Red Sox yellow City Connect jerseys remain their good luck charm

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 25: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox throws to first base for an out in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Fenway Park on July 25, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 25: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox throws to first base for an out in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Fenway Park on July 25, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox look good in yellow uniforms

The Boston Red Sox might never take off those yellow jerseys again. The City Connect uniforms have become popular with players and fans since the team debuted the alternate attire last season. These yellow jerseys complimented with a splash of blue were inspired by the Boston Marathon, a nod to the team’s connection to the race and the events following the 2013 marathon bombing. Not only do these uniforms offer a flashy alternative to their traditional look, but the Red Sox have performed incredibly well when wearing them.

In desperate need of a win following a humiliating three-game sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston donned the City Connect uniforms to open their series with the Cleveland Guardians. The jersey switch paid immediate dividends with a 3-1 victory.

A depleted Red Sox lineup wasn’t exactly an offensive force, but they came through with timely hitting. Boston was 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Nick Pivetta delivered a strong start, allowing only one run over 5 2/3 innings before turning the game over to their top bullpen arms to finish off the Guardians. The Red Sox played sound fundamental defense, a refreshing change of pace following their last series when they were plagued by frustrating mistakes.

Everything has been going wrong for the Red Sox since they began a gauntlet against AL East opponents prior to the All-Star break. Those problems seem to have been washed away during a pivotal victory over a Cleveland team battling with Boston to climb back into a Wild Card spot.

Is it the jersey? Are the yellow uniforms actually good luck? The Red Sox are now 12-2 when wearing their City Connect uniforms since last season and they are 6-0 this season. Boston has outscored their opponents 31-10 in those victories this year.

Wait, take a look at that list again. Those six wins came against Minnesota, Detroit and Cleveland. All three of them reside in the AL Central division.

Much has been made about Boston’s inability to beat teams in their own division. The Red Sox are 12-29 against the AL East this season and they have yet to win a series against a team from their own division. However, they have fared well with a 13-7 record against the AL Central and they own a dominant 19-7 record against the AL West.

This trend could prove to be significant when it comes to playoff seeding. The Red Sox are tied in the standings with Cleveland, trailing the Seattle Mariners by three games for the third Wild Card spot. The surging Mariners are only 1.5 games behind Toronto for the top Wild Card with the Rays sandwiched in between with a half game lead over Seattle. It’s a tight race for playoff positioning that gets even more complicated with Boston and Cleveland lurking behind the Wild Card trio.

While many are ready to write off the Red Sox after they limped into the break and were humiliated in their first series to kick off the second half, a three-game deficit is hardly insurmountable. If Boston can get some of their injured players back and make some modest trade deadline upgrades, they still have a solid chance at claiming a playoff spot.

Leaping over both the Rays and Blue Jays will be a challenge if they continue to struggle in head-to-head matchups but Boston doesn’t necessarily need to finish ahead of their division rivals. Despite that it would mean sacrificing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the third Wild Card spot would be the ideal position for the Red Sox.

In the first round of the playoffs, the third Wild Card team will face the division-winner with the lowest winning percentage, which will almost certainly come from the AL Central. Minnesota is the frontrunner for the Central division title but Cleveland sits only 3.5 games behind them.

If the Red Sox were to claim one of the Wild Card spots, that leaves the Jays, Rays and M’s to battle for two spots. Several other teams remain in the mix but it seems unlikely that two of the aforementioned three will drop out. If we assume Boston knocks one of them out, the other two probably get the other spots.

Wouldn’t the Red Sox rather face the AL Central winner instead of Toronto or Tampa Bay, two teams that Boston has struggled against? The Red Sox were a dominant 6-1 against Seattle this year but all of their meetings were before the Mariners got hot. They’ve been one of the best teams in baseball over the last few weeks.

Boston’s success in their yellow jerseys has been a remarkable story but their track record isn’t predictive of future success. Their undefeated record this season when wearing the City Connect uniforms has more to do with the opponent than the yellow uniforms being some sort of good luck charm.

However, there is something to be said for a potential confidence boost if the players actually believe the uniforms are lucky. Sometimes all a team needs is something to rally behind. Maybe the yellow uniforms aren’t actually bringing the team good luck but the Red Sox should stick with them until proven otherwise.

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