While the Sox wait for the postseason to be over so they can start upgrading for next year, it’s time for a postmortem to examine what went wrong. Maybe these problems were unavoidable, but we’ll never know.
Here are the four biggest ‘What Ifs’ of the Sox postseason run:
What if Nathan Eovaldi had started Game 1 of the ALCS instead of Chris Sale?
When Cora threw a curveball and announced that it would be Chris Sale instead, people worried that the Sox manager was overthinking or getting too cute with the roster moves. Sale had struggled in every postseason start of his career, especially against the Astros, who had lit him up in his October debut in the 2017 ALDS.
Sale ultimately went 2 2/3 innings and only allowed one earned run on five hits in Game 1, while Eovaldi went 5 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits the following game. Despite the team loss, it was encouraging to see Sale tie his postseason career-high 5 1/3 innings in his Game 5 start a few days later.
Sale is still working back from Tommy John, and will hopefully be back to the scary old monster we knew and loved before 2019. But we’ll always wonder if the ALCS could’ve started on a more dominant note if Eovaldi had taken the mound in Game 1.