As the Blue Jays embarrassed the
Red Sox in the home opener Tuesday, NESN presented the following Dunkin’ poll
question to its viewers:
“Do you believe the World Series
hangover is real?”
Even though Jerry Remy and Dennis Eckersley scoffed at the notion, 56 percent of the voters said that the World Series hangover is real. That begs the bigger question. What in the heck are the other 44
Manager Alex Cora celebrates with champagne
clubhouse after winning the 2018 World Series
in Game 5 at Dodger Stadium in
Los Angeles. (Getty Images)
They couldn’t be watching the
ghost of the Boston Red Sox that have been on display in Seattle, Oakland,
Phoenix and now Boston.
Hell yes, the World Series
hangover is real.
Right now, the Red Sox are
playing with the passion of Rocky Balboa in the first part of Rocky III.
Through spring training and the
first 12 games of the season, it is as if the defending World Series champions
think it is enough to just show up.
While their opponents are working
out like a hungry Clubber Lang, the Red Sox are smiling for the camera before making
halfhearted jabs at the punching bag.
How else can you explain Chris Sale throwing seven innings in spring training? Yes, seven flippin’ innings. No
wonder the supposed Red Sox ace is pitching like a poor-man’s Jamie Moyer.
Sale, though, is not alone. Not
one member of the Red Sox vaunted rotation appears to be ready for the season. Neither
do many of the position players.
The way the Red Sox have played,
it looks like the advanced scouts are still out celebrating the 2018 World Series
Even Mookie Betts — yes, the
great Mookie Betts — is a shell of himself. While the reigning American League
MVP hit home runs in this last two starts, it is clear that this isn’t the same
Mookie we’ve seen in the past.
Forget that he has made some
mental errors in right field. Look back at the final out of the home opener. With
the tying runs on base, Betts looked at a 94 mph fastball down Broadway and a
cement mixer on the inside corner.
Those were two pitches the Mookie
we have come to know and love would have hammered to the Mass Pike in the past.
He just looked at them before going down with a weak wave at a breaking pitch
down and away to end the game.
The maddening part of this disastrous
start is that the Red Sox are almost completely intact from last year. This is not
2005 when we watched a large portion of our Idiot heroes leave in the
They are also extremely likeable
players who are making us pull our hair out and scream at our televisions. Those
players make up what is one of the top few rosters in all of baseball.
The Red Sox entered the season with
their only possible weakness being the bullpen after losing Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel. That weakness is now their strength.
Their weakness is everything
These Red Sox have the talent to at
least compete for a repeat title. Sure, we can’t expect them to win 108 games again.
We can’t expect them to start at 17-2, either. That was an anomaly.
But a 6-6 start would have been
With the guys they have in the rotation
and on the field, the Red Sox on paper are a complete team. They are a proven championship
team. They don’t need a trade or a promotion from the minors to turn things
around. They need a race on the beach with Apollo Creed.
Baseball isn’t a game where you
can play better by trying harder. Unlike other sports, trying too hard can
actually hurt you.
But the Red Sox need to turn
things around fast. You cannot win a title in April, but you sure as heck can
Right now, we are at the part in
the movie when Creed is yelling "There is no tomorrow! There is no tomorrow! There is no tomorrow!"
If the Red Sox don’t find the “eye
of the tiger” sometime soon, it could be too late.
Instead of looking like Rocky in
the first part of Rocky III, the hungover Sox will look more like Apollo at the
beginning of Rocky IV.