By Kiley O’Donnell
As a Boston native and die-hard Red Sox fan, I can’t help but feel anxiety when someone mentions the AL East race, especially during this time of the year. All season long, the Red Sox have kept a steady lead over the New York Yankees. However, as the season is progressing towards playoffs and the Yanks are on a hot streak, the lead is deteriorating.
September is crunch time for the MLB, and this division is no joke. Everything is coming down to the wire, so I think it’s a race that all fans should be following, regardless of what team you root for.
If the Red Sox were a consistent team, my fears wouldn’t exist. But, as sports fans, we can’t have everything go our way. After the Yankees took three out of four games from the Sox this past weekend, the race is officially back on. We could have easily buried the Yankees. But now, the rivalry moves on into September.
I always find myself trapped in this situation at this time of the year: the feeling of a lack of hope due to a spiraling lead. Baseball carries such a long season, and I follow it religiously throughout its lengthy duration. When you see your time falling apart at the end of a hard-fought season, it’s easy to yell at the TV or computer screen.
However, I am not on the Boston Red Sox, and I can’t do anything to change the outcome of the AL East. So, let’s summarize where I think the Sox can improve and where they can keep their best assets.
First off, Chris Sale needs to go back to being Chris Sale. He got pounded on the mound in the Bronx after a 9-2 beating. However, is this a reoccurring theme? Sale is known to have average Septembers ever since becoming a starting pitcher in 2012. As our most consistent ace on the team, his presence should give us a sigh of relief. Even just after one game, it was weird to see him do so poorly. If this carries into September like it has during his past seasons, it’ll definitely be a huge loss for the Sox.
If the rest of the pitching staff could step up, too and be the rotation that everyone wouldn’t stop talking about during preseason, that would be fantastic. If not, we’re in trouble.
On a positive note, Andrew Benintendi has to continue being Andrew Benintendi. As the reigning AL Rookie of the Month, he put up incredible numbers that led the team during the month of August. If this continues on in September, I think he is going to be one of the top contributors to the team. If he hits a slump, I might go insane.
Another positive note, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez have to continue being dominant leaders for the Sox. It’s calming to know that their leadership has been present throughout the season, especially now. They’re always consistent, something the rest of the team should take after. I know slumps are a concept that every player goes through, but I just can’t have my team go through it during September.
I want to see dancing in the outfield, gatorade showers and many more Benny bombs to come. It’ll be fun to watch the remainder of the season, especially games played at Fenway during late September. Hopefully my Sox pull it together and come out on top in the AL East.
We can all agree that this race is going to be an exciting one, no matter the outcome. Even though I want my anxiety to go away, I’m looking forward to this race going down to the wire. I know most fans feel this way, too.
However, if the Yankees have a huge collapse and fall apart, I’m totally cool with that, too.