Congratulations are in order. The Red Sox have made it to the post season for the fifth time in six years. (Wow, I never thought I’d live long enough to write that!) This is scrappy team, one that has had to overcome a lot of adversity this season. Unlike the 2006 team, which also had a lot of adversity, this team didn’t collapse like the Bush economic plan. We all know why: The front office finally jettisoned whatshisname. Jason Bay has proven a terrific addition and the team chemistry seems good now.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the post season starts in a week and there are still lots of question marks about this team. Start with the offense: Ellsbury to Bay is pretty competent, if not the kind of lineup that strikes fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers. But Lowrie, Cora, Crips and Varitek are a dead zone at the back end. We need Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew back and fully functioning. I hear Drew is starting tonight. Let’s hope no one sneezes in his direction and reinjures him. I’m not optimistic about his chances.
Without Drew and Lowell, this team is going to have to win games with its pitching. Beckett is the key, of course. If he pitches seven strong innings twice against the Angels, I like the Sox chances. Lester will be solid, but without strong outings from Beckett, the ALDS will hinge on Dice-K’s performance, which means it will also hinge on the bull pen, since DK can’t make it out of the sixth inning. That’s a bit scary.
Nevertheless, these are concerns for next week. Today the Sox fans can celebrate doubly, since the Yankees have been eliminated from the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. Actually, to me this does not seem like something to celebrate. It has been fun seeing the Yankees knocked out of the playoffs early each year. (I just hope it doesn’t happen to the Sox THIS year.)