What a difference a week makes!
Last Sunday, the Red Sox were 1/2 game out of first and had a newly acquired Victor Martinez installed into the lineup.
7 days later they are 6 1/2 games back and tied for the Wild Card.
They had 6 games against the Rays and Yankees and won a grand total of zero!
Folks. That's as sh*tty a week as you can have baseball wise.
Throw in the Big Papi 'roids scandal and toothless press conference and you have a nightmare and a half.
How can I find ANYTHING positive in this colostomy bag of a week?
1. Hey! They are still tied for a playoff spot!
That's right. Despite a trip to New York that resembled Griffin Dunne's night in After Hours, if they playoffs started today, they'd play Texas for the Wild Card.
I take my chances there. Just play better than Texas (and Tampa) for the next 52 games and they are in the post season. That's not too much to ask, is it?
2. Hey! At least the pitching was good!
Going into this series I thought "Beckett and Lester will win their games."
You can't blame them! They combined for 1 earned run over 14 innings, 9 hits, 2 walks, 14 strikeouts... and a pair of no decisions.
Plus the bullpen wiggled out of so many jams in the 15 innings heartbreaker that I got some confidence in them.
Yeah, Bard collapsed tonight. BUT call me crazy, I'd rather have cold bats than rotten starters. And in a short series, I take my chances with Beckett and Lester pitching in 3 of 5 games. (First get to October.)
3. They might get to play the Angels in the post season!
I know I am getting ahead of myself here... but if they make the playoffs as the Wild Card team, they would in all likely hood play the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim in Orange County.
And if the Red Sox of '04, '07 and '08 can tell you, playing the Angels is a wonderful tonic!
4. Admit it... these losses hurt a lot less after '04 and '07
Yeah they suck. As did losing those 5 games in Fenway in 2006.
Ask any Yankee fan what would they rather have... those 5 games in '06 or a pennant in '06?
Those 5 games in '06 or any team other than the Red Sox winning in '07?
Those 5 games in '06 or the chance to have Yankee Stadium close with meaningful games?
The Sox have 2 months to make this a meaningless memory... or have some other team eliminate the Yankees in the post season.
5. Seriously, it can't get worse!
The law of averages say that the Red Sox will have a nice winning streak soon.
The bats will eventually wake up.
They'll win a few, get into a groove and things will start to look up.
I hate to get all Harvey Dent on you, but sometimes it is darker before the dawn. And sometimes you need to hit bottom before rising to the top.
At least I'll keep saying that to myself.
6. Things can change really quickly
As I wrote above, the Sox went from on the verge of taking over first place alone to 6 1/2 games back in a week.
Things can spin the other way just as quickly.
This whole year, the Yankees have been Jeckyl and Hyde. They have had stretches where they look like they will run away with the American League pennant.
And there have been stretches where they couldn't beat the Nationals. There's almost all of August and all of September to play... and a lot of chances to be humbled.
7. Hey! At least John Smoltz is no longer in the rotation
Man it was sad seeing his career possibly end with a shelling at Yankee Stadium... but not as sad as seeing another start from him.
See you in Cooperstown in 6 years. (You should have retired with Maddux!)
8. The Yankees swept the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007 as well!
Remember when Jeter dove into the stands while Nomar sulked? That ended a brutal Yankee sweep in the Bronx that drove a nail into our hearts.
This can be put in the rear view mirror with a couple of wins out of the gate.
9. The whole "Big Papi Going To New York" scenario has been played out.
Now Papi has gotten that whole press conference scenario out of the way, can he PLEASE start taking those... ahem... supplements again?
10. If the Red Sox are dead... better to know now!
2006 sucked. The Red Sox were in first place going into August and by the end of August had fallen out of contention with the help of a 5 game sweep by the Yankees.
But was 2006 more painful than watching Pedro crumble on the mound and Aaron Boone smacking that shot off of Wakes?
Or Damon striking out with the bases loaded in the '05 Division Series?
Or Drew striking out with the bases loaded in the '07 ALCS?
It's like when you are up for a huge job, wouldn't you rather just know if you got the gig instead of twisting in the wind?
If the Sox are falling out of it, better find out sooner rather than later!