August 23, 2007

What Has To Happen

Boston    76-51 .598  --
New York 71-56 .559 5
For the Yankees to win the East, with 35 games remaining:

If Boston goes 18-17, New York must go 24-11 (.686, roughly the same pace they have played since the ASG: 28-13, .683).

If Boston goes 19-16, New York must go 25-10 (.714, a better pace than their historic 1998 season: 114-48, .704).

If Boston goes 21-14 -- its 2007 winning percentage to date -- New York must go 27-8 (.771, the equivalent of a 125-37 season, something no team has ever done).

Turn it around:

If New York plays at its current season percentage of .559, they will go 20-15 (actually, 19.6 wins). Boston would have to go 14-21 to lose the East.

A New York comeback is not impossible -- the six games remaining against the Yankees make it more probable than if we were through with them for the year.

If the Red Sox somehow get swept next week, the media will go insane -- but, with Boston playing 19 of their 35 games against the Devil Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays, I don't see any reason for serious concern.

21 comments:

Devine said...

This "now let's face the AL East for a month" thing (after the White Sox) is kinda nuts. The Sox have dominated East opponents so far this year. Could the title be wrapped up before they go into their final homestand (against the A's and Twins)?

It will be 19 of 28 against the Jays, O's, and Rays after the next Yankee series. In their last 28 games, the Red Sox will play at home almost two-thirds of the time (18-10). The Yankees have a relatively soft schedule (their non-AL-East opponents are Seattle and KC) as well, but more games on the road in that stretch.

To me, since July, the key for the Sox has always been this road stretch they're in the middle of, and August in general (so much of it on the road). If they can go 6-4 or 7-3 on this road trip, that would be a strong push toward taking the division.

I want it so bad. I know the players are all, "Making the playoffs is what matters" and I'd sure as hell take the wild card over nothing, but I REALLY want the Sox to take the division.

If only the Tigers do a better job agains the Yankees at home this weekend (and Monday)...

Rob said...

Using 2007 runs scored for and against to calculate Pythagorean win percentages going forward and using a simple binomial probability model, the Sox have an 87.4% chance of winning the division (I haven't been able to find any more detailed calculations online). So I'm not too worried either. :) Interestingly, the Sox are playing at about their Pythagorean record, but NYY is a few games back. They "should" have almost identical records.

Jere said...

If we'd been neck and neck with the Yanks all year, and at this same point we extended it to five, things would look a lot different. I think any team would sign up for a 5-game lead on August 23rd. (Or best record in baseball, biggest division lead, etc.) We're good.

ish said...

I said this last night (the other rob who was in the game thread... i changed my name upon seeing another rob here to confuse things :P)... Barring anything drastic, there may be a 1 or 2 game difference either way before we get to New York. Then you make sure to win at least one in New York-- -3, -1, +1, +3... Obviously getting swept makes things very interesting and sweeping makes things nice and comfy. But at least make sure to win one in New York, (win one, then look to win two), and we'll be fine.

ish said...

WHOA. Did you hear this??

Boston.com / Extra Bases

The Red Sox decided to send down Jon Lester to Portland and recalled Javier Lopez. More details to come shortly.

Zenslinger said...

Interestingly, the Sox are playing at about their Pythagorean record, but NYY is a few games back. They "should" have almost identical records.

This is interesting. But clinging to Pythagorean is also one way to fly in the face of the very broad but somehow true homily that pitching is more important than hitting. Not even the Rangers can get 2 W's out of scoring enough runs in one game to win five. You don't have to ask the Yanks if offense can go cold when it's needed -- hell, ask the Sox! And even when offense is on, all the runs scored in the world can't make up for what happened to the Yanks' pitching early in the season.

Pythagorean is just that: interesting. It's not probable that runs for and against are going to be distributed evenly -- quite the opposite. Of course, there's more than one way Pythagorean can fail to describe a team's success than the case of the Yanks (see this year's D-Backs).

Nothing's impossible, but I am also not too worried about the Yanks taking the division from us. Maybe I want too much, but I am most concerned that Seattle can't hang in there. It's only fair that the Yankees stay home one year. Just one.

My secondary concern is that we're not going to go into the playoffs with much momentum, or a bad injury will pop up.

Zenslinger said...

Lester - hm. Well, he hasn't pitched particularly well, but Lopez ain't gonna start. What do they want to do, go with Tavarez? He hasn't been any better than Lester.

Gabbard's ERA is hanging in there around 3.70. Granted, he did have some run support last night...heh.

Joe Grav said...

If the Red Sox get swept next week, I will go insane, fuck the media

ish said...

Sounds like Tavarez is going to pitch on Sunday. Guess he sent a message his last start, eh? What a year it's been for that man.

Zenslinger said...

If the Sox get swept, I will fuck the media myself!


Looking over Tavarez lately...I guess he's not as bad as I thought, certainly a little better than Lester has been. In 116 innings this year, he's only given up 11 HRs. Not great, but not, y'know, awful. He can hang in there for five-six innings.

Drew said...

I am not much concerned about taking the AL East. What I want ... what I really, really, REALLY want is for the MFYs to miss the playoffs. What are the chances of that, pray tell?

Jere said...

"I am not much concerned about taking the AL East. What I want ... what I really, really, REALLY want is for the MFYs to miss the playoffs."

Love to hear it, Drew. If some Yankee fan tells you to "worry about your own team," just tell 'em to worry about their own worries.

redsock said...

Hey, Drew, I have faith in you, but could you start hitting soon?

Jeff said...

Lonborg and champagne?

Devine said...

Isn't saying you are not concerned about the Sox taking the AL East, but then saying you really don't want the Yankees to make the playoffs a contradiction, drew?

Or do you mean you have complete confidence the Sox will win the East? Wish I had that, though I do still feel pretty good about their chances.

redsock said...

what I really, really, REALLY want is for the MFYs to miss the playoffs. What are the chances of that, pray tell?

According to Cool Standings, which runs a million simulations of the rest of the seasons every day, the MFY miss the playoffs 33.7% of the time. The Red Sox miss it 1.7% of the time.

L-girl said...

I want it so bad. I know the players are all, "Making the playoffs is what matters" and I'd sure as hell take the wild card over nothing, but I REALLY want the Sox to take the division.

All I've wanted since 2003 was for the Sox to win the division and the Yankees not to make the playoffs at all. That's all I want, and I want it so badly.

L-girl said...

If we'd been neck and neck with the Yanks all year, and at this same point we extended it to five, things would look a lot different. I think any team would sign up for a 5-game lead on August 23rd. (Or best record in baseball, biggest division lead, etc.) We're good.

This is always what we're trying to say, one way or another. So anytime someone needs to hear something like this, let's just cut-and-paste this Jere gem.

Tuan said...

I am a Sox fan that, like most Sox fans, have faith that the Sox can do anything they put their minds to, including letting the MFYs win the division. I am calling a Tavarez genious bowl to second that gets kicked by the runner into the outfield and Manny's blazing speed the only thing left to save 2 runs from coming in for the other team, and with those 2 runs the Yanks win the division. I think that cause I have good old Red Sox faith.

Drew said...

a contradiction ... Or do you mean you have complete confidence the Sox will win the East?

No contradiction, because that's exactly what I meant. The Sox will take the AL East.

My only qualms are that I'd hate to have them play the Mariners in the ALDS (given how things go for the Sox when playing in Seattle). But if it means that the MFYs go golfing, I'll gladly take my chances.

Drew said...

Hey, Drew, I have faith in you, but could you start hitting soon?

I wish that J.D. Drew were "all that," because it would be fun to get a Drew jersey. (Drew is my first name.) But given how things are going for him and the fact that 98% of fans would misunderstand and think that I were a huge J.D. Drew fan, I'll stick with the fan gear I already have.