Thursday, October 6, 2016

TWTW's 2016 ALDS Preview

Danville, Kentucky -- Boston once had a massacre, which in turn led Boston to host a Tea Party. That fine town audaciously launched a righteous revolution against the repressive British Crown. You can still see hints of that insurgent spirit any time Dustin Pedroia slides hard into second base, dirtying his home whites like a ragtag rebel might've muddied his militia apparel at the Battle of Lexington. It is a tenacious and indefatigable spirit that has animated American heroes from Boston's own John Adams to Ted Williams. The grit of grinders like Pedroia can still be found by those who know where to look for it; but the city is now better symbolized by overpaid softies like Drew Pomeranz and Pablo Sandoval, ex-patriots of the liberal elitist West Coast who have found a new home in the land of chowder and lobster. Boston used to be a city I could believe in; but no more.

Cleveland is a city I can and can't believe in. I believe in Cleveland's people, it's missing manufacturing jobs, it's symbolic figurehead LeBron James, it's willingness to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, and its scrappy youngsters Jose Ramirez and Tyler Naquin. I can't believe in Cleveland's shocking dismissal of clubhouse hero Juan Uribe, or their continued faith in Trevor Bauer, a nerd-boy who cares more about playing Pokemon and piloting drones than winning baseball games.

Cleveland doesn't believe in itself either: despite fielding a division winning team with World Series ambitions, the city has all but neglected the AL Central Champion Indians, leading to pathetic attendance figures in an otherwise magical season.

I can't believe in Boston, or Cleveland. But there is one man I can believe in: Rick Porcello. More importantly, Rick Porcello is a man who believes in Rick Porcello. I've written extensively about this kid, still only 27 years old and yet to hit his ceiling. Even in his darkest days, when he was public enemy #1 in Beantown, I never stopped believing, and neither did he.

After being reviled by Boston fans for more than a year, the rough-and-tumble kid from New Jersey is now a bonafide Cy Young candidate and sports a 22-4 Win/Loss Record that's prettier than Melania Trump. The fans can't get enough of him. The kid's got a sinker that sinks out of the strike-zone like Hillary Clinton sinks in the polls with each subsequent release of emails from Wikileaks. He's a groundball machine, more interested in getting his teammates involved in the game than putting on a show with strikeouts. He's stingy with walks: pounding the strike-zone with a precision matched only by the precision of Obama's unconstitutional drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan.

Folks, I can't bet against Rick, and I can't bet against the Red Sox. The kid has 22 wins, and will be backed up by another man who has played postseason hero for Boston in the past: Clay Buchholz. Porcello and Buchholz are a hell of a 1-2 punch, a playoff rotation that far surpasses anything the injury-hobbled Indians will be able to compete with. Cleveland is hungry, but the ageless David Ortiz is hungrier.

Baseball is a team sport: but October is where heroes emerge. Porcello's teammate David Price is a perennial playoff choker; but Rick is about to set himself apart. This Autumn, Rick Porcello will achieve mythic status alongside past Red Sox greats like Pedro Martinez, future U.S. President Curt Schilling, and Derek Lowe. Underneath the bright lights of Fenway, a legend will be born.