In light of the new season, I’m going to start a new segment where I’ll provide you guys with a couple of interesting notes, observations, and stats that I’ve picked up on over the course of each week for the Boston Red Sox.
Let’s get into it.
1). The starting rotation is as deep as we thought
While there may not be a full-fledged ace in the bunch, the group consisting of Jon Lester, John Lackey, Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy, and Clay Buchholz (the only member not to start yet) appear to be as good as advertised.
Through the first four games, no starter has allowed more than 3 earned runs, and everyone except Doubront has pitched at least six innings. (Doubront was removed in the 6th after throwing only 76 pitches). Quality starts should be running rampant on the 2014 season for Boston.
Aside from the Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals, and St. Louis Cardinals, I’m not sure there is more stable, more productive rotation out there than Boston’s starting five.
2). A healthy Dustin Pedroia
After dealing with a torn ligament in his thumb last season that subdued the former MVP’s ability to swing the bat, we should be in for a treat in 2014. A healthy Laser Show is already off to a hot start at the dish — 7 hits in his first 15 at-bats — and appears to have the pop back in his bat.
Nothing against what Pedey did last season, I mean he hit .301, tallied 193 hits, won a Gold Glove, and was selected to the All-Star team for the fourth time in his career. But it was easy to recognize that he just wasn’t the same, which is saying a heck of a lot for what he accomplished.
His slugging percentage (.415) was the lowest for a full season since his rookie year in 2007 when he slugged .442. And his ground ball percentage was the highest of his career at 50.4 percent, highlighting the struggle to drive the ball and get it in the air.
Pedroia should be able to bring those numbers closer to his career averages this season, and I believe he is in for his best year since 2011.
3.) Koji up to his old tricks
Uehara recorded a save in the game against Baltimore the other night with 7 pitches. Need I say more?
It is clear that the newly 39-year-old reliever has not changed a bit since last season. The master of efficiency. The hater of wasting pitches. Whatever you want to say about him, just know that he and his splitter are back for more.
He had the best WAR last season among all relief pitchers at 3.3, and while I’m not going as far as saying he can repeat what he did last season, I don’t think there will be much regression on his part.
4). 3-31 with runners in scoring position
Small sample size? Absolutely. But still, it’s never a good look when you can’t get the timely hits to start the season.
The good news is that the Sox are putting plenty of people on base: The hits are there, the walks are there, the OBP is there, but driving those ducks in has been a challenge so far. It’s always one of the most frustrating statistics to deal with because the team knows they let wins get away from them, even if the season is only 4 games in, every win matters in a competitive American League East.
This is still one of the best offenses in all of baseball so I anticipate things to turnaround sooner, rather than later.
5). How about those rings?
The ring ceremony took place this afternoon and LOOOK at these guys! Might be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
There have been some awesome looking rings in the past (the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays ring comes to mind), but this baby is right up there with the best of them.
Check out the Boston Red Sox team page for all your news and notes.