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.
Rays (23-31/11-17 on the road) @ Red Sox (24-29/12-17 at home)
Well, in a season filled with question marks, the one thing we know for certain is that the Sox can beat the Braves. The Sox have now won four straight since being swept by Tampa. Meanwhile, the Rays have lost three straight since sweeping the Sox. These two teams are not overly fond of each other. I looked up “chippy,” which is defined as “ touchy and defensive, especially on account of having a grievance or a sense of inferiority,” and I half expected to see a Rays team photo.
Today’s Nine to Know is a special edition comparing the 2014 Sox with the 2004 Sox, who were saluted at Fenway earlier in the week.
Special edition Nine to Know: 2014 Red Sox vs 2004 Red Sox
1. After 53 games (6/2/2004), the 2004 Sox were 31-22, two games behind the Yankees who were 32-19. The Sox finished the season 67-42 for an overall record of 98-64.
2. In April/May of 2004, encompassing 51 games, the Sox had scored 276 runs. Encompassing 53 games in April/May of 2014, the Sox have scored 217 runs. Because 2004 was a very different (read: juiced) time, those numbers don’t matter as much as the run differential, an indicator of expected wins. In April/May of 2004, the Sox allowed 232 runs, a run differential of +44. Thus far this season, Sox pitchers have allowed 234 runs, a run differential of -17.
3. After 53 games in 2004, David Ortiz was hitting .274 with 11 homers. After 53 games in 2014, David Ortiz is hitting .270 with 12 homers. Ortiz finished 2004 with a .301 BA and 41 homers and 139 RBI.
4. Curt Schilling was the Sox winningest pitcher in 2004 finishing 21-6 with a 3.26 ERA. At the end of May that season, he was just 6-3 with 3.00 ERA.
5. Keith Foulke led the 2004 bullpen with 32 saves. Through May he had 10. Over the last two months of the 2004 regular season, Foulke saved 16 games. Koji Uehara has 11 saves.
6. In April of 2004, the Sox hit 25 homers; in May, they hit 36 homers for a total of 61 dingers. This season, in April the Sox hit 22 homers and thus far this month they have 18, for a total of 40.
7. In April/May of 2004, encompassing 51 games, the pitching staff had an ERA of 3.87. In April/May of 2014, encompassing 53 games, the pitching staff has an ERA of 3.89.
8. In April/May of 2004, the Sox were 21-of-33 in steals. So far this season, Boston is 16-of-27 in steals.
9. Of course, everything changed for the 2004 Red Sox at the trade deadline on July 31 as Theo Epstein put his mark on the team that Dan Duquette had assembled. On that day, the Sox, as part of a 4-team trade, traded Nomar Garciaparra and Matt Murton to the Chicago Cubs and received Doug Mientkiewicz from the Minnesota Twins and Orlando Cabrera from the Montreal Expos. In addition, in a deal that was barely noticed, the Sox dealt minor leaguer Henri Stanley and in return from the Dodgers, Boston received Dave Roberts. The Sox were 56-46 on that date with the fifth best record in the AL. They went 42-18 from that point on, the best record in baseball. It’s your move, Ben Cherington.
See you Monday as the Sox go to Cleveland to visit Terry and the Indians.