The truly lousy play of the Red Sox lately has many fans questioning this team, and just how far they can go in the postseason. But I saw a great post today courtesy of The Joy of Sox, and hopefully it should relax a few folks who believe the sky is falling.
Recent history (over the last decade) show that finishing the season lousy by a postseason qualifier doesn't necessarily mean it's all over in October. A few examples:
The Florida Marlins lost seven of their last nine games in 1997, and won the World Series.
The New York Yankees really went into the tank in September 2000 and lost 18 of their final 21 games, and won the World Series.
The Anaheim Angels lost 7 of their last 11 games in 2002, and won the World Series.
The 2005 Chicago White Sox had a 15 game lead in the AL Central in early August and saw it drop to 1 1/2 games also, and won the World Series.
The 2006 St. Louis Cardinals were up 7 games on September 20, saw their division lead drop to 1/2 game with three games remaining, and won the World Series.
The 2006 Detroit Tigers were 10 games up in early August, lost 31 of their final 50, and lost the AL Central title on the final day to Minnesota, and won the AL pennant.
So all of this crap you read (especially in the New York tabloids) about how "there's a race in the AL East" is just a lot of trumped-up nonsense. BOTH teams are going to the playoffs, it's just a matter of who each will face in the ALDS. (Just recently, all you heard from the same folks was "just making the playoffs is what counts.") I'm concerned about the current play of the Red Sox right now, but they are assured of going to the postseason, and the Wild Card history shows that there is no great advantage to winning the division over the Wild Card. There is home field advantage and the "prestige" of winning the division, but so what? Winning the World Series is what truly matters. (I never saw the Yankees flying a "2004 AL Eastern Division Champions" flag.) Anyone who uses the "c" word to describe the Red Sox right now is (and please pardon my French), full of shit.
So come away from the ledge, take a deep breath, have a stiff drink, and Keep the Faith.
There's still a lot of baseball left to be played.