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Pitchers Don’t Influence Their Team’s Lineup

Justin Verlander would probably not have gotten the “Loss” last night if Miguel Cabrera didn’t go 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts.  Detroit Tigers pitchers have no responsibility for their team’s lineup.  Verlander doesn’t influence Cabrera’s batting performance against Red Sox pitchers.

Verlander pitched great against Red Sox batters and John Lackey pitched great against Tigers batters.  The two pitchers did not face each other.

“Before” Big Papi was Clutch

Since David Ortiz hit his first playoff home-run exactly one decade ago in The Bronx off Mike Mussina there has been a popular “clutch-ness” narrative surrounding the Red Sox slugger.  Is there evidence that he was “clutch” before he tagged Mussina in game one of the 2003 ALCS?

Prior to being released by the Twins in December of ’02 Ortiz had 1,500 big league at-bats. During this time David Ortiz hit one HR every 25 AB’s.  That’s 455 games and parts of six seasons.

Before taking Mussina yard Ortiz had played in 14 postseason games (9 for Minnesota and 5 for Boston).  In 50 at-bats during these games in ’02 & ’03 he hit zero home-runs.  He posted a .231 OBP and .280 SLG.  David Ortiz was clearly not a “clutch” hitter, at least not in the postseason.

We all know the story since ’03.  The question is…Why wasn’t Ortiz clutch in his first 14 playoff games?  Was there a mental block in the way of him hitting in the “clutch”?  Was he nervous in big games?  Did he shy away from the spotlight?

No, I think not.

Ortiz simply became a much better all-around hitter since coming to Boston.  He has been better in the regular season with the Red Sox than he was with the Twins and he’s been better in the playoffs with the Red Sox.

Finally, in 63 playoff games with Boston he’s slugged .562.  In 1514 regular season games with Boston David Ortiz slugged .572.

There is no postseason magic here. Big Papi is a really good hitter, period.

My Favorite Picture of the 2013 MLB Postseason

Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox, 10/13/13

Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox, 10/13/13

The Tigers Problem Spot…Fielding

Boston Red Sox fielders were 5th best in the American League at turning batted balls into outs.  The Detroit Tigers defense ranked 10th in the AL.

Total Zone Fielding and Baseball Info Solutions Defensive Runs Saved both concur that Boston is an above average fielding squad while the Tigers pretty much stink.

The Tigers biggest problem spots on defense are in right field (Torii Hunter) and at the infield corners (Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera).  Certainly Boston hitters like Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia could pile up bloop hits all series long.

Fortunately the Tigers lineup is loaded and their starting rotation is the greatest of the century.  Jim Leyland‘s team may beat the Red Sox and advance to the World Series but it won’t be because of their fielding prowess.

All-Star 2B AL #LaserShow

Split       G  AB  R  H 2B HR RBI SB CS   BA  OBP  SLG
1st Half   74 305 41 81 19  6  33  6  3 .266 .326 .400
2nd Half   66 256 40 81 19  9  32 13  3 .316 .369 .504

Despite being part of the worst Red Sox season since the Johnson Administration, Dustin  Pedroia is the in-season comeback player of the year in the AL.

The “Laser Show” is the silver lining in Bobby-V’s only first season in Boston.  The second baseman leads the team in hits, runs, steals & WAR (+4).