OK. So none of the cool stuff I wanted to happen happened. There was no three-way tie that forced all the Wild Card teams to play an extra game. Neither the Rays/Rangers game nor the Rays/Indians game went 19 innings. The team the Red Sox face did not have to blow through their bullpen to get to Boston. The Rays actually come to town in pretty good shape. Thanks to an oddly scheduled off day, they’re pretty well rested and ready to play.
The Sox are still the better team. They showed that time and again over the last six months. An unfortunate day of rest isn’t going to change any of that.
Can things go wrong against the Rays? Of course. Can Lester pick the absolute worst time to have a bad game? Sure. Can David Price pitch the best game of his life? Absolutely. That’s why the whole idea of a playoff to determine the best team is stupid. But you have to think the Sox should end up on top. Their depth and balance should be able to shine through in a five game series.
Do the Sox have weaknesses? Yes. But, some of those can be covered up in a playoff series. The middle relief is sometimes a question mark. But, in October you don’t have to deal with the question marks. You can roll out your A-team over and over. Some of the things that worry you during the season don’t show their head in the playoffs. Dempster and Doubront aren’t in the starting rotation any more. Any contribution they made to the season is irrelevant.
All you can do is look at how the Sox are constructed going forward. The four starters the Sox will throw in the ALDS might be the best foursome in baseball. If you’re looking to win a five game series, that’s a damn good place to start. Their closer has been as good as it gets. The line-up can put up runs against anyone. The bench has all the required parts to win close games. Speed. Defense. Pinch-hitting.
Oh, and nobody in baseball won more games than they did during the season.
What more could you ask for?