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.

Drellich: Why David Ortiz should hang around the Red Sox more often

Drellich: Why David Ortiz should hang around the Red Sox more often

BOSTON — David Ortiz should stop by Fenway Park more often. 

There may be no tangible gain for his old teammates. At this point, it defies logic to think there’d be tangible harm.

On Thursday evening before Ortiz’s charity roast at House of Blues, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy recalled how it was a no-brainer to plan Friday’s jersey retirement so soon after Ortiz’s exit from the game. 

Kennedy said he was the one who actually broached the question with team management last year. Basically, everyone looked at him sideways because of the implication any other time but right away made sense.

“No person has meant more to the [John] Henry-[Larry] Lucchino-[Tom] Werner era than David Ortiz,” Kennedy said.

Let’s accept the premise wholly: that because Ortiz is so special, the timing for his ceremony deserved to be just as unique. The design of the day was centered on how much Ortiz means to people: fans, the team.

Why, then, has Ortiz been staying away from the ballclub? Dustin Pedroia has been a leader for years. Ortiz is a positive influence. The idea that having Big Papi swing by Fenway sometimes would actively stunt the development of the Red Sox’ identity is a stretch. 

There’s been a grace period of nearly three months. 

“Well I, I could never entirely walk away. I have been around,” Ortiz said Friday night in a press conference. “I have been watching the games and I have been in touch with my teammates. I have been in touch with the organization. You know, I just don’t like to, you know, be in the way of anything. 

“I know that, me retiring, it was going to have a big impact on what we do around here. So I don’t — I tell myself, give everybody their space and I don’t want to, now that I’m not playing, I don’t want to be a distraction. And I know that coming to the field sometimes, it can cause a distraction or something, so. I have been able to keep my distance so I’m not in nobody’s way. But I stay in touch with everybody and I have been pretty busy also, doing a lot of things. 

“But me and the organization, we’ve been talking for a while about me working with the organization. Probably Sam Kennedy can give you guys more info about it. But it’s going to happen, and at some point I’m going to be able to help out somewhere, somehow some way.”

It’d be ridiculous to say Ortiz is the reason Rick Porcello pitched well and Hanley Ramirez homered Friday. It’d be a flat-out lie.

But Ortiz’s presence shouldn’t somehow be a distraction, if leadership and the mentality in the Red Sox clubhouse is as the Red Sox describe it.

"Pedey has been a leader of this team for the entire time he's been here,” manager John Farrell said Friday. “To me, the clubhouse has been a place where guys have felt comfortable. They've been able to come in and be themselves. They have rallied around one another when times have called for that. When you remove an individual, there are going to be other people who step up. I firmly believe that has taken place.”

If that’s the case, then how does what Farrell said in the same pregame press conference yesterday make sense?

“[Ortiz] has a keen awareness that he could potentially keep others from flourishing with the potential thought and the question always being there,” Farrell said. “Well, he is around, is he ever coming back? All the things that I think have been reported on to a certain extent. I think David's keen awareness of himself and how a team works, I wouldn't be surprised if that is at the root of his decision to keep the space that he's done.”

But that decision seems flawed. No one in that room should be hurt or confused by Ortiz coming by occasionally — absolutely not now that the jersey’s hanging. (A little speculation he could un-retire was throwing the Sox off their game? Really?) 

If anything, the team should find comfort in seeing such an important, charismatic man with ties to the group.

Ortiz is special. The team has adapted well without him. If those are facts, the need for Ortiz to stay away doesn’t make sense.

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - David Ortiz became one of the most celebrated players in Red Sox history during his storied 14-year run in Boston.

On the night he returned to Fenway to have his No. 34 take its place among the franchise's other legends, his former teammates did their part to make sure it was a memorable one.

Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

Ramirez said he played with Ortiz on his mind.

"He's my mentor, my big brother. He's everything," Ramirez said. "Today when I saw him on the field crying, it made me cry."

He said his home run was in Big Papi's honor.

"Definitely, definitely, definitely," he said. "I was going to do his thing (pointing his hands in the air) but I forgot."

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

"It was vintage Porcello," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "A couple of pitches that cut his night short, but he was crisp throughout."

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Porcello said he isn't sure if he has completely turned a corner yet after his slow start, but he has felt better in his recent starts.

"Today was a step in the right direction," he said.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.