Monday, June 05, 2006

1/3 of the season finished let us review

As usual all stats are from the day by day database at baseball musings and those that I keep on my own.

Tonight the Sox take on the Yankees but lets not get hasty and look at this coming 4 games yet, instead 1/3 of the season is done, so its time to recap our present situation and make our forecast for the next 1/3 of the season. I love baseball!

2005 vs 2006

First off let’s get the geek stats out of the way.

Presently, the Sox are ½ game ahead in the east division with a 33 and 21 record. Last year their record was 30 and 24 and they were 2 games back in the division.

Team batting average is presently .278 compared to last years .280. This produced 297 runs (67 home runs) this year compared to last years 294 runs (57 home runs).

So far this year the Sox have stolen 19 bases in 26 attempts. Last year they were 13 for 14 in this department.

The pitching has improved this year with a 4.60 ERA compared to last years 4.76 ERA. This improvement is due primarily to a better bullpen ERA as the starters are 25 and 18 with a 5.07 ERA. Last year the starters were 22 and 15 with a 4.78 ERA. The bullpen has improved tremendously with an 8 and 3 record, 21 saves in 23 chances, with an ERA of 3.60 (3rd best in the American League). Last year the team was 8 and 9, 12 in 16 with a 4.71 ERA.

Two other areas where the Sox improved are in the fielding statistics and batting average against. This year the gloves have a .990 fielding percentage (1st in the majors), while last year the gloves (thank you Renteira) were dismal with a .982 percentage. Batting average against this year is .257 compared to last years .274.

2006 Pitching

Last but definitely not least there is one other pitching statistic. This year the Sox have had 27 Quality Starts, which is exactly 50 percent of all starts. The team has won 23 of those games. Hard luck pitcher of the year is Wakefield who has seen a loss in 3 of his 8 quality starts.

Opposing pitchers have thrown 17 quality starts with the Sox winning 6 of those (all wins came in quality starts by the Sox) and the 3 of those lost were also quality starts by the Sox. In fact there have been 9 games where both the Sox starter and the opposing starter pitched gems. A 6 and 3 record in those games is quite good. Of course, Wakefield has taken the brunt of these losses (2 of them). The pitching has been good enough that over 50% of the time that an opposing pitcher throws a gem, the Sox starter has been able to keep the team in the game.

So what does this mean? Well if 50 % of the time a Sox starter is going to throw a gem and the team is going to win 85% of those we can expect to win 69 quality starts in the year 2006. Considering that we are winning over 1/3 of the games where a quality start is not thrown, this will add another 30 wins. Projected from this is 99 wins. This is a 4 game improvement over last year.

In 54 games the starters have thrown 321 1/3 innings which averages a little less than 6 innings per start. The main work horses have been Schilling, Wakefield, and Beckett who have started 35 of the 54 games with a 4.11 ERA which is almost 1 run a game less than the starter ERA. These three have also averaged slightly over 6 1/3 innings a game. They are also responsible for 23 of the 27 quality starts this year. This would bode well for a three man rotation in the playoffs.

The bullpen this year has been anchored by Papelbon. When you start off the year giving up only 1 run in 28 innings and saving 21 games you are on the way to having a Rivera type season. Timlin and Van Buren also have ERA’s under 2, with Foulke, Dinardo, Tavarez and Seanez also less than 5.00 ERA’s. The bullpen is also averaging .77 strikeouts per inning.

Fielding 2006

We should not be surprised about the fielding this year. We acquired a gold glove 3rd basemen, a gold glove caliber shortstop and second baseman and as a back up a gold glove 1st basemen. The infield has lived up to its name. The only question mark coming in was how Youkilis would handle the switch to first. Well, so far he has been outstanding, 3 errors in 400 chances for a .993 percentage. While this is not gold glove stats it is very solid in the middle of the field.

The outfield has played solidly also and the return of Crisp should add speed and coverage.

Batting 2006

The Sox are 6th in batting average in the majors, 5th in the American League. In OBP they are second behind the Yankees. 8th in the majors in slugging percentage, 7th in the American League and 4th in the majors in OPS behind, Toronto, Cleveland and Yankees.

Red Sox are averaging 5.5 runs a game which is 5th in the majors and 4th in the American League.

There are no Sox in the top ten of batting average, runs scored, hits, triples, or stolen bases at the present time (American League only).

Lowell is leading the league in doubles with 23. Ortiz is tied for 3rd in home runs with 16, is second in RBI’s with 50 and 8th in walks with 34. Manny is 4th in walks with 42 followed by Youkilis with 38 taking the 5th spot. Youkilis, Ramirez, and Nixon are 5 – 7 in OBP. Manny is the only Sox to break the top ten in slugging (10th) and OPS (6th).

So while the major top ten is scattered with Sox players there is no one who really jumps out and says that one person is having a big MVP type year. Lowell and Youkilis are leading the team with .320 and .313 batting averages.

My Thoughts

The first 54 games have shown us a team that is gritty with the glove and capable of getting big timely hits. No big surprises with the bats except for Ortiz’s and Variteks batting average, all other starters are hitting close to their career averages and those who aren’t are not letting their failures with the bat affect their fielding.

The team is over .500 in wins by all margins of 3 runs (+10 in 32 games) or less which bodes well for the dog days of August. As long as the team keeps it close they win the majority of the time.

Over half of their games have been against their division with only the Yankees and Toronto (7 losses to Toronto) giving them fits. It will be good for the team to start playing the other divisions in the next 1/3 of the season.

I see no reason why this team can not continue their present pace. I look for them to be no worse than 66 and 42 next 1/3 break in the season.

Hope you enjoyed!!!!

1 comment:

Neil H said...

Good read.

I still amn't sure what to make of this team - the numbers all say pretty similar to last year, and a 95 win season would surely get us to the play-offs again, but I think the inconsistency in the starting rotation makes it difficult to really know what you are getting game to game.

Given the injury problems the Yankees have, I really do think the Sox need to get a few game lead built up to help in AUgust / September.