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!

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.