You too can be the 2004 Red Sox!
Just because all the other kids are doing it, let’s mention a few parallels between the 2015 Chicago Cubs and the 2004 Boston Red Sox …
– trying to win a World Series for the first time in forever;
– facing New Yorkers in the League Championship Series, down three games to none;
– playing home games in beloved old-time ballpark; and
– generally managed by Theo Epstein
So a tremendous comeback is fated for the Cubs, right?
Well, Joel Sherman’s not buying it. Because of pitching.
… the 2004 Yankees ran out of starting pitching to blow that ALCS. The 2015 Mets never seem to run out of starting pitching. It is like expecting an octopus to run out of tentacles.
The Yankees only had 1½ trustworthy starters in 2004 — Mike Mussina and Jon Lieber — when Epstein was the Red Sox GM. Orlando Hernandez broke down during the ALCS.
Esteban Loaiza already had been evicted from the rotation. And Joe Torre faced the horrible choice of Brown or Vazquez for Game 7. Brown started, both pitched miserably and those Idiot Red Sox came all the way back to win the pennant en route to their first championship since 1918.
Brown and Vazquez weren’t terrible during the season, although Brown did struggle after coming back from an injury in September.
But I think what people really forget about the Red Sox’s comeback in 2004 is just how inevitable it wasn’t.
In Game 4, they tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, then scored two more in the 12th to win.
In Game 5, they forged a tie in the eighth, and finally won in the 14th.
Game 6 was close, with Mark Bellhorn’s three-run homer the decisive blow.
It wasn’t until Game 7, with Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez both getting hammered, that the Red Sox actually made the Yankees look bad.
So this is the real problem facing the Cubs. You’re probably not going to dominate another really good team in four straight games. Which means to win all four, you’ll have to play better and catch most of the breaks.
Which is highly unlikely.
You might say that stranger things have happened. But I’m not sure anything ever has, in baseball.