CHOKESTOWN, USA – If you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past two days, or just generally not paying attention to sports, you’ve missed the most interesting day of regular season baseball ever. The Braves blew a massive lead in the NL Wild Card race and let the Cardinals sneak into the playoffs And the best part of that most interesting day was the Boston Red Sox completing the most awesomely massive collapse in baseball history.
Boston came into the season as odds-on World Series favorites. With big money acquisitions Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, and a stellar on-paper pitching rotation, the Bosox were poised to have a phenomenal season. Some folks in New England were predicting the 2011 Red Sox to be the greatest team ever. Things didn’t quite go as planned for the Sox. Lets take a looksie at what the hell happened.
The Red Sox started the season off in fine form. They put in Mets-ian performances early on and won a whopping 2 of their first 12 games. By May, Boston was dealing with a terrible infestation of injury bugs with Dice-K out having his shoulder stapled to his knee (or whatever Tommy John had done) and was out for the season.
From there the Sox got much, much, much better and by mid summer they were playing like the powerhouse they were on paper. They led the AL East for much of the season. For three months in the middle of the season the Sox looked like they would challenge the likes of the ’27 Yankees and ’01 Mariners for the best team season in MLB History. But a funny thing happened on the way to the playoffs and things would go horribly wrong for Beantown in the final month of the season.
In September, the Red Sox pissed away a 9 game lead to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Sox had their chances against the Yankees and Rays down the stretch. With 6 games to go the Sox headed into a 3 game set against a Yankee spring training split squad (the Bombers had already clinched the division and were resting the A-team). The Sox could only manage one win that series reducing the Wild Card lead to a single game and setting up an epic final three game set against the Fighting Showalters in Baltimore who finished last in the AL East, 24 games under .500 and 28 games behind the Yankees.
The Rays were playing the same Yankee team that had just owned them in a four game set the previous week. But by this time the Yankees were content to rest most of the regulars and give garbage time to the farm hands.
In the end, and epic comeback by the Rays, capped by an Evan Longoria walk-off homerun, and a blown save by Jonathan Papelbon did the Red Sox in. Carl “The Human Suck” Crawford did his part when he misplayed a shallow fly ball that let the winning run for the O’s score. And that was it. The Sox were out. The Rays were in. Terry Francona’s future in Boston was in doubt (although I don’t think they’ll actually fire him), and the greatest collapse (of the supposed greatest team) in the history of baseball was complete.
There will be no collapse tomorrow when the The Public Professor takes the mound…