Red Sox Collapse


In an unfamiliar position, the Yankees were the underdog heading into the 2011 season. Losing out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes to the Phillies at the time was devastating to most (not me). But, it is now looking like a blessing in disguise. Cashman acquired veterans Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon to fill the holes in their rotation much to the chagrin of media and the eternally pessimistic fans. After Sabathia, the pitching staff had many holes. What did look more than promising, was the acquisition of Rafael Soriano. Soriano-Rivera as a one-two punch had remnants of Wetteland and Rivera from the mid-90’s.
The Red Sox had a more impressive offseason, signing superstars Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Media and fans alike, blew up the Red Sox claiming that the Red Sox would run away with the division. Lack of objectivity prevented most people from seeing the flaws in the Red Sox rotation and bullpen.
As emotionally invested as I am with the Yankees, objectivity has never been a problem for me. I predicted the Yanks-Sox would be the two teams standing neck and neck in the AL East. I predicted the Red Sox would have pitching problems and that Carl Crawford would begin his Red Sox career less than stellar. I predicted that Colon would step up and 21-year old Jesus Montero would make his debut in impressive form. What took me by surprise was the emergence of Ivan Nova, no one would have predicted he would go 16-4 with a 3.62 ERA, easily inserting himself as a number two starter. Jeter, coming off the worst year of his career has lived up to many expectations, the 12x all star recorded his 3,000 hit on July 9, 2011, making him the first player to reach that feat with one team. On the flip side, injuries are something no one can predict. Underachiever Joba Chamberlain was placed on the DL June 8th with no plans on returning for the rest of the season. Arod also spent much of the season on the DL, but the Yankees didn’t seem to have much of an issue scoring runs in his absence. Injuries happen, every team has them, it is how that team deals with that adversity is the real feat. Over in Beantown, Crawford did not have an easy transition going from Tampa to Boston. Like many players we have seen go from a small market team to a big market team, sometimes the pressure is just too much to handle. Overrated Lackey went 12-12 with a 6.49 ERA, definitely not ace-like numbers. Jacoby Ellsbury emerged as the one constant for the Red Sox this year. With 37 stolen bases, Ellsbury ended the season batting .321 with 105 RBI’s staying consistent through out the season. Like most predicted, Gonzalez had a year many predicted ending the year with a hefty .338 batting average.
What no one could have predicted was for the Red Sox to sink like the Titantic. On Sept. 3rd, the Red Sox were a half game behind the Yankees in the AL East. The Tampa Rays were 9.5 games back in the division. It looked like the it would be just like old times, Yanks and Sox fighting to determine who would win the division, while the other would have to settle for the wild card. Fast forward to September 21, Yankees clinch the division, while the Red Sox hold a 2.5 game lead in the wild card standings over Tampa. Yesterday, Boston became the first team to miss the postseason after leading by as many as nine games for a playoff spot entering September, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Red Sox were leading 3-2 in a do-or-die game int he ninth, when Papelbon blew the save with a little help with the defensive liability, otherwise known as Carl Crawford. In Tampa, the Rays came back from a seven run deficit to beat the Yankees b-squad to capture the Al Wild Card.
What happened to the Red Sox? Well, the flaws were there all along. They started off  2-10, revealing off the bat that there were kinks in the armor. Inconsistent pitching, inadequate defense, lack of chemistry, poor conditioning, the list can go on and on. Jackie McMullen from said ” The Red Sox were arrogant, complacent, and entitled”. No doubt that the talent was there, as a team the Red Sox had no problem racking up impressive offensive numbers, leading the majors in hits and runs. But, it takes a “team” to win a championship. The 2011 Red Sox unraveled in dramatic fashion. No one ever said the Red Sox were boring and predictable.
There are plenty of questions and concerns that will have to be addressed in the offseason for the Boston Red Sox. But, for now….it is playoff time.

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