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.
Well, the Sox are 2-0 in the Mookie Betts era, which began, in Boston’s 81st game of the season. Yasiel Puig began his Dodger career on June 3 last season in the Dodgers’ 56th game of the season when they were 23-32 and LA went 69-38 the rest of the season.
Now don’t get the impression that I’m equating Betts with Puig, I’m just pointing out that, looking at the glass three-quarters filled, that the infusion of a new and dynamic player can provide a boost to everyone on the roster.
Chicago Cubs (34-46 15-26 on the road) @ Boston Red Sox (38-44 20-19 at home)
As the Sox prepare to host the Cubs for a three-game set, today I compare the first half for the 2013 Sox and the 2014 Sox. You will see the negative difference is primarily about the offense that has not recovered from the personnel losses during the offseason, the championship hangover, and the reality that career years are not often repeated.
Nine to Know: First Half: 2013 Red Sox (48-33 26-15 at home / 22-18 road) vs. 2014 Red Sox (37-44 20-19 at home / 17-25 road)
1. Last year at the first half mark, Boston was 48-33, this year the Sox were 37-44. 1997 was the only other season that Boston started 37-44; they finished 78-84.
2. Run differential (RD) is a key determinant of a team’s success and the Sox scored 36 fewer runs than they allowed in the 2014 first half. In 1996, the Sox had a -50 RD at the break and they finished 85-77. It was the only time Boston has had a run differential as much -25 and finished with a winning record.
3. Last season, the Red Sox played their 81st game on June 27. David Ortiz was hitting .319 with 16 homers and 57 RBI. Dustin Pedroia was hitting .318 with 21 doubles and 47 RBI. This season: Papi: .253 with 18 homers and 49 RBI; Pedey: .268 with 23 doubles and 27 RBI.
4. At the halfway mark last season, the Sox outfield was hitting .276, with a .345 OBP and slugging .412. They had 20 homers, 95 walks, and 180 whiffs. This season, the Sox outfield was hitting .231, with a .306 OBP and slugging .332 with 11 homers, 87 walks, and 238 whiffs.
5. At the halfway mark last season, the Sox infield was hitting .270 with a .345 OBP and slugging .432, they had 33 homers, 135 walks, and 305 whiffs. This season, the infield was hitting .255 with a .337 OBP and slugging .376 with 23 homers, 141 walks, and 289 whiffs.
6. Last year through 81 games, the Sox pitching staff had a 3.90 ERA and 1.348 WHIP with a .249 BAA. This season through 81 games, the Sox pitching staff had a 3.77 ERA and 1.304 WHIP with a .256 BAA.
7. Halfway through the 2013 season, the Sox starters had a 3.79 ERA and 1.324 WHIP with a .246 BAA. This season through 81 games, the Sox starters had a 4.16 ERA and 1.339 WHIP with a .264 BAA.
8. Through 81 games in 2013, Clay Buchholz had a 1.71 ERA and 1.020 WHIP, John Lackey had a 2.99 ERA and 1.200 WHIP, and Jon Lester had a 4.61 ERA and 1.351 WHIP. This season: Buchholz - 6.75 ERA and 1.849 WHIP; Lackey - 3.45 ERA and 1.196 WHIP; Lester - 2.92 ERA and 1.194 WHIP.
9. At the midway point in 2013, Boston’s bullpen had a 4.12 ERA, a 1.397 WHIP, a .253 BAA with 15 saves and 11 blown saves. Koji Uehara had three saves in four attempts with a 1.97 ERA and a 0.813 WHIP. In 2014, Boston’s bullpen had a 2.96 ERA, a 1.233 WHIP, a .241 BAA with 21 saves and 7 blown saves. Koji Uehara had 18 saves in 19 attempts with a 1.19 ERA and a 0.717 WHIP.
See you Friday when the Orioles visit Fenway.