By virtue of the Texas Rangers 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last night, the Boston Red Sox have clinched their sixth playoff berth in seven seasons.
It’s been a typical year for the Red Sox under Terry Francona. Come out of the gates swinging, sleep walk through July and early August, and then turn it on in late August and early September.
The Red Sox have gone into sleep walk phase again as they have lost five in a row. However, I really wouldn’t be too concerned. What I would be concerned about is the health of Jon Lester and Josh Beckett — especially Beckett.
In my opinion, Beckett is the key to the entire postseason for the Red Sox. If he is healthy, the Red Sox have the next coming of Bob Gibson. His performances in the 2003 playoffs with the Florida Marlins and in 2007 with the Red Sox are stuff of legend.
If he is not healthy, well, we all saw what happened in Game 3 of the ALDS last year against the Angels and Game 2 of the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays. It wasn’t pretty.
A healthy Beckett and Lester give the Red Sox perhaps the best one-two punch of any team in the postseason. When they are on, it’s game over when they take their warmup pitches.
The Red Sox will play the Angels yet again in the ALDS. This will mark the third consecutive year these two teams will play each other in the first round of the playoffs.
The Red Sox got the better of the Angels the last two years. Can the Red Sox make it three in a row against their west coast rivals?
I like their chances if Lester and Beckett are healthy.