Nation STATion: Talking baseball . . . to myself

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Nation STATion: Talking baseball . . . to myself

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

I talk to myself.

There, I admitted it. Does it make me feel any better? No, not really. Ive said it to myself numerous times.

You see when you write baseball like I do, often seven days a week, you need to stay fresh, innovative -- okay, different. Writing about stats too often can be dull, dreary or maniacal. I believe that stats can be interesting and can tell stories. It all depends on what questions they ask or answer.

And thats when I start talking to myself. I ask myself questions that I find interesting based on what goes on in the current baseball scene. Then, I try to think about the questions that you would enjoy reading about as well.

Here is a typical conversation I had with myself.

Hard to believe that the old guy is proving to be one of the rocks of the team. Thank goodness for Tim Wakefield, huh? That was another really steady, innings-eating performance last night. Wake now is 5-3 and has 198 wins, heres my question to you, Bill: How many different teams has Wake beaten?" Tim Wakefield has beaten 27 out of the 30 MLB teams. He has a 0-0 record against the Astros in two starts and 0-1 record in two starts against the Pirates. The only team he has never faced is his Sox. Hes won 21 games against the Rays and now18 against the Jays and 17 against the Tigers.

"Well, it may have been unnerving again, but Jonathan Papelbon picked up another save last night. He now has 19 saves on the season. Who is the Sox all-time leader in 20 save seasons?"
I guess we are going to have to proclaim Pap as the greatest reliever in Sox history. He leads the club with 207 saves all-time and his next save will give him six seasons of at least 20 saves. Dick Radatz (104 saves) had four seasons, Jeff Reardon (88 saves) three and Derek Lowe (85 saves), Lee Smith (58 saves) and Bob Stanley (132 saves) had two each.

"Derek Jeter picked up a double last night in the Yanks loss to Cleveland. He needs three hits to get to 3,000 and hopefully will do it this weekend against Tampa so we dont have to hear about the chase after the All-Star break. Nobody should begrudge the great Yankee, Derek Jeter, getting his 3,000 hits. He has been a role model and a great representative for the game of baseball. But I was wondering: Which team has given up the most of Jeters hits?"
If you guessed Boston . . . Youre wrong! The Orioles have given up 303 hits. The Sox have surrendered 286, one more than the Blue Jays.
"Okay, Bill you have me interested in 3,000 hits now. The last member of the Sox to reach the 3000-hit mark was the Sox captain Carl Yastrzemski. Who did Yaz pick up his 3000th hit against?"
If you said the Yankees . . . Youre right! The date was Sept. 12, 1979 and it was a ground ball just out of the reach of Yankee second baseman Willie Randolph with two outs and no one on in the bottom of the 9th inning of a 9-2 loss. Yaz became the 15th major leaguer to reach the milestone. Derek Jeter will be the 28th member of the club. By the way, even the great ones feel the pressure. Prior to the big hit, Yaz had been 0-for-10, 1-for-18 and 13-for-78.

"Lance Berkman is having a terrific career revival with the Cardinals. Hes hitting .290 and Tuesday night, the Big Puma hit his 23rd homer of the season and the 350th of his career, tying him with Chili Davis for fourth on the all-time homer run list for switch-hitters. Do you know who the top five Red Sox switch-hitter home run hitters are?"
I didnt, but I do now:1. Jason Varitek 1872. Reggie Smith 1493. Reggie Jefferson 504. Carl Everett 485. Bill Mueller 41
"It was weird not having Adrian Gonzalez in the lineup last night. Prince Fielder played for the Brewers yesterday against the D-Backs. And, why do you care? Well, now since the start of the 2006 season Fielder has played in 885 games and Gonzo has played in 884. (Okay, that is a tad maniacal to be tracking that.) Numbers cant measure how much we love Adrian Gonzalez. He is my clear choice for the first-half AL MVP (yours too, I presume). He is hitting .348 with 16 homers and 75 RBI. The question here is what kind of numbers does Gonzo have to put up to be the Sox leader in the Triple Crown categories since 2000?"
In 2000, Nomar Garciaparra hit .372. In 2002, Manny hit .349. In 2006, David Ortiz hit 54 homers. In 2005, Big Papi hit 47. In 2005, Ortiz had 148 RBI and Manny had 145.

"Ill withhold comment on those last two categories other than to say, I would love to see A-Gon reach the 50150 mark.

There was another rain delay last night, this one was a brief 40 minutes. I wonder what other people do during these breaks in the action. I know, when Im not at the park talking over the music that attempts to drown out conversation, I surf other games. I also try to think of other little statistical nuggets that are interesting. So, heres my final question: What do these pitchers have in common: Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter, Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, Jack Morris, Mike Norris, Jim Perry, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Matt Keough?"

They are the pitchers who gave up Jerry Remys seven career homers.

"Good one. By the way, did you ever notice that the RemDawg never talks about what it was like to face Dennis Eckersley? Maybe its because Jerry was 1-for-14 against the Hall of Famer. Remy did a lot better against another HOF-er, Goose Gossage, hitting .345 (10-29).

Okay Bill, thanks for your time.

Thank you, Bill. Its been a pleasure as always. See you next week.

And, Ill see you next week.

Bonus Stat

According tohttp:www.hittrackeronline.com here are the true distances of the six Sox homers Thursday night against the Orioles pitchers:
Ortiz - 424 feet
Gonzo - 421 feet
Pedey - 418 feet
Reddick - 413 feet
Jacoby - 405 feet
Salty - 388 feet

That's almost half a mile (.467), the equivalent of walking from Yawkey Way and Van Ness to Beacon and Park Drive.

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."