Sunday, July 15, 2007

margin of error

I was supposed to help Katie move today, but it was fucking hot outside and we were both kind of hung over. However, we'd already rented a Zipcar, so we decided to drive to the Dairy Queen in Natick, listening to the game on the radio and enjoying the air conditioning. Um, wow, I'd seen various people mention that the radio announcing has really gone downhill since Jerry Trupiano left, and they ... weren't kidding. At least when Remdawg and Don-O go on a five minute tangent about bulldog breeding or whether Manny plays left field too shallow ** you can still observe for yourself whether or not the batter has been retired. But, speaking of Manny: in the third or fourth inning, when the wind pushed a fly ball out of his reach and up off the Monster? We were driving down the Masspike right past Fenway at pretty much the exact minute this happened and I seriously thought the wind was going to push our tiny Nissan off the road.

Not that today's abortion of a 2-1 loss was a game I particularly wanted narrated to me in any great detail. Between the two one-run games the Sox dropped to Toronto this series and the two one-run games they dropped in Detroit right before the break, it seems like this team NEVER wins one-run games, right? Since I am the kind of person who would drive forty-five minutes to a Dairy Queen so I didn't have to move some boxes of books three blocks, I just spent the last fifteen minutes tallying one-run wins and losses from the 2007 season so I would have an excuse not to go do my dishes. This is what I learned:

The Red Sox have played 91 games, and 28 of these games have been decided by a one-run margin. Their record in these 28 games is ... 14-14. At first, this seemed impossible, but then I started to remember the two games that bookended the sweep of the Yankees at Fenway in April, and the Mother's Day Miracle game, and Schilling's one-hitter in Oakland and the game Dice-K pitched against the Giants, and, okay, I guess they don't lose all the one-run games, but they've lost 11 of them since June 1.

Just like I thought that David Ortiz's spate of walk-off heroics late in the 2005 season was actually a symptom of the fact that the 2005 Red Sox team was not built to compete in the post-season except that they were being carried there entirely on Big Papi's back, I think that losing close games can be a symptom of good pitching. If your starting pitching keeps you in the game when your offense shits the bed and your bullpen keeps you in the game when your starter melts down, you're going to win some games that you had no business winning, but you're also going to lose some games close that probably should have been blow-outs.

Seriously, though, one-run losses suck balls.

** Whether or not Manny plays left field in Fenway too shallow is on the verge of passing Derek Jeter's grapefruit-scented intangibles as my least favorite pointless topic of baseball-related conversation. WE GET IT. HE PLAYS SHALLOW. I know that Manny is an idiot savant and all, but he's been playing here for eight years. If anyone on the coaching staff actually thought he was playing too shallow, don't you think somebody would have drawn a chalk line out in left field for him to stand at or something?

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