Escaping Major League Baseball’s regular season without having lost three games in a row at one point, is an unlikely venture. Even the most reactive of fans aren’t likely to jump ship after three bad games from their team in the middle of July. However, like so many things in life, there tends to be a magnifying glass attached to the beginning and the end of the baseball season, where one doesn’t necessarily exist in the middle.
Five of the thirty teams that comprise the most competitive league in baseball have started the season by losing their first three games: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants. While a poor start has inflicted the fan bases of both expected competitors and anticipated basement dwellers, two from among the five stand out for their group of supporters’ overreactions.
I’ll let you guess which two.
Actually, no, I won’t.
Confounding things for the Yankees is that their cross town National League rival started the season off quite well:
While Boston fans only have one source on which to focus:
While losing three games in a row may not be rare, it seems that the Red Sox and Yankees both starting their season in this fashion is exceedingly so. In fact, 1966 was the last time both teams had a crummy start to the season, way back when New York manager Joe Girardi was only one years old.
In terms of mixed metaphors, much like we turn our noses at the small sample sizes that Spring Training offers, a healthy grain of salt should always come included in the packaging for the first three games of the season. But also like the exhibition schedule, poor results are one thing, but confirmation of concerns are quite another.
If there’s reason to worry outside of mere results, it becomes a matter that shouldn’t be outright dismissed.
Over at SB Nation, our friend Grant Brisbee, California’s only pasty skinned resident, breaks down the two losing streaks like this:
The Yankees lost their three games when …
- CC Sabathia pitched poorly and Mariano Rivera blew a save in the first game
- Hiroki Kuroda was knocked around in the second game
- Their offense was shut down in the third game.
The Red Sox lost their three games when …
- Their bullpen coughed up the first game
- Their starting pitcher in the second game got absolutely shellacked
- Their starting pitcher in the third game got absolutely shellacked and the bullpen coughed up two separate end-of-game leads.
While both teams faced stellar(ish) competition in their respective opening series, the cause of the Yankees losses seemed a whole lot more random than symptomatic of other issues like it was for the Red Sox. And so, while certainly losing three games remains less than a big deal, the way in which a team loses three games can be a reasonable cause for concern.
Pitching has been an issue for the Boston Red Sox, and it was an issue in each of their three losses this weekend. So, while it may not justify the overreaction, it can’t be completely dismissed either.
And The Rest
Just your typical feature on a couple of handsome bloggers and the resulting Blue Jays’ hipster fan base in the biggest national newspaper in the country. I do in fact enjoy how a certain blog is somewhat credited with a renaissance for baseball in the city, but then just as quickly dismissed in favour of the new logo and attractive ball caps. [Toronto Star]
For more from our Opening Day live event from Opera Bob’s, check out this video of the bar’s reaction to Edwin Encarnacion tying the game up in the top of the ninth inning. [Getting Blanked]
And while we’re on the subject, smarty pants Jack Moore breaks down the Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez’s blown save. [FanGraphs]
Jim Thome played first base for the Philadelphia Phillies. First base! The field. Jim Thome! [Comcast Sportsnet]
Have you ever had an idea in your head that you believed to be epic, but then once you executed it, your plan was revealed to be nothing more than ordinary? If so, this goes out to you. [Getting Blanked]
To find out more about why Miguel Cabrera felt it necessary to douse his teammate with a mouthful of water in a cup, this is an excellent summary of one of the three walk offs that happened yesterday. [Walkoff Woodward]
The Cincinnati Reds managed a walk off of their own against the Miami Marlins, as Scott Rolen further cemented himself as a GROAT. [Reds Reporter]
The Pittsburgh Pirates also joined in the fun. [Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke?]
Anything to keep this guy awake. [Rum Bunter]
Hector Santiago will now be closing games for the Chicago White Sox. You can be forgiven for asking, “Who?” [SB Nation Chicago]
Jim Margulus has got you covered for more first impressions from the White Sox this season. [South Side Sox]
The Minnesota Twins: We don’t need no stinking defense. Or wins, apparently. [Free Press]
Could the prevalence of small ball be contributing to fewer runs being scored around the league? [MLBlogs]
Jason Hammel was so close to a no hitter, and then no Morenau hitter. [Camden Chat]
Old man wants neighbourhood kids to stay off his lawn. [USA Today]
Even Ken Rosenthal is suggesting that Ozzie Guillen has gone too far this time. In his defense, c’mon. [FOX Sports]