Patriots fans are experts at this. As the season progresses, they seem to have this mental checklist of who they've played and beaten. Heck, it might be a written down checklist. Some people are weird. But, they have this checklist at the ready. Whenever you mention how good the team is, they come back with the list. Sure, they say, the Pats are 8-0 but, they haven't played a really good running back yet. When they play one later, they're doomed. Or, they haven't played a shut down secondary yet. Or an elite quarterback. When they do, they're going to lose big. Of course they ignore the fact that there are, what, two dominant running backs in the league? One shutdown secondary? Two or three elite quarterbacks, not counting the one they have? Maybe the fact that they haven't won against one one of those specific features is less about them not being good enough to beat one, and more the fact that those features are rare. If they exist at all. Maybe it's more a matter of how they're doing, and less about which specific flaw might end up being their kryptonite.
Which brings me to the 2016 Red Sox. Have you noticed that they're in first place in the division? But, that's not good enough.
Sure, they went 8-2, or whatever it was. But, they played the Astros, Braves, and Yankees. You can't count those! Apparently you can't count games against their division. Sure, they've already played the Orioles, the second place team. But, that's not enough.
So, this week they went into Chicago and took the series from the team with the most wins in the league.
Yeah, but they didn't have to face Chris Sale.
This is how desperate they've gotten. We can't say that the Sox are a good team because they haven't faced one particular left handed starter? Is he expected to pitch many more games against the Red Sox from here on out? Is he going to present a problem as they try to reach the playoffs? How many Chris Sale types are there in the American League? Even if we pretend that when they do face them, they'll have trouble, how many losses will that stick them with?
Maybe we need to focus on the Red Sox, and not the team playing against them. If the Sox are playing well, they can beat anyone. Even the White Sox. If they don't play well, even the Braves can beat them. Because, what if the Red Sox are the team to beat in the American League? What if the White Sox are the ones who were fooling everyone because they hadn't played Boston yet? What if everyone has it backwards.
What if the Red Sox are the measuring stick?
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