Boston Red Sox are a lock for American League title

Aug 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi (left) center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (center) and right fielder Mookie Betts (right) celebrate after the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Red Sox win 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 20, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi (left) center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (center) and right fielder Mookie Betts (right) celebrate after the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Red Sox win 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Hyperbole time for this Boston Red Sox fan, as I expect another AL pennant and a World Series flag by the end of October.

The Boston Red Sox are in the playoffs and the big question is just who will they face? Who does Red Sox Nation fear? What team or teams can take the luster quickly off the season? The answer is no team. Forget your angst. Leave it at Gate B. This team is solid and it took four and one-half months to finally jell.

So why all the pom-pom activity? There are several reasons I look at and it looks like some clear sailing from my view.

The confidence factor

The Red Sox went on a momentous winning streak at the most opportune of times. Two division opponents who were on their heels are now in the dust. The New York Yankees were becoming a force in the playoff picture and Boston swept them away four straight. That finished off the Yankees, who are now a playoff afterthought.

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The Orioles desperately needed to make a statement in a four game series that was played in their home ballpark. Two things were absent from the games: The fans and the Orioles team. Another Boston sweep and a fond farewell to division title aspirations for Baltimore.

The Red Sox stood tall and that does a world of good for the psyche. They came in against opponents ready to pounce and left with pelts that had little birdies and pinstripes on them. The team is hot, full of bravado and knows they are damn good. A cruise to the finish is in the works.

The road

This team is built for home and road. In days of yore, a Red Sox team was destined to misery when leaving Fenway Park. Built for bludgeoning opponents at home, they meekly surrendered on the road. A .500 road season was a remarkable achievement – like discovering the secrets of cold fusion.

The hitting and pitching are well balanced and can adapt to foreign parks. Sure, they still have a preponderance of bashing at home compared to the road, but duds they are not. Speed helps as does the discipline of hitters who use the whole playing field.

The manager

Has John Farrell suddenly turned into Joe McCarthy? Was the Steven Wright pinch-running debacle a managerial epiphany? The bullpen is operating even better than the rotation and the decision-making is A+ despite the occasional surfacing of Fernando Abad.

Players are getting rested and a rotation both on the mound and among the position players is firmly in place. Suddenly the in-game decisions even agree with mine! The “other” side of managing has always been fairly solid – keeping the distractions and internal discord well out of the public scrutiny. Farrell is on a roll, folks.


This is a stress-free season for the Red Sox with no internal turmoil and assorted players speaking evil about anything that seems to irritate them – baseball or non-baseball. The players have managed to comport themselves with a certain high level of professional dignity and it shows. There is well-noted camaraderie that borders on 2013.

The combination of veterans and young players have blended remarkably well. Even a few with noted “past history” have taken the pledge to lead by example.

The opposition

The American League East produced four teams above .500 and the Beast of the East is back. The parks are small and the pressure is constant. For the Red Sox, the pressure is both on and off the field as the media cherishes any moment that can be deemed negative. The East makes a team battle tested and that is a plus.

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Cleveland, Texas, and even Seattle and Detroit will be a minor blip on the way to the ultimate goal – a World Series. Detroit certainly gave the Red Sox a few nicks and dents, but this is the September Red Sox and the team is settled and running on all baseball cylinders.

The potential foes all have “issues” and those issues exceed anything that the Red Sox have. Simple as that.

The balance

I will most certainly repeat myself regarding the composition of this current squad. Defense? Check! Pitching? Check! Hitting? Check! They have it all together and it has stabilized when needed most. The hitting statistics are off the charts and no one is close. The lineup is balanced and has remarkable ability to visit the extra base aisle for superior run creation.

The Red Sox lead the American League (and National) in virtually every favorable offensive statistic. This is a batting order that can be relentless and wear down even the most diligent of pitchers.

Offense without defense is peanut butter without jelly. When you examine defense, there are two components with the glove being one and pitching being the other. Pitching they have. Two established aces in David Price and Rick Porcello. Facing them once in a series is difficult enough, but twice is a hefty task.

Clay Buchholz and Eduardo Rodriguez have suddenly found the magic that eluded both throughout the first four months. One is a veteran and the other a promising youngster. Both will finish out the playoff rotation.

Then comes a bullpen that is suddenly the best in the business. Even Craig Kimbrel has decided to stop issuing a boatload of walks. Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler are effective closers who now set-up for Kimbrel. They both know the pressure of closing and the significance of getting there. Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross, and Heath Hembree have been solid – especially Kelly.

The defensive nine are exceptional – especially the outfield. The infield may be a bit rough at the corners but still, represents fairly solid glove work. They play smart and with panache. This is a very good defensive team by any standards and for a Red Sox team – exceptional.

Next: Red Sox Strut: David Ortiz and Craig Kimbrel

So enjoy the ride to the World Series. Chalk up another title. 1916 championship – meet 2016 championship. Babe Ruth to David Ortiz.