Red Sox Offense Has Been Explosive Despite Falling Behind In Counts

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May 19, 2016

The biggest story during the first quarter of the Boston Red Sox’s season has been their impressive ability to score runs.

Boston ranks first in a number of offensive categories and what?s made it even more impressive is how they?ve been able to produce at a high rate despite falling behind in counts.

The Red Sox long ago adopted the philosophy of taking pitches and working counts. This season has been no different, especially early in at-bats. Entering Wednesday?s action, Boston?s first-pitch swing rate was less than 23 percent — the lowest mark in the American League according to Baseball-Reference.com.

It appears, however, pitchers are catching on and throwing first-pitch strikes. Of the 1,189 plate appearances this season where the Red Sox didn’t swing on the first pitch, 555 of them were called strike. That?s the highest total in the league.

What?s remarkable is how well the Red Sox have performed despite so frequently falling behind in the count. The team is hitting .270 after 0-1 counts — the best mark in the majors and nearly 50 percentage points higher than the league average. To put that number into context, the MLB average after 1-0 counts is .265. The Red Sox are actually hitting better after 0-1 counts than the rest of the majors is hitting after 1-0 counts.

The Red Sox are waiting for their pitches and making their swings count, swinging at less than 45 percent of all the pitches they’ve seen this year — well below the league average. When they do swing, they make contact nearly 80 percent of the time — the majors’ fourth-highest rate

Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images

Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz
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