This is Red Sox fucking Yankees so sorry if I'm more all over the place than usual.
It's so close I can taste it, for the first time since 2004 the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are facing off in the MLB playoffs. For those of you who are like me and refer to any year in the past to what grade you were in...I was 7th grade last time these two titans clashed in October. In years past, this meeting is in the ALCS.
Let's dive in right away with that.
I fucking HATE that this is a 5 game series for the following reasons in no particular order:
- It's idiotic that in the current format the 2 best teams play each other in the first round. Meanwhile the Astros get to play the Indians who won 91 games.
- You shouldn't be able to play divisional opponents in the division series. Rivalries >
-5 games scares the shit out of me. So quick, anything can happen. It can play to your advantage for sure, but you can also be down 0-2 in the blink of an eye. Someone can be going home by Monday night. That makes game one even more important with the Red Sox. I honestly think whoever wins tonight wins the series.
-A rivalry as storied as this, with such a long time between playoff series should simply be a best of 7. There are new generations of Red Sox and Yankee (granted there's always a new generation thanks to their strong bandwagon following) fans who were too young/not alive to remember the 2003 & 2004 ALCS. You're gonna get fans more invested in a longer series. I don't remember 99 because I didn't care about baseball yet, I was too busy playing tony hawk pro skater 2 on PS1 to worry about real sports back pre-2001.
I'm gonna be honest you guys, I'm freaking the fuck out of this series. Obviously there's advancing in the postseason at stake, but as a Red Sox fan there is wayyyyy more on the line for the Sox. The Yankees are in an incredible rare spot where they won 100 games and are playing with house money. If they win they ruined the 108 win Sox. If they lose, it'll obviously suck for the yankees (and be great for the rest of humanity) but I mean they would've lost to the better team (in the record books). The Yankees have a chance to ruin the greatest (regular season) team in Red Sox history and have the ultimate trump card in addition to their idiotic "27" chants (which I'll get to on my next blog which I'm starting immediately after I don't proofread and hit post on this one)
If you are a fan of the team, you're well aware of what's taken place the last two seasons. 93 wins and early first round exits. 1-6 in playoff games the last two years including an 0-5 to start.
The sweep to the Tribe In 2016 was shocking. I thought that Red Sox team was a legitimate WS contender. Rick Porcello won the Cy Young. It was Papi's final ride. Plus the Indians were dealing with many key injuries, and if I'm not mistaken the Sox won the season series. I for sure thought they'd at least win a fucking game. That was the most surprising sweep of the 3 ALDS sweeps (05, 09, 16) I've witnessed in my fandom. At least last year with the Astros, even though I tried to lie to myself, we all knew that Sox team had zero chance and that team won the World Series.
This season the Red Sox followed up their two disappointing division winning seasons (how crazy of a fragment is that?) by winning a franchise record 108 games. That is the most games any team has won since 2001. It's a big deal. They were fucking incredible this season.
Yet all season long we've heard all the whisperings about it doesn't mattering because of Boston's lack of postseason success with this core. How that season doesn't matter if they don't produce in October.
This graphic gives me nightmares.
Price's postseason struggles are extremely well documented.
On WEEI this week they are harping on this stat that truly blows my mind. 86 pitchers in MLB HISTORY have at least 9 postseason starts. David Price is the only one who hasn't won a game.
How is that fucking possible? How can this guy be a Cy Young winner and then turn into Jose Lima in the playoffs?
Mental little person, perhaps???
In Price's defense he pitched a shutout in game 163 in 2013 which basically a playoff game, and he's shown flashes in losses. He has a handful of hard luck playoff defeats, but has also had starts that are simply unacceptable by a high profile ace.
That's why I think game 1 is so important.
It's basically must win for the Red Sox. Because if Sale wins, I think Price pitches much better in game 2 because there's significantly less pressure since the Sox already have a win. Obviously he's going to be expected to preform regardless, but the pressure of up 1-0 to down 0-1 at home where if you lose Yankees are up 2-0 heading home...it'll be v ugly if the sox lose tonight and Price struggles Saturday. To me it's like a chain-reaction because at this point how can you not say the pressure of October has gotten to Price?
What is crazy is that despite how horrible David Price's postseason resume is it still can be righted. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I think he can do it. Now at his age I feel like he pitches more instead of throwing since he's lost a few MPH off the ole heater. If he can beat the Yankees tomorrow he's slaying not one, but two dragons. His lack of postseason success, and trouble with the Yankees. For the love of God and my happiness, please David, earned your fucking money tomorrow.
Should he wins 3 or 4 games on the way to a World Series he'll become a hero.
Honesty imo, the Sox don't even need to win it all this year, if he can just win this game, I feel like a massive amount of pressure will be off him for the future. Because this team will be back. It'd sure be pretty cool to win now, but the window isn't entirely closed. Just gotta capitalize on this moment because 108 wins doesn't happen often from what I'm told.
I'm hoping this is just a classic "I need to see the ball go through the hoop" situation. He doesn't win because he never has before. Makes sense. Just needs to get that first one, I'm hoping the old saying "10th times the charm" pays off.
It's also incredibly unfair to lump Chris Sale into the David Price, Rick Porcello grouping of postseason futility. Yes, Sale was horrible in his lone start last season, but I'm 98.4% sure he was pitching hurt and it was only one start, against the eventual World Series champs. The book of Sale still hasn't even been written yet. I think that's why they handled him with kid gloves coming back from the injury. They cannot win a WS without him plain and simple and I think last year he was over-used chasing 300 strikeouts and he just simply wore down. After pitching like 15 innings since July if there's one thing Sale is not, it's over-used.
What gives me confidence is the Red Sox offense. Yes, at times they can go cold, but this team fucking rakes. Mookie will win MVP. JD Martinez could also win MVP. Xander had 100 RBI. They are the best offense in baseball. Yankees may have scarier names and more HR potential (since they broke the single-season record for HR by a team) but the Red Sox led baseball in runs scored, hits, doubles, total bases, batting average, slugging %, on-base %, and OPS. To quote internet culture they are an absolute unit offensively. This year there are guys you're scared to face in October. Same cannot be said about last season.
This stat blew my mind as I am the biggest hater of the Sox bullpen around.
Despite the feel of ineffectiveness by them they still managed to finish 6th in all of baseball in bullpen ERA. I am so happy to see Heath Hembree was left off the playoff roster. Left him wear a hoodie in the dugout I guess, but I do not want to see him pitching for the Boston Red Sox until 2019/never again.
Stoked Workman made it. He made some HUGE outs in the 2013 postseason. It's nice to have someone who's done it before. I was shocked when he was left off last season's postseason roster.
So am I nervous?
Yes. Not because I don't believe in this team (I'm still not entirely sold on the pitching) but because of how good the opponent is and more importantly of what will happen to me emotionally and mentally if the Yankees win. I hate the Yankees like snowflakes hate Trump, or evidence.
I cannot even begin to think of what will happen. Likely lots of sadness and coping with food lolol which is a v educated guess. I cannot deal with the shit talk from scumbag Yankee fans. I cannot deal with for a 3rd straight year winning the division, losing the ALDS, and seeing a divisional opponent in the ALCS instead. I've already dealt with the Patriots losing multiple Super Bowls to inferior teams with bad QBs. Giants fans have the trump card over the Pats even though over the course of this decade(s) they've been the far superior franchise. They can say they beat us twice. New York fans do not deserve happiness.
Plus like I said earlier it will totally ruin what has been a historic season. 108 wins will become a punchline if the Yankees win. It'd be like a step and a half below 18-1. I think the Indians and Astros are capable of winning the pennant (as I do w/ yankees too), but losing a hard-fought ALCS would be nothing to be ashamed of. Given the last two years this team needs to win at least a round. And it sucks because this should be the ALCS. We have two 100 win teams facing off in a 5 game series, because the current format is dumber than people who think 21 pilots are a good band. I care way too much about this team to have scuzzy Yankee fans get to take our spot in the ALCS.
It's not gonna be an easy series, I'm expecting it to go the full 5, but yeah I'm fucking worried. My happiness until January is at stake. The Yankees are 2nd or 3rd best team in baseball with a great bullpen and a line-up of guys who could sneeze a ball over the fence at their joke of a stadium.
But I'm also excited for what could happen. This Red Sox team has the horses to win and under rookie manager Alex Cora it seems like they are not satisfied at all, and know what this team needs to do in October. They don't want to be the team who won 108 and got swept. It didn't feel like that in year's past. They were just happy to be there after back to back 5th place finishes in the AL East. Perfect example when they had champagne showers after Kimbrel gave up a walk-off GS where they still somehow won the division in 2016.
I'm cautiously optimistic. This kinda went all over the place, but that's my current writing style right now, like how Picasso had his different eras (blue, cubism, surrealism etc). I FOR SURE have used that analogy before but that's okay, idc. It's a fantastic analogy and shows off my C+ from Art History at URI in the spring of 2011. My official prediction is Red Sox in 5 but you best believe I'm highly considering coming out of retirement to place the emotional hedge on the Yankees.