The Boston Red Sox have won 11 baseball games in a row and sit six games ahead of their closest competition for the AL East crown. They’ve clinched a playoff spot. They look good, they’re peaking at the right time, and they seem to have mostly gotten over that whole “our pitching sucks” problem they had earlier in the year. They’re a contender.
Except they’re the Red Sox, so they’re going to fuck it up. It’s what they do. They set high expectations and then vomit all over them in spectacular fashion. To those of you thinking I’m too much of a Negative Nellie, I ask you: have you looked at the god damn roster? It’s so combustible it started five separate wildfires in Cali last time they visited the Angels. Shit’s going down in October (or maybe November) and it’s going to be some Maury-level “Neither of you is the father!” drama. Let’s go over the most likely culprits behind this pending baseball arson.
The Price is wrong
The Red Sox gave David Price roughly a bazillion trillion and twelve dollars so all the locals would stop complaining about their lack of an ace. This is a guy with a 3.20 ERA in 251 Major League appearances. He’s at 3.95 this season, but his peripherals suggest he’s pitched better than that number and he’s had a little bit of bad luck. He’s a 5.12 in the postseason. He made four playoff starts for Toronto last year and gave up at least three runs in each. You can’t say he had a really ace-like postseason since that time the Rays made the World Series. Betting on Price to go kablooey on a cold fall evening in Fenway seems smart. Odds: 3-1.
Hanley being Hanley
Hanley Ramirez has been almost too well-behaved this year. He lost weight, learned to play a decent first base, and generally kept his act together despite his inability to find a god damn helmet that fits. Still. He’s kind of an adventure with pop flies. He’s never seen a borderline strike he agreed with and he likes to talk to the umpires about it. The Baseball Writers of America voted him Most Likely to Charge the Mound and Drop the Pitcher with a Shining Wizard. Fine, I made that last one up, but can’t you totally see it happening? Odds: 5-1
Big smelly Butthole
Sure, things would have to be going pretty badly for Clay Butthole to end up in a high leverage spot, but I couldn’t leave him out. Butthole’s been pitching better since he cut his stupid hair, but like the team in general, he’s setting us up. If Farrell turns to Suckholz in the thirteenth inning of a tie game in a close series I’m frickin’ going to bed. Odds: 4-1
David Ortiz can’t run
Ding ding ding, I think we have a winner! David Ortiz is a hell of a ballplayer. He’s forty years old and somehow OPS-ing 1.038 even though he really can’t run at all anymore. And that’s the problem. Balls down the line or in the gap that should be doubles end up as singles or outs at second because his myriad injuries have sapped what little speed he has. I can picture it now: Ortiz leads off the bottom of the ninth with the Sox down two and a man on second. He hits a frozen rope into the right field corner. The runner scores, but Papi either holds at first, the next batter hits a single, then the two after that strike out, or he tries too hard for second and gets thrown out by a mile. Watching one of the most beloved Red Sox players ever end his career in the middle of a “He cost us the series!” shit storm is the worst possible way this season could conclude, so that’s what’s most likely to go down. Odds: 2-1
Honorable mention: Eduardo Rodriguez making sure everyone in the stadium knows what he’s about to throw; Mookie Betts blowing out his ACL during an outfield victory dance; Robbie Ross; Craig Kimbrel discovering the last few molecules of that bacteria that wrecked Daniel Bard in the clubhouse shower.