January 27, 2023

Boston Sweeps Yanks but Playoff Hopes Remain Dim

May 15, 2011 by · 6 Comments 

Boston has finally reached .500 this season but now midway through May it’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 – 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 since…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. It’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, what’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 they’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.


6 Responses to “Boston Sweeps Yanks but Playoff Hopes Remain Dim”
  1. CHRIS says:

    Wow. This is a very poorly done article. I normally expect much better from Seamheads. Yes, the winning percentage they need is a good stat and is a bit startling, but if i read it correctly the article said A) The Al East is the weakest of the three divisions which is grossly incorrect and B) “They don’t play the Angels and Yankees any more” which is also factually wrong, they play the Yankees at least 2 more series. The Sox are 3 games back on May 15th. The chances of them winning the division is not dim and it would not take a miraculous turnaround, as of today, for them to win the Al East or at minimum the wild card. This article is wrong on so many levels.

  2. Rob says:

    All the Red Sox need to do, as of 5-17, is to play 4 games better than the Rays and 1 game better than each of their other AL East rivals and they’ll win the division. It remains to be seen as to whether or not that would necessitate playing at a .600+ level. One reason this division appears weaker than it is, is because when they play each other one team, obviously, has to lose.

  3. blueridgeice says:

    The only dimness I see is the reasoning of this article, coming as it does at the quarter pole of this still-young season. A three game deficit after 40 games is hardly an insurmountable obstacle, and overcoming such a minor shortfall is a feat accomplished by many division winners every year! Dimwit!!!

  4. stratobill says:

    Five weeks ago when the Red Sox and Rays were off to lousy starts, there were a lot of foolish people writing them off or saying their playoff chances were dim. The Rays are now in 1st place and the Red Sox are now above .500, and yet you are still running around like chicken little crying, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” regarding the Red Sox playoff chances. Unbelievable!

    I know you wrote this a few days ago, but at this moment the Red Sox are just 2 and a half games out of first. There are only two teams in the AL more than a game ahead of them and one is the Indians, who are very unlikely to maintain anything near their present pace. The Red Sox could easily be in first place in their division by the end of May, and yet your headline calls their playoff chances “dim”. I just don’t understand where you’re coming from on this.

    Sure they have their weaknesses, but so does every other team in the league.

    Take a deep breath and count to ten. The sky is not falling.

  5. stratobill says:

    It is now May 28th and the Red Sox have been in first place for a few days now.
    This is less than 2 weeks after you blogged that their playoff chances were “dim”.
    This must be some kind of a record.

  6. Andrew says:

    I will concede that my use of the word “dim” (which sounds negative to begin with) was a poor choice especially in the headline. My use of the word was not what clearly others felt my intention was. It is a short word and the headline was long so I felt it appropriate. One problem with blogging as I have discovered is you have no editor. An editor would have also caught the verbiage that made it sound like the Red Sox don’t play the Yankees or Angels for the rest of the season. It was a simple over sight and could have been interpreted two different ways.

    I in no way said the Red Sox will not make the playoffs or that it is impossible for them to make the playoffs. The entire article was based on statistics and historically what the statistics showed about teams making the playoffs. I was trying to gauge, again statistically, if this team two weeks ago had a chance to make the playoffs. (No team that started the season 0-6 has ever made the playoffs but I left that out.)

    Had I known Boston would play .700 ball since starting 2-10 than I would have written a different blog.

    Please see 5th paragraph, second sentence – “If a miraculous turn around was to take shape…” clearly it has and Yes stratobill I am very interested to find out if what the Red Sox have accomplished is a record. Truly amazing.

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