I know everyone is doing it, and while I’m not a follower – never have been – I felt the need to write the obligatory article dealing with the two massive collapses authored by the Red Sox and the Braves.
THE RED SOX
On September 1st the Sox led the AL East by 1.5 games over the Yankees, and they were nine games ahead of the Rays. The Sox maintained that nine game lead over the Rays as late as September 3rd. They proceeded to go 6-18 from that point forward to becomes the first time in the history of the game to squander a nine game September lead. “I’m devastated. I’m heartbroken,” Dustin Pedroia said. “To play hard for 161 games like we have and have it end like this…”
Why did they collapse? The offense was fine down the stretch, but it was the pitching that let them down. The Red Sox starters posted an ERA of 7.08 for the month of September.
If not for the Red Sox collapse, the Braves flop would be considered the worst in the history of the game.
On August 26th the Braves had a 10.5 game lead over the Cardinals.
On September 5th the Braves had an 8.5 game lead over the Cardinals.
You can blame injuries to Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens, the Braves #2 and #3 starters, and no one could honestly claim that wasn’t a huge hole to fill. But still, going 9-18 including a 5-game losing streak to end the season? You just witnessed the greatest collapse in the history of the National League. “I can’t fathom it,” Freddie Freeman said.
You tell me, which rotation would you rather face this postseason?
Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson, Chris Carpenter
Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders
CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia
Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner
Who out there isn’t thanking the baseball gods for not having to face the Giants top-3 in the playoffs this year?
Justin Verlander led the American League in wins (24), ERA (2.40) and strikeouts (250) to capture the Pitcher’s Triple Crown.
Clayton Kershaw led the National League in wins (21 to tie with Ian Kennedy), ERA (2.28) and strikeouts (248). I’m going to give him the NL Triple Crown as well even though he tied for the league lead in wins.
I know it’s a 162 game season, and that Jose Reyes had 537 at-bats on the year so it’s not really fair to call him out for one game, but it was weak sauce that he bunted for a hit in his first at-bat and then pulled himself from his final game to win the NL batting title over Ryan Braun (it ended up being a .337 to .332 race). For the story of how a real man does it, make sure you click on the link to the story about Ted Williams final day in 1941.
By Ray Flowers