Recently, the Red Sox participated in a historically inept display of philanthropy, accompanied by unexpected brilliance at the dish.
First, all citizenry of Red Sox Nation are cognizant of the litany of abysmal performances turned in by our pitching staff in 2016. However, how many readers are aware that, within the past week, our pitching staff equaled a 2016 mark for futility?
Second, also within the past week, how many readers recognized that our third baseman, a player whom many Red Sox fans have hung in effigy, accomplished a feat to which no other Major League Baseball player can lay claim?
We are all acquainted with the expression, ‘Tis better to give than receive, and, perhaps it was my naïveté, however, I was under the impression that this expression was only pertinent to the exchange of gifts during Christmas. Apparently, as splendidly confirmed by our pitching staff, giving is a practice that is steeped in baseball tradition, as said staff’s generosity tied a most dubious record.
In the six games contested from June 22 to June 27, the Red Sox staff allowed at least six runs to score in every game. This exhibition of philanthropy tied the San Diego Padres for most consecutive games in 2016 that a team has allowed its opponent to score at least six runs. Perhaps of even of greater astonishment is that we emerged victorious in two of those six contests.
All fans comprehend that solid pitching in combination with timely hitting is the formula for baseball success. To accentuate this claim, according to Baseball-Reference.com, when the Red Sox allow two runs or fewer, they have a record of 19 wins and only one defeat.
Cognizant that allowing only two runs per game for the remainder of the season would appear to be an idealistic request, limiting the opponent to four runs per game seems reasonable. Upon perusing the data, the number four proved significant because our record when allowing four runs or fewer is 34-12, when allowing in excess of four runs, our record is 10-25.
Switching gears a bit and visualizing a glass that is half-full, in an 8-2 victory against Tampa on June 28, Travis Shaw drove in five runs. While most readers may recognize such a feat as “nice,” I doubt that most readers comprehend precisely how nice a feat it was. It marked the third occasion this season in which Shaw had driven in 5 or more runs.
To place this accomplishment in its proper perspective, it should be noted that in 2016, 66 players have driven in 5 or more runs in a game, and of those 66 players who have accomplished said feat, 15 of them have done it on more than one occasion. In this select group of 15 players, three members are Red Sox: Betts, Bradley, and Shaw.
In addition, of these 15 players in the entirety of Major League Baseball, only one player has accomplished said feat on three separate occasions; that player is Travis Shaw.