The Red Sox are 2-1 and here's why

The opening series is over and the Red Sox have conquered their archrival New York Yankees, sort of. The three games against New York gave Sox fans a lot to be happy about but also some things to watch for as the season rolls on. Heading into Thursday Sox fans were begging for the Beantown broom as many were looking at a clean sweep of the series. Apparently the Yankees - depleted as they were - had other plans on Thursday night as they stole a win by a score of 4-2.   

The Red Sox were once again foiled by the Yankees, and their ability to annoy Sox fans like the small kid on a basketball court who talks trash but has little to no game. The win may have moved many to believe that the Evil Empire may have something or someone aiding them in the outfield, but after watching the series this week a question has to be asked: Was Thursday's loss (and Monday/Wednesday's win) a product of luck or something deeper within the stat line? 

We could examine all the variables during play that contribute to the overall outcome of a game or even a series. Things like hits, runs (obviously) and even non-tangible variables like momentum all contribute to the overall outcome of games. After looking through the numbers of this series the statistic that stood out above the rest was the pitch count.

Consider game one for example as the Red Sox defeated the Yankees 8-2 on Monday. Jon Lester and C.C. Sabathia were the starters heading into the game and both pitched five innings. They were then followed by a variety of relievers to close out the game.

Red Sox Total Pitch Count: 148          Yankees Total Pitch Count: 190          Diff: 42 pitches

We then move on to Wednesday as the Red Sox defeated the Yankees yet again by a score of 7-4. Clay Buchholz and Hiroki Kuroda were the starting pitchers for the second game in the series. Buchholz went seven innings while Kuroda only lasted 1.1 innings on Wednesday night.

Red Sox Total Pitch Count: 135          Yankees Total Pitch Count: 177          Diff: 42 pitches

Last but not least we examine yesterday's loss to New York. Ryan Dempster and Andy Pettitte got the nod to start on Thursday and the Yankees won 4-2. While Dempster lasted five innings for the Red Sox Andy Pettitte went eight innings to help the Yankees pull out the win.

Red Sox Total Pitch Count: 138           Yankees Total Pitch Count: 114          Diff: 24 pitches

I'm not inferring that pitch count is the sole reason for the two Red Sox wins and one loss. What I am suggesting is that the pitch count stat is a vital part of prolonging inning play, tiring pitchers and increasing the chances of mistakes by said pitchers. All those aspects can lead to success within a game or series by altering bullpen assignments, pitching rest and more. It's an underestimated statistic that frankly can lead  to wins and losses - depending on what side your on. 

Follow Scott Levesque on Twitter at @scottlevesque