By Terry Cushman – @cushmanMLB
On the “spectrum of fanhood,” there are two ends. The extreme end of one side, you have the homers. These people would still pick the Red Sox to win if Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel, and Mookie Betts went on the DL right after game 162. On the far opposite end is the realists. That’s me.
Long before their 18 game winning streak, I was picking the Indians to win the American League Pennant. That is all but certain at this point. The one blessing about this winning streak is that the Astros will now be the likely matchup in the ALDS for the Red Sox.
Against the Astros, the Red Sox took two out of three games earlier this year. They will wrap up the season with Houston in a four game set, which could potentionally determine which of the two teams get home field for their immediate ALDS matchup.
In 2013 the Red Sox on paper early in the season were not a “team of destiny.” A bunch of selfless hardy veterans transformed them into that World Championship team as that season progressed. Late in 2017, I would not consider this current roster a team of destiny. Offensively we are comparable to the small ball 2015 World Champion Royals. Unlike Ned Yost, John Farrell is not a manager who shows the utmost confidence in his lineup to give them the confidence to play at or above their level of potential.
Against the Astros, the Red Sox have about an equally talented rotation, and this ONLY due to the fact 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel is struggling. Though not quite as bad as 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. The Astros clearly have the better lineup. And the Red Sox clearly have the best bullpen, if you trust Farrell to manage it effectively.
Realistically it’s close to 50/50 as to who wins this series. The Red Sox will have to contend with Justin Verlander this time around.
Against the Indians, the Red Sox have a 0/100 chance of winning. For those of us in the “under 50 crowd…” Terry Francona is the greatest post season manager of our lifetime. He made history in the 2004 ALCS, 2016 Post Season, and might own a single season record by early next week.
Despite my haters’ insistence that I’m not a true Red Sox fan due to my willingness to pick against them, I will ALWAYS root for this team regardless of my disdain for the front office/Ownership. Even if it means another few years of John Farrell. But if the Indians do defeat us, I will once again INSTANTLY ride their bandwagon the rest of the way.
The Indians are quite frankly better than the Red Sox all the way around. Lineup, Bullpen, Rotation, Manager. If and when the Red Sox defeat Astros, it will be game, set, match against the Indians in the ALCS.
Furthermore, would anyone be shocked if the Red Sox squander this three game AL EAST lead and get relegated to the Wild Card game? Some people would not be.
Considering we have traded away nearly our entire farm system, it’s especially a travesty we are not in better shape than we are currently in.