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.
Last year at the All-Star break, the Red Sox were 58-39. They had scored 91 more runs than they had allowed. This season, they have a negative 53 run differential, which is only made worse when you think about that it is -144 worse than last season.
Excuse me if I get no solace from the two wins at the tail end of the Boston homestand. I think you can see after those two games why the White Sox (44-49) are like Boston and Houston in trying to stay out of the basement.
Today’s column doesn’t name names, but looks at the Sox and the Astros each trying to not finish in the cellar before they can go “fourth” (I thought a little pun would lighten the mood).
I do suggest that you to pay attention to the exciting Astros rookies George Springer and Jon Singleton as they go through their adjustments to the bigs, like Boston's kids. The other joy of this series will be watching the play of Jose Altuve and Dustin Pedroia, who along with Robinson Cano, are the best second basemen around.
Enjoy the All-Star Game and enjoy the break.
Nine to Know: Boston Red Sox (41-51, 18-25 on the road) @ Houston Astros (39-54, 20-26 at home)
1. The average American League left fielder has hit 10 homers this season. Red Sox and Astros left fielders have each totaled four homers this season.
2. The average American League centerfielder has hit .263 this season. Houston’s centerfielders are hitting .282, Boston’s centerfielders a meager .211.
3. The average AL first baseman has an OBP of .328. Boston’s first sackers this season have an OBP of .377, Houston’s .282.
4. The average AL third baseman has an OBP of .313. Houston’s third basemen have a .218 OBP, good for 14th in the league, Boston’s third basemen have an OBP of .275.
5. The average AL team has stolen 52 bases. The Astros and Royals have each stolen 77, the most in the league. Sox baserunners have totaled just 29 steals this season.
6. The average AL pitching staff has allowed 360 earned runs. That stat indicates the Red Sox have an average staff, because they have allowed 361 ER. The Astros staff has allowed 400 earned runs
7. The average AL pitching staff has a WHIP of 1.311. Boston’s staff is slightly better at 1.306, but Houston’s is worse at 1.371.
8. The average bullpen has lost 13 games this season. Houston’s pen has lost 14. Boston’s relievers have 17 losses, the most in the league.
9. The average AL team has an Rtot of -12. This somewhat esoteric fielding stat measures the number of runs above or below average that the fielders are worth. Seattle fielders are +40 and Oakland’s are +24. The Sox have an Rtot of -10, which indicates they are average fielders compared to the rest of the league, but still in the negative range. The Astros’ fielders are -38, which helps explain where they are in the standings.
See you next Friday as the Sox host the Royals.