Photo Credit: Paul Rutherford / USA Today-Sports
A “team of destiny” is a term that is coined often in sports; however it is accurately reflecting the 2018 Red Sox.
In sports, there are championship teams who have a slight edge on everyone. It is an ability, mindset, or dumb luck that enables them to distinguish themselves from the pack and win the championship. This is not empirical and there is no quantitative data to suggest what I’m saying is true, yet somehow you understand what I mean. That little extra thing that pushes champions over the top can be seen in other sports too. In soccer, scoring a timely late goal when the team needs it always seems elevate a club to the very top. Hell, even in football, the champion’s edge could be something as simple as the quarterback catching a trick play-pass in the Super Bowl versus one who doesn’t.
I am not going to lie to you, I think the Houston Astros have a better team on paper. Their lineup has more depth and juice in it, but that fact could be exacerbated by the absence of Dustin Pedroia in the middle part of the lineup. Houston’s starting pitching has perhaps three times the quality as Boston’s, especially after the aces. Their infield is much more solid defensively, enabling them to make game-altering plays. Lastly, their bullpen is one of the best in the game, while ours isn’t quite on that level. All that being said, the Boston Red Sox have been the best team in baseball all season, and game four cemented them as a team who is playing with a championship edge.
First, allow me to recap last night. Game 4 was determined by mere inches. Three plays in particular were affected by this: the fan interference call, Mookie Betts throwing-out Kemp at 2nd, and Andrew Benintendi’s game-winning catch in the 9th inning. If any of these plays change by a matter of inches, Houston could have easily won the game. This is especially true on the last play. If the ball just grazes the ground, skips over Benintendi’s stretched out glove, and goes past him, the Houston Astros would have had a 3-run walk off hit.
Here’s the thing… that didn’t happen. In a game where inches determined the outcome of a pivotal match, Boston won on each occasion. While the first play was in the hands of the umpire, Mookie’s throw-out and Benintendi’s catch were extraordinary plays that were made by the player. Boston clawed, fought, grabbed, and earned every inch in game four. That, fellow Red Sox fans, is a team with a championship edge and swagger – a team of destiny.
I do not believe in jinxing or cursing yourself. I believe in what I see and know. That is, the Red Sox have a 3-1 series lead over the defending champs and will at the very least have two opportunities to advance to the World Series by playing at home, one of which with Chris Sale on the mound. From there, they would play the NLCS winner. While the Dodgers and the Brewers are very good teams, they are not as good as the New York Yankees, let alone the Houston Astros. That is why I tell you this with confidence: game four has demonstrated that the Boston Red Sox are going to win the World Series.
Perhaps this claim is unjustified and that I will be proven grossly incorrect. But in game 4 of the ALCS I saw a team with a swagger, playing with an edge that separates them from every opponent. I saw a team that fought back and made the plays when it mattered most. I saw a team who looked the defending champs in the eye and took something away from them. I saw a team who scored in the last minute of added time and a team who caught a trick play-pass for a touchdown. Destiny is calling the Boston Red Sox, my friends. This team is going to win the World Series.