Let's go through a little question-and-answer exercise involving the current season of the Olde Towne Team, shall we?
Are they rolling up win after win? Yup. After Friday night's 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Area Little League Rays (Can we knock off the one-inning starter stuff that I used in a Memorial Day 12U tournament, please? People are paying good money to watch you.), the Sox now have 12 wins in their past 14 games and 16 in their past 19 to boost their record to an amazing 87-36.
Dominating at home? The Red Sox are now 43-15 (0.741) and have won 19 of their past 22 at The Fens.
Do they have an awesome offense? Definitely. The Sox lead MLB in most offensive categories.
Are the victories starting to look a lot like the others? Check. Jackie Bradley Jr. had another great catch in center field. J.D. Martinez knocked in another run to pad his MLB lead of 105 RBI. The team's other MVP candidate, Mookie Betts, decided to take it easy tonight with only a double, but he's still wicked good. The starting pitching, after the first inning when Brian Johnson forgot where he was and allowed three runs, was once again very good (Sox entered the game with MLB’s lowest starting pitcher ERA of 2.88 since July 2nd). Chris Sale ... automatic W, lots of strikeouts. Win, dance, repeat.
JBJ just makes it look too easy. pic.twitter.com/AGUflxfORB
— MLB (@MLB) August 18, 2018
Are there guys coming off the bench and showing off the team's depth? Yup. Eduardo Nunez made everyone forget about how Rafael Devers gets lost at third base with a tremendous spinning grab and throw, and tossed in an RBI. Blake Swihart, who was buried on the bench for much of the season, threw out a base stealer late and swiftly scored from first.
Does the team have players who aren't getting enough respect around the league? You bet. Xander Bogaerts had three extra-base hits and two RBI. "I feel like he's one of the best shortstops in the big leagues," said Cora. Andrew Benintendi ranks in the top 15 in the AL in just about every offensive category.
Do the Red Sox have a manager who can do no wrong? Um, someone around here may have written that about Alex Cora (right before he blew a game using Joe Kelly and Drew Pomeranz in a tight game). Not sure who allowed that to publish.
Are they running away with the division? Check. the Red Sox lead the AL East by 10.5 games over the Yankees. It's ov-ah.
Is their division terrible with most of the teams rebuilding? Yup. Red Sox are 44-15 against their "rivals." Baltimore, Toronto and Tampa were all sellers at the trade deadline. The Orioles are 50 games under .500. The Rays are starting pitchers who threw the day before. Seriously.
Is there anything left to play for in the final quarter of the season? Nope, not really. Since this isn't pre-2004, the Red Sox are basically getting everything lined up for the postseason.
As a result, is the media running out of things to say about this team and are starting to resort to nitpicking despite the fact that the Red Sox will easily post the best record in franchise history? Have you turned on sports talk radio or read a well-done, locally-owned and operated independent internet sports outlet in the past month? Take your pick among the bullpen not being good enough, the starting pitchers not having histories of postseason success, or the Red Sox have only built their record on backs of bad teams and haven't really shown they can beat good competition consistently.
Wait a minute...
This all sounds vaguely familiar...
No ... it sounds exactly the same ... as ...
... Every Patriots season since 2001.