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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Panic on the Streets of Boston, Panic on the Streets of Arlington

So much for the idea of a relaxing week of baseball.  A division title that looked wrapped up 60 hours ago suddenly looks, or at least feels, dicey at best.  So how much should the Sox fans be panicking?

The case against panic;

- The lead is still three games and despite two ugly games the Sox have been excellent for awhile now.  At 15-8 the Sox have been playing great baseball in September and you can push that back to the trade deadline where they have the second best record in the AL.  Simply put this is a good team that should be expected to play well.

- One good day.  That’s all they need.  An old SABR friend used to describe the three states of being a Red Sox fan;

*Pure Joy - Sox win, Yankees lose
*Null Set - Sox and Yankees match results
*Pure Sadness - Sox lose, Yankees win

The Yankees need three more days in the next five like the last category just to catch the Sox.  By contrast if the Sox get one “pure joy” day then the Yankees need the other four days to go their way or the Sox win the division.

- For all the ups and downs this September the lead has been stable for a long time now.  The Sox have done a good job of avoiding losing streaks over the course of the season.  They have five good starting pitchers to pitch these final five games and should expect solid starts regularly.

- Chris Sale has been on a pitch well/pitch poorly roll so having him lingering for Sunday coming off a short outing is actually encouraging.

The case for panic;

- The Yankees are cooking with gas.  As good as the Sox have been in September the Bronx Bombers have been a bit better at 17-7.  The big fear here is that the Yankees run the table these final five games.  If that happens it is hard to imagine the Sox not being in a one game playoff that would take place in the Bronx.

- As good as the Sox have been they are not the team they have been.  Injuries have suddenly cascaded on this team in the worst way with Pomeranz, Mookie, Pedroia and Nunez suddenly unavailable and/or ineffective.

- The matchups the rest of the way favor the Yankees.  Even an Astro team with minimal amounts to play for are still tough to beat and tonight’s Porcello vs. Estrada matchup is not one to feel good about.  And when you look at the probables is there a game in there you would expect the Yankees to lose?

Probable Matchups:

WED: Porcello vs. Estrada/Severino vs. Andriese
THUR: Rodriguez vs. Peacock/Gray vs. Faria
FRI: Fister vs. Morton/Tanaka vs. Biagini
SAT: Pomeranz vs. McHugh /Sabathia vs. Stroman
SUN: Sale vs. TBD/Montgomery vs. Anderson

So what do we think?  I will freely admit I do not feel particularly confident.  The problem is that a one game playoff would likely be a Severino vs. Porcello game which…no thanks.  So for me the Sox really need to wrap this up by Sunday.  One of the hallmarks of the John Farrell era, like the Terry Francona era, has been an ability to bounce back when the time came.  They will need to do that over the next five days to lock this thing up.

Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 27, 2017 at 10:01 AM | 119 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: September 30, 2017 at 12:54 PM (#5542057)
CC is my favorite Yankee.
   102. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 30, 2017 at 01:00 PM (#5542060)

Don't you mean "pants pissed"? Wheeeeeeeee.

Reacting to every game must be exhausting. What's their winning % since the break? Over 60, isn't it?


It is exhausting, I wish I was normal but this is who I am.
   103. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: September 30, 2017 at 01:06 PM (#5542062)
It'll be fine, bro. Accept this pat on the back from 60 miles away.
   104. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 30, 2017 at 01:55 PM (#5542078)
I hope so. This is excrutiating.
   105. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 30, 2017 at 02:06 PM (#5542083)
I made the comment earlier about this being a remarkably boring season, within the context of playoff-bound seasons.

The reason I say that is highlighted by how I feel after last night's game:

1) I don't think this 2017 team is that good. The 2017 AL is unusual, in that the only five teams with a positive run differential are...the five playoff teams. (The Angels are close, and could still move to the positive side of the ledger with a good last two games.) There are an unusual number of mediocre teams in the league this year - a lot of teams that will end up with 70-something wins. And even the 5th playoff team, Minnesota, will end up with only about 85 wins. There are two really good teams, CLE and HOU, and NYY are probably better than BOS at this point, too. They've outscored BOS this year by a comfortable margin, and they are playing very well.

2) The stakes of this final week aren't that high, certainly not compared to most of my lifetime of being a baseball fan. When MLB decided to move to the current format, they made a trade off, and I'm not criticizing it. Basically, they traded the less-frequent, but extremely intense, drama of the sprint at the end of a marathon (like the 1978 BOS-NYY, 1991 ATL-SF, etc.) that left more teams out of the drama; and in exchange, they have more teams that have a chance every year of experiencing some late-season drama, though with lower stakes.

In 2017, if the Yankees and Red Sox were fighting for a "win the division or go home" stakes, I'd have been hanging on every pitch last night, today, and maybe tomorrow, too. It would be appointment viewing. But Minnesota fans would have long turned their focus to the Vikings or something.

Instead, I check the score once an hour while running family errands, because the best case for me (Red Sox fan) is that we are the #3 seed, starting next week in a best of five, probably at Houston. My worst case scenario is that I have to win a home game against Minnesota in order to start a best-of-five on the road, probably at Houston. (If we lose the division, it's because Houston swept us, so they have a good shot at the #1 seed. If we win the division, it's probably because Houston lost enough to end up the #2 seed. So, whatever, on the playoff matchup.)

I get that the odds of winning the World Series - which is what it is about for Boston fans, at this point - are better if we win the division this weekend. However, the chances of beating (probably) Houston and Cleveland on the road, then either LA or Washington, are really low. In a situation like that, you just want to make the tournament, and we'll see what happens.

I am happy Minnesota fans get to experience the playoffs, and that makes it worth Boston or NYY fans getting less drama in 2017 (or whoever else in other years). But it is a trade off.
   106. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 30, 2017 at 02:39 PM (#5542100)
I am happy Minnesota fans get to experience the playoffs, and that makes it worth Boston or NYY fans getting less drama in 2017 (or whoever else in other years).

Still time for plenty of drama - just need a little cooperation from the Red Sox and there could be a Game 163. Who wouldn't want that?
   107. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: September 30, 2017 at 02:44 PM (#5542103)
They aren't cooperating.
   108. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: September 30, 2017 at 02:49 PM (#5542108)
It's over.
   109. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: September 30, 2017 at 02:50 PM (#5542112)
55 degrees, raining, Houston down 5 and counting. No comeback today, sorry.
   110. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 30, 2017 at 03:03 PM (#5542124)
95. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 30, 2017 at 07:39 AM (#5541959)
I was pissed tonight but right now I'm strangely confident that tomorrow is the day. I liked that they rallied today. I think Saturday is the day.

It sure as hell should be, given that Lance McCullers hasn't even had one of those watered down "quality starts" since June 8th, and when you look at his game logs, you have to wonder why he's even pitching today with the Astros still in the mix for the best AL record. It's almost as if they'd rather play the Red Sox in the DS.


As Nostradamus weeps......
   111. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 30, 2017 at 03:09 PM (#5542129)
It's over.

Smite him, Baseball Gods! Smite him!
   112. Answer Guy, outhacking you by a mile. Posted: September 30, 2017 at 03:31 PM (#5542147)
Well, the good parts of the bullpen are well-rested as there's been little need for them recently. *eyeroll*
   113. John DiFool2 Posted: September 30, 2017 at 04:34 PM (#5542195)
And that is that. See ya in the playoffs.
   114. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 30, 2017 at 04:43 PM (#5542199)
Congrats to the Red Sox. They deserved it.
   115. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 30, 2017 at 05:05 PM (#5542203)
WOOOOOOOOO!
   116. Lassus Posted: September 30, 2017 at 08:12 PM (#5542248)
My GF is a New Englander, so after that Mets season, I finally have a reason to actually pay attention to the playoffs.
   117. Morton's Fork Posted: October 01, 2017 at 01:27 AM (#5542304)
Boston Britches Bathed and Besodden: with Bubbly!
   118. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: October 01, 2017 at 09:27 AM (#5542325)
Smite him, Baseball Gods! Smite him!


Ha, I missed this.
   119. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: October 01, 2017 at 09:51 AM (#5542331)
If baseball gods existed you'd have to relive 1967 every year.
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