April 20, 2010

Early Doors

In addition to getting off to their worst 13-game start since 1996, the Red Sox are 1-6 at Fenway Park. They have not begun a season so poorly at home in 78 years (1932, 1-9).
They have lost six straight games at home for first time since June 1994, their starters' ERA is 5.18, they have a .249 team batting average and a .313 OBP (both 9th best in the AL), they are 11th in runs scored, and they have not had a hit with runners at second and/or third base since last Wednesday (0-for-their-last-32 and 17-for-100 overall).

What else? Only one team in baseball is further out of first place - the club directly below them in the AL East.

If you want to panic, go ahead. You won't be alone. Even Joe Posnanski is on your side: "It's never too early" to panic. But a wise man at SoSH thinks: "It's early doors. If you panic now, you'll have no panic left in you for when it really is a good time to panic."

I do not believe Jon Lester is an 8.44 ERA pitcher; Victor Martinez's .241 OBP is an accurate measure of his ability to get on base; Clay Buchholz will walk 5.5 men per nine innings; J.D. Drew is an under .500-OPS hitter (.255 OBP/.244 SLG); or David Ortiz will strike out 243 times this year (mainly because he won't get enough ABs to do so).

There is little worse than a team-wide slump that encompassing every single facet of the game. Yet, teams have gone through bad patches of a dozen or so games without sabotaging their seasons.
                             REC   ERA   OPS   RS   RA
June 19 to July 4, 2004: 4-10 3.98 .781 4.7 5.0
July 6 to July 19, 2007: 3- 8 4.56 .779 4.1 4.8
April 4 to April 19, 2010: 4- 9 4.58 .738 3.8 5.3
The 2010 numbers are a bit worse, but you get the point. Just last year, Boston began the season 2-6, then won 11 in a row.

Even Gloom-and-Doomer Steve Buckley admits that it is more realistic to check how the team is doing in late May than it is to push the panic button with more than 92% of the season still to play. (Of course, that common sense did not stop Buckley from writing a "it's getting late early" column even before Monday's loss, but that's another matter.)

P.S. There was another 2009 team that went 4-9 early in the season (April 24 to May 7). They stumbled through another 4-9 skid from June 9 to 23 and as I recall, their season turned out alright.


jennifer said...

Excellent post. I especially enjoyed the Yankee reference at the end (not that I like the Yankees or anything). I would rather have the skid NOW then in September.

FenFan said...

Agree with Jennifer. Another great post, redsock. Obviously, it's easy to jump from the bandwagon when the team is in such dire straits but it's way too early to pull the plug and start looking ahead to next season.

L-girl said...

Thanks! I think this may be the post I requested, plus so much more.