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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Monday, September 04, 2017

So Here We Are

After 137 games despite a disappointing weekend in the Bronx the Red Sox are in pretty good shape.  With just 25 games left the Sox hold a 3 1/2 game lead in the division and have a decent if not fully comfortable lead in the division.  They weathered The GauntletĀ¶ at 14-11 rather than vi’s hoped for 15-10 but a lead that was 3 games at the start is now ever so slightly better.

Now comes the opportunity to take the division home.  The Sox final 25 games feature just seven against teams over .500; 3 in Baltimore then 4 at home to end the season against Houston.  This is not to say it will be easy but the Sox have played themselves into a favorable position.

The natural concern, because hey we’re Red Sox fans and concern is our bag, is a repeat of past disappointments.  There are several reasons why this team is well suited to win a second consecutive division title for the first time in club history.

1. Collapses are rare - The simple fact is that while 1974, 1978 and 2011 live on in our collective conscience the reality is that teams with a lead at this stage generally hold a lead after 162 games are complete.  The Red Sox are a good team and over their last 25 games are 14-11.  That would almost certainly be a record that would give the club a division title.

2. They are a good team - Simple fact number two, this is a good team.  I don’t remember 1974 but in 1978 and 2011 the Sox battled injuries in the lineup and in the rotation.  The 2011 team in particular has little in comparison with this one as the Andrew Miller, Kyle Weiland, Ghost of Tim Wakefield starts will now go to Doug Fister, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello.  That trio isn’t perfect but I’ll take my chances.

3. The rotation, this can’t be said enough - The biggest advantage this team has, like 2013’s group, is that the rotation is strong.  Maybe no starter is a guaranteed lockdown (though more on Sale in a moment) but they should expect good starts more often than bad starts.  That will get them wins.

4. They are healthy (mostly) - Xander Bogaerts is clearly hurting and I think it is fair to worry about Mookie Betts but on the whole the Sox are healthy.  The ghosts of Bob Bailey or Ryan Lavarnway (who batted cleanup that fateful night in Baltimore) should not haunt this club.

5. The Yankees are flawed - If the Sox can play a fairly pedestrian 13-12 the Yankees would need to go 17-9 to catch them.  The Yanks have not had a stretch that good since April 16-May 17 and they will play a few of those games without Gary Sanchez and have lost Aaron Hicks to the DL.  Hicks’ trip to the DL earlier in the year was a key loss for them.

None of this to say the Sox have it wrapped up.  The Yankees CAN get hot (their best 26 game stretch is 20-6) and the Sox CAN slump.  I want to quickly address a couple of concerns;

1. The bullpen still is scary - Color me unimpressed with Addison Reed and the flaws there that existed pre-deadline still seem to exist.  There is too much uncertainty within that group for my taste.

2. Chris Sale - A one man question mark.  The slightly built Sale has a history of struggling in September and he has not been at his best lately.  However, interspersed with a few clunkers are several excellent starts.  Even if he is not the uber-dominant Aceā„¢ he was for most of the season he should still be very good and unlike the first six weeks of the season the Sox are getting performances behind him that mean any stumbles are not fatal.

When the season started I felt the Sox would get better as the season went on.  While it has not been an entirely linear performance that is about what they have done;

April - 13-11
May - 16-12
June - 16-12
July - 13-14
August - 18-9
September - 1-2 (they’re doomed!)

The opportunity is there, they simply need to seize it.

Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 04, 2017 at 12:32 AM | 103 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

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   101. TomH Posted: September 13, 2017 at 04:14 PM (#5531075)
fun fact: if the Red Sox win this World Series, they will pass the Yan****s for highest winning pct in World Series contests, among those who have won 6 or more Series.
current
NYY 27-13
BOS 08-04
   102. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 14, 2017 at 11:45 AM (#5531516)
David Price has been activated and apparently will pitch out of the bullpen.
   103. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 14, 2017 at 04:56 PM (#5531898)
Good lord that was harrowing.
Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2

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