Mike Napoli celebrates with teammates after his three run homer. (AP Photo)
Are we now able to admit that it does matter who finishes in first in the AL East? The Opening Round of the Playoffs is a short five game affair that affords the random luck of baseball greater luxury to spread its wings, not that Texas needs any luck against the Red Sox. The thought of playing the Rangers in the Opening Round is absolutely terrifying, where three of the five games would be played deep in the heart of Texas.
Granted, playing five games against Detroit isn't too appealing either, where you'd be guaranteed to face Justin Verlander at least twice, but I'd take my chances with the Tigers any day of the week, as the Rangers just seem to have the Red Sox number. As the above statistics show, the Rangers have bludgeoned Red Sox pitching thus far in 2011 - while the Sox usually potent offense is hitting well below the Mendoza Line, scoring less than half the runs the Rangers have.
I understand that the Red Sox are dealing with injuries, but they have to sack it up and accept the challenge. There's $180 million reasons why they shouldn't fold like origami, and honestly - there's not a Team in the league who isn't dealing with injuries, the Sox should have the depth to absorb the loss of a few players for a week. Granted, the three players they're missing were All-Stars this year, but I don't care - this is the perfect time for Carl Crawford to finally earn the money he's making, and make an impact that lasts longer than a series. As much as J.D. Drew's been the favorite whipping boy* of Sox fans, he's stepped up multiple times when the Sox needed him to, and now I'm calling out Carl to do the same, because the patience the fans have granted him so far, is about as thin as Pedroia's hair line.
*John Lackey has stolen this Title from Drew by about a million