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.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”