Wednesday, August 10, 2011
RED SOX IN QUEST OF THE SUMMUM BONUM
Ultimate milestone? What the hell are we talking about?? After all, the Sox have already won two World Series in the past seven years. A third Series win in 2011 (or three in eight years...) would not match the achievements of the powerhouse team from nearly a century ago.
No, what we're referring to is the chance that this team has to establish ultimate bragging rights over their long-time rivals, the New York Yankees.
While Boston has been under a long-time hex with respect to its performance against New York (956-1128 lifetime, and only 426-607 on the road), 2011 is shaping up to be a glorious exception.
As of today, the Sox have won ten of twelve head-to-head contests against the Yankees in 2011.
While they haven't got a chance to eclipse the franchise record (19-2, set by the World Champion 1912 squad), they are well within striking distance to better their "live ball era" top performance (14-4 in 1973).
Back in that inaugural year of the DH, Luis Tiant was the Yankee Killer (4-0), with assistance from Rogelio Moret, who was 3-0. (Both of these guys are part of our 40s Birthyear Showdown which will belatedly get underway soon--watch this space for an update.) This season, Josh Beckett (3-0, 1.00 ERA) has stepped into El Tiante's shoes as he continues on pace for a career year.
So far in 2011, Dustin Pedroia (1.153 OPS), David Ortiz (1.035 OPS) and Jacoby Ellsbury (.979 OPS and a team-leading 13 RBI) are leading the offensive charge against the Yanks. Back in 1973, Carl Yastrzemski was the big gun for the Sox (5 HR, 16 RBI, .947 OPS).
The Red Sox have outscored the Yanks 75-46 in their 12 games thus far. The Yankees are only hitting .225 against Sox hurlers.
Looking ahead at the Sox' schedule, it's hard to fathom that they won't win at least 100 games. That's their other "ultimate goal"--with all their success in the Epstein-James Era (EJE), they've not gotten over 98 wins as yet. If the 2011 team makes it to 100, they'll be the fourth to do so, following in the footsteps of the 1912, 1915, and 1946 squads.