This post has been a long time in coming, but alas, there is now no way to avoid it — the 2010 Red Sox are toast. Burnt. Finished. Done. As of writing this post the Sox have 30 games to play, and are 7 games off the wild card pace. Ain’t happening.
While many Boston writers wrote the Sox off as early as mid-July, I held out far longer than most. Yes, it’s partially cause I want to “believe.” But it’s not like good play couldn’t have gotten the Sox right back in it. At one point last week they were a mere 4.5 games out of first place in the AL East. But at this point, they are short on time, talent, and inspiration. As a fan its most disappointing to see that they couldn’t put a decent run together.
That being said, I can’t really feel surprised. This was certainly a very interesting season in many ways. If you had told me at the beginning of the year that the Red Sox would claim Johnny Damon off waivers and Clay Bucholz would lead the league in ERA I would have given you more markers to huff. Theo Epstein chose a defense and pitching strategy which seemed strange in the AL east, yet in resulted in one of baseball’s most potent offenses and a rather lackluster pitching staff.
At the end of the day, you can throw the excuse card at me all day long, but that would just be you making excuses — the Red Sox season was simply derailed by injuries. At this point Dustin Pedroia has missed 58 games, while Kevin Youkilis has missed 31 and is out for the rest of the season. Both players were off to great starts. Jacoby Ellsbury, a key offensive piece, has missed 115 games. His defensive replacement, Mike Cameron, has missed over half of the season. Josh Beckett has pitched under 100 innings, and Victor Martinez missed 23 games — during which backup catcher Jason Varitek got injured and found himself on the disabled list. And that’s just the beginning of the Sox woes this season. I simply have never seen a string of injuries this severe, which is most disappointing. Nobody wants to see the baseball season end in September.
I am however happy that I feel like I can look forward to next season with a huge amount of optimism. Despite all of the injuries and widespread criticism of Theo Epstein’s pitching and defense strategy, the Red Sox are 16 games over .500. Imagine if they had stayed fairly healthy? Needless to say, they’d be right in it, if not on top. Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and David Ortiz are the heart and soul of this team, and 2/3 of that heart is missing. Imagine if A-Rod and Texiera were missing in New York? Or Longoria and Crawford in Tampa? It’s a scary thought. And I think Theo knows he better step up his game this offseason.
So who’s going to step up and beat the Yankees for me?
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