So, this team is something else, huh?
This team isn’t magical like the 2004 team, sneaky good like the 2007 team, or meant-to-be like the 2013 team. The 2018 Red Sox are just really good at baseball.
Good at baseball.
Through 120 games, the Red Sox are an astounding 85-35, with a stupefying .708 win percentage, putting them on pace to win 114.69 games, rounding up to 115. So it begs the question: Can the Red Sox break the 2011 Mariners regular season win record of 116?
To tie them at 116, the Sox would have to go 31-11. That’s a .738 winning percentage in the remaining 42 games. Seems tough considering their winning percentage throughout the whole is *just* .708. However, the Red Sox are 29-6 over their last 35 games dating back to July 2nd. First off, that is freaking absurd. Second off, that’s an .829 winning percentage, and 35 games is no small sample size. The Red Sox won’t play at an .829 pace the rest of the way, but even if they regress some, it might be enough to keep that .738.
Now let’s look at the schedule, and spoiler, it’s not easy, but it can’t be that hard, right? Because the Red Sox are currently at least 9.5 games up on every team they’ll play the rest of the way, and – oh, check that – every team in the league.
The Sox will play 21 of their remaining 42 games against teams currently in the playoffs, half of their games for you shrewd mathematicians. They’ll be in Philly (.556) twice this week, take on the Indians (.564) for 7, four at home and three in Cleveland, 3 in Atlanta (.557), 3 at home against the Astros (.613), and 6 against the Yankees (.632) in the final 2 weeks of the season, 3 at home and 3 in the Bronx. It’s not an easy schedule, but it’s also ridiculous (and a bit funny) to see how much better the Red Sox have been this season.
So how would they have to play? To tie the 2001 Mariners, they can afford to lose 11 games, to break the Mariners record, they can lose 10. For the sake of keeping this easy, the 21 games against playoff teams they play will be referred to as “hard” games against “good” teams, while the 21 games again non-playoff teams will be “easy” games against “bad” teams.
Against the good teams, but the Red Sox would be pretty much have to do no worse that 14-7, a .667 win %. That seems like a reasonable ask, and may even be disappointing if they do worse considering the baseball they’ve been playing this year. That would mean they’d have to go 17-4 in easy games to tie, a .708 win % (their current win % over 120 games), and 18-3 to break the record, an .857 win%. A 17-4 or 18-3 record against bad teams is possibly a tougher task than 14-7 against good teams, because of the fact that it gives them essentially no room for error. The Rays are pesky, the White Sox took 2 of 3 from the Red Sox in June, and the Mets are… well, no, that’s an easy sweep.
If the Red Sox are to catch the 2001 Mariners, they have very little room for error against bad teams, and essentially have to win every single one, leaving them a bit more room for error in the hard games. It’s for sure going to be tough, but I wouldn’t put it passed this Sox team to completely wipe the floor with bad teams the rest of the way.
So do they have a chance? Yes, the very much have a chance. This Sox team has a chance to do anything. Is it likely? Eeeeeh, probably not. Fangraphs projects the Red Sox to go 26-17 the rest of the way and finish with 110 wins. That’s a .598 winning percentage the rest of the way. Not a knock on FanGraphs, they’re amazing, but the Sox have blown through their projections the entire season. It’s safe to say we’ve learned that improbable is not impossible this season. Right?
Sweet, sweet, sweep. pic.twitter.com/Aniz6B6pjV
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) August 6, 2018
What are the chances they actually do it? I’ll say .708
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