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Home » September 2009 Game CommentsSeptember 2009 » Bōgyoritsu [防御率]

Bōgyoritsu [防御率]

Game 148: September 20, 2009
WinRed Sox9
W: Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-5)
89-59, 3 game winning streak
L: Jason Berken (5-12)
60-89, 4 game losing streak
Highlights: The Japanese word for earned run average, bōgyoritsu [防御率], much better defines what this metric measures than its English equivalent. The first character means to defend, protect, or resist; the second symbolizes manipulate or govern, and the final glyph stands for ratio. Much like in America this statistic is posted when summarizing a pitcher’s effectiveness, but I can’t help but think that the group-oriented Japanese realize that ERA also recognize the contribution of defense to so-called pitching staff.

Thanks to his 5⅓ inning outing with three earned runs Daisuke Matsuzaka’s ERA decreased from 7.02 to 6.80. To highlight the defensive contribution to the starter’s improvement, five of Matsuzaka’s outs were fielded by Alex Gonzalez, including a third-inning double play that erased the Orioles infield duo of Cesar Izturis and Brian Roberts. Matsuzaka tallied his second quality start in as many games as he had started since his return.

The burning question of whether or not Matsuzaka can regain his former success seems to be answered, yet new concerns arise in its place.

How remarkable has Victor Martinez been since donning a Red Sox uniform? In Cleveland he accrued a .284 batting average, a .368 on-base percentage, and a .464 slugging percentage; with Boston he has a line of .335 BA, .406 OBP, and .506 slugging (Baseball Reference handily splits players’ statistics between the teams if they are traded).

Will Jason Varitek exercise the player option on his contract? He would earn $3M plus $2M in performance bonuses: $0.4M each for 80, 90, 100, 110, and 120 games started. Each day Martinez extends his hitting streak seems to be one less game that Varitek would start for the Red Sox in 2010.

Where will Jason Bay end up next year? Bay and Matt Holliday are the premier free agents of the class of 2010 and both should fetch top dollar. Will Boston be the team that makes the winning offer to one of these left fielders or will it be a reprise of l’affaire de Teixeira? Jacoby Ellsbury homered in the seventh, and has had what for him is a power surge with two homers in the span of four days. But Ellsbury nor any other homegrown outfield talent are the answer to replacing Bay.

Only a Red Sox adherent would worry about 2010 before 2009 is on the books, but a glimpse into the far future is the tonic to the day-to-day anxiety of counting magic numbers.

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