Streaking, Again

You won't believe this, but the Boston Red Sox this year have been 33-0 when they score more runs than their opponents and 0-26 when they don't.

OK, seriously, if it seems like this team is incredibly streaky, well, you're right.

With their three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics on the heels of a four-game losing streak, which followed a five-game winning jag, which was in turn just three games removed from a 7-0 run, the Sox have played 14 games that weren't part of a three-game winning or losing streak, just 24 percent of their total.

In recent history, the Sox haven't been this streaky — not over the course of a full season, and not at this point in the season. In 2008, the Sox played 88 of their games outside the confines of a bona fide streak. Of course, that team also finished uncomfortably close to .500, so maybe the more successful preceding seasons would see more streaks (the winning kind, at least).

And they do, but they still aren't as streaky as the 2011 Sox have been.

In 2009, the Sox played 74 outside a three-game streak (45.7 percent), and they reached 15 such games in early May (these Sox are still at 14 one month later) and at this point in the season had played more than half their games outside a streak. Similarly, in 2008, the Sox had 78 streakless games, reached 15 in early May and had 19 through 59 games (32 percent). Same thing in 2007, when the Sox played more than half their games outside of a winning or losing streak and reached 15 such games in the first month.

What does this mean? I have no idea. But just out of curiosity, I looked up the 1997 Yankees, a team I figured had a lot of streaks.

And, indeed, the 114-win Yankees had just 56 games take place outside a winning or losing streak (mostly winning, as the Yanks that year had exactly three losing streaks of three games or more), but that's still 34.6 percent of their games. At 23.7 percent, the 2011 Sox are on pace for just 38 streakless games all season.

Through their first 59 games, the 1997 Yankees — off to a blistering 46-13 start and finishing up a stretch in which they had lost just nine of their previous 53 games (five winning streaks of five games or more) — had played 13 games outside a winning or losing streak, just one fewer than the Sox this year.

The difference, of course, is that the Yanks at the time had just one losing streak, the first three games of the season. The 2011 Red Sox have had three, including the first six games of the season.

I don't know the significance, if any, of this, but it seems our perception is matching reality.

5 comments… add one
  • you used the word streak 9 times, streaky 3 times, streaks 4 times, streakless 2 times, and streaking 1 time…none in succession… ;)

    dc June 6, 2011, 12:28 pm
  • It’s better to be on a good streak in the playoffs than playing .500 ball.

    AndrewYF June 6, 2011, 12:30 pm
  • I know, DC. Not too many synonyms for that word, unfortunately.

    Paul SF June 6, 2011, 3:20 pm
  • Anyone going to set up a draft post? Because… WOW, Matt Barnes? Really?

    Djt2445 June 6, 2011, 9:01 pm
  • Minor quibble, but don’t you mean the 1998 Yankees?

    Nick-YF June 7, 2011, 9:54 am

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