Are These Your Father's Red Sox?
Updated: Sep 24, 2018
After the Red Sox beat the Yankees on Thursday night 11-6, they clinched their third straight American League East division title. They also have won over 100 games for the first time since color TV was invented. The Red Sox also boast two MVP favorites, and a perennial Cy Young candidate. They also have two former Cy Young winners on the staff. Sitting here on September 23rd, with a week left in the season, they are 7.5 games better than the next team in baseball. Even with all those facts and numbers something inside me keeps telling me to not get your hopes up, this team will just rip your heart out.
For me, a person born in 1997 as a fan of all four of the major professional sports teams that call Boston home I have been blessed in seeing 5 Superbowl victories, 3 World Series, an NBA title, and a Stanley Cup. But at the same time I have seen an "perfect" team get beat in the Super Bowl and lose two others. The Patriots have lost three Super Bowls by a total of 15 points. I also have witnessed losing a game Seven to the Lakers all because of a Kendrick Perkins torn ACL. The Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead and they let an entire (half) season slip away in 17 seconds. I will admit the Red Sox have been to the World Series three times and have only lost two games (Thanks Will Middlebrooks). But yet the Red Sox have been the most disappointing in my life.
Maybe its because ever since I could remember from April to October my entire heart goes into that team. I think its because my first Red Sox memory was my Dad waking me up to see Edgar Renteria ground back to Keith Foulke to break the curse and win their first World Series in 86 years. I loved those idiots. I still watch the 2004 World Series film when I need a pick me up.
But just ask anyone who was apart of the fellowship of the miserable that was Red Sox nation from 1919 to 2003, they will tell you, following the Red Sox was a choice that always ended the same way. In tragedy. But even with the curse gone, the demons are still there. They are there in the form of historic September collapses, last place finishes, early playoff exits, and even playoff sweeps.
After getting beat by the artists formally known as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 7 games in the 2008 ALCS the Red Sox postseason resume is as follows:
2009: Swept By Angles in ALDS
2010: Missed Playoffs
2011: Beer and Fried Chicken caused a historic collapse, missed playoffs
2012: Missed playoffs (Worst team in baseball)
2013: Put the city on their backs and won the World Series for the victims of the Marathon Bombings earlier that year
2014: Last in AL East
2015: Last in AL East
2016: Swept by Indians in ALDS
2017: Lost ALDS 3-1 to the Astros
Everyone always says "I'm too young to be this miserable" or that "You don't know how good you have it" when talking about the Red Sox. But lets look at the last four seasons, nothing but misery. From ace by committee, to the dumpster fire which was the Jon Lester situation in the Spring Training of 2014. To the depletion of the entire farm system and the big money free agent signings. That's my problem, this team is "built to win now" but they will not win now. This team has no playoff heroes. They don't even have playoff sidekicks. No one on this roster has lit the world on fire in the playoffs.
First lets look at the probable playoff rotation. Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello. Chris Sale is 0-2 with a 8.38 ERA. Not good. Everyone remembers Chris Sale absolutely pooping his pants in game one last year where the Astros hit like a gazillion home runs. Next is David Price, who is 2-8 with an ERA north of 5 in his playoff tenure. I will say, David Price showed promise last year after being the best pitcher on the postseason roster. But I feel its the same David Price, or should I say the Bronx Cinderella where once the lights come on in Yankee Stadium, David Price turns into a puddle. If the Yankees win the Wild Card game, I am scared for David Price. Finally there is Rick Porcello, who is 0-3 with again an ERA over 5. Out of the bullpen last year he wasn't bad but at the same time he wasn't good. But against the Indians, he stunk out loud giving up 3 home runs. But I guess that is just Porcello.
Ill skip the bullpen because they stink. The Red Sox relievers are about as reliable as a straw house with a big bad wolf at your door. At this point I'd rather see Mitch Moreland out there than Joe Smelly.
Now lets look at the offense. Mookie Betts has a .269 average in his two series, with 3 doubles, no home runs, no RBI's, and 5 strike outs. Next is Andrew Benintendi who is batting .280 in two series, with 1 double, 2 home runs, and 4 RBI's. Good not great. JD Martinez is batting .259, with one double, 3 homers, and 6 RBI's, and has 10 strike outs. That is in two series and one wild card game. Again not good. I could go down the entire lineup but one guy I need to address is Xander Bogaerts. He STINKS in the playoffs. Hes .214 in five series. He batted .059 in last years playoffs. He had 1 hit in four games. and if you take out the 2013 postseason, this guy is batting .154 in the postseason. Some will say he had wrist problems but a hurt wrist is a hell of a long way from the heart. If he was out there playing, I don't want excuses.
Finally the manager. Alex Cora overall has been pretty good this whole year. Some of these off days have aggravated me but at least he is sticking to his guns. But I don't know what to expect with him in the playoffs. He has playoff coaching experience being on the World Series staff last year but who knows how he'll manage a must win game, something the Red Sox really haven't faced this year. Only positive from that the Red Sox will probably play the Yankees in the ALDS which means Aaron Boone will be the opposing manager. I have full confidence that Cora will out manage Boone so it will not be an issue in that first round. But if the Red Sox advance can Cora out manage Tito Francona or AJ Hinch? I don't know.
As much as I want to say the Red Sox will win the World Series because they've been the best team in the entire league for the entire year. I can't. The main reason is that I am protecting myself. I do not want to open myself up to this team just to have my heart ripped out in the second week of October. The other reason is I just do not believe it. I want to, I really do but numbers don't lie and those numbers listed above is all I need to determine that I don't think this team will go far in the playoffs. I really hope I am wrong. But until then, I am preparing for tragedy. Just hopefully not to the Yankees.