Yeah, I’ve mused about “what’s the matter with the Sox” at earlier points in the 2010 baseball season. It turns out that reports of their demise–including this cheap-shot filled masterpiece of whining and distortion–have been exaggerated.
In fact, it turns out that the Sox can play some great baseball. And they are rising in the American League East. After spinning their wheels to start the season, finding themselves mired in fourth place, while the Yankees and Rays went hurtling towards the heights, the Red Sox now only trail the Yankees by 1.5 games, and they are only one-half game behind the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Red Sox are 15-9 so far in May, and since start of play on May 9th, they are 11-5, including a 6-2 mark against AL East opponents. They have won four in row. Which is not only only not bad, but actually is pretty darn good.
Curiously, Josh Beckett’s absence from the rotation has taken place during a stretch when the Red Sox have cut their runs allowed per game significantly. Over the past fifteen games the Sox have allowed an average of 3.56 runs per game, which includes the 11 and 6 runs they surrendered in their last two games against the Yankees (the second of which was the last game Beckett pitched for Boston).
Over the last week the Red Sox have played the following teams: the Twins (26-18, 1st place AL Central, 5.00 runs/game, 9th in the Majors in scoring), the Phillies (26-18, 1st place NL East, 5.28 runs/game, 4th in the Majors in scoring), and the Rays (32-14, 1st place AL East, 5.36 runs/game, 2nd in the Majors in scoring). Boston has gone 6-1 in those seven games, and they’ve allowed, 2, 2, 5, 0, 3, 1, 0 runs in them, which works out to 1.86 runs allowed per game.
Now, none of this guarantees them future success. In fact, they may have just had an incredibly lucky week. On the other hand, this is probably what GM Theo Epstein was expecting when he assembled this team. And if they’ve just been getting lucky during this run, well, then I hope mere luck fills my future, too.
However, I think the more likely reason is that run prevention works. I just wonder how Josh Beckett is taking the news that his team has been giving up a lot fewer runs with him doing something other than starting games for them every five days. Coincidence?
I should also point out that Christopher Gasper of the Boston Globe
deserves a lot of credit for being clear-eyed and for steering clear of some of the absurd and hyperbolic Andy Rooney-like bitterness and bitching that certain other members of the Globe staff
indulge themselves in. Thanks, Mr. Gasper.