Monday, May 26, 2008

Game 53: Road Blues

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 3, Oakland Athletics 6

Our team has a problem: much like their cross-town basketball cousins, the Red Sox can't seem to win on the road. points out that yesterday's loss makes seven road losses in a row, the most since 2001, when a team consisting of such luminaries as Offerman, Lansing, Bichette, Alcantara, Castillo, and Arrojo lost ten straight on the road at the end of the year under Joe Kerrigan, as a part of their traditional second half collapse into a second place finish with a record gasping for air just above the .500 mark. Point being: this year's Red Sox have no interest in being compared to their 2001 predecessors, and any point of comparison is a sign of trouble.

Signs of the problem seem to revolve around traditional matrices: slumping hitting, inconsistent pitching, etc. During the losing streak, Boston converted forty percent of their hits into runs; at home against Milwaukee and Kansas City, the percentage was seventy-two percent. Pitching shows the same discrepancies: on the road, sixty percent of hits surrendered turned into earned runs; at home, the number drops to forty percent. Throw in difficult ballparks in Oakland and Minnesota where Boston doesn't ever seem to do well and those differences seem to make sense, but then you look at Boston's overall 2008 home and away winning percentages, and all of the sudden there's a big problem staring you in a face: seventy percent at home, thirty-seven percent on the road. Not the stuff winners are made of.

Unfortunately, I don't see that differential improving any time soon: the next three games are against Seattle in Seattle, in a park they might as well rename "Safe to Assume You're Going to Lose Here Co" field for all of the luck Boston's had playing there. Looks like the road blues are bound to continue for another three games, at least.