By Mark Lawrence, International Editor
Sydney, Australia. Well, there's not been much reportage from the Antipodes this season - my apologies to the one or two of you that may have missed it. And not much reportage from anyone at all on the fading fortunes of the New York Yankees this year, either. No real surprise there, I suppose - in the dying days of the 2016 season, the Yankees are lolling around, second from the bottom in the AL East and that suits Red Sox Nation just fine.
Boston and New York have virtually swapped positions between 2015 and 2016, which tells me what I already knew - nothing is ever certain in this game - and it led me to ponder the win-loss ratio within the League. Now, our Esteemed Editor is probably your go-to guy for this kind of statistical stuff, but, hey, all those numbers are out there tangled up in the interwebs - you just gotta go find 'em. So go find 'em I did.
Head to head over the past 16 seasons, Boston has won more games than it’s lost against almost every team in the American League. But almost ain't good enough - there are two teams with better records: The Los Angeles Angels - we split 168 games right down the middle with them - and our old rivals the Yankees, with 159 Boston losses out of 303 games for a .475 win/loss average. And yet, at time o' writing, we're a half game out of first and they're not even in contention. [EDITOR's NOTE: Actually, The Evil Ones are just 4.5 games back of us—but they'll probably fade]
The National League stats are interesting, too. In the same period, Boston played a mere ten games in Cincinnati - and won nine of them. We have a .688 win/loss against the Giants (who happen to be the winningest National League team in the 21st Century, to date). In fact, we've hit over .600 against the Marlins, the D-backs, the Nats, the Phillies, the Padres and the Mets. And out of the rest of the National League, only the Cubs, the Pirates and the Cards have played better than Boston during that time.
All this statistical tomfoolery has enabled me, for the first and very likely last time, to make some bold, and possibly silly predictions. By sorta applying the win/loss ratios to the remaining September sets - which, serendipitously, are all against AL East teams - then maybe I can foretell the outcome. By the time you read this, the set at Toronto may be underway - I predict a tight series, with Boston taking only one out of three. Baltimore at Fenway follows - two out of three, there. The Rays, we'll likely drop just one out of three. Off to the Bronx, where I'd like to see a good old fashion sweep, but I'll settle for two out of three. Then back to Yawkey Way for what will be a very exciting final series against the Jays – at least two outta three and another pennant for the good guys. Okay, I'm not sure about the math here, but what the hell.
And after that? Who knows? It's baseball, sportsfans. Anything can happen, and it probably will.