Rocking and Rolling

One of the things I love about baseball is the tie it has to history — its "modern era," the time in which most of the rules we have today were in place and the leagues and teams took shape in ways that are recognizable to current fans is now 110 years old. That's an incredible amount of history for almost every imaginable feat to have occurred, usually multiple times. Yet every year teams and ballplayers do something that either has never been done before or hasn't been done in years.

And the best part is there are sites like Baseball-reference that allow us to find out if what we're seeing is special or not.

So the Boston Red Sox are on a huge roll, the best of any team so far this season. They've won nine straight, scoring at least five runs in each of them. A streak like that — nine games with five or more runs scored — isn't all that uncommon. It happens on average twice a season. But the Sox haven't just scored five runs a game; they have pulverized opponents for 83 runs in those nine games. That's a little more rare.

In fact, if you're a Red Sox fan, you might be thinking you can't remember a stretch like this in which the Sox have been so dominant offensively. And you'd be correct: No Red Sox team has ever had a nine-game run in which they've won every time and scored 83 runs. The closest came in 1950, when the Ted Williams-led squad scored 80 runs over the first nine games of an 11-game streak. So this is unprecedented for the Red Sox, though less so for the game as a whole.

This year, no team had scored more than 73 runs in a nine-game stretch until the Sox pulverized Toronto for 14 in yesterday's game. In all of 2010, no team scored more than 73 runs in nine games, and no team went 9-0 while scoring more than 60 runs. 2009? The Red Sox went 9-0 and led the league in runs scored over any nine-game period during the streak … and scored 76. Not since 2008 has any team scored more than 83 runs in nine games. The Phillies that year scored 85 but went 7-2.

So when was the last time a team went 9-0 and scored more than 80 runs in that span? It appears to be the 2004 Astros, who scored 84 runs over the first nine games of their 12-game winning streak that vaulted them from the basement to the playoffs in half a season. Before them, you have to go back to the 2000 Oakland Athletics, who scored an impressive 95 runs in nine games, including a 21-3 thrashing of Kansas City. 

Another great streak in recent history fell short: the 2002 A's, who won an astounding 20 straight games, scored 82 runs during a nine-game span in the middle of that streak. (Note: I ran the search for teams scoring at least five runs a game and then, just to be sure, dropped the criteria to four per game, with the same results.)

So since the turn of the 21st century, the Red Sox are the third team to score this many runs while winning nine in a row — and the first Boston team ever to do it. And that's why we love baseball. Because every day, every week, is the opportunity to see something we might not have seen before.

33 comments… add one

  • This team looks pretty unbeatable right now. Enjoy it while it lasts, because it certainly won’t be this way forever.
    Also: off-days suck.

    Atheose - SF June 13, 2011, 7:41 am
  • No matter how obscure, you really waste no opportunity to celebrate your team! That’s what I love about blogs. Where no one would ever publish a fan’s love letters to his team, blogs give those sweet nothings a home!

    James YF June 13, 2011, 9:09 am
  • James, your comment is out of bounds. If you have a comment regarding the content or the conclusion of a post, feel free to contribute. Otherwise, keep the purulent discharge of your dismissive back-handed compliments to yourself.

    attackgerbil June 13, 2011, 9:42 am
  • And no matter what’s written, James YF still continues to read often enough to complain about every single one.

    Atheose - SF June 13, 2011, 9:49 am
  • This is great, Paul. I love that we can access such information, and that you have the energy to dig in! Baseball’s compendium of numbers is a gift of the sport.
    For all the joylessness with which many media outlets and blog commenters approach the game, you celebrate it with vigor, and we share that excitement (though we don’t have the Baseball Reference skillz).

    SF June 13, 2011, 9:51 am
  • The content is a love letter. That’s my in-bounds observation, according to your definition of what’s worthy.
    I’ll just sit back and watch Jeter get his 3,000 hits. He’s actually ahead of Yaz’s pace! Too bad he’s finished.

    James YF June 13, 2011, 9:54 am
  • He’s actually ahead of Yaz’s pace!
    Sociopath might be too strong a word, but you’ve got some serious issues, and most of us here wish you’d work them out elsewhere, please.

    SF June 13, 2011, 10:03 am
  • The content is a love letter
    Pointing out that the Red Sox are performing historically well = love letter. Got it.
    He’s actually ahead of Yaz’s pace!
    Well, as long as he’ll reach 3,000 hits before Yaz…
    Of course, Yaz was also helping his team during his quest for 3,000 (112 OPS+, 2,2 WAR, 2.2 WPA in 1978; 108 OPS+, 2.0 WAR, 3.0 WPA in 1979, the year he reached 3,000), unlike Jeter (90 OPS+, 1.3 WAR, -0.6 WPA in 2010; 77 OPS+, -0.1 WAR, -1.0 WPA thus far in 2011).
    Ignoring a player’s flaws to focus on his attainment of an arbitrary round number while his presence has actively hurt the team on the field … hmm, now that’s true love.

    Paul SF June 13, 2011, 10:10 am
  • $50 says James now denounces the “corrupt” mods for calling him a “sociopath”.
    Though there’s certainly some sort of mental problem with someone who complains about this blog weekly, but continues to visit it and post comments for years using multiple aliases.

    Atheose - SF June 13, 2011, 10:12 am
  • Did the ’00 A’s or ’04 Astros win the WS?
    Hopefully history holds true. ;)
    “Of course, Yaz was also helping his team during his quest for 3,000″
    To what, not winning a World Series?

    krueg June 13, 2011, 10:14 am
  • Glad we’re on the same page! But keep writing your love letters. I find the length to which you go humorous. I could do without the backpages and foam fingers, but after last year I suppose you’re just letting off steam. Like Papi’s Pirouette.
    I did say Jeter is finished. That’s hardly unrequited love. He’s toast. Done. Kaput. Good enough for you?
    Yaz had quite a career. He was still contributing at 43! But Yaz also had Fenway (Career home = .904 OPS; Career away = .779 OPS).

    James YF June 13, 2011, 10:19 am
  • Like I said back in January, then in March, then back when they were 0-the season, the Sox are the best team in baseball. No surprise they are performing that way. Their pitching, even without Daisuke and with Lackey’s lack of Lackey-ness, the Sox are the class of the bigs. The way they are playing they make a 2 game lead seem like 20. As always, great research and writing Paul. I am sure the Sox fans thank you. As for me I’d just like to stick my tongue out, but I can’t…there’s no disputing just how good this team is.

    John - YF June 13, 2011, 1:10 pm
  • I guess love letters are all the rage today, even at the Elias Sports Bureau: http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/red-sox/post/_/id/11699/lundblad-sox-offense-on-tear-during-streak
    With Sunday’s 14-1 demoralization of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Boston Red Sox have won nine straight for the first time since April 2009. It’s a stretch powered by historic offensive success.
    During their current nine-game win streak, the Red Sox have amassed 83 runs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is tied for the third most runs over the first nine games of a win streak in the past 50 years. The A’s put up 95 runs during a nine-game win streak in 2000.

    Paul SF June 13, 2011, 1:25 pm
  • Is “love letter” a bad thing now? I’m a little confused what we’re debating or what is being critiqued in Paul’s post.
    This is a YANKS FAN / SOX FAN site for God’s sake. It is INTENDED to be a place for us to celebrate (i.e. LOVE) our own team and bash (i.e. HATE) the other team, all within the bounds of a level of decorum and decency that you don’t find between these two fanbases in other online spaces.
    Based on the site’s success, many of its regulars – myself included – have learned to give respect (albeit begrudgingly) and a tip of the cap to the other (albeit still despised) rival when such acknowledgement is deserved.
    On the few days I do post, it is often to highlight some numerically interesting and historical achievement of questionable real significance other than the fact that said feat hasn’t been done much, sounds cool, and my team just did it. And because this site is not just for YFs, I get the interesting reactions and ensuing discusion with SFs who have their own varying degrees of begrudging respect/enduring hatred for my team, not to mention day-to-day moodswings.
    What’s the problem exactly?

    IronHorse (YF) June 13, 2011, 2:00 pm
  • I’d love to disagree but I can’t. As a listener of sports talk radio Paul’s “Love Letters” are refreshing. They are based on facts and supportive of HIS team. It’s certainly better than listening to: Let’s trade Gardner, Swisher and Nova for Beltran (I SWEAR TO GOD this was a real call this morning!) or my favorite let’s trade for Reyes and Beltran and in return we can give the Mets cash and marginal prospects…at least Paul’s “Love Letters” have factual basis.

    John - YF June 13, 2011, 2:14 pm
  • No problem at all. That’s what I love about blogs.

    James YF June 13, 2011, 2:17 pm
  • For me, I would love MORE IH Yankee-love posts…haven’t heard from Nick or John in awhile either. Of course, we haven’t had much to talk about from our side lately. Once #3000 comes, I expect about a 5,000 word ESSAY from you IH… ;)
    Might be the only thing we have to celebrate for awhile. Sigh.

    krueg June 13, 2011, 2:22 pm
  • Oh, and one more thing…
    GO CANUCKS GO!!!

    krueg June 13, 2011, 3:11 pm
  • Ha Kreug! I’d love to oblige. Over a month ago I looked at the calendar, my (and my brother’s) availability, Jeter’s projected hits, and bought two tickets for Wednesday night’s game vs. the Rangers, hoping to witness # 3,000. Alas, unless Jeter has multi-hit nights both tonight and tomorrow, with one of them being a 3-hit night no less, I am virtually assured of seeing – at best – hit # 2,997 or some such thing…

    IronHorse (YF) June 13, 2011, 5:05 pm
  • alas, i’m afraid that the utter contempt that some of us have for james, particularly sf and paul, and the lack of appreciation that paul has for history that doesn’t fit into his neat little sabermetric boxes, along with the insistence by some here that jeter, well, sucks ["...Ignoring a player's flaws to focus on his attainment of an arbitrary round number while his presence has actively hurt the team on the field ... hmm, now that's true love...."] is going to taint any constructive discussion of what is still considered a major achievement in baseball…3000 hits…something only 27 other major league players in the history of the game have accomplished…i’d call that significant regardless of the uniform…some of it’s attributable to longevity, sure, but consistency at a high level is also a factor…hopefully you guys can set your sox-love aside when we inevitably discuss jeter yet again in a week or so, and show a little love for a sure fire hall of famer…

    dc June 13, 2011, 5:43 pm
  • Here’s to hoping for back-to-back 3 hit games for Jeter!!! Seeing that hit in person would be amazing man…
    “lack of appreciation that paul has for history that doesn’t fit into his neat little sabermetric boxes, along with the insistence by some here that jeter, well, sucks”
    I’ve accepted these things and stopped fighting it dc, call it the price for being a YFSF’er…the site should really be SFYF… ;)
    …but the bottom line is that we know, along with any rational human being, that Jeter is in fact one of the greatest baseball players of our generation, head-and-shoulders above any of his Boston contemporaries, and a sure-fire 100%, first ballot HOF’er. Stats, hating, bullshit, etc doesn’t take that away brother!
    “hopefully you guys can set your sox-love aside when we inevitably discuss jeter yet again in a week or so, and show a little love for a sure fire hall of famer…”
    You should not expect this, nor be surprised when Paul pulls some stupid stats to show how terrible he really is and that 3,000 hits means nothing…be ready dude! :)

    krueg June 13, 2011, 5:56 pm
  • “Seeing that hit in person would be amazing man…”
    i wouldn’t doubt it krueg…i was at the game when jeter hit his first and probably only [not sure] grand slam…that was way cool…while it can’t even be mentioned in the same breathe with 3000 hits, it was still a cool moment, and the crowd, especially me, went nuts…
    yeah, and i’m not knocking paul, or sf, or any of the other sf’s for loving their team, fair weather or foul, and i’m even willing to give paul a mulligan because he reacted to james’ annoying way of spoiling a conversation…i don’t know why james brought jeter into it along with a not so subtle dig at yaz…i wish paul had just ignored him, but it’s hard when the bait is so obvious…enough’s enough with the jeter bashing…we know the guy is at the tail end of his career and can no longer spark the team the way he once could…we get it for the 1 millionth time…

    dc June 13, 2011, 6:14 pm
  • i guess i’m hijacking the thread, but i just wanted to declare in a somewhat public forum, the absolute blast i had watching lechoke and his buddies get dirked last night…i’m a knick fan, so my mavs-love is a one time thing, but it gave me some measure of satisfaction watching the mavs school the guys who were going to win not 1, not 2, not 3, but 10 championships…or however that lame boast went…DIRK!!!!

    dc June 13, 2011, 6:24 pm
  • I didn’t really care about the NBA Finals but I get it…Lebron is an idiot. Did you hear his post-game comments??? Wow.
    Now, we just need the Bruins to lose tonight and all will be right with the world.
    GO CANUCKS GO!!!!

    krueg June 13, 2011, 6:26 pm
  • yeah, he basically said that all of us losers can go back our loser lives, while the “king” will return to his castle to count his money…um, i was rooting for the mavs to humble you basketball-wise lechoke, and it happened…how does that make me a loser exactly?…
    i’ll be an honorary canucks fan tonight out of devotion to you my friend…go canucks!!!

    dc June 13, 2011, 6:48 pm
  • I was at Jeter’s GS game too dc! With my father-in-law in the RF bleachers…
    I was rooting for Miami for reasons stated in a previous thread. Having said that, was happy for Kidd + Dirk. LeBron’s comments cracked me up. Look, I know I’m the only person in the world who feels any sympathy for the guy (except maybe SF from yesterday’s comments) but this bitterness from him is coming out in reaction to an absurdly over-the-top hatred of him nationwide. I hope he wins 10 championships (I know, he won’t) and tells all the haters (except you dc) to shove it. Which, based on his PR performances of late, he probably would.
    I was at Ripken’s first game out of the line-up (especially cool because it was unexpected), Jeter’s only slam, the last game at the OYS, and some great post-season games. What I really want to be there for is Jeter’s and Mo’s last games. But 3K would be great too!! Mo is in another stratosphere in my book from every other player of his generation (esp those NOT caught doing roids…).

    IronHorse (YF) June 13, 2011, 6:52 pm
  • I have nothing against Lebron and if I cared about the NBA I would have rooted for the Heat…I don’t hate the guy. He’s COMPLETELY screwed up his world but hopefully he’ll learn from it and grow as a person.
    Mo = greatest player of our generation
    Jeter = Top 5 player of our generation.
    Mo
    Bonds
    ARod
    Clemens
    Jeter
    4 Yankees??? Hmm…

    krueg June 13, 2011, 7:12 pm
  • Jeter is a fantastic player, a no-doubt hall-of-famer. I would have loved to have him on the Red Sox for the past 17 years, and he’s had an amazing career.
    What SFs focus on is that he’s probably near the end of his career, and seems to be dropping off fast.
    But just because Jeter’s struggling right now doesn’t take away what he’s done during his career. He’s still a hall-of-famer and easily one of the greatest players of our generation.

    Atheose - SF June 13, 2011, 7:17 pm
  • LeBron’s comments today were ugly. He deserved a lot of understanding for some unfair vilification, but he has a long way to go and a lot to learn. He has handled duress with terrible skill.

    SF June 13, 2011, 7:19 pm
  • I’m a Mavericks fan, so I’m ecstatic to see Dallas win for that alone. But seeing James fail to back up his trash talk is icing on the cake too.

    Atheose - SF June 13, 2011, 7:25 pm
  • I was kind of rooting for the Heat though because my best friend was Mike Miller’s personal chef and I’ve met him a few times…really cool guy. So on that front it sucks they lost…

    krueg June 13, 2011, 7:46 pm
  • that’s cool you were at the grand slam game IH…i went with a couple of my neighbors…we were hanging outside the stadium right before the game and i wanted to buy a cap, so i bought a gray retro kinda one that had the normal ny, along with “jeter” and “2″ on the brim…i wore it during the game…[humming the twilight zone theme]…anyway, a clarification re. lebron…i don’t hate him either…i’m disappointed in him…i’ve said this before, as a yankee fan, i’d be a hypocrite if i begrudged any athlete for trying to put themselves in a better situation to win…but it’s just the way he went about it…it felt like he thumbed his nose at his former teammates and fans…he’s way too full of himself…he proclaims himself to be the “king”…of what, losing?…then that stupid jim grey “decision” nonsense…the cherry on the sunday was that ridiculous so-called press conference, where those 3 stooges mugged for the camera and did that all that silly posing and dancing, or whatever it was with all the sound effects and music…some teams aren’t that spashy when they actually win something…no, i don’t hate him, i almost feel sorry for him because he’s turned himself into someone that just isn’t very likable…
    krueg, i’m sorry if my rooting for the canucks brought them some kind of bad luck karma…

    dc June 14, 2011, 8:57 am
  • Nah…no one has broke service in this series so the Canucks just need to hold serve and we GOLDEN!!!!
    GO CANUCKS GO!!!!

    krueg June 14, 2011, 9:56 am

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