OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 31: Cody Ross #7 of the Boston Red Sox watches a home run off the bat of George Kottaras of the Oakland Athletics (not pictured) leave the ball park in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving the A's a 9-1 lead at O.co Coliseum on August 31, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Tony Medina/Getty Images)
There's something about the West Coast.
Maybe--probably, even--it's the jet lag. When West Coast teams head east, they typically start their games at the equivalent of 4:00. At the worst, they have to get ready to go by their 10:00 AM. The latter is not ideal, but the former is entirely reasonable--centered nicely in their waking hours when they should be thoroughly alert and ready to go.
When an East Coast team heads west, they get to enjoy 10:00 p.m. starts more often than not. By the time the ninth comes around, the calendar page has already turned back home.
That might help to explain why the Red Sox typically struggle out west, but this year? This year was simply beyond the pale--taking an already mediocre baseball team and then subjecting them to even more adversity. It was a recipe for disaster, and disaster is just what we got. Against the Athletics, Angels, and Mariners, the Sox managed an impressively bad 3-13 record.
That's so bad that if you projected it over the full length of a season, the Houston Astros would come in 12 games ahead of them if they lost every game left to them.
Frankly, despite the records involved, the first trip may be the worse of the two if only because of the talent available. That trip was pre-trade, with a team featuring David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, and for the first half, Will Middlebrooks. The second trip, of course, featured an awful roster--one of the worst you'll see in all of the MLB.
But in terms of sheer numbers, the second trip wins hands down.
How bad are we talking?
In their nine game road trip, the Sox were outscored 63-21. The Oakland Athletics nearly matched that total in one game. Believe it or not, Pythagorean record would actually dictate the Sox win 1-in-10, which means very little, but suffice to say they were playing more like a team that should have been swept than like a team that should have gone 3-6.
The Sox would bat just .223 in their 300 at bats. Add in 17 walks, a hit batsman, and five sacrifice flies, and you've got a .263 OBP. 22 extra bases makes for a .297 slugging, leaving the Sox with a miserable .223/.263/.297 as a team. Compare that to the weakest hitting team in the game: the Mariners, who of course gave the Sox their only win on the trip, at .232/.294/.362.
Of course, that the Mariners are so bad offensively dispels one of the only positives the Sox got towards the end in a few decent pitching performances. While they managed to hold Seattle to just three runs per game, that's a lot less impressive when you realize that the team only averages 3.11 at home this season to begin with.
As for the Angels and Athletics? Los Angeles averages 4.34 runs per game at home, while Oakland sits at 4.03. Combined, they were good for nine runs a game in this trip. Even without the 20-run game, you're still looking at a cool 6.8 per.
The only players who come out of this looking any good? Dustin Pedroia, who went 13-for-32 with a double and five walks, and Junichi Tazawa, who gave up one run in five innings of work, striking out six, and allowing just two men to reach base.
From now on, let's all ust stay home.