Boston Red Sox, Hitting, Joe Posnanski, Pitching, Sox, Strikeouts
What really matters in determining how well a baseball team is performing?
Isn’t pitching supposed to trump (excuse me) hitting?
Didn’t the Sox spend gazillions of dollars to beef up their starting pitching and their relief pitching?
And aren’t strikeouts important?
So it’s only 22 games into the 162 game season, but a few things pop out if you follow the Sox:
- Their record is 12-10 which has them in second place in the AL East, 1.5 games behind the surprising Orioles.
- They are next to last in ERA (4.43), giving up 103 runs (98 earned), only Houston is worse in these pitching categories.
- They have struck out the most hitters in the AL, 223, but have also given up the most walks, 88.
- They only have six saves.
- They have the highest hitting average in their league (.278), the most hits (218), the most doubles (63), the most triples (7), and the most RBIs (107).
- Most important in this area is they lead the league in runs with 114, 18 more than the second place Tigers and 19 more than the Orioles.
- So maybe their record of fewest home runs so far, 17 vs the Orioles 33, isn’t hurting their run scoring.
- Their fielding has been pretty good as they are near the top of the league with a FPCT of .987 and only 10 errors.
- Their record in stealing bases tops the league, 20 (out of 22 attempts), and they’ve thrown out six of nine stolen base attempts.
It sure seems that hitting is trumping pitching, at least so far as the Red Sox are concerned in the early going of this season.
Actually, the most interesting thing about the season so far for me is something that Joe Posnanski, one of my favorite sports’ writers has highlighted — teams are striking out almost one out of every four times they are at the plate, the highest rate in the history of baseball, and, he writes, that’s not a bad thing.
Teams seem to believe, he says, “Hit the long ball. Steal bases at a high percentage. Draw walks. That’s still the winning formula.”
Strike outs overrated?
See Posnanski’s article Teams Are Striking Out More and That’s Not a Bad Thing.
Sounds good to me but WhT Do I Know!!!
Land Wayland said:
Well, he asked the question a lot of times in many different ways, and offered evidence that it was a good question. He makes no attempt to answer the two burning questions…Why are hitters doing this/why are pitchers so much better than they used to be AND is there a different impact on the offensive game when a batter strikes out versus making an out some other way. Is run production up or down on the winningest or loseingest teams. Has there been a change in batting averages/number of hit/RBI’s etc In other words, does striking out more often change the game, and how? Or is it that the only thing that has changed is the way of making outs…that is, the batter who used to make an out 70% of the time by popping up or hitting the ball to the infield is now missing altogether but is still getting on base 25% of the time.
You still make runs by producing Walks, Steals, Hitting ‘Em Where They Ain’t, and Home Runs. How you make an out is of concern only to the statisticians, and the sports writer.
The author probably has the ability to provide some enlightenment and I hope he does before I toss and turn many more sleepless night trying to make sense of one more change in the good old way of doing things. Ah, just when I thought I was beginning to really understand baseball.
As usual, the individual above (Land – and that is his real name, tho don’t ask him how he got such a moniker unless you want to be detained for the better part of a day) once more goes beyond the surface of a MillersTime post.
Mostly, I was trying to point out that it has been good hitting for the Sox that has led them to a positive record and second place, despite having the 2nd worst ERA in the league. And curiously, leading the league by a wide margin in strikeouts has not affected their ERA.
Land (eventually) asks the right questions — Is the increase (been going on for a number of years now) in strikeouts changing the game, and if so how? And is there really any effect in making an out by striking out vs the other ways get out?
Clearly the starting pitchers (at least those at the top of the rotations) are better and the increased use of closers, from the 7th inning on, with flame throwers probably accounts in large measure for the increased strikeouts.
The one team, as Posnanski writes, that does not want to strike out, is the Royals, and we know that they are having some success with their approach. But even they will have more strike outs this year if their current rate is projected over the whole 2016 season. Posnanski observed: “So why haven’t the (Royals) started a trend? The answer is: Nobody around baseball really believes that their ability to put the ball in play has been all that important in their success. They have won, baseball people say, because of their great defense and great bullpen. The Royals don’t score that many runs — they did not finish Top 5 in the American League in runs scored at any point during their winning stretch.”
Anyway, I hope some of you will chime in and add to this ‘discussion.’