Fresh off a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox have an 9.5-game stranglehold over the Bronx Bombers in the AL East and at this point look like a shoo-in to take the division. Actually, it's 100 percent going to happen.
However, what's not going to happen is a deep postseason run in Boston.
The Red Sox and their fans will be watching the playoffs from home after the ALDS. Enjoy the J.P. Licks from the couch, New England. Better yet, stock up on the meatballs in a cone right now.
Red Sox vs playoff contenders on their schedule - NYY, Sea, Oak, Hou, Phi and Atl: 15-16, .484 pct, +9 run diff.— Tony Massarotti (@TonyMassarotti) August 1, 2018
Red Sox vs all else: 60-18, .769 pct, +167 run diff.
They have not played Cleveland yet.
Yup, they walloped the Yankees this weekend, but before that it wasn't looking so great, and that's still significant.
What's my reasoning here? For one, luck runs out. It just does. If you've been on earth for longer than 20 years, you know that. We see it happen in EVERY sport EVERY year. Only a handful of times do we witness a team breeze through the entire regular season and then stomp out the competition in the playoffs. Will Mookie Betts and JD Martinez continue tearing the cover off the ball through the month of October? Maybe, but probably not. I wouldn't be psyched about my two best hitters having a combined 53 postseason at-bats. Also, ace Chris Sale has appeared in two playoff games, both of which came last year. And he's already been bumped one time during his recovery from a shoulder issue.
Should be fine, though. His throwing motion is definitely normal. Doesn't look like it could lead to an injury at all. Clean as a whistle.
No, it wasn’t a walk-off or a playoff game. But Mookie Betts sure shook Fenway Park last night. On a special moment in what is shaping up to be a special season: https://t.co/U7a8u3r0Qd— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 13, 2018
Yeah, let's all take our shirts off for a go-ahead grand slam in the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Then again, the Red Sox are pretty much stacked in every way imaginable, barring a few holes -- significant ones -- in the lineup and bullpen. But those once-expected holes are somehow getting the job done, making the Red Sox look like the 2001 Mariners. Steve Pearce as the team's No. 3 hitter? Come on. This infield also consists of Eduardo Nunez, Ian Kinsler, Brock Holt, Blake Swihart and Sandy Leon. When push comes to shove, is THIS going to be the cast of guys that gets a timely hit or makes a big play? Yup, I know Rafael Devers is injured, but he's not that great anyway, so when he returns it really won't matter much. Let's not be using him in the whole "injury" argument.
And this bullpen behind Craig Kimbrel? We've seen them poop their pants in a few big moments this year, so what's going to happen when October rolls around and EVERY moment is huge? Is Heath Hembree your guy? Oh, what about Matt Barnes? Joe Kelly? Dave Dombrowski is acting like Tyler Thornburg is going to be an X-factor with his lack of urgency at the trade deadline. The guy has pitched in 11 games since the start of the 2017 season.
Boston Red Sox bullpen enjoying added rest created by starters' success https://t.co/mg4zawzoCv— Matt Vautour (@MattVautour424) August 5, 2018
It won't be easy to rely on deep, near-flawless outings against the Yankees, Mariners, A's, or whomever, especially when every pitch counts. David Price in the playoffs is already bad enough, and Rick Porcello has a career 5.47 ERA in 11 career postseason games. Let's also laugh at Nathan Eovaldi potentially toeing the rubber as a starter for this team beyond the regular season. Boston is acting like he's the second coming of Roger Clemens after 15 scoreless innings since being acquired. Get a grip.
And while Alex Cora has proven to be quite impressive during his first season in Boston, karma is only kind to so many hardo rookie managers. And by "so many," I mean one. Only ONE rookie manager has won a World Series since 1969, which is when the League Championship Series was introduced.
But he and the Sox won't need to worry about getting that far. This team has faced no adversity and has won countless games they should have lost. Given the unpredictability and uncertainty of baseball, there's no way this team outlasts the Yanks, A's or Mariners in the ALDS.