By Terry Cushman – @cushmanMLB
A couple days ago, I wrote in length in regards to how my preference was strongly for my Boston Red Sox to face the New York Yankees instead of the Oakland A’s. My anticipation last night in the one game wildcard, was that it would be a competitive game. However, most unsettling, was that it simply felt as though the Yankees were picking up exactly where they left off last October.
As Aaron Judge put the Yankees on the board last night with that two run shot off of Liam Hendriks, I said to myself, “This is what got them to ALCS game seven last year, and why he will eventually end up in Cooperstown.”
When Giancarlo Stanton crushed that home run past that left field foul pole last night in his first ever playoff game, I thought to myself, “This is why they traded for him, he’s doing what he’s supposed to do.”
We can speculate all day long as to whether Chris Sale is healthy or not, despite no concrete evidence confirming or denying either notion. We can continue to beat the dead horse of David Price never winning as a starting pitcher in the playoffs during his eleven year career thus far. Or how the Red Sox ominously have the absolute worst bullpen among the four American League playoff teams set to square off tomorrow. But none of that singularly matters.
What matters does matter the most above anything else, is that the Red Sox stand up, and prove they can handle the pressure. The talent this team has is undeniable. The Yankees last season proved they could not only in fact handle the pressure, but also win by overachieving, even if they weren’t the most talented team. The Red Sox have caved to pressure, and quite frankly underachieved. Luke Voit in his first ever playoff appearance did something last night Mookie Betts has never done in October. He drove in a run. Actually, make that two.
The fact the Boston won 108 games has given my haters a convenient cop out to dismiss all of my concerns. Inconveniently to them, the Sox lost the season series to the Indians four games to three. They lost to the Astros four games to three. And for what it’s worth, four games to two against Oakland. They did edge the Yankees ten games to nine, even after a rough September. Point being, despite their franchise record breaking win total, it wasn’t against the most elite teams.
Does this mean the Red Sox will automatically lose to the Yankees in the ALDS? No it doesnt. But we also know that the Yankees are not afraid of the Red Sox. They didn’t win 108 games. So the weight of the world is not on their shoulders.
The Yankees can handle the pressure. The 2004 Red Sox were tough enough to make history by rally from a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS. The 2007 Sox were tough enough to rally back from being down 3-1 against the Indians. Whether the 2018 Red Sox are tough enough or not, is the elephant in the room. And if they fail for the third year in a row after a historic season, we Red Sox fans will have to answer to that from every other team’s fan base, forever.
Liz, Tyler, and myself will discuss it further in length on the Benny & The Betts Podcast, as well as reveal our entire playoff bracket winners/losers.
BENNY & THE BETTS PODCAST (EP. 84)
ARE THE RED SOX BUILT FOR OCTOBER? WHO DOESN’T MAKE THE PLAYOFF ROSTER? TERRY PREFERS YANKEES, JEREMY/BILLY PREFER OAKLAND!
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