Friday’s Red Sox Win Feels Like a Big One

To come back and win after your ace starter gets knocked out following what, depending on your definition of “worst”, could be called the worst start in Red Sox history:20160625 Post Worst Starts BBREF


Yep. Last night’s abysmal start by David Price (12 hits allowed in 2 1/3 innings) is much more rare in baseball than a perfect game, a cycle, or a batter clubbing four home runs in a game.

When the sun rose this morning, there had been 12 starts since 1913 where a pitcher had allowed 12 or more hits while lasting 2.1 innings or fewer. Prior to last night, no Red Sox starter was the victim of such a start.

The kicker? David Price is the owner of TWO of those starts.

Luckily, Price only allowed 6 runs, the fewest of any start on the list, because the Red Sox were still in the game.

With two outs in the 9th inning, Boston had closed to within 7-4 and had Jackie Bradley on base for Sandy Leon. On the 11th pitch, Leon, who is now hitting .545 (12-for-22) after entering the season with a .165 career average, roped a double, bringing up Mookie Betts as the tying run.

Since they began recording pitch counts in 1989, it was just the 2nd hit by a Red Sox player with 2 outs in the 9th or extra innings on 11 pitches or more while trailing. The other was by another Sox legend, Darnell McDonald, in 2010.

Betts then deposited a 1-1 pitch from Matt Bush into the stands to tie the game. It was just the 29th tying or go-ahead HR by a Red Sox player with 2 outs in the 9th or extra innings since 1930:

20160625 Tying GoAhead HR 2outs 9th RedSox BBREF

Only Ted Williams (4), Rico Petrocelli (2), and Butch Hobson (2) have hit more than one such HR as a member of the Red Sox. Williams is tied with Derrek Lee and Miguel Cabrera for the most such homers in MLB since 1930.

16 pitches later, Dustin Pedroia put the Red Sox in front when he scored on a Bush wild pitch.

But Boston still needed to get the Rangers out in the bottom of the 9th and didn’t have closer Craig Kimbrel available after he pitched two innings on Thursday. So the Red Sox turned to Koji Uehara to try to seal the deal.

Uehara fanned the side in order to notch the save. It was the 8th time as a Red Sox that Koji had faced 3+ batters and struck them all out, making him the all-time franchise leader in such games:

20160625 Games with 3+BF and all K RedSox BBREF








He’s now tied for 21st on the all-time MLB list in that category:

20160625 Games with 3+BF and all K MLB BBREF















What a win for Boston! Will it be a season altering night? Maybe we’ll begin to find out tonight.

Got a comment or suggestion? Hit me up on Twitter @nuggetpalooza.

Thanks to Baseball-Reference for their help in putting all this together,


Baseball Nuggets – May 6


How about a few nuggets and notes before the Red Sox and Yankees get started?
* – The Yankees have batted in the 9th inning in 22 games this season and have scored 1 run, fewest in the majors so far. They are 0-for-8 with RISP in the 9th (14-for-76 overall, .184).
* – Since 1970, there have now been 72 games where a starter has lasted 3 innings or less, walked 6+, and allowed at least one HR. Teams are now 9-63 in those games. The Red Sox’ win in such a game last night was the first in the majors since 2008, when Texas beat Cleveland, 13-9, despite Kason Gabbard (remember him?) walking 6 and allowing a homer in 2.2 innings. The only other such Red Sox starts were by Daniel Bard in 2012 (a 5-1 loss to TOR ) and Tomo Ohka in 2001 (a 10-3 loss to the CHW).


* – Dustin Pedroia has a 1.067 OPS in his last 69 PA, his best such stretch since ’13 and 11th best career-wise:









* – RBI can be a misleading stat because the context in which a player bats can vary so much. The more runners that are on base when you come to bat increases your RBI opportunities. SO let’s look at the leaders in RBI/RunnersOnBase percentage so far in 2016 (min. 45 runners on base):RBI20160505











Bryce Harper has come up with 60 runners on base and has 26 RBI, a 43% RBI rate, best in the majors. Big Papi ranks 3rd among AL batters at 37% (min. 45 runners on base).

Here are the trailers:










Atlanta’s Erick Aybar has been abysmal this year, tallying only two RBI despite 60 ducks on the pond. Houston’s Carlos Gomez (4 RBI despite 47 baserunners) is a real surprise on this list.

Finally, here are the Red Sox:










Travis Shaw leads a list of SIX Red Sox who have hit with 70+ runners on base already, but none of those seven guys are leading the team in RBI. That’s David Ortiz, who despite having only 63 runners on so far, leads the team in RBI by 6 over his next closest challenger.


Draftkings and “House Money”

I am a customer of Draftkings. I deposited $25 about 18 months ago and played hundreds of $2, $3, and $5 games until my account ran dry after Week 2 of this NFL season. Considering all of the hand-wringing that has occurred regarding DFS since, I decided not to make any more deposits.

On Saturday, I received an email from Draftkings stating that I had been offered a free entry (worth $20!) into their final “Millionaire Maker” game of this NFL season. Who can pass that up, right? I did a little math in my head and figured that four people in the contest would win “life changing” money ($100,000 or more). If 250,000 people entered, that gave me in the neighborhood of a 1-in-62,500 shot, which are MUCH BETTER odds than buying a lottery ticket and a whole lot more fun too!

So my son and I took about an hour on Sunday debating which lineup to send out there.

In the early games, I only had three players going. But all three did well. Panthers receivers Ted Ginn and Greg Olsen combined for three touchdowns and emerging Bills star Sammy Watkins hauled in two more. By 4:30, I was not in the top 150,000 in the standings (because so many entries had more players playing) but I was averaging nearly a half point per player minute, which put me in contention to make a little money as this contest paid the top 63,000 finishers.

The 4:00 games did not help my cause at all.

I had selected the Bengals defense after debating between them and the Chiefs (that one hurt). Cincinnati gave up some garbage-time points and really didn’t do much at all. My other late afternoon player was (Fat) Eddie Lacy. I can hear the groans from many of you Lacy owners from here. Two measly points. I was pretty much finished. Why didn’t I pick Danny Woodhead? Why?

The Sunday Night game came on and I had one guy playing. I was really only keeping one eye on that game after Lacy had pretty much buried me. Except that one guy I had was Arizona running back David Johnson, who immediately cashed in a touchdown before 8:45, then another before halftime, and another in the 3rd quarter. 47 fantasy points later, and I was back to .40 points per player minute, which projected into the top 63,000.

After all of the trouble I had picking players this fantasy season (I rode CJ Anderson heavily in my drafts this year) it was difficult to be optimistic about the three players that I had going in the Monday Night game. Detroit’s Matt Stafford and Golden Tate and New Orleans wideout Brandon Cooks.

But holy moly Stafford hit Tate for an early touchdown and just like that I went from 125,000th to 50,000th. We had a ballgame. Then midway through the second quarter Stafford found Tate in the end zone AGAIN. By this time, I’m sniffing the top 20,000 and looking at a $25 payday! I guess you can tell by now that I’m not what Vegas-types would call a “whale”.

With about a minute to go in the half, Drew Brees lofted a pass down the right sideline to… Cooks! TOUCHDOWN! I’m 11,000th! But replay showed that he didn’t get in. Back to 23,000th place.

Draftkings PrizesA little aside here: Another fun thing about playing in a “big money” game is the ability to track the drama at the top of the leaderboard, where the life-changing money is changing lives. Entering the game last night, 16 of the top 17 entries had no players playing Monday Night. Entrant “cflanders002” was leading for the million dollar prize with 272 points (a little over .50 points per player minute). His lineup included basically all of the weekend’s superstars (Cam, Woodhead, Antonio Brown, David Johnson), the definition of “hitting the jackpot”. But lurking in 4th place (the $100,000 spot) was entrant “lazgetsfit”, who entered Monday night with 258 but with the Saints’ Tim Hightower yet to play. Right after Cooks’ touchdown was reversed, the ball was placed on the one-yard-line and Hightower ran for the touchdown. Putting “laz” in GREAT SHAPE for winning a million dollars. But there was a FLAG ON THE PLAY. One more unsuccessful Hightower carry and a couple of braindead plays by Saints players and coaches ended the threat. I can’t imagine what “laz” and “cflanders” were going through.

Anyway, in the third quarter, Brees found Cooks for a legit touchdown (along with several other catches by Cooks and Tate) which, for a short while, moved me into the top 2,500. That would have meant a $100 payout! Alas, the final few minutes saw TD passes to other players which dropped me into 3,086th place with 219 points (.41 points per player minute)Draftkings3

“cflanders002” is a million dollars richer. Tim Hightower caught an 18-yard pass on the game’s final play, lifting “lazgetsfit” past three players and into second place. Going from 5th to 2nd on that play was worth a whopping $360,000 to “laz”. Entrant “tholl99” lost $200,000 on that final play. I bet his alarm went off early this morning.

My Draftkings account now proudly boasts a $75 balance. Common sense says cash it out and use the money for something sensible like that new pump for the well that we’ve had our eye on. But that’s not going to happen. I’ll play hundreds and hundreds of $2 games over the next several months, winning some and losing some, and eventually the “house money” will be gone.

But it won’t be boring!

Baseball Notes – BALLS HIT DEEP


I’ve hypothesized all year that Boston has been the victim of more “warning track outs” than anybody else this season. And it appears that I was wrong. At least I was if you use the Baseball-Reference’s event finder play descriptions for balls hit to “deep outfield”. Below are the team-by-team totals (through May 28) for batted balls where the location was listed as “deep” and “outfield”:

temp 2015 thru May 28 DEEP results















The Red Sox have hit the 13th most such balls (272) and their 1.646 OPS on them ranks a very bad 26th. The only AL team that’s worse is Chicago (1.634). Of course, the Red Sox currently rank 25th in overall OPS (.680) with, you guessed it, the White Sox (.658) the only AL team that’s worse.

Is it luck? Is it a quirk in the way batted balls are categorized from park to park? Is it that Red Sox and White Sox hitters have “warning track power”? Let’s look at 2014:

temp 2014 DEEP results















Well look at that. Toronto was on top last year, too. And Boston was in their same 26th place, albeit with an OPS about 100 points lower.

Before we move on to players, let’s look at Home/Road splits. Here are HOME results since the start of the 2014 season:

temp 2014 2015 HOME DEEP results
















Boston checks in 12th (1.779 OPS) while Toronto remains in the top spot with a ridiculous 2.305 OPS. The Blue Jays have 132 HR on 465 deep balls at home (28%), while the rest of the league was at 16% (Boston 12%, KC just 9%).

What about on the road?

temp 2014 2015 ROAD DEEP results















Aaack. There are the Red Sox, dead last, with a 1.400 OPS on deep balls hit on the road. However, only one team has hit more deep balls on the road since the start of the 2014 season than the Red Sox (655)…Cleveland (657).

Baltimore leads the league in road OPS on deep balls (1.954), thanks to 21% of their deep balls leaving the yard. On the road, the Blue Jays sport a much more normal 17% home run rate, leading me to believe that there is some noise in the data coming from Rogers Centre.

So what about individual players? Here is the list of players with 40+ deep balls so far in 2015:

temp 2015 thru May 28 INDIVIDUAL DEEP results









Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (49) and Cincinnati;s Todd Frazier (47) have the most deep balls in the league so far. But look who’s 5th? Yep, Boston rookie Mookie Betts. And only Evan Longoria (1.220) has a lower OPS on deep balls among this group than Betts’ 1.333.

Finally, here are the batters who have had the worst “luck” on deep batted balls this season (min. 25 deep balls):

temp 2015 thru May 28 WORST INDIVIDUAL DEEP results











Note that Betts is the only Red Sox player on this list. I found it interesting that Detroit’s Ian Kinsler and Seattle’s Robinson Cano have hit 61 deep balls between them and have only one home run between them to show for it. Remember that one homer is hit for just about every six deep balls on average.

I hope you found this as enlightening as I did. Thanks to Baseball-Reference and their awesome stats database for making this possible.

Comments? Find me on Twitter: @nuggetpalooza.

Have a good weekend, everyone.











































































































































Baseball Notes – May 31 – The First Inning

* – The Red Sox allowed a 1st inning run (again) on Saturday. They’ve now allowed a 1st inning score in 12 of their 28 games this month. They’ve SCORED in the 1st frame just twice in that span. In their 19 games since May 11, the Sox have been outscored 12-1 in the 1st inning.

NOTE THIS: Boston has not scored in the 1st inning since May 19, going scoreless in the opening frame in 11 straight games, the longest current such streak in the majors. Here are Boston’s longest 1st inning droughts (within a season) since 2009:

red sox 1st inn scoreless droughts 12+ games since 2009 - 2015 05 31






The Brewers failed to score a 1st inning run for nearly a month in 2013:

mlb longest 1st inn scoring droughts since 2009 - 2015 05 31






One more table: 1st inning runs allowed in May (through Saturday):


mlb 1st inn runs allowed may 2015 - 2015 05 31















A little context on the Giants’ 2 runs allowed in first innings this month: Since 2009, the only staffs that have allowed fewer 1st inning runs over a full month are the 2009 Dodgers (0 allowed during August) and the 2013 Blue Jays (1 allowed during June).

Have a good Sunday!















Baseball Notes – May 30


* – The Red Sox put the leadoff batter on base in both the 1st and 2nd innings on Thursday for the 1st time in 38 games (April 15).

* – Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun has come to bat with 79 runners on base this season and has driven home 25 of them. That 32% rate is tops in the majors (minimum 50 baserunners). Here are the leaders:

RBI by ROBSIT leaders 2015 05 28 min 50



And here are the laggards:

RBI by ROBSIT laggards 2015 05 28 min 50

Here are Boston’s hitters for the 2015 season to date:

RBI by ROBSIT red sox 2015 05 28 min 50

Note that Mookie Betts has 7 more RBI than David Ortiz despite having 13 fewer baserunners on during his at bats.

Finally, here are Boston’s hitters in May (through Thursday):

RBI by ROBSIT red sox may only thru 2015 05 28 min 50

You know, there’s not a lot of comment needed here.




















































































Baseball Nuggetpalooza – 4/17/15

A few things I saw this week:

* – So far in 2015, hitters leading off innings for the Red Sox have gone 11-for-76 (.145), the lowest average in the majors:

.145 – Red Sox
.169 – Mariners
.169 – Nationals

Note this: The Sox do have 10 walks leading off innings, which is tied for 2nd most in the majors, trailing only the Cubs. That drives their OBP to .270, which is 20th.


* – True to their philosophy of grinding at bats, Red Sox hitters have swung at the first pitch only 66 times in 2015, the fewest in the league:

66 – Red Sox
68 – Indians
70 – A’s

Note this: The Giants (136), Reds (128), and Nationals (127) have swung at first pitches most often.


* – The Rays have already received 6 bases-loaded walks this season. The other 29 teams have combined to receive 11 such walks.

Here are the career leaders in bases-loaded walks received (since 1950):

39 – Carl Yastrzemski
38 – Dwight Evans
31 – Derek Jeter
31 – Joe Morgan
30 – 3 tied (Mickey Mantle, Rocky Colavito, Mickey Tettleton)

And the pitchers who have surrendered the most bases-loaded walks since 1950:

47 – Nolan Ryan

* – Going into last Sunday night, the Red Sox had not allowed 10+ runs in a game since last July 29, a streak of 61 games. At the time, it was the 2nd longest current streak in the AL. Now, they’ve allowed 10+ twice in the last four games.

Longest current streaks without allowing 10+ runs:

143 – Mets
95 – A’s
86 – Pirates
68 – Phillies


* – The last time that the Twins swept a road series of three games or more was June 2-3-4-5, 2011 in Kansas City. Since then, they’ve played 86 such road series and lost at least one game in each of them.

Here are the longest such losing streaks since 2003:

99 – Brewers, 2004-2008
89 – Rangers, 2005-2008
86 – Twins, 2011-present
81 – Royals, 2003-2006

Longest HOME streaks without a sweep are much shorter, but still feature a LONG current drought:

66 – Astros, 2012-present
49- Cubs, 2009-2011
39 – Cubs, 2012-2014
39 – White Sox, 2010-2012

Keep in mind that we’re only counting series’ of 3+ games.


* – Steve Carlton allowed 2+ unearned runs in 58 different starts since 1970, the most such starts in that 45 season span:

58 – Steve Carlton
57 – Nolan Ryan
53 – Phil Niekro

Note: Roger Clemens had 35 such starts in his career and posted a record of 1-21 in those starts, the lowest winning percentage (.045) by any pitcher with 25 or more such starts in that span.

At the other end of that spectrum, four different times pitchers have put together a streak of 50+ starts without allowing an unearned run since 1970. The TWO longest streaks belong to Curt Schilling:

69 – Curt Schilling, 2004-2007
53 – Curt Schilling, 2001-2002
50 – Dontrelle Willis, 2007-2011
50 – Roy Oswalt, 2008-2010

The longest current streaks without allowing an unearned run (active in 2015):

42 – Drew Hutchison, TOR
31 – Dillon Gee, NYM
24 – Jered Weaver, LAA


* – From 1931-1942, Giants’ pitcher Carl Hubbell had 47 starts in which he lasted at least 6 innings and allowed zero extra-base hits. The Giants won all 47 of those starts, the longest such streak in MLB history. No one else has a streak longer than 35 such starts.

The top 4 such streaks by active players are:

21 – Edinson Volquez (2007-2013; 3 teams)
20 – Scott Feldman (2008-2014; 4 teams)
20 – Tim Hudson (2001-2005; 2 teams)

The longest current streaks belong to Max Scherzer (11) and Justin Masterson (10).


Comments? Suggestions? See something cool? Wanna talk baseball? I’m on Twitter at @nuggetpalooza!



My Second Post on Super Bowl Forty-Nine

I thought I’d look into the importance of field position today…

During the regular season, the Patriots started 28 drives (16% of their total) inside their opponent’s 50-yard-line, the 3rd highest percentage in the league. They put up an average of 4.32 points on those drives, 4th highest:

Bears – 5.3                                                                                                                                               Steelers – 5.0                                                                                                                                           Packers – 4.5                                                                                                                                           Patriots – 4.3

Seattle had 27 such drives, tied for 4th most, but managed only 3.3 points per drive, ranked 23rd.

So how has the New England offense done on these “short field” drives recently? Well, including the playoffs, they’ve scored 8 touchdowns, 2 field goals, and 2 punts on their last 12 drives starting inside opponent territory, an average of 5.2 points. And to be fair, one of those punts came late in the 4th quarter with the game in hand last Sunday.

Seahawks’ opponents started only 12 drives in Seattle territory during the regular season, tied with the 49ers for 2nd fewest in the league (Lions, 10). However, they put up an average of 4.8 points on those drives, the 2nd highest average points allowed in the league. Only the Lions, at 5.5, allowed a higher average. There are obviously small sample size alerts here.

Seattle famously allowed three short field opportunities to the Packers last week (starting at the 19, 23, and 33) and allowed only a FG each time. During the season, Seattle had allowed 4 touchdowns and 2 FGs when opponents’ began drives at or inside the Seahawks’ 33-yard-line. The Packers had scored touchdowns on 5 of their 6 such opportunities this season.

On offense, Seattle did not start a drive inside Green Bay’s 50 last week, although the one time they started AT the 50 (following the successful onsides kick) they scored a touchdown. If you count that, they have now scored a touchdown on ALL SIX of their short field opportunities since the beginning of December.

Patriots’ opponents scored each of the first 10 times that they started drives in New England territory (6 touchdowns; 4 FGs), averaging 5.4 points on those drives. However, they allowed a total of only 3 points on two such drives over their last two regular season games and haven’t allowed a short field opportunity in the postseason yet.

How does Seattle’s opponents fare when forced to start drives at or inside their own 20-yard-line? Not very well. If you ignore the oh-by-the-way touchdown scored by the Panthers late in the 4th quarter when down by three touchdowns, the Seahawks have allowed exactly 3 total points on the last 28 such possessions dating back to December 14. The only FG coming by the Packers early in the 4th quarter last week.

By contrast, when the Patriots have forced opponents to start at or inside their own 20, they’ve allowed 4 touchdowns and a FG in their last 28 tries (31 points… still stout). Here are the leading defenses during the regular season in average points per drive on drives started at or inside the 20:

TEMP Opp Drives From Inside 20 Leaders





At 1.50, the Patriots ranked 16th, right smack in the middle of the league.

That’s all for now. More coming as the Super Bowl draws closer!

Thanks for Pro Football Reference for their outstanding statistical resources!

Got comments or suggestions? Give me a shout on Twitter: @Nuggetpalooza.


My First Post on Super Bowl Forty-Nine


One of the myriad of “prop” bets on the Super Bowl asks, “Will there be a defensive or special teams touchdown in the game?”. “Yes” gets you 8-to-5 odds (you win $160 on a $100 bet) and “No” has 1-to-2 odds (you win $50 on a $100 bet). So how often do these touchdowns occur in the postseason?

Since 2000, there have been 73 such touchdowns in 164 postseason games, or one every 2.24 games. So based on that alone, the odds really should be 11-to-5 for “Yes” and 4-to-9 odds for “No”.

What about returns TD’s in just the Super Bowl? Since 1970, there have been 31 in 44 games, or one every 1.42 games, . Since 2000, there have been a whopping 16 such returns in 14 games (1.14 PER GAME), a MUCH higher rate than the postseason as a whole in that span. Look at it this way:

Super Bowls since 2000:                   1.14 returns TDs per game                                                       All other postseason games:            0.38 returns TD’s per game                                            

Below is a list of the 16 returns TDs in the Super Bowl since 2000:

TEMP SB Returns TDs since 2000    








Did anybody recall that Gruden’s Tampa Bay Bucs had THREE pick-six’s twelve years ago against Oakland? Of course two of those came in the final two minutes when the game was already in the bag. Oakland’s Rich Gannon had five picks that day.

One more thing about returns TDs in the postseason: The Patriots have not had such a TD in their last 14 postseason games, the 3rd longest active streak in the NFL:

Vikings – 22 games (last 1/9/1988 vs 49ers, pick-6)                                                                            Dolphins – 22 games (last 1/30/1983 vs Redskins, KO return)                                                             Patriots – 14 games (last 1/21/2007 vs Colts, Fumble return)

More later!

Got comments or suggestions? Give me a shout on Twitter: @Nuggetpalooza.

Gettin’ Them In

Tommy Lasorda once said “I’d rather get ’em on and not get ’em in than not get ’em on and not get ’em in”.

Well, the 2014 Red Sox would be his kind of team.

Through Saturday, the Red Sox have averaged 12.3 baserunners per game (hits plus walks plus HBP), which ranks 9th best in the majors (Oakland leads at 12.9). However, the Sox have scored only 3.8 runs per game, the 4th worst average in the majors and worst in the AL. Only the Padres, Braves, and Cardinals have had more trouble putting runs on the board this season.

Below is a table showing the above statistics but sorted by baserunners per run scored in 2014, which places the Red Sox as the second least efficient offense in the majors so far
















Compare that to the 2013 Sox, who led the majors in runs per game (5.3) and baserunners per game (13.7), while finishing 2nd in baserunners per run (2.6).

Just something to think about after those maddening innings where they put ducks all over the pond but ultimately fail to score…again.