So where are the Red Sox going?
I touched on this in the game thread last night, but the Sox seem to be following a pattern they set in each of the past two seasons, one of which ended quite well. The other ended miserably.
- April-May 31-20 (.608)
- June-July: 32-21 (.604)
- Aug.-Sept.: 22-35 (.386)
- April-May: 36-16 (.682)
- June-July: 28-26 (.519)
- Aug.-Sept.: 32-24 (.571)
- April-May: 34-24 (.586)
- June-July: 24-19 (.558)
In ’06 and ’07, the Sox shot out of the gate, and they did so again this year, though not quite to the same extent. In 2006, they finished June with a 48-29 record, a .623 winning percentage. In 2007, they finished June with a 49-30 record, good for a .620 percentage. And this year, they were 50-35 through June, for a .588 percentage.
Their problems each season occurred just after that key point. In ’06, the Sox won 12 games in a row ending June 29, then never saw daylight again, going 38-48 the rest of the way as the team was beset first by poor play, then by injuries in an August that was the worst month for a Red Sox club I can remember. In ’07, the Sox actually struggled through June to a sub-.500 record, and barely broke .500 each of the next two months, erasing nearly all of the 10-game lead the club had built in the heady days of April and May. The 2007 club rallied, however, staving off the Yankees with a solid September and carried that momentum into the playoffs.
This year, the Sox haven’t featured as much of the flash as the previous two seasons, but they were in solid shape entering July, and after a brief dip, were in first at the All-Star break. Yet they sit 8-8 for the month after a maddening sweep at the hands of the Angels, the gap between them and the Yankees is closing, and the Rays refuse to die.
So is this team the 2006 club — a great start, seemingly destined for greatness, followed by some struggles and finally a stunning collapse? Or is it more like 2007 — a great start, followed by some struggles, before rallying to keep hold of the division?
My sense is to reserve judgment until the end of the month — when David Ortiz will have returned and Justin Masterson received some appearances out of the bullpen. The effectiveness of those players could mean the difference between ’06 and ’07.