I know Game 1 is tonight. The series hasn’t even started yet. But if you don’t think there is a more than solid chance the Red Sox are going to win this series, you haven’t been watching. As a Yankee fan, after we won ALDS Game 2 at Fenway, I thought the series was ours. Coming home to Yankee Stadium with the series tied, Luis Severino on the mound? Sounded great. What happened after that? The Sox dropped a bomb on us, winning 16-1 before pulling out a 4-3 victory the next night to eliminate us on our own home turf. For those keeping score at home, that’s 20-4 in two games. On the road. At Yankee Stadium.
I was obviously (and still am) extremely upset with that result, but I remained hopeful that the defending-champion Astros would take the Red Sox down. After the Astros won Game 1, the Sox went on to win the next four (including three on the road) to dethrone the defending champs. All year, the Astros honestly scared me more than the Red Sox did. Maybe I was biased by my hate for the Sox, and fear of the Astros after the Yankees were eliminated by them in last year’s ALCS. I can admit that. But the fact of the matter is the Astros are a really good baseball team, and this Red Sox team disposed of them in 5 games.
Does every fiber in my body want to believe that the Dodgers can win this series, and prevent the Red Sox from winning another World Series? Of course I do. And the narrative doesn’t sound too bad when you start to put it together. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher of our generation, Manny Machado is a bona-fide stud whose bad history with the Sox could propel him to greatness, the Dodgers’ bullpen is better. On paper, this could be a great series. But I think I’m regrettably coming to the most horrifying realization a Yankee fan can: It’s just the Red Sox year.
I know what you’re thinking. “Stanzo, they won 108 games and just steamrolled the Yankees and Astros, no shit it’s their year.” That’s not what I’m saying. Regular season wins don’t necessarily mean shit; in 2001, the 116-win Seattle Mariners failed to even reach the World Series. This is the Red Sox year because all the unlikely, even somewhat “magical” things are happening for them to win games. Not trying to discount this team or their talent, because believe me, I’ve watched them enough times this year to know that they are legit. But it takes a little bit of magic to win a championship.
Christian Vazquez hit .207 with 3 home runs this year. The guy had a negative WAR. What’d he do in the deciding ALDS Game 4 against the Yankees? He hit a two-run home run.
Jackie Bradley, jr. is the Red Sox’ 9 hitter, a .238 career batter in the lineup for his defense. He was the ALCS MVP, blasting two huge home runs (including a grand slam) and driving in 9 in the series.
Nathan Eovaldi has gotten Tommy John surgery twice, missed all of 2017, and has a career ERA over 4. He’s been nothing short of brilliant in the playoffs, tossing 7 innings of one-run ball against the Yankees in ALDS Game 3 and 6 innings giving up two against the Astros in ALCS Game 3.
And on top of those guys’ performances, don’t even get me started on this catch.
My reasoning behind pointing out these facts isn’t to discount the efforts of the Red Sox’ stars. It’s just to show that this is their year. Everything is going right for them. They’re the superior team. It absolutely pains me to say it, but they’re going to win this series and it’s not going to be close. I think they win it in five games, clinching the championship in Los Angeles.
It’s going to be awful for us Yankee fans to watch, and will only make this offseason harder. But I have to make peace with it at some point, it might as well be now. At least I have the Giants and Knicks to watch…