By Ted Gay – @TedG63
All year long, despite the Red Sox unprecedented success, the naysayers and the uninformed continue, while recognizing the Boston’s talent, question, because of various holes, such as second base defense, the bullpen, and bottom of the batting order hitting, if the local nine is as good as the American League elite, who, they insist, live in Houston and the Bronx.
The Red Sox are not a perfect team. But they don’t need to be perfect. They need to be better than their closest competitors who the haters want you to believe are flawless. People in New York and Houston may wish that was true, but they know it’s not.
The biggest need of any of the three super teams is the Yankees’ starting pitching. They do have a stud number one in Luis Severino. CC Sabathia is pitching like a younger, slimmer version of Bartolo Colon, and is a proven Red Sox killer. With the injury to Jordan Montgomery, the lower part of the rotation is three guys with ERA over 4.50, which is not going to win you a playoff series. Yes, the Yankees do have the youth to trade for another pitcher, but who knows how that player will adapt to the Bronx? Last year’s big acquisition was Sonny Grey.
“Oh, but the Yankees hitters!” the Sox haters say. Gary Sanchez is on the DL and before that he was hitting .190. Greg Bird has not bounced back from his injury and is hitting .207 and slugging .421. Usually, 22 home runs at the All-Star break would be cause for celebration, but when those numbers come from Giancarlo Stanton, they are a disappointment.
Does this mean the Yankees suck? No, far from it. They have four shut down relievers; they are getting great contributions from two rookies, Aaron Judge and Stanton are threats to go bridge with every at-bat. But they are a team with holes, like the Red Sox.
If Boston had the Yankees switched rosters, the haters would say “We got no starting pitching, Bird and Sanchez suck, all Stanton does is strike out, and if Cashman doesn’t do something big we will be lucky to win the Wild Card game. How are we supposed to beat Betts and Martinez with our starters?”
The Astros suddenly find themselves with closer problems after Ken Giles melted down against the Athletics Tuesday night cursing out manager AJ Hinch after being pulled from a game and shortly afterward finding himself riding the AAA buses. The middle of a pennant race and the playoffs are no places to try and find a closer.
Houston has the best starting pitching and infield of the Big 3, but the slugging percentage of their outfield starters Marwin Gonzalez (.355), George Springer (.424) and Jake Marisnick (.355) will make people fondly remember the 2017 Red Sox.
No, this does not mean the Astros suck either. They are the most balanced of the Big 3, but they still have concerns that keep them searching for bullpen help and another bat.
There are three outstanding but flawed teams in the American League, any one of which could win the pennant. One thing is for sure, as of now, the Red Sox are the best.
AVIDBOSTON PODCAST EPISODE 62!!!
(2:40) SOX WIN NINE STRAIGHT!
(31:00) WILL VAZQUEZ GET HIS JOB BACK?
(40:30) COULD MOOKIE BE TRADED NEXT SEASON?
(1:02:40) MACHADO SWEEPSTAKES!
Also available on iTunes!