It’s the perfect time for citizens of Red Sox Nation to pause and ask this timely question:
Is it premature to panic?
If we project the current record [1-3] over the season, the Sox would finish with 122 losses and 40 wins. This would put them in 2nd place in all time losses per season, but in First place for Modern Era teams by a single game over the hapless New Your Metropolitans in their inaugural season.
1: Cleveland Spiders, 1899 [20-134]
2: Boston Red Sox, 2012 [40-122]
3. New York Mets, 1962 [42– 120]
Note that the Spiders played 154 games [20–134] for a winning percentage of .130 and the 2012 would have won 20 more games in their 162 game season and a better winning percentage of .247. Since the current season schedules 81 road games, the Cleveland Spiders record of 101 road losses will likely never be topped, as it would require a 202 game season and a team losing ALL of its road games.
Since they are the consensus AL Central pennant winner in 2012, it is interesting to note that the 4th worst record in baseball history was in 2003, 119 losses, Detroit Tigers.
If the 162-game season were represented in inches it would be equal to 1,944”–almost 2,000 inches. With each game equal to approximately 12”—the Sox are just one foot, into about a 2,000” journey.
If the 162-game season were represented in the miles from Boston to San Francisco [2,708], after 4 games the team bus, taking I-495 would be pulling into the only brewery for miles, Milly’s Tavern, 500 Commercial St., Manchester, NH, to sample their variety of 18 beers and Buffalo Chicken wraps.
Remember: the Red Sox stumbled out of the gate in 2011 with 1-8 record and didn’t get to .500 until the middle of May.
Factor this in:
“Since 2000, 38 different playoff races have been decided by three or fewer games. With 96 teams making the MLB playoffs since the turn of the century–eight teams each season for 12 seasons–nearly 40 percent have been up for grabs heading into the final weekend of the year.
Eighteen of the aforementioned 38 close races—nearly half of all races—have come down to one game or less to determine the winner of a division or wild-card participant. In the National League alone, the wild-card participant has been decided by one game in six of the last eight seasons.
Now, returning to our original question: Is it time to panic?
A: It all comes down to one player, Josh Beckett. After administering five “Punxsutawney Phil Pills” [homers] in less than 5 innings in Detroit, is Beckett ready to get past his hatred of his manager and return to his form [15-10], or will he remain in his funk for the rest of the season and, with several curious stays on the DL, start fewer games and sink under .500, say 8 and 12?
If Beckett chooses to play “The Josher,” the petulant post-college frat boy, that 8-12 record will probably mean the Sox will not even make a Wild Card slot; consider the AL West with the Rangers and the Angels racking up wins against the Seattle Marinades and the Oakland Haze.
Ben and the Braintruss can wait to see if The Josher can fundamentally rectify his mood when he faces division rival Tampa next, or they can start shopping him and trade for a pitcher with a better attitude–now.
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