a valid complaint considering they are dead last in the AL in starters' ERA at 6.22). But the offense has been absolute fricking GARBAGE so far. The *best* position has been 1b, and even there, they're just barely above average. SS and LF have also been barely above average. Five of the nine positions are ranked #11 or worse. Not ONE of the offensive positions is performing well, relative to the rest of the league. Not one. I mean, this is just unfathomably, almost comically, bad.

(Note: clearly there are some individual players performing pretty well: JDM, Benintendi, Bogaerts, and Moreland, but they must be doing it in weird positional combinations to produce the awful positional numbers above)

So yeah, we wonder what's gone wrong with the Sox? When you have the worst starters' ERA in the league, combined with one of the worst offenses in the league, yeah, your record is going to S-U-C-K.
I don’t get Red Sox DH 13th (.664). That’s JD, although he’s been the DH in 14 of 25 games. The other guys that have DHd went he was in left or right have sucked it down that much?
 

BaseballJones

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I don’t get Red Sox DH 13th (.664). That’s JD, although he’s been the DH in 14 of 25 games. The other guys that have DHd went he was in left or right have sucked it down that much?
That, plus he's played a fair amount in LF and RF. That's the only way I can explain it. The numbers seemed funky to me because of that, but that's what the numbers say.
 

BaseballJones

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Here's JDM's numbers broken down:

As non-DH: 34 ab, 12 h, 2 2b, 0 3b, 2 hr, 5 rbi, 5 bb, 5 k, 1 hbp, .353/.450/.588/1.038
As DH: 54 ab, 17 h, 3 2b, 0 3b, 2 hr, 6 rbi, 7 bb, 11 k, 1 hbp, .315/.403/.481/.884

But yeah, the rest of the Sox' DHs have been abysmal I guess. Here's the list of guys who have played DH other than JDM:

- Benintendi (1)
- Moreland (2)
- Nunez (1)
- Pearce (1)
- Pedroia (2)
- Travis (1)
- Vazquez (1)

That's 9 non-JDM games at DH, while JDM has played 14 games at DH. So yeah, crappy performance from this group can, and has, brought the team DH numbers way down.
 

Al Zarilla

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That, plus he's played a fair amount in LF and RF. That's the only way I can explain it. The numbers seemed funky to me because of that, but that's what the numbers say.
If that is the DH OPS number (.664) while JD’s OPS while DHing is .885, other guys that have DHd have been (hate to say it) near JBJ abysmal (to drag it down to .664). Just one more negative this year. BTW, JD, has hit quite a lot better both years with the Red Sox as an outfielder than as a DH. I wonder if he points that out to Cora a lot.
 

BaseballJones

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If that is the DH OPS number (.664) while JD’s OPS while DHing is .885, other guys that have DHd have been (hate to say it) near JBJ abysmal (to drag it down to .664). Just one more negative this year. BTW, JD, has hit quite a lot better both years with the Red Sox as an outfielder than as a DH. I wonder if he points that out to Cora a lot.
For sure. I'm not going to take the time to look at every single game at DH but here's the season stats for the list of guys I gave above that have played DH:

- Benintendi (1) - .295/.367/.449/.815
- Moreland (2) - .250/.308/.611/.919
- Nunez (1) - .159/.178/.182/.360
- Pearce (1) - .125/.176/.156/.333
- Pedroia (2) - .100/.143/.100/.243
- Travis (1) - .286/.286/.286/.571
- Vazquez (1) - .203/.238/.458/.696

So yeah, it's easily possible that these other guys, while "playing" DH, have put up almost incomprehensibly bad numbers.
 

DanoooME

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For sure. I'm not going to take the time to look at every single game at DH but here's the season stats for the list of guys I gave above that have played DH:

- Benintendi (1) - .295/.367/.449/.815
- Moreland (2) - .250/.308/.611/.919
- Nunez (1) - .159/.178/.182/.360
- Pearce (1) - .125/.176/.156/.333
- Pedroia (2) - .100/.143/.100/.243
- Travis (1) - .286/.286/.286/.571
- Vazquez (1) - .203/.238/.458/.696

So yeah, it's easily possible that these other guys, while "playing" DH, have put up almost incomprehensibly bad numbers.
I went through the game logs and found the following (assuming no one PH for JD):
Ben10 0-0, BB (PH for Travis)
Moreland 1-6, BB
Nunez 0-1 (PH for Moreland)
Pearce 0-4
Pedroia 0-8
Travis 0-4
Vazquez 0-2, BB

Total 1-25, 3 BB. .040/.143/.040

That's worse than JBJ
 

Al Zarilla

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I went through the game logs and found the following (assuming no one PH for JD):
Ben10 0-0, BB (PH for Travis)
Moreland 1-6, BB
Nunez 0-1 (PH for Moreland)
Pearce 0-4
Pedroia 0-8
Travis 0-4
Vazquez 0-2, BB

Total 1-25, 3 BB. .040/.143/.040

That's worse than JBJ
Those numbers will drag overall OPS down. Turrable.
 

Bergs

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Player 1: .155/.234/.310/.545
Player 2: .153 /215/.181/.396

Chris Davis
JBJ

Ugh.
 

BaseballJones

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I went through the game logs and found the following (assuming no one PH for JD):
Ben10 0-0, BB (PH for Travis)
Moreland 1-6, BB
Nunez 0-1 (PH for Moreland)
Pearce 0-4
Pedroia 0-8
Travis 0-4
Vazquez 0-2, BB

Total 1-25, 3 BB. .040/.143/.040

That's worse than JBJ
Holy smokes that's worse than I imagined.
 

DeadlySplitter

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1/6 of the regular season is now over. they're on pace for 66 wins.

they probably won't have a 27-game stretch as bad as this again, but I'm not sure anymore they are good enough to make up the ground.
 

Pandemonium67

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They're basically at the point in the season the Pats were when they sat 1-2 after getting creamed by Detroit and Jax. We know what happened with the Pats. Will it happen with the Sox?

I think the Sox will be much, much better. Unfortunately, and unlike the Pats, the Sox play in a division with two other very good teams. So they could play much, much better and still have to win a coin flip game in October.
 
Aug 18, 2010
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Just wondering, if there are any ex-players, coaches or someone who really "knows" is reading this, how much time will/should a player take off, shut it down and basically relax and let themselves heal after the season ends before they start preparing for the next one. I remember watching the last game of a Red Sox non playoff year, 2000 I think, and Darren Lewis was batting. Jerry Remy said something about how DLew would start running and working out to get ready for spring training around Thanksgiving. The regular season generally ends around October 1 and the US Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of October, so that's around two months off if everyone does what DLew did. Last year the Sox clinched on October 28, so two months out would be around Christmas/New Years. The spring training reporting dates are generally late February, so that's six weeks to work out to get back in shape. The Sox, especially the pitchers, had a lot of extra high stress innings, but how long of a rest would be enough to recuperate for the next year?
 

Al Zarilla

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They're basically at the point in the season the Pats were when they sat 1-2 after getting creamed by Detroit and Jax. We know what happened with the Pats. Will it happen with the Sox?

I think the Sox will be much, much better. Unfortunately, and unlike the Pats, the Sox play in a division with two other very good teams. So they could play much, much better and still have to win a coin flip game in October.
The Patriots, as often pointed out in the BBTL threads, have just about the same winning percentage vs the AFC East as against all the rest. Miami and NY, especially Miami, play them tough in their home stadiums. With an average regular season record of 12-4 in the Belichick- Brady era, they’re going to make tons of playoffs, get byes most years and homefield throughout very often, regardless of what division or conference you put them in.

Edit, of course,the Patriots are out of this world since B and B, so comparisons are impossible.
 

tims4wins

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It’s not even worth comparing. The best football teams win 13-16 regular season games. The best baseball teams don’t even win the equivalent of 12 or really even 11 games.

The 2018 Pats had a better winning % than the 2018 Sox. The 2018 Pats were a disappointment and the 2018 Sox were the best team in franchise history.
 

Al Zarilla

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It’s not even worth comparing. The best football teams win 13-16 regular season games. The best baseball teams don’t even win the equivalent of 12 or really even 11 games.

The 2018 Pats had a better winning % than the 2018 Sox. The 2018 Pats were a disappointment and the 2018 Sox were the best team in franchise history.
But I was arguing that the Pats being part of the AFC East probably doesn’t give them any advantage because they beat everyone else at the same rate.
 

tims4wins

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Yeah that’s true and I agree but 1-2 in football isn’t the same as whatever shitty the record the Sox have.
 

Pandemonium67

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The point was that to win their division, the Pats had to beat out the Bills, Jets and Fins -- a trio of mediocre teams.

The Sox have to beat out the Rays and wanks -- a much taller order.
 

jon abbey

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But I was arguing that the Pats being part of the AFC East probably doesn’t give them any advantage because they beat everyone else at the same rate.
The advantage is that the other AFC East teams are almost always no challenge to winning the division, and the original poster’s point was that’s not the case in this year’s AL East.

Edit: What he said.
 

Al Zarilla

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The advantage is that the other AFC East teams are almost always no challenge to winning the division, and the original poster’s point was that’s not the case in this year’s AL East.

Edit: What he said.
I’m saying put the Pats in any division in the AFC or the NFC and they’re going to win it because they play against all teams at the same (very high) percentage. So, if you play at.750, no problem.
 

jon abbey

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I’m saying put the Pats in any division in the AFC or the NFC and they’re going to win it because they play against all teams at the same (very high) percentage. So, if you play at.750, no problem.
I know what you're saying, but you're somehow still missing the point. The (rough) equivalent in baseball is the Indians and the AL Central the last few seasons (maybe not this one if MIN is legit). If the Indians win 100 games the past few years, they win the division, but if they win 90 games, they probably win the division too. That is almost certainly not the case in this year's AL East.

Edit: But it is true if the Red Sox play .750 ball from here (121-41 pace for a full season) that they will win 112 games and be the #1 seed again, so if that is your point, I agree. :)
 

Pandemonium67

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Thanks, JA, you got it. The Sox could play very well from this point forward and still finish 3rd in the division. The hole is getting that deep, and the Yanks and Rays are that good.
 

rhswanzey

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Another game sort of like the nightcap of the Detroit doubleheader. 13 baserunners yielding a solo home run, and, that's it. Sequencing, hitting with RISP, call it what you will but it's just insufficient.

So since now it's time to groan about the offense, and the original groaning began around the starting pitching, now is a good time for this nugget from Ian Browne in today's postgame piece:

The rotation that was such a problem earlier in the season is settling in. The Sox have allowed four runs or fewer in the last four games, and the rotation’s ERA is 3.27 in the last 11 games. Perhaps even more impressively, Boston starters have allowed three earned runs or fewer in 13 of the last 14 games.
 

BaseballJones

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Another game sort of like the nightcap of the Detroit doubleheader. 13 baserunners yielding a solo home run, and, that's it. Sequencing, hitting with RISP, call it what you will but it's just insufficient.

So since now it's time to groan about the offense, and the original groaning began around the starting pitching, now is a good time for this nugget from Ian Browne in today's postgame piece:
Yep the starting pitching has been much much better. Yet as good as it's been, over that same stretch they're just 7-7. So far this season has been just one aspect of the game failing, and then at the most inopportune time, another aspect failing. You score some runs but the starting pitching gets bombed. Your starter is great and you take a lead into the late innings and the bullpen blows it. You get great all around pitching but get shut out or score just one run. And along the way there are key base running blunders and mistakes in the field, often by guys who are excellent defensive players.

It's been a cluster**** so far this season. At best they'll finish April at 14-16. At worst they'll finish 11-19. Pretty big hole to climb out of. Winning today would be very very helpful.
 

tims4wins

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If the Red Sox play .667 ball, like they did all last year, from here on out, they’ll win 101 games.
Of course, last year was historic. If they play like a 100 win team from here on out they get to about 94 wins. If they play like a 95 win team from here on out, they get to about 90 wins. Both scenarios should be enough for a WC. But it still will take playing very good baseball for a sustained period of time, something the 2019 team hasn't shown it can do yet.
 

Rough Carrigan

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Jackie Bradley messed up another one today.
And he's never been a great centerfielder. Yes, he's made some great catches. Other centerfielders make great catches too. Some other centerfielders also make great catching coming in, too. Anyway, the fielding bible numbers aren't that reliable for single seasons but over the last three seasons, he was +4, +5, -5 and he's -8 this year.

For comparison, Kevin Kiermaier was +34, +39 and +11 the last three years. Kevin Pillar was +47, +20, -3. Sure, but those two guys have been terrific. Yet, if you look at the numbers of some of the other regular centerfielders like Hicks in New York and Springer in Houston, it's hard to make the case that Jackie's actually appreciably better. And he's hitting something like .150. JD Martinez was out of the lineup with back spasms. Nothing they could really do about that. But it left them with a lineup that had Pearce, hitting .114 coming into today followed by Jackie hitting .143 followed by Christian Vazquez. It's tough win when you give the opposing pitcher several easy outs a game.

It's not a lot of fun to watch either. Fenway was about 80-85% full today. It wasn't great weather but it was a Sunday afternoon game. These desultory early season losses are going to cost them millions of dollars over the course of the season in lower ratings and depressed attendance.
 

LesterFan

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I've always been under the impression that playing in Fenway hurts his defensive numbers because of the monster. Not a lot of room for him to cover in left center so less opportunities to make catches in that direction. In contrast, right field is huge which gives Mookie a bigger boost. Is this not true? One thing that's certain even to the naked eye, he has definitely not been as good on defense this season.
 

soxhop411

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The Sox have no excuse for how bad they are playing this year. Everyone is under performing. The whole team is never in sync, and the offense has yet to have blow out wins.

I mean the Yankees just keep winning and they could form an MLB team with the amount of players they have had on the DL This season.

The Sox have been mostly healthy, yet are still playing like shit.
 

BaseballJones

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The Sox have no excuse for how bad they are playing this year. Everyone is under performing. The whole team is never in sync, and the offense has yet to have blow out wins.

I mean the Yankees just keep winning and they could form an MLB team with the amount of players they have had on the DL This season.

The Sox have been mostly healthy, yet are still playing like shit.
It is really depressing to see the Yankees - with a complete MASH unit of high-caliber players - are 17-11 while the Sox are 11-17 with really only scant injuries.
 
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I've always been under the impression that playing in Fenway hurts his defensive numbers because of the monster. Not a lot of room for him to cover in left center so less opportunities to make catches in that direction. In contrast, right field is huge which gives Mookie a bigger boost. Is this not true? One thing that's certain even to the naked eye, he has definitely not been as good on defense this season.
Fenway has the smallest leftfield, the second smallest centerfield and the second largest right field in MLB (per this Speier article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/redsox/2019/03/21/how-red-sox-outfielders-play-their-positions-fenway/sslnP4ARxZuFMV7rwjdnAP/story.html). So Jackie and Beni are both hurt in the defensive stats and Mookie is helped. Also, with excellent defenders in both corners, the Red Sox outfield plays differently than most outfields. In most outfields, the centerfielder takes everything he can get to. The Sox play Jackie more as the back-up on balls that Mookie and Beni can get to (there was an article on this subject last year - I can't find it now). So Jackie's numbers won't look as good as some others' because Mookie and Beni are catching balls that those other centerfielders would catch.

But he should have made that play today.
 

uk_sox_fan

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Of course, last year was historic. If they play like a 100 win team from here on out they get to about 94 wins. If they play like a 95 win team from here on out, they get to about 90 wins. Both scenarios should be enough for a WC. But it still will take playing very good baseball for a sustained period of time, something the 2019 team hasn't shown it can do yet.
After 28 games last year's team was 21-7 which means they went 87-47 the rest of the way (.649) and that included a 5-7 finish after the Magic # had been reduced to 2 (4-5 after they clinched). The point is that whilst they can't get the 1st 6th of this season back, they can match last year's great-but-not-historic pace after their historic start and still finish in the upper 90's for wins (which would give them about a 50/50 shot at the Division and almost 100% shot at the playoffs). The problem, though, is getting their mojo back and putting together some solid weeks of winning.
 

Al Zarilla

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Fenway has the smallest leftfield, the second smallest centerfield and the second largest right field in MLB (per this Speier article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/redsox/2019/03/21/how-red-sox-outfielders-play-their-positions-fenway/sslnP4ARxZuFMV7rwjdnAP/story.html). So Jackie and Beni are both hurt in the defensive stats and Mookie is helped. Also, with excellent defenders in both corners, the Red Sox outfield plays differently than most outfields. In most outfields, the centerfielder takes everything he can get to. The Sox play Jackie more as the back-up on balls that Mookie and Beni can get to (there was an article on this subject last year - I can't find it now). So Jackie's numbers won't look as good as some others' because Mookie and Beni are catching balls that those other centerfielders would catch.

But he should have made that play today.
I agree with everything you said except the bolded. Jackie is still the “Captain of the outfield” and has first dibs on balls on the edge between his and LF or RF territory. To this end, you sometimes see him calling off the other guys on balls in between and they usually yield.

You said there was an article about JBJ being the backup on balls Mookie or Beni can get to. That would be interesting to see.
 
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BaseballJones

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After 28 games last year's team was 21-7 which means they went 87-47 the rest of the way (.649) and that included a 5-7 finish after the Magic # had been reduced to 2 (4-5 after they clinched). The point is that whilst they can't get the 1st 6th of this season back, they can match last year's great-but-not-historic pace after their historic start and still finish in the upper 90's for wins (which would give them about a 50/50 shot at the Division and almost 100% shot at the playoffs). The problem, though, is getting their mojo back and putting together some solid weeks of winning.
I think that once things click, they can go on a rampage. For some teams, they don't click until half way through the season. The key is at least treading water til then.

Of course it's also possible that this team never experiences that rampage and it's just a slog the whole year.
 

Pitt the Elder

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How do you triage this lineup with the pieces they have? Bench JBJ, play JDM in the outfield, DH Chavis, and, play Tzu-Wei Lin at 2nd and hope he at least gets on base?
 

dhappy42

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How do you triage this lineup with the pieces they have? Bench JBJ, play JDM in the outfield, DH Chavis, and, play Tzu-Wei Lin at 2nd and hope he at least gets on base?
Doing that at home, where JDM’s defense is less a liability, and against lefties, against whom JBJ is useless, would help.