Thursday, May 29, 2008

Road Worriers

After 56 games, the Red Sox are 32-24, 1 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. The Sox have put together an impressive 21-5 home record and a depressing 11-19 road track.

In the AL only the Orioles and the Mariners have worse road records.

The Sox have an overall OPS of .796 and are second in the AL in runs scored, but are averaging only 4.1 runs and an OPS of .745 away from Fenway.

The Sox have an overall ERA of 4.08 and a road ERA of 4.61.

In other words, it's hard to invoke 'ballpark effects' explanations because the Sox hit better and score far more runs per game at home (6 versus 4.1) and at the same time allow fewer runs at home.

How much of the difference is random, how much is sample size related, and how much relates to some mystery 'x' factor? I'm sure the Sox have the statistical teams trying to parse this data and understand it. Clearly in Oakland the Sox faced Rich Harden and Justin Duchscherer at peak efficiency. Joe Blanton is pretty good, too and Erik Bedard, when healthy, is among the top starters in the AL. Maybe it's just a matter of 'momentum lasting as long as tomorrow's starting picher'.

We shouldn't confuse ineffectiveness with talent. The Sox have a blend of experience and youth, both with enough ability to overcome this.
I'm not hanging out the panic button, Jobu, or advocating a bat burying ceremony. Heck, if I thought it would do any good, I'd do all three.

Let's give them some good karma, maybe on the heels of the NESN replay of the Lester no-no.

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