Doubling Up

It’s that magical time of year — the one I always yearned for as a child, when I could open up the USA Today, scan through the League Leaders and figure out what my favorite players (sadly, the only Sox players among the league leaders in those days were Mo Vaughn and Roger Clemens) were on pace to achieve — when we can partake in the entirely useless but oh-so-fun exercise of multiplying the stats by two and see what numbers come out.

Entering last night’s game, the Sox had played exactly 81 games. If the next 81 games go exactly the same way (that happens all the time, right?), the Sox will win 100 games and finish 21 games ahead of the Blue Jays and 22 ahead of the third-place New York Yankees. That actually doesn’t sound too incredible right now.

Instead of just listing the numbers, I thought it would be fun to provide some historical context for what these seasons — some of them surely up for regression (or progression, as the case may be) as the second half goes on — would mean.

As always, thanks to Baseball-Reference’s Play Index.

The hitters

  • David Ortiz (54), Kevin Youkilis (44), Mike Lowell (42) and Dustin Pedroia (40) will all finish with at least 40 doubles. This
    would be just the second time in baseball history that a team has had
    four 40-double players — the 1929 Tigers did it with Roy Johnson,
    Harry Heilman, Dale Alexander and Charlie Gehringer. The Sox have never
    even had three 40-double players in the same season.
  • Julio Lugo will join Ichiro Suzuki (who did it last season with
    45) as the only two players to steal as many as 40 bases with just two
    times caught — at least since caught stealing began to be recorded as
    a statistic.
  • Dustin Pedroia’s .401 on-base percentage will set a record for
    rookie second basemen, supplanting the legendary Pirate Jim Viox and
    his .399 OBP in 1913.
  • David Ortiz will be the Sox’ only 25-home-run hitter, with 26. It
    will be the first time since Troy O’Leary led the Sox with 28 homers in
    1999 that the Sox will have been without a 30-homer hitter. It will be
    the lowest total by a Sox home run leader (non-strike season) since Tom
    Brunansky led the 1992 club with 15 home runs. Yes, 15 home runs. Think
    about that one for a while.
  • Coco Crisp and Lugo will become the first Sox duo to steal 30 bases apiece since Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper in 1910.
  • With seven members of the lineup sporting at least a 100 OPS+, it
    will mark the sixth time a Red Sox squad has done that (the others:
    1910, 1940, 1950, 1990, 2003).
  • And finally, Julio Lugo will set a new Red Sox record for lowest
    batting average in a season, his .189 topping Lou Criger’s 1903 mark of

The pitchers

  • Daisuke Matsuzaka will become just the 18th pitcher in the
    live-ball era to win 18 games in his debut season and the first since
    Mark Fidrych won 19 in 1976. (Matsuzaka’s now on pace for 20 wins, done
    just six times by rookie pitchers since 1920 — the last by Bob Grim in
  • Matsuzaka’s 220 strikeouts will be sixth-most by a Major League
    rookie — behind Dwight Gooden, Herb Score, Hideo Nomo, Kerry Wood and
    Pete Alexander. Dick Radatz holds the current Sox rookie record with 144. That could fall before the end of the month.
  • Josh Beckett’s .846 winning percentage (22-4) will tie Ellis
    Kinder for seventh-best in team history, and will be fourth-best among
    20-win seasons (Wood in 1912, Clemens in 1986, Martinez in 1999).
  • All five Sox starters will boast an ERA+ of 100 or better, the
    first (and only) time since the best Sox team of all time did it in
  • Hideki Okajima will destroy rookie relief records — his 507 ERA+
    more than 130 points better than Dale Murray’s 1974 record, his 0.88
    ERA the only mark below 1.00, his 0.78 WHIP breaking Jeff Zimmerman’s
    1999 mark of .833.
  • Never mind rookies, Okajima would destroy the all-time ERA+
    record for pitchers with at least 80 innings, currently held by Tim
    Burke (355, 1987). His ERA would break Dutch Leonard’s 93-year-old AL
    record for lowest ERA among all pitchers with at least 80 innings and
    fall .02 short of Tim Keefe’s 127-year-old MLB record. Among pitchers
    with at least 60 innings, Okajima would be second to Dennis Eckersley’s
    1990 campaign, a 606 ERA+.
  • With 32 decisions (16-16), Tim Wakefield will be just the fourth
    40+ pitcher to have 32 decisions, the others being Cy Young, Warren
    Spahn and Phil Neikro.   
  • Okajima, Jonathan Papelbon and Kyle Snyder will become the first
    trio of Red Sox pitchers to post ERAs+ of at least 185 (minimum 60 IP)
    and just the second such trio in baseball history (2003 Dodgers — Eric
    Gagne, Paul Quantrill, Guillermo Mota).
6 comments… add one
  • Incidentally, there are some issues with what is considered a “rookie” season. Papelbon was technically a rookie when he posted a 500 ERA+ last season, so Okajima would actually beat his own teammate’s record by just seven points. But 2006 wasn’t Papelbon’s “first season,” which is all you can search on the Play Index. Something to keep in mind.

    Paul SF July 4, 2007, 2:17 am
  • One could say too that 2007 isnt Okajima’s first season either :p

    TJ July 4, 2007, 12:58 pm
  • Mike Lowell’s fielding stats are on pace to almost exactly mirror ARod’s much criticised 2006 numbers:
    Inn TC PO A E
    ARod ’06: 1288 382 96 262 24
    Lowell(projected): 1288 378 96 258 24

    Andrews July 4, 2007, 5:49 pm
  • …but about as likely as the yanks finishing 78-84 which is their current pace. :)

    Andrews July 4, 2007, 6:12 pm
  • Lowell’s had a rough year, Andrews. I doubt you’d find a Sox fan who would defend his prowess this year. He’s at least made up for some of his defensive bricklaying at the plate, though. Still, he’s been uncharacteristically undependable on D.

    SF July 4, 2007, 6:21 pm
  • I, for one, think it’s just a blip.
    If I need a third baseman and I want primarily D, do I still get Lowell? Yes. Stats are often misleading, IMO.

    Andrews July 4, 2007, 7:45 pm

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