I think everyone just needs to face facts that without Bautista this is a completely different team.
It didn’t come through at first because the team was still able to win but since Boston broke their 6 game win streak on 9/10, the Os are 5-8 and have 2 3 (or more) game losing streaks, which doubled the amount of 3 game losing streaks they had all season.
The bullpen roles have become an issue and everyone being shifted around because of that injury is becoming an issue.
Combine that with starting pitching that isn’t that good after our top 2 guys and you have a really bad scenario.
This team built themselves up early on because of how great the Cano-Bautista duo were. Eventually the offense started to catch up but Bautista, who imo is still the MVO, getting hurt changed the entire dynamic of this team.
Cano is tough to trust in high leverage situations because he simply doesn’t miss enough bats and doesn’t get any Ks any more.
I said at the end of August that I felt they would lose their first playoff series because of the pitching and Bautista’s injury.
The only thing that gives me some hope is that GRod isn’t really slowing down and I expected that to happen.
But overall, I still feel they will be 1 and done. I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think we have many, if any, legitimately trustworthy BP arms in the biggest situations in the playoffs and I don’t think we will get more than 6 innings out of any starter and even 6 full innings may be unlikely. We are going to need the pen to get 12-15, at least, per game and I don’t like their chances of doing that while holding a lead.
The Bautista injury just changed everything. If he comes back, maybe that changes but obviously it depends when he comes back and how he looks.
I still think they do enough to win the division and they will get the much needed days off to help set things up but these pitchers will still be what they are and what they are isn’t likely to be good enough.
There was a reason Dan Duquette went after Andrew Miller. Even with Zach Britton being the Felix of 2014 and Darren O’Day being the Cano ..he went and got Andrew Miller which was crucial in getting through Detroit and to the ALCS. Yes, it cost Eduardo but it was key.
An equivalent move would have been Josh Hader.
The way starting pitching is now, you cannot go deep into playoffs without multiple shutdown bullpen pitchers. Literally we have no BP pitchers that are shutdown.
Elias strategy of fixing cheap dumpster dives for BP has worked to a point but that was only so with Bautista anchoring it. Now it has failed.. the Fuji, Lopez additions have failed and the Cano, Coulombe, Webbs are now gassed and less effective without Bautista
It is what it is but we are going to lose playoff games (and still may yet lose the division) just like Detroit did without getting Andrew Miller because their BP blew up on them.