With all things being equal, and given the fact that the Jays are eight games back and the Tigers are nine games up, I will eliminate those teams from the wild-card, AL east playoff conversation. If you look at the White Sox, Twins, Red Sox and Yankees schedule and thier winning percentages at home and the road, and then factor in the winning and losing percentage’s against winning and losing teams and how many games they have left, you will have your answer. The bad news for Red Sox Nation is we will not even be close, if the numbers hold true. The good news for Twinkie fans is your team will win 100 games and clinch a wild-card berth. In between you have the Yankees winning the East with a 99-63 record, and the White Sox missing the playoffs with the same 99-63 record. Here is how the four teams shake out, of course this is just basic math, not fact, and no bias, obviously.
1.Twins-100-62-28 home games left where they have a .722 winning percentage
2.Yankees-99-63-balanced schedule and winning percentage against both winning and losing teams will mean another AL east crown
3.White Sox-99-63-Will finish strong, but will come up just short, and finish with the best record not to get a wild card berth
4.Red Sox-94-68-With 32 games against teams with a winning record and the Sox being 25-27 so far against .500 teams, will spell the end to Theo’s three year playoff run
*** I hope this is completely wrong, but in a game dominated by stats and numbers, and percentages this will be real close to the mark****
It seems that alot of people are beating the drum for the funeral procession for the Red Sox season in 06. I have scoured other bloggers and message boards on the Boston Globe and according to what I am reading from fellow people in the nation is that we are a lock for third in the AL east, and have no shot at a wild-card berth. You will find that I am no optimist, but what I am going to offer up is alternative theory to this upcoming season. This theory of course is based on several things that is, one of which is we still have Manny and the other is that Beckett and Schilling remain pretty healthy.
Last season the Sox finished 95-67, tied for 1st in the Al east and 1 game up in the wild-card. Now when we look further at that number we have remember they posted this record with Schilling on the DL for most of the season and no better than 75% the rest of the season. We also had to re-invent how we closed games in the middle of the season since Foulke went on the fritz, and consider this, the Sox also lost over 13 games in which they led going in to the 7th and 8th innings. Also on top of the fact that we blew games the bullpen was just awful, remember Embree’s total meltdowns last season. Another thing to consider is that we had no production from 2nd base for most of the season, Bellhorn was in a slump all of last year until his stint on the DL and then his trip outta Boston. The Sox’s also did not do as well as the could’ve in the AL east as well, they lost 19 games to Toronto/Baltimore and the Devil Rays combined, a number I am quite sure will be lower this year.
My reasons for hope are simple, we accomplished a playoff berth last season with all the above things working against us. Now look at what we have going our way in 06. Schilling will report to spring training 100%, hello do you guys rememeber his 04 campaign. Also there is no reason to think that Beckett will nothing less than steller, on most staffs he would be considered the ace. The bullpen is shaping up quite well also, we have signed Seanez, so Timlin will be back in his familier role with Foulke back to 100% and closing games out again. Arroyo has done done nothing but improve each season so there is no reason to think that will not continue this year as well, and young Jonathan Papelbon showed tremendous promise at the end of last year. We are also greatly improved at second with the addition of Loretta, who split time with the Graffinino, who also played and hit well in his short time in Fenway. I realize that Toronto has improved, and I do believe they will be our sole competion for the wild-card spot. Consider this, Cleveland has not improved from last year, quite the opposite, same can be said for the Twins. I know we have a few holes left to fill out, ok they are big holes, but I’m quite sure they will be filled by spring training. My bold prediction for the 06 season…..98-64, 3 game improvement from last year, not enough to win the east over the Yankee’s and their 700 million dollar payroll, but enough to get them in a 7 game series with Schilling and Beckett and a coin flip. Am I crazy, have I drank to much of the Lucchino kool-aid, if so please fellow members of the Nation let me know your thoughts on the 06 season. Have a safe and Happy Holiday season.