Monday, October 19, 2009


Sunday, October 18, 2009

2009 Post-Mortem

What post-mortem examination do the 2009 Red Sox deserve? The simplest and most deserving explanation follows that the Red Sox simply went as far as they deserved.

A team created to be balanced failed to show balance...underachieving on the road, including a dismal road show in Anaheim.

Overall the team went 95-67, but let's look inside the numbers.
  • They won 16 of 18 games against the Orioles, the worst team in MLB
  • They won 7 of 9 games from the next worse Indians
  • Therefore of their 28 games over .500, 19 came from just two teams
  • 7 teams other than Boston had winning records, New York, Tampa, Minnesota, Detroit, Los Angeles, Texas, and Seattle
  • The Sox split with the Yankees and Rays, and had a winning record against only two teams with winning records (Detroit and Minnesota).
  • In other words, the Sox couldn't beat good teams consistently
  • All of which brings us to why they're working on their handicap instead of freezing to death playing baseball.
Why can't the team perform on the road? If there were a simple answer, you'd expect ownership and management to know it. The Sox had an OPS of .753 on the road, and only one AL team, the Yankees had an OPS over .800 on the road. Six AL teams had OPS exceeding .800 at home, including the Red Sox, leading at .862. For all the sturm and drang about Yankee Stadium, the Yankee OPS only increased .036 at home, compared to the Sox' .109.

The tale of the tape for pitching is a bit surprising, with a .736 OPS against at home and .779 away. In other words, the Sox not only hit better at Friendly Fenway, but also pitched better.

Upset? Not really, as perhaps Red Sox Nation's "need to win" has lessened in the wake of a pair of World Series crowns. In other words, the sense of urgency isn't so great. "We haven't won a title in two years."

Maybe worse than the early playoff exit is the reality that the Sox, for the most part, don't generate much excitement. It wasn't as though everyone had a career 'down' year. V-Mart, Youkilis, Gonzalez, Bay, Ellsbury, and Drew all performed at least to most people's expectations. Pedroia and Lowell were at least adequate, and David Ortiz had half a season after struggling mightily.

But overall, the lineup inexplicably struggles to 'create' and 'prevent' runs on the road. With a largely 'mature' team, the Sox can't lack the knowledge on how to get it done on the road. Yes, we've heard of Sox past burning the candles from both ends, but again, that dog don't hunt. At least let's hope not.