(Photo credit: Valley News)
By Ted Gay – @TedG63
In late 2017 the Indians ran off 22 consecutive victories. They instantly became the favorites to win the World Series. But those who have studied baseball history knew the Indians’ quest was doomed.
Baseball, more than any other sport, is ruled by the law of averages. During streaks line drives find the gap, bloopers fall in, balls just off the corner are called your way, hits skip just inside the foul line, runners beat the throw by half a step, then, suddenly the tide turns, and all the river runs in the opposite direction.
I expected the Red Sox river to run in reverse when the Yankees came to town three weeks ago, but the Sox continued their winning ways and reached an unprecedented 17-2 start. They were on pace for an impossible 140 wins. The Red Sox had reached up and touched the stars. The fall was due to be ugly.
And now we are in the midst of the big ugly. The defense is porous, the swings have holes, the bullpen coughs up leads, our gold glove quality centerfield turned a single into a homerun, the baseball running mistakes prove more costly, and the starting pitching is unreliable.
The Red Sox are neither as good as they were in early April nor as bad as they have played in recent games. They are like water seeking its level. When that happens, we will have a better idea of how the rest of the season will play out.
To those who cannot appreciate it’s delicate nuances, baseball is a slow-paced and boring game. The same is true of a successful baseball team. If a team continually wins six out of ten games, their fan base will grow increasingly agitated over losing two or three times a week. At the end of the season, a team that maintains this mundane pace will win between 96-98 game. In baseball, slow and steady wins the race.
I would rather play a team that has won seven straight than one that has lost seven straight because the streak will end, usually on some strange play, to the detriment of the streaker. The baseball gods hate a winning streak and find ways to punish those who are enjoying one.
The Red Sox have one of the greatest out of the chute streaks of all time. Let’s hope the gods are generous now that retribution is due.