Last year, when the Red Sox started the season 0-6, and 2-10, Sox fans were treated to statistic after statistic about how few teams recovered from such a gap to reach the playoffs, win the world series, or even achieve a winning record. It seemed like it was every writer's top priority to hammer home the hopelessness of the situation.
Of course, it only makes it worse that, after seemingly overcoming every single one of those statistics and establishing themselves at the top of the AL East, the Red Sox went right ahead and blew it all in September. But that's another story altogether.
This year, despite a 1-5 start, those numbers never really came up. Perhaps it's because the beat writers are all loathe to repeat themselves just one ear Or maybe it's that, unlike last year, this Red Sox team does not come with any great expectations. It would, after all, be cruel at best to have spent the last 15 years reminding Pirates fans that, based on the first couple months of the season, now everyone is really sure that they won't be turning things around this season.
Still, for those interested in some historical perspective, how about this: the last time the Red Sox were three games under .500 as late as Game 61 was 1997. Despite the first full season of Nomar Garciaparra--he would win Rookie of the Year honors--and strong campaigns from the likes of Mo Vaughn and John Valentin, the pre-Pedro Sox would allow 857 runs thanks to a rotation weighed down by Aaron Sele, Jeff Suppan, and Steve Avery, as well as a miserable bullpen.
Now, credit to these 2012 Red Sox of ours, they are not 24-37 like the 1997 edition was. But also credit to the 1997 edition, since they managed to work their way back up to a more dignified 78-84 before the season was over.
That's one win more than these Sox will have if they keep going at the same pace they have for the last three months of the season.