October is here
Here we go, to the very best time of year for a true baseball fan. I think, of all the series that are taking place, Red Sox-Angels is the best. There are a lot of compelling storylines in this series.
Foremost among them? Are the Red Sox too banged up to win? It’s been suggested that the roles are reversed and that the Sox are banged up like the Angels were last year. I’d suggest that doesn’t necessarily mean the Red Sox are going to go down quick like the Angels did.
This is a good Sox team, even with the injuries. One of the most compelling sports teams of my lifetime was the 1987 Celtics. They went into the playoffs with Kevin McHale playing with a stress fracture in his foot. Then Robert Parish severely sprained his ankle. Bill Walton broke his foot — again. Danny Ainge hurt his thigh in Game 7 against Milwaukee. You know what those battered, old Celtics did? They kept winning, until the Lakers finally knocked them out in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Perhaps this Red Sox team — with Mike Lowell banged up, J.D. Drew banged up and Josh Beckett‘s oblique strain — can gut it out just like those Celtics did 21 years ago.
Sure, it hurts that Beckett can’t pitch Game 1. But Jon Lester is no slouch. Pound for pound, he’s been the team’s most consistent starter all year. In case you missed it, his velocity was around 96 or 97 late in the year. And Dice-K for Game 2? Last time I checked, he went 18-3.
If the Red Sox can steal one of these first two games out here in Anaheim, they have a very real shot of winning this series.
I think experience matters this time of year. The Red Sox won’t be fazed by the moment. Odds are that 22 of the 25 players on their roster will come in with playoff experience. Only Jason Bay, Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson don’t have any. Also, it feels a bit strange to see the Sox on the October stage without Manny being Manny. One can only wonder if this team would have made the playoffs if there was never a trade.
So buckle up. I think this is going to be a tremendous series.
Everyone rest up. You East Coasters are going to be up until close to 2 a.m. watching the game on Wednesday.
Talk to you then.
P.S. — In the meantime, Jacoby Ellsbury will be doing a blog with us this postseason. It launched yesterday.