The One Where, yeah, I Like This Team

Hey,

Have you been watching the Red Sox?

Well, maybe you should, because they’re going to be your World Series Champions.

I’m not kidding.

First off, this situation (39-35) is due to injuries, not the collapse of last year. Although that September and the clubhouse activities are unforgivable and unforgettable; the Sox just missed the postseason in a matter of 2 runs and I believe 10 minutes apart. (Don’t quote me, but it seemed like it was that close.)

Taking you back to last year, the last game of the MLB season and the Red Sox had a slim lead over the Rays for the Wild Card spot.

The Red Sox were playing the lowly, but pesky Orioles. The Rays were playing the Yankees.

Looking good for the Sox at the start of the night.

A rain delay and probably five hours, and probably 12 beers, a few fried chicken and a few CoD games later, the Red Sox were nearing the bottom of the 9th looking at a 3-2 lead.

The Rays on the other hand were down 7-1.

Alright, let’s just throw Pap in and get to the Postseason.

Hol’ up.

The Orioles tied it. Okay, Papelbon, get it together. There was a man on 2nd and there was a lazy pop-fly to 4 time All-Star outfielder, Carl Crawford. The ball kept dropping and dropping and Crawford attempted a sliding catch at the last second. He missed it but saved the ball from flying away from him. But the man on 2nd Nolan Reimold scored for the walk-off win.

Ok…? go Yankees?

We still had a chance. Take one look at the score and you (Josh Beckett) could crack open another beer with your buddy Jon or John, to celebrate a playoff berth. (Sox fans, you got the reference).

Hol’ up.

An epic comeback, of sorts, was mounting. The Rays posted an exactly six run inning in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game with the Yankees.

(For the record: I called Eva(n) Longoria’s 3-run shot.)

Then we had a standoff for three more innings. And he walked to the plate. Yes, Evan Longoria came up, yet again. And he might as well have called his homerun. We all knew there was one option for that at-bat. It was going out and the Rays were going to the playoffs.

‘Pour some out for ones’ homies.’

Josh and the boys probably shotgunned some beers to wash away the “pain.”

And that ended the Red Sox 2011 season, leaving a skunky taste in your mouth.

Fast Forward to now, June 26th, 2012.

39-35

Ok, it might not look good but come on, they have had a lot of injuries to their key starters. Elsbury and Crawford to name a few. They have a lot of stuff on their plate, not to mention most of the team playing for a new manager, and then being battered by the media.

One emerging player is Will Middlebrooks, a rookie. He has forced a fan favorite in Kevin Youkilis out of a job and now, out of town. He is a light that we should watch toward because he could eventually be the face of the franchise.

Okay, that was a little bit far-fetched, what with Dustin Pedroia and Clay Buchholz being and becoming dominant in this league. Still, Will is great. I think he looks like a professional already.

But this team cannot even match the 2004 team (none can or will as far as I see it) and then the 2007 team while they battled back from 3-1 down, they were just another team.

This team, however, is beginning to get some character. They are becoming closer together, and have almost taken on a us against the world mentality. Especially seeing as the media and fans are on their back day in and day out.

An interesting thing about this team wouldn’t be their money buying their success (for the most part) because many of the team’s players are home grown.

Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Elsbury*, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, and who knows, maybe even Jose Iglesias?

The others aside from Gonzalez have not been as productive as those mentioned above.

So although the Sox have become more than a nation of idiots, and bought a lot of “talent” (Dice-k, John Lackey, Carl Crawford) their homegrown boys are getting it done.

I like the band of rookies we have, who seem to follow Cody Ross around in the dugout. I like David Ortiz, the last member of ’04, and the Grande Papi of the team looking out for everyone in the clubhouse. I like Dustin Pedroia and his recent emergence from battling an injured thumb, he will be our captain soon enough. I like that Adrian Gonzalez has his position back, I expect him to start killing the ball soon. I like Aviles and his swag. I like Jerrod Saltalamacchia, the assassin, who seems to hit a homerun right when we need him to.

I am even starting to like the pitching staff. Clearly I think Buchholz is good, and I hope he can continue it. Dubront is becoming a strong lefty starter for us. And hey, Jon and Josh have something to prove, come august and september they’ll be at top form and I’m sure a New York series will be on tap by then and who knows our aces could take on their’s and then we have a rivalry renewed.

Just a thought.

And then there’s the bullpen. Eh… good luck there Bobby V. Andrew Miller should be a horse from the ‘pen. And with Alfredo Aceves doing well, we can just wait for Andrew Bailey to get back to form, and maybe even Daniel Bard can get back to 100 mph?

I expect them to be in great shape come the trade deadline. There’s no reason they  shouldn’t make the playoffs this year.

(Unless the big bad Orioles get to us again.)

The world is against them and the two things that this team has in common with the ’04 team are David Ortiz and my belief.

I believe the Red Sox will win the World Series. I like this team.

-Lomonte

 

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