Nation STATion: Josh Beckett's greatest game ever?

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Nation STATion: Josh Beckett's greatest game ever?

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

For the four or five of you who were watching the Sox defeat the Rays last night instead of watching the Bruins win the Stanley Cup, let me tell you two things:

First, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup!

Second, you saw Josh Beckett pitch the greatest game of his career.

The first statement is true by any standard. The second point is true according to his 91 point Game Score.

His what?

Let me explain Game Score.

Game Score was created by baseball stats visionary, and Red Sox advisor, Bill James (its already making a little more sense, yes?). It was devised as a comparative tool to help you quantitatively determine the efficacy of a pitcher in a particular game.

Heres how Game Score works:

Every pitcher starts with 50 points. Think of this as the equivalent of getting 200 points when you sign your name correctly on the SAT.

Next, add 1 point for each out recorded, so an inning equals 3 points, right?

Yeah, not so fast. The deeper a pitcher goes into the game the better, so add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th.

In Bill James World (most of us are merely guests) pitching to contact can only produce problems, so add 1 point for each strikeout.

So far, weve been only adding points, but what happens if someone gets a hit? Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed.

If you think that was punitive, subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed.

Going back to pitching to contact, remember bad things can happen every time you put a ball in play, sometimes even errors, so subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed.

Pitching around a batter only puts a runner on base and that often means trouble, so subtract 1 point for each walk.

Pretty sweet, huh?

I like it because its simple to use, simple to remember, and simple to calculate both during and after a game.

I dont like it because it really puts too much emphasis on strikeouts. I would rather a quick seven-pitch inning with grounders to the infield than a 21-pitch striking-out-the-side inning.

Most importantly, understand that this is purely a comparative statistical tool. It doesnt take into account the strength or weakness of the competition, the location (pitchers park? Dome? Turf?), or the weather (dont underestimate the impact of heat, cold, wind, rain, or humidity on a pitchers performance).

Every hit is the same whether it is a bleeder through the infield or a hard hit double off the wall, and it doesnt take into account the circumstances such as the pressure of the game, how many days rest the pitcher had, or even whether a pitcher won or lost. Little things like that which we value so much in our pitchers performances.

Having said all that, for a game in mid-June, in a domed stadium with artificial turf, against an AL East that is 23rd in batting, going on regular rest and feeling healthy, Beckett pitched a heck of a game.

Heres how Beckett got his career high Game Score:

50 points for stepping on the hill.

27 points for his nine innings of recorded outs.

10 points for the five innings he completed after the 4th.

6 points for his six strikeout.

-2 for the one hit he allowed.

Total = 91

Becketts previous high was an 88-point effort against Kansas City when he pitched a three-hit, seven strikeout shutout of the Royals on July 12, 2009. Remember that? Me neither. So instead of thinking of the tool for games in isolation, think of it for cumulative comparison.

Heres what I mean, the list below shows you the only pitchers this season who are averaging over 60 Game Score points per game. I think you will be impressed that it shows off the best pitchers in baseball this season.

Here are the Game Score averages for the Sox starters with at least five starts this season:

You can see by these numbers that it pretty much tracks your assumptions of the ranking of the Sox starters as well.

Okay, that was quick tutorial on Game Scores. Remember its strengths and weaknesses so use it, dont abuse it.

Now go celebrate your Stanley Cup Champion Bruins!

Benintendi, Red Sox hang on to beat Cubs, 5-4

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Benintendi, Red Sox hang on to beat Cubs, 5-4

BOSTON - Andrew Benintendi hit a solo homer off Jake Arrieta during a five-run first inning and the Boston Red Sox held on to beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 Friday night.

Every Boston starter had at least one hit, and Hanley Ramirez, Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez also drove in a run each.

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (2-1) got the win with six innings of two-run ball, surrendering solo homers to Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. in the early innings before settling in. He allowed six hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Boston has won its last nine interleague games at Fenway Park.

Arrieta (3-1) logged his shortest start since Aug. 28, 2014, lasting only 4 1/3 innings and giving up 10 hits and three walks with five strikeouts.

Broadcasting role unlikely for Ortiz, who met with Red Sox this week

Broadcasting role unlikely for Ortiz, who met with Red Sox this week

BOSTON - It's a tad ironic the Red Sox met with David Ortiz on Tuesday about his post-playing career, and then the offense went out and did nothing and Xander Bogaerts was publicly lamenting Ortiz's absence two days later.

John Henry, Tom Werner, Ortiz and his agent, Fern Cuza, met at Fenway Park on Tuesday to discuss the retired slugger’s future role with the organization, team president Sam Kennedy said. 

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Nothing's imminent, but there's one thing Ortiz is unlikely to do with the Sox in the near future: broadcasting. He could still do some of that in the postseason for say, FOX, but it appears an arrangement with NESN isn't in the cards for now, per Kennedy.

Ortiz's role with the Red Sox is still expected to be wide-ranging, something bigger than the standard alumnus agreement. He seems set on taking his time, enjoying his retired life, saying over the weekend he wants to be able to give the job the time it deserves. 

Kennedy in April was unsure if anything would get done this year. 

As for the team's play without Ortiz, and Bogaerts' comments?

"This is an incredibly talented ballclub," Werner said Friday at a luncheon benefitting the Red Sox Foundation and the Foundation To Be Named Later. "I’m really not terribly concerned. Like all fans, I’m a bit frustrated when we don’t give great pitching run support.

"We struggled the last couple of nights. It’s frustrating to think that Chris Sale, who I think is the best pitcher in the American League, doesn’t have much run support. But it’s April. I've been taught to not really look at the standings 'til July. Frustrated by the past two days, but look at the standings, and we’re only one win behind the Cubs. So you know, I mean I wish we were playing a little bit better,  but the team is going to bounce back."

Werner reiterated the Sox have room in their budget to add players ahead of the trade deadline.