Lloyd: What do you think my chances are?
Mary: Not good.
Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
Mary: I'd say more like one out of a million.
Lloyd: So you're telling me there's a chance... *YEAH!*
Okay. I’ve put the white flag away simply because the weather in Chicago has me thinking we’re still playing pre-Memorial Day baseball. That and the fact that I’m really afraid this Jake Cutler thing isn’t going to work out but don’t get me started there.
It seems if we do a simple audit of the Sox the news is not all that grim. Okay it’s not spectacular but there is a glimmer of hope.
Let’s open the books and take a look:
Hitting? Well we’re average. The nuns at Our Lady of Perpetual Hope would give the Sox a “C-“ (as well as wash Ozzie’s mouth out with soap). We rank 9th in almost every category. Batting average (.262), OBP (.332), SLG% (.422) and Runs (497), we’re in ninth place across the board. That places us in the lower tier of the 14 AL teams but don't worry we’re not buried there. One hitting stat that needs improvement is runs scored. I know that sounds like a Yogi Berra quote. The fact is you can live with a low batting average or slugging percentage as long as you somehow get the runs across the plate. Statistics can be carefully disguised lies but if you’re ninth in runs scored you have a problem. I’m convinced the more you move away from station-to-station baseball the greater your chances are of manufacturing runs. (Yeah, that sounds like Yogi too).
Surprisingly pitching has been a bright spot. I remember before opening day thinking that a staff relying on Contreras and Colon was destined for the cellar but somehow the Sox have managed quality starts out of whoever has taken the bump. Team ERA is fourth in the AL (4.13) and they are fifth in strikeouts (749). They’ve allowed 355 walks which ranks eighth and shockingly they are twelfth in home runs allowed (104). So you’ve got a staff that manages runs scored, strikes batters out and doesn’t give up the dinger. Not bad. The bullpen however continues to struggle as their save percentage is ninth in the AL (68%) and has dropped a percentage point in the last couple of weeks.
The fielding stats are horrible but that doesn’t mean we can’t field now. We’re thirteenth in the league in fielding percentage and we’re number three in errors (79). Only the Mariners and the Royals have made more errors than the Sox. These standings likely will not change as the season progresses but there is hope. The Sox have four players in the top 25 in errors and a quick look at the list reveals a lot. Alexei Ramirez ranks third in the AL with 13 errors. Beckham, Getz and Josh Fields are the other three players. Ramirez is injured, Beckham and Getz have righted the ship as rookies and Fields is in AAA (or limited to the bench). While the numbers will continue to show us as a poorly fielding team the performance going forward may very well be something else.
Still our greatest asset continues to be our weak division. If we were in the any other division we’d be setting up tee times for October. This past week the Twins and the Tigers had a chance to extend their leads but the Sox just refuse to go away. Because we’re good? No most likely because we’re good enough.
(Dad, the picture's for you!)