Over the course of a 162 game baseball season teams cannot run from their stats. The body of evidence simply mounts and as the season grinds on the Sabermetrics gurus rub their hands with glee in anticipation of the outcome.
Of course, stats are not absolute. They can’t account to for key injuries down the stretch, a late season hot streak or a team that simply chokes under the pressure. Patterns do, however, present themselves early and often. After just a little over a month, one pattern is becoming clear – the Red Sox are not anywhere near as good against quality baseball teams. Today’s three-game sweep at the hands of the Texas Rangers underscored the ugly realities of their weakness, a stat that is just starting to emerge as a pattern.
The Red Sox are still in first place with a .645 winning percentage, tied for first place in MLB with the Rangers. So what’s not to like? As one of BSI’s astute fans commented the other day, Boston has a hard time beating quality teams. It got me thinking and I decided to put his assertion to the test.
Sure enough, the Sox are a pedestrian .500 team against teams with a .500 or better record.
They have lost series to the Orioles (.581), Royals (.630) and Rangers (.645) while winning series against .500 or better teams New York (.601), Cleveland (.500) and Oakland (.563). Predictably they have beaten up on the Blue Jays (.344), Rays (.448) and Astros (.258). Bottom line: Boston currently wins at almost 150 percentage points less against good teams, currently a 9-9 record.
With those stats in mind, May will be a pivotal month in which the Sox will need to make hay against .500 or less teams. Of the remaining 25 games in May against the Twins, Blues Jays, Rays, White Sox, Indians, Phillies and Yankees, only New York has a record above .500. Boston has one game against the Bombers on the 31st. The other 24 are all big opportunities.
It’s time for the Sox to break out their winning surfboard if they want to ride the statistical wave.