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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. Joel W Posted: August 30, 2011 at 06:24 PM (#3912466)
"I’d certainly be happy with a two-out-of-three outcome, but ballgames are determined by the starting pitching matchup less often than it usually feels like they will be, going into the games."

I think this is generally underappreciated, myself included. We should definitely expect the Sox to take two of three, and should be mildly disappointed by any worse outcome.

Appreciating that starting pitching fact means that we should also probably care more to face Detroit than Texas that "ZOMG Verlander twice" suggests. The Tigers give up 3 runs per game in Verlander starts, which I imagine is against about an average offense. The Red Sox are 25% better than average against right handers. Simplifying a bit (a lot), the Red Sox should expect to score about 4 runs in each of their games against Verlander. I think this probably overstates Verlander's ability a little bit, since Verlander is a) outperforming his FIP and b) our expectation of his true talent level shouldn't just include this year (though of course, the same can be said for the Sox lineup).

I didn't mean to turn this into a post about the playoffs, but instead just wanted to say that Detroit isn't *that* good even getting Verlander twice, Texas is a very good team, 4th best in baseball probably, and winning the division and facing Detroit with home-field rather than Texas on the road does matter, with some real probability, to the team's chances of winning the World Series. So, you know, go Sox.
   2. villageidiom Posted: August 30, 2011 at 06:49 PM (#3912502)
You do realize that referring to the AL East Division championship as "the pennant" is going to throw a few people off, right?
   3. Joel W Posted: August 30, 2011 at 06:52 PM (#3912511)
It's a pennant race, even if it is not for "the pennant" I think, despite the anachronistic naming.
   4. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 30, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#3912515)
We should definitely expect the Sox to take two of three, and should be mildly disappointed by any worse outcome.

The pitching matchups favor the Sox taking two of three, but I'm agreed with MCoA that pitching matchups tend to predict outcomes less often than I expect. The Yankees and Red Sox are probably about equal right now, I don't think you ever "expect" to win a three game series against a basically equivalent team. I'm less concerned about the wins and losses and just want to see the Red Sox play well. With Youkilis out for the Red Sox, and ARod and Jeter maybe out for the Yankees, I don't see these games as being predictive of much, even three blowout losses.

I'm finding myself surprisingly uninvested in the outcome of this series. I'm pretty confident in this Red Sox team.
   5. Darren Posted: August 30, 2011 at 07:26 PM (#3912554)
Here's hoping that Pedroia doesn't have to keep hitting fourth so we can wedge some less-than-good hitter into the #2 spot.

And as much as I value the division, I can't seem to get worked up about this either. The Sox are a little banged up, they're still playing good baseball, and they don't seem to be treating games as exhibitions. If they end up falling behind this very good Yankee team, it won't kill me the way it would have in 2007.
   6. Tor Posted: August 30, 2011 at 10:33 PM (#3912687)
Something else that's on the line: If they win tonight, they will be 81-41 over their last 122 games, or 40 games over .500.

The last time Boston went 40 games over .500 in a run of any length was 1949 (90-47, 43 games over .500). They've gone 39 games over .500 three times since: 1950 (86-47), 1978 (84-45) and this year.
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 30, 2011 at 11:06 PM (#3912708)
The way I see it is, by far the most likely outcome of the season is not winning the World Series. It'd be nice, given that, to cash in the division as the first important thing this club wins, since it could well be the only thing they win.

I have fully accepted that the Red Sox will not sacrifice a mote or iota of playoff EV for the division, but I care about it anyway.
   8. a brief article regarding 57i66135 Posted: August 30, 2011 at 11:07 PM (#3912710)
Sox win 3-0: 93% chance of winning AL East
Sox lose 0-3: 29%

that right there is why neither manager is willing to put himself on the line for this series. there's a lot to lose, but not much to gain. both teams are virtually assured of a playoff spot, and while the division champs thing is important, only 1 of these teams will be that, so there's really no upside for either manager to profess the importance of it.
   9. BDC Posted: August 30, 2011 at 11:15 PM (#3912720)
I know the Wild Card guarantees some sort of September race nearly every year, but think how maddeningly intense this year would have been if there were just one or two divisions in the American League. I have to think the attention the race would draw would be worth more in marketing and revenue terms than an extra playoff round, at least for this one year.

An unknowable "if," of course: with an imperative to beat the other club, either the Sox or Yankees might have pulled away by now.
   10. tfbg9 Posted: August 31, 2011 at 03:54 AM (#3913049)
Darnell McDonald sucks. He knows this, which avoids infighting, I guess.
   11. Darren Posted: September 02, 2011 at 03:42 AM (#3915228)
So 62%. Of course, if any of the other teams' scouts are doing their jobs, they tell their pitchers to throw nothing but junk in the dirt to the Sox and Boston doesn't win again this year.

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