We're halfway through the season

Rasputin

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We're on a pace to go 108-54.

Most people think another team is a significant favorite to win the division.

What do you think?
 

E5 Yaz

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I think the Orioles are 30 games out ... before the Fourth of July. The disparity between the best teams and the worst is just going to increase ... particularly after the trade deadline.

Unless the Indians or Mariners falter, the five AL playoff teams are already known. Yeah, it's nice to be a fan of one of those teams ... but it sucks if you're a baseball fan.

Meanwhile, I heard a stat tonight that between 30-35% of all plate appearances this season have been a walk, a strikeout or a home run.Add inactivity to decided outcomes, and the American League is heading into a half-season snoozefest
 

Rasputin

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The Orioles are 30 back.

No other team is as much as 20 back.

It's really rather astonishing.
 

Hank Scorpio

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I think the Red Sox are at the beginning of another insane hot streak, and the Yankees are at the beginning of a tailspin. Two weeks before the trade deadline, the Yankees make a panic trade for a starting pitcher to save their rotation, which begins to fall apart, but it doesn't work out. Red Sox are seven games up by the end of July, and roll to the division title and a World Series title.

Severino goes 2.1 IP, allowing 7 ER in the wild card game - Yankees fall to Mariners 9-7. Stanton goes 0 for 5 with 4 Ks and a GIDP to end the game and the Yankees' season.
 

gedman211

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odds shark has Boston at 2/1 and Y's at even money.

The Sox' offensive question marks seem to be trending in the right direction. Devers, JBJ, the catchers, and even Nunez seem to be more comfortable at the plate than they were, say, a month ago. The Wright injury is disconcerting, to say the least, and the bullpen could really use another high-lev arm. I'm not really sure why Velasquez isn't moved into the rotation in Wright's absence, since he looked really good starting games in April.

New York has been riding the standout performances from rookies Andujar and Torres. At some point the league catches up to almost all rookie hitters and forces them to make adjustments. Andujar has been scuffling a bit, and Torres is slowing a bit of late, so perhaps the book on their weaknesses is starting to take shape. Stanton, however is beginning to turn into a bit of a wrecking ball, so he could easily compensate for any cool spell suffered by the kids. Severino is in the CY discussion, but beyond him, there are uncertainties in the rotation. J.A. Happ appears to be on his way to town by 7/31, and until then they're going to have to roll the dice with Loasiga, German and most likely Sheffield- all of whom have shown signs of dominance, but who the hell knows if they can be relied upon in a pennant race.

I'm going to give Boston a slight edge. I think Devers and JBJ will hit enough, Dombo gets a servicable late-inning arm, and they get just enough out of the #5 starter merry-go-round to take the division by 2-3 games
 

Rasputin

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I think the Red Sox are at the beginning of another insane hot streak, and the Yankees are at the beginning of a tailspin.
I'll take a sane hot streak and a more moderate downturn than a tailspin. Once we dispatch the Angels again, we get the Yanks and NotSenators for six. After that, we get mediocre to bad teams until the end of July when we play the Phillies. That includes the last place teams in all the divisions.

The Yanks don't exactly have a hard schedule over that stretch, but they play Atlanta while we play Washington, and they have a four-gamer with Cleveland in there.

Come the deadline, we could have a small cushion.

The Sox' offensive question marks seem to be trending in the right direction.
This is really key to me. If we can just stay white hot offensively for seven more games, lasting through the NYY and WAS series, winning both, I think we're going to be in really good shape at the deadline.

The Yanks are obviously going to improve more at the deadline than we are. They're going to get the best starting pitcher available and we're going to try to get a late-inning lefty and someone who hits late-inning lefties.

Honestly, I have no idea who has the edge. We'll know more come Aug. 1, but one thing is utterly clear.

The goal for the next 78 games is to establish a four-game lead. We've got a half. Three and a half more isn't that much to ask.
 

Reverend

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Man, people here hate Machado and the Orioles so much, it never even occurred to me how much they actually suck.

That's awesome.
 

m0ckduck

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Anecdotally, this doesn't feel to me like the best Sox team in at least 70 years. If someone had described everything that's gone better than expected, and everything that's gone worse— without revealing W-L record— I'd have guessed a 95-98 win pace. I'm curious if this is a widely-held impression. Possible explanations:

1. Strength of immediate competition: BOS has been neck-and-neck with NYY for virtually all of the season. Contrast this to 2007, where the team was four games worse at the same point in the season but leading the division by 10.5.

2. Recency bias: the Sox started out 17-2 and have gone 37-25 since. 37-25 is still very good, but it's more inline with the 95-98 win pace I mentioned above.

3. Distribution of performance: this is the one that's interesting to me. If you break this year's team into binary categories of "underperforming guys" vs. "overperforming guys", it seems that the two groups are roughly equal in numbers. But the players who have been very good this year have been so good that they pull the overall balance towards the win column.

4. Toxic media narratives. Doesn't explain my impressions, as I live too far away from Boston to pay much attention... but I suppose it's worth mentioning.
 

grimshaw

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Obviously the 13 remaining head to heads are the most important. Let's just make it 11-2 to take all the starch out.

But it's also about the trading season. All of these projections are before any additions are being made.
The Yankees are way better positioned to make impact moves. At least there are no known stud starters out there.
 

Adrian's Dome

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Anecdotally, this doesn't feel to me like the best Sox team in at least 70 years. If someone had described everything that's gone better than expected, and everything that's gone worse— without revealing W-L record— I'd have guessed a 95-98 win pace. I'm curious if this is a widely-held impression. Possible explanations:

1. Strength of immediate competition: BOS has been neck-and-neck with NYY for virtually all of the season. Contrast this to 2007, where the team was four games worse at the same point in the season but leading the division by 10.5.

2. Recency bias: the Sox started out 17-2 and have gone 37-25 since. 37-25 is still very good, but it's more inline with the 95-98 win pace I mentioned above.

3. Distribution of performance: this is the one that's interesting to me. If you break this year's team into binary categories of "underperforming guys" vs. "overperforming guys", it seems that the two groups are roughly equal in numbers. But the players who have been very good this year have been so good that they pull the overall balance towards the win column.

4. Toxic media narratives. Doesn't explain my impressions, as I live too far away from Boston to pay much attention... but I suppose it's worth mentioning.
I think people are simply lacking perspective on how freaking good this team is. I don't know how much of the main board is recent baseball fans, but it seems most are lacking the understanding of how a typical baseball season goes...for example, the recent road trip where the team looked thoroughly mediocre against the Twins and Mariners. That happens, to even really good teams, at least a handful of series per season. Especially on long road trips.

Two of the biggest examples for me are the bullpen and offense: tons of handwringing, not exactly a lot of talk about exactly how good they're both been.

Bats: tons of talk about JBJ, Nunez, the catchers, and Devers, but no realization that they're 2nd in runs (by 4, behind Houston, with one less game played) and first in overall OPS. Tons of talk about shuffling the lineup every time someone goes into a scuffle, again, seemingly not realizing that happens to even the best hitters, again, a small handful of times a season (see Giancarlo Stanton, April, or, as we all remember, David Ortiz, early 2009.)

Bullpen: Needs a lefty. Needs a GOOD lefty. No reliable setup men. Need another dominant setup arm. Meanwhile, Kimbrel has been good to great, ditto Barnes, Kelly has been on a small downward trend lately but was absolutely lights out for two months, and Hembree is amongst the better 5th/6th inning/ROOGY types out there, and Johnson/Velazquez have held their own as well in garbage time/emergency innings/spot starts.

I'd argue there's not a more balanced team in the majors. Houston is more dominant in the rotation and just as dangerous on offense, but their bullpen actually is a weakness by comparison. The Yankees have the pen and the offense, but their rotation isn't as dangerous sans Severino. We'll be fighting to the end with both of those clubs for the best record, but if you ask me, balance lends itself well to consistency over the long haul.

EDIT: and we could still see positive contributions from Pedroia and Thornburg by the time the cards are all on the table.
 
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joe dokes

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If Wright's comments are any indicator -- he said he started aching with starting-- he may be a bullpen arm. Cora liked it, and only started him when Pomeranz went down. And both catchers seem equally adept at catching him. Otoh, the pain may have returned eventually either way.

EDIT: Im not saying that Wright is the optimal reliever "pickup," just that with limited tradeable assets and what we assume is a limited amount of salary room, it may be one in-house option for one improvable area.
 
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Lose Remerswaal

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odds shark has Boston at 2/1 and Y's at even money.

The Sox' offensive question marks seem to be trending in the right direction. Devers, JBJ, the catchers, and even Nunez seem to be more comfortable at the plate than they were, say, a month ago. The Wright injury is disconcerting, to say the least, and the bullpen could really use another high-lev arm. I'm not really sure why Velasquez isn't moved into the rotation in Wright's absence, since he looked really good starting games in April.
Johnson has had success starting, too. And my guess is it's a lefty/righty thing or that Hector is considered a better relief option than Johnson would be in that game. I expect Velasquez to be ready early anyway
 

uk_sox_fan

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Unless the Indians or Mariners falter, the five AL playoff teams are already known. Yeah, it's nice to be a fan of one of those teams ... but it sucks if you're a baseball fan.

Meanwhile, I heard a stat tonight that between 30-35% of all plate appearances this season have been a walk, a strikeout or a home run.Add inactivity to decided outcomes, and the American League is heading into a half-season snoozefest
With ad hoc research, the current state of the AL is unprecedented: half-way through the season and the sum total for % chance to make the playoffs for the 10 teams not currently in playoff position is 22.0%. That's insane!

Look at the NL: only 3 teams (Dodgers, Nats and Cubs) have >80% of making the playoffs and none of them are in 1st right now. The D-backs and Brewers are the favourites for the WC but after that there are the Cards (44.8%), the (currently 1st place) Braves (at 36.6%) and the Phillies (21.6%). The bottom 7 teams have a 24.8% of getting there.

As for PA without a ball in play, the current figure is 34.1%, up from 33.5% last year and 30.7% in 2015. 10 years ago it was 28.8% after haven risen more modestly (~1.3%/decade) since it was ~25% in the 70's. This more than mound visits and ball scratching is what's been the main driver in game length IMHO (including the knock-on effect of more pitching changes).
 

DJnVa

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Years ago either a very good Boston or NYY team wouldn't even make playoffs and that would have seemed unfair.

Now, a very good Boston or NYY team will have to survive a 1 game playoff and that seems unfair.
 

joe dokes

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As for PA without a ball in play, the current figure is 34.1%, up from 33.5% last year and 30.7% in 2015. 10 years ago it was 28.8% after haven risen more modestly (~1.3%/decade) since it was ~25% in the 70's. This more than mound visits and ball scratching is what's been the main driver in game length IMHO (including the knock-on effect of more pitching changes).
That's also a pace of play issue. Fewer balls in play = less action.
 

DeadlySplitter

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I guess this is mostly a function of remembering the worst losses more than the ho-hum wins, but it's interesting to me how we lost a series to the White Sox (at home!), the Twins on the road, both series to the A's, and our winning percentage is still .667.

This team is a real powerhouse. The problem is the Yankees are just as much so. Projection systems such as 538, Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus still put us at 1-2 games behind the Yankees. I feel like it's because their offense is a bit more consistent while their rotation is getting as much production as ours. If one team could sweep another in a head-on-head series, that extra 2-game swing vs just winning the series might be the difference. (I'm also glad we have the extra home game this season, a 4 game set right after the trade deadline. knock on wood)
 

DeadlySplitter

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I think people are simply lacking perspective on how freaking good this team is. I don't know how much of the main board is recent baseball fans, but it seems most are lacking the understanding of how a typical baseball season goes...for example, the recent road trip where the team looked thoroughly mediocre against the White Sox and Mariners. That happens, to even really good teams, at least a handful of series per season. Especially on long road trips.
recency bias is a real thing. I feel a bit guilty now overjudging them as they have really get back on track offensively on this homestand.

2. Recency bias: the Sox started out 17-2 and have gone 37-25 since. 37-25 is still very good, but it's more inline with the 95-98 win pace I mentioned above.
it feels like the team is about to pop off another huge run leading up to the ASB. Offense looks good again, Sale & Price are hitting their strides
 

Soxfan in Fla

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This team is really good, as are the MFY and Astros. Most of the rest of the AL is either average, poor or downright awful (yes I’m looking at you Wimpering Showalter’s). All 3 will most likely win 100 and may top 105. The difference between the Sox and the other 2 is they have monetary room and ml assets to shore up their weaknesses. The Sox are very limited at the moment in that ability.
 

uk_sox_fan

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I think people are simply lacking perspective on how freaking good this team is. I don't know how much of the main board is recent baseball fans, but it seems most are lacking the understanding of how a typical baseball season goes...for example, the recent road trip where the team looked thoroughly mediocre against the White Sox and Mariners. That happens, to even really good teams, at least a handful of series per season. Especially on long road trips.
Agree completely. Amazing to me that the Sox have actually won every road trip (they were 6-4 on the last one despite that 1-4 stretch against the M's and Twinkies) and have been at least .500 on every home stand (two 3-3 homestands - most recently against the Tigers and ChiSox - have seemed worse but they were at least level).

Two of the biggest examples for me are the bullpen and offense: tons of handwringing, not exactly a lot of talk about exactly how good they're both been.

Bats: tons of talk about JBJ, Nunez, the catchers, and Devers, but no realization that they're 2nd in runs (by 4, behind Houston, with one less game played) and first in overall OPS. Tons of talk about shuffling the lineup every time someone goes into a scuffle, again, seemingly not realizing that happens to even the best hitters, again, a small handful of times a season (see Giancarlo Stanton, April, or, as we all remember, David Ortiz, early 2009.)
It's amazing how all 5 AL playoff teams stack up in MLB ranks (no.) for almost all offensive categories:
Code:
Team R/gm      BA     OB%    SLG    HR/gm   netSB*   wRC+  wOBA
 BOS 5.21(1) 266(1)  331(4) 458(1) 1.43(2) +21 (1)  112(3) 339(1)
 HOU 5.20(2) 266(1)  338(1) 440(3) 1.27(9)  +1 (8)  117(1) 337(2)
 NYY 5.10(3) 249(11) 327(6) 455(2) 1.63(1)  -3(11)  113(2) 336(3)
 CLE 4.95(4) 254(7)  324(7) 437(4) 1.42(3) +18 (3)  106(5) 328(4)
 SEA 4.42(14) 260(3) 322(8) 421(7) 1.20(12)-14(21)  107(4) 322(8)
*my definition of net SB is (SB - 3xCS)

Bullpen: Needs a lefty. Needs a GOOD lefty. No reliable setup men. Need another dominant setup arm. Meanwhile, Kimbrel has been good to great, ditto Barnes, Kelly has been on a small downward trend lately but was absolutely lights out for two months, and Hembree is amongst the better 5th/6th inning/ROOGY types out there, and Johnson/Velazquez have held their own as well in garbage time/emergency innings/spot starts.

I'd argue there's not a more balanced team in the majors. Houston is more dominant in the rotation and just as dangerous on offense, but their bullpen actually is a weakness by comparison. The Yankees have the pen and the offense, but their rotation isn't as dangerous sans Severino. We'll be fighting to the end with both of those clubs for the best record, but if you ask me, balance lends itself well to consistency over the long haul.

EDIT: and we could still see positive contributions from Pedroia and Thornburg by the time the cards are all on the table.
The one quibble I have with your post is I think you're missing how good Houston's pen has actually been. Ranked by Bullpen xFIP the Astros (2.98) are the best in MLB followed by NY (3.14 -2nd), and, after the Brewers, Boston (3.60 - 4th). The M's are a respectable 7th with 3.81 whilst the Indians are 17th at 4.08.

In K/9 Houston (10.83) is 2nd to NYY (12.03) whilst Seattle (9.95) and Boston (9.66) are 4th and 5th and Cleveland is 18th at 8.79. Houston has the top walk-rate (2.28/9IP) with Cle (2.88) and Sea (2.90) 4th and 5th and Bos (3.44) and NY (3.54) 14th and 15th. And in HR/9 the Sox are 2nd (0.69) a mere .01 behind SF and the Astros are 4th (0.75) with NY a respectable 9th (0.86), the Ms 18th (1.05) and the Indians dead last (1.54).

Finally in LOB% the Astros are 3rd (80.1%) with the Sox and Yanks 7th and 8th (77.9% and 77.8%) whilst the Mariners are 17th (73.7%) and the Indians next to last (66.9%).

So I think it's inescapable that Houston is not only elite in starting pitching but with their bullpen as well. They are the most balanced club at the top in so many different categories that I think they're truly at a once-in-a-generation level of talent. It's just fun that the Sox and their biggest rival have strong enough clubs to be able to challenge them head-to-head.
 

shaggydog2000

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The Sox are first in Runs scored per game, and third in runs allowed barely behind the second place Brewers. The only thing to point out is that the Astros are .01 Runs scored per game behind the Sox, and .62 runs ahead of them in Runs allowed. They're insanely good. The Yankees aren't far behind in either category either.
 

tonyandpals

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Years ago either a very good Boston or NYY team wouldn't even make playoffs and that would have seemed unfair.

Now, a very good Boston or NYY team will have to survive a 1 game playoff and that seems unfair.
And then, if that really good team survives the one game playoff, they get to face that other really good team right away.
 

Adrian's Dome

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The one quibble I have with your post is I think you're missing how good Houston's pen has actually been. Ranked by Bullpen xFIP the Astros (2.98) are the best in MLB followed by NY (3.14 -2nd), and, after the Brewers, Boston (3.60 - 4th). The M's are a respectable 7th with 3.81 whilst the Indians are 17th at 4.08.

In K/9 Houston (10.83) is 2nd to NYY (12.03) whilst Seattle (9.95) and Boston (9.66) are 4th and 5th and Cleveland is 18th at 8.79. Houston has the top walk-rate (2.28/9IP) with Cle (2.88) and Sea (2.90) 4th and 5th and Bos (3.44) and NY (3.54) 14th and 15th. And in HR/9 the Sox are 2nd (0.69) a mere .01 behind SF and the Astros are 4th (0.75) with NY a respectable 9th (0.86), the Ms 18th (1.05) and the Indians dead last (1.54).

Finally in LOB% the Astros are 3rd (80.1%) with the Sox and Yanks 7th and 8th (77.9% and 77.8%) whilst the Mariners are 17th (73.7%) and the Indians next to last (66.9%).

So I think it's inescapable that Houston is not only elite in starting pitching but with their bullpen as well. They are the most balanced club at the top in so many different categories that I think they're truly at a once-in-a-generation level of talent. It's just fun that the Sox and their biggest rival have strong enough clubs to be able to challenge them head-to-head.
Fair. I hadn't looked up the numbers on them recently enough since their early-season struggles. Juggernaut team indeed...but so are we. It's going to be fun to see how it all plays out, I just hope it doesn't come down to injuries. Pennant races are more fun when all the major talent is on the field.
 

drbretto

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I'm normally not a very spiteful person, but the O's being on pace to lose about 110 games pleases me greatly. As long as Buck is at the helm of that team, I hate them more than the Yankees.

At this rate, no matter what the end result, this season feels like a win already. If the Sox end up losing out to another juggernaut team, there's no shame in that. But there's always shame in losing 110 games. There's shame in that forever.
 

uk_sox_fan

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Recency bias: the Sox started out 17-2 and have gone 37-25 since. 37-25 is still very good, but it's more inline with the 95-98 win pace I mentioned above.
I hate stats like this. When you discount a super-hot start you cherry-pick your starting point to be at the start of a losing streak. The Sox lost 3 straight after starting 17-2 but after that have gone 37-22 which is a 102-win pace. Almost as big a sample as yours but takes it from a 'very good' Sox team that you were looking for to the best one we've seen in over 60 years (even after ignoring the 17-5 start).
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I hate stats like this. When you discount a super-hot start you cherry-pick your starting point to be at the start of a losing streak. The Sox lost 3 straight after starting 17-2 but after that have gone 37-22 which is a 102-win pace. Almost as big a sample as yours but takes it from a 'very good' Sox team that you were looking for to the best one we've seen in over 60 years (even after ignoring the 17-5 start).
Right on. A team that wins 100 games in a season doesn't play the entire 162 game season at exactly a .617 clip. They'll play stretches at .700, they'll play stretches at .500. It just all averages out to a .617 winning percentage. Breaking it down in any way isn't all that instructive.
 

m0ckduck

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I hate stats like this. When you discount a super-hot start you cherry-pick your starting point to be at the start of a losing streak. The Sox lost 3 straight after starting 17-2 but after that have gone 37-22 which is a 102-win pace. Almost as big a sample as yours but takes it from a 'very good' Sox team that you were looking for to the best one we've seen in over 60 years (even after ignoring the 17-5 start).
Fair enough. But I wasn't knocking their true talent level by discounting the hot streak and saying, "They're actually not that good-- just a 95 win team." That's a different— and, yes, very tedious— kind of observation.

I was just speculating why it feels to me at a casual level of observation that they haven't been playing at a 108-win pace: because a number of the wins were bunched together at the beginning of the season.
 
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RedOctober3829

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It's going to be very fun to see how the season turns out. Here is the breakdown of their opponents for both teams. The Red Sox have a lot of home games in September but have to face Cleveland twice and Houston while the Yankees are done with both. However, the Yankees still have to go on the West Coast.
NYY
August

16 Home
13 Road
Chicago White Sox: 6 (3 H 3 A)
Baltimore: 5(1 H, 4 A)
Boston: 4 Away
Texas: 4 Home
Toronto: 3 Home
TB: 3 Home
Miami: 2 Away
Detroit: 2 Home
--7 game road trip to Boston and Chicago followed by a 10 game homestand vs. Texas, Tampa, and Toronto. The last 2 weeks of August are really easy. 2 at Miami, 4 at Baltimore(doubleheader on Saturday the 25th), then Chicago WS and Detroit at home to end the month.

September
11 Home
16 Away
Boston: 6(3 Home, 3 Away)
Oakland(A), Minnesota(A), Seattle(A), Toronto(H), Baltimore(A): 3 each
Detroit: 2(H)

--9 game West Coast trip and a 7 game road trip at start of month to Tampa/Boston to end season.

Red Sox
August

13 Home
13 Road

TB: 6(3 H, 3 A)
NYY: 4 Home
CLE: 4 Home
TOR(A), BAL(A): 3 each
MIA(H), PHI(A), CWS(A): 2 each

--4 games at Fenway vs. Yankees to kick off the month followed by 7 game road trip to BAL, TOR, and Philly. 9 out of 12 at home to finish the month

September
15 Home
11 Road

NYY: 6(3 H, 3 A)
ATL(A), HOU(H), TOR(H), NYM(H), CLE(A), BAL(H): 3 each
CWS: 2 Away

--At Chicago and Atlanta to start month then they go 13 days without leaving Boston. 9 game homestand with Houston, Toronto, and Mets sandwiched between 3 home off days. Toughest stretch of the last 2 months follows this however with a 6 game road trip to Yankee Stadium then Cleveland. They then come home for the final week of the season against Baltimore and NYY.
 

luckysox

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This is an incredible team, as are the Astors and MFY. Regardless of who ends up winning the WS (I am already discounting the NL from even sniffing the title this year), they will have earned it. if the Sox end up winning it, it will be an astounding accomplishment because of the competition at the top. There cannot be any let up. There is no coasting. And these fellas seem to really understand this. The pedal is down.

I'd like to also say that JD Martinez rubbed me the wrong way at the beginning of the season. I don't know why - it was almost a visceral reaction vs. something I thought about at all. I just didn't really like him a lot. But man do I like him now. (It is possible I like him now more because of the Holt/JD bouncy hug after home runs). He's incredibly balanced when he's speaking to the media - just calm, cool etc. He's as good a hitter as Manny was, without all the bullsh*t, and he's got a bunch of guys buying into being the best hitters they can be every single time they're at bat. I have to believe his presence is making a huge difference on the field and in the clubhouse. Mookie seems to be trailing him around like a puppy - a puppy made out of a sponge. And I think Moreland has quietly benefitted from his thinking on hitting, too. But this team lacked a true leader last year, and they seem to have found a guy who could step into that roll and help out X and Mookie. Last night I spent about 90 seconds thinking about how awesome David Ortiz' last season would have been had JD martinez been hitting in front of him. It was glorious.
 

The Red Industry

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But there's always shame in losing 110 games. There's shame in that forever.
This is so true. I have forgotten hundreds of MLB good/really good teams. I will never ever forget the 2003 Detroit Tigers. Those stat lines crack me up everytime.
As far as why it might not feel like the Sox are crushing, maybe its because they still have competition, as in Houston and NY. If they were alone at the top there would be no question as to how good they are. Or, as said above, maybe it's because people really do forget every year that you can lose 40% of your games and still be considered a good team. Personally I think they are absurdly good, even with losing that series to the White Sox.
 

EllisTheRimMan

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If you had told me before the season started that at the half way mark the Sox would be 27 games above .500, I wouldn't have believed you. Conversely, if you had told me that the MFY would be 26 games above .500, I would have said that seems likely. Given the new playoff structure, this regular season is shaping up like an old fashioned pennant race before the wildcard. I'm not saying that a 1 game playoff is a death sentence, but the difference between winning the division and getting the wildcard is vast. I've been enjoying the first 81 games of this dogfight immensely. Can't wait for the next 81. The way I look at the Sox/MFY battle going forward is that I'm just hoping that the Sox stay competitive until the last day of the regular season. Let the chips fall where they may in terms of playoff positions and the ultimate outcome of playoff games. This season is something to savor and enjoy so far... I hope it lasts until the final game of the World Series.

Very special team and a very special year. (/gammons)
 

jon abbey

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Here is the breakdown of their opponents for both teams. The Red Sox have a lot of home games in September but have to face Cleveland twice and Houston while the Yankees are done with both. However, the Yankees still have to go on the West Coast.
Also just to confuse everything, NY has played better against above .500 teams (25-10) than against below .500 ones (27-16).
 

joe dokes

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Fair enough. But I wasn't knocking their true talent level by discounting the hot streak and saying, "They're actually not that good-- just a 95 win team." That's a different— and, yes, very tedious— kind of observation.

I was just speculating why it feels to me at a casual level of observation that they haven't been playing at a 108-win pace: because a number of the wins were bunched together at the beginning of the season.
To take you casual level to an absurd level, last nights win was a 95-win team, not a 105 win team.
 

jtn46

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This is an incredible team, as are the Astors and MFY. Regardless of who ends up winning the WS (I am already discounting the NL from even sniffing the title this year), they will have earned it. if the Sox end up winning it, it will be an astounding accomplishment because of the competition at the top. There cannot be any let up. There is no coasting. And these fellas seem to really understand this. The pedal is down.

I'd like to also say that JD Martinez rubbed me the wrong way at the beginning of the season. I don't know why - it was almost a visceral reaction vs. something I thought about at all. I just didn't really like him a lot. But man do I like him now. (It is possible I like him now more because of the Holt/JD bouncy hug after home runs). He's incredibly balanced when he's speaking to the media - just calm, cool etc. He's as good a hitter as Manny was, without all the bullsh*t, and he's got a bunch of guys buying into being the best hitters they can be every single time they're at bat. I have to believe his presence is making a huge difference on the field and in the clubhouse. Mookie seems to be trailing him around like a puppy - a puppy made out of a sponge. And I think Moreland has quietly benefitted from his thinking on hitting, too. But this team lacked a true leader last year, and they seem to have found a guy who could step into that roll and help out X and Mookie. Last night I spent about 90 seconds thinking about how awesome David Ortiz' last season would have been had JD martinez been hitting in front of him. It was glorious.
I think the somewhat nasty negotiation made it a bit hard to like JDM at first and we’re conditioned to see big-ticket FA’s fail. He has been simply awesome both as a player and as a teammate. Maybe the power outage last year would have passed regardless of if JDM signed or not, but the offense feels like what 2017 should have been and he has been a big reason why. It’s also a relief to see Mookie and Xander regain their power.

The Yankees doing so well makes it hard to properly appreciate a 108-win pace team, but obliterating the Angels, a pretty good team, puts into perspective how good the Sox are and has me getting there.
 

DeadlySplitter

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Oct 20, 2015
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It's going to be very fun to see how the season turns out. Here is the breakdown of their opponents for both teams. The Red Sox have a lot of home games in September but have to face Cleveland twice and Houston while the Yankees are done with both. However, the Yankees still have to go on the West Coast.
Bullpens can turn around on a whim but Cleveland's really seems fucked for the year. Their rotation and offense is just about as good as their recent seasons, but I'd look to hopefully dominate Cleveland this season.

Also you're slightly wrong - Yankees finish up just before the All-Star break with 4 at Cleveland.

EDIT: maybe you meant down the stretch in August/September re: done with CLE, disregard if so
 
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BaseballJones

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Oct 1, 2015
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Comparing Hou, Bos, and NYY....

Records:
- Bos: 54-27 (.667)
- NYY: 52-26 (.667)
- Hou: 54-28 (.659)

Pythag:
- Bos: 53-28 (Bos is playing +1)
- NYY: 50-28 (NY is playing +2)
- Hou: 59-23 (Hou is playing -5)

Run differential:
- Bos: +1.5/g
- NYY: +1.3/g
- Hou: +2.1/g

1-run games:
- Bos: 13-8
- NYY: 13-6
- Hou: 9-14

Runs scored:
- Bos: 422
- NYY: 398
- Hou: 426

Slash:
- Bos: .266/.331/.458/.790
- NYY: .249/.327/.455/.782
- Hou: .266/.338/.440/.778

OPS+:
- Bos: 109
- NYY: 110
- Hou: 121

ERA:
- Bos: 3.50
- NYY: 3.37
- Hou: 2.85

Runs allowed per game:
- Bos: 3.69
- NYY: 3.76
- Hou: 3.07

Strengths:
- Bos: Top 5 in batting order, overall offensive output, top 4 rotation, bullpen, closer, defense
- NYY: Power, back end of bullpen, ace starter, money and prospects to make almost any move they want
- Hou: Offense, dominant rotation, money to make a move

Weaknesses:
- Bos: #5 starter, starting pitching playoff history, bottom of the lineup, very little money with which to make any more moves
- NYY: back of rotation, fielding
- Hou: bullpen, especially at closer


These are three outstanding teams that should be pummeling the rest of the league all season long. And don't fall asleep on Cleveland. 19-10 over their last 29 (8 of their last 10) and starting to get on a roll.
 

PrometheusWakefield

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JD Martinez is on pace to have the best offensive season by a Red Sox player since Carl Yaztriemski won the triple crown in 1967.

He's also the second best hitter on the Red Sox. Mookie is on pace to have the best offensive season since some guy named Williams in 1957.
 

chawson

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Aug 1, 2006
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Comparing Hou, Bos, and NYY....

Strengths:
- Bos: Top 5 in batting order, overall offensive output, top 4 rotation, bullpen, closer, defense
- NYY: Power, back end of bullpen, ace starter, money and prospects to make almost any move they want
- Hou: Offense, dominant rotation, money to make a move

Weaknesses:
- Bos: #5 starter, starting pitching playoff history, bottom of the lineup, very little money with which to make any more moves
- NYY: back of rotation, fielding
- Hou: bullpen, especially at closer
Good analysis. I think Houston's bullpen struggles are a little overstated, however. Ken Giles had a few high profile meltdowns (which he punished himself for), but that pen has posted the best FIP in baseball the last 30 days (2.29). They're a perfect team.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Oct 1, 2015
25,299
Good analysis. I think Houston's bullpen struggles are a little overstated, however. Ken Giles had a few high profile meltdowns (which he punished himself for), but that pen has posted the best FIP in baseball the last 30 days (2.29). They're a perfect team.
They do seem to be strong everywhere, but I know three Astros fans and they're all terrified of Giles late in big games.
 

EllisTheRimMan

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Part of what makes them so freaking good is how freaking bad the AL is. They have to be taken in tandem
That cuts both ways. Perfectly plausible to argue that the Sox (and Yanks and ‘Stros) are so freaking good they’re making a lot of other teams look really freaking bad. Not saying this is the true conclusion, but it’s potentially as valid as your proposal.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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JD Martinez is on pace to have the best offensive season by a Red Sox player since Carl Yaztriemski won the triple crown in 1967.

He's also the second best hitter on the Red Sox. Mookie is on pace to have the best offensive season since some guy named Williams in 1957.
I can't believe you misspelled Yastrzemski, but your point is otherwise good. The team is balanced but it also has serious talent performing across positions (Mookie, JD, Sale, Kimbrel). Fun times...
 

E5 Yaz

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That cuts both ways. Perfectly plausible to argue that the Sox (and Yanks and ‘Stros) are so freaking good they’re making a lot of other teams look really freaking bad. Not saying this is the true conclusion, but it’s potentially as valid as your proposal.
No, it really doesn't ... unless you think the other AL teams are significantly better against everyone other that the Top 3
 

SirPsychoSquints

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JD Martinez is on pace to have the best offensive season by a Red Sox player since Carl Yaztriemski won the triple crown in 1967.

He's also the second best hitter on the Red Sox. Mookie is on pace to have the best offensive season since some guy named Williams in 1957.
going by oWAR, 1970 Yaz (8.9), 1969 Rico (8.4), 1985 Boggs (8.3) and 1988 Boggs (8.1) are all ahead of the 8.0 pace that both Martinez & Betts are on.
 

jon abbey

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No, it really doesn't ... unless you think the other AL teams are significantly better against everyone other that the Top 3
Well, the Angels are 1-11 against BOS/NY and 40-29 against everyone else.
 

joyofsox

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Seasons In Which Red Sox Won At Least 50 Of First 81 Games (And Final Record)
Code:
1946 - 56-23-2    104-50    Won AL Pennant
1912 - 56-25      105-47    Won World Series
1978 - 56-25       99-64
2018 - 54-27
1903 - 52-29       91-47    Won World Series
1986 - 52-29       95-66    Won AL Pennant
1979 - 51-30       91-69
1904 - 51-30       95-59    Won AL Pennant
1939 - 51-30       89-62
1915 - 50-29-2    101-50    Won World Series
2007 - 50-31       96-66    Won World Series
1951 - 50-31       87-67
2002 - 50-31       93-69
2006 - 50-31       86-76
7 Red Sox teams failed to win at least 30 of their first 81 games, with 6 of those 7 years occurring during an 8-year span): 1906, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1931, and 1932. (And the 1930 team was 30-51.)
 

JimD

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I think the somewhat nasty negotiation made it a bit hard to like JDM at first
I don't recall the negotiations being nasty at all. Boras and JDM wanted a big payday and Dombrowski correctly waited them out. It would have been more exciting as a fan to have locked him up during the winter meetings and have been able to daydream about the Sox lineup for two months, but I was nothing but happy with the way it went down.
 

joe dokes

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I don't recall the negotiations being nasty at all. Boras and JDM wanted a big payday and Dombrowski correctly waited them out. It would have been more exciting as a fan to have locked him up during the winter meetings and have been able to daydream about the Sox lineup for two months, but I was nothing but happy with the way it went down.
Right. I think this is where the toxic or bored or lazy local media influences thinking. There *were* stories every day that made it *seem* like Boras and DD were hurling insults at each other. In fact, they probably weren;t even talking every day. It was just a story every day rehashing the "stalemate" that remained stale and mated for quite awhile. Sometimes, when there's nothing happening, there's nothing happening. But Felgerotti and his ilk can't just pull their plug in the absence of anything new. "But Miiiiiiike, IF Dombrowski sent 5 tons of superheated yak feces to Boras's house, only the true fanboys would say 'way to negotiate, Dave.' But then, even 50000 consecutive Woold Series wins would be tarnished by that shameful episode, except to the riduculous, Dave-can-do-no-wrong fanboys."
 

Rasputin

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And then, if that really good team survives the one game playoff, they get to face that other really good team right away.
I can't tell you how much I want to finish first in the division and serving in the league.

The reward for which is getting frikkin Cleveland.

This year's AL playoffs should be fantastic.
 

Pozo the Clown

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Sep 13, 2006
745
I can't tell you how much I want to finish first in the division and serving in the league.

The reward for which is getting frikkin Cleveland.

This year's AL playoffs should be fantastic.
Be careful what you wish for Ras. In 2016, I was thrilled that we were being matched up against the Tribe with their decimated rotation. How did that one work out?

Agreed that this year's AL playoffs should be EPIC!!!