Boston Red Sox slogging through a boring month of September
The Boston Red Sox are now coasting to a division title and the best record in baseball. September will be a boring victory lap until the playoffs.
The month of September will be dreary for the Boston Red Sox as they attempt to focus on the chore at hand in winning the division. Is it a lock? Not until it becomes official, but the inevitable is taking place. The rest of the month presents a possible playoff preview with games against the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, and Houston Astros.
That may generate a modicum of excitement, but the reality is this closing month is just plain boring – Vanilla ice cream when fifty other flavors are available. No surge to the finish line since the best record in baseball is a guarantee. So just what to look for?
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The game circulates around that little bump in the middle of the infield and the Red Sox recent pitching woes are about to receive a sudden jolt that trends upwards if Chris Sale is healthy. That, most certainly, gets some attention, but think positive as Sale has. And on the injured spectrum, toss in David Price and a bruised left paw. Less concern regarding Mr. Personality.
Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright apparently are ready to show their stuff in September so that may get me off Facebook or the NFL for a bit before I just nod off. And let us not forget as much as I try – Rick Porcello who may be our fourth starter in the playoffs. Porcello certainly gives you a reasonable 50/50 shot at whomever the opposition tosses in at fourth.
The bullpen concerns have certainly gathered a mild firestorm among those of us paying attention, but I’ll go out on a prediction limb. Ryan Brasier, Heath Hembree, Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel seem to have surfaced on manager Alex Cora’s confidence scale of late and September could solidify their positioning.
The focus of attention may be highlighted by personal achievement and glory since the collective will probably have a new team record for wins. The American League batting race is now winding down to Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez and a Red Sox player will wear the crown. If Martinez loses he can drown his sorrows with either leadership or close to leadership in virtually every significant batting achievement in the AL.
Sale will miss out on what he most certainly had a lock on by the end of July – The Cy Young Award. The disabled list dual visits tossed about eight to ten starts to the statistical winds so Sale will once again be Mr. Runner-up. But Sale – like Price – relishes postseason redemption and if that happens all those 100+ wins will be just the foundation on which the World Series flag rests.
September usually offers ample opportunity to see prospects or at least prospects that the Red Sox think have a legitimate big league future. With such a sparse system there is no one to really cause one to stay up with great anticipation for their next at-bat or pitch. So for prospect infusion, September offers little that will be of any momentous concern.
The last aspect of a September that has a certain yawn quotient is an injury. As mentioned Sale is of primary concern despite his assurances that is in virtually pristine condition and the Red Sox assertion there is no structural damage. The rest is just maintenance issues to avoid nightmares such as faced Eduardo Nunez, Price and Dustin Pedroia entering the embarrassment against Houston in 2017.
September certainly may not light my fire, but September is followed by October and the “second season” will take place. That will be off the charts regarding Red Sox Nation angst as the expectations are off the charts. The expectation is clear and that means anything less than a WS flag makes the whole season just a footnote.