Not a Fun Morning

Safe to say both fanbases are a little aggravated this morning, Yankee fans with Joe Giradi's decision to pitch Rafael Soriano for a fourth time in five games with a four-run lead because he's the "eighth-inning guy" and Red Sox fans with, well, everything.

I don't have much to say about the Sox' predicament — the offense looks terrible, and the pitching looks mediocre — but I will point this out: Only one Red Sox team, the 1903 club, managed to make the playoffs without losing at least four games in a row.

  • 1904: Lost 6 straight, July 19-23; 4 straight, June 23-27, Sept. 27-30
  • 1912: Lost 5 straight, Sept. 17-20
  • 1915: Lost 5 straight, May 19-24; 4 straight, Sept. 6-8
  • 1916: Lost 4 straight, Aug. 25-29
  • 1918: Lost 6 straight, May 3-9
  • 1946: Lost 6 straight, Sept. 6-12; 4 straight, June 16-20, June 30-July 4 
  • 1967: Lost 5 straight, July 4-9; 4 straight, May 2-6, Aug. 4-8
  • 1975: Lost 5 straight, May 12-17; 4 straight, April 25-30, July 2-5
  • 1986: Lost 4 straight, July 20-23, Oct. 2-5
  • 1988: Lost 4 straight, May 1-4, June 2-5, Aug. 4-6
  • 1990: Lost 6 straight, July 5-14; 4 straight, July 21-24, Sept. 13-16
  • 1995: Lost 5 straight, Sept. 8-12
  • 1998: Lost 6 straight, May 23-29; 4 straight, May 11-14, July 9-12, Sept. 3-6
  • 1999: Lost 5 straight, June 5-9; 4 straight, Aug. 19-22
  • 2003: Lost 5 straight, May 27-June 1; 4 straight, July 30-Aug. 2
  • 2004: Lost 5 straight, May 1-4; 4 straight, May 31-June 4, June 29-July 2 
  • 2005: Lost 4 straight, May 24-27
  • 2007: Lost 4 straight, June 3-6, Aug. 28-31, Sept. 16-19
  • 2008: Lost 5 straight, April 23-27, June 28-July 2; 4 straight, May 11-14
  • 2009: Lost 6 straight, Aug. 4-9, Sept. 25-30; 5 straight, July 18-22 

Only two of the 47 streaks represented there occurred in April, neither of them before April 25. Interpret that how you will; I'm going to say the Sox were due to have a good team get off to a poor start like this.

(By the way, the 114-win Yankees, which were used a bit in discussing 0-3 starts, won their fourth game but needed extra innings to do it, then lost Game 5. Not only did they start 1-4, with the one win arguably decided more by luck than anything else, but they also lost four straight later in the season.)

27 comments… add one
  • They’re pressing, for sure. I understand that it was sub 30deg last night in Cleveland, but that’s no excuse for giving away at bats by everyone. The Sox were hacking, and the ball was dead (thank goodness).
    I think it’s in their head now, but I’m not worried. If two weeks from now they’re under .500, I’ll be worried. Until then, they’re just finding their legs and for whatever reason, nothing is on the same page.
    I’m confident it’ll come tonight.
    On Soriano, I didn’t see it, but I get the frustration. I mean, just a few days ago, our “8th inning guy” gave up four runs himself, so I get it. It’s frustrating, but you may not see it again this year.

    Brad April 6, 2011, 10:45 am
  • “Safe to say both fanbases are a little aggravated this morning”
    Nope, just IH. Otherwise you guys have the market cornered on being aggravated. Well you guys and Phillies fans, but you get the point.

    John - YF April 6, 2011, 11:00 am
  • “If two weeks from now they’re under .500, I’ll be worried.”
    Eh, I’m sure plenty of playoff teams have under-.500 Aprils. The Yankees have sure had their share.

    AndrewYF April 6, 2011, 11:00 am
  • Andrew’s right. Some of the teams listed, as a matter of fact, had poor Aprils then turned it around. I’ll be worried if the Red Sox are significantly below .500 by the end of the month. Until then, it’s just impossible to draw conclusions about any team.
    After all, aren’t the Orioles in first place every April? Sure seems that way.

    Paul SF April 6, 2011, 11:23 am
  • The Sox have had three consecutive bad season starts. Not sure why, maybe just small sampling.
    Look, I realize that the Sox will have losing streaks in any given season. But it does suck to give one of those streaks away off the bat, it just reduces the margin for error the rest of the way. Not to mention that the bullpen is getting overworked right at the outset.
    I would love to see the study showing the overall success of teams that go .500 or worse in April vs. those who go .500 or better. Because the Sox now need to go 14-9 (.608) in their remaining games to get back to .500 for the month. And they have to go 17-6 to get back on a pace for 100 wins for the year.
    This isn’t meant as a chicken little/predictive comment, but rather just to say that the Sox (quite obviously) do themselves no favors starting out in such shitty fashion, and every game they drop now is a game they have to make up later on. It’s time to start winning a few ballgames, I don’t care what month it is.

    SF April 6, 2011, 11:40 am
  • Just read that no team has ever won the World Series after starting 0-4. Is that true? Doesn’t seem possible to me.

    John - YF April 6, 2011, 11:49 am
  • i read the same thing john…so i suppose it’s true…i mean they can’t print stuff that isn’t true…right?
    it seems pitching isn’t the only thing we’ve got to worry about with this guy…here we go…
    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/yankees/2011/04/so-hes-your-eighth-inning-guy-joe
    the last couple of paragraphs are pretty telling…

    dc April 6, 2011, 12:33 pm
  • John, ESPN reported it, so I assume it’s true.
    But to the extent that it’s true, it’s also meaningless. I’m going to preface these remarks by making clear they’re not directed at you, but rather that ESPN, which tweeted the stat without any context.
    The 1985 Cardinals went 0-4, won 101 games and went to the World Series, where they lost in seven games (a series in which they were up 3-1 and lost Game 6 by one run). I think most Sox fans would be OK with a season like that.
    Further, what’s the difference between going 0-4 and going 1-3? Because at least six teams have started the season 1-3 and won the World Series. Is anyone going to argue with a straight face that the Sox would have had a decent chance of going to and winning the World Series if only they had beaten the Cleveland Indians in the fourth game of the season? Of course not. It’s ridiculous.
    I don’t discount at all the unfortunate timing of it being the opening games of the season. We don’t have any actual evidence of this club winning in the regular season, which makes it harder to discount the instances of losing. I’m certainly not happy with how the Sox have performed either, but we — and most importantly the professional reporters covering this ballclub — need to recognize how inconsequential a streak like this truly is.
    That said, a few more games like the last four and the questions will be more legitimate. Five- and six-game losing streaks are still fairly common among playoff contenders, but moving into seven-plus-game streaks would be a truly troubling sign.

    Paul SF April 6, 2011, 12:41 pm
  • Sorry, it’s actually at least nine clubs have started 1-3 and won the World Series.
    And of the teams to start 0-4, four won their division, three more went to the World Series and a total of eight made the playoffs.
    Not terrific numbers, but we shouldn’t expect terrific numbers, as a lot of 0-4 teams were really crappy (like this year’s Astros). Unless pundits are arguing this year’s Red Sox are actually a really crappy team, the kinds of stats ESPN tweeted are totally useless to the conversation.

    Paul SF April 6, 2011, 12:46 pm
  • I wasn’t pointing out to be a d*ck but rather in disbelief. Just seems odd because I do think the first 10 games or so are meaningless and really how much weight do they hold in the end is what I was thinking. Anyway, who cares, there’s always room to be the first team to do it. Just ask the Yankees and their 3-0 lead.

    John - YF April 6, 2011, 12:52 pm
  • that 0-4 no series win stuff is just something to talk about while the season is just getting underway…reasonable people [like us] wouldn’t put any stock in that nonsense…it’s pure coincidence…as far as which games are more important, i’d argue that they all are regardless of what time of the season it is…let’s say the sox win 100 games, they’re gonna lose 62…they’ve used up 4 of those 62 so far…suppose the yankees finish in 1st place by 1 lousy game at 101-61…which of the sox 62 losses was the “most important”?…i’d say all of them…

    dc April 6, 2011, 1:08 pm
  • how inconsequential a streak like this truly is
    I am not interested in making claims that the Sox are doomed or anything, but I take issue with this statement. This losing streak is as consequential as any other four game losing streak. Four game losing streaks have consequences. You can’t UNLOSE games.
    The Sox are by no means fated to fail because they lost these first four games. But they can’t get them back, and that’s true whether games are played in April or September. There very well may be consequences for starting so poorly.

    SF April 6, 2011, 1:32 pm
  • This losing streak is as consequential as any other four game losing streak.
    I agree with this wholeheartedly. My response is that any single four-game losing streak (or four-game winning streak) is largely inconsequential.
    No series of four games — less than 2.5 percent of the season — can accurately be described as the main cause for a team’s making or missing the playoffs (this is is less true for the last four games of the season, of course). The chances are very good, near 100 percent, that the Red Sox will suffer a similar stretch of poor baseball lasting four or more games later this season. Successful teams limit the number and duration of these stretches, but no team can eliminate the near-certainty of one occurring.
    And given that one is almost certain to occur for every team in baseball, the effect of having one this early in the season is essentially nil. Of far greater concern is the duration of the current stretch of poor baseball and the ability to limit recurrences later in the season.
    I wasn’t pointing out to be a d*ck but rather in disbelief.
    Absolutely. Wasn’t meaning to sound like I was attacking you. Just using your question as a springboard to make a point I’d already been considering.

    Paul SF April 6, 2011, 1:57 pm
  • But what Paul is talking about is every four-game losing streak is the same (unless it comes against a division rival, that’s doubly bad, so at least these four losses have come against non-division opponents). Does it suck in the middle of a pennant race? Yeah. But the team has shown it’s good enough to be in that pennant race in the first place, so it’s treated rightfully as a slump, rather than an indication that the team sucks.
    Any rational person will tell you that the Red Sox are one of the best teams in baseball. We just don’t have the requisite wins in 2011 to back our assertion. But then, we didn’t have those requisite wins back in January. So what’s changed? 4 games? Come on.
    All this means is that the Red Sox are on more equal footing with the Yankees than before. Hey, that’s baseball. Maybe the Yankees have started their own four-game losing streak, who knows?

    AndrewYF April 6, 2011, 2:10 pm
  • I don’t even agree that losing streaks at the end of the season are any more meaningful. Weren’t there losing streaks before the season that put you in a position to lose a playoff spot at the end of the season? Why aren’t those just as meaningful?

    AndrewYF April 6, 2011, 2:14 pm
  • You’re exactly correct, Andrew.

    Brad April 6, 2011, 2:34 pm
  • Weren’t there losing streaks before the season that put you in a position to lose a playoff spot at the end of the season? Why aren’t those just as meaningful?
    Yeah, I went back and forth before adding that clause.
    Ultimately, I went with the obvious cause-and-effect. If a team has a three-game lead, and loses four in a row to lose the division, then that streak led more directly to that defeat than even the other four-game streaks because winning just one of the games would have clinched the division.
    Of course, you’re correct that in that situation, any one of their losses could be considered of equal value in costing them the division, but I have a hard time not looking at the season-ending streak as being more consequential.

    Paul SF April 6, 2011, 3:19 pm
  • I’m still just happy that baseball is back! Aside from tennis, I don’t like any sport. So it’s nice to have to be able to root for someone again and enjoy some games.
    Sox fans need not fret. Talented teams (except for the Mets) tend to not stay down for long. I’m looking forward to a close race throughout the season. I wouldn’t be surprised if 93 games wins the division this year. Even the bottom tier AL East teams, though they may not be contenders, are pretty damn strong.

    DustyDrB - YF April 6, 2011, 4:45 pm
  • Hopefully Paul doesn’t have to do this again tonight, searching for five game streaks…

    SF April 6, 2011, 5:04 pm
  • “Of the 110 teams to start 0-5 since the inception of major league baseball in 1871, just two have made the postseason (or finished first in their league/division), and one of those two teams, the 1974 Pirates, needed a miraculous mid-season turnaround and a weak NL East to get to October baseball.”
    http://www.pinstripedbible.com/2011/04/06/2011-al-east-race-over-before-it-started/

    James YF April 6, 2011, 6:57 pm
  • Oh I know Paul, I just didn’t want the other Sox fans to think I was stirring the pot! Heck I am rooting for them to right the ship, heck my WS pick is on the line!

    John - YF April 7, 2011, 8:38 am
  • Pot stirrer!!! Pot stirrer!!
    :)

    Brad April 7, 2011, 9:01 am
  • Haha Brad! Hey, here’s a fun (meaningless) fact…I just read that Salty is married to his HS phys-ed teacher and that she’s 16 years older than him…too bad I don’t have an ounce of comedian in me…I am sure there’s a few jokes in there somewhere.

    John - YF April 7, 2011, 9:26 am
  • That’s so weird.

    Brad April 7, 2011, 9:36 am
  • My high school gym teacher used to play for the NY Giants. He was about 75 years old, was beaten to piss, and smelled like a bag of feet.

    Brad April 7, 2011, 9:39 am
  • That’s better than a bag of what Louis CK might refer to.

    SF April 7, 2011, 10:22 am
  • i don’t think i ever had a teacher of any kind that i would consider marrying…

    dc April 7, 2011, 10:38 am

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