The Boston Red Sox are having a season for the ages. With a record of 93-43, they have a vice grip on first place in the AL East.
As of writing this article, Boston has a 7.5 game lead over the rival New York Yankees, who have a 85-50 record and a stranglehold on second place. Side note: I don’t think this is your year, Orioles fans. Thanks for showing up!
As long as Boston’s manager, Alex Cora, keeps the fried chicken and beer out of the clubhouse in September, the 2018 season may be one to remember for Sox fans.
The Red Sox League Wide Dominance
For all you math wizards out there, you know the Red Sox 93-43 record translates into a .684 winning percentage. And the Yankees have a not-too-shabby .630 winning percentage. This makes these two perennial powerhouses (can I use that phrase outside college football?) the top two teams in the bigs.
In fact, you can put the Red Sox in any other division and they’d be the first place team by double digit games.
For example, the Astros are the third best team in the league and are in first place in the AL West. But if they were in the same division as Boston they would be 10.5 games back.
106 Wins or Bust
So, why should you care about this? Well, the 2018 Red Sox are not just speeding by other teams in 2018. They’re on pace to make franchise history. The current record for most wins in a season by the Red Sox was set at 105 in 1912 when the team went 105-47 (.691).
That 1912 club had two hall of famers on the roster, Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper, a guy born in 1879 (Jake Stahl), and went on to win the World Series over the New York Giants*. Not bad company for the 2018 team to be in.
Based on projections by FanGraphs and FiveThirtyEight, the data gurus expect the 2018 team to finish with a 109-53 record (.670). This would surpass the win total by the 1912 club, and set a franchise record. Unfortunately, that .670 winning percentage would mean the 2018 Red Sox would miss out on joining another elite group: the .700 club.
*Note: I recommend you read more about the 1912 World Series, as it was the only fall classic that was supposed to be best of 7, but ended up being 8 games and a tie was involved. True story.
The .700 Club
Since the MLB entered the expansion era (post 1961), here are all the teams to finish with a record of .700 or better:
1. 2001 Mariners: 116-46 (.716)
2. 1998 Yankees: 114-48 (.704)
3. 1995 Indians: 100-44 (.694) *strike shortened season
4-T. 1969 Orioles: 109-53 (.673)
4-T. 1961 Yankees: 109-53 (.673)
As you can see, it isn’t every day that a team comes hot out the gates like the Red Sox did in 2018 and maintains it for the entire season. Is it possible for the 2018 Sox to end up at a .700 record? Mathematically, yes. Would it be difficult? Insanely. Will it happen? No.
To get to a .700 winning percentage the Red Sox would have to win 21 of their final 26 games. I’m sure that Cora wants the team to be rested and ready to go when the calendar flips to October, rather than chase regular season glory.
So no, the Red Sox won’t be breaking the MLB record for wins (116) or ending up with a .700 winning percentage, but they’ll still be in the history books when September comes to a close.
Savor This Boston Fans
It is hard to believe that six short years ago the 2012 Red Sox finished the season 69-93 (thanks for nothing Bobby V). And just four years ago they stumbled through the 2014 season due to a World Series hangover and finished 71-93.
With so much success in 2018 it is easy for fans to focus on the little things the team needs to address. Like closer Craig Kimbrel’s stuff being a bit off and why Drew Pomeranz is still on the roster. But Red Sox fans need to stop and smell the roses.
History is going to be made by this 2018 Red Sox team, and it might result in a deep run into October baseball for Boston’s boys of summer. So enjoy it Boston fans. This is rare air the ’18 Red Sox are breathing and we may not experience another season like this for the rest of our lives.
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