The Right Coast

September 19, 2004
Is this the year the Red Sox end the Curse of the Bambino?
By Ilya Somin

Although my time guest-blogging here is drawing to a close, as a Bostonian I cannot leave without saying a word about my beloved Boston Red Sox.

The Sox lost 2 of 3 to the Yankees this weekend, and may not win the division title. But they will almost certainly take the Wild Card playoff spot. Baseball playoff predictions are rarely accurate, because pretty much anything can happen in a short playoff series, and the painful history of the Red Sox proves that pretty much anything does.

However, this year will probably be the Red Sox' best chance in a long time to break the Curse and take revenge on the Yankees in the process. Although the Sox are a few games behind in the standings, there's a lot of evidence that they're actually the better team. They have outscored their opposition by some 70 runs more than the Yankees this year. Run differential is the most important indicator of a team's underlying strength, according to most experts. Furthermore, the Yankees' main advantages over the Sox - superior back of the rotation starters and long relievers - won't matter as much in a playoff series as in the regular season, because in the playoffs a team's top 3 starters and closer pitch the lion's share of the innings.

Of course, we Red Sox fans can't get too confident, if only because those of us who lived through 1986 and 2003 can never forget about THE CURSE. But we do have as good a shot as anyone this year.

And for all you West Coasters, remember that you don't have be a Red Sox fan to root against the Yankees!