August 9, 2012

With 50 Games Remaining, Time Is Running Out

Gordon Edes, ESPN:
Bobby Valentine is living in a parallel universe where he still declares with regularity, as he did on a radio appearance Wednesday, that this is a playoff team.

There are moments -- when Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford are flying around the bases, and Adrian Gonzalez is stroking run-scoring doubles, and the rookie third baseman, Will Middlebrooks, keeps delivering big home runs -- when you succumb to that illusion and imagine how much better it will be when David Ortiz joins them, which could be as soon as Sunday in Cleveland.

But then reality sets in -- Jon Lester pitching well enough to lose, Josh Beckett pitching like a man who should be headed to the disabled list, the bullpen suddenly springing multiple leaks, the manager making puzzling decisions, the Sox unable to sustain the semblance of a winning streak -- and you're left thinking that this season would be best put out of its misery.

That's such a negative spin for a team that is one hot streak away from hoisting itself back into this race, an attainable goal if the Sox catch fire on this 10-game swing through Cleveland (four games), Baltimore (three) and New York (three), the head-to-head meetings with the Orioles and Yankees especially holding significance for the standings.
This is an accurate reflection of my feelings.

After a couple of wins, things seem all right. The wild card is certainly within reach. But then after those two steps forward, the Red Sox inevitably take two or three steps backwards, and it seems beyond doubt that all the team can do is play out the string. But then the team pulls out a win, and I start thinking positively again.

Boston is 5.5 GB in the WC with several teams in front of them, including two from their own division. There are 50 games remaining in the regular season. Even playing .667 ball (33-17) - I don't think anyone would argue that is a pretty tall order* - will give the team only 88 wins.

* The team's best 50-game stretch so far this year is 30-20.

The time to get on a white-hot run is now.


Amy said...

Uh oh, when you start sounding pessimistic, I know things are bad.

I am still predicting 75-80 wins. And regretting more and more not entering the W-L contest with my pessimistic prediction. That Fenway book could have been mine. At least then I'd have something to gain from this season!

mattymatty said...

So much for running the table. Man... losing to a garbage Indians team fresh off an 11 game losing streak? I mean, I know you can't win 'em all. Even the best teams don't come close, but is beating up on an awful Indians team with no pitching really too much to ask for? Apparently yes, it is.

Ignacio Cifuentes said...

time is running out? time ran out...

allan said...

Peter Abraham, Globe:

"At 55-58, the one reasonable goal remaining is to try and finish with a winning record.

To dream of anything beyond that is foolish. The players know that, too."


laura k said...

It seems odd to me that anyone believes this team will be in post-season play.

Those people may be right. No one knows the future. But to me there's no mystery. The 2012 Red Sox are a mediocre team, capable of winning about half their games, give or take a few on either side. Injuries or not, this is who they are.

It's no great crime, no one needs to "pay" for it, nothing needs to be "blown up" (and I hope we can retire that expression). Hopefully the FO is working on building us a better team for future seasons.

It's a drag, but it's what most fans of most sports go through every year.

laura k said...

Although I disagree with Pete Abraham: it is never foolish to dream. Costs nothing, can be fun. Your disappointment or happiness will not change either way.

Simon Chapman said...

I agree with Laura. There's nothing foolish about dreaming. Quite the reverse - what's the benefit as a sports fan of never dreaming? I'd say it's foolish *not* to dream - otherwise, unless you're a MFY fan, where's the pleasure in following sports? Expectation sucks, dreaming is great.

I live in Santa Cruz, CA. I have two "local" teams, the Athletics and the Giants and I go to watch both. A's fans are having a blast unexpectedly hoping for a wildcard spot no one thought was a possibility three months ago. There's such enthusiasm in the crowd at the Coliseum and the games are a blast to attend, even when the A's get stuffed (like they did last Tuesday by the FKR). I don't think anyone really *expects* the A's to make the playoffs but there's hope - after all, they've swept the Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankee (in 4!) at home recently. Who wouldn't say that's better refusing to dream and looking at the team going "they'll never make it, no point in hoping"?

laura k said...

I'd say it's foolish *not* to dream . . . Expectation sucks, dreaming is great.