The Sox have played 42 games, over a quarter of the season completed. They've won 26 and lost 16. The Sox are on pace to win 100 games, and lose 62. This win total would most likely be enough for a playoff spot and probably a divisional title.
As a team, the Red Sox are 7th in the Majors in hitting with a team average of .278. The Sox are also 3rd in team OBP with .364. The Sox are also 7th in team Slugging at .449. But, they're only 9th in Runs scored with 231. Part of it might be the relative lack of homeruns, the Sox are 17th in baseball. Last year they were 1st in Runs, same with 2004. In 2004, the Sox were 5th in homers, and last year they were 6th.
We're on pace to score 891 runs, which is good, but not the type of offensive onslaught we're accustomed to producing.
A small problem has been a lack of production out of center-field. However, Pena has somewhat rectified that problem. Another problem is our lack of offense from short-stop. But we had that last season. Varitek hasn't been producing the same as he was last year. But he's on pace to score more runs than last year and knock in more runs than last year.
A major lack of production compared to last season has been Manny Ramirez. He's on pace to knock in 85 runs, compared to the 144 he knocked in last year. He's on pace to hit only about 30 homers compared to the 44 he's averaged the past two seasons. Manny has been hitting better lately, and we've seen him have slow starts before. He'll produce.
The Sox are 17th in baseball in team ERA at 4.57. We're 7th in team WHIP, but we've allowed 52 homers already. We're also 21st in Slugging allowed. That's why we're letting up so many runs, too many extra basehits given up.
The Sox only have 3 regular pitchers with ERAs below 4.00. Schilling is at 3.80, Papelbon is at 0.40 and Timlin is at 0.96. Beckett's at 4.17, and Wake is at a nice 4.19 for him. Having DiNardo in the rotation instead of a true starting pitcher also doesn't help. It also means we have to use more middle relievers. DiNardo's ERA is 7.11 and he's averaging less than 5 innings a start.
One thing that is impressive about the team is the defense. The Red Sox have the highest fielding percentage in baseball! WHAT?!? That's not supposed to happen. The Sox are supposed to be a team of lumbering DH types focusing more on hitting than anything else. We've only made 14 errors in 42 games. That's an error every 3 games, or a pace for 54 errors in the entire season. Last year we were 22nd in fielding with 109 errors. The year before, 22nd in fielding again with 129 errors. We're on pace to have a higher fielding percentage and a lower error total than the 1999 Mets, one of the best defensive teams in the history of baseball.
The Sox have a few contenders for Gold Glove awards. Mike Lowell won it in the NL last year and is contending with some sensational defense in the AL this year. Varitek won it last year and is having a solid year behind the plate. Gonzalez is also a contender for the short-stop Gold Glove. He has the highest field percentage of any regular AL short-stop.
If the Sox can get the #5 starter problem solved, maybe pick up a middle reliever or bring up some of the younger players from AAA and AA (Hansen is already in AAA, by the way), and the guys like Timlin and Papelbon still produce as well as they're producing thus far, and Manny starts to hit, we'll win a great deal of ball games.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Curt Schilling went 8, allowing 1 run off 5 hits, and 0 walks, striking out 6. David Ortiz went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI. Manny Ramirez went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI and a homerun. The big stars all had big nights.
It wasn't just the big names that contributed. Alex Cora went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a Run. Willie Harris went 1 for 3 with an RBI and a Run. Youkilis also knocked in a run and scored twice. The Yankees only struck out one Red Sox batter.
The Man of the Game is Curt Schilling. As previously mentioned, he went 8 allowing only 1 earned run. It was really nice to see him have a great start after some of the struggles he's had lately. He probably could have gone the full 9, he only threw 99 pitches, 72 of which were strikes.
Wakefield against Jaret Wright tomorrow.