Monday, April 18, 2005

My Theory That Has Nothing to Do with The Germans Love for David Hasselhoff

Its hard to sweep a Major League team. Any Major League team. Baseball is such that, as George Steinbrenner is finding out, even a $200 Million team can have a bad couple of weeks. Over the long haul (say, about 162 games) that team will likely play better than a less talented team, like the Devil Rays, but in a short time period anything can and often does happen. This is why I'm so happy that the Red Sox swept Tampa (Tampa Bay is a body of water, not a city). Even a team with the obvious problems that Tampa has is quite capable of stealing a game or two or even three from Boston. I should know, the lone game I caught at Fenway last year was August 9th against Tampa, a game in which future Sox John Halama out-dueled future Boston Icon Curt Schilling. It was the last time he had lost a game at Fenway up until Schilling's most recent start against NY.

This leads me to my Pet Theory of the Season That Has Nothing to Do With David Hasselhoff or German People (aka PTotSTHNtDWDHoGP). It all comes down to the Orioles.

But let me back up a second. Last year the Red Sox won 98 games, an excellent showing for the season and enough to capture the wild card in the AL. The Yankees won 101 games and won the AL East. It didn't end up doing them much good, but still that's the Sox goal - to win the division. The key to winning the AL East is Baltimore. Last year the Yankees went 49-27 against AL East opponents. If you take out their record against Boston, who won eleven of nineteen, the record jumps to 41-16. That's a .719 winning percentage, equivalent to a final record of 117 regular season wins (I rounded that figure up from 116.5). That's a ridiculously good record, and it's the product of a lousy Tampa team and a Toronto team that was destroyed by injuries last season. However, the Orioles are another story. They only won 78 games, but their run differential was much better than that leading to a Pythagorean record of wins in the low to mid 80's. Judging by that they were a good team last season that encountered some lousy luck. Still this didn't stop them from rolling over and dying whenever anyone showed up in Baltimore wearing pinstripes. The O's got creamed by the Yankees last season, to the tune of losing 14 of the 19 meetings between the two. Conversely, whenever anyone showed up wearing a red "B" on their hat the O's turned in the '27 Yankees. (I was also in Baltimore to see Curt Schilling get beat by Daniel Cabrera last year, in just about the only decent game Cabrera threw that season.) The O's managed to win 13 out of the 19 games they played against Boston last season. A vicious triangle developed between the teams last season, wherein the Sox would beat the Yankees, the Yankees would beat the O's and the O's would beat the Red Sox.

This leads me back to my PTotSTHNtDWDHoGP. For the Sox to capture the AL East this season they have to break that triangle. They have to beat up on the O's, and even if they fall off a bit against the Yankees they'll still finish with a better record on the season. The reason this is preposterous is that they'd have to do everything else the same, which strikes me as mildly unlikely. However, for some reason I still find this idea interesting to think about.

This is why I'm so happy with the sweeps that took place this weekend in Boston and Baltimore. It appears the O's aren't scared of the Yankees anymore, and it seems that the Red Sox got right back on track as soon as Tampa rolled into town. Both of these are good signs for Boston (and I suppose Baltimore too, but I'm not so concerned with them).

This week the schedule reverses itself and the Sox take on Toronto and Baltimore while the Yankees play Tampa and uh... Toronto. Ok, it doesn't totally reverse itself, but a bit. I'm interested to see if Tampa can split with the Yanks (it's only a two gamer) as well as to see how Boston plays Baltimore.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you're right on track and not many people are willing to admit that they share your views. lost shoes is an AWESOME place to discuss LOST.