September 29, 2010
So tonight the Redsox were officially eliminated from the playoff race, it wasn't that difficult to take since they just were too banged up to compete in the toughest division in baseball. However, this team was fun to watch. I have a saying when a team gets down early that "you get 27 outs for a reason" and this team used all 27 the best they could. Unfortunately it would generally lead to comebacks that fell just short. In addition to that their bullpen sucked the whole year. They have one good reliever and that's just not cutting it.
Sunday Night against the Yankees was pretty much the stake in the heart. First off let me say whenever you comeback against Mariano Rivera it's special. He's the greatest closer of all time and he rarely blows a lead. When you do it at Yankee stadium you have to close the game out in the ninth. So in comes Jonathan Papelbon. For those that don't know he used to be arguably the second best closer in the league and he's incredibly outspoken. He thinks he should be paid like Mariano Rivera and he hasn't shied away from talking about his contract and how much he expects to make. Well Papelbon blew 8 saves this year none more gut wrenching than the one on Sunday night. Obviously the Redsox ended up losing in 10 and it was just a fitting way to end the season.
I am excited about next years team though, without injuries and with some added bullpen help I could easily see them making another playoff run next year. 2010 was incredibly frustrating though because as a fan you can't help but think what might have been. I do think Francona deserves consideration for manager of the year. If I had a vote I'd place it for Gardenhire, but Francona would be second on my list. He didn't have a whole lot of options this year and did the best he could with what he was dealt. In addition the team played hard until the end. I know they're being paid a lot of money and should do this anyways but teams mail it in a lot (see the 2010 Dodgers).
Ultimately it came down to Lackey, Beckett, and the bullpen sucking most of the year. What worries me is signing the first two to long term contracts when their stuff looks like it's way down from previous years. Hopefully both show up in good shape next year and are ready to go, there's really no excuse otherwise.
From Daniel Nava to Darnell Mcdonald you could write a pretty interesting story on a lot of the call ups. They played like there was no tomorrow since there really wasn't. Many of these guys have toiled around in the minors long enough to appreciate how special it was to be called up. I really hope they retain Mcdonald as I think he'd be a good fourth or 5th outfielder but would understand if he thought he could start somewhere else. Hopefully they can resign Martinez as I don't think they'll be able to afford Beltre.
I'm now in anyone but the Yankees mode, but either way this years playoffs looks like it's going to be very exciting. If your team is still in it, goodluck. The playoffs are an incredibly nerve wracking experience. With every pitch meaning so much and so much time in between pitches your mind is free to wander about every different scenario that might happen. Who's on deck, what pitch to throw here, oh no, damnit, where was that?, who do we have up next inning? are all things you'll experience and ask yourself. Enjoy it, it's a fun ride and can end at any time.Â
It's hard to win a pennant, but it's harder losing one.Â ~Chuck Tanner