It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the summer of Morgan Magic.
That 1988 summer was when the Red Sox, led by interim manager Joe Morgan, shocked baseball by roaring back from 9 1/2 back at the All-Star break to win the American League East. It was a change in culture from former manager John McNamara. A change in baseball philosophy that instantly mixed into ingredients that sparked one of the most memorable baseball seasons we’ve witnessed in New England.
That sound familiar?
Boston won the American League East that season by one game over the Detroit Tigers. Had Lou Whitaker’s crew been able to win one more game, we would have had the first postseason showdown between the two teams.
Twenty-five years later, here we are.
ESPN.com staff: Split down the middle.
CNNSI.com staff: Five out of nine pick the Red Sox. From Tom Verducci, who picked the Red Sox in six: “Boston has been a terrific home team and opens the series at home, with more rest, less travel and more hitters who hit good pitching than the Tigers.
CBS Sports.com staff: One out of six pick the Red Sox. From Jon Heyman, who is the only one to pick the Red Sox (in seven): “It's Boston's year, and that's more a feeling than anything. The Red Sox have a great spirit about them, and it's hard to see a weakness. If you do, let me know.”
Ken Rosenthal, Foxsports.com: Red Sox in six. “This is the Tigers’ third straight trip to the ALCS and fourth in eight years, yet they have not won the World Series since 1984. Maybe this is their time. Maybe their elite players are about to get hot. But the Red Sox are so well-prepared, they always seem ready with answers. They lost three straight games on five different occasions during the regular season — but never four straight.
Red Sox in 6. At least, it had better be 6.
Would anyone bet against Verlander in Game 7?”
CBS Boston.com: Eleven out of 13 pick the Sox.
Paul White, USA Today: Tigers in six. “With Verlander back to his Cy Young Award-level self, the Tigers pitching can keep the Red Sox from stringing together enough baserunners to do major damage. Plenty of tight games but Detroit needs six of them to return to the World Series.”
Boston Herald staff: Three out of four pick the Red Sox.
It says here: Red Sox in six. Maybe we’re overblowing the Verlander factor just a wee bit. These games are going to come down to the bullpens and late-inning situations, and Boston is just far superior in that regard. Let’s hope John Farrell learned his lessons in Game 3 of the ALDS.
But Verlander in Game 7? Eeek. Sox have to be wary.