Before the Postseason started, I caught wind of one very interesting stat that all but guaranteed that the Boston Red Sox would end up World Champions.
There were a lot of reasons people expected the Boston Red Sox to win the 2018 World Series. My favorite is one very few noticed.
Of course, there were the well-known stats. Boston has arguably the two most likely AL MVPs on the roster in Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. The Red Sox also have one of the best pitchers in baseball in Chris Sale and just a stacked roster overall.
There’s also the Red Sox No. 1 ranked batting roster, the 108 wins, and the home-field advantage in the playoffs it brings.
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Those were on everybody’s mind, but this is baseball. The sport where the silly stats brought on by the “baseball gods” rule all.
The Importance of Managers
Players are generally thought of as the most important part of a team. They’re the ones that make the plays after all. But a truly talented manager is the brain standing just outside the diamond that makes game-changing decisions a player just doesn’t have the opportunity to.
When do you take out a struggling pitcher? Maybe even more difficult; when do you take out a pitcher having a good day? How important is the batter-pitcher matchup at any moment in time?
Getting decisions like these right is the difference between a middle of the pack team and a World Series champion.
Alex Cora just finished off his rookie season as a manager as a World Series champion.
The Red Sox’ History with New Managers
The last time a rookie manager took over a team that made the playoff the year before and led them to the World Series was in 1980 and that Yankees team went on to lose.
Including Cora, only five rookie managers have ever won the pennant, most recently Bob Brenly for the Diamondbacks in 2001.
Why did I believe that a new manager guaranteed a World Series victory if success in your first year at the helm is so hard to come by?
Well, Terry Francona brought Boston that sweet, sweet World Series title after 86 years in his first season at the helm, for starters.
No, he wasn’t a rookie manager, but it was his first year as the manager of the Boston Red Sox. Plus, the 2003 team had made the playoffs.
Nearly a decade later, in his first year as the Red Sox manager, John Farrell did the unthinkable. He took one of the worst teams in baseball and made turned them 180-degrees around to win the 2013 World Series.
It goes even deeper. Three years after the legendary 2004 win, the Red Sox brought in a rookie coach to work with the pitchers. Farrell was new to coaching in 2007 and helped lead the team to the second title since the Curse of the Great Bambino was broken.
Recent history points to new coaches being a lucky charm for the Red Sox. That is if you disregard Bobby Valentine in 2012.
With Cora’s incredible leadership during the 2018 campaign, let’s hope that this weird streak ends with him as he lasts many, many years in Boston.