If you’ve been a Red Sox fan as long as I have, 62 years, you no doubt understand the headline above.
At dinner last night, my wife of almost 45 years (and a ‘fair weather’ baseball fan — she only goes to games when the weather is fair) asked how the Sox were doing. When I told her they were 18-7, leading not only the AL East but also all of the majors, she said, “I guess they’re setting you up for their August fade.”
If they continued at their present W-L rate (.720), they’d win 116 games.
Won’t happen, of course. Tho if they simply played at a .500 rate for the remainder of the season, they’d end up winning between 86-87 games, almost exactly what I predicted on March 18, 2013: Don’t Bother Reading This Post.
Still, it’s fun to be in the running after 15% of the season has passed (some of you no doubt remember how awful the Sox started off the last two years). And they’ve done well even with some starting players not available for half of their games so far (Ortiz, Drew, Middlebrooks, Lackey, Hanrahan…and now Victorino).
So why an opening run of 18-7?
Hitting: They’re 2nd in the AL, 3rd in the Majors with a BA/OBP/SLG./OPS of .272/.347/.442/.789.
Pitching: They’re 3rd in the AL, 6th in the Majors with an ERA of 3.39 (and that includes Acheve’s games). Their bullpen, tho not lights out, is pretty good, 5th in the AL.
Fielding: They’re 5th in the AL, 6th in the Majors with with a fielding percentage of .989 (only 10 errors in 25 games).
Intangibles: GM Cherington has put together a good mixture of veterans, younger players, and guys who seem to get along with each other. He has the manager he wanted since he took over from Epstein and a good group of coaches and part time advisers, and there seem to adequate (we’ll see) players in Pawtucket and Portland when the inevitable injuries arise.
Still, having been an avid Sox fan since the age of eight, I understand the snarky remark of my present wife about the August swoon the Sox are so capable of doing.
What about the Washington Nationals?
I also wrote about them earlier. And those wise words seem to be holding up at this point. I have attended eight of their 26 games. They are 5-3 in those games are 13-13 for the season so far.
They’ve got some problems. Strasburg is not right (1-4, ERA. 3.13) and as a team in pitching they are 7th out of the 15 teams in the NL.
It gets worse. In hitting they are 11th out of 15, and the big one, I think, is fielding, where they are dead last in the NL.
No way they can equal last year’s 98 wins at this rate, especially if their hitting remains average and they continue to give opponents extra outs and unearned runs.
Sox Magic Number:
Oh, and for those of you who are interested, the Sox Magic Number as of this morning is down to 128, with only 137 games left to play.