The Boston Red Sox are in first place at the All-Star break. So maybe we should stop complaining about it.
Everywhere I turn, somebody here in Boston is unhappy with something that’s happening with the Red Sox. Sometimes you’d have no idea they’re the first-place team in the AL East with the second-most wins in the American League.
My advice? Enjoy it.
Their ace, Chris Sale, got the start in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Miami, which also featured Mookie Betts and Craig Kimbrel. The Sox return from the break this weekend with a four-game series against the second-place New York Yankees at Fenway. The Yankees entered the break tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for second place in the division, 3.5 games behind the Red Sox.
First place is not a bad place to be, if you’re Boston. Yet, I’m still hearing some complaints.
Comes with the territory, I guess. At the risk of sounding spoiled, we expect the Red Sox to make the playoffs every year. And not just get there, but win when they do.
Last year, they won the division and got swept by the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS. With the addition of Sale, the expectations this year are, at the very least, to win a playoff series and advance to the ALCS.
If the postseason began today, the Red Sox would play the Indians once again in the ALDS. Sale’s dominance would certainly give that series a different feel this time around. And if they could pull that off, it would set them up with an ALCS series against either the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, or Minnesota Twins. Again, that’s if the playoffs began today, at the All-Star break.
Point is, we can play the “if the playoffs began today” game because the Red Sox are right in the middle of it all. That’s a great place to be in mid-July. And while we expect them to be in this position, when they actually have success, as a 50-win team, it’s time to stop making it sound like they’re just barely staying alive.
Sure, a lot of things have gone wrong this year. Some were expected, like the loss of David Ortiz. Others were not, like missing David Price for the first two months of the season, seeing reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello struggle the way he has, and continuing to wait for relievers Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg to get healthy. But wouldn’t all of that make the Red Sox’ first-place status all the more impressive? It should.
Instead, there’s always something. Either it’s the “need” for a new third baseman, Hanley Ramirez’ work ethic, Price vs the media, or second-guessing how the manager uses Kimbrel. And I’m sure I’m missing a complaint or two. But there always seems to be one, no matter how good things are going or end up being.
Yeah, a power-hitting third baseman would be nice. A batting average higher than .261 for Ramirez would be great. It would be awesome if Price could ignore media criticism. And John Farrell isn’t a perfect manager. But something has to be said for a 50-win first-place team at the All-Star break that now has the opportunity to add a piece or two at the July 31 trade deadline and get even better.
What the Red Sox have been able to do thus far, given all their issues this season, is pretty damn impressive.
It’s time we stop complaining about it.
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