Being a fan of the Boston Red Sox is never easy. After spending decades of relishing in the role as the lovable losers, the Red Sox finally won a World Series ring. In fact they went on to win more than one championship and people began to expect them to win. As a fan, I also began to believe that every year the Red Sox, my team, could win it all.
I began a ritual of placing a wager on the Red Sox every year to win the American League East and the World Series. This year, Just Bet listed the Red Sox as 3-1 underdogs to win the A.L. East, and 10-1 to win the World Series.
I placed my bet and began to dream about a big payout, and another World Series ring for the Sox. I have come to realize that in late August, the dream is over. For those of you that still believe, you would be thrilled to know that at Just Bet.com the Red Sox are now18 to 1 to win the A.L. East and 35 to 1 to win it all!
At the beginning of the year if you were to tell me the Red Sox would have a slew of injuries throughout the year, and still have over 70 wins in late August, I would be thrilled.
That is exactly what has happened.
The problem is in the AL East that is just good enough for third place and roughly six games behind the leader. In any other division in baseball the Red Sox would own the lead, or be fighting for the lead, but not in the A.L. East.
The Red Sox are trailing both the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays as the season winds down and things are looking grim. It’s not that six games is an insurmountable lead, but the obstacles that stand in the way of the Red Sox are very daunting.
The first place to start is the schedule.
The Red Sox schedule to end the year is frightening. The Sox have struggled against the teams remaining on the schedule. That last stretch includes 12 games against division rivals the Yankees and Rays, a short six game trip to the West Coast, and seven out of the last ten games are on the road.
For those that would argue the Sox can make up games against Baltimore and Seattle, two cellar dwellers on the schedule, think again. The Sox are a woeful 8-8 against those teams this year and Baltimore is playing much better since Buck Showalter was hired as head coach.
I do applaud the way that the Sox played this year with all the injuries they had to endure, but it’s only gotten worse. Kevin Youkilis, Mike Cameron, and Jacoby Ellsbury are all done for the season taking both offense and defense away from this team. Dustin Pedroia recently returned from injury, but was placed back on the disabled list just three days later.
The injuries have dismantled the offense, and if you’re looking for pitching to bail out the Sox, guess again. The Red Sox are currently 20th in the league in Earned Run Average (ERA) behind several opponents that they play again before the year is over to include Oakland and (you guessed it) New York and Tampa Bay. The once unhittable Jonathan Papelbon has six blown saves on the year and an ERA over three. In short, the pitching is not living up to the hype.
The dream is over Red Sox nation; the 2010 version of your favorite team is not going to the post season. We as a nation can blame it on injuries, being in the toughest division in baseball, or just bad luck, but it’s over.
The best we can hope for is that we play spoiler in the last three game set of the season and stop the hated Yankees from winning another division title.