5 Boston Red Sox Stats That Will Win Them The World Series
5 Stats To Believe In For The Boston Red Sox
Well, that didn’t take long. One year after finishing dead last in the AL East, the Boston Red Sox shipped some of their big contracts out west and are now in a great spot to make a late postseason run. Much has been made of the increased team camaraderie and morale, and while that has helped, the ability to count on production up and down the lineup doesn’t hurt either. Whether it is Daniel Nava or Mike Carp, every player that Boston inserts into the lineup seems to produce in key situations.
While David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia lead an explosive offense, the pitching staff should not be overlooked. Not only have they been effective, but they have arguably the best closer going these days. Koji Uehara has a microscopic 1.12 ERA and retired 27 consecutive batters at one point this season (the closer's equivalent of a perfect game). His ability to shorten games has allowed the Red Sox to limit losing streaks, a key in the short postseason. Will he crumble under the pressure? Or will he prove that he is in fact the next great ninth-inning man in the AL East?
Surprisingly enough, this AL East title is only the Red Sox' second division crown since 1995, and a World Series victory was the end result last time. The following slides detail five statistics that have been accumulated all season long and will play a big role in if the Red Sox can make an extended run through the month of October.
5. Extra-Base Hits
Swinging for the fences is not an offensive game plan -- it is a last-ditch effort to produce a lot of runs in a quick manner. The Red Sox, on the other hand, focus on turning singles into doubles, thus putting themselves in scoring position for the next hitter. They do this by having a great feel for the Green Monster and taking advantage of their opponents' discomfort with it. Watch a Red Sox game and notice how once they hit the ball to left field, they are thinking double the whole way. Boston pressures opposing outfielders as much as anybody, thus resulting in their league-high 558 extra-base hits (12.3 percent more than any other playoff team). The selfless nature that I described earlier is applicable here as well, as David Ortiz has changed his approach when facing a shift, allowing him to record more extra-base hits than he has in any of the past five seasons.
4. Stolen Base Percentage
For a team with elite power, the tendency is for the opposing pitcher to focus completely on the batter, thus neglecting the running game. Behind Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox swiped 121 bags on 140 attempts (86 percent), the highest success rate in all of baseball. While Ellsbury leads the way, Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino also have the ability to steal a base and turn a walk into a rally opportunity. The elite speed in the top three spots in the order is what makes the run producers in the middle third of the lineup so effective, as the opposition is forced to use shifts and their starter is forced to pitch from the stretch. The home run may be what makes the highlight reel, but the distracting running game is the straw that stirs Boston’s drink.
3. Runs Scored
Pitching is great, and while the Boston Red Sox have plenty of it, they are an offensive team that relies on scoring runs to win ball games. Their 830 runs scored lead the big leagues by a wide margin (+37 runs, or 4.7 percent) and the depth of their lineup makes high run totals a common occurrence. They boast high-end speed and power, making them as slump proof as any lineup in the postseason.
We all know the power that players like David Ortiz and Mike Napoli possess, and that is great, but it is their league-leading .792 OPS that is a better indicator of future success. On top of boasting high-end power in the middle third of their lineup, the Red Sox have a handful of patient hitters, starting with the heart and soul of their team in Dustin Pedroia, that are more than willing to battle for 10 pitches and earn a walk. In fact, the Red Sox ranked third in all of baseball in walks drawn, a great quality to have in an offense that features so many dangerous bats. The patient approach not only puts runners on base with extreme regularity, but it also taxes the opposing pitcher and results in a shorter outing. In the playoffs, where bullpen depth has proved crucial in the past, the ability to knock a starting pitcher out early can go a long ways to advancing deep into October. Opponents must walk the fine line between pitching carefully and pitching strikes, something that is incredibly hard to do given the selfless attitude of the Red Sox hitters.
1. Quality Starts
Sure, the hitting of the Red Sox is what sells tickets, but make no mistake about it: this team will only go as far as their pitching staff can take them. Even without their ace Clay Buchholz (11-1 1.60) for a two-month stretch, the Red Sox tied for the third-most quality starts with 94 such outings. That’s three more than the pitching staff of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the staff that is getting all of the hype heading into the playoffs.
As mentioned in the previous slide, the Red Sox score a ton of runs, making the inning-eating ability of their starters that much more crucial as it is only a matter of time before the offense produces. Combine their starters' ability to go deep into ball games (Buchholz is averaging nearly seven inning per start) with potentially the best ninth-inning man in Koji Uehara, and you’ve got yourself a World Series contender.