Sunday, June 30, 2013

Red Sox hit 50 in June

June 30th, and the Red Sox have 50 wins.

It's a pretty impressive benchmark. They've only been at 50 wins on June 30th three times in the 113 years of the franchise.

The Red Sox and Rays both had 50 wins, but Boston trailed Tampa Bay by 1-1/2 games because of three more losses. The Rays wound up winning the AL East, the Red Sox won the Wild Card, and the Rays won the ALCS when JD Drew took a season ending bases loaded called third strike in Game 7. The Phillies wound up beating Tampa Bay in the World Series.

The year of the epic collapse. On June 30th 1978, the Red Sox had a record 52 wins and a 9-game lead over the 3rd-place Yankees, but faded in August and were caught by the New York in mid-September. After a weekend series known as the Boston Massacre, where the Yankees outscored the Red Sox 42-9, they fell back by 3-1/2 games, but wound up in an even tie on the last day of the season. The one-game playoff was the infamous Bucky "bleeping" Dent game. The Yankees went on to beat the Dodgers and win their first World Series in 16 years.

All the stars were back from WWII...Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, etc...and the Red Sox won 104 games...the most by far since 1912, when they won 105 and beat the Giants in the World Series. They wound up losing the 1946 World Series to St. Louis. The revered Pesky was blamed for not making a relay throw in the 9th inning of Game 7 while Enos Slaughter scored the winning run from 1st base. Is it rarely mentioned when the legacy of Johnny Pesky is discussed, but the Red Sox actually traded him away to Detroit a few years later.

The Red Sox are on pace on twin 98 games...that's a 29-game improvement over 2012. As far as I know, no MLB team has ever made that big a year-to-year improvement. So I, for one, am feeling very good about this.