A few thoughts on the Easter Sunday morning, just eight days before Opening Day:
Last year in Late & Close situations (defined as a game in the 7th inning or later and the batting team either leading by a run, tied, or has the potential tying run on base, at bat, or on deck), new Red Sox pitchers Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith owned the 4th and 5th most strikeouts in the game, 71 and 70, respectively. That’s the good news. The bad is that the Yankees Dellin Betances had the most (103) followed by new Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman (85).
- Dustin Pedroia is just 18 hits from the 1,500th of his career. Newcomer Chris Young needs 23 to his 1,000th. David Ortiz is 16 from his career 600th double. Pablo Sandoval is five games from his 1,000th (and five errors from his 100th).
- The Red Sox most wins to start a season since 1913 was six in 1918. They’ve opened a season with five straight wins four times, most recently in 1999. Their most losses to open a season is eight in 1945. The Sox have opened with 6 straight losses twice, most recently in 2011. The club’s record for hitting to open a season since 1913 is 20 games by Eddie Bressoud in 1964.
- Monday is the 30th anniversary of the Red Sox acquisition of Don Baylor from the Yankees for Mike Easler. Baylor would strikeout a career-high 111 times that season, but also belt 31 home runs (6th most in the American League) and knock in 94 RBI on Boston’s march to the World Series against the Mets. Baylor would win his 3rd Silver Slugger award that year.
- In 2015 there were 508 comeback wins in the American League (the Red Sox had 27), the largest from being down seven runs (the Sox’ largest was being down four runs). There were 501 blown leads (36 for the Sox), 99 walk off wins (3 for Boston), and 105 walk off losses (8 for the Sox).
- No baseball club had a better batting average last season when facing an opposing starter for the 2nd or 3rd time than the Red Sox. They batted at .288 and .302 in the 2nd and 3rd appearances, respectively, compared with .252 (12th in MLB) when seeing him for the first time.
- The Sox schedule to start the season is three games at Indians and three at Blue Jays before the home opener with three against the Orioles, four more against the Blue Jays and three against the Rays. They’re then back on the road for three at Astros, two at Braves followed immediately by two more with the Braves back at Fenway. Boston then hosts the Yankees for three before heading out to the White Sox for three and then over to the Bronx to face the Yankees again for three more. When all is said and done, that’s the first 32 games of 2016 through May 8. All eight of those clubs except for the White Sox and Braves had better full season records than Boston, all but three had .500+ seasons in 2015.
- Boston and Cleveland have opened the season against each other three times before: April 5, 1979 (a 7-1 Red Sox win), April 7, 1977 (a 4-5 loss), and April 10, 1962 (a 0-4 loss).
- The Indians and Red Sox have played 2,015 regular season games against each other, with Cleveland leading the all-time series 1,034-973. The Indians and Yankees (1,161-962) are the only two AL teams against which the Red Sox have an all-time losing record.