Sunday, August 21, 2011
We must beware the powerful Clarion Content jinx. We are noted for our ability to make the diametric opposite of what we predict come true. Thus it is always dangerous for the sports editor to predict things we wish will happen, but in this case we have to put it out there, despite the fact it is both our prediction and our desire.
The Boston Red Sox look awfully vulnerable to being caught by the Tampa Bay Rays in the race for the American League Wild Card. While Boston would appear to have a comfortable 7 and 1/2 game lead over Tampa, just last week they were ahead by 11 and 1/2 games. The Sox are increasingly banged up. Star third baseman, Kevin Youkilis has been dinged up all season and was recently put on the disabled list. Prized free agent outfielder Carl Crawford is barely hitting .250 and has a miserable 39 RBIs. The Sox offense is so meek right now, last night's line-up featured rookie Josh Reddick, he of the career 288 at-bats and 9 lifetime homers, hitting 5th. Line-ups that are that thin are more commonly associated with the Rays, than the Sox or Yanks.
However, it is not just the offense of the Red Sox that looks wobbly. The pitching staff has been battered as well, and that, pitching, is not an area either the Rays or the Yanks are vulnerable. The Rays with their pipeline to Durham have a seemingly endless supply of quality young arms. The Yanks have five solid starters and an extra $180 million dollar man, A.J. Burnett. The Red Sox conversely are trying to get by with forty-five year old knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, free agent flop John Lackey and castoff Eric Bedard holding down the back end of their rotation.
As their limp start showed, the Red Sox have holes. Those failings maybe exposed the possibility of the kind of epic Red Sox stretch collapse that hearkens back to the days of yore.