Extra Bases

Nine to Know: Red Sox vs. Rays

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The Bill Chuck Files overflow each day with stats, factoids, and observations that are sometimes relevant, sometimes irrelevant, and sometimes simply intriguing. At the start of each Sox series, I will share some of these in my "Nine to Know,” and I hope you will do the same.

For the briefest moment, I thought we would be seeing both the return of Shane Victorino, and the Sox to the .500 mark, but Sunday’s 7-1 loss to the Jays ruined the latter half of that equation. Shane makes his first appearance at home this season, but if you think you’ll get to sing-along to his signature “Three Little Birds” walkup music, you are mistaken. MLB now only allows 15 seconds for each batter (and yet, we still suffer through hours of the cloying “Caroline”). So, if you are at the park, it’s up to you to keep singing “Because every little thing gonna be all right” ... the Sox need the reminder.

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Nine to Know: Red Sox (12-14) vs. Rays (11-15)

1. Last season the Sox had 14 winning streaks of at least three games. In fact, last April 13-20, they had their longest, a seven-game win streak, and they never looked back. This year, the best they have been able to do has been four two-gamers.

2. Which pitcher would you rather have? Through five starts, Pitcher A is 3-1, 5.67 ERA, 1.703 WHIP, 14 BB, 31 K, 1 HR, .302 BAA. Pitcher B is 1-3, 6.00 ERA, 1.708 WHIP, 11 BB, 16 K, 3 HR, .294 BAA. I’m with you, I don’t want either Pitcher A (Felix Doubront in 2013) or Pitcher B: Felix Doubront in 2014.

3. For those of you keeping track, the Sox lead with nine stolen bases, to Jacoby Ellsbury’s eight steals.

4. The 4th inning is when you want to know how the Sox are doing. If the Sox are ahead at the start of the 4th inning, they are 7-0. If the Sox are tied at the start of the 4th inning, they are 3-3. If the Sox are behind at the start of the 4th inning, they are 2-11.

5. The Red Sox bullpen strike rate is the best in baseball at 66.3 percent and they have the highest called strike rate at 36.5 percent.

6. Sox batters are hitting .357 on the first pitch of an at-bat, but .143 on 2-0 pitches. What’s up with that?

7. Sox batters are hitting .218 with runners in scoring position and .218 RISP with two outs.

8. Put a rocking chair behind the plate – Baseball’s current oldest catchers are the 39-year-old Rays backstop Jose Molina and Boston’s two 37-year-olds: A.J. Pierzynski and David Ross.

9. Tonight is Tampa’s 1,000th game since they became the Rays. Since the start of the 2008 season, the former Devil Rays are 561-438 (.562), a record only exceeded by the Yankees’ 579-418 (.581).

See you Friday when the Sox face the A’s.