Those of us Red Sox fans who are old enough to remember what it was like pre-2004 aren't surprised by this swoon the team is going through right now. For the younger generation, all they know is the Red Sox as perennial winners who always in contention and willing to spend whatever it takes to get there. Those of us who are older (say, 35 and above) know that this is a new development and that it was never like this before the current ownership group bought the team in the early 2000s. All of this is to set up the point that even though that the Red Sox are currently in a little bit of a slump, it shouldn't be entirely surprising or unexpected regardless of how great a season they're having. It's a long season and it's happened many times before.
Don't believe the nonsense. Jayson Tatum is far from “overhyped”. A little over a week ago, a Bleacher Report article was published, claiming that the Celtics’ budding sophomore is one of the NBA’s top-5 most overhyped players, heading into the 2018-19 Season. For Green Teamers, this half-disparaging article appears to be the manifesto of radical contrarianism - bona fide crazy-talk. Still, it got me thinking: We all know that Jayson Tatum has an immensely bright future, but what would constitute a sophomore slump for a player with such an impressive rookie season behind him and such a imposingly high ceiling ahead of him?
Wide receiver Eric Decker has announced his retirement following a disappointing showing in preseason and training camp with the Patriots. The Patriots signed Eric Decker on August 2nd to a 1-year deal after placing wide receiver Jordan Matthews on season ending IR. The 31-year old Decker played 8 NFL seasons with the Broncos, Jets and Titans and finished his career with 439 catches, 5816 receiving yards and 53 touchdowns.
Well, Red Sox fans, this is how we know we've been spoiled over the course of this incredible season: it's late August when the team is having its first real bout of adversity and there's a lot of hand wringing across Red Sox Nation. The Sox looked terrible when they dropped the series opener to Tampa on Friday, but surely they'd rebound and storm back in the second game, right? Especially with Rick Porcello on the mound, it seemed that they were ready to right the ship and get back on the winning track. However, Tampa has been hot lately and unfortunately they continued their great play on Saturday night.
KSI and Logan Paul finished in a majority draw in Saturday's enormous YouTube boxing event. The fight was scored by 3 judges with the scoring as follows: 58-57 in favor of KSI, 57-57 and 57-57. Since 2 of the 3 judges scored the fight even, the fight ended in the draw.
The Red Sox took care of some business this week after falling 0-2 in their four game set against the Cleveland Indians. The Sox, who had not lost a series since dropping two of three to the Yankees in late June, seemed like they took their foot off the gas pedal a bit earlier in the week, and injuries to their starting lineup and rotation seemed to be catching up with them. Christian Vazquez, Rafael Devers, Chris Sale all remain on the DL and could not contribute to the cause. Against the Tribe, Rick Porcello was 2017 Rick Porcello and not 2016 Rick Porcello. Nathan Eovaldi, who began his Red Sox career with two impressive wins, is 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA and a .409 Batting Average Against in his last three outings.
Beginning with Friday's games, it's Player's Weekend where teams across Major League Baseball wear (frankly hideous) jerseys with their (oftentimes lame) nicknames on the back. I'm not trying to sound curmudgeonly and I'm never averse to having fun, but this promotion is one that's just felt forced to me over the last few years. Still, it's a minor quibble since as always, it's the product on the field that matters the most. After dominating the Indians in the final two games of the previous series, the Red Sox looked to carry their momentum into this series against Tampa. Hector Velazquez was making what was most likely his final spot start until Eduardo Rodriguez returns next week and was up against former Red Sox prospect Jalen Beeks. Given how the Sox had been hitting the last two games, it seemed like a series opening win was there for the taking...
The series with Cleveland wrapped up with a midweek afternoon game pitting starters David Price and Adam Plutko. With the sudden awakening of their bats from their recent slumber, the Red Sox pounded out ten runs on Wednesday night and looked to carry over that momentum into the finale. With memories of the ALDS sweep at the hands of the Indians in 2016 and the potential to face them again this October, it would go a long way toward establishing some confidence (and quieting naysayers) if the Sox could salvage a split before the next time they meet.
Like I said yesterday, baseball is a confusing game. You can be the best team in the league and on one day, you look unbeatable while on another it looks like you can't beat anyone. Granted, Cleveland is one of the better teams in the American League, but I don't think Red Sox Nation was expecting the Sox to drop the first two games of this series in the manner they did, especially at home. With the collective angst of Boston fans at probably it's highest (and yet most unwarranted) level of the season, all eyes were on the team to see how they'd respond to perhaps their biggest adversity of the season.