Red Sox Making History, But Not The Kind They Want

From SABR member Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation on September 27, 2011:

We’ve never seen anything like this before.

You might think we have.

We have not.

The Wild Cards have been around since 1995 — ancient history, to some of you — but never in 17 seasons of Wild Card action has a team blown a 10-game lead in the Wild Card standings.

Until this season.

According to researcher [and SABR member] Frank Vaccaro, the 2011 Boston Red Sox are the first team in the Wild Card era to blow a 10-game lead; on the morning of August 17, the Red Sox (and the Yankees) led the Tampa Bay Rays by 10 games.

On the morning of September 27, the Yankees lead the Red Sox by eight games and the Red Sox lead the Rays by zero games.

Nobody’s ever blown a 10-game lead before; nobody’s blown a nine- or eight-game lead, either. As I said, we’ve never seen anything like this before.

Mind you, the collapse didn’t begin on the 17th of August. On the 1st of September, the Red Sox were actually in first place, 1½ games ahead of the Yankees and (still) nine ahead of the Rays. On the 1st of September, though, is when everything started going to hell. The Sox lost that day to the Yankees, 4-2, and really haven’t stopped losing since; their record in September — counting Monday night’s loss to the Orioles — is 6-19. Which of course is sort of supernaturally terrible.

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Originally published: September 27, 2011. Last Updated: September 27, 2011.