Never in my years of watching Major League Baseball have I seen such a collapse in September.
But this year two teams are battling it out for the World Trade collapse of a Decade award. (This award does not really exist and only appears as an attempt at humour while poking fun at a sports situation. The use of this joke is just that, meant as a joke. It does not express the views or humour of the Red Deer Express and its employees)
Seriously, at the beginning of September the Boston Red Sox, who are no longer that underdog team you route for, had a nine game lead in the standings, and were on their way to entering the post season as the American League Wild Card team. But there was one thing in their way! Themselves!
Their next closest rival, the Tampa Bay Rays were completely counted out. All the Red Sox had to do was win seven of 24 games in the month of September. They were able to muster five at the time of writing this. That’s 20%. That’s a .200 batting average. That ain`t good. That’s actually, sad.
To put this into perspective, the worst team in the Majors this year is the Houston Astros. They’ve been able to win 56 games this season. They’ve won nine in the month of September. No team deserves to be in the playoffs less than the worst team in the league. Boston’s playing worse than the worst team in the league! If you’re going to stumble your way into the post-season, this is how you do it.
Flip to the other side of the league. The National League has the perennial winners the Atlanta Braves. They’re playing like cowards and have let the St. Louis Cardinals all but catch up to them, after having an 8.5 game lead at the beginning of the month of September.
So what’s making these teams put up such bad numbers in this month. Well, let’s not blame the weather, the changing colours of the leaves, or El Nino.
No these collapses can be summed up to bad pitching, (low confidence), poor hitting (low confidence), bad fielding (low confidence) and maybe just maybe low confidence has something to do with it. Once you start messing up it almost seems contagious for each player. It’s like the entire universe is against them! Well, baseball fans are.
On Sept. 1st, there were no baseball pennant races to talk about. Everyone clinched or was about to clinch a playoff spot. Now, at the end of September, we have a good ol`fashioned, toe draggin’, tortoise and the hare, race to the finish.
The only question is which team is the tortoise, and which is the hare.