There is not I’d love to see more than the Red Sox getting to the World Series and having David Ortiz work his October magic and retire with another World Series MVP. The offense this season has been prolific and deserve a deep run. Here comes the “but”…that’s where my confidence ends.
This season has been a glimpse into the pre-2004 season with all of the frustrating losses. Sadly, I think that is how the season will end. Pitching and in-game management are just too sketchy. Would anyone really be surprised if Farrell made a decision akin to the one Buck made the other night (or like some other guy made in 2003) and cost them a game?
Here are my fears…
John Farrell: This should be every Red Sox fan’s number one concern. Farrell has exhibited a consistent lack of expertise in managing the bullpen. The same illogical decisions that cost the Red Sox numerous games this season is most likely what will bring an end to their playoff run.
David Price: His post-season record is horrible. Everybody knows it: 0-7 as a starter. We’ve seen firsthand this season Price’s tendency to tighten up in the big games and his inability to win the close games. Two of his three one-run wins were both 8-7 games. There is nothing to suggest he isn’t going to fold under the pressure this October.
Craig Kimbrel: He is just not the “lights out” closer you want to see finish a game. Six losses and four blown saves this season. His ERA in September is a nice round 6.00, his ERA in non-save situations is 5.12.
No home field advantage: Watching the Red Sox piss away home field during the last weekend of the regular season didn’t bother most people. But it should have. Unlike other sports where the perceived advantage is crowd noise or climate, the advantage in baseball directly impacts how the game is played. Specifically, managing the bullpen in the late innings is different at home than on the road. Considering two of my concerns are the manager and the closer (magnified in non-save situations), this is a problem.
And a special bonus concern for this round – Terry Francona: Not only is he a better manager, he’s got a huge chip on his shoulder after the Red Sox gave him the bum’s rush out of Boston. This really scares me.
Finally…clowns. Clowns scare me.