Storin: I wish I could say I saw this coming

storapse@aol.comSeptember 19, 2013 

Red Sox Rays Baseball

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell

CHRIS O'MEARA — The Associated Press

Let's see, where was I when I was rudely interrupted by back surgery.

Oh yes, I was about to say that the Boston Red Sox would finish the season with the best record in baseball and the New York Yankees would not make the playoffs.

I wish. If anyone in early August predicted such a finish in the American League I missed it. Certainly not me.

But now in September it's a likely scenario.

These Red Sox are good. These Yankees, racked by injuries to their best players, are hurting in the truest sense of the word.

Let me give you one statistic that is telling: Boston is the only team in baseball to not have a losing streak longer than three games. Meanwhile, there have been some 150 streaks of four losses or more scattered among all other teams.

This is a tribute to Red Sox Manager John Farrell and his coaching staff. I had my doubts about Farrell coming into the season, fearing he would coddle his players like his former boss Terry Francona.

But instead he has made tough decisions without worrying about hurting individual egos. He has established clubhouse discipline while at the same time inspiring team unity and a winning attitude. He has pushed the right buttons.

You can grow a beard, as scraggly as you want, but you can't drink beer and eat fried chicken during games. Something the permissive Francona ignored at the end of the 2011 season when he lost control of the team.

Farrell is clearly the manager of the year in the American League and oddly enough Francona will likely finish second in the voting.

Francona deserves credit for keeping the Cleveland Indians in the playoff race deep into September. I can only guess that he has learned from his mistakes in Boston.

And in fairness, let's not forget that he did lead the Red Sox to two World Series championships -- 2004 and 2007. But keep in mind that Farrell was Francona's right hand man as pitching coach both times. When things fell apart in 2011, Farrell had moved on to Toronto.

Finally, the Boston teams of 2004 and 2007 were loaded with a cast of all-stars. The 2013 Red Sox are populated with cast offs and a few young players with all-star potential.

Matter of fact, this is probably the least talented Boston team to ever make the post season. But none had the chemistry of this bunch.

Dugout scenes caught on TV tell me they are having fun.

That this team has even qualified for the post season is a tribute to Farrell's skills of getting the most out of every player on the roster.

And guess what, if Francona's Indians somehow make it as playoff wild card team, they will likely play Farrell's Red Sox in the first round.

Who would have predicted that back in April or even early August?

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