Three wins down and eight to go for the Red Sox to capture their fourth World Series title since 2004. The next four will be the most difficult facing the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. The Sox and Houston combined for 211 wins during the regular campaign, which is an all-time record high for post season opponents. The Sox and the Astros met in a Division Series last year with Houston winning in four. The only Sox victory came in Game Three at Fenway when Hanley Ramirez went four for four and David Price worked four scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Both of these teams are better than they were last season with the Sox’ addition of J.D. Martinez and Houston’s acquisition of righthander Gerrit Cole. It’s baseball’s best in the A.L.C.S. with home field advantage to the Red Sox. Boston in seven.
Week Five of the NFL season opened with the Patriots trouncing the Indianapolis Colts. On to the meat of the schedule... Two teams remain undefeated entering Sunday’s match-ups with the 4-0 Chiefs at home against 3-1 Jacksonville, and the 4-0 L.A. Rams on the road at 2-2 Seattle. There’s also a rematch of the 2018 NFC Championship Game between the Vikings and the Eagles in Philadelphia, and the Texas showdown between Houston and Dallas. Ken Cail and Jay Dawg were both a mediocre 3-3 last week and hope to improve on that in this latest installment on “Pick Six".
Another chapter in the long and storied history of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry will start to unfold on Friday night at Fenway. It’s Game One of the best-of-five American League Division Series. That’s right... best-of-five. Meaning Game One takes on incredible significance. Chris Sale will start Game One for the Sox. On paper, Sale is one of baseball’s best pitchers. On the mound, he’s worked 17 innings in two months due to a bum shoulder. The clear choice to start Game One on Friday is Nathan Eovaldi. Since joining the Sox from Tampa Bay in late July, Eovaldi has worked 16 innings against the Yankees. He's allowed only 6 hits and no earned runs while striking out 13. That’s enough evidence for me to start him in the opener. Eovaldi is not scheduled to pitch until Game Four. There may not be a Game Four! The 40-year-old nightmare of Don Zimmer’s 1978 Red Sox still haunt those of my generation. In an effort to stroke egos, don’t let this record-breaking regular season go to waste.
Today we come in praise of the Wild Card. We can knock Major League Baseball for any number of things like too many replays, an inability to market their superstars and two leagues playing by different rules but one thing baseball gets right is the Wild Card. Just think, if it wasn’t for the Wild Card there would not have been any kind of a race in the American League for the last two months of the season. A 100 win team... like the Yankees could be sent home without even a sniff of the playoffs. And then, the Wild Card games. One and done. It’s like a Game Seven without having to play the first six. Fill in your favorite cliche....”do or die”...”there’s no tomorrow”...”backs to the wall” and after 163 games and sometimes 164, two teams won’t be on the field again until February. So let the 2018 post season begin! I’ll leave it up to you to figure out on which network your favorite team will appear but one thing is certain...all Red Sox games can be heard on 107.7 The Pulse starting Friday at Fenway.