Need more evidence? Fine, we’ll take a painful stroll down memory lane to the 1978 season.
The Red Sox led the Yankees by as many as 14 games in July of ’78. They led by 8.5 games on August 3 of that season, while holding a 6-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers and 8-games over the Baltimore Orioles. In those days, the AL was split into two divisions with seven teams each and the Brewers had yet to move to the NL.
By the end of the month, New York had jumped into second place in the AL East but still trailed the Red Sox by 6.5 games.
That lead wouldn’t hold. We think we’ve buried the Yankees with a four-game sweep in August this year? Back in ’78, the Yankees swept the Red Sox over the final four games of the season. That dismal stain on Red Sox history would become known as the Boston Massacre.
Boston won 99 games that year and still missed the playoffs. That’s not quite the pace this year’s team is on but the win total still stands as the fourth most in franchise history. It goes to show that you can have a historically great season that still isn’t enough to reach the postseason.