September 20, 2009

Can The Red Sox Win The East?

Short Answer: Yes.

Other Acceptable Short Answer: No.
Example
On August 24, the Red Sox dropped to 7.5 GB and the New York press pronounced the AL East race over. And I presented various scenarios whereby Boston could come back.

Since that time, the Red Sox have held up their end of the bargain, going 19-6, but the Yankees (17-9) have not.

The Baseball Prospectus and Cool Standings odds of New York winning the division have decreased slightly from August 24 -- now anywhere from 90.4% to 96.1%. That is still a steep hill to climb, but with the lead in the East down to five games, the smallest deficit since August 7, there is talk of Boston making a late run.

While Boston visits the lowly Royals for four games, the Yankees are in Anaheim, where they are 0-3 against the Angels this season and 5-17 since 2005.
Yankees  95-55  ---   12 games left
Red Sox 89-59 5.0 14 games left

Yankees Red Sox
0921 at LAA at KC
0922 at LAA at KC
0923 at LAA at KC
0924 OFF at KC
0925 vs BOS at NYY
0926 vs BOS at NYY
0927 vs BOS at NYY

0928 vs KC vs TOR
0929 vs KC vs TOR
0930 vs KC vs TOR
1001 OFF vs CLE
1002 at TB vs CLE
1003 at TB vs CLE
1004 at TB vs CLE
The Red Sox must sweep the Yankees next weekend to have any chance of winning the division. Assuming a three-game sweep against the team with the best record in MLB is a big "if", but ...

If Boston does sweep, and the Yankees go 4-5 in its other nine games, the Red Sox would have to go 7-4 in its remaining games. The teams would tie at 99-63, and Boston would win the division because of what then would be a 12-6 advantage in the season series.

Overall, even if New York goes 6-6, the Red Sox need a 12-2 finish.

Will Terry Francona and the front office push for the division? I don't think so. We care far more about winning the division vs wild card than management does.

With an eight-game lead in the Wild Card race, the Red Sox will be playing October baseball. And getting pitchers and position players rested and ready is the most important thing. If the wins come during those preparations, great. But I cannot see the team deciding to do something different in the final week of the season just because, for example, the Red Sox are only 1 GB next Monday morning.

The bottom line is I want the Red Sox to win the East and since it remains mathematically possible, that's what I'm rooting for. (Don't we always want Boston to win and New York to lose?) If it happens, it'll be historic. And if it doesn't, the Red Sox are still in the post-season. It's a win-win, right?

11 comments:

redsock said...

Weird. Paul SF expressed similar thoughts yesterday!

Benjamin said...

Should we blame the Patriots for today's lacking schadenfreude installment?

redsock said...

Yes, but they need to really start tanking for the media fun to begin.

Mark Feinsand, Daily News: "Joba Chamberlain pitched only three innings against the Mariners Sunday, but it had nothing to do with any rules. ... The Yankees head to Anaheim with a 5.5-game lead on the Angels in the race for home-field advantage, though it's the five-game spread between themselves and the Red Sox that may be of more concern for the Bombers."

George A. King, III, Post:
"... with the Yankees heading toward the ALDS — likely against the Tigers — Chamberlain is staggering to the finish line and planting doubt about where he fits into Joe Girardi's post-season plans. ... Since the Yankees cut back on Chamberlain's innings he is 0-2 with a hefty 7.88 ERA in five starts."

kokaku said...

From a management perspective, if the opportunity is there, isn't it better to host the Tigers than travel to LA (the Sox west coast record isn't so hot). Of course, this still depends on an unlikely sweep of NY but stranger things have happened.

redsock said...

It might be better. I meant only that if the WC was clinched but the East was maybe still in play, I'm pretty sure Tito would not push Lester or Beckett to 120+ pitches like he might in a must-win or Game 7.

FenFan said...

While I agree that the Sox will likely not catch the Yankees, what I do like is the fact that the Sox have been playing well as of late. The starters have pitched well and the offense has been clicking. Taking two-of-three from the Angels was a good sign that the Sox are getting hot at the right time.

Of course, seeing the Sox catch the Yanks in the final two weeks would be sweet!

Straddling the Border said...

I agree thoroughly.

L-girl said...

The bottom line is I want the Red Sox to win the East and since it remains mathematically possible, that's what I'm rooting for. (Don't we always want Boston to win and New York to lose?) If it happens, it'll be historic. And if it doesn't, the Red Sox are still in the post-season. It's a win-win, right?

Essackly! Well said, I agree, right on, word, I concur.

I was recently told that short "me too" posts are offensive so I'm padding this one.

L-girl said...

stranger things have happened

2004!

nick said...

Essackly! Well said, I agree, right on, word, I concur.

me too! :-)

9casey said...

The All Holy Derek Jeter always says, " the hottest team wins in the playoffs not the best" well captain you better lite a fire under the asses of your boys, rather than skate in.....Because we are hot and most likely the best.....I am writing this like he reads this.....I am not well....