Saturday, April 17, 2010

Five Swings: Total Disaster

The Red Sox face divisional rival Tampa and come away on the short end of the stick. 

1. Fan-tastic. The fans attending Friday's game caught a break because they didn't have to watch the nightmarish end of the front end of the completed game Saturday, extended because of a rain-forced end. So, if you went Friday, you get a zero, not a loss. 

2. Bogar that joint. Third base coach Tim Bogar tried to score Kevin Youkilis from first on an extra-base hit WITH NONE OUT. How'd that work out? Not...well, if never make the first out or the last out at third base is a baseball truism, then making the first out at home doesn't sit really well with Sox fans either. Do we have another Dale Sveum in the making. 

3. Drought in April. The Sox loaded the bases with nobody out in the 11th, only to have David Ortiz ground into a force out at the plate and Adrian Beltre grounded into a double play to snuff the aborted rally. The Sox offense seems to have hit the wall or the cold. Lucky the Rays didn't have to play in the cold....

4. Ten four. The Sox managed to play ten, win four so far. Somewhere, sometime I read that teams that play sub .500 ball in the first ten games, seldom have strong seasons. Of course, I can't find it, so never mind. Oh, but the Sox have played the Twins, the Yankees, and the Rays. Nobody that they have to beat in October...

Correction, here it is
For example, of the 218 teams to start the season 4-6 since 1951, only 38.1% of them managed to avoid a losing record, while 63.3% of the 226 teams starting out 6-4 finished up at .500 or better.

Actually, the Diamond Mind researchers found the first three games have predictive value. 

Teams W-L Record in Games 135-137 1951-96

                   Cumul Finish     Ended Season
          # of    ==============    ============
   Record  Tms     Record     Pct    .500+   Pct
    0- 3   143  10556-12246  .463      48   33.6%
    1- 2   344  26666-28265  .485     145   42.2%
    2- 1   354  28918-27679  .511     214   60.5%
    3- 0   143  12450-10400  .545     114   79.7%

5. Worst to first. If the first game weren't painful enough for the Sox and fans, then consider Game 2, first inning. A Cameron error and three Buchholz walks gave the Rays four runs, and a bases-clearing double by Pat Burrell, the Rays' first game hero did the big damage. The simple answer so far has been too much bad baseball. The Sox don't need better players; they need to play better. 

Is there any silver lining here? Maybe the belief that the Sox heralded pitching staff, over the long pull, can prevent long streaks of bad hope. 

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