It looks like the Boston Red Sox are on their way to blowing the Baseball Prospectus 16-game prediction formula out of the water again this year, as the Red Sox pounded the White Sox, 10-3 at US Cellular Field.
I feared this going into this series when I started research for my post the other day, Tigers, White Sox, Giants all playoff bound? The Red Sox are currently mirroring the 2011 season, as they went 5-11 in their first 16 and are on a four game winning streak in 2012. They won a fifth game in 2011 to pull within a game of .500 before losing and playing around .500 for the next month or so. They eventually put it into overdrive, but too much beer and fried chicken ended their playoff hopes in 2011. I’m sure with Bobby Valentine at the helm there will be a healthier alternative to fried chicken, like a wrap? Valentine claims to have invented the wrap when he was a cook per a customer’s request. This is not a joke; he actually believes he invented the wrap. Who am I to say, maybe he did, but it seems silly coming out of the mouth of a MLB manager.
Phil Humber did not look anywhere near perfect last night as he started the game in a 2-0 hole, and things just continued to spiral out of control from there. The fly ball that cleared the fence for a Kevin Youkilis grand slam was definitely wind aided, as there was a strong wind blowing out to right. That’s what makes the pitch curious to me; hammer him in so he has no chance to take the pitch to right. Humber was having control problems most of the evening, so maybe AJ called for it in and he left out over the plate.
The White Sox offense had several threats but could not bust through to make the game interesting. It was good to see them still playing hard even though the game was out of hand, something new this season with Robin Ventura at the helm. The bullpen turned in a solid performance allowing only one-run in the ninth inning over four innings pitched.
I’m not surprised by Humber’s performance since the guy has a few things on this mind, having had my first child just shy of a year ago, I can tell you its hard to stay focused knowing that any minute your wife can go into labor. Add the pressure of all the press from pitching a perfect game, and it’s a lot for a person to handle. There also is no love for a curveball pitcher on a night when its 39 degrees at game time, the ball tends not to break, which is exactly what happened to Humber. Hopefully, when Humber’s turn in the rotation comes up again early next week he will have had the birth of his child and can focus on baseball again.
The way I look at this series is if the Sox starting pitching can continue to pitch well, not including last nights performance, then the White Sox can easily take the next three games. Even if the Red Sox are mirroring 2011 we will split the series at worst-case scenario. Let’s GO WHITE SOX!!!!