Clear your minds September 2011 déjà vu goons. The 2013 Red Sox are going to the playoffs.
In fact, the bearded warriors are the favorites to represent the American League in this year’s World Series. Vegas odds are currently 4-1 that they win the whole damn thing (second only to the Dodgers at 5/2, according to VegasInsider.com).
But the feeling in Boston is currently that of cautious optimism. Nothing more.
The 2013 Red Sox have a 2004 Red Sox feel as opposed to a 2007 or (gasp!) 2011 Red Sox feel. They are more 2001 Patriots than 2007 Patriots. They are the favorites but at the same time, the underdogs. It’s a wonderful place to be as a fan.
So can these guys actually do it? Oh hell yeah!
The best reason why the Sox could win their third title this century may be because of just how damn random baseball has become. We haven’t seen back-to-back World Series champions since the 1999-2000 Yankees. Last season’s champs, the San Francisco Giants, are 65-79 this season, good for last in the hideous NL West. The 2011 World Series champs, the St. Louis Cardinals, missed the playoffs entirely the year prior to winning it all. Ditto for the 2010 Giants, the 2009 Yankees, the 2007 Red Sox and 2005 White Sox.
In other words, in some years things just click.
The baseball playoffs have become just as random as the NFL playoffs and NHL playoffs. In the NFL, the 10-6 Balitmore Ravens and 9-7 New York Giants have won the last two Super Bowls. We saw with the Bruins just this past spring that the oddest of circumstance (the Game 7 win over Toronto in the first round) can spring a run to a Cup Final.
Baseball, a game once dominated by dynastic teams (the ‘90s Yankees, the ‘70s Reds and A’s, the ‘50s and ‘30s Yankees), is now dominated by randomness.
Throw into the mix that this year’s postseason field will be filled with fluke teams and you have even more reason to believe that the Red Sox have just a good a shot at the Commissioner’s Trophy than anyone else.
The Dodgers were 30-42 on June 22. The Red Sox scored 20 runs on the Tigers just last week. The Cardinals will be relying on guys named Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller in October. The Braves’ pitching staff is equally pedestrian.
The Red Sox are currently trying to figure out what to do with all these healthy starting arms. They have the hottest closer in the game. Their lineup features nine guys who have all proven capable of coming up with a clutch hit.
The Sox are as stacked as an MLB team can be these days, mainly because randomness rules.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS