Strong starts have been key to Red Sox success

Jacoby Ellsbury and the Red Sox have gotten off to plenty of hot starts in games this season. (Getty Images)
Jacoby Ellsbury and the Red Sox have gotten off to plenty of hot starts in games this season. (Getty Images)

One of the more critical parts in winning Major League Baseball games may be getting off to fast starts and taking control of the game starting in the first inning.

“I think overall it is huge to get off to a good start and put up a zero in the first inning and then if we score one run or two runs that next inning is crucial to put up a zero the next inning,” said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

One of the many issues for the 2012 Red Sox in their disastrous 69-win season was their inability to start games strong. They ranked last in all of baseball, allowing an average of 0.78 runs in the first inning, and for the season, trailed in 47 games, compared to leading in just 33. Their pitching staff had an ERA of 8.09 in those first innings as well. With the Red Sox doing a complete reversal of last year, leading the AL East at the midway point of the season, some of their success can be attributed to them getting off to much better starts to games.

The team has already led in 25 games after the first inning, compared to trailing in just 17, and their pitching staff’s ERA is a little more than two points lower at 5.99 after Saturday. They lead all of baseball in runs scored in the first inning averaging 0.74 runs per game and are a much improved No. 12 in the league in runs allowed (0.47).

According to Saltalamacchia, this wasn’t something the team ever specifically worked on in the off-season, but clearly its improvement has paid dividends.

“The focus is pitch-to-pitch and at-bat to at-bat attacking the hitters,” Saltalamacchia said. “I don’t think there was any approach.”

The aces of the Sox pitching staff have made significant improvements in the first inning. Clay Buchholz had a 5.90 ERA last season, compared to 1.50 this season while Jon Lester’s was 4.91 last season and is now 3.50 this season. Red Sox hitters have also done their part at the top of the order to lead off games as Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are hitting a combined .339 in the first inning with an on-base percentage of .383, which has played a major role in the team leading all of baseball in runs scored in the first inning.

With the massive turnaround the Red Sox have enjoyed so far thus season it is hard to ignore the much better starts to games as playing a major part in their success.

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



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.