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View Full Version : Enough Pessimism!


infohawk
07-27-2004, 10:37 AM
You would think after reading the Chicago papers that the season was teetering on the brink. The Sox lose a game to the Twins and it's probably all over. The conventional wisdom was that the Sox lost a "big game." A "statement" game. Somehow the Twins put it to them.

The Twins and Sox play nineteen games against each other. They have already played eleven, and the Sox have won seven. The Sox have already won two out of three series against the Twins, including a three game sweep in Minnesota. Did that mean the Sox somehow clinched the division? They lost a game to the Twins, so what! Did anyone really think the Sox were going to run the table on the Twins, or win every series? Think about it hypothetically. If the Sox had lost another game against the Twins earlier in the season and then won yesterday's instead, they would have the same record against the Twins but somehow everyone would feel better. What if the Sox had won the first fifteen against the Twins and then dropped the final four games in September? Would people believe that the wheels were coming off even though the Sox were 15-4 against the Twins. My point is that while all games are important, this series is no more crucial then any other series (or games) we play. The Sox just need to take care of business over the final sixty-something games.

There are three major distinctions between this year and last year:

The Sox play the easier second-half schedule this year. The Twins have a brutal stretch in August and several tough games in September. Eighty percent of the Sox's remaining games are against the AL Central. Only eight more remain with the Twins and the Sox have won the majority of the first eleven. If the Sox are to open up a lead in the division, it would manifest itself toward the end of August.
The Twins won the division last year because they feasted on divisional opponents while the Sox have played poorly within the division. This year, the Sox are 20-10 (.666) against central opponents. The Twins are 26-22 (.541). The Twins past formula for winning the division has been a superlative record against divisional opponents. They have thus far fallen short in this category.
The Sox may lose some games, but Ozzie flat out will NOT let them lay down for extended periods of time.
Oh, and also, the Sox may not have Frank or Magglio, but neither do the Twins!!!

SoxxoS
07-27-2004, 10:48 AM
I agree that everyone should tone down the pessimism, but that Frank and Magglio problem is bigger than you think.

mcfish
07-27-2004, 10:51 AM
Not to be pessimistic, but when does that brutal schedule for the Twins start? We're under 70 games to go and they still seem to be playing the same teams we play. Except possibly for the 6 they have against the Yankees, their schedule can't be that much worse than ours. We can't count on the Twins to lose due to a tough schedule. We have to go out and win if we want to take the division.

SoxxoS
07-27-2004, 10:56 AM
Not to be pessimistic, but when does that brutal schedule for the Twins start? We're under 70 games to go and they still seem to be playing the same teams we play. Except possibly for the 6 they have against the Yankees, their schedule can't be that much worse than ours. We can't count on the Twins to lose due to a tough schedule. We have to go out and win if we want to take the division.
Their schedule is brutal: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/schedule?team=min

3 games against Seattle is by far their easiest games, and those are at Safeco. Everyone else is a tough opponent, including Detroit, Baltimore and Cleveland.

gosox41
07-27-2004, 11:13 AM
You would think after reading the Chicago papers that the season was teetering on the brink. The Sox lose a game to the Twins and it's probably all over. The conventional wisdom was that the Sox lost a "big game." A "statement" game. Somehow the Twins put it to them.

The Twins and Sox play nineteen games against each other. They have already played eleven, and the Sox have won seven. The Sox have already won two out of three series against the Twins, including a three game sweep in Minnesota. Did that mean the Sox somehow clinched the division? They lost a game to the Twins, so what! Did anyone really think the Sox were going to run the table on the Twins, or win every series? Think about it hypothetically. If the Sox had lost another game against the Twins earlier in the season and then won yesterday's instead, they would have the same record against the Twins but somehow everyone would feel better. What if the Sox had won the first fifteen against the Twins and then dropped the final four games in September? Would people believe that the wheels were coming off even though the Sox were 15-4 against the Twins. My point is that while all games are important, this series is no more crucial then any other series (or games) we play. The Sox just need to take care of business over the final sixty-something games.

There are three major distinctions between this year and last year:

The Sox play the easier second-half schedule this year. The Twins have a brutal stretch in August and several tough games in September. Eighty percent of the Sox's remaining games are against the AL Central. Only eight more remain with the Twins and the Sox have won the majority of the first eleven. If the Sox are to open up a lead in the division, it would manifest itself toward the end of August.
The Twins won the division last year because they feasted on divisional opponents while the Sox have played poorly within the division. This year, the Sox are 20-10 (.666) against central opponents. The Twins are 26-22 (.541). The Twins past formula for winning the division has been a superlative record against divisional opponents. They have thus far fallen short in this category.
The Sox may lose some games, but Ozzie flat out will NOT let them lay down for extended periods of time.
Oh, and also, the Sox may not have Frank or Magglio, but neither do the Twins!!!

I like your last statement, even if it does sound like a used car salesman. Of course the difference is Frank and Maggli are two of the best Sox hitters. The Twins have won the division with the same core. On the flipside we haven't won anything with Frank or Magglio healthy.


Bob

mcfish
07-27-2004, 11:23 AM
Their schedule is brutal: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/schedule?team=min

3 games against Seattle is by far their easiest games, and those are at Safeco. Everyone else is a tough opponent, including Detroit, Baltimore and Cleveland.MIN --- SOX
BOS --- @DET
ANA --- @KC
OAK --- CLE
@SEA - KC
@CLE - @BOS
NYY --- DET
CLE --- BOS
@TEX - @DET
@ANA - @CLE
TEX --- OAK
KC ---- SEA
@BAL - @TEX
@DET - @ANA
SOX -- @MIN
BAL --- DET
@SOX - MIN
@CLE - KC
@NYY - DET
CLE --- @KC

Their schedule is tough, but our's isn't that much easier. The advantage we have is substituting 6 games with KC instead of 6 with NYY. Other than that, we both play similar schedules - TEX, ANA, SEA, BOS. So the way I see it, the key to the season is beating the AL Central. We got through most of the rest of the league down .5 games and now we have to prove ourselves against the division - no matter how MIN does.

SoxxoS
07-27-2004, 11:31 AM
MIN --- SOX
BOS --- @DET
ANA --- @KC
OAK --- CLE
@SEA - KC
@CLE - @BOS
NYY --- DET
CLE --- BOS
@TEX - @DET
@ANA - @CLE
TEX --- OAK
KC ---- SEA
@BAL - @TEX
@DET - @ANA
SOX -- @MIN
BAL --- DET
@SOX - MIN
@CLE - KC
@NYY - DET
CLE --- @KC

Their schedule is tough, but our's isn't that much easier. The advantage we have is substituting 6 games with KC instead of 6 with NYY. Other than that, we both play similar schedules - TEX, ANA, SEA, BOS. So the way I see it, the key to the season is beating the AL Central. We got through most of the rest of the league down .5 games and now we have to prove ourselves against the division - no matter how MIN does.
Are you kidding? We only play Anaheim once. We don't play Texas. But the biggest key, is the we play K.C./they play the Yanks. The Yanks own the Twins. Add that up, our scheudle plays about 12 games easier (Texas 3, Anaheim 3, Yanks 6). How we play the Twins head to head and those 12 games are going to tell the season. The key is beating up on the majors 2nd worst team, the Royals.

Blueprint1
07-27-2004, 11:32 AM
I like your last statement, even if it does sound like a used car salesman. Of course the difference is Frank and Maggli are two of the best Sox hitters. The Twins have won the division with the same core. On the flipside we haven't won anything with Frank or Magglio healthy.


Bob
why does everyone have to get in shots at car salesmen I think insurance salesman are far worse. At least we all need cars.

mcfish
07-27-2004, 11:55 AM
Are you kidding? We only play Anaheim once. We don't play Texas. But the biggest key, is the we play K.C./they play the Yanks. The Yanks own the Twins. Add that up, our scheudle plays about 12 games easier (Texas 3, Anaheim 3, Yanks 6). How we play the Twins head to head and those 12 games are going to tell the season. The key is beating up on the majors 2nd worst team, the Royals.Yes, you are correct that the NY/KC 6 game swing is huge for us - I mentioned it in my last post. You called Det and Cle tough teams that Minnesota has to play though. We play them more than MIN does - so we have tough teams on our schedule too. All I'm saying is that we should try to win the division instead of waiting for Minnesota to lose it. When we get the advantage of playing KC, we have to win - no matter how MIN does against NY. When we get to play extra sets against DET and CLE instead of the ANA and TEX that MIN has, we have to win. We have to win against AL Central opponents - which we didn't do too well last year - to win the division.

Win1ForMe
07-27-2004, 12:00 PM
Are you kidding? We only play Anaheim once. We don't play Texas.
You should check the schedule again, we play another 4 games @ Texas. And I agree with the original poster, the schedules aren't that different. Also keep in mind the last series with the Yankees will probably consist of mostly AAA Columbus players.

Lip Man 1
07-27-2004, 12:10 PM
And again I must point out since some folks convientely keep overlooking this, that from the Yankee standpoint, those three games against Minnesota at the end of the season probably won't matter.

New York will have the division wrapped up by then and Joe Torre may be resting many of his regulars.

The Twins may still have to be playing their regulars.

In that case the advantage may be with Minnesota. Sometimes it's not who you play but when.

Just like the Sox catching the Yankees early when they were still hung over from that Japanese trip.

Lip

Dadawg_77
07-27-2004, 12:17 PM
Actually I think the season is on the brink right here, right now. With the Sox two biggest guns on the sideline for the rest of the year and Twins upgrading at first, maybe pitcher, and getting Maurer back at some point, they could have sizable advantage in talent. The Sox will need some luck and a few players to step it up in order to win the Central. If Carl doesn't improve from .376 slugging, .361 with the Sox, if Uribe doesn't snap out of this ridiculous slump (.132/.212/.261 for July), if Konerko falls into pattern and has a bad half, this team is dead in the water. In the Month of July only Lee, Konerko, Rowand posted an OPS above .740. Six players with 30 or more at bats post OPS under .600. The Sox went 11-11 in July so if the bottom 2/3 of the offense can turn it around, we have a great shot. But if they can't, getting outscored 99-92 isn't going to win the division.

While I am hoping for the best, this isn't rosy picture we are seeing. This isn't a the time to become cubs fan like and not be realistic with the team chances.

mdep524
07-27-2004, 12:18 PM
Sorry, I really don't put much stock in this whole "weaker schedule" argument. Good teams are going to win games, period. The only way to stop the pessimism around here is for the Sox to go on a serious winning streak, which I think they are capable of. Not win 3, lose 2, win 4, lose 2, that is just treading water. They need to win 9 or 10 games in a row, prove they are capable of dominating.

The Twins are going to take care of their business, that's the kind of team they are. We can't pin our hopes on them colllapsing vs. good teams. If the Sox win, they'll be in. Period.

Hangar18
07-27-2004, 12:21 PM
I agree that everyone should tone down the pessimism, but that Frank and Magglio problem is bigger than you think.
What scares me ............. Is seeing how the PITCHERS on opposing teams
GO AFTER our hitters now that Maggs isnt in the lineup. Im seeing just
how important he is to our lineup ........ and this team might be too cheap
to keep him. Then, next season, when were realizing we need an Outfielder who can hit 30 homers, 100 ribs and play decent outfield, we'll remember
Maggs used to be a sox.

Hangar18
07-27-2004, 12:25 PM
And again I must point out since some folks convientely keep overlooking this, that from the Yankee standpoint, those three games against Minnesota at the end of the season probably won't matter.

New York will have the division wrapped up by then and Joe Torre may be resting many of his regulars.

The Twins may still have to be playing their regulars.

In that case the advantage may be with Minnesota. Sometimes it's not who you play but when.


I also subscribe to the theory that Uncle Bud Selig Purposely gave the cubs a cupcake schedule in September, so that baseball could be "saved" once again, tv ratings sky-high, and everyone smiling and counting money.
The plan somewhat backfired as the Reds, Pirates and Brewers are a lot better than expected. We'll see if the AAA Reds and AA Pirates are actually playing in September ...............
most expected

JB98
07-27-2004, 12:33 PM
I'm trying to be pragmatic about this series. We got our asses handed to us last night, but if the Twins handle us again tonight and tomorrow, it could be a blessing in disguise. It would almost certainly provoke KW to act before Saturday's trade deadline. While many of us disagree on what this team needs to get over the top, I think all of us agree that we need to make another acquisition or two to shore up our holes.

Even if we get swept, I'm not going into the-sky-is-falling mode. Under the worst-case scenario, we'll be 3.5 back on Thursday. That's hardly insurmountable with 60-some games to go. However, regardless of what happens this week, we are going to need a winning streak at some point. The The Twins are on a run right now where they've won 7 out of 8. We haven't had a stretch like that ALL YEAR. In that regard, it's a miracle that we're still right in the thick of things.