The last time either the Red Sox or the Phillies missed the postseason was in 2006, when both teams missed the playoffs.
Not that long ago, right? Until you realize that 2006 was also the last time the Mets made the playoffs. And then it seems much longer.
This season, however...well, yes, we have so much time to go. Having said that, the New York teams' top rivals are having a rough go of it. This week in particular, as the Red Sox suffered a sweep at the hands of the Rays and the Phillies dropped a series to the Braves.
To get to their respective, pre-2010 perches, the Sawx and Phils had to do more with less compared to their New York counterparts. Boston made Yankees fans suffer for five years, winning two World Series during a span (2004 through 2008) in which the Yankees never made the Fall Classic at all, before the Yankees responded last year. The Phillies have sent misery to Flushing for three years now.
So when it comes to the two Northeast Corridor clubs, how much should we attribute their results to poor management, how much to poor luck, and how much to "Relax. Give it a full season and then we'll see"?
I'm not sure how much Theo Epstein and his staff could've seen this coming. The injured players have largely been durable throughout their careers. The replacement players have delivered. And enough of Boston's big offseason acquisitions - Adrian Beltre, John Lackey and Marco Scutaro - have delivered. Besides, prior to the Tampa Bay series, the Sawx were holding their own with unknown players like Darnell McDonald, Daniel Nava, Eric Patterson and Felix Doubront.
I'll say the Red Sox's problems can be attributed 5 percent to poor management, 70 percent to poor luck and 25 percent to "Relax..."
Whereas Boston has received credit for hanging tough, the Phillies are getting flack from their own manager Charlie Manuel, and Shane Victorino is criticizing the team's fans. And all along, you wonder how much better they'd be if they'd only kept Cliff Lee for 2010.
Throw in a shaky bullpen and the less-than-shockingly disappointing performances of Raul Ibanez and Joe Blanton, and you can see why Phillies fans wouldn't exactly be thrilled by these developments.
I'll say the Phillies' problems can be attributed 60 percent to poor management, 25 percent to poor luck and 15 percent to "Relax..."
And we'll see what the rest of the season brings.
--At the Mets game, I wrote that the Mets still have doubters among their own fan base, when it comes to the Wilpons' financial solvency. And that a big trade-deadline acquisition would alleviate those doubts.
--I also wrote this story about the Mets reaching out to former season-ticket holders, to try to convince them to return to Citi Field.
--This isn't good for the Mets: Jose Reyes plans to see a doctor today, as his right oblique hasn't improved. At the very least, Reyes should now withdraw from the All-Star Game.
--Ike Davis needs a break, Jerry Manuel said.
--The Yankees won in Oakland, and it's onto Seattle, where they'll see (tomorrow night and Saturday night) whether they can perform any better against Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez than they did last week in New York.
--Speaking of Lee, the Rangers are a most fascinating suitor for the lefty's services. Texas probably couldn't take on all of the roughly $4.5 million (and diminishing by the day, obviously) that Lee is owed through this season. Yet the Rangers have a ridiculously deep farm system, so they could try to blow away the Mariners with a talent pool in return for Seattle paying some or all of the freight.
--Back to the Yankees, Brian Cashman says he isn't worried about Mariano Rivera. As we discussed yesterday, Rivera's decision to skip the All-Star Game says as much as - if not more so - how he feels about the Midsummer Classic as it does about his health.
--Cashman also stumped for Nick Swisher. We'll find out today who wins the "final" All-Star Game roster spots; obviously, more additions can join in the coming days. It looks like Cincinnati's Joey Votto will win the National League spot in a romp, while either Swisher or Boston's Kevin Youkilis figure to get the American League spot.
--Have a great day.