Is it 2013 already? It sure feels that way, as things could not be going any rosier for the Boston Red Sox in David Ortiz’s swan song season. Not only are they getting the breaks in their own games, they are getting them from their opponents — literally.
Carlos Carrasco suffered a broken hand on a line drive yesterday, which means that the Cleveland Indians — the Sox’s likely first-round opponent in the ALDS — will be down its top two starters come October. Danny Salazar has been shut down with forearm tightness, leaving Corey Kluber to be followed by the likes of Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, and Mike Clevinger.
There are many eerie, striking similarities between this year’s Sox team and the championship-winning clubs of 2004, 2007, and 2013. There is a driving force, so whether it’s “Boston Strong,” “Cowboy Up,” or Ortiz’s final season, something seems to be magical about this campaign. And there is always a magical comeback somewhere along the way, like the “Mother’s Day Miracle” of 2007, the six-run ninth against Seattle in 2013, and now the five-run ninth to down the Yankees on Thursday.
Not only is Boston starting to pull away in the American League East, and not only is it just about done pulling off yet another worst-to-first in the division, the dominoes around them are dropping at a lightning-quick pace. Winning the division, in all likelihood, will pit the Sox against the Indians in the ALDS. Cleveland, already without its top hitter in Michael Brantley for the season, now has a paper-thin rotation to go along with an average bullpen.
These are just the sort of things that happen when it’s your year, as I’ve previously outlined here on DraftAmerica. And did I mention that no matter what, the Red Sox would have homefield advantage if they reach the World Series? That would be the fourth time in as many Fall Classic appearances, and potentially the second time they would do so despite an inferior record than their opponent. If they face the Chicago Cubs, they would likely have between 10-15 fewer regular season wins, yet get to open up at Fenway Park. It was a similar plot in 2004, when the Wild Card-winning Sox, 98-64, opened up at home against the 105-57 St. Louis Cardinals. Boston swept that series in four games.
Boston’s lethal lineup and the emergence of David Price of the ace he was supposed to be, and Rick Porcello’s rise to likely Cy Young winner, make this team downright scary. And, after all, this is Boston we’re talking about. The city that wins when it’s not supposed to, and wins when it is supposed to. The city with the fans who can’t get enough winning, even when they’ve witnessed more championships than anyone this century. The city that always defies the odds, and when it doesn’t succeed, it’s opponents choke to make sure it does.
You heard it here first — just like you did in 2013: don’t be surprised if this team ends up in the championship mix. The Cubs, even the Los Angeles Dodgers or Washington Nationals, might have something to say about that. But unless the depleted Indians or Texas Rangers intervene, the Red Sox will be front and center in late October yet again. It may just be their year.