The beautiful thing about baseball is that sometimes there’s no rhyme or reasonable explanation for events that take place. Complete and utter randomness often rules the day, and there might be no better example of that than the Boston Red Sox record-setting grand slam pace this season.
Or, if you’re a Red Sox fan, perhaps you prefer to refer to last season as the random outlier. During the course of the 2017 regular season Boston won 93 games, which was good enough to win the American League East with 93 wins, and scored 785 runs, which ranked 10th in Major League Baseball. Yet they were the only team in the league to not hit a grand slam.
How did the Red Sox finish without a grand slam?
Well, aside from the obvious and obnoxious “they didn’t hit a home run with the bases loaded” retort, there really is no explanation. Even though Boston’s power numbers were way down — the team ranked 27th with only 168 roundtrippers — the odds say there should be a grand slam or two in there somewhere.
Even the San Francisco Giants, who hit the fewest home runs with 128 — 23 fewer than the next lowest team — hit a couple of them. That the Red Sox did not is truly random.
How many grand slams have the Red Sox hit this season?
Would you believe nine?
The ninth came during Saturday’s 6-2, 10-inning win against the Toronto Blue Jays when Xander Bogaerts launched a walk-off grand slam against Chris Rowley. The slam followed an intentional walk to J.D. Martinez, who earlier in the game hit his MLB-leading 29th home run of the season.
Bogaerts leads the team with three grand slams this season.
Which grand slam records are in sight?
With 65 games to play, the Red Sox need two grand slams to tie the franchise team record (11) and five to tie the MLB team record (14). Based on how consistently the Red Sox are getting on base (.338 OBP, third in MLB) and hitting home runs (131, second in MLB), one or both records could easily fall down the stretch.
Want some more wacky grand slam stats?
Of course you do.
It’s not just that the Red Sox have bounced back in epic fashion from last season’s anomaly. As ESPN Stats & Info points out, they’ve actually already hit more grand slams in 97 games this season than they did the last three seasons combined.
The Red Sox surge has also had a big impact on the overall grand slam numbers around MLB.
There have been 84 grand slams hit so far this year, the 2nd-most in the first half of a single season since 1933 (the year of the first All-Star Game). The record for most grand slams before the All-Star break is 94, set in 2000.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 14, 2018
Needless to say, if you’re a company that sponsors grand slams, this is not a good season to potentially lose that sponsorship.
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