Postseason Again

The Sox clinched a spot in the postseason last night with a win and an Angels loss. At the very least, they’ll be a wild card team. They’re in the driver’s seat for the division though, so barring a pretty big collapse they’ll have (likely) Houston, or more likely they’ll be heading to Houston. 

I’m not as confident as I’d like to be in the Sox. Their offense is inconsistent. Just look at their last 3 games: two overtime Wins, one going 15 innings, and one blowout win on the back of Chris Sale’s absolutely dominating performance. If they had a consistent showing on offense even for the past month or so they could be contending for home field advantage. I’m still no 100% sold that they’ll be ready to compete in the playoffs with playoff pitching, whether it be Verlander, Keuchel, or even Kluber if things go south for Cleveland.

Pitching is another concern. Sale is Sale, but other than yesterday he kind of struggled (relatively, of course, for the Cu Young award hopeful). Big congratulations are in order on his 300 strikeouts this year, the first time since 1999 that it’s happened in the AL. Drew Pomeranz has actually been consistently very good this year, which is something I wouldn’t have expected to say last year. He has done a tremendous job and has been one of the few cconsistent pieces on this team. Beyond that, what do we have? Rick Porcello, who isn’t even close to what h was last year; Eduardo Rodriguez, who is what you’d expect him to be; Doug Fister, a solid fifth starter with an unfortunate last name who would be exposed as a third starter; and the billion-dollar man David Price, who will probably be a bullpen pitcher (which is good considering that’s the only way he’s ever won a playoff game).

The Sox will most likely play the Astros in the ALDS. I think they can win, but it’ll probably go to at least 4 games if not 5. Houston has been coasting a bit since starting the season like a rocket and burning out after the all star break. After Houston would be Cleveland, a juggernaut who won 22 games in a row and is poised to have home field to defend their pennant from last year. Cleveland looks to have Boston’s number this year, whatever the reason. If I were a gambler, I wouldn’t bet on the Sox in Cleveland. But stranger things have happened, so the Sox shouldn’t be counted out yet.

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David Price’s Behavior Is Unacceptably Unprofessional

Forgetting the media beef with David Price for the last, oh, year or so, Price’s latest instance of unprofessional behavior crossed a new line. 

Dennis Eckersley did not say or do anything out of line. His job is to call the games, and to analyze stats and observations as they come during the game. His reaction to a bad outing by Eduardo Rodriguez (“yuck”) was nowhere near an overreaction or an unfair statement. His calling of Red Sox games has been excellent in Jerry Remy’s absence during his most recent cancer treatments (thoughts and prayers to Jerry). Moreover, he did nothing to draw the ire of Price.

Price went full Regina George, calling out Eckersley in front of the whole team, staff, and media contingent on the team plane, shouting expletives and harassing him. Worse, several other teammates stood around and applauded. Its one thing to ignore it or not say anything when a veteran does something dumb, but to applaud? That’s completely wrong.

Who do we blame for this? Price, certainly, for acting like a 14 year old who just got killed in Call Of Duty. The players who applauded, whoever they are, deserve some as well. But what about the team leadership? Players like Dustin Pedroia, the longest tenured guy now that Ortiz is gone, has to step up. He wasn’t afraid to yell at Ortiz when he took out his rage on the Baltimore dugout phone. John Farrell perhaps deserves a lot more blame than people will probably say he does. As manager he has to manage the egos of his players better. 

It would be a lot less of a bad look if Eck was just some analyst or journalist, a stat nerd who had never worn a glove. But he was a hall of fame pitcher, a tremendous talent, and an award-winning pitcher. As a starter and a closer he had a great deal of success in the MLB, including some great playoff performances (which Price is yet to have). As an analyst, he’s known as a guy who speaks his mind freely, but doesn’t say anything particularly unfair when it comes to criticizing players. Certainly nothing to warrant such an attack.

Regardless of who’s to blame, and how much blame each deserves, an outburst like that is completely uncalled for. I sincerely hope Price and team representatives apologize to Eckersley.