Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Sox Therapy > Discussion
Sox Therapy
— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Righting The Ship

After a nightmare of April and a pretty bad start to May the Sox righted the ship and finished the month (plus a day) with a 15-14 record.  This is not exactly gangbusters but works out to an 84-78 pace which is fairly consistent with most expectations for the Sox.  Of course the April issue puts them in a hole but after that dreadful month the overall record of 24-27 is still disappointing.  A few quick notes;

- The Sox have a 28-23 Pythagorean Record which would have them 5th in the AL.  In our new 6 team playoff world this is A-OK.  Admittedly, that and 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee but it is indicative of things turning around for this team.

- A number of players have started playing to their abilities.  Trevor Story, Jackie Bradley, Christian Vazquez and even on a more modest front Bobby Dalbec are playing in line with expectations.  The one guy who continues to struggle is Alex Verdugo.  There are reasons for optimism there as well as he has put up a .313/.353./458 line over the last two weeks.  I mentioned Dalbec but Franchy Cordero deserves recognition here as well.  I wouldn’t say I’m excited about Cordero but he’s gone from “guy that couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat” to “OK, he’s at least competent up there.”  Given what the Sox were getting at first base the first 6 weeks that’s basically like putting Lou Gehrig over there.

- On the flip side Franchy and Dalbec field about as well as Lou.  The problem of course is that Lou has been dead for 80 something years.  Despite that the Sox are 5th in the AL in Defensive Efficiency.  Tuesday’s game notwithstanding Bogaerts and Devers look better defensively this year and Bradley and Story represent sizable defensive upgrades on their predecessors.

- I mentioned that gaudy PR earlier and it is hard not to think part of the reason for the Sox being, by that measure anyway, the unluckiest team in the American League isn’t down to the bullpen.  The concept of firemen out there traditionally has meant the guys that come in and put the fire out but the Sox are filled with arsonists.  As Friday’s blown 6-0 lead demonstrates no lead is safe with this team.  Despite that I really don’t want them taking Whitlock out of the rotation.  He continues to be very good and even in the changing world of Major League Baseball pitcher usage a top starting pitcher is hugely valuable.

- I got to the Worcester game on Wednesday.  Jarren Duran put the speed on display and my stars it is something else.  I remain hopeful that he has a role to play at some point.  Jeter Downs slugged a homer but also fanned three times and looked to my untrained eye like a guy that will get himself carved up by MLB pitching.  Eduard Bazardo got bonus points for happily tossing a baseball to my friends’ 10 year old.

- June is a tricky month for the Sox with 16 of the 25 games on the road.  My Predictions of Ridiculousness had a 12-13 target which would be fine if they were where we expected.  The bad start means that they need to make up some ground somewhere and this road trip is a good place to start.  While ten games out west is always dicey Seattle and Oakland are not the iron of the American League and the Sox may be able to make some hay there.

- Oh and just for John Difool, Rafael Devers is now on pace to equal Earl Webb’s record of 67 doubles in a season.

Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 02, 2022 at 08:32 AM | 47 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. John DiFool2 Posted: June 02, 2022 at 10:35 AM (#6079488)
My money remains on the guy who hit 54 2 full seasons ago, vs. the one who maxed out at 35 (last year). Perfect storm; a line drive hitter who consistently hits the ball very hard (98th percentile), after TPTB deadened the ball (turning many homers into doubles), in the best doubles park in the game. [Annnd who isn't too fast to turn doubles into triples] He's also cut down on his K rate too. Launch angle down a bit to 11% (the real uppercutters like Gallo are around 20-25%).
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 02, 2022 at 04:11 PM (#6079536)
Rafael Devers is now on pace to equal Earl Webb’s record of 67 doubles in a season.
The top 4 in doubles in the AL, and 5 of the top 7, are Red Sox. That includes Kiké Hernández & Jackie Bradley, Jr., so it may not be the most definitive measure of hitting prowess.
   3. SandyRiver Posted: June 03, 2022 at 09:50 AM (#6079717)
Early season numbers being projected for the full year rarely work out. Best example I recall is the year Nomar hit 7 triples in June and had 12 thru game 67, on pace for 29. He hit exactly one more that year. Ortiz had 34 doubles thru the end of June in 2016, also an Earl Webb challenger, but he finished with 48, in part because his underpinnings got so bad that he was being held to singles on 400-footers to center. That said, the Monster and the low wall in right and right-center make Fenway the best doubles park in MLB. The Sox generally are at or near the MLB best at 2B hits, and so far in 2022 they're almost lapping the field.
   4. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 03, 2022 at 11:30 AM (#6079732)
Oh yeah, it's almost 100% certain that Devers won't break or even challenge the record but I've always been a sucker for "on pace" even if intellectually I know the reality.

That said for all the reasons John notes in #1 if you had to pick a guy to make a run at it Devers would be on the very very short list.
   5. John DiFool2 Posted: June 04, 2022 at 07:55 AM (#6079828)
68.5 pace now.

#3, I am well aware of that, but if he has 40 by the ASB it will get the attention of the pundits. Triples are a bad example given how fluky many of them are (SSS), as is Papi, since such an assault requires a perfect storm of factors. I'll keep on having fun with it no matter what.
   6. SandyRiver Posted: June 04, 2022 at 08:53 AM (#6079831)
Agree with both #4 and #5. My baseball fandom began in the mid 1950s, and folks were always counting how far the homer leaders were ahead of Ruth's 1927 pace, conveniently forgetting the Babe's 17-dinger September. Comparisons with his 1921 pace would've made better statistical sense but would catch fewer eyeballs. I've chuckled at "ahead of [whomever's] pace" pronouncements ever since that time.
   7. pikepredator Posted: June 04, 2022 at 10:22 AM (#6079836)
Padding that doubles total on the road will help! And another strong all around game from the Sox. I was hoping for .500 by end of May, but they continue to inch closer.

Bullpen has had a few rocky outings but overall is settling in a bit. And weekend west coast afternoon games are a pleasure for me as an early to bed east coaster.
   8. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 04, 2022 at 03:07 PM (#6079859)
68.5 pace now.


No, they're on a 77.8 pace now.

Oh you mean doubles!


But that's what .480 ball gets you...77.8.

I hope they have a better season than that.
   9. Darren Posted: June 05, 2022 at 04:09 PM (#6079984)
I may have mentioned this elsewhere but I was hoping for them to get to .500 by midseason, then play well enough in the second have to slide into a wild card spot with a high 80s win total. This recovery happened faster than I hoped and I'm feeling pretty good about things.

I am again revising my thoughts on Story and RF, which now both look like sensible enough moves. Story, even after his slow start/illness/lack of spring training/learning 2b is now on pace for about 5 WAR. Bradley appears to be passable enough that playing him in RF hasn't hurt us much.

Picking up a bullpen arm or two looks like the move at the deadline.
   10. pikepredator Posted: June 05, 2022 at 07:25 PM (#6080011)
Another strong performance top to bottom. Solid run continues! If Devers hits too many homers to break the doubles record that’s OK with me.
   11. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 05, 2022 at 09:45 PM (#6080072)
The Red Sox recent improvement, combined with the Angels' recent collapse, mean that after today's sweep of Oakland, Boston is actually in the final playoff spot today. They are 17-8 in their last 25 games, admittedly against a lot of weak teams.

What's gone better? A lot of little things:
1) Some JBJ and Dalbec ABs are getting replaced by Cordero ABs. He hasn't been great - but he's been league average, and that's a legit offensive improvement.

2) Story obviously is making a massive difference in the last 15 or so games, going from an offensive sinkhole to .298/.397/.754 in his last 15 starts entering today.

3) Vazquez also went from a total zero with the bat to George Brett the last few weeks, hitting exactly .400 since May 18th. It's not sustainable, but he doesn't have to hit this well for C to be a big improvement offensively from the first 7 weeks of the season.

4) The bullpen is still pretty much a hot mess, but if Nick Pivetta is suddenly going to be a Cy Young Award candidate, and Eovaldi and Whitlock are going to be excellent, then sure: The Red Sox are going to be fine this year.

Pivetta in his last six starts has been both excellent and durable: 41 IP, 22 H, 37/8 K/BB, 2 HR, 1.32 ERA. He's basically average 7 innings of 1-run ball his last six starts, and the team is 5-1 in those starts. It is crazy.

So basically the team went from having five automatic outs in their lineup to having only about two the last three weeks, and one of their worst starters suddenly has become a legit ace for the last month. That's why the team is 17-8 in their last 25.

To win 88 games, they will have to go 61-47 the rest of the way, which is .565 baseball (basically, play like a 92 win team the rest of the year). The team has a pitching logjam at the top of their minor-league system. Worcester's rotation is about to become Seabold, Bello, Walter, Winckowski, and Crawford, with Frank German as their closer. I think a few of those guys could be very helpful this summer in the 2022 Houck (2021 Whitlock) multi-inning bullpen role, especially Bello or Winckowski, taking a few bullpen spots away from the some of the guys in the bullpen now. Right now, Cora has several relievers that he clearly doesn't trust to throw any inning of value. Also, the team isn't going to have room on their 40-man roster this winter to protect all these guys - the team needs to start figuring out how many of these AAA prospects are legit a part of the future.

   12. pikepredator Posted: June 06, 2022 at 11:31 AM (#6080153)
I find ‘Red Sox ace Nick Pivetta’ to be as surprising as it is encouraging. He can regress from here and still be a major asset.
   13. Textbook Editor Posted: June 07, 2022 at 09:45 AM (#6080369)
It's kind of amazing that Wacha suddenly looks untouchable (and like the guy Cardinals fans were dreaming on at the end of 2013). Pivetta has always been someone I know Phillies fans expected a lot more out of, so if he's finally figuring it all out (and building on the end of 2021), that wouldn't be surprising.

Bloom seems (so far) to have a pretty good track record of picking up back-of-rotation arms on short deals. One wonders if it is sustainable, or (to this point) just luck/variance.
   14. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 07, 2022 at 02:16 PM (#6080399)
The competition has been pretty weak over the last month, but still - 18-8 in their last 26 is pretty good.

The starting pitching situation is remarkable at the moment relative to two years ago:
- Four of their five starters (Eovaldi, Whitlock, Pivetta, Wacha) are pitching at a very high level right now, and going increasingly deep into games. (This is helping address the bullpen problems by reducing how deep into the pen they have to go most nights.)
- Chris Sale is scheduled to be back later this summer (I'll believe it when I see it, though...), and Rich Hill is currently their 5th starter.
- Their AAA rotation includes five legitimate major-league prospects (at various levels of floor and ceiling): Bello, Winckowski, Seabold, Walter, Crawford. Their AA includes two starting pitchers with major-league talent, Chris Murphy and Bryan Mata. Mata may be the second-most promising arm in the system after Bello.

I give Bloom a ton of credit for quickly building legitimate starting pitcher depth in the last two years, while making the team rapidly competitive at the same time.

- Seabold and Pivetta were from a deadline deal for Brandon Workman - a remarkable deal.
- Whitlock was a Rule V pickup; he is now arguably one of the best young pitchers in the league.
- Winckowski was part of the return for Andrew Benintendi
- Wacha and Hill were veteran pickups this past off-season.

The other guys pre-date Bloom; Dave Dombrowski's team deserves credit for a lot of the pitching prospects coming from either the international market (Bello and Mata) or relatively low draft picks (Murphy, Crawford, Walter). They threw money at Eovaldi and Sale.

In 2020, Zack Godley got their 3rd-most starts. Today, he wouldn't be one of their 10 best options to make a start. Pretty impressive job by Bloom.
   15. pikepredator Posted: June 07, 2022 at 02:23 PM (#6080402)
One wonders if it is sustainable, or (to this point) just luck/variance.


I'm assuming the latter but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying every minute of it!
   16. John DiFool2 Posted: June 08, 2022 at 09:17 AM (#6080593)
Raffy back on pace.
   17. pikepredator Posted: June 09, 2022 at 12:21 PM (#6080836)
Another 1-run victory. I'm glad that pendulum has swung back in the other direction. Those were brutal in the early going.

I hope the Eovaldi thing is as trivial as they're making it out to be. I've been worried about him falling apart since he joined the team.
   18. Darren Posted: June 09, 2022 at 12:39 PM (#6080837)
Hard as it is to believe, the Sox are now on an 85 win pace. Starting pitching has been pretty amazing.
   19. The Mighty Quintana Posted: June 09, 2022 at 02:30 PM (#6080860)
Send Duran down and then they lead off Arroyo? I feel like Jarren is just getting jerked around at this point. Don't they like exciting baseball?
   20. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 09, 2022 at 03:59 PM (#6080872)

Hard as it is to believe, the Sox are now on an 85 win pace.


Yup, right now, they're beating the teams that aren't playing well (which they need to do...I'm not downplaying it).

We'll see how they do against teams with records over .500.
   21. villageidiom Posted: June 09, 2022 at 06:19 PM (#6080893)
We'll see how they do against teams with records over .500.
9-13 so far, which is only about 2 wins off pace from what you'd expect a good team to do.
   22. John DiFool2 Posted: June 09, 2022 at 08:08 PM (#6080921)
Send Duran down and then they lead off Arroyo? I feel like Jarren is just getting jerked around at this point. Don't they like exciting baseball?


Don't they like guys who almost certainly can outplay the ones blocking him?
   23. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 10, 2022 at 11:14 AM (#6080993)
I think the Duran thing is that they don't expect to play him every day if they call him up so they'd rather have him playing every day in Worcester. I'd rather have him playing 4 days a week in Boston rather than Arroyo but I think that's the logic behind it.
   24. pikepredator Posted: June 10, 2022 at 12:18 PM (#6081009)
agreed. Let the kid play. The team is rolling, the environment is fun, the crowd is amped . . . and that kid is exciting.
   25. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 10, 2022 at 12:48 PM (#6081012)
I honestly don't have a lot of confidence in Duran, but I know this:

1) He turns 26 in September, so he's not a kid anymore by baseball standards.
2) He probably doesn't have a ton left to prove in AAA.
3) The five choices we have to play outfield ahead of him, pretty much, are:
Verdugo
Hernandez
JBJ
Cordero
Arroyo

Verdugo is starting to hit; Hernandez probably will improve upon his return to the lineup; the other three cannot hit.

I'd rather play Duran most days and see what happens than play Arroyo/Cordero/Bradley in the OF, where we pretty much know what will happen (and it's not good).
   26. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 10, 2022 at 02:15 PM (#6081020)
9-13 so far, which is only about 2 wins off pace from what you'd expect a good team to do.


9-13 becomes 27-39, which is very different than 33-33. I'm not making any predictions.

edited because math is hard
   27. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 10, 2022 at 02:17 PM (#6081021)
the other three cannot hit.


God help me, I like Arroyo.
   28. villageidiom Posted: June 10, 2022 at 04:40 PM (#6081040)
Verdugo is starting to hit; Hernandez probably will improve upon his return to the lineup; the other three cannot hit.

OPS last 28 days:

720 JBJ
712 Cordero

Yeah, four reasonably adequate weeks do not a full season make. But, like, Verdugo who is "starting to hit" has a 729 OPS in that same span.

FWIW Arroyo has around a .200 BABIP this year. Unless he's found a way to break BABIP he should improve.
   29. pikepredator Posted: June 11, 2022 at 09:07 AM (#6081239)
Fangraphs is all about Arroyo being prime for some positive regression. Here's to hoping!

If the bullpen is good on the days starters are struggling . . . that's a recipe for success.
   30. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 11, 2022 at 11:38 AM (#6081247)
We'll see how they do against teams with records over .500.

9-13 so far, which is only about 2 wins off pace from what you'd expect a good team to do.

The team they're chasing is 10-7 against >.500 teams, and the team everyone is chasing is 15-7. With the top 4 AL East teams already 50 games over .500 and all other divisions floundering, this may be one of those years where all the WC teams will be coming from that division. And FWIW, BB-Reference's Simple Rating System has the Sox tied with the Astros as the AL's strongest team, behind only the Yankees and Toronto.
   31. Darren Posted: June 11, 2022 at 08:37 PM (#6081307)
Yup, right now, they're beating the teams that aren't playing well (which they need to do...I'm not downplaying it).

We'll see how they do against teams with records over .500.

...

9-13 becomes 27-39, which is very different than 33-33. I'm not making any predictions.


Bivens, seems like you ARE downplaying and you ARE making predictions. :)

I wouldn't make much about these splits vs. above .500 vs. below .500 teams. Their pythagorian numbers are more indicative and those are promising (34-25).

   32. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 12, 2022 at 02:59 AM (#6081349)
Their pythagorian numbers are more indicative and those are promising (34-25).


As long as they keep giving the ball to Robles in a save situation, then the pythag won't mean a darn thing. Dude just sh*ts the bed nearly every time in the 9th or extras. Middle innings only for Hansel.
   33. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 12, 2022 at 03:01 PM (#6081377)
Robles' FIP has been well above 4 ever since late April - he has been dodging bullets often this season, and his combination of relatively poor control, lack of swing-and-miss, and home runs given up make him a really unreliable guy to bring in during a high-lev inning.

But when the starter can't go five, it means that unless Cora brings in Houck for a multi-inning stint, the bullpen is going deep into the well to get through 5+ innings. That's what happened last night: Diekmann, Brasier, Strahm, Davis...then Robles.
   34. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 13, 2022 at 04:25 PM (#6081530)
I'm really not making any predictions. The team, as constituted, is not a good team. They have too many holes. Adding a quality SP takes the pressure off of the whole staff, and I hope they get one. They need 2 bats, a !B and an OF. If any of their good hitters go into a slump, it would make them beatable. With two more quality hitters, they can get away with someone like Story disappearing for awhile (or any of the others, I'm not picking on Story).


They can get away with Vazquez at C.
   35. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 13, 2022 at 05:33 PM (#6081538)
Fun fact: After that 8-2 road trip, the Sox are further out of 1st place than they were when the trip began.

Before...

AL East Standings before the trip.....

Tm W L W-L% GB
NYY 34 15 .694 --
TOR 29 20 .592 5.0
TBR 29 21 .580 5.5
BOS 24 27 .471 11.0
BAL 22 30 .423 13.5

....and after it was over....

NYY 44 16 .733 --
TOR 35 24 .593 8.5
TBR 35 25 .583 9.0
BOS 32 29 .525 12.5
BAL 26 35 .426 18.5

That AL East is a #####.
   36. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 14, 2022 at 07:17 PM (#6081767)
Fun fact: After that 8-2 road trip, the Sox are...


Now comfortably in the 3rd WC spot and closing fast on the first 2. Would love to see them claim that #1 WC spot.

Who knows, maybe NY's pitching could regress to what it really should be and the lineup suffers from the usual array of injuries and they find themselves going 10-15 in some random 25 game set at some stage.

Baseball is a funny game.
   37. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 14, 2022 at 08:26 PM (#6081783)
Sale flew to Boston to join the team a day after throwing 96 mph


Sox may have found their closer(well until he's ready to go 80 pitches or so and start again....)
   38. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 14, 2022 at 09:26 PM (#6081798)
AL East Standings before the trip.....

Tm W L W-L% GB
NYY 34 15 .694 --
TOR 29 20 .592 5.0
TBR 29 21 .580 5.5
BOS 24 27 .471 11.0
BAL 22 30 .423 13.5

....and after it was over....

NYY 44 16 .733 --
TOR 35 24 .593 8.5
TBR 35 25 .583 9.0
BOS 32 29 .525 12.5
BAL 26 35 .426 18.5


Wow. The Red Sox went 8-2 on a long West Coast trip...and actually lost ground to the Yankees (1.5 games further back). The Yankees went 10-1 during that same stretch. They are something this year.
   39. villageidiom Posted: June 15, 2022 at 11:38 AM (#6081901)
Sox may have found their closer(well until he's ready to go 80 pitches or so and start again....)
This is probably a good point to mention that it appears Cora has settled in on Houck as their closer. I'm not so sure I'd bump him for whatever version of Sale we're going to get.

I'm not convinced that Sale would be better than Houck, nor that Houck would be better than Sale, as a closer. I am absolutely convinced that either would be better than Hansel Robles. Possibly the biggest improvement in the bullpen is that Cora is no longer convinced that Robles can get the closing job done.
   40. The Mighty Quintana Posted: June 15, 2022 at 12:35 PM (#6081913)
Yeah, it's two weeks after Memorial Day, but I think we have finally solidified the rotation and bullpen. Anything additional from Sale is a bonus now. But please stop rolling out a Cordero/Arroyo/Refsnyder outfield. It makes me long for days of Darren Bragg/Billy Hatcher/Bob Zupcic!
   41. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 15, 2022 at 07:07 PM (#6082005)
Cordero/Arroyo/Refsnyder outfield


yeah, that doesn't exactly scream World Series contender.

Kind of the polar opposite to Rice/Lynn/Evans...
   42. Nasty Nate Posted: June 16, 2022 at 09:25 AM (#6082117)
68.5 pace now.
Devers' hits are now leaving the ballpark instead of being doubles. JD Martinez has caught him at 23 for the league lead. In the NL, Olson has 24 and Marte 23.
   43. pikepredator Posted: June 16, 2022 at 09:42 AM (#6082120)
HR kill rallies *and* chances to break Webb's record. I'm glad Devers is such a revolutionary. I hope he keeps it up! Maybe the warm weather gives those potential wall balls the extra oomph to get out?
   44. The Mighty Quintana Posted: June 17, 2022 at 11:24 AM (#6082425)
OK, can we just lead off Duran from here on in? Just a baserunning clinic last night...too bad they couldn't drive him in from third with one out.
   45. John DiFool2 Posted: June 17, 2022 at 11:24 AM (#6082426)
Not complaining at all, folks.

Too bad they wasted DJ in AAA for 2 months.
   46. John DiFool2 Posted: June 17, 2022 at 03:44 PM (#6082519)
He is still on track to obliterate Jim Rice's Sox record of XBH (86: Nomar & Teddy W 85, Webb 84), pace is currently 99.
   47. Jay Seaver Posted: June 20, 2022 at 08:32 PM (#6082973)
I was listening to the game on the radio before switching to TV, and they casually mentioned that Jackie is now wearing a single contact lens to correct an astigmatism discovered over the off-season - is this something that had been out there before that I just hadn't heard? Isn't getting his bat to good, but it seems to be helping.

Anyway, looks like Jeter Downs is up because I guess Dalbec was the middle-infield backup with Arauz released, Arroyo down with Covid, and Hernandez on the IL. Anyway, Duran looks like he sticks when Hernandez comes off the IL, so what happens then? Does he platoon with Verdugo in left?

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Eugene Freedman
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.3258 seconds
38 querie(s) executed