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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Friday, August 30, 2019

One Month to the Playoffs

Why yes, with 28 games to go the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox are still playing baseball games and in fact they are playing baseball games that matter!  The magic number to win a fourth consecutive AL East title is just 43!

OK OK, I’m willing to concede that their division chances have probably dipped a shade below 50% (though a sweep against the Yankees next weekend and just make up another 11 1/2 games…) but the Wild Card is still doable.  The 5 1/2 game deficit, while substantial this late in the season, is far from insurmountable.  The problem for the Sox though is twofold; first they are chasing two teams (well three teams for one of two spots) and they only play three games against Tampa among their direct foes for the spot.  They are going to need other teams to help them.

But the Sox are taking care of business on their own.  Since being put slightly on the back foot (read: buried) in the division by the Yankees earlier in the month they have won 13 out 20 and should they simply play at that pace they will wind up at 90 wins.  That is not likely to be enough but having been critical of Alex Cora for large portions of the season I think he deserves credit for keeping the team focused and playing when a 2006 redux loomed largely.

I don’t think the Sox are likely to do it but it is worth a little think about how this season could feel in a month.  Imagine the Sox do get hot and go 21-7 or something like that finishing at 93-69, squeak into the Wild Card game and win that behind a strong effort from World Series MVP 1A David Price.  Suddenly they will enter an LDS, likely against the Yankees, with the narrative being ‘the world champs are the hottest team in baseball” and “all the pressure is on the Yankees.”

One thing that has been lost to history a bit is just what a disappointing season so much of 2004 was.  For two thirds of the year the Sox were pretty uninspired.  From May 1 to August 1, 81 games, they were 41-40 leading the execrable Tony Massarotti to coin them the “Fortune 500s” because they cost a fortune and played .500.  Full credit where it is due, that’s a great line.  But they got hot late and then of course October happened.  Imagine the emotions at Fenway, the Sox have made it to the LDS and stolen a game in New York, Mookie Betts carries a boom box out of Yankee Stadium playing “Dirty Water” then just moments before game three as the crowd settles in the PA announces;

“And now ladies and gentlemen for our first pitch ceremony.  We gratefully welcome back a Red Sox legend, a man who was the face of the franchise for over a decade, winner of three World Series titles and the GREATEST CLUTCH HITTER IN BASEBALL HISTORY…”

From there I suspect the roar would drown out whoever the hell the PA guy is (seriously, a search for “Red Sox PA Announcer” returns links for Sherm Feller and Carl Beane but not who the current dude is and the primary guy (not Lobel or Flavin) is pretty good).*

* seriously? A parenthetical within a parenthetical? My 7th grade English teacher Mrs. Blackburn is cringing somewhere right now.

It is highly unlikely, I know.  The likelihood is that the final week of the season is to be devoted to watching Bobby Dalbec try and knock down the Monster, Eduardo Rodriguez aim for 20 wins and Xander and Raffy try to join Gehrig and Ruth as the only teammates with 90+ XBH.

But the Sox have a chance.  If the Sox were 5 1/2 games up right now no one would be confidently making playoff plans.  They are still in the running.  Again, I’m not counting on it but hope lives and this remains, well maybe not a fun team, but a team with a lot of really fun guys to root for.

Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: August 30, 2019 at 03:36 PM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 01, 2019 at 10:11 AM (#5876079)
Can they please take Herman Munster out of RF? Great hitter, but he can not run. It's painful. I don't care how bad JBJ is against lefties. Can JD play first? Probably not, but, he definitely can't play in the OF.
   2. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 01, 2019 at 10:16 AM (#5876080)
There was a "Munsters" where Herman got a tryout with, the Dodgers? Maybe I'm confusing shows. Leo Durocher was in some sitcom where one of the leads got a try out. Or something like that.

Anyway, Herman almost cost them the game on Friday night. He boxed a one hopper, letting Otani score a second run on the play. From first base. With only one out. He should have been held at third.

I think baserunners are told to be aggressive when the ball is hit to JD. He has a good arm, but he has lots of trouble picking it up.
   3. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 01, 2019 at 10:20 AM (#5876081)
And Jose. If they were 5.5 up today, I'd be confident. I think they can get the 2nd WC, but it will be hard. They have to get to 88 or 89 wins, I think. 16-10 or 17-9. It's doable.

If the situation was reversed I'd feel ok because they hit so well.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 01, 2019 at 11:16 AM (#5876083)
And Jose. If they were 5.5 up today, I'd be confident. I think they can get the 2nd WC, but it will be hard. They have to get to 88 or 89 wins, I think. 16-10 or 17-9. It's doable.

The hardest part is it's not just the 5.5 games, but you have to catch two of the three teams.
   5. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 01, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5876089)
Confident but not dismissing that the spot was wrapped up.

The last two nights have exposed a big problem for this team though. They were fortunate to pull the game out Friday night and gave it away last night. Speaking of last night, do we know if it was Cora who called the bunt by Benny in the 8th? I was so pissed about that. Bottom of the order coming up he’s the best hitter for the next four guys let him swing the bat.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 01, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5876101)
The problem for the Sox though is twofold; first they are chasing two teams (well three teams for one of two spots) and they only play three games against Tampa among their direct foes for the spot.
The Red Sox have 4 games at Tampa from September 20-23. They probably need to win that series, but staying alive until then may be more difficult. Cleveland & Oakland were looking like the Wildcard favorites of late, but injuries may derail the Indians.
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 01, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5876104)
There was a "Munsters" where Herman got a tryout with, the Dodgers? Maybe I'm confusing shows. Leo Durocher was in some sitcom where one of the leads got a try out. Or something like that.

You remember it right.
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 01, 2019 at 02:55 PM (#5876124)
They are going to need other teams to help them.
I’m a bit disappointed that Red Sox fans aren’t cheering on the Yankees against the A’s today, either here or at OmniChatter. Perhaps you have given up hope.
   9. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 01, 2019 at 03:19 PM (#5876129)
Ha. Fred Gwynn's swing wasn't that terrible, with all the padding he wore.

Yankees suck.
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 01, 2019 at 04:32 PM (#5876168)
Not even a thank you?
   11. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 01, 2019 at 04:38 PM (#5876171)
For what?

Hey, Clapper, look! The mound in Anaheim has your favorite number etched on it.
   12. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 01, 2019 at 07:50 PM (#5876200)
So they held on today. It was a good road trip. They are 5 back and 2 teams to overcome. They really just need to start winning at home. 40-29 on the road, .500 at home. And of course their incredibly poor record against winning teams needs to be considered.
The next 6 games against the Twins and NY is pretty much it. If they go .500, they are done, if they go 5-1 then I think they'll actually pull it off. 4-2...who knows, but with the Rays and Indians beating up on the Orioles and White Sox over the next few days, the task is difficult.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: September 01, 2019 at 07:53 PM (#5876202)
One thing that has been lost to history a bit is just what a disappointing season so much of 2004 was.  For two thirds of the year the Sox were pretty uninspired.  From May 1 to August 1, 81 games, they were 41-40 leading the execrable Tony Massarotti to coin them the “Fortune 500s” because they cost a fortune and played .500.
I'm glad that's lost to history; the sentiment of "they are doomed because they went .500 over such-and-such a stretch" was pushed hard by the media and was an asinine insight, even at the time. It's now in the dustbin of history, alongside its even worse companions: "it's a big problem for 2004 that a lot of guys aren't under contract for 2005" and "If they don't win Game 3, they are frauds."
   14. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 02, 2019 at 11:14 PM (#5876364)
Not really related but not sure it’s of interest to anyone other than a few locals;

Jim McCarthy has passed away. Old timers like me remember Jim as part of Eddie Andelman’s Sports Huddle every Sunday night on WHDH radio.
   15. villageidiom Posted: September 03, 2019 at 10:17 AM (#5876408)
Full credit where it is due, that’s a great line.
It's a horrible line. You know this, because right after you shared it you felt the need to explain it.

As far as Massarotti goes it's a pretty good line.

I’m a bit disappointed that Red Sox fans aren’t cheering on the Yankees against the A’s today, either here or at OmniChatter.
You really are obsessed with us. We're all flattered, but not interested.

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