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The Top Ten (well, five) reasons to still believe in the Red Sox

Sep 9, 2009, 9:22 AM EST

NESN runs them down here.

In all honesty, there are only five things on that list that form a legitimate basis for believing in the Sox’ chances this postseason:  Alex Gonzalez’s defense; Clay Buchholz stepping it up; three fireballers in the pen (Papelbon, Wagner and Bard); David Ortiz turning it around; and the versatile and effective presence of Victor Martinez.

The other five reasons are wishful thinking at best, total B.S. at worst:  the absence of Smoltz and Penny (why not cite the absence of Bill Buckner while you’re at it?); the idea that they should “win one for Wake” (what, 2004 and 2007 weren’t enough?); the “magic” of Fenway Park in the fall (didn’t Sox fans used to make fun of Yankees fans for talking about that kind of crap?); Joey Gathright’s similarity to Dave Roberts (whatever that means — every team has a guy who can pinch run); and the early season successes against the Yankees (more recent data is better data, folks).

I suppose anything can happen in a short series — the 2006 Cardinals didn’t look too hot in September of that year — but when you have to dig into this kind of baloney to find a basis for hope, your chances aren’t exactly stellar.

  1. Robert D. Henneberger - Sep 9, 2009 at 10:04 AM

    The Red Sox are well equipped to beat anyone in a 7 game series.
    The question remains… will they get there? Thanks to the wild card, the answer appears to be YES!

  2. hop - Sep 9, 2009 at 10:05 AM

    How about getting a playoff spot first before mouthing off? Texas aint going away and i wouldnt be surprised if they take the wildcard from the redsuks.

  3. Kim in Maine - Sep 9, 2009 at 10:07 AM

    I’m a life-long Sox fan, but my concern lies with Francona; he needs to stop babying the players, and tell them to step it up. No more days off because of “tiredness”….suck it up! Drew needs to at least PRETEND he’s into the game, Youkilis and Pedroia need to continue to lead, Ortiz needs to hit homers, and Varitek needs to stay on the bench. Simple. Done. Wild card.

  4. Dipshizz - Sep 9, 2009 at 10:09 AM

    The Sox don’t have it together, you are right. This year’s wunderkind moves by Theo have not paid off. But why would they go buy talent? The Nation is going to fill every seat anyways. They make $20million more by picking up the road kill from around the league and not having to pay the salary for the likes of Texeria. Sorry to say it outloud Sox fans – but until you show that Bronze medals aren’t good enough by not showing to the games, the ownership is under no pressure to provide you with anything but an ‘almost placed’ team. Maybe making you feel great about it proves that Theo really is a genious!

  5. Yon MacIntyre - Sep 9, 2009 at 10:17 AM

    anybody who thinks varitek needs to ride the pine is outta their ever lovin mind. What they should do is put martinez in the dh slot and keep tek behind the plate. his bat may once again be lacking but you cant argue the fact that he is one of the best game callers in the league. and his handling of the pitching staff is irreplacable

  6. Yankee Fans - Sep 9, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    Yes, please keep Varitek in the games. Please.
    We’ll be happy to supply all sorts of stat-free myths how he’s such a great game caller. Seriously, whatever it takes to keep the real Captain Intangibles playing, we’ll provide.
    And don’t forget…catching 4 no-hitters has nothing to do with the quality of the pitchers, it’s all Varitek.
    Hey…and now that Wakefield’s future is questionable, Varitek can play every game!

  7. Evan - Sep 9, 2009 at 10:36 AM

    Kim,
    Your comment sounds eerily like a description of the Yankees circa 2004. Francona isn’t going to change his ways stripes at the first sign of difficulty. He won 2 championships doing exactly what he is doing now. Yankee fans wanted Torre to slap some sense into our players following the ’04 season, to no avail.
    No matter what the Red Sox do short of winning a championship, you and your nation will see the season as a failure. It’s an unrealistic expectation, but one that Sox fans will have for years. I expect the Red Sox to make the post season. I’m all that confident they’ll win the first series. Lester is the only guy pitching like an ace right now. If Beckett doesn’t get his act together, you guys won’t get past the Angels (assuming you play them).

  8. Joey B - Sep 9, 2009 at 10:58 AM

    I agree with Evan. It’s all about Beckett. If we see a vintage Beckett, and if Buchholz keeps pitching as he’s done, we’re as good, or better, as anyone in a short series.
    Even without Beckett, we can beat LAA with Lester going twice. But without Beckett pitching well, and with the chances of Lester going 3 times in a 7-game series very small, it would be difficult to advance in to the WS.
    Still, this doesn’t really differentiate us from anyone else. The best team is still only a slight favorite over the worst team in a short series. The NYY will almost surely win >100, but they’ll still be facing Verlander twice, assuming the RS are the WC team.

  9. Harvard yahd - Sep 9, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    The sox may stumble into the playoffs – hopefully they do. If they do I can’t help but feel that Dice-K is suddenly going to be ‘healthy’ enough to lose in the first round.
    Kim – Francona is doing a great job with what he has. I also don’t agree with your Drew comments. His face might not get flush like yours during games – but he is a baller. Even through injuries he has jacked 20 HRs. His demeanor won’t change. Would it make you feel better if he wore a jacket that said PISSAH on the back?
    Dip was right. Theo made no moves that improved the pitching or batting during the offseason, even though a large portion of the team was again and ailing. The signing of V Mart was too late in the season to make a dent in the Skanks lead.

  10. Motherscratcher - Sep 9, 2009 at 11:46 AM

    Some gold mined from this thread:
    1. “my concern lies with Francona; he needs to stop babying the players, and tell them to step it up”
    2. “until you show that Bronze medals aren’t good enough by not showing to the games, the ownership is under no pressure to provide you with anything but an ‘almost placed’ team.”
    3. “you cant argue the fact that he is one of the best game callers in the league. and his handling of the pitching staff is irreplacable”
    4. “Theo really is a genious”

  11. Bill H. - Sep 9, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    Very simple…The Red Sox will finish the year 10 to 15 games behind the Yankees and won’t get out of the first round of the playoffs. They just are not that good

  12. Sully - Sep 9, 2009 at 1:13 PM

    Honestly, whenever I need a good laugh, I read the comments from a Red Sox article. They cheer me up tremendously.
    2004 World Championship = bronze medal
    2007 World Championship = also a bronze medal
    I assume, according to this logic, that Yankee Stadium has been empty all year because they missed the playoffs entirely last season?
    80-58 record, 3rd best in AL, 2nd best run differential = “wunderkind moves [that] have not paid off”
    Thank you, Sox-hating trolls, for the unintentional comedy. Keep it up!

  13. Tyrone - Sep 9, 2009 at 1:20 PM

    Calcaterra sucks as bad as Olberman and that is why I made a TON of money selling my GE stocks early last year! Thanks Craig for making me a ton of money b/c you suck.

  14. Craig Calcaterra - Sep 9, 2009 at 1:21 PM

    Well, Tyrone, it took you at least three clicks to get here, write that comment and post it. I and the rest of the NBC family appreciate your patronage.

  15. C.Myles - Sep 9, 2009 at 1:48 PM

    Get a life. The Sox are simply not that good….maybe not even in the AL-top 5. An old, fat DH…overhyped #1 starter….bullpen that has degraded each month. They may not even be in the playoffs.

  16. Michael - Sep 9, 2009 at 2:14 PM

    Hey, the Sahhx do one better than ghosts: they have frozen dead people!

  17. Jeff Berardi - Sep 9, 2009 at 2:17 PM

    Most of these posts seem to be of the genre “Red Sox suck!”, or, “Red Sox totally don’t suck, you suck!”. But that’s not really the point. The point is the NESN sucks… it’s a simple one, and it’s undeniably true.

  18. Art - Sep 9, 2009 at 3:59 PM

    The YES’ification of NESN has in fact been quite sad to watch.

  19. Greenie - Sep 9, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    Texas will win the AL wild card. They have a better team.

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