Red Sox at Blue Jays, May 18-20

Tuesday, May 18 2021 @ 02:05 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

The first place Boston group is coming to Dunedin.

The Jays and Red Sox split a pair of games at Fenway last month. The Bostons are tied with Toronto in the loss column, but they've played three more games and won them all. What's different about this year's team?

It's mostly the pitching. The Red Sox had a decent offense last year, fifth best in the AL. They've been better this time around, mostly because J.D. Martinez has resumed being J.D. Martinez. Evidently his 2020 season was just a random blimp and not the herald of Inevitable Decline. The Sox have basically a three man offense: Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers. Bogaerts and Devers were pretty good last year, but this season they've been really, really good. Most everyone else has been... uh, close to average. And while Frenchy Cordero has been awful, he's actually been an upgrade over the 2020 version of Andrew Benintendi.

The real improvement is on the mound. The Red Sox have been comfortably above average in preventing the other team from scoring and this is a huge, huge improvement. Because last year they were all kinds of awful. No AL team allowed more runs. Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez have returned from last year's rotation: Eovaldi hasn't been as effective but he's been giving them league average work. Perez, however, has never pitched this well in his life. Last year he suddenly reduced the number of hits he allowed; this year he's also cut his homers allowed in half. The other three starters weren't part of last year's staff at all. Eduardo Rodriguez missed the season,  Garrett Richards, signed as a free agent, has generally been a quality pitcher when he was healthy enough to take the mound. He just hasn't been able to do that on a regular basis since 2015, which was six years ago. And Nick Pivetta has gone 7-0, 2.91 since arriving in a trade with the Phillies last August - he went 19-30, 5.50 in what was almost four years in Philadelphia. Go figure.If Perez and Pivetta have undergone some disturbing metamorphosis, if Richards can actually stay healthy, these guys could be a problem.

There Be Matchups!

Mon 18 May - Rodriguez (5-1, 4.15) vs Ryu (3-2, 2.95)
Tue 19 May - Richards (3-2, 3.89) vs Stripling (0-2, 5.91)
Wed 20 May - Pivetta (5-0, 3.16) vs Matz (5-2, 4.29)

So I'm watching a game last week, and the Jays are getting hosed by an umpire and I thought - Charlie, sometimes you have to go out there and cast some serious aspersions on that umpire's character,. Perhaps you might insult his mother, or suggest something about an unnatural fondness for farmyard creatures. Get yourself kicked out of the game! Sometimes it's what the team needs you to do! And then I wondered - gosh. Has Charlie Montoyo ever been ejected from a game? Because I couldn't remember it happening.

He has, it turns out, been ejected 3 times in the 261 games he's managed for Toronto. Exactly once every 87 games.

Everyone knows, I trust, that Bobby Cox has been ejected from more games than any manager who ever walked the earth. Cox was ejected 162 times in his 29 seasons as a manager - and there's the thing. Bobby Cox managed a lot of games - 4508 of them, and only three men managed more. Cox did get himself ejected once every 27.8 games, which does seem excessive. But how does that stand up, on a per game basis, against such legendary hotheads as Weaver or Durocher?

Pretty darn good. I took the 100 men with the most games managed. The 100th man is Jerry Manuel, who managed 1390 games in the majors. It appears that 19th century managers didn't argue with the umpires: Frank Selee and Harry Wright have zero recorded ejections, Charlie Comiskey and Connie Mack just 2 and 1 respectively, and those came during their days as player-managers (Mack, apparently, was a notable trash talker when he was a player. The mind reels...)

And the manager most likely to get kicked out of a game was....

Paul Richards? You're kidding?

Richards managed the White Sox for four years (1951-54) and the Orioles for seven (1955-1961) and he apparently led the AL in ejections every year. He came back to manage the White Sox for a year in the 1970s and managed to go the whole year without being kicked out once,  But overall he accumulated 82 early showers over 1837 games in those twelve seasons.That's one ejection every 22.4 games. This is just weird, because Richards' baseball reputation was always that of an innovator, an intellectual, a tactician. He wrote an instructional book Modern Baseball Strategy, prepared an early version of the manual that was later developed into the celebrated Oriole Way, insisted that players be taught the same techniques at all levels of the system. But one umpire says he had "the foulest mouth in the major leagues", he was known to be an inveterate cheater at golf, and everyone who knew him says he was basically a con man.

I'm not going to print out the whole top 100 - too much formatting. (I will, of course, respond to any inquiries!) But here's the top fifteen - managers most likely to get ejected:

    MGR    Games Ejected Games/Ejection
               
1    Richards    1837    82    22.4
2    Frisch    2246    88    25.5
3    Weaver    2541    96    26.5
4    Cox    4508   162    27.8
5    Gardenhire    2480    84    29.5
6    Gibbons    1582    53    29.8
7    C. Manuel 1826    52    35.1
8    Hutchinson    1666    45    37.0
9    Durocher    3739   100    37.4
10    Bristol    1424    37    38.5
11    McGraw    4769   121    39.4
12    Griffith    2917    73    40.0
13    Rigney    2561    64    40.0
14    Hurdle    2615    64    40.9
15    Maddon    2417    57    42.4
I'm sure we all expected to see Cox, Weaver, Durocher, McGraw, Hutchinson on this list- their reputation, it turns out, was well earned. But Gibby! Who knew? And Ron Gardenhire?

You're wondering - where's Billy Martin! Up there, in 20th place with 48 ejections in 2267 games (every 47.2 games.)

The median, by the way, is roughly 1 ejection every 70 games or so. Notables in this range are Sparky Anderson, Chuck Tanner, Gene Mauch.

Men like Joe Torre, Cito Gaston, Tony LaRussa, Tom Lasorda got ejected a little more often than that median.

Getting ejected less frequently than that median were such folk as  Don Zimmer, Buck Showalter, Casey Stengel, Dusty Baker.

As for the guys who practically never got themselves removed: well KIndly Old Burt Shotton got ejected 2 times in 1469 games. Tom Kelly and Bill Terry generally went more than 400 games between ejections.

And the greatest manager of them all, Joe McCarthy? Just 13 times in 3487 games, or once every 268 games. Well, why would you argue when you're winning. And no one won more often.

FOOTNOTE #1 - He's not on my list because he's only managed 707 games in the majors. But he's just 59 years old and he could certainly get another opportunity. And if he does... Rick Renteria has already been ejected 30 times - that's once every 23.6, more frequently than any of the top 100 except Richards.

FOOTNOTE #2 - The greatest hothead of all-time, a man notorious all his life for fighting with umpires, was probably the great 19th century shortstop, Bill Dahlen. He was kicked out of 29 games as a player and another 36 as a manager. Dahlen only managed for four years, and was ejected once every 17 games.

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