When the Red Sox start their series against the Angels tonight, they will do so as the team with the most wins in the league. Amazingly, they will also start the game a half game behind the Yankees for the division lead. (Math is awesome, isn’t it?) This has made some people lose sight as to just how good this team has been. I’m not sure when that realization will come, but I hope it’s soon.
I say this a lot, but people sometimes don’t understand what it means to be a good team. They also tend to fall prey to the “grass is always greener” mentality. I don’t know if the Patriots are messing with people’s heads. Do they see the pats going 15-1 or even 13-3 and assume that’s what good teams do? Win 13 out of every 16 games? Because that’s just not realistic over a season. To be honest, I’m not sure why. I can only assume that the number of games in a season spread out like they are allow the cream to rise to the top more than in other sports? Take, for instance, a 10-6 Patriots season. That’s a .625 winning percentage. In baseball, that would win you 101 games and be close to the best record in baseball. In basketball, that’s a 51 win season which ranks you near the top of the league. In football, that might not make the playoffs. A 13-3 Patriots season? The Red Sox would go 132-30 if they won games at that clip. So, we need to stop thinking about the Red Sox in football terms. Going 5-5 over their last ten is not a sign that their weaknesses are showing. It’s just a sign that baseball is hard, and teams don’t go 8-2 over every individual 10 game stretch.
The grass is greener problem comes when fans start comparing the Sox to other teams. The “good” teams. Every time the Red Sox lose a game, we’re told that if they want to beat “good’ teams, they can’t do this, or do that. Good teams, apparently, have no flaws and are consistently better than not good teams. But, the Yankees are leading the division and just went 5-5 over their last ten. They had the Rays, of all teams, beat them with a walk-off win. Houston has as many wins as the Sox, but are now 7-3 in their last ten coming off a huge winning streak. The Sox? Right in the middle with their 6-4 stretch. So, see? All good teams have bleh periods. Sometimes everything doesn’t click. Or, your number five starter gives up ten runs. Or one of the bullpen arms has an off night.
It doesn’t mean the team has a fatal flaw. It doesn’t mean that the team needs to desperately improve at the deadline. It just means that sometimes things happen.
And sometimes you don’t like them.