The 2012 Boston Red Sox have been a fickle bunch. They have four streaks of three or more losses and three streaks of three or more wins. Their longest winning streak has been six games and their longest losing streak has been five games. During their winning streaks they have appeared to the 91 win team that was projected before the season began and during their losing streaks they have appeared incapable of even reaching breakeven. While being below .500 is new territory for the team, streakiness is not.
Jacob Peterson of Beyond the Boxscore did a study last June 26th entitled, “Identifying the Streakiest Teams in MLB” and found that to that point the Boston Red Sox had been the streakiest team in baseball. At that point, the Red Sox were rolling with a 45-32 record that put them just ½ a game out of first place in the AL East. Though the results have been different thus far this year, the team is once again extremely streaky. Peterson’s methodology counted every win or loss after the first two games of a winning or losing streak. By that methodology, the 2011 Red Sox had 31 “streak games” 22 streak wins and 9 streak losses by June 26.
Using the same methodology, the 2012 Boston Red Sox have already had 15 streak games. They have 8 streak wins and 7 streak loses thus far, a rare positive sign in what has been a frustrating season. If the Red Sox continue to play as streaky as they have, they will nearly duplicate their streakiness of last season, reaching 29 streak games by the 77th game, the point at which Peterson’s study occurred. That would likely make them one of the streakiest teams in baseball once again.
Just what has led the Red Sox to be so streaky is hard to define, but the inconsistency of their starters is an easy suspect. As we have seen this year, top starters Josh Beckett and Jon Lester can be dominate for a few games and then extremely hittable for a few games. The team has struggled to find back end starters that can give them consistent results and therefore, they tend to rely on their lineup to carry them two or three times through the rotation. Whether or they are winning or losing , the Red Sox have been extremely streaky for several years now. That tendency has not changed with the overhaul of the coaching staff and the front office and it does not appear that it will.
The 2012 Red Sox may be a good deal better than they have appeared thus far this year, but one thing they are not going be is consistent. Whatever has made the Boston Red Sox one of the streakiest teams in baseball, it is not going away. The front office would do when to understand this better and find a way to bring more consistency to the team.