Monday, August 30, 2010

Making it interesting?

Alright, things look pretty bad. By losing two out of three to the Rays (and heartbreakers, at that), the Red Sox fall to 6.5 games out of first place and the Wild Card - seven games out in the loss column.

So does this mean it's over? Not necessarily, but barring a spectacular collapse by one or both of the teams they're chasing, it's now going to be damn near impossible. Unfortunately, we're behind the wrong New York team when it comes to hoping for a collapse, as the Yankees' Queens neighbors are particularly practiced at late-season floundering theatrics.

Where are the moribund Mets when you need them?

Many of you might ask: So what's the point in watching? Well, first of all, if these Red Sox get their act together and somehow scrape a spot in the postseason, you'll want to say that you're one of those fans who kept the faith.

Even if they don't, and even if this series turns out to be the straw that finally broke the camel's back, there's a lot of good baseball left. This is a good team, and they play exciting baseball most of the time. Sure, the last two nights have ended badly for us, but there was a lot of edge-of-your-seat performances before the final score made us all collectively bang our heads against that proverbial wall.

Take Saturday's game: we had a gem from Buchholz, an impressive catch from Drew (while the wisdom of catching that ball is open to question, the degree of difficulty involved in actually getting to it through those awful bullpens is not), and a SportsCenter Top Play from none other than the young Ryan Kalish.

During the series we've seen a lot of skill from guys most of us had never heard of until the 2010 Parade of Carnage got underway: a couple of assists by Darnell McDonald, some key hits by Daniel Nava, and an RBI from Yamaico Navarro. I mean, we've all heard about Ryan Kalish, but you'd have to be SUPER tuned in to even have known what position these other guys played in the Sox minor league system, let alone think they could make an meaningful contribution.

So maybe the tail end of 2010 will turn out to be an audition for 2011, and it's not the end of the world. Most teams would have packed it in long ago: where would the Rays be with season-ending injuries to Carlos Pena and Ben Zobrist? If BJ Upton played just 20 games? If Matt Garza was doing his best 2006 Matt Clement impression and David Price missed two months?

Likewise, where would New York be without Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Curtis Granderson for a sizable chunk of the season? What if you subtracted CC Sabathia from that rotation? Phil Hughes?

I know this is all hypothetical, but the point is that this team is nothing to scoff at. The fact that we can even boast the seventh-best record in baseball at this point in the season is borderline absurd - factor in the toughest division in the game and you're really talking crazy.

I hate to quote a Yankee to sum up a post about the tenacity of the 2010 Red Sox, but as Yogi Berra famously said: "It's not over til it's over."

It's not over yet, Red Sox Nation. I don't know about you, but the one thing I've learned this season is to never count this team out.

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