The Red Sox begin their quest for a fourth World Series title in the past thirteen years on Thursday Night against the Cleveland Indians. The Red Sox are the favorites to represent the American League in the World Series. They have the best offense in baseball. Their starting pitching is very good. Their bullpen really came together in September with the exception of the last six games of the season. Everything is in place for the Red Sox to make another title run. Today, we’re posting the five keys to the Red Sox winning the 2016 World Series
1. Rick Porcello needs to be a dominant ace. What do the Red Sox last two title teams have in common? They both had an elite #1 starter who dominated in the playoffs. In 2007, it was Josh Beckett. He dominated with a 4-0 record and consistently won in big spots. In 2013, Jon Lester outpitched the Sox opponents aces consistently with a 4-1 record which included two wins and a 0.59 ERA in the World Series against the Cardinals. Porcello needs to be that guy this year. He’s fully capable of it. He has been dominant in the second half of the season and there’s no reason to believe that won’t continue into the postseason. The AL Cy Young Award front runner has an opportunity to solidify himself as one of the best starting pitchers in MLB this postseason.
2. John Farrell needs to be a non-story. If you watched the AL Wild Card Game, you’ll know the reason for this. The Orioles lost to the Blue Jays and Buck Showalter not using Zach Britton in a tie game in extra innings was the story. Red Sox fans who have watched the team consistently know that the same type of story could easily be true for the Red Sox. Farrell has made a lot of head scratching moves with the bullpen and is widely regarded as a poor in-game manager. Just take a look at Game 3 of the 2013 World Series when he batted Brandon Workman and it will be clear what he’s capable of. If Farrell isn’t a story, it’s a huge plus for the Red Sox.
3. Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler. In the playoffs, the Red Sox are going to be consistently facing elite bullpens. This is true with the Indians to start. This is one area where the Sox will not have the edge on paper. We all know what the need from Craig Kimbrel at the end of the games. However, the real key is going to be matching up in the 7th and 8th innings in close games. Ziegler posted a 0.84 ERA in September. Uehara posted a 0.00 ERA. If that is repeated in October, the Red Sox will likely be playing into late October.
4. Battle Adversity. No matter how well the Red Sox play, there’s going to be a point this postseason where the Red Sox are down in a series and have a must win situation. This is where championships are won. Every time this team has faced adversity this season, they have come through. There have been points during losing streaks where it’s been speculated that the manager may lose his job or a shakeup would be coming. This team has proven they can handle it in the regular season. However, the postseason is a completely different ballgame.
5. The Ortiz Factor. What’s another thing the Red Sox World Series Teams have in common? David Ortiz played great during all three title runs. They’re going to need it one more time. When the game is close late in a big game, there is no one that wants to face David Ortiz. He’s going to have opportunities to come up with more clutch hits this postseason. He has an opportunity to go out with the greatest final season of any MLB player of all time. Can he do it one more time?!
Enjoy the playoffs, folks!