GUEST COLUMN: Remember when the Boston Red Sox were baseball’s cursed team? Doesn’t that seem like it was eons ago? Three World Series titles in a dozen years will take care of such nonsense. There’s plenty of valid reasons to believe a dream send off for designated hitter David Ortiz, who is retiring at season’s end, will become a reality. Third in the American League East as recently as Aug. 15, the Red Sox, who’ve played steadily all season long, shifted into overdrive in September and grabbed the division lead on Sept. 6. With three games left against both of their nearest pursuers, the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays, the Red Sox control their fate. And there’s oodles of logic to back up the notion that they won’t let go until they can wrap their hands around the Commissioner’s Trophy as World Series champions.
For starters, let’s talk about their starters. Boston lists three lights-out pitchers among its starting rotation in David Price, Stephen Wright and Rick Porcello, all of whom have double digits in wins. Porcello, bouncing back from his disappointing 9-15 Red Sox debut in 2015, is a 20-game winner for the first time in his career. The last time Boston had a 20-game winner? Josh Beckett in 2007, when the BoSox won the World Series. Before that? Curt Schilling in 2004, when the BoSox won the World Series. Anyone noticing a trend here? Then there’s the Red Sox offense. This team is equipped to commit more than it’s share of Boston massacres during the postseason. The Red Sox lead the AL in just about every major batting category, from RBI to batting average, to slugging and on-base percentage, as well as total bases and on base plus slugging.
The mix of youthful exuberance and reliable experience in the Boston clubhouse is just about perfect. Outfielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts are everyday players who are only 23 years young. And they get the privilege of taking the field alongside a three-time World Series winner in Ortiz and a two-time Series winner in second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Even Bogaerts already has a championship ring on his finger. So, who can stop them? Cleveland and Texas may have more wins, but they haven’t, like the Red Sox, been hardened by competing in the toughest division in baseball. And while the Orioles and Blue Jays have exhibited their flaws down the stretch, there is also concerns with the Indians offense and Rangers pitching.
We haven’t even touched on the sentimental angle of gaining a fourth title for Ortiz prior to his departure from baseball. Big Papi isn’t going quietly and is enjoying a career year in his final season. If Boston win the World Series, rest assured that 40-year-old Ortiz will be the guy driving the bus. He’s an integral part of this team and is a big-game player. Look for him to play his best baseball when it’s needed the most. If you like the Red Sox, you can still get a good price at the online sportsbooks. Bovada has them at +700 to win the World Series, and +400 to win the AL pennant. TopBet is offering the same odds on the BoSox. The Red Sox are playing their best baseball when it matters most, which bodes well as the playoffs near. We recommend jumping all over the +700 odds for the Red Sox to win the World Series. The writing is on the wall and Big Papi will have the last word.