This is the best Red Sox team...ever.

Kenny F'ing Powers

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No. They haven't won a World Series. So, maybe they aren't the best Red Sox team ever...yet.

But are they the best regular season Red Sox team of all time?

The best team in Red Sox history, however, is the 2004 club, in part for sentimental, curse-breaking reasons, which obviously are a key component of that team's legacy, but also because it was a legitimately great team, finishing 98-64. They finished second to the Yankees in the division, but they outscored their opponents by 181 runs compared to just 89 for the Yankees. One reason the Red Sox were able to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the American League Championship Series is because they were the better team.

The 2018 Red Sox are an even more dominant team. They've already outscored their opponents by 184 runs. They've scored the most runs in the American League and allowed the second fewest. They have a Triple Crown candidate in J.D. Martinez, and he's not even the best player on the team. That's Mookie Betts, the do-everything supernova in right field. Then there's Chris Sale, who started his third straight All-Star Game and was having his best season until he landed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. That's expected to be a short stint, and Sale should still factor into the Cy Young voting.
The '04 Red Sox had the 1-2 punch of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez to anchor the lineup. The 2018 Red Sox have Martinez and Betts. Ortiz and Manny combined for 84 home runs and 269 RBIs, but Martinez and Betts compare favorably:

Ortiz: .301/.380/.603, .408 wOBA, 147 wRC+ (5th in AL)
Ramirez: .308/.397/.613, .417 wOBA, 153 wRC+ (4th in AL)
Martinez: .322/.388/.637, .426 wOBA, 171 RC+ (4th in AL)
Betts: .339/.423/.649, .446 wOBA, 184 wRC+ (2nd in AL)

Indeed, once you adjust for eras, Martinez and Betts actually fare better in wRC+ (weighted runs created). Understand that in 2004, the AL average runs per game was 5.01; in 2018, it's 4.49. Martinez and Betts are beating Ortiz's and Ramirez's production in a lower-scoring environment. Incredible.
Let's pretend this team wins the World Series. Are they the best Red Sox team of all time?

Or, let's just discuss regular season. Is this the best regular season Red Sox team of all time?

The question is flexible. Discuss this teams legacy factor.
 

tims4wins

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While you can't take away the wins, or the run differential, I can't help but feel that so much of the league just absolutely sucks and it has led to inflated records for the elite teams. This Sox team is very good, and also, extremely consistent, but I don't think it is overall as good as a team as 2007, which to me is the best Sox team at least of the last like 40 years.
 

Adrian's Dome

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They've done all this without

1. Their 2nd baseman

and

2. Exceptional injury luck. They went a month without Betts. Devers and Xander have had injuries. They lost a catcher. Their #2 starter went down. Their #4 (realistically he was 2nd or 3rd last year) has been injured/garbage all year. Their #6 went down. Moreland has been banged up. Smith, expected to be the 7th or 8th inning guy, went down.

And yet, they keep on chugging along.
 

DrewDawg

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While you can't take away the wins, or the run differential, I can't help but feel that so much of the league just absolutely sucks and it has led to inflated records for the elite teams.
While you can't take away the losses, or the run differential, I can't help but feel that so much of the league is just absolutely awesome and it has led to deflated records for the bad teams.

;)
 

SirPsychoSquints

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They're currently percentage points behind the 1912 team for the best Pythag record in franchise history (.669 vs. .666), well ahead of 1949 (.632) for the best since WWII, and way ahead of 2007 (.624) for the best since 1949. Obviously there's games left to go, so it's too early to call anything like this.
 

InstaFace

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From the article, which you also quoted:
The best team in Red Sox history, however, is the 2004 club, in part for sentimental, curse-breaking reasons, which obviously are a key component of that team's legacy, but also because it was a legitimately great team, finishing 98-64. They finished second to the Yankees in the division, but they outscored their opponents by 181 runs compared to just 89 for the Yankees...
Uh, dude, the 2007 team outscored their opponents by 210 runs. The 2013 squad was +197. The 1946 Red Sox had a +198 run differential, the 1948 team a +187, it was +229 in 1949, and the 1950 team wasn't far behind at +223. The franchise record was the 1912 team at +255. And if you want to hit your head against your desk, the 2002 team was +194. The greatness of the 2004 club is entirely from the historic nature of their postseason accomplishments.

This 2018 team would be hard pressed to top +255 (at which point I assume we'd hit buffer overflow and get reverted back to -255), but I think given the difference in maturity of the sport from the early 1900s, I'd be comfortable calling this the best regular-season Red Sox team if we can top that +229.

edit: another thing to add, by Pythagorean Win%, this 2018 team is second by only a hair to that record team of 1912, at 0.666 to 0.669. But they played only a 154-game season, and if you can believe it our run differential per game this year is actually a little ahead of that 1912 team, +1.673 to +1.656. So we're actually on pace to top +255, which is amazing. And both are way ahead of the third place season in either metric, which are 1903 at 0.653 Pyth%, and 1949 at +1.477 RD/game, respectively.

edit2: top Red Sox teams by regular-season run differential
1. 1912 +255
2. 1949 +229
3. 1950 +223
4. 2007 +210
5. 1903 +204
6. 1946 +198
7. 2013 +197
8. 2002 +194
9. 1948 +187
10t 2018 +184
10t 2016 +184
12. 2004 +181
13. 1915 +170
14. 1942 +167
15. 2003 +152

Kinda amazing that we're already tied for 10th in franchise history with 50+ games remaining though.
 
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tims4wins

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The 2004 team was only great from about August 10 on. They were just an above average team before then.

Edit: 60-50 on August 10. 38-14 the rest of the regular season plus 11-3 playoffs.
 

nolasoxfan

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I beg you all to forgo further discussion on this topic until the end of October.
Let’s not incite the baseball gods in any way, shape, or form.
 

Sam Ray Not

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As long as we don't tie or break 116 wins, we should be okay, karma-wise. Not that we're a lock or anything close to win it all if we come up short of 116, but if we hit 116 we are 100% karmically hosed. The 1906 Cubs, 1995-96 Red Wings, 2001 Mariners, 2007-08 Patriots, and 2015-16 Warriors all say, " hi."
 

InstaFace

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It must be tough to go through life believing that what happens is shaped by bizarre, whimsical forces beyond your control, but which care what sorts of topics you discuss or words you mention.

Especially when it makes you enjoy a season that's this special a bit less, or less often.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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As someone who posted, "Should we rest our players?" while up 3-0 to the Flyers, I'm still comfortable starting this thread.
 

Reverend

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No. They haven't won a World Series. So, maybe they aren't the best Red Sox team ever...yet.

But are they the best regular season Red Sox team of all time?





Let's pretend this team wins the World Series. Are they the best Red Sox team of all time?

Or, let's just discuss regular season. Is this the best regular season Red Sox team of all time?

The question is flexible. Discuss this teams legacy factor.
I think that yes, if we postulate for the sake of argument, that this team plays out the rest of the season such that they are the best regular season Red Sox of all time, then yes, they will probably be the--

what the hell is the question again?
 

Reverend

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It must be tough to go through life believing that what happens is shaped by bizarre, whimsical forces beyond your control, but which care what sorts of topics you discuss or words you mention.

Especially when it makes you enjoy a season that's this special a bit less, or less often.
Oh God, it so is.

Edit: This is probably why I've become such a fervent convert to @Buzzkill Pauley 's anti-WAR reformist movement in praise of the prophet JBJ.

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/00ftvy/futurama-going-robot
 
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bosox79

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Remember when we watched last year's team and imagined how good they would be if they actually hit what they were expected to hit?

Welcome 2018.
 

bigq

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Remember when we watched last year's team and imagined how good they would be if they actually hit what they were expected to hit?

Welcome 2018.
Particularly in the postseason. Or for that matter, if Sale and Porcello pitched to expectations in the postseason. Or any other number of variables. What is certain to me is this season had brought joy back to Red Sox baseball on a consistent basis which has been really fun. For me, this is the best Red Sox regular season I have experienced in my 44 years.
 

DegenerateSoxFan

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They're at 77-34 (.694). To reach 100 wins, they'll need to go 23-28 (.451) for the remainder. Now, they could certainly tail off a bit from their current pace, which projects to 112-50. But barring some bizarrely catastrophic drop-off, they're going to get to triple digits in the W column, something that no Red Sox team has achieved in my lifetime, including three very good World Series winners and some quality near-winners. I was reflecting on this with my dad. He was just a little kid when William's '46 team went 104-50 (.676, which projects to 109-53 over 162 games), and doesn't really remember it. So it's kind of like a neat little bucket list item to check off. Weird, when you think about it, even with the massive difference in sample size between MLB and the NFL, but it's really hard to go the win-percentage equivalent of 10-6 over the course of a baseball season.

Besides the ridonkulous team & individual stats, these guys are just plain fun to watch. Mookie = joy.
 

Ale Xander

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On the field perhaps. But they're missing a personality like in 95 (Mo), 99 (Pedro), 04 (Manny, Millar, Pedro), 07 (Ortiz, Manny), or 13 (Ortiz, Gomes)
 

DegenerateSoxFan

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On the field perhaps. But they're missing a personality like in 95 (Mo), 99 (Pedro), 04 (Manny, Millar, Pedro), 07 (Ortiz, Manny), or 13 (Ortiz, Gomes)
Maybe, but if the lack of an outsize personality among the bunch doesn't keep them from playing near-.700 ball or hinder them in the post-season in any way, I can live with that.
 

chawson

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On the field perhaps. But they're missing a personality like in 95 (Mo), 99 (Pedro), 04 (Manny, Millar, Pedro), 07 (Ortiz, Manny), or 13 (Ortiz, Gomes)
This guy would like to see you in his office.

 

teddywingman

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On the field perhaps. But they're missing a personality like in 95 (Mo), 99 (Pedro), 04 (Manny, Millar, Pedro), 07 (Ortiz, Manny), or 13 (Ortiz, Gomes)
I keep hearing this and I think it's just evidence of a lack of observation. Have you ever seen a player that is having more fun than Mookie Betts? Even when the chips are down he'll flash that famous grin.

I mean, Pedro and Papi are unique legends, but there's a star shining equally bright playing right now if he continues to shine.

Then there's JDM, a hitting scientist and his effect on the whole team. It's like they gained a player/coach.

And the outfield defense, JBJ making the impossible happen on a regular basis.

The young guys hitting their stride, Benintendi and Bogaerts.

The nuts like Holt and Kelly.

And amazing pitching. This team has it all and does not lack character.
 

Adrian's Dome

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I keep hearing this and I think it's just evidence of a lack of observation. Have you ever seen a player that is having more fun than Mookie Betts? Even when the chips are down he'll flash that famous grin.

I mean, Pedro and Papi are unique legends, but there's one equally bright playing right now if he continues to shine.

Then there's JDM, a hitting scientist and his effect on the whole team. It's like they gained a player/coach.

And the outfield defense, JBJ making the impossible happen on a regular basis.

The young guys hitting their stride, Benintendi and Bogaerts.

The nuts like Holt and Kelly.

And amazing pitching. This team has it all and does not lack character.
Agreed. This is a team with chemistry, you can tell they like and feed off each other, and it shows on the field when they never give up. I have more confidence in this squad to make a game out of anything - the Johnson start is only the most recent example.
 

ookami7m

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There's plenty of personality on this team. Mookie is as close to the magnetic personality that Pedro or Ortiz was that we'll ever see. BROCKHOLT! is the dugout jokester who is clearly having nearly as much fun as anyone in the game. That's before you get to the token bullpen oddity in Fightin Joe Kelly.

This is the most fun I've had watching a regular season since 2007.
 

Dehere

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The 2004 team was only great from about August 10 on. They were just an above average team before then.

Edit: 60-50 on August 10. 38-14 the rest of the regular season plus 11-3 playoffs.
Agree with this. From the time of the Cabrera/Mientkiewicz deal through the World Series that team was not only an all-time Red Sox team but one of the great teams of my lifetime, period. Those figures cited above are a 120 win pace.
 

nighthob

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I thought we all became baseball atheists in late October 2004. (Many of us never believed in evil spirits and ghosts, of course.)
I was a baseball theist from the first time that I saw Pedro pitch, and 2004 did not produce a deconversion. ;)
 

InsideTheParker

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I actually wonder if this particular team might not have its enjoyableness come across fully to anyone following on radio and not tv.

There is a lot of visual joy to this team that may not be available--maybe disproportionately so.
What about the anguish of the closer allowing the go-ahead run to come to the plate? Can you get that without watching?
 

grimshaw

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The 2003 regular season team was probably my favorite to watch in my lifetime. Emphasis on regular season. Just an absolutely relentless lineup that made me feel like they were indeed better than the Yankees. The 2004 team had some issues until the deadline so it wasn't a 6 month romp.

This team takes the cake though. What gets me is that they haven't even been close to the picture of health like their world series winners for the most part were.

Dombrowski has hit a million % this year between the manager, JDM and the other in season acquisitions (we'll leave out Nunez). The Hanley situation seems like it happened last year too. Completely seamless.
 

Rasputin

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So...we win tomorrow, this division is all but won. Meanwhile, the Astros are 7 games back for the best record overall and I guess they could make that up but they won't and we're going to have to face the winning of the Wild Card game.

And really, I don't like the idea of playing Oakland in the playoffs.
 

jaytftwofive

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1978 was the best Red Sox team in my lifetime, IMO. Problems were no real bench, a stubborn manager who benched the best lefty on the team, and one bad streak from late August to Sept 16th or so. I know they didn't win the WS or even the division but on paper I think that was the best team. I'm 60. I really believe Zimmer cost them the division with his managing and benching BIll Lee.
 

jaytftwofive

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So...we win tomorrow, this division is all but won. Meanwhile, the Astros are 7 games back for the best record overall and I guess they could make that up but they won't and we're going to have to face the winning of the Wild Card game.

And really, I don't like the idea of playing Oakland in the playoffs.
The Sox have the best record but I still believe thse Stros are the team to beat with their pitching. Plus they are the champs and you have to take it away from them. An example the 2001 Mariners that won 116 games lost the to the Yankees who won 95 or 96 games. They were the still the champs.
 

mt8thsw9th

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Agree with this. From the time of the Cabrera/Mientkiewicz deal through the World Series that team was not only an all-time Red Sox team but one of the great teams of my lifetime, period. Those figures cited above are a 120 win pace.
It was 118 and that’s only 5 over the current team’s pace. That is over double the amount of games, plus an extra 8 games. There’s no comparison at this point.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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This team keeps coming up with new ways to boggle my mind. Here's one: The Sox are now 8 and a half games ahead of a team that would be in first place in every other division but one in baseball. If they were in the NL West, the Sox would be 16 games ahead of a team on a 90-win pace.
 

bosox79

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And really, I don't like the idea of playing Oakland in the playoffs.
As opposed to who? Also, Oakland is only 5 back of the Astros... and Seattle is closer to the Yankees for the 2nd wild card than the Astros are to us.

The Yankees missing the playoffs is probably more likely than the Redsox not winning the division.
 

chawson

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The Yankees leave New York after a game Sunday for a West Coast trip beginning Monday of three games against Oakland and three against Seattle in early September. If both those teams hang in, it could get interesting for them.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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The Yankees leave New York after a game Sunday for a West Coast trip beginning Monday of three games against Oakland and three against Seattle in early September. If both those teams hang in, it could get interesting for them.
I wouldn't be thrilled to face Oakland in a one game playoff, but a 5 game series with home advantage would leave me pretty confident (assuming fully healthy players on both teams).
The thought of the Yankees getting swept and then bumped out of the playoffs by those two teams makes me crazy ecstatic this morning
 

uk_sox_fan

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Interesting that the Sox recently caught the Astros for best run differential (on Monday and again Friday) before the Astros 14-0 demolition of the LAD last night put them back 10 runs ahead. Sox were 60 runs back 6 weeks ago.
 

AB in DC

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As opposed to who? Also, Oakland is only 5 back of the Astros... and Seattle is closer to the Yankees for the 2nd wild card than the Astros are to us.

The Yankees missing the playoffs is probably more likely than the Redsox not winning the division.
For the Yankees to miss the playoffs, they'd have to finish behind three AL West teams -- who are all going to be playing each other a lot. It's not going to happen.

(BP has the Sox at 90.1% to win the division, Yankees at 99.6% to make the playoffs.)
 

In my lifetime

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Interesting that the Sox recently caught the Astros for best run differential (on Monday and again Friday) before the Astros 14-0 demolition of the LAD last night put them back 10 runs ahead. Sox were 60 runs back 6 weeks ago.
This brings up an interesting point, one that is taken into account in football rankings on various levels. After a certain point, even though baseball is significantly different in this regard than football, the run differential should be capped. Let's say 8 runs, since after that point there tends to be significant lineup/pitching changes (or in the case of pitching - lack of changes) from both teams. I am not sure that would significantly change relative run differential, but I believe it would certainly make sense to have a cap when we look at run differential.
 

VORP Speed

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For the Yankees to miss the playoffs, they'd have to finish behind three AL West teams -- who are all going to be playing each other a lot. It's not going to happen.

(BP has the Sox at 90.1% to win the division, Yankees at 99.6% to make the playoffs.)
Seattle is collapsing. The way the Yankees miss the playoffs is a 2011 redux scenario—they fade hard and Rays get super hot and take something like 6 of 7 in their remaining head to heads. Rays have an easy finishing schedule, including 13 remaining games against Toronto (this unbalanced schedule is so lame).

Maybe I can figure out how to get some Popeye’s delivered to the Yankees clubhouse.