Baseball is a game of luck—it’s been that way since its inception—but only more recently have advanced statistics indicating good or bad fortunate been established. The 2013 Boston Red Sox were blessed while the 2014 squad’s been fairly unfortunate. This claim is abundantly apparent within the stats, and hopefully you’ll be able to see the difference.
Record in 1-Run Games: 2013- 21-21| 2014- 17-20
When the score is tied there’s roughly a 50-50 chance a team emerges victorious. Obviously talent and late-game decision-making has an influence, too. However, for the most part, luck tends to sway records in 1-score contests.
While the 2013 and 2014 records in those games are actually pretty similar, there’s a big takeaway from looking at the two. The 2013 Red Sox played in 42 games all year that were determined by one run, compared to the 2014 team who’s already played in 37 1-run games. This shows Boston is not winning games by a wide margin like they did in 2013, and instead are finding themselves in a lot of close games. Boston’s played the most 1-run games in the American League this season.
Record in Extra Inning Games: 2013- 10-6 | 2014- 6-8
The same magic in extra inning games last season hasn’t necessarily carried over in 2014. They no longer can claim “Walk-off City,” and have been downright mediocre playing free baseball.
Run Differential: 2013- +197 | 2014- -38
Unlike the other two categories, this one isn’t dictated as much by luck. In fact, it is one of the best tools for identifying team’s skill.
The Red Sox aren’t scoring nearly as many runs as they did last year, and that’s the reason for the substantial difference. Only the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros have a worse run differential than Boston in the A.L. this season.
Offensive BABIP (Batting Average On Balls In Play): 2013- .329 | 2014- .300
Seemingly everyone on the 2013 Red Sox had a career-year, so it makes sense they led the league in offensive BABIP. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Daniel Nava, Mike Carp, Mike Napoli, and Jacoby Ellsbury all benefited from unsustainable BABIPs last season. This year, however, their BABIPs have neutralized, and so have their production. Nevertheless, they are exactly average this season.
Pitching BABIP: 2013- .294 | 2014- .304
Following script; the 2013 Boston Red Sox were somewhat fortunate with their pitching BABIP and the 2014 Red Sox weren’t.
OPS with Runners in Scoring Position: 2013- .795 | 2014- .694
The Red Sox were clutch in 2013 with runners in scoring position, but not so much the next year. They had the paramount OPS with RISP in the league last season, and rank just 21st this year.
Comparing the 2013 Boston Red Sox to the 2014 team, you can see that luck is not on their side this season.