Last night, Ryan Dempster pitched out of some early danger and led the Sox to a 3-1 win over the Blue Jays. The Sox are now 20-8, tied for their third best start in team history over their first 28 games.
The Sox have started 19-9 or better twelve times in their history, including this year. Of those other eleven teams, two won the AL Pennant (1904 and 1946), two were wild card qualifiers (1998 and 2003) and one was the World Series Champ (2007). On the down side, five of those teams finished third or worse (1994, 1971, 1982, 1940 and 1936).*
*The other plus performance team, the 2002 Red Sox, finished second at 93-69.
More then half of these hot starting teams finished with 92 or more wins. I’ll take those odds with these 2013 Sox.
The big blow up in media world, however, is not the Sox win total, it’s Blue Jay broadcasters Jack Morris and Dirk Hayhurst accusing Clay Buchholz of cheating on the mound the other night. They say he was doctoring the ball, throwing a spitter. Here’s Tom Verducci’s take on the situation. He seems to think there is something to the whole kerfuffle.
Seems to me the Jays should be worrying more about their performance then about whether Buchholz is throwing spitter, unless they can blame their 2-8 record over the last 10 games on the depths of cheating in the league. I would suggest instead that they Jays have just plain sucked this year. As a team they are hitting .228/.294/395 and their pitchers have a 4.66 ERA. That is third worst in the majors behind Houston (5.34) and the Angels (4.84). The acquistions of Dickey (2-4 with a 4.50 ERA), Johnson (0-1 with 6.86 and now on the DL) and Buehrle (1-2 with a 6.43 ERA) are not paying off. For all the off season rumbles the Jays made, those trades aren’t looking so good. Maybe the Marlins knew something after all. That Reyes and Johnson are sure bets to get injured and that those twelve consecutive years of 200+ IP had taken their toll on Buehrle. Maybe, just maybe, the Marlins were on to something. More likely, the Marlins just got lucky. Regardless, it was not too far fetched to assume that Johnson and Reyes were injury risks and that the Jays were taking on a great deal of risk. Hindsight though looks pretty good right now.
With performances like these you might as well distract your fans from your stink bomb reality with allegations of cheating. Let us just not go too far down the cheating road. I’d hate to think what one might discover about cheating and Jays players if you looked closely at them for foreign substances of the natural (pine tar, vaseline) or chemical (PEDs) nature.