Even though the Red Sox have won seven out of their last ten, they have not been playing good baseball. In those same ten games against mostly non-playoff contenders, the Olde Towne Team’s run differential is +3 (53 runs scored and 50 runs against). They should have won about half of those games.
The Red Sox great record in one-run games is responsible for the six of the seven wins. It is unlikely that this trend will continue. They need to play much better baseball or we could be witnessing the first year in John Henry’s tenure where the Red Sox will be sellers on July 31, 2010.
It is still early, but the Olde Towne Team has dug themselves in a hole that will be tough to climb out of in 2010. Assuming the Local Nine are a 95 win team and have underachieved in April, they are projected to win 82 of their next 139 games for a total of 93 wins. For this optimist view of the 2010 Red Sox to have a better record than the Yankees, the club from the Bronx would have to play 88 win baseball over the next five months and for the Rays 86 win ball.
If the Red Sox were up against any other teams, it would be possible for a strong club on paper to play below their projection for a number of reasons – poor record in one-run games, a key player having a bad year, or the most probable, health issues. But it is hard to imagine either A.L. East foe falling as far as the Olde Towne Team would need for them to make the playoffs. The Yankees’ deep pockets can plug most holes and the Rays have one of the deepest farm systems in MLB to assist the big club.
The 2010 Red Sox will have a difficult time getting into the playoffs after this below 500 start. They need either the Yankees or Rays to faultier in an area without a backup plan or win nearly every series going forward. Either scenario is unlikely and this may very well be the “bridge” year.