Originally Posted by Dan H
You are right; we will never know. I don't buy the logic the Sox would've gone deep into the playoffs if they got there. First, Chris Sale is a great talent but he is no Verlander. Besides, 95% of the time, 85 wins doesn't get a team into the playoffs. The Sox just weren't good enough.
The Sox fell off a cliff though. They had the talent to win more than 85, and inexplicably got caught up in bad habits such as swinging for the fences, trying too hard, etc.
Apparantly they didn't have what it takes to handle pressure, because they had the division virtually won--barring an embarrassing choke--and they couldn't even manage that. Their opponets would have been a smoke-and-mirrors Oakland team and a Yankee team that they not only handled during the regular season, but fell off a cliff of their own in the postseason. It's not a guarantee that the Sox would have gone to the World Series, but the Tigers just did it against two less-than impressive teams and the Sox had a better record than them the vast majority of the season. It's not like it's far fetched to think the Sox would have made a deep run as well.
For me, it just feels like another sucker punch in a recent flurry of them--the 2010 and 2011 Bears and last season's Bulls team. But in this case, there's no injury to blame--the Sox played well below their abilities, choked away a convincing lead, and should be furious with themselves now that Detroit is going to the World Series.