July 13, 2015

Are The Red Sox Playoff Contenders?

The Red Sox are 6.5 GB in the AL East, with 73 games to play. Are they realistic contenders for a playoff spot?

Alex Speier, Globe:
No AL East team in the last 25 years has overcome a first-half deficit of more than three games to win the division. The last teams to do so were the 1989 Blue Jays, down seven at the break, and the 1988 Morgan Magic Red Sox, down nine at the break.

The Red Sox have a .477 winning percentage. Of the 380 teams to make the playoffs from 1914 through 2014, just six had a winning percentage of .477 or worse in the first half [1.6%], and two of those instances, the 1995 Yankees and 1981 Royals, came in strike seasons. ...

Since the postseason expanded to include the LCS format in 1969, just 19 of 270 playoff teams (7 percent) have had a negative first-half run differential — including 14 of the 166 teams (8.5 percent) to make the playoffs in the wild card era. ...

In other words, there's plenty of reason for skepticism about the Red Sox' chances. History suggests that they're a statistical longshot.
With his home run on Friday, Mookie Betts became the first Red Sox player since Ellis Burks in 1987 (and only the sixth in team history) to hit 10 homers and have 10 stolen bases in his age-22 (or younger) season.


FenFan said...

Several hurdles to overcome but what also should be considered is that none of the other AL East teams are very good, either. The question becomes whether this team wants to improve itself at the deadline or sell for a shot at a later season. Methinks the latter is more likely barring a hot start to the second half.

9casey said...

The 7 game road trip to start the second half will tell us everything.