Too Much F**cking Perspective?

The Red Sox are 20-13 right now, in a dead heat with the Yankees for first place. They have Pedro and Schilling throwing 2 of the next 5 games. They have achieved this record improbably, without two very important cogs. They have done this with a standout bullpen and reasonably good starting pitching, though without a dominant lights-out string of efforts, at least not yet. They have done this by beating the Yankees 6 of 7 (better than could have been expected), and by going 14-12 against the rest of the league (not quite as good as I expected). They have won games they should and could have lost (last Friday and tonight), but lost very few they should have won. They have a 20-13 record with a 5-game losing skid in the mix. They have done this with four extremely weak hitters in their lineup consistently. They have done this by playing Cesar Crespo (.163) in 22 games, Gabe Kapler (.247) in 27, Dave McCarty in 22 (.233), Mark Bellhorn (.229) in 30. They have done this with Trot and Nomar going a combined 0 for 0 with 0 homers, 0 RBI, 0 stolen bases, 0 diving catches, 0 diving stabs.

So there is very little reason to believe in a swoon, unless you also believe in curses, or unicorns, or the cyclops. A swoon would not be, to cite one of YF’s favorite lines of argument, outside the realm of standard deviation. Teams often lose, and also lose a bunch in a row. But a prolonged nosedive would also come, to this poster, as a great surprise. If Yankees fans are assuming such a swoon for no other reason than because we are talking about the Red Sox, then I am emboldened – It means that the Red Sox are far scarier than they have been in the past. The Red Sox have been bridesmaids the past five years for some very clear reasons: the Yankees were better managed, more stacked with talent, better assembled, deeper from 1-9 and in the bullpen. But this year that’s not in play. This year, I expect claims from those visiting the Bronx of an inevitable Red Sox collapse, not based on an advantage of talent or better tactics, but solely based on the supernatural. That’s a step up, for a Red Sox fan. This time, there’s no real solid circumstantial reason to expect the BoSox to falter to their division mates. “Curses” is the cry of a nation of scared Yankees fans, not the proclamation of Bombers supporters who truly believe that their team is better, deeper, more talented, or more intimidating.

4 comments… add one
  • Jeez! A two-part tome stating why SF thinks the Sox are better…ummm…I like get it. Seems like SF is denying a denial of some sort.
    In my humble opinion, the Yanks are a better team. Almost everyone on the Yanks is not playing at their full potential and everyone is gradually playing better. The Yanks have kept pace with the Sox during a west road trip against tough pitchers while the Sox have been playing weaker teams. The Yanks have a tough remaining May (5 more games against the Halos) and I will be thrilled if they continue to keep pace with the Sox (who play Toronto and TB over the next two weeks) until June. The Sox have been pitching over their heads (second best in majors) and that will likely not continue (i.e. Wakefield with a 2.75 era!?). They also have a fifth starter problem. Meanwhile Karsay may be coming back for the Yanks mid-season!

    JCL (YF) May 12, 2004, 12:09 pm
  • “Denying a denial”? Huh? I don’t understand that comment at all. My posts are pretty straight shots, nothing to disguise there.
    As for the meat of your post, a response:
    Re: Red Sox 5th starter problem – it’s not a huge problem, though it’s not that stable either. Kim’s been a big disappointment, no doubt, but Arroyo, if he stays remotely consistent, is capable. Not great by any stretch, but surely as a fifth starter if he can go out and throw 5 or six solid innings, carry an ERA in the mid-4s then with this bullpen it’s no disaster.
    Re: Sox pitching “over their heads”? This is their STRENGTH!!! Schilling has been as good as advertised, Martinez inconsistent but getting there, Wakefield a bit better then expected ERA-wise but not innings-wise (look at his last 5 years and you’ll realize that though he’s hard to watch, he been successful), Lowe a disappointment, Kim terrible, Arroyo a bit better, the bullpen as strong as we thought. Sure, their numbers are very good, but I am really not sure how they have exceeded expectations. In fact, there is even room for improvement, particularly with Lowe and Martinez. I think that is wishful thinking on your part, that they are “overachieving”, and that’s my point, to be honest. It isn’t overachieving, it might even be underachieving, and this should, and probably does, scare you. It may be you who suffers from the case of denial.
    Next, add returning high-class offense to the lineup and you will realize that lesser defensive numbers will hold up, even under a tougher schedule. It seems like the Sox got a good draw, for sure, playing lesser teams while underachieving, getting healthy when they start meeting those atop the standings. But remember that the A’s aren’t what they used to be from 1-9, Mulder is returning from a lost year and Zito appears less effective. The Mariners too look aged. Finally, The Yankees are playing a decimated Angels squad who clearly seem to be the AL’s biggest overachievers, considering their pitiful health. The schedule is a tough call, on how it impacts records, as you yourself alluded to in an earlier post.
    One thing is certain – the Yankees went 1-6 against the cream of their schedule to this point. Is this what happens when they play one of the best?

    SF May 12, 2004, 1:28 pm
  • You gotta relax. First, regarding “denying a denial”, I was making an “All The President’s Men” reference. In the movie they discuss if denying a denial implies guilt (can’t help you if you don’t understand what denying a denial means). I think YOU ARE guilty of disguising something because your using psycho-babble. STRAIGHT SHOTS – are you kidding! You call this a straight shot: “This year, I expect claims from those visiting the Bronx of an inevitable Red Sox collapse, not based on an advantage of talent or better tactics, but solely based on the supernatural. That’s a step up, for a Red Sox fan.” THAT’s straight?! Also, what is this “scared” theme you keep on driving at in all your posts? You started this “scared” theme, pyscho-babble, mumbo-jumbo and I still don’t understand what’s behind it. All your psycho-babble implies your denial of something. Chill.

    JCL (YF) May 12, 2004, 2:35 pm
  • Tim Wakefield’s ERA the past 3 full seasons is 3.65. I imagine this surprises many, including JCL. You’d guess it would be higher, right? I certainly would have.

    SF May 12, 2004, 7:38 pm

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