Nation STATion: Red Sox four play

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Nation STATion: Red Sox four play

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

Stop getting excited; this column is interesting but nowhere near as sexy as its title.

Okay, heres what weve learned so far: if the Sox dont score a least four runs, they are not going to win many games.

Think about that. Even as we keep hearing that this now the new age of the pitcher, for the Sox its still all about their bats. And thats why Adrian Gonzalez was the right fielder Wednesday night. And thats why the Sox will have to be creative in finding a right-handed power hitting corner outfielder without dramatically affecting their already swollen payroll.

Frame of reference time:

Here are some Boston scoring facts:

The Sox have been shutout out seven times this season. Record: 0-7
Including last night, they have scored one run seven times this season. Record: 1-6
They have scored two runs five times this season. Record: 1-4
They have scored three runs six times this season. Record: 2-4Bottom line: When scoring three runs or less, the Sox record is 4-21 (.160).

Here are some Yankee scoring facts:

The Yankees have been shutout out five times this season. Record: 0-5
They have scored one run two times this season. Record: 0-2
They have scored two runs five times this season. Record: 0-5
They have scored three runs 11 times this season. Record: 4-7

Bottom line: When scoring three runs or less, the Yankees record is 4-19 (.173).

Here are some Phillies scoring facts:

The Phils have been shutout out five times this season. Record: 0-5
They have scored one run 10 times this season. Record: 1-9
They have scored two runs 12 times this season. Record: 6-6
They have scored three runs six times this season. Record: 10-7

Bottom line: When scoring three runs or less, the Phillies record is 17-27 (.386).

Here are some Red Sox pitching facts:

The Sox pitchers have thrown 7 shutouts this season. Record: 7-0
They have allowed one run 9 times this season. Record: 8-1
They have allowed two runs 8 times this season. Record: 7-2
They have allowed three runs 14 times this season. Record: 9-5

Bottom line: When allowing three runs or less, the Red Sox record is 31-8 (.794).

Here are some Yankees pitching facts:

The Yankee pitchers have thrown 2 shutouts this season. Record: 2-0
They have allowed one run 7 times this season. Record: 6-1
They have allowed two runs 14 times this season. Record: 12-2
They have allowed three runs 18 times this season. Record: 15-3

Bottom line: When allowing three runs or less, the Yankees record is 35-6 (.853).

Here are some Phillies pitching facts:

The Phils pitchers have thrown 12 shutouts this season. Record: 12-0
They have allowed one run 11 times this season. Record: 11-0
They have allowed two runs 14 times this season. Record: 7-7
They have allowed three runs 10 times this season. Record: 8-2

Bottom line: When allowing three runs or less, the Phillies record is 38-9 (.808).

When scoring three runs or less, the Phillies, with their great pitching, are by far the most successful of the three teams. More worrisome for Boston is that even the Yankees do better than they do in low scoring games.

When allowing three runs or less, the Phillies have thrown 47 games, the Yankees 41, and Boston 39, and the Yankees have the best winning percentage.

These low-scoring games, those games when your bats are being stifled, are the games that championship teams need to win.

Does it matter that the:

Red Sox are 18-0 in games in which they have scored 8 runs?
Yankees are 15-0 in games in which they have scored 8 runs?
Phillies are 11-0 in games in which they have scored 8 runs?

Well, its nice that these teams are undefeated and its certainly nice that these teams are capable of putting together big games. I mean the Orioles are only 7-0 in 8 run games. But on the other hand, those high-scoring kind of games pad hitting stats and delude you into thinking more positively about an offense than you should.

From my perspective, the key games are the four run games.

Let me show you how critical four-run games are:

When the Sox score four runs, their record is 10-7, .588.
When the Sox allow four runs, their record is 4-3, .571.

When the Yankees score four runs, their record is 8-4, .667.
When the Yankees allow four runs, their record is 8-6, .571.

When the Phillies score four runs, their record is 6-1, .857.
When the Phillies allow four runs, their record is 11-5, .688.

Frame of reference time (again):When the White Sox score four runs, their record is 5-6, 455.
When the White Sox allow four runs, their record is 5-9, .357.

Overall, the Red Sox are 45-34, .570. In four-run games they are 14-10, .583.
Overall, the Yankees are 47-31, .603. In four-run games they are 16-10, .615.
Overall, the Phillies are 51-30, .630. In four-run games they are 17-6, .739.
Overall, the White Sox are 39-42, .481. In four-run games they are 10-15, .400.
Clearly, in these cases, the better these teams do when scoring four or allowing four, the better their overall record seems to be. Scoring thresholds vary for different teams but for at least for these teams, four-play is sexy.

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

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Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.