Unlike the last Red Sox team to reach the American League Championship Series, these Red Sox are, in a word, imperfect. They still make bad decisions. Their defense is suspect. Those flaws, among others, prevent them from being part of the discussion as one of the great Red Sox teams of this millennium or, for that matter, any other.
But they are rapidly becoming among the most likable.
And so here we are again, Boston, playing for what amounts to another conference championship, having reached the semifinals for the 30th time since we rolled over the odometer back in Y2K. Truthfully, we had to wonder whether if there was any tread left on those tires. And make no mistake, this trip was among the most improbable, the Red Sox continuing to defy logic in an analytics-driven game with assets and attributes that are, well, immeasurable.
If the 1967 Red Sox were the Impossible Dream, these 2021 Sox are the Imperfect Team.
“We always said we had a good baseball team that had some holes – and we still have some holes,” manager Alex Cora said last night after a second consecutive walk-off victory, this one a 6-5 decision over the Tampa Bay Rays that allowed the Sox close out the AL Division Series in four games. “But at the end, for how bad it looked sometimes, we’re still here. We’re still in the dance. We’re still in the tournament and we’re moving on to the ALCS.”
Last night, as usual, the key moments and contributors were hard to overlook.