Unbelievably, we’re heading into the final full week of regular season baseball. Here are some standout thoughts from the week that was:
- 21 wins, 6 strikeouts for every walk issued, both the best in baseball. 0.978 walks and hits per 9 IP, the best in the American League. Among Sox starters, a club-best 3.08 ERA and a club-best 148 ERA+. Seriously, how really thought Rick Porcello would have the year he’s had in 2016?
- Enjoyed Ken Rosenthal’s report on how Dustin Pedroia kickstarted his season with the help of his friend, Andre Ethier. Nice details, too, on what it’s like for Andrew Benintendi, who became roommates with Pedroia and Aaron Hill, once Pedroia’s family headed back to Arizona for the start of the school year.
- Sandy León ended an 0-for-17 slide on Thursday but still opened that day with a .316 AVG on the season, speaking to his absolutely torrid mid-summer performance. He was 22-for-61 (.361) from July 3rd to 31st and 18-for-41 (.439) over 12 games in mid-August. He’s solid behind the plate and offensively may still come back around down the stretch.
- Xander Bogaerts, who batted just .219 in August and .221 thus far in September, may not crack 200 hits this season. He projects out to about 194 at this point, with the projection skewed by his solid early season batting average. For the combined months of May and June, Bogaerts was 83-for-229 (.362). In those 54 games, Bogaerts had a club-best 45 hits, the most of any Sox player. In the 49 games since August 1st, however, Bogaerts has a hit in 28 of them, whereas Mookie Betts has hit in a club-best 42 of those games. Betts, of course, has already surpassed the 200 hit milestone this season and Pedroia projects out to finish with 204, which would be his most since a career high of 213 hits in his All-Star 2008 season. Only three times before have the Sox had two players with 200+ hits, most recently Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez in 2011.
- Benintendi’s second career home run on Wednesday was the club’s 200th in 2016, making Boston one of eight teams with 200+ HR this season. It’s the Sox’ 10th season with 200+ HR since at least 1913. The Mets and Rays crossed the 200 HR threshold for the first time in their franchise histories this year, leaving four Major League teams that have never hit 200: Royals (139 as of this writing), Padres (168), Nationals (193), and Pirates (146). The Red Sox’ last 200+ HR season was in 2011 (203). Their most HRs in a single season since 1913 was 238 in 2003.
- If the season ended at the time of this writing, the Red Sox would face the Indians in the American League Division Series. This season, Boston leads that match-up 4-games-to-2 (2-1 both at home and in Cleveland). Since 2013, when Tribe manager Terry Francona took the helm, Boston has bested Cleveland 14-12 (9-5 at home, but 5-7 at Progressive Field).
- We’ve looked at David Ortiz‘ remarkable performance this season as a player, just like anyone else. We’ve looked at his incredible performance compared to others playing at age 40 or older. Now, we look at Big Papi as compared with others in their last season and, not surprisingly, it’s still a great story.
- The Cardinals recently ended a streak of 25 straight games with a home run, tying a National League record and breaking their own, which was set in 2006 (19). The Padres also collected 25 straight games this season with a home run. Both teams jumped ahead of the Red Sox, who still hold the American League lead in 2016 with HRs in 22 straight, April 29 to May 22, going 15-7 for that span of games. The 2002 Rangers hold baseball’s overall record for consecutive games with a HR (27)
- With the way he’s been clubbing the ball of late, who doubts that Hanley Ramírez will connect for one more home run? That would give Ramírez 30 on the season for just the second time in his career and the first time since belting 33 in his 2008 All-Star season. It would join the Red Sox with the Orioles as the only teams this season with three such players (including Betts and Ortiz), something that hasn’t happened for Boston since 1977 (Butch Hobson, Jim Rice, George Scott).