We're halfway through the season

E5 Yaz

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Yup. Perfectly plausible arguments on both sides... now with more data.
Still, no. Two teams in the past 90 years have won 108 games in a season. There might be three this year, in the AL alone. This season is an outlier based on the number of teams stripping resources to build back up from the bottom ... knowing they can't compete.
 

jon abbey

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Still, no. Two teams in the past 90 years have won 108 games in a season. There might be three this year, in the AL alone. This season is an outlier based on the number of teams stripping resources to build back up from the bottom ... knowing they can't compete.
I know you've been sticking to this thesis all year, but it's worth examining. Who is actually doing this in the AL? The White Sox definitely, the Tigers maybe, but the other teams doing badly like the Orioles and the Royals haven't done this at all.

Most of the teams in the midst of a rebuild are in the NL, and some of those teams like the Braves and Phillies are ahead of schedule. So I think you could actually make the opposite argument, more AL teams should be stripping resources because they can't compete and because young players seem to collectively surpass expectations in today's game.
 

chawson

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I know you've been sticking to this thesis all year, but it's worth examining. Who is actually doing this in the AL? The White Sox definitely, the Tigers maybe, but the other teams doing badly like the Orioles and the Royals haven't done this at all.

Most of the teams in the midst of a rebuild are in the NL, and some of those teams like the Braves and Phillies are ahead of schedule. So I think you could actually make the opposite argument, more AL teams should be stripping resources because they can't compete and because young players seem to collectively surpass expectations in today's game.
There’s a pretty strong argument for the Rays. They’re cash-strapped, but they gave away Longoria, Boxberger, Odorizzi, Souza, and Corey Dickerson (8-10 wins) for virtually nothing.

I don’t think KC saw any reason to compete. Toronto, Seattle, and Minnesota definitely did try to get better. Oakland does their thing. Texas, hard to say.
 

Bosox1528

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There’s a pretty strong argument for the Rays. They’re cash-strapped, but they gave away Longoria, Boxberger, Odorizzi, Souza, and Corey Dickerson (8-10 wins) for virtually nothing.

I don’t think KC saw any reason to compete. Toronto, Seattle, and Minnesota definitely did try to get better. Oakland does their thing. Texas, hard to say.
Couldn't the Rays trading these guys be seen as prescient instead of tanking? They've all been pretty terrible this year except Dickerson

by fWAR

Longoria: 0.3
Souza -0.6
Odorizzi 0.5
Boxberger -0.2
 

Adrian's Dome

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Couldn't the Rays trading these guys be seen as prescient instead of tanking? They've all been pretty terrible this year except Dickerson

by fWAR

Longoria: 0.3
Souza -0.6
Odorizzi 0.5
Boxberger -0.2
Yup. No huge loss for them. The Rays are a .500 team in a division with two juggernauts.

They're not an example to bring up in a (flawed) "these teams are only good because all these other teams are bad" argument.
 
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jon abbey

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There’s a pretty strong argument for the Rays. They’re cash-strapped, but they gave away Longoria, Boxberger, Odorizzi, Souza, and Corey Dickerson (8-10 wins) for virtually nothing.
TB always seems to be in their own category, there were informed people saying in the spring that this wasn't the fire sale that it looked like. For instance, the day after they traded Souza, they signed Carlos Gomez to a 1/4 deal. Not much money, but also not a move a team who is traditionally gutting their team would do.
 

staz

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Playing at the same level as MFY, who had been touted preseason as a possible GOAT, is impressive. That first game in Anaheim, a 6 HR, 10-1 blowout vs. Ohtani and the 13-4 Angels was impressive. Winning the last 2 after losing the first 2 in Houston was impressive. That Cora noticed this team playing very good baseball in spring training tells me the bloodlines are strong. They've been almost machinelike at times. Exactly who has overachieved? Maybe E-Rod? The only thing that seems flukish is the periodic offensive lapses which have have again receded. All this results in confidence heading into this weekend.
 

phenweigh

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I'll take a different tack and look at Red Sox history (John Henry era) instead of the current AL.

upload_2018-6-28_19-35-55.png

Now, here are the records for the second half:

upload_2018-6-28_19-38-3.png

If the 2018 Sox have an average John Henry era second half, then we can expect 98 wins.

Another piece of John Henry era history is that when the Sox have won 96 or more games in the regular season, they have gone on to win the World Series. Four 95 win teams came up empty.
 

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chawson

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TB always seems to be in their own category, there were informed people saying in the spring that this wasn't the fire sale that it looked like. For instance, the day after they traded Souza, they signed Carlos Gomez to a 1/4 deal. Not much money, but also not a move a team who is traditionally gutting their team would do.
Close enough. Dickerson was DFA’d 2/17 and Souza traded to Arizona 2/20 (the day after the Sox came to terms with JDM). Gomez was signed 3/3. I don’t see that as a competitive move as much as a bid for a deadline trade chip that didn’t work, but it’s all reflexive anyway. They wouldn’t have made those moves if it weren’t for the fact that baseball was broken and the market cratered.

The Rays are tragic and fascinating all at once. They were reportedly under orders to shave payroll — indistinguishable from tanking. Getting out from the Longoria deal was terrific, but the Souza trade, a 3.7 fWAR player wih three years of control, felt a little sad.
 

AB in DC

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Sox 2018 vs the past two years (full years 2016 and 2017, all numbers from Fangraphs)

Hitting

wRC+
2018 112 (3rd in AL)
2017: 92 (13th)
2016: 114 (1st)

wOBA
2018 .339 (1st)
2017: .316 (10th)
2016: .346 (1st)


Starting pitchers

ERA

2018: 3.73 (3rd)
2017: 4.06 (3rd)
2016: 4.22 (3rd)

FIP
2018: 3.55 (3rd)
2017: 3.91 (2nd)
2016: 4.16 (4th)

xFIP
2018: 3.75 (4th)
2017: 3.99 (4th)
2016: 4.29 (6th)


Relievers

ERA
2018: 3.10 (3rd)
2017: 3.15 (2nd)
2016: 3.56 (5th)

FIP
2018: 3.17 (3rd)
2017: 3.53 (3rd)
2016: 3.67 (3rd)


xFIP
2018: 3.60 (3rd)
2017: 3.77 (3rd)
2016: 4.03 (7th)


Defense

Def
2018: -1.0 runs
2017: +17.9 runs (1st)
2016: +18.0 runs (1st)


Total Pitching WAR
2018: 12.7 for half season
2017: 23.9 for full season (3rd)
2016: 18.1 for full season (5th)


Total Non-Pitching WAR
2018: 15.0 for half season
2017: 17.9 for full season (7th)
2016: 35.7 for full season (1st)
 

VORP Speed

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Close enough. Dickerson was DFA’d 2/17 and Souza traded to Arizona 2/20 (the day after the Sox came to terms with JDM). Gomez was signed 3/3. I don’t see that as a competitive move as much as a bid for a deadline trade chip that didn’t work, but it’s all reflexive anyway. They wouldn’t have made those moves if it weren’t for the fact that baseball was broken and the market cratered.

The Rays are tragic and fascinating all at once. They were reportedly under orders to shave payroll — indistinguishable from tanking. Getting out from the Longoria deal was terrific, but the Souza trade, a 3.7 fWAR player wih three years of control, felt a little sad.
Shaving payroll is not indistinguishable from tanking, that’s the whole point. It’s pretty clear that the excess value in the game right now is all in young (artificially) cheap players. That’s why they got the returns they did for Souza, Longoria et al. That’s the new market. Even arb year players are becoming overpaid in many cases compared to the value they provide. Souza was due 3.5m this year. They signed Gomez for 4m plus netted 2 solid prospects. That’s a good bit of business. So what if a player is cost-controlled for 3 years? If you can sign similar free agents to one year contracts at the same price, then those years of control have little value. If you’re not handing out massive contracts to the elite free agents, then you survive by stockpiling young talent. You can never have too much. You sell high on the Souzas of the world every day of the week. The team wasn’t winning the division this year with where they stand in their cycle and 2 monsters in their division. They’ve still put out a very solid club (despite a crazy amount of injuries to good pitchers), while also improving their chances of being really good when their next wave of good talent fully hits in 19-20. Hard to knock that approach.
 

jon abbey

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They do seem to be strong everywhere, but I know three Astros fans and they're all terrified of Giles late in big games.
Understandably, he has blown up against NY, BOS and CLE this season. By my quick calculations, he has a 13.50 ERA against those three teams and a 1.66 ERA against everyone else.
 

RoDaddy

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Very interesting to see the franchise first half records listed, but also a little sad to see that the best record ever was Ted's 1946 team that came so close

Great 1st half so far this year! Moving forward, I think X and Wright are keys. .310 BA versus .275 X makes a difference, and I'm still not sure how good he is. I honestly thought he'd be an MVP contender at this stage in his career. Wright was not only dominant but a very different look in the rotation. Maybe move him back to the bullpen to go easier on his leg, then hope he can rejoin the rotation down the stretch and into the playoff if he's pitching well?
 

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Very interesting to see the franchise first half records listed, but also a little sad to see that the best record ever was Ted's 1946 team that came so close

Great 1st half so far this year! Moving forward, I think X and Wright are keys. .310 BA versus .275 X makes a difference, and I'm still not sure how good he is. I honestly thought he'd be an MVP contender at this stage in his career. Wright was not only dominant but a very different look in the rotation. Maybe move him back to the bullpen to go easier on his leg, then hope he can rejoin the rotation down the stretch and into the playoff if he's pitching well?
No, they need Pomeranz. They know how good he is. Wright is smoke and mirrors and better serves the team in the bullpen.
 

uk_sox_fan

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Agree with that. If Pom can get healthy and right he’d probably make the biggest difference going forward. There’s also the outside hope that Pedey and Thornburg can make meaningful contributions this year - they both represent areas of need.
 

tims4wins

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The bullpen remains a huge concern to me. I get that overall it has performed pretty well but does anyone have confidence in Kelly and Barnes come the playoffs? Bridge from starter to Kimbrel remains my biggest concern. Kelly has been shaky recently and Barnes has always been shaky. Hembree is a JAG. Workman has potential I suppose. Velazquez is good in his role.
 

uk_sox_fan

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I’ll go on record as having confidence in Kelly and Barnes come the playoffs. They’ve been a top notch setup duo all season.

They’ve both got talent and, it seems, the moxie to succeed. What’s there not to like?
 

tims4wins

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I’ll go on record as having confidence in Kelly and Barnes come the playoffs. They’ve been a top notch setup duo all season.

They’ve both got talent and, it seems, the moxie to succeed. What’s there not to like?
It's mostly a gut feel. Which, I know, is not a valid main board reason for concern.

From a tangible standpoint, it is the walks. A combined 34 in 69 1/3 IP, or basically a walk every other inning. That will kill you in the playoffs.
 

RedOctober3829

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It's mostly a gut feel. Which, I know, is not a valid main board reason for concern.

From a tangible standpoint, it is the walks. A combined 34 in 69 1/3 IP, or basically a walk every other inning. That will kill you in the playoffs.
My nervousness comes from the fact that Barnes/Kelly have not pitched well against the teams they'll face in October.
 

tims4wins

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My nervousness comes from the fact that Barnes/Kelly have not pitched well against the teams they'll face in October.
That too.

Barnes:
Hou: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 2 K, 0.00 ERA
NYY: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 R, 1 K, 15.43 ERA
Cle: N/A
Sea: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 R, 6 K, 4.00 ERA
Total: 9 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 6 R, 9 K, 6.00 ERA

Kelly:
Hou: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 R, 0 K, 27.00 ERA
NYY: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 1 R, 3 K, 2.08 ERA
Cle: N/A
Sea: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 2 K
Total: 8 2/3 IP, 8 H, 7 BB, 5 R, 5 K, 5.19 ERA
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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That too.

Barnes:
Hou: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 2 K, 0.00 ERA
NYY: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 R, 1 K, 15.43 ERA
Cle: N/A
Sea: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 R, 6 K, 4.00 ERA
Total: 9 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 6 R, 9 K, 6.00 ERA

Kelly:
Hou: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 R, 0 K, 27.00 ERA
NYY: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 1 R, 3 K, 2.08 ERA
Cle: N/A
Sea: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 2 K
Total: 8 2/3 IP, 8 H, 7 BB, 5 R, 5 K, 5.19 ERA
Meaninglessly small sample sizes. I mean, each of them in total amounts to one bad complete game's worth of pitching.
 

tims4wins

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Meaninglessly small sample sizes. I mean, each of them in total amounts to one bad complete game's worth of pitching.
Maybe, maybe not. They've combined to give up 11 runs in 17 2/3 IP against the playoff teams (5.60 ERA) vs. 12 runs in 51 2/3 IP vs. non-playoff teams (2.10 ERA). I hope you are right though.
 

joe dokes

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It's mostly a gut feel. Which, I know, is not a valid main board reason for concern.

From a tangible standpoint, it is the walks. A combined 34 in 69 1/3 IP, or basically a walk every other inning. That will kill you in the playoffs.
I get that for Barnes, but Kelly's WHIP is 1.096. That's impressive. Does it matter if its by hit or walk?
 

Adrian's Dome

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I get that for Barnes, but Kelly's WHIP is 1.096. That's impressive. Does it matter if its by hit or walk?
I'm pro-this pen, but yes, it matters, because when Kelly is walking people, it's Bad Kelly and teams can alter their approach.

He's hard to hit either way, but when he's wild, he can be had.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Kelly has been walking people and giving up hits since the beginning of June. He's been pretty bad. 8.2ip, 11 hits, 7bb/6k, .297/.409/.568 on a .310 BAbip.
 

joe dokes

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I'm pro-this pen, but yes, it matters, because when Kelly is walking people, it's Bad Kelly and teams can alter their approach.

He's hard to hit either way, but when he's wild, he can be had.
But if his WHIP is low, doesn't that mean they haven't been successul? (Unless you're suggesting that his 5 bad games out of 11 in June is a cumulative effect of teams adjusting. That is certainly possible).
 

Adrian's Dome

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But if his WHIP is low, doesn't that mean they haven't been successul? (Unless you're suggesting that his 5 bad games out of 11 in June is a cumulative effect of teams adjusting. That is certainly possible).
The WHIP is a collection of the entirety of his season. It's effectively meaningless when talking about a single appearance.

We all know Good Kelly and Bad Kelly are things, and Bad Kelly is wild. That's when he allows baserunners...as I said earlier, he's difficult to hit either way, but when teams know he can't throw anything but get-me-over FBs for strikes, he's vulnerable. It allows patience at the plate and puts more pressure on him. Of course hitters adjust when a pitcher can't throw strikes, why wouldn't they?
 

soxeast

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I think the Yanks have a better chance of being stronger due to cap space and players to trade. But come playoff time anything can happen.
 

Rasputin

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I think the Yanks have a better chance of being stronger due to cap space and players to trade. But come playoff time anything can happen.
Their best pitcher isn't as good as our best pitcher. They probably won't be able to get anyone as good as our second best pitcher.
 

Hank Scorpio

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The good news is, we still have 9 games left against the Orioles.

The bad news is, the Yankees have 10.

al-east.PNG
 

BaseballJones

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Their best pitcher isn't as good as our best pitcher. They probably won't be able to get anyone as good as our second best pitcher.
I *think* that's true.

2018
Severino: 2.10 era, 2.21 fip, 0.96 whip, 10.6 k/9
Sale: 2.41 era, 2.37 fip, 0.89 whip, 12.7 k/9

2017-18
Severino: 2.66 era, 2.76 fip, 1.01 whip, 10.7 k/9
Sale: 2.72 era, 2.43 fip, 0.94 whip, 12.9 k/9

I mean, it's damned close. I'll happily take Sale, but Severino is a stud.



EDIT: Sale's last 5 starts: 1.03 era, 0.69 whip, 13.9 k/9. Sale right now is on a major roll.
EDIT: Severino's last 7 starts: 1.74 era, 0.94 whip, 10.8 k/9. Dude's also been phenomenal.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
We won't see Sonny Gray in the postseason, though.
Sure, but it's not like their other non-Severino rotation pieces are bankable aces or anything. I'm not particularly worried about facing either Sabathia or Tanaka in the playoffs. I'm not saying I feel sure we can beat them, but they're beatable. I imagine Yankees fans feel much the same about Price and Porcello. On the whole, I'll take our 2-3 over theirs, though it's not a slam-dunk.
 

soxeast

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Their best pitcher isn't as good as our best pitcher. They probably won't be able to get anyone as good as our second best pitcher.
I think their #1 and our #1 is even in that I don't think they are distinguishable at this point when it comes to playoff time. As far as a number 2-- I look at it similar too but what I see is that the Yanks have a chance to get a very good starter and then have a chance to get another very good to elite bullpen pitcher. They don't need to match starter for starter.

They're very close anyways. Even if the Yanks did get an elite starter etc -- come playoff time it's who's hot. So no big deal here.
 

MikeM

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I *think* that's true.

2018
Severino: 2.10 era, 2.21 fip, 0.96 whip, 10.6 k/9
Sale: 2.41 era, 2.37 fip, 0.89 whip, 12.7 k/9

2017-18
Severino: 2.66 era, 2.76 fip, 1.01 whip, 10.7 k/9
Sale: 2.72 era, 2.43 fip, 0.94 whip, 12.9 k/9

I mean, it's damned close. I'll happily take Sale, but Severino is a stud.



EDIT: Sale's last 5 starts: 1.03 era, 0.69 whip, 13.9 k/9. Sale right now is on a major roll.
EDIT: Severino's last 7 starts: 1.74 era, 0.94 whip, 10.8 k/9. Dude's also been phenomenal.
Yeah, I've reluctantly come around to acknowledging Severino as basically being Sale's equal atm. Guy is a stud.

As a whole this season's "who's better" vs the Yankees feels about as coin flippy as it gets.
 

dbn

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Huh, guess I missed a series. That blows. Win tonight and make it matter less.
I tried to tally up the total games left against the Os for each, but with postponements and my laziness just looked at the records against so far. Indeed, win tonight.
 

tims4wins

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Worth noting that the 78 team was 62-28... and then lost 5 in a row, and 9 out of 10, to fall to 63-37. Everyone talks about the September collapse, but that stretch really hurt.

I'd be surprised if this team goes 5-8 in their next 13.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I’m seeing that 53-24 after 7/3/1978 is even with the current 58-29, which is also even with 1946’s 50-21. What are we doing different?
Comparing by calendar day doesn't work. Seasons started later back then, so of course the records won't line up.

Through 87 games, the 2018 team is 58-29.
Through 87 games, the 1978 team was 59-28. (a point reached on July 16 and also halfway through a doubleheader)
Through 87 games, the 1946 team was 63-24. (a point reached on July 20)
 

uk_sox_fan

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On the 10th of June the Sox had just dropped 2 of 3 to the lowly ChiSox and squandered an opportunity to break a tie in the standings with the Yankees (Seth Lugo defied odds that night and out-dueled Severino for a rare Mets win over their cross-town tormentors). Pomeranz and Pedroia were on the DL (and Wright would soon join them) and the Sox were about to play 19 of the next 25 games on the road.

Granted the 1st 10-game road trip would start off with 3 in the friendly confines of Camden Yards and the final 9-game one would end in the equally friendly (for opponents) Kauffman Stadium, but in between they would face the Mariners (3 home 4 away), Yankees (3 away), Nationals (3 away), Angels (3 home) and Twins (3 away). A brutal stretch of 19 games in the midst of 4 weeks with only 6 home games.

Though the Sox did what they do to the Orioles and swept them to start off the 1st trip well and even took the first game at Safeco when Price out-dueled King Felix, the weight of the schedule seemed to catch up to them when they dropped the next 4/5 against Seattle and Minnesota, lost another starter (Wright) to the DL and still had the most brutal stretch of SEA/LAA/@NYY/@Wsn ahead.

But as they have done so often this year (e.g. like when they dropped the 1st two in Houston), the Sox buckled down and raised their level of play. Yes, two of the losses in NY were brutal, but the Sale win was just as much of a smackdown and the rest of the games have gone a long way to displaying how tough this team really is.

Now, 4 games away from completing this 4-week stretch, they are a full game ahead of their rivals (with 7 of the remaining 10 HTH matchups coming at Fenway), have a chance to sweep the Nats in their own ballpark (thanks in part to a win where Porcello almost single-handedly beat Scherzer) and have a relatively easy stretch ahead of them through the All-Star Break (and for 6 games beyond).

Fangraphs has raised their expected win total from 99.5 to 102 in that time (though the Yankees have gone from 102.3 to 103.7 and the Astros from 101.6 to 103.1) and it seems certain that we're in for one of the classic season-long races that this great sport can produce.

Happy 4th of July everyone - don't forget to appreciate just how good we've got it with this team!

edit: got my ex-Tiger aces mixed up - fixed now
 
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AB in DC

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Fangraphs has raised their expected win total from 99.5 to 102 in that time (though the Yankees have gone from 102.3 to 103.7 and the Astros from 101.6 to 103.1) and it seems certain that we're in for one of the classic season-long races that this great sport can produce.
Meanwhile the Mariners have quietly gone up to 94 expected wins.
 

rlsb

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30 games over .500 on July 4th is quite a nice accomplishment. The 1978 team might have done it against NY had it not rained in Boston forty years ago.
 

bosockboy

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The Sox are now 30 games over .500, with a .670 winning percentage.

If they go .500 the rest of the way, they win 96 games.
If they go .554, they win 100.
If they go .635, they break the franchise win record.
Next 22 games: 13 at home, with 9 road games against KC, Detroit and Baltimore. 2 of 22 against an above .500 team (Phlllies at home).