By Ted Gay – @TedG63
Wednesday was summer like in Boston, Fenway Park was being spruced up for a big series, the fandom was still basking in the glow of their team moving on to the championship round and eliminating the Yankees in the same glorious stroke.
On Thursday the rains came, and the good feeling of the ALDS dissipated. The consistently negative trolls were flushed from their burrows into public by the flooding waters. They climbed to higher ground and began to recite the reasons why the Red Sox could not beat the Astros. We can still remember their false prophecies from earlier in the season: The Sox are a .500 team, the Sox can’t hit good teams, the Sox can’t beat the Yankees, the Sox can’t win in Yankee Stadium. If you shout enough negative predictions about a team sooner or later, you will be right.
Throughout the season the Sox had the stronger squad, but Houston, playing in the weak western division, with no Yankee team threatening them, could afford to build a roster for October. This in no way means the Sox can’t win, they can, for several reasons.
Mookie Betts is due to get hot.
The Red Sox have the more versatile bench.
Alex Cora is making all the right moves and knows AJ Hinch’s tendencies.
The Sox have the advantage in hitting the long ball.
You can never count them out of a game.
Kimbrel is more trustworthy than Osuna.
Chris Sale, if on his game, can win two games and negate Justin Verlander.
The Astros are trying to be only the third team this century to return to the World Series after winning it the year before.
Carlos Correa is in the Pedroia zone. He is playing hurt, and a replacement player might be more effective.
The Red Sox never beat themselves.
There is an equal or longer list of reasons why the Astros will win. Anyone pedaling that they know for a certainty what will happen in this series is fooling themselves. The chances of the Astros winning are like stepping up to the roulette table and throwing a seven while the Sox need to throw a nine.
One of these two one-hundred win teams is not making the World Series, and there is no shame for the loser. This is the best team the Red Sox have played since at least the ‘04 hundred win Yankees and Cardinals, and probably since the ‘75 Big Red Machine. The Sox are better than any of the three teams the Astros downed in ‘17. Hopefully, the survivor will have enough in the tank to beat either of the inferior National League that will challenge them.
Those of you who are surprised that David Price is starting Game 2, haven’t been paying attention. Alex Cora’s managing method has been to stick with players through bad times, like Blake Swihart and Joe Kelly. By starting Price, Cora is letting his team know they are being judged on an entire season of work, not just the last few days, and if keep giving your best effort, you are not going to lose your spot, If you don’t, you can join Hanley. Approve of his thinking or not he is managing a team which has won 111 games. Maybe he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
I think Price goes four and two thirds and gives up two runs in Game 2 without getting a decision. He will keep the Sox in the game. It won’t be a great start, and it won’t be a disaster, but if the effort and attitude are there, Price will be on the mound again, either in game six, the World Series, or 2019. I hope E-Rod, who, in his last appearance, was given a 15 run lead and walked the first guy, do the same because we need the E-Rod we had during the first half of the season, not the guy who sleepwalked through the ALDS. God gave him the talent; he needs to work on the effort and attitude.
Whatever the outcome, try to enjoy the next week or more of games, they have the potential to be extraordinary, something we will remember and either celebrate or rue over, forever.
BENNY & THE BETTS PODCAST (EP 90)
DAVID PRICE STARTS GAME TWO! CAN SALE OVER COME VERLANDER? WE EACH GIVE OUR OFFICIAL PREDICTIONS!
Also avail on #itunes #spotify #spreaker #stitcher