Wednesday, September 29, 2010
What's been unofficial yet well known has now become official. The Red Sox are out of it. The starry eyed optimists out there might point out that the Sox have the 4th best record in the AL, and the 8th best in baseball. They'll point out the games missed by Youkilis and Pedroia.
But would this team have made the playoffs if they hadn't been so ridden with injury? More importantly, would this team have done something in the playoffs?
The answer to question #1 is "maybe." The answer to question #2 is a resounding "no!"
"Run Prevention." That's what the 2010 Sox were supposedly built for. Yet they've scored 794 runs so far, essentially the same as the Rays, and will finish the season either 2nd or 3rd in both the AL and all of baseball. So the Sox scored runs.
They just allowed too many. 715 to be precise. Only four teams in the American League allowed more runs.
Pedroia missed about half a season. Youkilis missed about 50 games. Their absence did cost the Red Sox some runs scored. But I don't think the Sox would have allowed significantly fewer runs had they been around.
The Red Sox were 21st in team ERA, with 4.17. They also had the 4th most Blown Saves with 21. 4th most, in all of baseball. Only the Orioles, Marlins, and Diamondbacks had more.
Clay Buchholz was stunning this season, but even he lost wins due to the Sox' bullpen. Then there was John Lackey, who pitched like a #4 and not a good #3. Then there was Matsuzaka, who once again missed time with injury, and was once again forgettable when healthy. 9-6 with a 4.72 ERA. He made 24 starts, believe it or not. But only 10 of them were Quality Starts. Compare that to Lackey, who made 19.
And finally, there was the "Ace" Josh Beckett. Like in blackjack and poker, Aces go high and low. Very, very low. Beckett is 6-5 with a 5.77 ERA. Thank God the Sox locked down this hot commodity.
The problem was pitching. Pitching wins, pitching loses. It's good pitching that prevents runs, and bad pitching that prevents wins. Apart from two or three guys, the Sox had awful pitching. I remember the optimists touting the "best rotation in baseball" back in March and April. Morons.
And as if to strengthen my argument, the Yankees and Rays both won behind pitching last night. Sabathia went 8.1, allowing only 1 run off 3 hits. For the Rays, David Price tossed 8 shutout innings. Meanwhile, the Sox got a respectable 6 innings and 2 runs from Lackey, but also had 3 different relievers surrender a run.
By the way, Theo, the Sox are 21st in fielding percentage, with the 10th most errors.