Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dog Days, Dog Eared?

As the Red Sox turn into the home stretch of their playoff run, what do we see? In head-to-head matches in the division, where would you rank the Sox? This is not ranking the Sox versus the rest of the league, just in divisional play.

Off the top it feels like:
  • Tampa
  • Toronto
  • New York
  • Boston
  • Baltimore
The reality of intra-divisional play?
  • Tampa 28-19
  • Toronto 24-22
  • New York 26-24
  • Boston 24-25
  • Baltimore 20-32
So, mirabile dictu, the 'feel' matches the fit. Unfortunately.

A theme for the season has been "play better". And so it is. The Sox have overachieved at several positions, particularly Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. Since the All-Star break the Red Sox are seven in OPS and ninth in runs/game in the AL. Jacoby Ellsbury and Coco Crisp together in the outfield haven't produced a lot of pop, which means Coco now delivers a home run.

Yes, injuries do matter (Lowell, Drew) but other teams have injuries as well, most notably the Rays without Crawford and Longoria.

As currently constructed, the Sox have the talent to compete perennially for the postseason. Whether they have what it takes (a long stretch of great baseball) to win the whole enchilada again remains questionable unless something changes, be it health, performance, or consistency.

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