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This is the best Sox squad since...

Posted by David Sabino  September 16, 2013 11:38 PM

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John Farrell.jpgSmiles have been contageous throughout Red Sox nation during John Farrell's first season as Boston manager.

What a difference a year makes. The Red Sox have played 151 games and have a nine game lead in the AL East over the Rays. At the same point last season, they found themselves in fourth place, 19 games behind the Yankees and just a half game ahead of Toronto for last place. That was then, this is now.

Since the beginning of the season the questions swirling around Fenway Park have been "how much better can John Farrell’s team be than Bobby Valentine’s?" and could he reclaim a team that rapidly unraveled in the final days of Terry Francona's tenure, stained by beer and fried chicken grease? However with the Sox holding the best record in baseball and with 92 wins in their first 151 contests, the question has evolved into “where does the 2013 squad place among the greatest in franchise history?” It may sound like hyperbole for a squad that won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, but in terms of regular season victories, 2013 has a chance to set a new modern benchmark.

In the 162-game era, no Red Sox team had as many wins through 151 games as the team led by Farrell. Not in 1967. Not in 1975. Not in 1986. Not in 2004 or 2007. None of them. In fact, the last time a Sox squad had that many victories through 151 games was in 1950(!) when they also had 92 wins, en route to 94 for the year. A season earlier, Boston won 95 of their first 151 games, finishing with 96 in a 155 game schedule. The 1946 World Series team won 101 of its first 151 and ended up with 104 wins, second most in team history behind the 105 of the 1912 championship squad.

By going 8-3 in the final 11 games, the current team has a chance to become the first Red Sox team to reach triple-digit wins since 1946. If the team maintains its .609 winning percentage it would be the second greatest season-to-season improvement in franchise history, at +.183 from last year’s .426. The only team to experience a bigger positive gain was also the 1946 team, jumping to .675 from .461 in 1945. Only 11 teams in big league history have experienced a larger success rate jump, period.

So with all due respect to Yaz and Dewey, Pudge, Rice, and Eck, the Rocket, Boggs, Manny, Pedro and Curt Schilling,the Beard Brothers could very well be the best regular season Red Sox team in 63 years. Sit back and enjoy it while it lasts.
Here are the Red Sox teams with the most wins through 151 games.

RedSox151bg.jpg

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Stats Driven is powered by David Sabino, who over the last two decades has been a source of statistical analysis on the pages of Sports Illustrated, New York Times, and Chicago Tribune. David has written about all seven recent Boston-area championships for Sports Illustrated Presents commemorative issues, was the creator of such long time features as SI’s Player Value Ranking, NBA Player Rating and long running fantasy football and baseball columns.

He has also authored or made contributions to many books, including the Sports Illustrated’s 100 Fenway: A Fascinating First Century.

Now living in Marblehead, he’s focusing his attention on the Boston sports scene, specifically delving into the numbers affecting the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, with the goal of informing and entertaining real fans. You can follow him on Twitter at @SabinoSports.

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