By Jason Keidel
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Only one natural disaster could negate another, as Mother Nature saved the Red Sox from being swept out to sea last night.
And while no one wants to lunge northward, flaming pitchfork in hand, and drive death through the heart of Red Sox Nation more than I do, I’m afraid I can’t. And neither should you.
Yes, they’re 4-10 and in titanic disarray. Their pitching staff has a 6.68 ERA, their bullpen’s ERA is closer to 9.00, while their manager’s closer (Bard) is in the rotation and their GM’s closer (Bailey) is on the shelf. Bobby Valentine has already ostracized several veterans and shows no signs of shutting up.
But there’s too much talent on the diamond and in the dugout for me to put a post mortem on the Boston Red Sox. I tried it last year, when they started 0-5, asserting that no team with said record ever won the World Series. Then Boston stampeded to the top of the AL East for three months, before their surreal September, a month fueled and felled by fried chicken, Beer, and Playstation.
Impatient as baseball fans are along the Northeast Corridor, we can’t extrapolate an entire season based on a dozen or so games. It’s myopic, childish, and just plain wrong. And our pastime as taught us too many times about the interminable spread of 162 games, how momentum and mojo can switch cities on a weekly basis.
Valentine wistfully stated that his team has touched rock bottom. What if he’s right? And what happens when Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, Dice-K, and Co. return? Do you really expect Boston to finish under .500?
And writing Boston’s death certificate would certify the Yankees (9-6), whom we know have chasmal gaps in their pitching. Kuroda, Garcia, and Hughes are pitching like they can’t wait for Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda to return, and neither can we. But Pineda is out indefinitely and Pettitte is a variable at the very best: 38 years old and two years removed from the rotation. The Yankees have four – 4 – quality starts in 15 games. The 1971 Orioles they are not.
The Yankees have an explosive lineup and a python’s grip on the endgame, with Soriano, Robertson, and the Immortal Mariano. Even the most ardent atheist must reconsider the existence of heaven when pondering Rivera’s regal talent and unprecedented endurance. He can’t retire this year. He can’t. If he does, count me among the despondent Yankees fans on the ledge of some windy bridge in October.
And we knew that with Bobby Valentine would come challenges, both in-house and with the myriad gauntlets he drops, lines drawn on the infield dirt, if you will. And since we exorcised the verbose Valentine once (in 2000) we are ready to do so again.
The only mistake would be to assume we won’t see him, or them, again. With 16 games left against our most dreaded foe, and 148 games for the Dread Sox to fix the fissures on their club, you won’t catch one Yankee or their skipper saying the Sox are dead.
Neither should we.
Feel free to email me: Keidel.Jason@gmail.com
Are the Sox done already, or do they have too much talent to stay down?