The 2002 Anaheim Angels got off to a horrendous start. After starting off 3-2, they lost six straight games, then had another four-game losing streak later in April. Through 20 games, the Angels were 6-14. They went on to win 99 games and the World Series.
The previous year's Oakland Athletics could relate. Just 2-3 after five games, the A's dropped seven in a row, played .500 baseball for a couple of weeks, then lost four more. Through 26 games, they were 8-18. they won 102 games and made the playoffs.
None of them could beat the 1914 Boston Braves, however, who lost their first three games, then compiled April losing streaks of five and seven games. Just 3-16 through their first 19 games, they were an abominable 12-28 through early June. They won 94 games and a World Series title.
Adding to these improbable stories are the 1974 Pirates and 2007 Cubs, who started the season 9-20 and 7-13, respectively, and won their (admittedly weak) divisions.
Of course, anything can happen in baseball. The point isn't to say the Red Sox will be just fine even if they lose 28 of their first 40 games, though they very well could be. The point is that teams with arguably less talent than this one have gotten off to worse starts than this one and gone on to make the playoffs.
Is there a line after which we should acknowledge the Sox are not likely to recover? Yes. But i'm not sure anyone knows where that line is. With 21 games left in April, if the Sox were to play at their ideal 95-win pace, they would finish the month 12-15.
A 12-15 month does not destroy a season: the 2008 Red Sox went 11-13 in July. The 2007 Sox went 13-14 in June. The 2004 Sox went 11-14 in June. And the 2003 Sox went 13-14 in May.
But a 10-game losing streak would push the projected April record to 10-17, the second-worst month ever for the Sox in the Theo Epstein era, with only the wretched 9-21 from August 2006 beating it. It's hard to make the playoffs when you're seven games under .500 for one-sixth of your season.
So I'll allow this: If the Sox don't win one game in this weekend's series against the Yankees, there will be legitimate cause for worry that the team won't be able to recover sufficiently from its poor start.