The Red Sox have made an odd habit of playing extra-innings this season. Through Tuesday, they rank third in number of games that have required extra innings, but lead the way in terms of actual extra innings played, as they have had some 15- and 19-inning doozies. That is a lot of free baseball for us fans, which is excellent, but also means the Red Sox have played in a lot of tense moments. These moments can be great, but also quite stressful. Leverage index (LI) is a tool for measuring the tension of a situation in a baseball game. It turns out that the Red Sox have the third highest average LI in all of baseball this season. What makes this more interesting is that to date the 2017 season has the lowest average LI ever recorded (since 1974 when the measure was developed). So while most games are lacking in tension, the Red Sox’s are not.
Could all of these intense moments help in the playoffs? Perhaps. But I will probably refrain from suggesting any playoff win(s) is a result of all these tense extra-inning experiences over the course of the season. Winning in the playoffs will come from their talent, most notably in the bullpen, and some luck.
Head to over the BP Boston to read more about the Red Sox playing high-leverage games: Free, Tense Baseball