With ace pitcher David Price on the mound, the Boston Red Sox may have a chance to go worst to first again, according to Las Vegas odds. Is that a reality?
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe comments on the playoff possibility for the Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs, the only other team and fanbase that could possibly understand Boston’s plight before the millennium came: “In 2003, baseball’s lovable losers, the Cubs and Red Sox, were each one win away from advancing to the World Series. It never happened, of course; although the Red Sox have since won three titles to end their long drought, the Cubs haven’t been to the World Series since 1945 or won it since 1908.”
A remarkable movie was also done through ESPN called Catching Hell, where comparisons are made between the infamous Bill Buckner mistake and the Steve Bartman scapegoat scandal. Imagine, after all of that strife, the Red Sox and the Cubs may make it to the World Series this year?
Las Vegas, apparently, thinks that it’s a strong possibility, and are putting up odds-money to prove it. As of January 8th, Vegas has the odds stacked in the Cubs’ favor at 7/1, the Red Sox closely follow at 8/1, while the San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros follow at 10/1 and 12/1, respectively. As far as the American League East goes, the Red Sox have the Yankees trailing at 16/1 and the Toronto Blue Jays, last year’s division winners, at 18/1 odds.
Cafardo had some thoughts as to why Vegas put the Cubs so high on the list: “Overpaid for Jason Heyward but he’s still an upgrade in the outfield. Ben Zobrist slots in at second and boosts the lineup. Added John Lackey to an already solid rotation and obtained Adam Warren to fortify the back of the bullpen or the end of the rotation.”
Think what you will, but there are a couple of factors that do make the Vegas odds logical.
Say what you want about Price’s record in the postseason; the man knows how to win in the regular season. In eight years, the lefty has a 104-56 record with a 3.09 ERA, making him one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB history. The five-time All-Star has been up for the Cy Young Award four times, winning it once, and he has even been nominated twice for the A.L. Most Valuable Player Award twice. For 1372 strikeouts to only 371 walks in his career of 1441.2 innings, the price was right to get David to come to Boston, away from the Blue Jays.
It makes sense that the move for Price would not only help the Red Sox gain momentum but also makes Toronto seem much weaker, at least in the oddsmakers’ eyes. The Blue Jays may have the most potent offence in the majors; however, with Price gone, Mark Buehrle leaving the club, R.A. Dickey getting older and bleeding runs like it’s going out of style, Toronto signed J.A. Happ, a pitcher the team deemed worthy to get rid of a few years back, to fill the void with their young talent. The youngsters like Marcus Stroman may become superstars, but the proof still has to come from the rest of them before they look like favorites again.
What about the Yankees? Well, they may have obtained Aroldis Chapman to bolster their bullpen, but it was already a pretty good pen before they made that move. The rest of the team is pretty much the same, and it’s not like Chapman can play every inning. His acquisition does mean that the Yankees don’t need to rely on their starters as much, being able to roll guys like Andrew Miller out earlier in the game before getting to Chapman, but that didn’t seem to blow away oddsmakers’ hats off.
Now, any baseball historian reminiscing about the good ol’ days would look at the odds and be in their glory thinking about the Red Sox and the Cubs, two of the most historic franchises, competing in the World Series. However, that fuzzy feeling inside might turn very quickly to utter hatred. No team in their right mind, as far as a public relations standpoint, would want to play the Cubs in the World Series.
Say the Red Sox beat the Cubs. What then? Did you see what happened to Bartman? Cubs fans may be getting the pitchforks out again for a good ol’ riot, with Red Sox Nation running for their lives a la the Creature in Frankenstein. Boston knows what it’s like waiting for so long for that kind of victory. The Bulls can win another NBA championship, the Blackhawks can hoist the Stanley Cup for what seems the upteeth time in this generation, but nothing would compare to the euphoria that would surround the city of Chicago like the Cubs winning the World Series.
Does Boston really want to poke the bear, literally?
With former Red Sox personnel like Theo Epstein, Jon Lester, and John Lackey being on the Cubs, that team already has enough motivation to want to win it all, let alone trying to stick it to Boston for leaving their cursed-brothers behind. The Red Sox have won three World Series championships in 11 seasons; the Cubs have waited 108 years to do the same. It’s not too smart to bask in glory after taking away a bear’s meal. He bite you, instead.