By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
Let’s face it, for the better half of August and heading towards Labor Day Weekend, more Boston area sports fans have been more interested in what former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski short-term future had in store – and after what I heard earlier this week I would use a capital “F” in the spelling of future to describe his playing status – than the defending World Series Champion Red Sox squad that has seemingly squandered a legitimate due to a bullpen that would struggle to strike fear in a Babe Ruth League All-Star team.
Add to that the fact that so-called co-staff aces – or financial anchors going forward, take your pick – Chris Sale and David Price are seemingly breaking down faster than a paper straw in a drink that takes more than two minutes to consume, frankly there wasn’t much hope left to even the most ardent optimist to glue one to the coverage of the local nine for the better part of the last few weeks.
Or is there?
As always, WEEI’s Rob Bradford – who not only takes on the chore of being one of the biggest ball-washers of the baseball club that has called Boston home for more than a century, I’m pretty sure he served as one of the crutches that Dustin Pedroia needed to employ to visit the clubhouse in Colorado this week – thinks that Alex Cora’s not so cohesive crew has a chance to make a run towards the final wild-card spot in the American League as the calendar flips to September.
“You might not want to give up on these Red Sox quite yet.
Make no mistake about it, this is still at least a Mount Washington-grade climb for Alex Cora’s crew. But to the Sox’ credit, they are doing their darndest to make it interesting,” wrote the website guru for the struggling sports station in a spot that ran on WEEI.com this morning.
Given that team president of baseball operations – through this season, at least – Dave Dombrowski’s pitching deprived club has only 28 games left on the schedule and trails both the Oakland A’s (5 games) and the Tampa Bay Rays (4 games), Mount Washington might as well be on the moon.
Regarding the ragged staff Cora has at his disposal for this so-called September run, the self-nicknamed “Bradfo” writes the following.
“They have a reliable pitcher in Eduardo Rodriguez, who turned in a good-enough, five-inning, three-run outing Wednesday night. Rick Porcello may have finally figured some things out with solid performances over his last three starts. David Price is coming back to pitch Saturday. But then what? One of the keys will be the Red Sox getting Nathan Eovaldi to find somewhat of a groove, pitching more than three innings at a whack. That test will start Friday against the Angels.
Then it will be about all about using the tidal wave of September call-ups to help fill in that final spot with bullpen games.”
Bullpen games? In a playoff run in September? That’s the equivalent of me explaining away how I spent the mortgage payment on a weekend trip to Vegas with the guys, but I have a really good feeling I’m going to hit a scratch ticket before the stuff hits the fan come the end of next month to my wife.
My guess is both are likely to end in the same fashion. Both the Sox and myself will be evicted from our perspective clubhouses come the first week of October.
Might there be a couple of weeks of baseball worth watching entering September? Maybe.
However, due to Dombrowski’s inability to once again build a competent bullpen, this Sox team will be as distant a memory as 8:30 sunsets and Saturday’s in the pool by the time the pumpkin-flavored lattes and way too early Christmas decorations are all the rage in just about four weeks.