Red Sox

Nation STATion: One run at a time

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Nation STATion: One run at a time

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

Its a long season and when you spend as much time looking under the covers at stats, you begin to focus on certain things. Lately, Ive been thinking about the importance of just one run, and been thinking about some one-run "games."

For example, the home run with no one on base is a one-run homer. The Sox this year have hit a total of 141 homers and 86 have come with the bases empty. The most significant of these solo homers was Jacoby Ellsburys on August 3 against Cleveland, when he hit the only walkoff homer of the season for Boston.

Here are the Sox soloists:
Jacoby Ellsbury 14 solo homers
Adrian Gonzalez 13 solo homers
Dustin Pedroia - 12
David Ortiz - 12
Jarrod Saltalamacchia - 8
Josh Reddick - 4
Jason Varitek - 4
Carl Crawford - 4
Kevin Youkilis - 4
Mike Cameron - 3
J.D. Drew - 3
Darnell McDonald - 2
Marco Scutaro - 2
Yamaico Navarro 1

Just so you dont take homers with runners on base for granted, as of last night the San Francisco Giants have hit 19 straight solo home runs, which ties the major league record set by the deadball 1914 Philadelphia Phillies. Their last homer with a runner on base was on July 6.

Homers are one means of scoring one run but there are many others from sac flies to a grounder when there is a runner on third and less than two outs. Admittedly its not easy to drive in a run, but it is easier to pick up an RBI when a runner is in scoring position. Thats why I like to exclude home runs and then see how many times a batter has driven in a run when there is only one runner on base and that runner is on first. So far this season the Sox have driven in a runner from first 25 times.

Here are the guys whove done it multiple times this season:
Adrian Gonzalez four times with two doubles and two triples.
David Ortiz four times with four doubles.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia three times with three doubles.
Kevin Youkilis three times with two doubles and a triple.
Carl Crawford twice with two doubles, one a walkoff.
Dustin Pedroia twice with two doubles.

Now to pull this off you need a combination of a well-hit ball, a good read by the runner on first, and good coaching at third. Interestingly, the runner has only been Ellsbury once and surprisingly Gonzo three times. Carl Crawford has done it three times, so has Youk. 'Tek and Reddick have done it twice each, but you know who has done it most frequently, dont you?

The Muddy Chicken, Dustin Pedroia, has scored from first six times this season and what makes it even more delicious is that four of the times there were less than two outs, so he wasnt off at contact.

Pitchers are part of my one run games as well. Sox pitchers have given up 107 homers this season and while a pitcher never wants to give up a gopher ball its at least better when its a solo shot and Sox pitchers have given up 67 of them.

Heres a look at how Sox pitchers have done limiting the damage of a homer:
Jon Lester has given up 16 homers, 14 have been solos.
Tim Wakefield has given up 18, 12 solo
John Lackey 1510
Clay Buchholz 108
Josh Beckett 126
Alfredo Aceves 65
Daniel Bard 54
Matt Albers all 3 gophers were solos.
Daisuke Matsuzaka 42
Andrew Miller 52
Jonathan Papelbon 31
Franklin Morales has given up two homers, neither a solo while Bobby Jenks, Felix Doubront, and Kyle Weiland each gave up one homer and each had at least one runner on.

Heres another version of my one-run game: scoring one run in a game. The Sox have scored one run 10 times and have won two of the games. The Sox pitchers have allowed just one run 11 times and have won 10 of the games.

Then theres the one run in an inning variation.

On 173 occasions this season, the Sox have scored exactly one run in an inning.

Heres the breakdown:
1st inning: 18 times they have scored one run
2nd inning: 20 times they have scored one run
3rd: 22 times they have scored one run
4th: 22 times they have scored one run
5th: 14 times they have scored one run
6th: 18 times they have scored one run
7th: 22 times they have scored one run
8th: 17 times they have scored one run
9th: 15 times they have scored one run
10th: 1 time they have scored one run
11th: 2 times they have scored one run
12th: Have not scored one run in this inning
13th: Have not scored one run in this inning
14th: 1 time they have scored one run
15th: Have not scored one run in this inning
16th: 1 time they have scored one run

On 164 occasions this season, the Sox have allowed exactly one run in an inning.

Heres the breakdown:
1st inning: 19 times they have allowed one run
2nd inning: 14 times they have allowed one run
3rd: 14 times they have allowed one run
4th: 19 times they have allowed one run
5th: 22 times they have allowed one run
6th: 20 times they have allowed one run
7th: 20 times they have allowed one run
8th: 17 times they have allowed one run
9th: 17 times they have allowed one run
10th: 1 time they have allowed one run
11th: 1 time they have allowed one run
12th: Have not allowed one run in this inning
13th: Have not allowed one run in this inning
14th: Have not allowed one run in this inning
15th: Have not allowed one run in this inning
16th: Have not allowed one run in this inning

The one-run games that everybody else tracks are more ordinary, more mundane and more simplistic: the Sox are 16-11 in one-run games outscoring the opposition, 94-89.

I like to think Nation STATion can have fun with even one run. The more you know, the more you understand about the game, and the more you appreciate your team.

See you next week.

Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

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Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Don’t confuse the goal of a normal spring training with the likelihood one will follow.

Tyler Thornburg’s time with the Red Sox has been an ordeal. He’s optimistic he can have a regular spring training after undergoing surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome in June, a surgery that included the removal of a rib which is now on display at his parents’ house. 

He said Saturday, in fact, there’s a “very good chance” of a normal spring. But there’s also a chance his build up to regular-season form runs unevenly. And that would be OK.

“I started throwing Oct. 2, that’s when they kind of gave me the go-ahead to go tossing,” Thornburg said Saturday at Winter Weekend. “So I’ve been building up slowly since then, just trying to make sure we don’t have any setbacks or things like that, and ramp it up at a good pace. I’m throwing at 120-140 feet, so it’s about the pace I’d normally be on, granted I’d know 100 percent before where I was [under normal circumstances]. So things could be a little different."

Consider a few other things Thornburg said Saturday at Foxwoods.

“I don’t really think any of us really know how quick I’m going to bounce back necessarily as far as how quickly the recovery’s going to go in spring training after an outing,” Thornburg said. “But hopefully I mean it’s fantastic, and we can kind of just keep going.”

A bit of natural uncertainty. He missed an entire season, and the reason he missed an entire season is had a lot going on medically. 

What appeared to be a shoulder injury was far from your usual, say, rotator cuff matter. His was a nerve issue.

“Two of the neck muscles were incredibly hypertrophied, like overgrown, and they just started squeezing on the brachial plexus, where all the nerves run down,” Thornburg said. “I’d be sitting there watching a game and just a nerve thing would hit me and I’d almost get knocked over by it. As well as the first rib was getting pulled up and my hand would just turn red some days if I was just standing there, cutting off the blood circulation. Then all the scar tissue and buildup along the nerves they had to go and dissect all that off there.”

So the injury wasn’t simple, and now, the recovery process is really a whole body matter. 

"There’s a lot off things your arm has to get used to between using different muscles, as well as my arm was kind of working through a scenario where it was trying to overcompensate for this and [trying] to relieve that,” Thornburg said. “So just worked a different way. Now your body has to remember how to actually properly work again. It’s a lot of neuromuscular stuff.”

Thornburg noted the possibility too he could be ready to go to start the season but not really ready to go back to back yet. Would the Sox then carry him on the big league roster, or continue to build him up elsewhere? 

Velocity won’t be there right away for Thornburg, he said: “But I mean that’s what spring training is for for most guys anyway.”

There’s a lot of optimism, but naturally, there’s a lot to be seen. 

“The rehab process, it's been a massive rollercoaster,” Thornburg said. “It really has. But I mean, I've been trying to take it week to week which has been a lot easier. There's the good days and bad days, just different kinds.”

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Kimbrel's newborn daughter treated in Boston for heart condition

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Kimbrel's newborn daughter treated in Boston for heart condition

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Coming off a phenomenal season, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel spent the offseason in Boston. Not to be closer to Fenway Park, but for proximity to something far more important: the city’s first-rate medical community.

Kimbrel’s daughter, Lydia Joy, was born in November with a heart issue.

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“It’s been a lot,” Kimbrel said Saturday at Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods. “My wife and I, we’ve kept it kind of private. But when she was born, she had some heart defects so we decided to stay in Boston and work with Children’s Hospital and just been going through that ordeal and it’s had its ups and downs but she’s doing great right now."

Focusing wasn't always easy in season, but Kimbrel said his daughter's condition has motivated him even more.

“They always say when you have a child, things change and they have," he said. "I’m definitely more focused towards her and her needs and our family needs. It’s just one day at a time and give everything I got. It’s real easy to look at her and understand everything I’m doing is for her and it makes it a lot easier.”

Kimbrel and his wife, Ashley, found out early in the 2017 season that they would be staying in Boston for the winter and were preparing.

“Everything has kind of gone as planned so far,” Kimbrel said. “She’ll have another surgery during spring training, so I’ll come back to Boston for a week and do that, but it’s been good. It’s definitely been tough, but one of the happiest, joyful times of our life.”

"Being in Boston, we feel blessed, because the doctors are the best in the world. Being able to work with them has been great.”

Kimbrel said his wife has stayed in touch with Travis Shaw’s wife. The Shaw family has had a similar experience, Kimbrel said.

“It seems like they’re doing pretty good,” Kimbrel said. “It’s been very encouraging to see.”

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