Three cities, three teams with World Series or bust mentality and yet, not a single one of them made it.
It was supposed to be a Red Sox/Phillies World Series, but that's not happening.
Yeah, that's not happening either.
Then the Phillies were erased by the Cardinals at home. That's the definition of a gut punch right there.
The Red Sox were supposed to be the greatest team of all time; the Phillies were supposed to have the greatest rotation since anybody can remember; and the Yankees were supposed to do Yankee-like things such as go and get number 28.
Instead, now we have the question of who was the biggest disappointment this season?
Team ERA: 4.20, 22nd overall
Josh Beckett: 1-2, 5.48 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 4 GS in September
Jon Lester: 1-3, 5.40 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 6 GS in September
John Lackey: 12-12, 6.41 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 108 SO in regular season
In fairness to the Red Sox, their rotation suffered injuries, notably Clay Buchholz who might've been able to help them out in September.
Also, Beckett and Lester did their best to support the rotation, just not in September.
Obviously, the biggest culprit is John Lackey and his space station high ERA, and a WHIP higher than the voice of Alvin and all his chipmunks combined.
At the same time, all of the starters had an ERA north of 5.00 in the month of September during their epic collapse. These guys just couldn't win.
This was supposed to be a World Series bound rotation. Instead, it's remembered as the rotation that had John Lackey's oh-so-memorable ERA.
At the beginning of the season, I thought that the Red Sox were going to have a better rotation that the Yankees, but not better than the Phillies. Turns out the Red Sox have the worst of the three.
Team ERA: 3.73, 11th overall
CC Sabathia: 19-8, 3.00 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 230 SO
Mariano Rivera: 44 SV, 1.91 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 603 career saves (most all-time)
Ivan Nova: 16-4, 3.70 ERA, 1.33, 12 W's from July to September, all as a rookie
I can honestly say that I expected Sabathia to be the only reliable starter the Yankees had. In fact, I was wondering if they were just gonna go ahead and use him every three days during the regular season.
Instead, they got miracle years from Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, and the whiz kid Ivan Nova. Not to mention a couple of surprise contributions from the bullpen from the likes of Cory Wade, Luis Ayala and Boone Logan.
Pitching was supposed to be the Yankees' weakness with only Sabathia and Rivera being the sure things. That weakness only grew when injuries to Phil Hughes, Rafael Soriano, Pedro Feliciano and Joba Chamberlain occurred.
Despite all that, the Yankees managed to put together wins; more wins than anyone expected.
Team ERA: 3.02, 1st overall
Roy Halladay: 19-6, 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 8 CG
Cliff Lee: 17-8, 2.40 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 6 SHO
Cole Hamels: 14-9, 2.79 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, .214 BAA
So yeah, it's a no-brainer that the Phillies had the best rotation during the regular season.
When people were crowning the Red Sox as the greatest team, I took a look at the Phillies' starters and thought, "Not if they have anything to do about it."
They have Halladay, Lee, Hamels, and even Oswalt. Hands down the greatest 1-2-3-4 combo in the league. These guys just absolutely dominated.
And yet, they were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. How did that happen?
Lee and Oswalt got lit up, and Halladay suffered a lost. Apparently this rotation isn't so mighty after all.
Guess having one of the greatest rotations ever doesn't mean a thing if they can't handle the postseason.
Team Stats: 875 R (1st), .280 BA (2nd), .349 OBP (1st)
Jacoby Ellsbury: .321 BA, 32 HR, 105 RBI, 119 R, .376 OBP, 39 SB
Adrian Gonzalez: .338 BA, 27 HR, 117 RBI, .410 OBP, .957 OPS
Not much to be said here; the Red Sox's offense did all it could to live up to the expectations. Well, except for the player masquerading in a Carl Crawford outfit.
Gonzalez was the first half MVP, especially with that scorching June where he posted .404/.478/.707 with six home runs and 25 RBI.
Then there's Ellsbury doing his best Jose Bautista impersonation to keep the team alive in September. He had eight home runs in September, matching his total from 2009 and one less than his total in 2008.
The only knock on him is his stolen base totals went down, but I guess you can't steal as many bases if you're while doing a home run trot.
Of course Pedroia and Ortiz were being their usual selves with with more than 20 home runs and 90 RBI each.
I mean, for the first time since Manny Ramirez left, I was actually scared to face a Red Sox lineup.
Team Stats: 867 R (2nd), .343 OBP (2nd), 222 HR (1st)
Curtis Granderson: .262 BA, 41 HR, 119 RBI (1st in AL), .364 OBP, 25 SB
Robinson Cano: .302 BA, 28 HR, 118 RBI (2nd in AL), .349 OBP
Obviously the biggest surprise here is Curtis "I Love that Short Porch in Right" Granderson. Just as Ellsbury turned up the power numbers, so did Granderson.
Of course, it was already known that Granderson had some power since he hit 30 HR in 2009, but no one expected 41, not even him.
Then there's Home Run Derby champ Robinson Cano. Six years in the majors and he's still considered to be an undervalued and overlooked player.
His name has only started getting thrown out there as the guy to watch out for on the team which is a big feat considering he plays with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
As for the rest of the team, underperformers run aplenty.
Mark Teixeira still hits home runs and drive in those runs, but I get the feeling he forgot that you're allowed to hit the ball to the opposite field. Nick Swisher, despite his great clubhouse presence and on-base skills, loves to strikeout with 125 of them this season.
Jeter's starting to play his age despite his great second half. A-Rod's no longer A-Rod, just Old "I'm here till 2017" Rod.
As for Jorge Posada, may his bat rest in peace. No seriously, let him leave with that postseason performance in everyone's mind.
We also can't forget how everyone except for Posada, Cano and Gardner pretty much disappeared offensively in the postseason. Sure Jeter and Granderson had their moments, but more moments were lost than gained.
Team Stats: 713 R (13th), .253 BA (16th), .323 OBP (11th)
Ryan Howard: 33 HR, 116 RBI, .346 OBP, 172 SO
Hunter Pence: .324 BA, 11 HR, 35 RBI, .394 OBP in 54 games
Just imagine if they didn't end up trading for Hunter Pence. Roy Halladay would've had to start taking batting practice just so he can make sure he would get at least one run.
The Phillies have a middle-of-the-pack offense even with Pence. Utley can't stay healthy, no one can bat over .280 for at least 500 ABs, and Howard could end up relieving Mark Reynolds of the honor of having the most strikeouts in a season.
Honestly, not many people were expecting a whole lot from this lineup.
Anyone who said, or says, the Phillies have one of the top ten offenses in the league must've forgotten the fact that most of the hitters are on the wrong side of 30. They probably also forgot that Howard was the team's best "hitter", if having more strikeouts than hits makes you a hitter.
Good thing they have a great rotation, otherwise they probably wouldn't have made the playoffs.
Regular Season record: 90-72
Postseason: Did not qualify
So much for the greatest team of all time.
This was a team that came back from its 4-10 start to lead the American League East until September happened. Even then, they had a nine game lead in the wild card, but somehow they managed to blow that up.
As September went on, you could see the despair on the faces of the players. It was like the entire team was replaced with J.D. Drew clones, a far cry from that 2004 team. Aren't the Yankees supposed to be the team filled with a bunch of emotionless, overpaid players?
The worst part is when the fans started to turn on the team as well. It wasn't just the players quitting, the fans seemed to quit on the team too.
You can't really blame Red Sox Nation, September was absolutely disgusting. They expected a team of greatness, but all they got was a team of losers, quitters, and John Lackey's ERA.
At the start of the season I wasn't buying into all that, "they're going to be the greatest team ever" nonsense. The Red Sox were a good team, but I just couldn't picture them winning the World Series or even dethroning other legendary teams such as the 1927 Yankees or the 1976 Reds.
Heck, I couldn't even imagine them coming close to the 114-48 record of the '98 Yankees. I saw at least 97 wins for them, but the greatest ever? Not quite.
Despite that, what happened in September was a disgrace to Boston and its fans. The question is, how big of a disappointment was it?
Regular Season record: 97-65
Postseason: 2-3, Eliminated by Tigers in ALDS
Disappointment? It's the Yankees, they plan their championship parade in March.
They were expected to make it past the Tigers, not get eliminated in the first round. George Steinbrenner would've called this team a disappointment. When you win 27 championships, you're always expected to add another one soon.
The Yankees are the most successful franchise in sports, and anything less than a championship is considered a lost season.
Heck, they could've lost in the 23rd inning of Game 7 of the World Series by one run and they still would've been called a disappointment.
The team was riddled with injuries to the rotation, bullpen and lineup. Jeter and A-Rod were lost for parts of the season, the rotation was a game of musical chairs at the beginning of the season, and Posada suddenly realized he's 40 years old.
Don't forget that Cashman decided to go with a retro theme for the team by signing Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.
Good luck winning the division with that bunch. Oh wait...
Regular Season record: 102-60
Postseason: 2-3, eliminated by Cardinals in NLDS
Apparently great pitching doesn't win championships.
If a rotation of Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt doesn't get you to at least the NLCS, I don't know what will.
This team didn't go into the season with the title of greatest team, nor are they the Yankees where championships are demanded.
They are, however, the Phillies, and Philadelphia is a demanding city, especially when your team's projected to make the World Series.
The Phillies didn't have the meltdown the Red Sox had. Instead, they churned out performance after performance in the regular season to the tune of 102 wins.
Now with the best record in the league, and a rotation of pitching monsters, you should be able to beat a team that almost didn't even make the playoffs.
That's how it goes doesn't it?
The team with the most wins is the one favored to win it all. Otherwise, home-field advantage wouldn't mean a thing; Nobody would've cared that the Patriots went 16-0 or how many games LeBron James's Cavaliers won.
The Boston Red Sox.
You can't have 34 of 45 ESPN analysts predict you winning the World Series and not win it.
You also can't have an article on NESN saying your team will challenge the 1927 Yankees as the greatest team of all time.
You also can't blow a nine-game lead in the wild card after you gave up your division lead near the beginning of the month.
A team with that much expectation, that much hype, that big of a lead can't turn on itself and quit once things start getting rough.
This was a team that was supposed to win the division from the Yankees and beat the Phillies in the World Series, but this team didn't even make the postseason.
To make matters worse, the Red Sox lost the deciding game to the 69-93 Baltimore Orioles. That's like Superman getting beat up by Justin Bieber. A weird analogy, I know, but that's how weird that night was.
The Yankees were a long shot to make the World Series this year. The Phillies were at least able to get the best record in the regular season.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox have to live with blowing that lead and getting their manager, Terry Francona, fired.