Boston Red Sox need a Silky Sullivan run to make the playoffs

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 25: Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom and Manager Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox react as they address the media during an end of season press conference on October 25, 2021 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 25: Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom and Manager Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox react as they address the media during an end of season press conference on October 25, 2021 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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A Boston Red Sox surge is needed on their west coast trip

The Boston Red Sox are well past the quarter pole in the 2022 season with 50+ games. The results are disappointing and certainly not scintillating. What is needed is a baseball Silky Sullivan surge for the remainder of the season to lurch into the playoffs.

Silky Sullivan was a racehorse noted for its come from behind victories, and the term is now applied as such in other areas. Someone who is so far in arrears that they are dismissed as irrelevant, which is what the Red Sox appear to be. Battling for last place against Baltimore. Embarrassing.

The reigning World Series Champions, the Atlanta Braves, could fit the mold of Silky Sullivan last season. From the beginning of August to the end of the season, the Braves went 36-19. Before that, the Braves hovered under .500. Baseball history is littered with both remarkable resurgences and epic failures.

This season has been representative of a Silky Sullivan finish for Boston Celtic fans. In January, the C’s were an afterthought but since then they have been on a rampage and may win an NBA title.

Is this team too good to fail? The same core exists that almost went to the 2021 World Series, so the talent level exists. The pitching is spotty and inconsistent, which applies to nearly every MLB team. What they give up on the hill, they get back in the batter’s box. Maybe.

Manager Alex Cora has received his fair share of critique over the situation and a fanbase that fuels itself on emotion – often at-bat to at-bat. The idea of managing is to put players into a position where they are both comfortable and have a chance to succeed. Metrics are prominent on the whole success thingy but not infallible as we have witnessed. Cora is no managerial genius like Gene Mauch, revered for his managerial skills. Mauch never won a World Series and managed the 1964 Phillies to a historic collapse. I’ll take Cora.

My worry is the pitching, as it always has been throughout baseball history. Earl Weaver said – and I paraphrase – it all comes down to that little bump in the middle of the diamond. Thankfully the Red Sox bargain hunting has yielded some positives with Rich Hill and Michael Wacha, but more is needed, and that does not mean two looming question marks in Chris Sale and James Paxton.

The pitching will be the domain of Chaim Bloom either via his farm system or some astute shopping on the open market. The farm system may be hope in waiting for 2023 and 2024, but the open market is a distinct possibility. Last season, Max Scherzer became available, so you know quality surfaces.

To get, you must give, and Bloom collects prospects, which could be the key. Just who to get, how much to pay, and reasonably naturally assuming payroll. It all is dependent upon the team showing some consistent signs of life.

The hitting has surprised me and many of those wearing the RSN insignia. But, alas, my worries are minimal since the track record is one of success. The bats are no longer in a deep slumber.  Trevor Story is not Carl Crawford, and we have witnessed just what Story is – either tepid or a monster. Story is a more productive version of Mr. Inconsistency – Jackie Bradley Jr.

This team to do a Silky Sullivan has an arduous task ahead. The dreaded New York Yankees have the thunder, solid starters, and a great bullpen and make the American League East a shambles so far, but it is how you finish in any horse race or season. Will the Noo Yawkers try to do what the Red Sox did in the 1978 collapse? I doubt it. The rich target environment comes down to two other American League East teams.

Next in line is the defending division champions, the Tampa Bay Rays. Examining payroll, they have consistently produced results on the cheap and are doing it again in 2022. The Rays will hang tough, but the third target may not – the Toronto Blue Jays.

Are they underperforming? Are they overrated? I picked the Jays to finish first in the AL East, and they still may do it. The Jays will square away and step it up. They were aggressive in the offseason, and management will not tend to go to naught on that investment.

Toronto and Tampa apparently will be engaged in a season-long exercise in who can get second place. Boston is within reach of both, but that is the now, and Boston is taking a step forward and a step backward. Better than the two steps back a few weeks ago.

That is it for the Silky Sullivan approach. The playoffs mean a leapfrog into the top three of the AL East. With the schedule of games against the East opponents, the task may not be as arduous as presented, especially if the Jays seem to spin their wheels or the Yankees and Rays falter.

The Red Sox have departed for an arduous ten-game west coast swing. Often this is where the season goes to die, but exceptions exist. The Red Sox have become a respectable road team, and sojourns westward no longer have the same impact as a letter from the IRS. Still, a dismal trip could be the beginning of a house cleaning.

Next. Re-Grading every Red Sox offseason move. dark

The outlook now for Boston is disappointing – quite an understatement considering how it has transpired so far in 2022. The patient is on life support but has not flatlined. So a Silky Sullivan is, at best, a highly optimistic view, with a more realistic one being this season being over at the end of July with a massive fire sale.