April 7, 2018

Great Teams Beat Bad Teams - And That's What The 7-1 Red Sox Are Doing

Some people are insisting that Boston's great start (now 7-1) is actually not so great because the Red Sox have played their first eight games against two minimally-talented teams: the Rays and Marlins.

This is not surprising, because some people cannot tolerate other people being happy. (A lot of those people have found employment in the Boston sports media, which seems somewhat odd.) But there are also Red Sox fans among that gloomy group. Despite following the team during what is without question the greatest time in franchise history and witnessing three World Series championships in a ten-season span, some fans have a desperate need to be miserable.

Over The Monster's Matt Collins has a message: "Stop harping on the Red Sox early-season schedule." Yes, the Red Sox have not faced "a truly great team this year", but who really knows if the Rays and Marlins are shitty teams? Baseball Prospectus' projection for the 2018 Rays had them finishing above .500 and the Marlins "have looked tougher than expected" against both the Red Sox and Cubs. ... Also, seven consecutive wins is pretty damn nice no matter who you are playing.

Collins's main point: Great teams become great because they beat up on bad teams.

Last season, Cleveland had the best record against teams above .500: 27-22, a .551 winning percentage. That's the equivalent of an 89-win season, which is not all that special.
2017 - Best Teams Against Opponents Over .500
Cleveland    27  22  .551
Nationals    23  19  .547
Astros       18  15  .545
Yankees      26  22  .542
Red Sox      27  23  .540
Where you really saw teams separate themselves was against those bad teams. ... Simply put, the best teams in baseball become the best teams in baseball because they beat up on the bad teams while being a little better than .500 against the good ones.
2017 - Best Teams Against Opponents Under .500
Dodgers      68  25  .731
Cleveland    75  38  .664
Astros       83  46  .643
Cubs         57  35  .620
Nationals    74  46  .617
The Red Sox were 9th (66-46, .589) and the Yankees were 11th (65-49, .570).

Collins (whose article was posted before Saturday's game):
Boston has six wins to start the year, and those six wins aren't going anywhere. They are banked for the entire season, which is important in an American League that looks to be very top-heavy. All they can do is play the schedule they're given, and so far they are handling their schedule exceedingly well.
And the Red Sox see a good team next Tuesday when the MFY come to Fenway Park. ... Well, a better team that the Rays, certainly.
The Denver Post published a guide to Coors Field on Friday, with a huge picture of the Rockies' stadium on the Life section's front page. BUT ... the picture was actually of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

Phil Mushnick, New York Post, April 6: "This column has, for years, sarcastically suggested that if the money were right, MLB would take it to not televise games. And that's what has happened. MLB took the money to allow Facebook 25 exclusive game 'telecasts' − the first was Wednesday's Phillies-Mets."

I posted last Monday about various Twins complaining that the Orioles, down 7-0 in the ninth inning, had one of their batters bunt for a hit against the shift. Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier could not stop talking about it:
When they didn't hold our runner on [Ryan LaMarre hit a two-out single in the top of the ninth], they conceded to the fact they didn't want us to steal, so we didn't steal. We could have very easily stolen and put up more runs, so therefore in return you don't bunt. That's what everybody is missing in this whole thing. ... Everyone just thinks, 'He's whining because they bunted against the shift.' That's how baseball is played. That's just how the game is played. That's just how it is. ... They weren't holding us on, so therefore don't bunt. That's where it starts. Other than that, you try to find a way to help your team win.
"Therefore in return ..."?!!?!??!!?!??!!!? (What fucking planet is this guy on?)

Of the 19,183 men who have played major league baseball (through the 2017 season), only one has 200+ home runs, 150+ stolen bases, and a .400+ on-base percentage through his first seven seasons. His name is Mike Trout.

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, April 4, 1918: "The hospital list in the Phils' camp was increased yesterday afternoon when Mike Prendergast, the flinger from Chicago, sprained his ankle in an effort to jump from the grand stand to the ground. Mike was in good jumping form and had lots of technique, but a slippery step caused by some loose ice cream caused him to make a mess of it."

Devin Smeltzer was diagnosed with cancer when he was nine years old. About two years later, in 2006, he met Chase Utley at a Phillies game and got his autograph. Smeltzer was drafted by the Dodgers in 2016 and the left-handed pitcher from New Jersey crossed paths with Utley once again.


FenFan said...

I will never understand the glass half-empty mentality of some Red Sox fans, especially after all the success we've enjoyed over the past 15 seasons. The Boston media is obviously full of itself (see CHB) but, really, winning seven straight has a downside? What would be the sentiment had we had LOST seven straight? My word...

allan said...

What would be the sentiment had we had LOST seven straight?


Winning 7 straight: No big deal, their opponents were weak. You should be embarrassed to root for this team.

Losing 7 straight: Huge deal, obviously the worst team ever. You should be embarrassed to root for this team.

laura k said...

Wins are wins.

FenFan ftw.