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Boston Red Sox’s Dan Shaughnessy Makes Epically Bad Prediction

30 Sep

During a rain delay in a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles, Boston sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy made an epically bad prediction. Full text below.

“I think the Rays are not going to win tonight. The one thing that we have eliminated tonight is that the Red Sox season is not going to end tonight. They live to play another day. The key to me is that they can hold on to this thing tonight, not have to play that game in Tampa tomorrow and go start in Detroit or Texas on Friday. That’s certainly the way to go especially with the way their pitching is torn up. All that sort of thing…the worst thing that could happen is you have to play that game in Tampa tomorrow, you gotta hold onto this 3-2 lead tonight but the Rays aren’t going to come back from 7-0 with an inning and a half to go.”

Unfortunately for Shaughnessy, in most cases, he would have been absolutely right. The odds against the Red Sox blowing it were so high as to make the events that actually occurred seemingly impossible. First, check out the highlights of the night.

Here’s the incredible series of events that caused the Red Sox collapse.

  1. On September 3, the Red Sox had a 9 game lead in the Wild Card race. They had a 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  2. They have a $161 million payroll (3rd highest in baseball)
  3. The Red Sox were up 3-2 against the Baltimore Orioles in the bottom of the 9th inning.
  4. The Rays were down 7-0 to the Yankees in the bottom of the 8th inning.
  5. The Orioles were down to their last strike, with two outs. They were facing Jonathan Papelbon, one of baseball’s most unhittable pitchers.
  6. Then, the Rays score 6 runs in the 8th inning to make the score 7-6.
  7. Orioles hitter Chris Davis doubles. Nolan Reimold then also doubles, making the score 3-3.
  8. The Rays send Dan Johnson, who is hitting just .108, to the plate with two outs. He hits a home run to tie the score at 7 and sends the games to extra innings.
  9. Orioles hitter Robert Andino gets a hit. Reimold scores and the Orioles win 4-3.
  10. This happens. Evan Longoria wins it 8-7.
To put this into perspective, let’s look at the math from Nate Silver:

The Red Sox had just a 0.3 percent chance of failing to make the playoffs on Sept. 3.

The Rays had just a 0.3 percent chance of coming back after trailing 7-0 with two innings to play.

The Red Sox had only about a 2 percent chance of losing their game against Baltimore, when the Orioles were down to their last strike.

The Rays had about a 2 percent chance of winning in the bottom of the 9th, with Johnson also down to his last strike.

The odds of all of this happening together? 1 in 278 million. 

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