It will be a forgotten storyline as the Red Sox parade through Boston as heroes, but there is no doubt in our minds: the Rays could have beaten them. If Wil Myers never drops that flyball, Boston’s comeback may never happen and the Rays could have won Game 1. If Myers never drops that flyball and the Rays win Game 1, maybe Price doesn’t feel the weight of the Rays’ season for the second start in a row and doesn’t pick the worst possible time for most disastrous start this season. The Rays could have legitimately won the first two games, and at the very least, it could have been 1-1. The Rays win Game 3, they probably lose Game 4 with Jeremy Hellickson pitching, but then you have David Price going in Game 5. Maybe they still lose. Maybe they beat Price twice and head into the ALCS versus the Tigers having completely earned their stripes after beating the Rays. But the odds are that they don’t. If things happen in any other way that it did, it could be the Rays preparing for a parade right now (although the Tigers and Cardinals would have had something to say about that). The 2013 Rays were not as good as the Boston Red Sox overall in 2013, but that series, they legitimately could have been.
The 2013 Boston Red Sox were an outstanding team. Give them any breaks and they’ll destroy you. We see that from the Myers dropped flyball to the Kolten Wong pickoff in Game 4 of the World Series (funny that his brother Kean plays in the Rays system). However, they never had the dominant pitching the you assosciate with champions. You would choose David Price, Alex Cobb, and Matt Moore over Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Jake Peavy any day of the week. Their lineup was ridiculous, but with the Rays’ dominant pitchers holding the Red Sox’ bats down for the most part, Evan Longoria, James Loney, Ben Zobrist and Co. could have made things more interesting. At the end of the day, though, the Rays have no one to blame but themselves. The Rays overcame so much this year, but if they made mistakes, the Red Sox would beat them every time–they were just too good. They were beatable, but only if the Rays played as well as they were capable of playing. They did not and the Red Sox plowed right through. You look at the ALDS results–the Red Sox win twice in blowouts and three out of four games overall–and it looked like the dominant team was playing a good but vastly inferior one. That was not truly the case, but as we saw in multiple stretches for the Rays this year, it’s amazing how bad a talented team can look when the wheels begin to roll off.
Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox on winning the 2013 World Series. They had an unbelievable year, and they deserve it completely.. But as the Rays look back at the playoffs, the only thing they will think about is how they had a chance to beat the eventual World Series champion and they let it slip through their fingers.