Sox aren’t afraid of Ks as long as patient approach remains

Dustin Pedroia, right, and David Ortiz, left, are leading the charge for the Red Sox' prolific 2013 offense. (Getty Images)
Dustin Pedroia, right, and David Ortiz, left, are leading the charge for the Red Sox’ prolific 2013 offense. (Getty Images)

A little more than a month into an MLB season, there is enough of a sample size to identify true traits of a team. One of the traits for the 2013 Red Sox is their patient approach at the plate, looking to work counts and get opposing starters out of the game as quickly as possible.

This approach seems to have worked as after 33 games the Red Sox have the best record in all of baseball at 21-12.

“I think our overall offensive approach has been outstanding,” manager John Farrell said during the last homestand. “Guys aren’t afraid to pass the baton on to the next guy. They’ll take their walks in key spots. We’ve had good situational hitting. But most importantly, we’ve driven the pitch counts up of starters and have gotten into the bullpen in this series probably earlier than some other series, but still, just a very consistent approach top to bottom.”

There is no stat more telling on how well a team works pitch counts than number of pitches per plate appearance, and as one would expect the Red Sox have a number of players at the top of that list.


Going into play Wednesday, first baseman Mike Napoli leads the American League with 4.48 pitches per plate appearance, with Dustin Pedroia at No. 17, seeing 4.18 pitches. This is of major league qualifiers. Of non-qualifiers, Jonny Gomes comes in at No. 32 with 4.30, followed by Stephen Drew at No. 39, 4.26.

It seems there is a direct correlation from pitches per at-bat to runs scored, as the Oakland A’s have four players in the top 25 and lead the entire league in runs scored.

Walks also play a key role in Boston’s approach at the plate this season. With 123 walks the team ranks third in the league, with Pedroia leading the team and fifth in the league with 21. Having the mentality of “one player can’t do it all” and feeling confident that every hitter can contribute has paid dividends and is something the entire team has bought in to.

The one issue with the approach is the number of strikeouts. With 284 Ks through 33 games, the Red Sox have the third highest mark in all of baseball, and two players in the top 10, Napoli (46) and Will Middlebrooks (39). This isn’t something that concerns the team, as even as far back as spring training players were on record as saying strikeout totals don’t matter to them, providing they are getting results.

Said Middlebrooks via the Providence Journal: “Let’s put it this way: if you hit 40 homers and you drive in 100, what’s the difference if you strike out or ground out?”

Despite the strikeout numbers, the team been able to put big numbers on the board, averaging 4.82 runs per game, good for sixth in the majors.

Opposing starters have only pitched into the seventh inning 10 times (less than a third of games) and the Red Sox have been able to get to opposing bullpens, contributing to a number of wins this season.

With this approach truly seeing its true benefits later in the year when facing top starters in playoff-like games, patience could be a virtue for these 2013 Red Sox.

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



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…

Style

Sarah Doukas on social media, models and diversity

The maker of Kate Moss tells Metro how social media can drive the diversity change in the fashion industry.

Education

Here are this year's most creative college application…

The college application essay is one of the only times during the admissions process where a student can showcase his or her personality. While many…

Style

Nicola Formichetti on Diesel, the digital revolution and…

The artistic director of fashion label Diesel – and stylist for Lady Gaga – is creating human connection through social media.