Reason for Panic?
Mlb.com recently informed the sports following public that the Red Sox are not panicking after being shut out in Game 1 by the Angels. Why would they panic? Yes, their offense flatlined. Should they be concerned? For a moment, let us try to put some perspective on a single shut out.
As a team, the Red Sox were 2nd in the American League in On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage, 3rd in runs scored, and 4th in Batting Average. While those exact numbers will likely not carry over against improved competition in the postseason, the Red Sox start from a good offensive baseline. Second, they can look at the example of the Rockies this season and watch a team get shut out in Game 1 and score five runs while winning Game 2. But for serious perspective, what is the worst that could happen?
The 1905 Philadelphia A’s would have to be Sox fans’ worst nightmare. The A’s led the American League in runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. They proceeded to get shut out in 4 of the 5 games of the World Series, and only managed three unearned runs in their Game 2 win. Why did this happen? They played against two Hall of Fame pitchers, Christy Matthewson and Joe McGinnity. That does not quite describe the 2009 Angels.
The 1966 Dodgers are baseball’s other great postseason hitting disaster. Unlike the A’s, everyone could see this coming. The Dodgers were 8th in Runs, 5th in Batting Average and On-Base Percentage, and 9th in Slugging Percentage in the 10-team National League. The Dodgers scored one run in the second inning of Game 1 and one run in the third inning. After that, they were shut out for the series. Unsurprisingly, a team that couldn’t hit had trouble with Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, and company. Again, this does not resemble the current series.
To sum up, the Red Sox had a bad game. Lester walked too many men, and their hitters did not perform up to expectations. Do not expect a recap of 1905 or 1966, however. They are still a very good team; expect them to play as such.