When I say it was Buchholz's fault, it's sort of tongue in cheek. However, it's an interesting question. Where would we be today had Buchholz not gotten hurt in 2011.
Even after he got hurt, the Sox won games and had 83 wins at the end of August. However, the pitching was spotty, so is it too much to wonder had he not gotten hurt that the Sox might have had one or two more wins at the end of August.
Let's just say one more win.
As for September, had Buchholz been pitching -- and remember, he was pitching well -- maybe the Sox win one or two more games and go 8-19 or 9-18 that month. Also, had he been pitching, maybe he helps save the bullpen, which helps in someone else's start.
But either way, let's say the Sox win just one more game. That would give the Sox 92 wins and put them in the playoffs.
So if the Sox make the playoffs, maybe the Sox make a run and win it all or at least reach the ALCS. If that happens:
-- Is there chicken-and-beer stories?
-- Does Francona get fired?
-- Does Epstein still leave? Whether or not you believe him, Epstein did say he wouldn't have left if Francona not been fired.
-- Do the Sox make the Dodgers trade?
-- Do the Sox win just 69 games last year. Remember, big parts of that record were the injuries to Middlebrooks and Ortiz, coupled with the A-Gon trade that decimated the lineup of the 3-4-5 hitters?
And if the answer is yes to the chicken-and-beer stories, what if Beckett pitched great in the postseason, regardless of how far the Sox went, how do we view those stories and how is Beckett viewed today?
The Sox had other injuries and issues in 2011, but the one key IMO that began a lot of dominoes falling was Buchholz's injury.
So -- what if?