Thursday, September 29, 2011

Biggest Choke Job Ever: My take on the Red Sox

When I made my predictions at the beginning of the season, I predicted a Brewers vs. Red Sox World Series. While I may be correct on the Brewers, the Red Sox folded like a lawn chair. While many experts are giving credit for the Rays surging in September, the fact is, they only made the playoffs because Boston played terrible. Quite frankly, it is the biggest choke job in my lifetime, and lets not forget that I am a Chargers fan.

This team blew a 9 game lead in September, going 7-20 down the stretch. They looked less like a $160 million "dream team," and more like a nightmare. The pitching staff was brutal down the stretch, the offense failed to deliver at key points. The Sox also went 2-5 down the stretch to the lowly Orioles, a team they should have destroyed. Where do you place the blame for all of the transgressions?

Some are blaming coach Terry Francona. Come on. Sure, you could argue the fact that he did not have the team prepared to play well, but the guy has won 2 World Series rings. Who are you going to get to replace him? Bobby Valentine, Jerry Manuel, or some other coach we haven't heard of? Give me a break!

If anything, you can blame Theo Epstein. After all, he dished out a terrible contract to Carl Crawford. Sure, Crawford has been great in his career, but he is not worth $142 million. Hell, I would debate if he was worth half of that going to 2011. His on-base percentage was .289 this season, which puts him in the elite company of Kevin Kouzmanoff and Yunikesky Bentancourt. A scary proposition indeed.

Injuries also played a key role in the Sox failures this year. Starters like Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Kevin Youkillis, and J.D. Drew all missed significant time. However, a team with the budget the Sox have should be able to overcome this. Hell, winning just a few more games in September, gets them into the playoffs. The team looked unstoppable for most of the season, but they were brutal in April and September.

Some players, like Crawford blamed themselves. Others like Adrian Gonzalez said "that God didn't have it in the plans for the Sox." Really, man? Adrian is one of my favorite players, but the guy appears to be soft mentally. In an interview with the Boston Globe, he blamed the team's schedule and ESPN, since they had to play so many Sunday night games. Adrian, what did you expect? This isn't San Diego, people actually want to  watch the Sox. As a man who just relieved a huge contract, this is something that should be expected. Adrian's take personifies what Boston was down the stretch--soft.

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