It’s been an incredible ride in 2018, but the Red Sox must grab a win tonight in the Bronx.
Taking a look at the body of work for the 2018 Boston Red Sox would leave most fans relatively content. They’ve set the record for wins in franchise history, they’ve clearly identified cornerstone pieces for the future, and have proven to hire a young, promising manager in Alex Cora.
However, the beauty of being a Boston-area fan is that we aren’t satisfied with regular season production. It’s the championships that carry the most weight. Perhaps we’ve been spoiled with the history of the Boston Celtics, Bruins, and the ever-competitive New England Patriots, but we’ve come to expect greatness.
After an up-and-down beginning to the ALDS, the Red Sox have left themselves in a must-win scenario tonight in New York. It’s no secret that playing in the Bronx is no easy task, but Nathan Eovaldi will take the ball against a Yankees’ lineup that has been hot throughout the series. Aaron Judge has done a majority of the damage, but is only hitting .286 against Eovaldi.
The stakes will be high and the energy within the stadium will be higher, but the Red Sox must come to play.
A Defining Series for Dave Dombrowski
The GM of the Boston Red Sox should be given significant credit for what has taken place throughout the 2018 season. He signed J.D. Martinez – which has paid significant dividends – and clearly improved clubhouse morale with the hiring of Cora. As the captain of the ship, he’ll get credit for success and face large amounts of scrutiny if it sinks.
In this series, he’ll be under fire for a variety of different issues. The most vocal issue among Red Sox nation is likely the signing of David Price. In Dombrowski’s defense, Ben Cherington left the Sox in a bad place while failing to resign Jon Lester and passing on the like’s of Max Scherzer and company. However, Price has been solid in Boston this season, but the reoccurring struggles against the Yankees (0-3 / 10.34 ERA this season) and a lack of production in the postseason (2-9 / 5.28 ERA) will leave plenty of fans casting blame on the GM.
Additionally, there’s the failure to bolster the bullpen. The opportunity was present in the offseason to add extra pieces to sure up a high risk / high reward group. Many were clamoring for the team to add Pat Neshek, Tony Watson, or other valuable assets as low-risk signings throughout the offseason. There was no action, which ultimately led to an increased asking price at the Trade Deadline and left the prospect-barren Red Sox in a position to trust their current unit.
The bullpen nearly gave away Game One and a strong performance in Game Two could’ve left the Sox with the opportunity to comeback, but was destroyed by a three-run bomb off the bat of Gary Sanchez. It’s a clear issue – and one that will be further discussed if the Red Sox fail to advance to the ALCS.
Tonight, we’ll get to witness another Dombrowski acquisition in prime time. Nate Eovaldi will look to continue his strong performance against the Yankees in Game Three – the biggest game of the season.
I’ve been a Dave Dombrowski defender for the past few seasons; however a failure to advance to the ALCS this season may leave his job security under serious consideration. If John Farrell was exiled despite decent success, there’s no doubt that ownership will do the same questioning.