Thursday, April 16, 2009

Back again...

So, after a weekend at the 'rents house with all the siblings and assorted nieces, and a week wherein I've been working on an article for a local business magazine, I finally have some time to look at some of the current sports stories...

Boy did the Sox, and the bullpen need that start from Tim Wakefield. Wake had the knuckleball working so well he took a no-hitter into the eighth only a day after Terry Francona was forced to use six relievers due to the fact that Daisuke Matsuzaka couldn't get past the first inning.

While it was good to get the win, I think whether the team won or lost was irrelevant. The fact that Wake gave the team a complete game, however, was huge, and needed more than anything else.

If the Celtics don't get a reasonably healthy Kevin Garnett back...well, let's just say I don't see the team making it to the finals. They got absolutely waxed by the Cavaliers, and eked out a win against a far inferior Sixers team. Playing like that right now could get them ousted in the first round.

That's one hell of a schedule that the Patriots are facing this season. Based on their opponents' records from last season, the Pats have the third hardest road to the post season based on strength of schedule facing only two teams that had a sub-.500 record last season, and only two other teams that had a record as bad as .500.

That said, I would like to note that, for all of that, the strength of schedule as a metric for the difficulty of season means nothing at this time of year - zip. nada. zilch. There are plenty of fans that buy into, though. Last season the Pats started the season with the easiest strength of schedule based on the fact that the teams they were facing were 99-157 in 2007 with games against only 4 of 2007's playoff teams. Those same teams improved by 24 games last season to reflect an aggregate record of 123-133 with games against six of playoff teams, including contests against both of the Super Bowl contestants. That moved the Patriots into the middle of the pack in regards to strength of schedule by the end of the season.

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