Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Roads To Hoe
Not quite sure why you would hoe a road, but someone pointed me to this post on AaronGleeman's blog that analyzes the Twinkies' remaining schedule. As you can see, Gleeman is less than gleeful about the Twinkies' slate of games, particularly lamenting the 10 games that the Twinkies will be playing against the Oakland Athletics in the second half.
I was thinking about posting an analysis of the Sox's second half schedule myself, so this is a good chance to compare the two schedules:
Now, the Twinks may have more games against the currently-hot A's, but the Sox still have their full slate against the Yankees and Red Sox left (12 games). The Sox also have more games against the Jndjans left, and they are the best of the other AL Central teams. Happily, the Sox have played the Toons well, going 6-3 thus far in 2005 (although this is, in fact, the WORST record the Sox have against any AL Central team).
It's all going to come down to how the Sox play against the Twinkies. The 13 games the Sox have against the Twins in the second half actually maximizes the chances of a Twinkie comeback - there's no better way to make up ground than through zero-sum games. If the Twinkies went 11-2 against the Sox, they would essentially make up all the ground they need to make up in their chase.
Historically, the Sox have fared poorly against the Twins in the second half.
In 2004, the Sox went 2-7 against the Twinkies in the second half. Going 7-2 would have won the Sox the division (hypothetical 88-74 versus a hypothetical 87-75).
In 2003, the Sox went 2-5 against the Twinks after the All-Star Break. Going 5-2 would have won the Sox the division (hypothetical 89-73 versus as hypothetical 87-75).
In 2002, the Sox went 5-9 against the Twins after the All-Star Break. They were pretty far back in 2002 - they would have needed to go 12-2 against the Twins to beat them out for the AL Central.
In 2001, the Sox went 3-3 against the Twins after the All Star Break. Since the Jndjans won the Central, no amount of wins agains the Twinks would have helped. But that 3-3 record has been the best the Sox could muster over the last four years.
If the Sox can beat the Twinkies 6 of their 13 meetings, the Twinks will have to gain 8.5 games over the Sox in their other 68 games....which is a pretty tall task. But even a 4-9 collapse versus the Twins is damaging in its own right - it allows the Twinkies to make up only 4.5 games against the rest of the league - a very manageable task.
The best thing the Sox can do, of course, is to build up a 14 game lead over the Twinkies by the time they meet in mid-August (34 games from now), making those Twins games less critical.