The Boston Red Sox, against all odds, took down the 100-win Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series after another walk-off victory on Monday night.
After being shutout in the first game, Boston scored 26 runs in the next three contests to take the series from the heavily-favored Rays.
It was a truly impressive showing by Boston’s offense, led by impressive outfielder Kike Hernandez.
But in reality, it is a very deep unit boasting some premier offensive talent: Kyle Schwarber, Alex Verdugo, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, Hunter Renfroe, and even Christian Vazquez decided games with their opportunistic hits and plays.
How Far Can The 2021 Red Sox Go?
In 2018, they were clearly the best team in the AL and perhaps in MLB.
They had 108 regular season victories, more than what the impressive San Francisco Giants had this season.
They were widely expected to win in 2018.
But this particular team, the 2021 edition, seems destined for big things even though they weren’t clearly the best like in 2018.
This 2021 Red Sox team, actually, has a 2004 aura.
Don’t get us wrong: this is not a direct talent comparison between the 2021 team and the 2004 roster, one that boasted Hall-of-Fame caliber players such as Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.
But the 2021 unit, led by the always underrated Alex Cora, has some similarities to that fantastic group.
The last team in baseball to win back to back games via walkoff in the playoffs was the 2004 Red Sox in the ALCS against the Yankees. The 2021 Red Sox have just done it.
— Compadre (@Yamil_ElRey) October 12, 2021
For the younger audiences, the 2004 Red Sox made the playoffs as a Wild Card team because the New York Yankees won the division.
They weren’t favored to win the ALCS and fell into a 3-0 hole against the Bombers.
Impressively, Boston came back from that hole and became the first team to overcome such a deficit in the history of the game, taking the series 4-3, advancing to the World Series and eventually lifting their first World Series trophy in 86 years.
The 2021 team also made the Division Series as a Wild Card team, beating the Yankees for the right to play against Tampa.
Again, they weren’t favored to win this time against the Rays.
Also, they fell behind in the series, only to dominate for three straight games.
That 2004 team was meant to be: it was destiny.
Maybe, just maybe, the 2021 Red Sox are a team of destiny.
— Doug Goodman (@purpleH2Oski) October 12, 2021
The oddmakers will say they are slightly worse than whoever makes it to the ALCS, the Chicago White Sox or the Houston Astros.
But it won’t matter: it didn’t matter against the Yankees, it didn’t matter against the Rays, and it probably won’t matter in the ALCS because this Boston team always finds ways to remain competitive.
In fact, Boston wasn’t supposed to be competitive this year after finishing last in the AL East in 2020.
The 2021 campaign was supposed to represent a transition.
But here we are, with Cora getting the best of its roster, cleverly put together by executive Chaim Bloom.
Maybe the 2021 Red Sox will surprise us all.