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
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.