Saturday, April 20, 2013

Runs Scored, Runs Against

Back to my favorite category.  Last year I kept telling you to ignore all sports commentary about the Sox needing "timely hitting." They let in too many runs for a championship team, and would have needed record-breaking Runs Scored to overcome that.  This year looks like none we have seen for the Red Sox, because it is the opposite.

They don't have to maintain this pace of letting in such a ridiculously low number of runs per game - about 3.  In fact, they can't.  No one ever has, anyway. They will have injuries, people will hit bad streaks where they lose their touch.  But even over this few games, about 10% of the season, we can see that this is not an illusion.  Allowing fewer runs than 90% of the other teams is plausible.

Runs Scored, however, are average.Looking at the individual statistics, it's hard to see how they are managing even that.  The stalwarts have OPS in the .700's, maybe .800's?  Does anyone think this is the new normal for Nava or Victorino?  I am likely just used to seeing better numbers at the top, so it seems worse than it is.  The numbers at the bottom are truly frightening.  Too many people batting below .200, even below .100. (Can we send Jackie back to Pawtucket now?)

There is hope in that, however.  When you have players hitting that poorly it is usually easier to find improvements.  If you need another .125 in batting average to insert into the lineup, it's going to be hard - and expensive - to get a guy who hits .375 to replace your guy hitting .250.  But replacing you guy who's hitting .125 with a .250 hitter?  That's doable.

I'm not changing my prediction of 81 games.  But I'm encouraged.

BTW, about that "timely hitting" that knuckleheads are always talking about.  Well sure, if your team can bat .600 with power with men on base, you'll probably do pretty well. Oh.  Gee.  I never thought of it that way.

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