Baseball is a strange game
OK, I already admitted that I was very wrong.
On May 29th, I posted my now infamous 'Surrender' entry. At that time, the Yankees were 14 1/2 games behind the Red Sox:
W L Pct. GB
Boston 36 15 .706 -
New York 21 29 .420 14.5
At that point, Baltimore and Toronto were ahead of the Yankees. The Yankees were tied for last in the division with Tampa Bay.
By August 6, I was already amazed with the Yankees come back. They had tied Detroit for the wild card lead and clearly had a great chance to make the playoffs. But, the division still looked too far off.
W L Pct. GB
Boston 68 44 .607 -
New York 62 50 .554 6
Note that in this stretch of almost 10 weeks, the Red Sox played just 3 games over .500. The Yankees were 20 games over .500, almost matching the red hot start that the Red Sox had at the start of the season.
Now, the Yankees have a 5 1/2 game wild card lead over Detroit and have narrowed the division race to just one game in the loss column.
W L Pct. GB
Boston 90 63 .588 -
New York 88 64 .579 1.5
The Red Sox again just played 3 games over .500 and the Yankees were 12 games over. So, since the nadir of the season, from my point of view, the Red Sox have been 54-48 .529 and the Yankees have been 67-35 .657. Teams have been this hot for a whole season, but it's hard to imagine that a team has had a bigger turnaround after such a bad start. And, making up so much ground against such a good team is even tougher.
I think that the Yankees have played well, but it's really puzzling to me why the Red Sox have just won 54 out of their last 102 games. With their line-up and their pitching, they should be doing better. This has been somewhat hidden by their fast start, but I don't hear enough Red Sox fans asking this question. The Yankees vastly underperformed for the first 50 games of the season. But, the Red Sox have underperformed for more than 100 games.
As we saw last year with the Cardinals, you just have to be hot during the playoffs to win the World Series. And, the Red Sox still have a small lead in the division. So, it's not over. But, the Red Sox need to find that early season magic if they want to have a good postseason.
By the way, according to my son's research, if the Red Sox and Yankees finish tied at the end of the regular season, the Yankees will win the division (assuming that the Red Sox are in position to win the wild card) due to the Yankees winning the season series vs. the Red Sox. Good thing the Yankees won 5 out of the last 6 games between the two teams.