Fans in Boston have gone into public outcry. It’s nothing new, as the city has become accustomed to housing winners over the past decade of dominance, but people seem to be especially worked up about the Boston Red Sox winning 100 games this regular season.
Callers into WEEI, the popular New England sports talk-show, voiced their displeasure about the mention of this record, as well as Boston Globe writers. They bleat about a “jinx” and how 100 wins means little. One such caller was upset at weekend hosts bringing about the taboo subject of 100 wins.
To put it simply, to win 100 games nearly guarantees the first seed in the MLB playoffs, which means an easier road to the World Series, but some callers believe in the jinx.
I have two things to say about that. First, the series may have been a pure aberration; every team hits rough patches, and Seattle may have gotten too hot and played their best baseball during the regular season. The Red Sox have played consistent baseball all year. Second, the Mariners were built on defense and relief pitching. The reason they had multiple starters over 15 wins was their ability to hold games. However, in a stretch where a good hitting club, like the Yankees, hits the ball where you can’t defend and rocks the starters for more than the offense can get back, you won’t win much.
Things look up for the Red Sox there, as they’ve managed to be productive at the plate – just as productive as the Mariners – and have a solid rotation that will perpetually keep them in games. The biggest thing for the Red Sox is that they can come from behind.
Take, for example, last Wednesday when, tied in the 10th in Tampa Bay at 3-3, Mike Carp coming off the bench cold to hit an eventually game-winning grand slam. The Red Sox have depth in the outfield – Jacoby Ellsbury, if he returns, Carp, Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino and Jackie Bradley, Jr. – so they can afford to have a guy have a bad day; John Farrell can plug and experiment with lineups.
Even if they don’t have the lineup, they have history.
Since 1903, there have been 93 teams that have won 100 or more games in a season. Of those 93, 62 eventually contested for the World Series that year. Of those 100-win (or more) teams, 34 captured a World Series Crown that same year. Therefore, one in three teams to win 100 games goes on to win the whole thing that same season. To achieve triple-digit wins attests to a team’s tenacity, refusal to quit and trust in one another.
While the number of regular-season wins is arbitrary, as all teams reset to 0-0 when October comes around, it does put history on their side. Unlike the saying goes, the Red Sox hope that history does repeat itself this year. So don’t worry, Red Sox Nation, there’s no “jinx,” just success in October ahead.