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    The Greg Maddux Watch: Stunning at 355

    Required Reading
    Whats wrong with baseball? Part I
    Part II
    Part III
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      Round III
    Another series starts tonight. This time the Red Sox are in do or die mode. They're 8 1/2 back in the AL East, and don't exactly look to be turning it around any time soon.

    Interestingly, the Red Sox find themselves in a similar position to the Cubs last week. Unfortunately for the Cubs, the Cardinals strolled into Wrigley and stole two games ("instant classics") effectively ending the NL Central Race.

    Without a sweep of the three game series, starting tonight, the Red Sox may also find themselves out of the race. Yet, there is hope, after all look at the pitching matchups: John "duct tape" Lieber vs. Curt Schilling tonight; Tanyon "10th inning" Sturtze vs. Bronson Arroyo tommorrow; and the all-enigmatic matchup of Jose Contreras and Derek Lowe on Sunday. On paper, the matchups heavily favor the Red Sox.

    On paper? Am I crazy?

    I'm really sick of speaking in "on paper" terms. To quote my good friend (and visionary) Lee Flowers, the Red Sox are paper champions. On paper, they were every bit as good as the Yankees, and still are. Except where it matters.

    All I know is what I see, and this is the relevant information I see:
              RS  AVG  OBP  SLG |  RA  BAA  OBA  SLA   ERA |  DER
    Red Sox 521 .277 .356 .464 | 455 .259 .325 .404 4.07 | .688
    Yankees 517 .263 .352 .456 | 451 .268 .318 .424 4.40 | .691
    On paper the Red Sox have better hitting, better pitching, and defense (DER) equal to the Yankees. But all that means a pile of poop. The only thing that matters is this:
               W    L    PCT    GB
    New York 60 34 .638 --
    Boston 52 43 .547 8.5
    For those of you looking for some grand explanation, I suggest you go elsewhere. But at least I'll give you a choice. I've already done the eavesdropping. I already know all the explanations you will hear offered. While almost all of them are based on a bunch of bullshit conventional talk radio wisdom, I really don't care anymore. Take your pick, save some time:
    The Yankees                 The Red Sox
    Mystique & Aura Cursed.
    Born Winners Born Losers
    grit Can't hit in the clutch.
    God's gift to clutchness. Can't pitch in the clutch.
    Captain Intangibles A bunch of bums off the street.
    Move runners up. Strike out too much.
    The Boss Boy Wonder
    $183M $125M
    You know what bothers me the most? I don't believe any of that bullshit, but I also can't give in to your typical "it's just bad luck" excuse. I've lost the rational ability to explain what I see. I can't come up with any reason. I can't come up with anything but frustration.

    Well, that and irrational, bitter hatred towards an entire baseball franchise.