Even if we agree that the Red Sox are still the better team than New York right now, Boston's slow start has made the race in the AL East a virtual coin flip.Cameron dismisses scary statements like "no team that has ever begun the season 0-6 has gone on to play in the World Series, and only two out of the 85 teams to ever start 0-5 (or worse) had even made the playoffs" because
It's just six games, but these results count in the standings, too. While we shouldn't get carried away with the doom and gloom, the reality is that the Sox have indeed frittered away a large percentage of their chances of winning the division this year. I'd still bet on them to make the playoffs, but their chances are now quite a bit lower than they were a week ago.
there's a huge sampling bias problem – most teams that start a season with a long losing streak kind of suck. By virtue of filtering only teams that have lost a bunch of games to start the season, we're left looking at the records of teams who inherently lacked talent in most cases...And the 2011 Red Sox, despite their play in the first week of the season, are not a team that lacks talent.
The Replacement Level Yankees Weblog has run some season simulations based on current data and also based on the potential outcomes of this weekend's series.
Despite Cameron's statement, here are some scary numbers:
After six games, the Red Sox have a team batting average of .181 (13th out of 14 AL teams), an on-base percentage of .269 (11th), and a slugging percentage of .275 (13th).
Adrian Gonzalez leads the team with a .304 average. The second-best hitting regular? J.D. Drew, at .231.
Outside of Gonzalez (and David Ortiz's two home runs), no one in the lineup has done much of anything:
AVG OBP SLG Ellsbury .167 .259 .333 Crawford .174 .240 .174 Pedroia .227 .261 .227 Gonzalez .304 .360 .522 Youkilis .105 .292 .211 Ortiz .227 .292 .500 Drew .231 .286 .308 Saltalamacchia .071 .188 .071 Scutaro .176 .222 .176More than half of the batting order -- five of the nine hitters -- are batting under .200. (The bench is 1-for-16 (.063), with four walks.)
Dustin Pedroia has commented about hitters swinging at bad pitches and, in fact, he is one of the main culprits. Over his career, Pedroia has swung at roughly 25% of pitches out of the strike zone. In the first six games of 2011 -- admittedly, a small sample -- he's swinging at 56% of them. And from 2007-10, he made contact with 92% of those out-of-zone pitches; this year, it's only 78%.
Peter Abraham reports that no American League team that started a season 0-6 has ever finished higher than third place. Since 1900, only two 0-6 teams — the 1974 Pirates and 1995 Reds — have made the playoffs. Abraham concludes (my emphasis):
It would be silly to say the season is over with 156 games left. But if this streaks gets to nine or 10 games, that's a hole with no escape.So it's silly to say the season is over now, but after only three more games, it could absolutely be over? Man, this Yankees series is more of a must-win that I thought.
Ortiz and Pedroia talked about coming home to Fenway.
There's not two Red Sox teams, there's only one. You have to cheer for this one if you're a Red Sox fan, right?Pedroia:
It'll be good to have someone cheering for us for a change. You're either two feet in now or you're two feet out. Let us know now, because we're coming.