Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Boston Red Sox: Hit Me with Your Best Shot?

The Red Sox and their Nation must be so very proud of the accomplishments of their "Ace," Jon Lester, especially given his most recent outing against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, June 7, 2011.

Lester presently holds 8 wins to his season outings. Kudos. Sure am glad I spent time on my knees in prayer when his health was failing, and his future looked exceedingly doomed. A cancer survivor, yes, I admit, a tear filled my eye when I first beheld him back on the diamond...and back on the mound. It makes today's game all that much more intolerable to well as the mounting patterns I behold from not only Lester, but Lackey, and the Red Sox organization, as a whole.

Mark Teixeira was not the most recent victim of Lester's propensity to hit batters with pitches. Actually, he is in fairly good company. 35 other batters across the league can understand Teixeira's discomfort...some more than others, obvioulsy. This may be due to the fact that of the 20 rostered Red Sox pitchers, only 8 have not hit a batter with a pitch this year. Lester leads the Club with 9 hit-by-pitches in 13 games. John Lackey comes in 2nd place in the bean-ball effort with accomplishing 7 hit batters in 8 games. There are 10 other Red Sox pitchers who have hit at least 1 batter...well, actually somewhere between 1 and 5, each.

In this graph, you can see the dates of the games, the pitchers who hit batters, the hit batsmen, and their position within their clubs that day. I find it interesting how there have been 8 hit DH's...coincidence, perhaps. 5 hit Short Stops, 5 hit Centerfielders...etc. etc. But what I truly find intriguing is how in less than 11 innings from May 20th, 2011 through May 21st, 2011, Marlon Byrd was hit 3 times by 3 separate Boston Pitchers...who somehow managed to actually throw strikes and only had difficulty with THAT particular batter. . . until he finally ceased presenting himself to bat, due to his emergency injury requiring hospitalization.

I find it especially interesting how these hit by pitches have increased in activity, especially in the month of May. I smile in spite my frustration at this disgusting trend and unrelenting continuum from the hands of Red Sox pitchers to the opponents they face and ask you: If, "Once is interesting, twice is curious, and three times is a pattern," then what do you call 36 times out of 60?