Monday, April 29, 2013

Does Houston have to Leave?

I think I could handle playing the Astros for another series or two.

So, the Red Sox are going to end April with the best record in baseball. Isn’t that something? Can we draw anything from this? I’m not sure.

A month is a pretty decent sample size. Usually, when a team gets out to a hot start, people say we should all wait until they play the good teams. Then we’ll see what they’re made of. People said that during the most recent Patriots season. Wait until they face an elite quarterback. Then that defense will be their downfall. The problem with that particular argument was that there aren’t really that many elite quarterbacks out there. One of them is on the Patriots. So, who were we supposed to wait for them to face in the playoffs? I think something similar is happening here. Sure, the Sox got to feast on Houston this weekend. But, they’ve also played every other team in the East. They also played KC and Oakland. Who should we be waiting for in order to really judge them? Look at May’s schedule. I don’t see that team on it either. One series in Texas in May. Will that be enough? Philly? Or, will we be sitting at the end of May waiting for them to face the good teams to really get a sense? After 50 games? Or, is this the team the Sox have, and it’s not the competition that is making them look good?

Not that I’m saying they’ll win 110 games this season. But, maybe it’s just about their performance. If they play the way they’ve been playing, they’ll win lots of games. So, the question really should be, can they keep playing the way they’ve been playing?


But, will it hurt them?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Lester and Buchholz will both lose some games this year. Clay’s season ERA will be over 2.00. David Ortiz will finish up with a batting average below .500. Those are pretty obvious. What does it all mean? I suppose that depends on everyone else.

If Clay pitches to a 3.00 ERA the rest of the year, can the offense score enough runs to still win games? What about a 4.00 ERA? It’ll be close. Because, while some players are vastly overachieving, some aren’t. For every Nava, there’s a Middlebrooks. For every Papi, there’s a Drew. So, you could make the case that the Sox, on average, should balance themselves out for the rest of the season. The pitchers will give up more runs, by the offense should keep its head generally above water.

It was interesting to hear the EEIdiots this morning saying that if the Sox “only go one game over .500 the rest of the way…” In the past seasons, that would have been “even if the Sox go one game over .500 the rest of the way…” Apparently, if they do that, they’ll be around 87 wins. That sounds about right. If the pitching goes on a good stretch, they’ll win some games. If the pitching has a rough time of it for a stretch, the Sox will slump. This won’t be a team thumping the other pitcher to make up for mistakes. There will be a lot of those close games that could go either way. It’s just a matter of how much of a margin for error they’re giving themselves.

So, no, the Sox aren’t the best team we’ve seen in a generation. But, it’s not like they’re a schedule fluke either. Right now, they’re in a good stretch. This good stretch just happens to have started the season. They’ll go through a rough patch at some point. (The middle of June certainly looks like a good candidate for that.) In general, they’ll be around that .500 mark. That might be good enough to make the playoffs.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

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