Boston playing numbers game

The Runs For and Runs Against column tells the real tale of how a baseball team is doing.

Updated: March 15, 2004, 10:17 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
It happens every spring. You read a lot of articles in which writers force themselves to make predictions about the upcoming season or ask managers, general managers and players to do the same. You yourself are going to ponder the imponderable: "what is my team going to do this year?"

In response, you're going to see a lot of speculation about individual performance, innings pitched, injuries, emerging rookies, resurgent veterans and team chemistry. A lot of very important (and unimportant) factors will be speculated upon. In the end, though, there is only one subject that matters and it is surprising how infrequently it is ever mentioned.

I'll dispense with the drama and tell you what it is: runs scored versus runs allowed.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at