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.
So there they were, late yesterday afternoon, two games heading to their conclusion. The Red Sox leading Oakland by two in the 9th and the US leading Portugal in the final moments of World Cup play. And then, in a blink of an eye, both games were tied.
Meanwhile in Brazil, the US ended in a tie. What kind of playoff series, which is what the World Cup is, has games ending in ties?
The US could have used Big Papi, the only problem is that soccer involves running and playing defense, and refs hand out yellow cards if you complain too much.
On to Seattle, with a win in hand, which is a good start for the streaky Sox. This is the first meeting of the season between these two clubs; the Sox won the season series last year 6-1 and all-time, they lead the Mariners, 226-163.
Nine to Know: Red Sox (35-41/15-22 on the road) @ Seattle Mariners (40-36/17-20 at home)
1. At 35-41, the 2014 Sox are 10 games worse than their 2013 Red Sox counterparts who were 45-31. The last time the Sox had this poor a start was in 1997 when they also started 35-41 and finished in fourth place (78-84).
2. The Sox have a negative 17 run differential so far this season, scoring 291 runs and allowing 308. After 76 games last season they had also allowed 308 runs, but had scored 386.
3. Yes, the Red Sox are now 12-17 in one-run games, but success in squeakers means nothing for the Sox in recent World Championship seasons. In 2004, the Sox were 16-18; in 2007, Boston was 22-28; and last season the Champs were 21-21.
4. From the 7th inning on this season, the Sox have hit .236 with 13 homers, led by David Ortiz with four dingers and Brock Holt’s .397 average (23-58).
5. In the first three innings of games this season, Sox starters have a .270 BAA and have allowed 32 homers. Clay Buchholz has been hit at a .351 rate, followed by Jon Lester at .287, and Jake Peavy at .282. Peavy’s allowed 10 homers and Lester and Felix Doubront have permitted six each.
6. It feels sacrilegious, but when do we start taking notice of the fact that Dustin Pedroia is hitting just .265. He entered the season with a .302 lifetime BA and now it’s down to an even .300. Lifetime, he still is a .313 hitter against lefties, but last season he hit .354 against southpaws, this season: .276.
7. In the first game of the series, Boston faces Felix Hernandez whose 2.22 ERA and 0.953 WHIP are both the best of his career. In spite of King Felix’s 7-2 lifetime record against the Sox, he only has a 3.00 ERA and a 1.242 WHIP against Boston. David Ortiz is a lifetime .323 hitter against Hernandez.
8. Not every stat is earth shattering in its import, but some are just interesting to keep your eye on. For example, when there is a runner on first, batters throughout the majors hit .262. Against Sox pitchers, they hit .245. But against Mariner pitchers they only hit .231, the lowest in baseball.
9. The Sox are not a good hitting team on the road. They’re hitting .228 tied with the Rays for last in the AL and only better than the Padres who are at .209. Don’t expect an explosion of offense in Seattle for this series. The Mariners are hitting .223 at home, while visitors are hitting .227. However, 63 homers have been hit at Safeco this season, which is 14 more than in Fenway.
Star spreading the news, I’l be back Friday when the Sox are in New York, New York.