Four years may not seem like much. Ask Pittsburgh. Ask Kansas City.
In Boston though, four years is plenty. It’s the longest playoff drought in over a decade for the Red Sox, who open the American League division series against the Tampa Bay Rays Friday at Fenway Park. Four years ago, John Lackey pitched for the Angels, who swept the 2009 Sox out of the postseason. This year, he’ll go in Game 2 for Boston.
Victor Martinez caught for the 2009 Sox. Joey Gathright was a pinch-runner in Game 3. Mike Lowell was still here. Jed Lowrie too.
Billy Wagner, for God’s sake.
Four years can seem like yesterday, except when it comes to playoff baseball. It’s been too long.
ESPN.com staff: Seven out of 35 pick the Red Sox to win the World Series. Two picked the Reds.
CNNSI.com staff: Five out of nine pick the Rays over the Red Sox.
Big League Stew, Yahoo! sports: Four out of five pick the Sox. One of five pick the Sox to win the World Series (And David Ortiz as MVP).
CBS Sports.com staff: Six out of six pick Boston. One out of six pick the Sox to win it all.
The Sporting News staff: All Sox. From Ryan Fagan: “The Rays have momentum and they have no fear of standing toe-to-toe with the Red Sox in Fenway Park. But the Red Sox have power throughout the lineup, more speed than most Boston teams of the past few decades and they have the highest on-base percentage of any team in baseball this season. The Red Sox hitters will make the Rays’ excellent starters work hard, and they won’t miss on their opportunities with runners on base—remember both the Rangers and Indians had ample scoring chances in Tampa Bay’s two win-or-go-home games this week.”
Boston Herald staff: Three out of four pick the Sox.
CBS Boston.com staff: Twelve out of 14 pick the Sox.
Chris Ruddick, The Sports Network: Red Sox in five.
Barry Svrluga, Washington Post: Red Sox in five.
It says here: Rays in four. Having to face Matt Moore and David Price in Games 1 and 2 is a hurdle even this resilient Red Sox team won’t be able to overcome.