The Red Sox are suddenly six outs away from dismissing the Rays and advancing to the ALCS.
Tampa Bay scored the first run of this ALDS Game 4 in the bottom of the sixth inning on David DeJesus’ RBI single, but the Red Sox answered right back in the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitting for Stephen Drew, rising star Xander Bogaerts took a one-out walk from Rays left-hander Jake McGee. Jacoby Ellsbury then hit a two-out single, moving Bogaerts to third. Rays manager Joe Maddon called for right-hander Joel Peralta, who skipped his first pitch and allowed Bogaerts to scamper home for the tying run. An infield single by Shane Victorino moments later drove in Ellsbury and gave Boston a 2-1 lead.
Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow struck out Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings in order in the bottom of the seventh inning. Breslow also fanned James Loney in the bottom of the sixth.
To the top of the eighth inning we go at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.
We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.
StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.
Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.
That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.
All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.
Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.