THE STAT is a bit daunting.
But it’s NOT a death knell.
After the Red Sox dropped their home opener following the pregame festivities Tuesday, they fell to 3-9, a record they brought into Thursday night’s game with the Blue Jays.
Then a stat surfaced: Since the advent of the wild card in 1995, 57 teams started out 3-9. Of those 57, only three made it to the postseason.
That’s 5.6 percent, folks.
With the day off Wednesday, the Red Sox fell to 6½ games behind the surging Rays. The Yankees were drowning in a 5-7 start as both favorites are looking up at Tampa Bay.
Still, Fangraphs still had the Red Sox with a 64 percent chance of making the playoffs. They came into the season at 90 percent.
One thing appears for sure: All those games among the Sox, Yankees and Rays this season will be a blast.
No Sale sign
There were built-in dangers to giving Chris Sale a lengthy contract extension when it didn’t have to be done until after the season. But owner John Henry didn’t want a repeat of the Jon Lester botchery so the Sox re-upped Sale.
So far, the deal clearly hasn’t looked great – Sale admitting he’s never felt this lost on a pitcher’s mound.
”We’ve got to win that game,” Sale said after Tuesday’s loss. “This is very easy to throw on the pile and say we aren’t playing good. This wasn’t us not playing good, this was me sucking today. That’s frustrating because today was the day we were going to turn it around.”
The loss dropped the Red Sox starters to 0-8 on the season. Sale’s ERA is 9.00, David Price 6.00, Nathan Eovaldi 8.10 (before Thursday night), Eduardo Rodriguez 12.38 and Rick Porcello 13.50.
Pomp and circumstance
Tuesday’s ring/banner ceremony was great. Not sure why they had to celebrate with the Patriots. Also not sure why there was no emcee introducing the people as they came out.
“Welcome back to Boston, MANNY RAMIREZ!!!”
Nope. None of that.
But the important thing done by the team was including my pal Nick Cafardo in the pregame moment of silence – and of putting roses and his picture at a Globe seat in the press box.
Henry visited the mini-shrine, prompting 98.5’s Tony Massarotti to tweet: “After the ceremony, in a gesture of infinite grace, John Henry came to the press box and met with ESPN baseball communications strategist Ben Cafardo, son of longtime Globe scribe Nick Cafardo, who died suddenly in February at spring training.”
Also on Twitter was a photo of Wade Boggs – and HIS championship ring. Boggs, who still works for the club, tweeted, “What a day OMG thank you Mr. Henry Mr. Werner Mr. Kennedy and the entire Red Sox family for this honor the chicken has come back to roost.”
Back to Manny, who says he still dreams of the Hall of Fame, in spite of his transgressions off the field. “We (are) praying,” Ramirez said. “But, you know, I think (in) life, everybody makes mistakes. You know, Nobody’s perfect. But I think with time, I think if it’s God’s will, we’re going to be (in Cooperstown). If not, hey, we’re just happy that we got the opportunity to play the game that we love.”
Joining the fun
Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Brandon Carlo all missed the entire playoff runs of the TD Garden teams last season.
All three were ready to go as the Bruins opened their first round against the Maple Leafs Thursday night.
Irving knows this has been a crazy season for the Celtics, who open against the Pacers on Sunday.
”A lot of bull…., a lot of ups and downs that could have been handled better from a professional standpoint, personal,” Irving said this week. “And I’m talking about me personally. I’m not talking about our team.”
Irving, who may or may not be back in Boston next season (“ask me on July 1”), finished the regular season 23.8 points, 6.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game. In 52 career playoff games, he has averaged 23.9 points, 4.7 assists and 3.1 rebounds.
Hayward, who missed all but a few minutes of the 2017-18 season, has played in 15 career playoff games, 11 of them coming in ’16-17, when he averaged 24.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the Jazz. That, of course, was before the horrific injury, and what’s important is what he’s doing now.
He looked much better down the stretch. A sign he’s a force in the playoffs?
Hayward scored in double figures in his last eight games – averaging 16.4 per game to finish the season at 11.5.
And remember, he’s an Indy boy who played at Butler (for Brad Stevens) and now faces the Pacers.
If he’s not all the way back, he appears close and has conquered any fear and rustiness of playing his game in the paint.
“That’s a lot of what I did when I was in Utah,” he said. “Finishing in the lane there with different types of finishes off one foot, two feet, fading back, leaning, things like that.”
Now, to Carlo, who just finished his third season in the NHL but Thursday night played in his very first playoff game – after injuring KOd him the last two spring seasons.
“Growing up, you watch this time of the year. It’s the most important time of the year,” Carlo said leading up to the opener. “To be in this position is the dream of every kid that you can imagine. You emulate these games playing mini hockey or street hockey. It’ll be a lot of fun to finally be out there.”