This week at BP Boston I wrote about how the Red Sox have had the platoon advantage – that is, opposite-handed batter-pitcher matchups – the second least often of any team in major league baseball. Gaining the platoon advantage often can have a real benefit on a team’s performance. Ideally on offense you are getting a lot of plate appearances with your batters hitting against pitchers who throw with the opposite hand from the way they swing (i.e., RHB v LHP, LHB v RHP), and on defense you are managing to prevent opposing offenses from getting those situations (i.e., many same-handed matchups: RHP v RHB, LHP v LHB). But the Red Sox have not been able to get these situations very often this season. For the offense, injuries and ineffectiveness have limited their roster flexibility. While there appears to have been a plan to have a flexible roster that could be mix-and-matched against opponents to put players in good situations, it has not played out that way. For their pitching and defense the issue is that 4/5 of the starters are left-handed. With the bulk of batters being right-handed, this means it will be tough to gain the advantage on most nights. The good news is that this issue is not necessarily killing the Red Sox, as they currently stand alone in first place, but they could be better than they have been through the first 75 games. I am interested in seeing how/if things change when certain key players get healthy and/or players are added to the team via trade.
Head over to BP Boston to read more about Red Sox matchup issues: Missing the Platoon Advantage