The Boston Red Sox have reached 71 wins through their first 102 games this season, putting them on pace for a franchise record.
We are in the midst of perhaps the greatest regular season in Boston Red Sox history. We’ve been told this through a number of facts pertaining to their accomplishments through the unofficial first half of the season. The Red Sox had the most wins before the All-Star break in franchise history. They had four starters with 10+ wins at the break for the first time ever.
Impressive, although those facts have to be taken with a grain of salt. This season started in March and the All-Star Game was about a week later than usual. Boston played more games before the break than in any other season, which clearly played a part in setting those benchmarks.
However, we have more evidence to support the notion that this team is on pace to make history.
The Red Sox beat the Orioles in Baltimore Monday night to secure their 71st win of the season. That’s the most the club has tallied through the first 102 games of a season. Their current .696 winning percentage would be the best in franchise history if they can sustain it through the rest of the season.
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Bostin is now 40 games over .500 for the first time since the 1949 team went 96-56 before dropping their final two games. That team still owns the sixth-highest winning percentage in franchise history.
This winning percentage is no fluke. Or at least it’s not far off from what it should be according to the Pythagorean Theorem of baseball, which measures a team’s expected win total based on run differential. The Red Sox have a +169 run differential that trails only the Houston Astros (+188) in the majors. Boston’s .664 Pythagorean Win-Loss Percentage isn’t quite what their actual winning percentage is but it still tops the winning percentage of any major league team this season. It’s also the second highest Pythagorean Win-Loss Percentage in club history, trailing only the 1912 Red Sox team that holds the franchise record with 105 wins.
This year’s team is on pace to break that record. Granted, they only played 156 games in 1912. That team also had two games end in a tie because it was too dark outside to keep playing in a ballpark with no lights. Those were different times indeed.
With that in mind, this year’s team could shatter that record by enough to overlook the difference in games played. Boston is on pace for 112 wins. Only three teams have ever won more than that in a season. The major league record of 116 wins held by the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners is within reach. Red Sox fans might settle for 115 wins, topping the 1998 Yankees for their best season.
Speaking of the Yankees, Boston enters the day with a season-high six game lead over their rivals in the AL East. The Red Sox and Yankees still face off ten times down the stretch, including the final three-game series of the regular season. The race for the division title is expected to come down to the wire but if the Bronx Bombers don’t close the gap in the meantime then that final series may not matter.
Gunning for records is exciting but the Red Sox would be content to lock up the division prior to that series so that they can have the luxury of extra rest and set up their rotation for the postseason. The Red Sox may very well end up with their best regular season ever but it’s all for naught if they can’t carry that success all the way to a World Series title.