I’ve pretty much covered all the ground on the 2012 Boston Red Sox, at least I think I have at this point. In writing this column every week for the whole season, it’s almost always been negative and the last few weeks have just been sarcastic “waiting for the end of the season” type columns. I mean, for the last month-plus, there really hasn’t been anything of any substance happening over on Yawkey Way, or really anything of any substance happening within the organization at all. What’s there to talk about besides, “Wow these guys are terrible, blah, blah blah.”
There’s only so much you can write about what next year’s team will look like, or what they can do to fix the pitching. I could write about the All-Fenway Team that was announced the other night as a ploy to get fans to buy tickets so the sell-out streak could continue farcically into eternity, but I’m tired of that too. Anyone who pays attention know the sell-out streak is a joke, and ownership’s collective finger is no where near the pulse of the fan base. So really, that’s just yesterday’s lunch.
That said, there is enough for a yearly wrap-up column. But, unfortunately, this season is like a zombie in a bad movie and it just won’t end, so we’re still a week away from the yearly wrap-up. Where does that leave us? Bitching some more about the Sox for another week, and their quest to win 70 games. It should be exciting down the stretch.
How bad has it been? Well…
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- The Red Sox have six games left, and have to win one of them to eclipse the 70-win plateau. Every single team in baseball except Boston, Toronto, Minnesota, Cleveland, Miami, Colorado, Houston and the Cubs has already reached 70 wins. That means the Royals, Mariners, Pirates and Padres have all had substantially more success this season then the Red Sox.
- If the Red Sox don’t go at least 4-2 in their final six, they’ll lose 90 games for the first time since 1966. That would make this the worst Red Sox season in 42 years, just two years after the Boston Herald proclaimed them the “Best Team Ever!” With the second-highest payroll in baseball, the Sox have not had a team this bad in over four decades. Ted Williams retired six years before 1966. This is a list of other things that happened in 1966. It was the f**king stone age.
- The Sox finished the year 34-47 at Fenway Park. That might be the most mindboggling stat I’ve ever heard. As a team that has not only thrived at home, but has regularly tailored its team to excel at Fenway, finishing 13 games under .500 is like building a car that is supposed to get 50 miles per gallon on the highway and instead it catches on fire every time it goes above 50 mph.
- They’ve given up 759 runs, which is the fifth-most in baseball.
- They’ve scored the fourth-most runs in the American League?
- WHICH ONE DO YOU THINK IS MORE IMPORTANT?
- Adrian Gonzalez, who was traded last month, still leads the team in batting average and RBI. Neither number is out of this world either – Gonzalez was hitting .300 on the dot with the Sox, and drove in 86 runs. So, for the full year, no member of the Red Sox has even driven in 90 runs or hit above .300. Not one single player.
- Hard-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia leads the team with 24 home runs, yet is slugging just .460, because he can’t actually hit the baseball other then few times he gets lucky and runs in to one. Just three players on the team have over 20 home runs – Salty, David Ortiz and the Cheerful Cody Ross.
- It’s hard to distinguish who’s a “regular” at this point because the Sox have trotted out a Triple-A team every night for the last 60 days, but among players who have played semi-regularly, only David Ortiz has a strong OBP – and he’s missed the last two months of the season. After his .415 mark, 4A Daniel Nava is next with a .357. Dustin Pedroia is at .346. Cody Ross is at .333. Somehow, the Red Sox have essentially no players with an on-base percentage above .350! Salty’s is .291, Friendly Mike Aviles’s is .283, savior James Loney’s is .280, Ryan Kalish’s is .274 and the shortstop of the future, Jose Iglesias, has a robust .224 OBP.
- NOBODY OTHER THEN DAVID ORTIZ HAS OVER 50 WALKS ON THE SEASON. They play 162 games. Forget what I said about the record at Fenway being the most mindboggling stat. The fact that nobody has 50 walks makes my head hurt. Here are a few people around the league with at least 50 walks: Elvis Andrus, Jamey Carroll, David Murphy, Asdrubal Cabrera, Josh Reddick, Matt Joyce, Alberto Callaspo and Dustin Ackley.
- Clay Buchholz has the lowest ERA in the rotation….at 4.22.
- Buchholz – who everyone thinks has actually been pretty good – has 14 quality starts in 28 actual starts. Jon Lester has 17 quality starts in 32 starts. Felix Doubront is 14 out of 28. Daisuke Matsuzaka has 2 out of 10. For the year, the team has 71 quality starts out of 156 games. To put that into perspective, starting pitchers have allowed three or fewer runs in five or more innings 71 times this year.
- Lester’s WHIP is 1.37, and Buchholz’s is 1.29. Alfred Aceves’s record is 2-10. The team’s best pitcher has been Junichi Tazawa, as his ERA is just 1.51 over 41 innings. He’s averaging more than a strikeout per inning. Hands down, the best pitcher on the staff.
- Bobby Valentine is the manager of the Red Sox.
So there you have it. It’s been a miraculous season. In my preseason column predicting what I thought the basement was for the team as a whole, I had them at 85 wins. I thought the worst they could do was win 85 games. Good God was I wrong. They’ll be lucky win 72, and I think those numbers paint a pretty clear picture of why they’ve struggled so much. It’s pretty simple, really…
They’re not very good.