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Never Gets Old…

…winning World Series Championships, that is.  4 times in the last 15 seasons.  Or 4 times in 14 years if you prefer.

After zero in the 86 previous years, we make no apologies whatsoever.

The Blowhard finally got one right as well.  Though we picked the Red Sox in Seven…and were hesitant about it (though simply not to jinx them…we said the Sox were the better team…really!).

Side note:  The Blowhard also hit on…Manny Machado trying to injure someone.  Ask Steve Pearce and his heel about that.  Pearce got the last laugh obviously.

In any event, all of us who doubted this team have been eating a lot of crow the last couple of days.  All year long we questioned this team.  Questioned the quality of opponents.  Questioned the pathetic bullpen.  Questioned David Price’s stones.

And then they simply shoved it right in our faces and down our throats.  On a personal level, I am glad they did.  But I am still not sure how they did it.  Price?  You know the postseason career numbers.  They honestly still aren’t great.  5-9, 4.62.  But they sure as hell look a lot better with his last 4 appearances (3 starts) in this playoff run.  Not really sure how he didn’t get the World Series MVP award, but Pearce at least wasn’t a horrible alternative.  The downside?  He’s letting us all know about it by running his mouth again.  I suppose he has earned the right somewhat.  But this is why the Blowhard still wants him out of town.  I said all year that if he stayed healthy, had a good year and the team won the World Series, there was a chance he does exercise his opt-out clause.  To top it off, he finished the postseason strong personally, as we said.

Most people laughed when we brought up the possibility of him opting out.  But I still think it’s real.  Will it happen?  I’m leaning no.  But it would not surprise me in the least bit if Price publicly opted out on one of the duck boats this morning.  After all, the fans railed on him just as much as the media since he has been here.  Wouldn’t shock me if he tried to stick it to everyone in the middle of a parade.  He has that in him for sure.  Anyway, we will see what happens there…

Other than Price, when did Joe Kelly all of a sudden become Mariano Rivera?  Pitching all five games of the World Series, he made himself some dough.  Let’s hope someone else spends it on him since he will most likely revert to being…Joe Kelly.  But that was a pleasant surprise out of nowhere for sure.

Speaking of Kelly, we want to clarify some things.  The bullpen was putrid this year.  Many pitchers had their hands in on that.  We all wondered how the bullpen was going to fare in the postseason.  Let’s be real, out of all those bums that were down there this season, the postseason bullpen was really only Kelly, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.  Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman made cameos, but never when it mattered.  The rest of the brilliant performance out of the ‘pen was handled by members of this seasons’ starting rotation.  Let’s not forget that.  Admittedly, Kelly was awesome, while Barnes and Brasier were useful.  Kimbrel was terrible for the most part.  But the point is, the bullpen will seem a lot better once you stop pitching useless arms.  On top of someone like Kelly somehow becoming unhittable.  But the change in the bullpen was mostly due to the starters throwing key innings.

We also doubted the manager, Alex Cora.  We said he has a great team and that anyone could manage it.  Welp, after listening to the players talk about him in recent days, it clearly appears we underestimated him.  Not only from what the players said but their actions as well.  Everyone was willing to do whatever it took to win this Series.  Like Nathan Eovaldi pitching the first two games in relief, then throwing six innings plus in Game 3.

Cora’s apparent work after Game 3 can’t go unnoticed either.  The tough 18 inning loss could have completely taken the steam out of the team and sent them down the wrong road.  Tough one to take for sure.  Especially considering that the Sox should have won in the 13th.  But instead, Ian Kinsler slips and uncorks a horrendous throw and…well, you know what happened from there.  Anyway, Cora may not have had his best game managing DURING the game (we didn’t think some of the moves were as bad as some were making them out to be.  I mean, who thinks the game is going 18 innings?!).  But it looks like he had his best in managing AFTER the game.  Sure, the team didn’t exactly come out blazing in Game 4.  But they finished it blazing.  Maybe some of that is Chris Sales’ fire mid-game.  But I’m betting it had a ton to do with Cora.  As well as the players’ actual talent too, let’s not get all crazy overanalyzing things.  But Cora certainly managed circles around Dave Roberts…you can take that one to the bank.

Pretty much everyone contributed to this World Series victory.   Mitch Moreland with a huge pinch hit homer in Game 4.  Eduardo Nunez throwing his body around.  Rafael Devers with some big hits…and a huge defensive play late in Game 4.  Even Drew Pomeranz contributed…by NOT pitching.

Just a lot of fun to watch.  Even if a lot of us were getting it stuck to us…though again, gladly.

What’s next?  Glad you asked!  Sale’s 2019 option was picked up…big surprise!  A steal at 15 mil…even if the shoulder is junk.  Nunez picked up his player option as well.  We will find out soon about Price.  Those I think were the most pressing matters.  The rest will come in due time.  There will be some thoughts in this space about the 2019 season soon enough.

Right now, let’s keep the party going.  Congratulations to the 2018 Boston Red Sox!!

 

Dave Roberts…

…the dude all of New England fell in love with when he stole that base in 2004 against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.  We all know what happened after that.  And the Boston Red Sox fans certainly still showed him they loved him when he got a pretty good ovation after being introduced at Fenway Park prior to Game 1 of this World Series.

But you know what?  There is a pretty good possibility that everyone in New England may love him even more now.  I think I do.  Why?  Well, the lineups of course.  Simple as that.

Roberts is now, of course, the third year manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Seems like he is a pretty good skipper overall.  Sure, he is in a city that can spend some money, but the Dodgers have finished first in all three of his seasons, with last year coming a game short of winning the whole enchilada.  Nothing to sneeze at, regardless of how much payroll is available.

I cannot say I am impressed with his work in the current World Series, however.  I mean, the whole “lefty/righty” thing may make sense on paper.  And also in the National League in general.  And also maybe in the regular season.  But when you get to the Fall Classic, you simply have to play your best guys.  There’s no other way around it.

I don’t care how bad Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Yasmani Grandal have hit in the playoffs.  There is no way they should be on the bench in favor of Brian Dozier, Kike (don’t call me Enrique) Hernandez and Austin Barnes under any circumstances.  Dozier was absolutely abysmal since coming over from the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline.  And Barnes and Kiki simply aren’t really any good.

Not to mention that the Dodgers had an additional bat they could add in the American League park with the DH being available.

Platooning can work, sure.  But you must have guys that are actually good to do it.  And maybe you shouldn’t bury some of your better hitters in the most important games of the season?

Listen, Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in the game.  And David Price has pitched well the second half of the season himself in trying to get back to where he was once one of the best pitchers in the game.

But Sale has not pitched much since July and questions abound with him still.  He was ok in Game 1.  Price?  Sure he was lights out in the Houston clincher.  But with his postseason track record, could you really depend on him doing that again?  Seems to me that Roberts should have rolled his best players out there, regardless of what side of the plate they bat from.

Now, this series is far from over, don’t get me wrong.  I fully expect the Dodgers to head back to LA, get those guys back in the lineup, and maybe hammer Rick Porcello in Game 3.  But if the Sox win Game 3?  I kind of feel we may see Eduardo Rodriguez start Game 4.  Maybe a little Drew Pomeranz coming in after that.  I know…yuck…for a Sox fan anyway.  But if they win Game 3 and use Nathan Eovaldi in a key relief role again, this is probably what’s going to happen.  If we are lucky, we will get to see Heath Hembree in that scenario too!

Bottom line, if Roberts rolls out the same lineup under that E-Rod starting scenario as he did in Games 1 and 2, well…E-Rod and Pomeranz may actually do some damage…

But if he stops overmanaging and puts his best players in regardless, the three home games in LA may actually get these guys back into the series.

The Sox look good…and it may very well be their year.  But there is a looooong way to go.

Here’s hoping Dave Roberts comes through for the Sox again though…

Drew Pomeranz…

…since we are on the theme of making a Boston Red Sox pitcher the title of our blog posts before each postseason series…but more on him later…reluctantly…

So the 2018 World Series begins in a mere few hours and the Sox are of course in it…can you believe it?!  I know, hard to fathom that anyone can say that they don’t believe a 108 win team made the World Series.  But it’s true.  After all, the Blowhard picked them to lose both rounds in their American League run.

And that alone makes me kind of afraid.  We feel like the Sox can beat the Los Angeles Dodgers.  But do we go against the grain and pick them here after predicting losses in the first two rounds?  I don’t know, sounds like a jinx.

In any event, the Red Sox should indeed win this series.  The feeling here is that the Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians all had real legit chances to beat the Sox leading up to the World Series.  But we never thought anyone from the National League had a real chance.  Even if the Chicago Cubs made it out of the NL, which we thought would be the one to make it.

And, as you well know, this Sox team has never inspired championship confidence in the Blowhard, that much has been pretty obvious.  Despite the stellar record, we just never had that feeling.  Sure, sometimes the Sox really do feel like the proverbial “team of destiny”, or that “this is their year”.  But we always thought the other shoe would fall and they would leave the playoffs with a whimper.

Now?  Hmmmmmm…perhaps the Dodgers are that “team of destiny” too?  Maybe “this is their year” too?  They have been in the playoffs six straight years.  Last year was the closest they have come to winning it all during that stretch, losing in seven games to the Astros.  This year is the 30th anniversary of their last World Series win.  Kind of a long gap for a storied franchise, no?  And doesn’t the underdog sometimes win the Series?

Look, although we have long felt the National League is the inferior league, they are 9-9 against the American League in the World Series since 2000.  (Yup, I just figured that out).  Sure, sometimes they do actually have the better team.  But it almost always feels like they don’t.  To me anyway.

The Dodgers appear to have a pretty good team.  A lot of pop in their lineup.  Adding another bat as the DH for the four potential games at Fenway won’t help the Sox there.  Some flexibility in the field with guys playing all over the place and all their lefty/righty platooning.  And their pitching is solid.  Clayton Kershaw is one of the best ever.  Hyun-Jin Ryu had a great half-year.  Walker Buehler?  I don’t know.  But he’s a kid with good numbers.  Rich Hill has been pretty good too…as long as he doesn’t have any blisters.  And we know what Kenley Jansen can do.  Who really knows about their bullpen, though they have pitched well in the postseason.  The staff’s ERA is a mere 2.79 overall.  And, I don’t know why, but I have a funny feeling that 22-year-old Julio Urias will have a say in this Series.  Despite only pitching 7 1/3 major league innings this season (11 2/3 more in the minors, due to recovery from injury).  Just a hunch.

The Dodgers bats have not been good in the postseason though.  Hitting .218 as a team with a .691 OPS.  And that’s helped slightly by Ryu going 2-5.  Cody Bellinger is a putrid 5-36.  And 35 home run surprise Max Muncy hasn’t been much better at 6-33.  Can’t even talk about their catchers at 5-44, since look at the Sox’.  But Yasmani Grandal, in particular, apparently has been a disaster behind the plate as well.

We are not going to do a full-blown analysis as we did last round since we can’t say we’ve actually watched a ton of Dodger baseball this season.  But the Blowhard’s take is that the Dodgers have the edge in pitching.  Because again, which Chris Sale and David Price will show up?  Rick Porcello too, for that matter?  And can Nathan Eovaldi do it again?  And what the hell are we going to get from Craig Kimbrel?  Not sure.  Adding Pomeranz to the bullpen adds actually…nothing.  But I guess he can’t be as bad as Brandon Workman was in the playoffs.

The feeling is the Sox have the edge in the lineup.  Again, the Dodgers have some pretty good hitters so they could prove us wrong.  But the Sox have some good ones too.  And I’m not counting Jackie Bradley Jr., who hopefully spends the majority of the games in LA firmly stapled to the bench.  Side note:  Mookie at second base sounds really cute, but I can’t say I love it.  If they were keeping a better bat in the lineup besides JBJ by making that move…maybe.  But I’d rather stick with Brock Holt and even Ian Kinsler at second and leaving Betts in the outfield with Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez.  Then bringing JBJ in for defense late.  Speaking of Mookie, he is 8-39 in the playoffs for a .205 average.  You think that will stay like that?  I don’t think so.  I hope not anyway.

One last variable:  Does the weather make any difference to the road team?  Meaning, in particular, 40-degree night games in Boston for a warm weather team from California?  Perhaps.  Can’t rule it out for sure.

Oh, and one other thing we can’t rule out?  Manny Machado intentionally trying to injure someone.  But I digress…

Adding it all up?  Despite the 16 wins regular season gap in wins between the two teams, this series on paper seems a little closer than we would like to think.  The initial thought is Red Sox in seven.  Hesitant, as mentioned earlier because we picked the Sox to lose in each of the first two rounds.  Let’s hope we are not wrong again…

 

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