With the Boston Red Sox set to invade Yankee Stadium for a three game series against their arch rivals, the New York Yankees, some Sox fans doubt their team’s seven 1/2 game division lead will hold.
Statisticians have an important message for nervous Red Sox fans worried about the team’s history of late-season collapses against the Yankees: Relax.
The Red Sox open an important three-game series on Tuesday in New York against a team that has caused so much heartbreak for Boston fans over the years. But this year the Red Sox – who now hold a commanding 71/2-game lead over their division rivals – have a 95.8 percent chance of winning the American League East, according to the Web site baseballprospectus.com.
The percentages, through Saturday’s games, are based upon a computer’s simulation of the remaining regular season games played out one million times.
Richard Quindley of Whitman, chairman of the Bridgewater State College mathematics and computer science department, said the computer simulations “should be accurate.”
“They’re done in many fields all the time,” Quindley said.
Despite the positive computer prediction, Derek Tronca, 27, of Quincy, still is filled with anxiety as the Red Sox prepare to play their final 31 games of the season.
“I have my doubts,” said Tronca, who was at the Varsity Club in Quincy on Sunday evening. “They just seem to fall apart towards the end of seasons.”
Tronca questions the reliability of statistics. “Look at 2004, when (the Red Sox) came back to beat the Yankees (in the American League Championship Series),” he said. “No statistics would have said that. It hadn’t happened before.”
Pat O’Sullivan, 25, of Braintree felt a rejuvenated Red Sox offense, which scored 46 runs in a four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, proves the team is ready to win the division.
The news about the postseason is even better. The Red Sox have a 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs, the computer simulation shows.
Brian Benson of The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.) may be reached at email@example.com.