Boston Sweeps Yanks but Playoff Hopes Remain Dim
Boston has finally reached .500 this season but now midway through May itâ€™s a likely bet the Red Sox playoff hopes in this overly-hyped season remain iffy at best.
Their position in the standings is certainly not bleak, however, for the Red Sox to have any chance of reaching the playoffs, the team would have to start playing .610 ball â€“ now. This may not be out of the question for a team with such solid starting pitching, a strong bullpen, great defense and what was to be the most feared offensive lineup sinceâ€¦well no one could remember as Carl Crawford (nice .208 average, Carl) and Adrian Gonzalez (finally pulling his weight in cash) were to propel this team to a dynasty starting absolutely positively this year.
For a team to play .610 ball all year would be approximately a 99-win season. This would be a team that is consistent, knows who they are and plays together. The last team to play .610 ball was the New York Yankees in 2009 when they won 103 games for a winning percentage of .636 and also took home the World Series crown. The Los Angeles Angels and Chicago Cubs both eclipsed the .600 mark in 2008 and the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals did it in 2005. Itâ€™s not easy to do.
The Red Sox last played .600 ball in 2004 when they ended their long World Series drought and won 98 games. Interestingly, Boston has only reached the 100-win plateau three times and last did it in 1946. For them to accomplish that feat this year, as many predicted, the team would have to play .650 ball for the rest of the season and finish 80-43.
However, whatâ€™s in the Red Sox favor is the East, so far this year, looks to be the weaker of the three divisions, and no longer sitting in last place, Boston is only 3 games out of first. If a miraculous turn around was to take shape, the Red Sox could conceivably play a respectable .570 ball and take the division with only 90 wins and a .555 win percentage. In the last 10 years, no team has taken the wild card with less than 94 wins. The Seattle Mariners took the wild card in 2000 with a 91-71 record. The Yankees took the first ever wild card playoff spot in 1995 with 78 wins in a strike-shortened season.
Boston began the season 2-10 and has since paced a .642 winning percentage with an 18-10 record. If the Red Sox can keep that pace theyâ€™ll win 79 more games and easily take the division or wild card with a 99-win season. Unfortunately, Boston will not be playing only the Yankees and Angels for the remainder of the season as 11 of their 20 wins have come from those two teams.
Only three American League wild card winners have reached the World Series, two of those teams won it all, with the Red Sox being one of them in the famed 2004 season. This season is far from over but for the streaking Red Sox who seem to lose a bunch before hitting their stride and then losing a bunch and cycling all over again, finally hitting .500 midway through May is a sad milestone for this club that was overly hyped by fans and the media. The return on investment by the $20 million club was eagerly anticipated and highly expected to begin this year but history seems to be a benchmark that doling out money to win championships never works the first year, the second year and usually not even the third year.
Just ask Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees.