Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Is the season over already for Red Sox?
Fold up shop, Boston Red Sox fans, the season is over on April 5.
At least, that's what history tells us.
The Red Sox fell to 0-4 with a 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team in MLB history has rebounded from a 0-4 start to win the World Series.
In fact, only the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals reached the World Series after starting the year with four straight defeats and they lost to the Kansas City Royals in seven games.
Elias also reports under the current eight-team playoff format, which began in 1995, only two out of 128 playoff teams reached the postseason after an 0-4 start -- the 1999 Arizona Diamondbacks and 1995 Cincinnati Reds.
Boston is off to its first 0-4 start since 1996 when it began the season with five straight losses. The four straight losses matches its longest losing streak from its last World Series-winning team (2007).
This season, all prognostications pointed to a World Series berth. Accuscore, which runs 10,000 simulations of seasons, projected the Red Sox to win 95 games, with only the Philadelphia Phillies projected with a higher total at 97.2 in all of baseball.
There’s been a lack of consistency from the offense. Consider these:
• The Red Sox have one hit from their eighth-place hitter and yet to receive a hit from their ninth-place hitter this season.
• They and the Tampa Bay Rays are the only teams in the AL yet to get a hit from their last hitter in the lineup. Coincidentally, both teams are off to 0-4 starts.
• Carl Crawford, the Red Sox $142-million man, has already been inserted into three different spots in the lineup (third, seventh and second on Tuesday).
• The team batting average is .186 this season, which is worse than what the Butler Bulldogs shot from the field (18.8 percent) against the Connecticut Huskies in Monday’s National Championship Game.
The pitching staff is not without blame either.
Boston’s starters have an ERA of 9.30 to begin the season. According to Elias, that’s the highest ERA for its staff through the first four games of a season since earned runs became official in the American League in 1913.
Elias also reports that the streak of four straight games without a quality start to begin a season is the Red Sox longest since 1996.
There is some hope. The skid has a high probability of ending Wednesday when they send Daisuke Matsuzaka to the hill. He has yet to give up a run in his 15 career innings at Progressive Field.