Koji Uehara flashback

Koji Uehara’s season is over with a line-drive comeback that broke his wrist.  I went back to his ridiculously dominant 2013 to re-live his strikeout of Prince Fielder in the ALCS Game 3 (Will the Injury to Red Sox Closer Koji Uehara Mean the End of His Dominance?).

Koji Uehara vs. Prince Fielder, Oct. 15/2013 (ALCS Game 3)

 

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Blake Swihart’s debut year so far

Catcher Blake Swihart wasn’t supposed to be in the majors this year; he needed at least one more year, probably two, of minor-league seasoning first.  But injuries to the Red Sox catchers meant he was called up anyway, and though he hasn’t blown away the field, he has nothing to apologize for this season.  I wrote about him in “How is Rookie Catcher Blake Swihart Doing?

Blake Swihart: 10-game rolling average OPS

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Why doesn’t Joe Kelly dominate?

Joe Kelly, with his 100 mph fastball, looks like he should be an absolutely dominant pitcher, but his actual results this year have been mediocre at best.  At sonsofsamhorn.com, I looked at Kelly so far in 2015, focusing on his fastball.  I think that

Kelly this year seems to be be trapped by his fastballs. If he throws them as hard as he is capable of, they are less likely to turn into hits, but more likely to become walks. If he slows his fastball down, improving his ability to throw strikes, the pitches become much more hittable.

Joe Kelly fastballs: Balls per 100 pitches, sorted by pitch speed

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Henry Owens debut

I took a look at the major-league debut of the Red Sox’ top-50 prospect, Henry Owens, on Aug 4/2015.

Henry Owens strikes out Jacoby Ellsbury on a slider well outside the strike zone

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What happened to pitching in 2001?

Most of the trends in these pitching charts are easy to understand:

ERA and WHIP since 1960

It’s easy to see the Year of the Pitcher in 1968, the recovery as baseball adjusted the pitching mound, the sudden increase during the Steroid Years, and the recent crash in offense partially associated with the increase in the size of the strike zone.

But there’s an a abrupt drop in WHIP and (to a lesser extent) ERA between 2000 and 2001, and I don’t know of any rule change, or other change in the game, that would drive that.  Steroids were still winked at, offense remained at a very high level, the strike zone wasn’t officially changed — what happened?

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Runs scored/allowed per inning

I’ve been looking at the distribution of runs scored and allowed per inning for the Red Sox and for all (or AL and NL) teams.  (See also: Has the Evolution of Bullpens Made Grinding Out At-Bats Less Effective?) My hypothesis was that the early-2000s Sox would score a relatively high percentage of their runs in the middle innings, while the modern (futile) Sox would not.  I don’t really see that, and no obvious patterns related to success or the lack thereof are jumping out at me.

I downloaded data from baseball-refererence.com (as well as analyzing equivalent date from retrosheet.org and from PITCHf/x data).  Numbers are percent of total runs, per inning, normalized to the same number of innings (thus reducing the problem of rainouts, not to mention that in about half the games the home team doesn’t bat in the 9th).  Blue represents all AL teams, red is the Red Sox.  The vertical arrows show the years in which the Sox won World Series.  Conversely, they have been very poor teams in 2012, 2014, and 2015, but I don’t see obvious differences in the scoring distributions.  Each chart shows one inning (innings 1-3 on the top row, 4-6 on the middle, and 7-9 at the bottom).

Red Sox runs scored per inning as a percent of total runs

Red Sox runs scored per inning as a percent of total runs

Red Sox runs allowed per inning as a percent of total runs

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Justin Masterson’s velocity

As of his game today (June 28) he’s faster than his last few games for the major-league Sox, but barely back to where he started the year, and nowhere near where he was a couple years ago.

Justin Masterson pitch speed, 2015

He probably needs to pick up another couple mph at the least to have a chance at consistent effectiveness at the major-league level.

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What’s up with Rick Porcello?

Rick Porcello hasn’t been pitching very well for the Red Sox so far.  Although there’s a meme going around that Porcello needs to use his two-seam fastball more, in an article I wrote (Location is the Key for Rick Porcello) I suggested that his pitch mix is not the problem, while the location of his four-seam fastball might be.

Rick Porcello: Pitch characteristics (2015)

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Are Rookies Having a Harder Time?

There have been suggestions from the Red Sox management that the gap between AAA and the major leagues is wider today than ever before. I looked at the claim (Are Rookies Having a Harder Time?) and didn’t find much evidence to support it.

Rookie wRC+ by year

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How Eduardo got his groove back

I wrote about Eduardo Rodriguez’ poor fourth start against the Blue Jays, and how he righted the ship for his fifth start: How Eduardo Rodriguez Got His Groove Back

Rodriguez average fastball velocity by inning

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