Woeful Red Sox are playoff-bound in weak league
Reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts is currently batting .268.
Ace Chris Sale is now 2-7 and has not won a game at Fenway since last July.
JD Martinez has missed 10 games already with back issues and has one homer since May 28.
Nathan Eovaldi’s wing has splintered from within.
The “closer-by-nobody” bullpen has 10 blown saves in 24 opportunities.
And the Boston Red Sox were eight games out on June 11.
Fear not, Alex Cora’s crew is still going to make the playoffs.
Such is the state of the American League in 2019 where the bad teams are pathetic, and only a handful of teams out there remain viable commodities.
Seriously, the Red Sox will compete with the Rangers, Indians and maybe the A’s for the final Wild Card spot, assuming that both the Yankees and Rays, each on pace to win 100-plus games, fight it out in the East with the runner-up taking one of the two slots.
The Rangers, Indians and A’s.
Did you catch Texas’ act on Monday night?
These are not your Juan Gonzalez/Ivan Rodriguez Era Rangers. In fact, when Elvis Andrus is “your guy,” are you really a viable commodity?
Monday night’s 11-inning Rangers “win” might just be the low point of the Sox season.
Squandering a Sale sparkler, with Matt Barnes throwing two pitches in the ninth — hanging curves and curves in the dirt — the Sox still should have picked up the win.
As bad as Barnes was, Texas “closer” Shawn Kelley was worse.
His two pitches were a fastball that he couldn’t throw anywhere near the strike zone and something that Sox color man Jerry Remy called a “spinner that didn’t do anything.”
And the Sox, who ran themselves out of the inning, could only manage to tie the score in the bottom of the ninth.
When the Rangers botched a routine fly to right that should have ended it, Brock Holt kept them in it, running through a stop sign at third and getting thrown out at the plate by 20 feet.
The point here is, though, Texas is a mess, too. The Rangers will fade, per usual, in the stifling summer Dallas heat.
Boston’s payroll is roughly that of the Rangers and Indians, combined.
Oakland’s payroll is roughly 40 percent of the Sox’ number.
And over 162 games, that will be the difference.
Alex Cora can’t worry about the next 95 games.
Boston will beat up the Orioles and Blue Jays enough to make the postseason.
Cora has to manage this bunch for the long haul, not for the summer.
He needs to worry about October. Because the Sox getting there is a given.
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
Like many, I’m flustered by the NBA and NHL dragging out these final series. Count me in with the “every other night” crowd.
If the NHL was intent on spacing these games out as they have, why not go the full route and set Game 7 apart.
In my eyes, with as classic a Stanley Cup Final as this has been, why is the deciding game being played on Wednesday night?
Game 7 should have been held to Saturday night. Think of the buildup. Think of the hype. Think of the fact that this could be played huge, as in “Hockey Night in Canada” big above the border.
For me, the every-other-night way is the best way. But if you’re going to play out the drama, as the leagues have this spring with extra nights off, do it right.