Streaks are bound to end

None of the Yankees probably wanted to admit it, but they would have just as soon the Red Sox had won a game or two on that season-opening trip rather than show up for their home opener Friday with a record of 0-6.

Players are well aware that streaks, winning or losing, of five or more games are rare for teams of contender status. Good teams are bound to snap out of funks, and all teams are susceptible to down periods. I have had many a manager tell me how much they dislike starting a series against a team on an extended losing streak because the law of averages tend to be in that club’s favor.

Part of that is the usual superstition you hear from guys in uniform in the big leagues. One thing about streaks like the Red Sox were on from the start of a season is that the statistic nerds get all bent out of shape.

When Boston was 0-4, the talk radio throats were moaning about the fact that no team that lost its first four games ever won the World Series. Isn’t that rich? Here’s a team that took 86 years to break the “Curse of the Bambino,” and now with two championships under their belts in the past seven seasons Red Sox fans sound like the World Series is somehow their divine right.

I covered a Yankees team in 1998 that seemed to win eight games a week (they finished with 114 victories), and they opened the season with four losses in the first five games. And let’s not forget – although Yankees fans would love to – that no team ever came back from a deficit of 0-3 to win a seven-game, post-season series before the Red Sox pulled it off against the Bombers in the 2004 American League Championship Series.

It bears repeating; that’s why they play the games.

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