Monday, April 30, 2012

Do the Red Sox Mail It In on Getaway Days?

For this post, I’m taking Barry’s hypothesis that the Red Sox have a recent tendency to mail it in on getaway days.  I’m defining a getaway day as a road game followed by a home game (or vice-versa) the next day with no off day in between.  I believe Barry was specifically talking about getaway days when the team is returning home to the comfort of their own homes/beds/wives that night.  I have broken it down into getaway days when the team is headed home after the game and getaway days when the team is headed on the road after the game.  Here are all of the results from 2011, with Sunday’s game added in for good measure:

Date                        Win/Loss            Opponent            Score                  Hits           Going Home/Road?
4/29/12                    L                         White Sox            1-4                        3                        Home

9/4/11                      L                        Rangers                4-11                       9                        Road

8/25/11                   W                        Rangers                6-0                        9                         Home

8/17/11                    L                        Rays                     0-4                        3                         Road

8/7/11                     W                       Yankees                3-2(10)                 11                        Road

7/31/11                   W                       White Sox             5-3                       10                        Home

7/28/11                    L                       Royals                   3-4                        8                         Road

7/3/11                     W                      Astros                     2-1                       6                         Home

6/16/11                   W                      Rays                       4-2                        6                        Home

5/29/11                   W                        Tigers                   4-3                        7                        Home
                                L                        Tigers                   0-3                        4                        Home

5/22/11                   W                        Cubs                     5-1                        12                      Road

5/15/11                   W                       Yankees                7-5                        8                        Home

5/9/11                     W                       Twins                    2-1(11)                 9                         Road

4/28/11                   W                       Orioles                   6-2                       13                       Home

4/18/11                   W                       Blue Jays               9-1                       13                       Road

4/7/11                      L                       Indians                   0-1                        4                        Home

Getaway Days coming home totals: 10 games, 7-3 record, 35 runs, 70 hits, 3.5 runs/game, 7 hits/game, 3 games with 0 or 1 run, 2 games with double-digit hits, 24 runs allowed, +11 run differential

Getaway Days going on the road totals: 7 games, 4-3 record, 26 runs, 65 hits, 3.7 runs/games, 9.3 hits/game, 1 game with 0 or 1 run, 3 games with double-digit hits, 24 runs allowed, +2 run differential

Getaway Day Totals:  17 games, 11-6 record, 61 runs, 135 hits, 3.6 runs/game, 7.9 hits/game, 4 games with 0 or 1 run, 0 games with double-digit runs, 5 games with double-digit hits

Overall 2011 season totals: 5.4 runs/game (highest in MLB), 9.9 hits/game (highest in MLB), 4.5 runs allowed/game, +138 run differential

Conclusions:  The Sox have a 7-3 record in getaway games with a +11 run differential when they are headed back home after the game, which kind of blows Barry’s hypothesis away on the surface.  However, if you dig a little deeper, you may find a bit of statistical evidence to support Barry’s hunch that the Sox players aren’t trying as hard at the plate in these situations.  The Sox scored 3.5 runs per game and notched 7 hits per game in this scenario, which by itself doesn’t sound like a team that is mailing it in.  However, when you compare it to the 2011 Red Sox MLB-leading averages of 5.4 runs and 9.9 hits per game (how the hell did this team miss the playoffs again with 875 runs, 1600 hits, and a +138 run differential?!?), you will find that on getaway days heading home, the Sox scored 2 full runs and had almost 3 fewer hits per game than their season averages.  They also got either shutout or held to one run in 3 out of 10 of these games, or 30% of their going-home getaway days (brilliant math right there).  What is a bit odd is that the Sox actually had a higher runs/game number (3.7 to 3.5) and hits per game number (9.3 to 7.0) on getaway days when the Sox were heading out of town then when they were headed home, but yet they have a much lower run differential (+2 to +11) and a worse W-L record (4-3 to 7-3).  

            Now, one may be able to look at these numbers and argue that they represent a pretty normal cross-section of any 17 games within any MLB season, and they would probably be right.  There doesn’t seem to be any glaring statistical abnormalities here.  There isn’t enough evidence to point to and say “ah-ha! I told you the Sox are terrible on getaway days!  What a bunch of wimps who care more about getting on the plane than winning a game!”  However, the slight difference between the runs/hits stats and the run differential/win-loss record stats says to me the Sox are hitting less in getaway-to-home games, but still managing to win these games.  The message strictly within the clubhouse might be something along the lines of, “alright boys, let’s have quick at-bats, quicker innings pitched, let’s not make any errors, let’s win, and let’s get out of town and on the plane to get home to our wives/girlfriends/escorts/groupies/tweeps”. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for putting those together Brandon and just like I figured would happen I was proven wrong. They are 7-3 in their last 10 get away days at the end of a road trip and one of those was a double header that they split in Detroit (I can't blame them for wanting that to end quickly). They did however score a total of one run in those 3 losses. So those 3 games are the ones that stuck in my head and forced me to form the opinion that they were mailing it in on get a way days.