Monday, October 20, 2008
Joe Sheehan sums up the difference in the ALCS.
The Rays are going to the World Series instead of the Red Sox for one reason: they beat Jon Lester twice…Those were supposed to be Sox wins, and if either of the two games had been, they and not the Rays would be AL champs today.
That it is it in a nutshell. Matt Garza and the Rays beat Lester and the Sox. Even though Garza fell behind many Sox hitters in Game 3, they couldn’t hit the heat. The fireballer pitched even better in the series finale. Maybe a lineup with Mike Lowell and a healthy David Ortiz would have been able to catch up to Garza’s fastball or a full strength Josh Beckett could have changed the outcome in he second game of the series, but that was not in the cards. The better team, that took the field, won.
The Sox had a very good year. They posted the best run differential in the American League, although numerous players spent time on the DL. The 2008 Red Sox season is not about what could have been, but rather a statement to the healthy and strength of the organization. The Sox are on their way to accomplishing the organization’s objective - to play October baseball eight times a decade - as they are solid in each part of the holy trinity for long-term baseball success: financial flexibility, a hand full or more of productive 0-3 year MLBers and a top rated farm system.