Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Raining on the parade

So this 9-game winning streak is obviously supercool, particularly with all the walkoffs by Ortiz, and the pitching holding up when it needed to. It's the Sox's longest win streak since August-September 2004, when they took complete control of the wildcard spot by blowing through the entire AL West (winning 14 of 15, with 10 in a row). But I'm finding myself unable to get too excited about it, in terms of what it means for the rest of the season. Am I alone in this? It's possible my problem is just that it's too early in the season. But I think it's something more...
  1. The NL East - at least the three teams we've faced so far - is a joke. We've discussed already how much the NL sucks (they're now 65-109, or .373, in interleague play). And yet the Braves, Nats, and Phillies are among the worst in the NL, going a combined 79-98 (.446) against NL teams.
  2. Before this win streak, the Sox were in a 6-10 slump, losing series to the the Twins (swept!), Yanks, Rangers, and Jays. Remember how despondent everyone was?
So I can't get too excited, yet. Maybe things have turned around - with Lester arriving, the bullpen (possibly) stabilizing somewhat, and hitting becoming more timely - but it's pretty hard to tell when they're playing teams like the Phillies, Nationals, and Braves. The next three games should tell us a lot.


  1. Earl I think you're right that the next three games will tell us a lot. It's never bad to get some momentum going, but what does it really mean? It's unclear unless it translates to better teams.

  2. I hear what you are saying, but don't entirely agree. They are doing what they have to do. Sometimes teams thrive and other times they struggle. And as weak as the NL East is, the Yanks are (I think) 7-6 against them. Much like TOR gave us trouble the past couple years and TB gave MFY trouble last year.

    The thing that encourages me is that the starters have done particularly well over this stretch. Sure the lineups are weaker, but these games count just as much in the standings.

    This was that winning streak they needed which I wrote about during the MN series.

  3. Nice pitching matchups in this series.

    Both teams Young guns go tonight - Soler vs Lester.

    The (perhaps) current aces tomorrow - Pedro v Beckett

    And the old guys Thursday - Schilling v Glavine.

  4. Yeah, I know that in terms of the standings, the last 9 games count as much as the others, but in terms of what they mean for how good the team looks for July-September, they sort of don't. It's much more useful to see how the Sox play against teams like the Rangers or Twins rather than against the Braves or the Phillies.

    Like you said, there are plenty of encouraging signs that they are truly getting into a groove. But I'm reserving judgment for now.

    Still, a win is a win. And a stretch of 9 wins in a row is a really, really good thing.

  5. I generally agree. I definitely am not thinking that this team is a world beater. Certainly the White Sox look strong again. They have a pair of sluggers (hell, a trio) to match Ortiz and Manny and their pitching has been much stronger.

    I am looking forward to this series, even though I will be in Europe from Thursday through July 22nd, which means my only access to live games will be the 1:00 weekend starts and the first couple innings of the night games. The good news is that when I return to CA, it is just in time to see the Sox in Oakland.