Alex Cora demands accountability of his players, and the media should be no different. So in the interests of accountability, let's take a cringe-worthy trip through the 2019 archives.
April 21: "It's hard to overstate the significance of sweeping the first place Rays. Not only did the Red Sox draw within five games of Tampa, they finally looked like the team that won it all last year."
May 1: "Add it up and they have very sneakily won eight of their last 12, which projects to -- hey, why does this number sound familiar? -- 108 wins."
May 10: "We felt cautious optimism as the Sox turned a corner in late April, but now they're in full rampage mode, providing yet another reminder that the 2018 World Series champions have not, in fact, left the building."
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May 17: "The Red Sox believe they've righted the ship after starting 3-9 and 9-15. They're coming off a walk-off win over the Rockies and have surged over the last month, from the return to form of dominating ace Chris Sale, to the emergence of rookie slugger Michael Chavis, to the breakthrough of third baseman Rafael Devers."
June 20: "After taking two of three from the American League-leading Twins to run their overall streak to seven wins in eight games, it's fair to say that the Red Sox are ba--. They're ba--. They're BA--. They're …"
The author of all that ill-fated optimism? This guy. But I've finally learned my lesson, because you know how the saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me 11 times, shame on the Boston Red Sox.
Well I'm not falling for it anymore. I don't care if they win 20 in a row, I will not declare that the Red Sox have turned a corner or rediscovered their championship mojo. Cora and the players can go there, but not me.
From here on out, let skepticism reign. How many times must we watch the Red Sox make what feels like a leap forward, only to plow straight into that Jersey barrier? The latest example came this weekend, when they returned home after taking two of three from the AL-leading Twins and promptly lost two of three to the hapless Blue Jays, blowing a 6-0 lead on Saturday before being blown out in Sunday's finale.
The loss dropped the Red Sox to a game under .500 at Fenway Park, where they won 57 games last year. They trail the Yankees by eight games in the division and Tampa by 3.5 games for the first wild card. If the season ended today, they wouldn't even make the playoffs. They trail both the Indians and Rangers, and if they're not careful, they could let the lowly White Sox back into the race over the next three nights. They boast a winning record against just two of the top seven teams in the AL (2-1 vs. Minnesota and 4-3 vs. Oakland). Their odds of making the playoffs remain a dismal 31.4 percent.
Their slide down the standings isn't a mirage, either. They're not only seventh in the American League in record, they rank seventh in no fewer than eight statistical categories, from team ERA (4.27) to home runs (111) to fielding percentage (.983).
Does this sound like a team turning the corner to you? Me, neither. They are the definition of slightly above average, and the sooner we accept it, the easier it will be to take when they sweep the Yankees and then lose three of four to the Orioles, or move in to the second wild card spot on a Thursday and trail three teams for it by Sunday.
So that's it, I'm done. I'm out. You want to know if the Red Sox have finally turned the corner? Talk to me in October.
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