Monday, May 3, 2010

O No!

What on Fenway’s green earth was that? Were the Red Sox just swept away by the Orioles?

I have to admit. While it’s an unusual strategy, it has some merit. When the Sox lost to Baltimore at Fenway, it was a large cause for concern. The Orioles, after all, only had a couple wins at the time. By sweeping the Sox this past weekend, the Orioles now have twice as many wins as they did. So, it looks like the Sox lost to a much better team. Sort of like when Notre Dame lost an early season football game to Northwestern not too long ago. At the time, it made ND look terrible. How could they lose to such a bad team? But, as Northwestern started adding more wins, it didn’t make the Irish look so bad. That must be what the Sox are looking for now. Make the Orioles look better, so they don’t look so bad. Increase their “strength of schedule” factor. Very impressive planning.

The Sox record currently sits at 11-14. That’s not good. No, really. It’s not good. But, when you add the two numbers, you only get 25. So, 25 games in, the Sox don’t look good. Thankfully, there are 137 games left. So, all is not lost. Let’s say the Sox want to win 95 games this year. No matter whether or not you make the playoffs, if you win 95 games, there’s no reason you can complain about the season. So, to win 95 games, the Sox need to go 84-53 the rest of the way. That works out to playing .613 baseball the rest of the season. Boy, that’s tough. How can they be expected to do that? That never happens. I mean, to play .613 ball for an entire season, you’d be on a 99-win clip. You can’t depend on that. Wait, what? The Sox did that last year? Really? There was a 25 game stretch in July where the Sox went 10-15? Huh. So, the rest of last season, they had to play at a .620 clip? That happened? Huh. What do you know? Before this weekend, the Sox were 11-11, and things were looking up. After this weekend, they’re three games lower, and the end is near. Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense to me either.

The problem, really, is how people insist on looking at statistics. Baseball announcers love looking at a player like Dustin Pedroia and his .330 batting average, see him 0-3 in the game and say, “he’s due.” He’s not “due.” If a player has a .333 batting average over a season, it doesn’t mean he got one hit every three at bats. It means he got a hit in one third of his at-bats. They came in bunches. There were long stretches with no hits. An average isn’t a constant thing. Just like wins. If you win 95 games, you don’t win 59% of every ten games. You win 59% of the total games. There are 7-game win streaks mixed in, along with 10 game losing streaks. Yup, the Sox started tough. But, let’s not get crazy here.

To be honest, missing two starting outfielders, 11-14 looks almost respectable. The pitching will be good. The top three will win their share of games. They won’t all have the worst years of their careers the same year. The offense will score runs. It’s show that it can. No need to worry.

This is still a good team.

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