Let’s take a break from Red Sox Reviews today and examine squanders of promising innings:
We’ve all done it. You’re favorite team puts runners in scoring position with nobody out, then fails to score. And you think, “Man. It seems like they squander these chances ALL THE TIME. More than any team in the league, I’m SURE of it!”
So let’s take a look at squanders and see who REALLY lets those run scoring opportunities slip away. I defined an opportunity (i.e. a promising inning) as any inning in which a team puts runners in scoring position with no outs, then I checked to see how many runs they scored in those innings.
Last season, teams put a runner in scoring position with no outs in 6,015 innings and failed to score in 1,921 of those innings, a squander rate of 31.9%. Here is a team by team squander rate summary (ranked from highest to lowest squander rate):
So, if you’re a fan of the Diamondbacks, then YOUR conclusions about how Arizona no doubt leads the league in squander rate were correct as they failed to score in 37% of their promising innings. Note that the Indians led the league in total squanders with 82, thanks to 21 more opportunities than Arizona. Their squander rate (36.3%) was second highest in the league.
The Red Sox ranked fourth in the majors with 221 opportunities, but their 34.4% squander rate (6th worst) likely cost them several wins over the course of the season.
Boston actually suffered through a streak of SEVEN straight squanders in July, failing to convert opportunities in the 7th and 9th innings on July 8 against the Yankees heading into the break, then going 0-for-5 over July 13, 14, 15 against the Rays after the break. It was the second longest such streak in the majors last season. The Indians had a streak of eight straight squanders in August.
Who had the longest streak of cashing in opportunities without a squander? The Orioles scored in 17 straight opportunities in September. Three teams (Kansas City, Philadelphia, Texas) had streaks of 15 straight. Boston’s longest such streak was 11 games. Four teams (Yankees, Twins, Padres, Braves) never cashed in more than eight straight chances.
Notice that the Yankees’ squander rate (36.1%) was third highest in the majors, which is fairly awful, but when they did cash in, they tended to cash in big, scoring three or more runs in almost a quarter of their opportunities, the highest big inning rate in the league:
The Red Sox’ squander rate on the road last season was 39.3%, the second highest rate in the league:
Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at which teams pitching staffs and defenses were able to wiggle out of jams. Let’s call them the “Squander Enablers”.