dougthonus wrote:So just noticed that the regular season ended, and the playoffs start tomorrow. I don't really follow baseball, but looks like a best of 3 for the first series. Glad both our teams are in. Looks like the Sox absolutely fell apart towards the end of the season. I'm sure there's some reason for that which someone follows baseball knows, but hopefully they can pull out a series win.
Yeah, the Sox definitely hit a cold streak. I think it can be attributed to a few things:
1. It's a short season for a sport that's particularly prone to hot streaks where players get locked in and just mash. Luis Robert hit a pretty nasty slump while Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez kind of dropped off a bit from the scorching hot hitting they were bringing into the month.
2. Lots of young pitchers came in to fill in the gaps, particularly with Keuchel hitting the IR. The team had to fall back to relying on Reynaldo Lopez and Jonathan Stiever to start. The bullpen also gave up some games with Cishek and Cordero really having down years, and Rodon being put into a really tough situation in his first appearance back from injury. Dylan Cease also had a couple of duds, which may have been more indicative of his actual pitching... he had been getting lucky earlier in the season with balls in play. I think it may have caught up with him.
3. Managerial decision making has raised some questions. Renteria got a lot of heat for calling on Rodon to face Kris Bryant with the bases loaded in relief, when Rodon hadn't pitched for close to two months. Rodon gave up the slam. There have been a few other situations where Renteria's decision making has been questioned, most common of which has been the DH rotation. James McCann seems to be a better hitter than Edwin Encarnacion at this point, so some folks scratch their heads as to why Encarnacion is getting so much play while McCann, an all star last year, isn't.
4. The Sox had a grueling September schedule with minimal rest.
Going into the playoffs, I think the Sox have a shot with a shortened rotation. Robert seemed like he was starting to come back around towards the end of the season, and I think the couple of days off is going to help the hitters refocus and come ready to play in the postseason.
This whole season has been playing with house money, though. I was expecting them to hover around .500 for the year, so whatever happens in the playoffs, I'll be happy. Obviously I want a World Series, but I don't think the pitching is ready yet for true prime time. Cease needs to improve a bit, and I think the Sox need to add another starter in free agency this coming offseason--ideally a lefty to be Rodon insurance.
My hot take: Cleveland is going to win the AL pennant. Their top-end pitching with Bieber, Plesac and Carrasco is built for playoff success... it's going to be very hard to take them down.
If the Sox don't win the World Series, I think I'll be rooting for the Dodgers. I think they deserve it after losing to a pair of cheating teams in the past few years.