By James Payne – 1851 Staff
The last time the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox played on the same day was nearly three years ago, October 13, 2013. I remember this distinctly because I was at the Patriots game against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots were losing late in the game. I left early (per my dad’s request) and while we were walking to the car we heard a roar from the stadium as Brady threw a game-winning touchdown pass with five seconds to spare.
Game 2 of the American League Championship Series was played that night as well. The Red Sox hosted the Detroit Tigers after losing Game 1 the previous night. The Sox were losing 5-1 in the 8th inning and looked like they were going down 2-0 in the series. That changed when David Ortiz stepped up to the plate and with one swing, the game was tied, the tides had turned, and the Sox had a second life that postseason. Two improbable comebacks in the same night.
On Sunday we will see both teams play on the same day again but this time in the same city of Cleveland. A lot of hype surrounds both games as Tom Brady returns from suspension when the Patriots kick off against the Browns at 1:00 p.m. and at 4:00 p.m. Clay Buchholz starts in Game 3 of the American League Divisional Series against the Indians in David Ortiz’s final postseason run.
The Patriots are 11 point favorites against the Browns while the Sox are also favored to advance past the Indians despite being down 2-0 in the series. Between the two local ball clubs, I say the advantage goes to the boys from Foxboro.
Before the season I would have been thrilled to know the Pats would be 3-1 heading into this week five match-up. If somebody told me a few weeks ago the Sox would finish their regular season winning 12 of their last 17 games, I also would have been thrilled.
Except, the Sox really finished 1-5. There has been too much focus on David Ortiz, and the team is in a slump. I am not thrilled with their finish.
October is all about postseason baseball and that’s where the focus should be in Boston. We all know what will happen with Brady’s suspension gone and next season Ortiz’s number will be retired, but the Sox have to focus on the NOW. Manager John Farrell still makes questionable decisions, there isn’t much confidence on the mound, the bullpen is iffy, and there are postseason teams much hotter than the Sox right now.
Sports are full of storybook endings and that’s how Ortiz’s career should end with Boston, but there are other stories that are in need of an ending in these playoffs too. Ortiz might watch a handful of ex-teammates end a 108-year-old ‘curse’ with the Cubs, a similar ending to the one the 2004 Sox team accomplished in Papi’s second year in Boston. Or we might see a first time World Series championship team in Washington or Texas.
But there is the dream of a clutch, walk-off smash by number 34 in his final at-bat at Fenway Park that could become a reality in just a few weeks. Or maybe it will stay as a mere thought in the back of our minds forever.