The Boston Red Sox are now sitting in Red Barber’s “Catbird Seat” as the premier team in baseball. For the fans and the team, it is good to be the king, but an October crown is needed.
The Red Sox rampage continues on a historic run to ring up an impressive number of victories. You don’t need power rankings to know this is a baseball machine that has overcome injuries and poor performances that could have derailed lesser Red Sox teams of the past.
Teams need a bounce in September – at least those that seek a playoff position – and the Red Sox will have that. Expect all hands to be gearing up for the postseason. Christian Vazquez will return to provide some more defensive super glue to catching. And, of course, a large dose of super glue will be getting Eduardo Rodriguez and Chris Sale in tune.
Dave Dombrowski didn’t make a big splash in the late July trading scheme, but put together the three most needed pieces – Ian Kinsler to defensively fortify second base, Nathan Eovaldi for the rotation, and Steve Pearce for a right-hand bat. Kinsler is certainly not the Kinsler of a few years back, but still a well above average defender with an occasional potent bat.
Eovaldi will never be confused with elite starters in both leagues but can eat up some innings and when everything is just right can be a shutdown starter. Of course, Dombrowski was hammered ruthlessly for not acquiring bullpen support despite his pronouncements that every effort was made.
Pearce made his big splash against the one team that the Red Sox fans, players, and media have red circled on the schedule – the New York Yankees. The Pearce destruction tour of the Yankee staff will be a growing legend as the years pass by. Then there is the bullpen.
Looks like going with what you have may actually have been the right choice. Two certainly stand out from different baseball worlds. In 2017 Hector Velazquez was brought on board from the passionate baseball hotbed of the Mexican League. For this season it was Ryan Brasier who had served a year of service in Japan. Both have been solid contributors.
Nothing much can be said about the offense that hasn’t already been distributed to the masses. The display is on view daily. And that brings to the surface resilience as demonstrated in a four-game series at home recently against the Indians. After two losses the Sox bounced back and ended a rare three-game skid.
This team is as solid as one will find in baseball. Every aspect from the key ingredient of pitching all the way down to intuitive base running. A blend of youthful exuberance and veteran talent that certainly spells balance. And do not forget the industrious and level-headed rookie manager – Alex Cora.
How it can fall apart.
So much for all the platitudes as this season will all hinge on the playoffs. For the last two forays, it has been a disaster. If it happens again in the first round a triple play nightmare of 2016-18. The expectation is to go deeper into the playoffs and that will be meaningless without a World Series flag. That is the only measure of success.
The Yankee fans I know have always had the right attitude of expectations in that any season in which they do not win the WS is a failure. That is now my expectation, especially for this team. Granted – anything can happen in the next month with the specter of a catastrophic injury being in the forefront, but right here and now it is good to be king since everyone is looking up at the throne on which the Red Sox are perched.