The preseason favourite to win the American League — the Boston Red Sox — just got swept in their opening series against the Texas Rangers. And even though it is a long season, we have to wonder if they are indeed the dominant force everybody predicted.
But now that the Red Sox are 0-3, how worried should their fans be when there is still 98.1 per cent of the season left to play? Turns out, maybe more than you think.
In the last 10 seasons, 80 teams have qualified for the playoffs. Of those, only three started the season winless in their first three games. The last team to do that was the 2007 Phillies. (The 2003 Braves and 2001 Cardinals were the others).
Here is a breakdown of all 80 playoff teams from the past 10 seasons and how they performed in their opening three games…
Twelve playoff teams started 3-0 and 40 started 2-1. That means 65 per cent of all playoff teams in the last 10 years won at least two of their first three games.
Just before the season started, “experts” at ESPN.com predicted who would make the baseball playoffs. Every prognosticator picked the Boston Red Sox to make the playoffs. In fact, all 45 of those “experts” picked the Red Sox to win the toughest division in baseball. And 42 (93.3%) picked Boston to represent the AL in the World Series, with 33 (73.3%) of those picking the Sox to win it all.
The Red Sox can certainly still make the playoffs. But if they do if will be a rare feat. And it is fair right now to wonder if they are indeed the juggernaut that everybody predicted.
Data via Baseball-Reference.com
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