Red Sox the kings of the pitch count

Mike Napoli has struck out a ton this season, but most of his K's have come on full or near full counts. Credit: Getty Images
Mike Napoli has struck out a ton this season, but most of his K’s have come on full or near full counts. Credit: Getty Images

 

The Red Sox lead all of baseball in runs per game at 5.21, which is a major reason why they have the best record in baseball and they’re closing in on clinching a playoff spot for the first time since 2009. One of the biggest causes for their offensive success this season has been their ability to work counts and get opposing pitchers out of games early.

As a team they have seen the most pitches in all of baseball and have the second-most pitches seen per plate appearance. In working the count, Red Sox hitters are able to drive up pitch counts.

“It’s one of the main characteristics of who we pursued in the offseason, [players] that have [patience] in their track record,” manager John Farrell said earlier in the season. “That is the approach – a lot of deep counts, try to get in the bullpen as early as possible. This goes back to a lot of conversations in the offseason on who we are going to target, and it’s playing out.”

One of those players signed this offseason, Mike Napoli, has been the epitome of what Farrell and the organization was looking for in terms of plate approach. As of Saturday, Napoli was seeing 4.54 pitches per plate appearance, which leads the American League. Napoli isn’t the only one as Daniel Nava is 12th in the AL with 4.13, and Dustin Pedroia is 16th with 4.05.


Since Aug. 1, opposing starters have a 5.17 ERA and in 18 of the 41 games they have failed to pitch into the sixth inning. As a team the Sox are 27-14 during that time and of the 14 losses, eight of them have seen the opposing pitcher go at least seven complete innings. The players know just how important their patient approach at the plate is.

“I think it’s important,” Napoli said. “We have a lot of guys who get deep into counts and when everyone is working together to do that it works. We’ve been able to do that all year and don’t plan on stopping.”

With this approach, the simple way to combat it is to throw a high number of strikes, forcing Red Sox hitters to swing early in counts, which allows them to pitch deep into games. This certainly deserves monitoring come playoff time, as it will go a long way in determining how deep into October the Sox can go.

Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.