The Boston Red Sox lefty enhanced rotation is doing just fine. The team record is now 40-18 in games started by the left-handers.
Just who was Whitey Ford? If you are old enough, such as I am, you remember the stylish left-hander who pitched for the New York Yankees his entire career. For the younger fans, you will read about Ford if you enjoy baseball history. You will also note that Ford is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
If you browse through the various statistical sites you will see that Ford three times led the American League in wins. Ford also compiled an amazing .690 winning percentage, won a Cy Young Award, won a World Series MVP and was 10-8 on a post-season composed of only a World Series.
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There is another statistical line regarding Ford and it is Fenway Park. Ford finished his MLB career with a 7-6 record at the old ball yard, but then there is that 6.16 ERA, 110 hits in just 87.2 innings and a staggering 1.85 WHIP. Manager Casey Stengel did his best to keep Ford out of Fenway.
The short left field fence was a curse to lefty hurlers. The Red Sox did have some great ones through the years from Lefty Grove to Jon Lester, but generally, lefties were frowned upon. In fact, even in non-Fenway parks, too many lefties is not viewed as a desirable thing for a staff. That was almost a consensus as the season started as the Red Sox had a rotation that eventually had four left-handers and will soon have that again.
So just how has that worked out?
Horace Greeley is generally credited with the phrase “Go West, Young Man, Go West” as a way of saying that is where your future can be realized. From what I have seen of our lefty heavy rotation I would state an appropriate baseball change should be “Go Left, Young Man, Go Left.” Our lefties have not been good or even great, but phenomenal.
The Red Sox have Chris Sale (11-4), Drew Pomeranz (9-4), David Price (4-2) and Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2) as the now projected rotation if all are healthy. Also, around for several starts was Brian Johnson (2-0). The idea of a starter is to give your team a reasonable prospect of victory. Our left-handed contingent has presented us with a combined 58 starts and the team has a 40-18 record in those starts. Collectively, their combined record is 30-12. That is exceptional.
How about that Fenway Park thing that kept Ford under wraps?
The team record for Fenway Park starts is 7-1 for Sale, 6-2 for Pomeranz, 2-1 for Price, 2-0 for Johnson and 3-0 for Rodriguez. Using my abacus (Amazon $19.99) that comes out to 20-4. I double and triple checked that since that is just startling.
Since by nature I look for negatives, maybe I can find a few? The only two are essentially an offset and they encompass the basic statistic of earned run average. Rodriguez has a 1.56 ERA at home and a 4.33 ERA on the road. That, however, may be inflated by his seven earned runs in 5.1 innings prior to going on the disabled list.
Pomeranz had some excellent run support at home where he has a 4.08 ERA and a 3.06 ERA on the road. That is not alarming – at least from my view. The other lefties show reasonable home/road splits so nothing to see here, folks, move along.
What about the righties?
Now, this is where you will need an intervention. The right-handed group has made 31 starts and the team record is 10-21 with Rick Porcello leading the American League with 11 losses heading up that parade. So can Porcello be swapped for a lefty? Is Jamie Moyer still pitching? Has Barry Zito retired?
The second half schedule will present an opportunity for our lefties. There are 42 games at home and 31 on the road for the most favorable home schedule in baseball. Boston is 25-25 on the road and 25-14 at home. Based on how our lefties have done this is a positive harbinger for the second half.
An all-lefty rotation is exceedingly rare – I do believe I had seen that Elias Sports Bureau had a tidbit on it. Even a rotation with four left-handers is unusual and more so at the supposed graveyard for lefties – Fenway Park.
Ford is still alive and although Whitey is 88-years-old, he may wish to make a comeback, providing he can only pitch at Fenway Park.