While the rest of New York City was busy drying off from another day-long downpour, the Red Sox were probably out singing in the rain. Because of last night’s postponement, Boston not only avoided another loss, but also shaved a game off their wild card magic number thanks to losses by both the Rays and Angels.
Unfortunately for Red Sox Nation, one night of rain doesn’t wash away the stench left behind by a 5-16 stretch since the start of September. And, that’s not the opinion of a Yankees’ fan. Just ask Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
That’s a sign of a (expletive) team. Good teams don’t go 5-16 in any month.” – Dustin Pedroia, September 21, 2011, speaking after losing three of four games to the Orioles
With major league baseball on the cusp of 200,000 games played since 1876, it’s likely that several “good” teams have suffered through a stretch as futile as September has been for the Red Sox. However, it’s worth noting that in 2011, Boston is the only team with a winning record that has lost at least 16 of 21 games. The other franchises who have “accomplished” this ignominious feat include the Orioles, White Sox, Marlins, Astros, Royals, Twins, Pirates, Padres, and Mariners. That’s not exactly the company a champion should be keeping.
Before Red Sox Nation gets too down, however, they can look to 2000 Yankees for consolation. That year, the Bronx Bombers ended the season in the midst of a 5-16 slide, but, after losing the first game of the ALDS, rebounded to win the World Series. Although the Yankees had a stronger hold on a playoff spot before entering their end-of-year spiral, the idea that a team needs to be hot heading into October has widely been debunked by both anecdotal and more extensive evidence.
So, fear not Red Sox Nation. If Boston can hold on for the wild card, the team’s chances in the post season won’t necessarily be hampered by its dismal performance in September. Of course, the Red Sox will probably still need to win a few more games in order to make it. Otherwise, the Boston brain trust may be looking for new leadership and fans in the Nation may be looking for a new curse.