Let the second guessing begin. The Red Sox haven't even heard "Play Ball" and the controversy has already been teed up.
The Sox have overcome instability in the rotation and the bullpen and to a lesser degree the hole at the Hot Corner. Pablo Sandoval gave way to Travis Shaw (post All-Star break .194/.259/.360/.619), who is now supplanted by Brock Holt (post All-Star break .253/.318/.367/.685). Any talk of the Panda Postseason was premature speculation at its most disheartening.
Sox skipper John Farrell has slotted Holt in the two spot in the order while dropping Xander Bogaerts (post All-Star break .253/.317/.412/.729) to sixth. Oh, the horror!
Who's going to win? Legendary hoop coach Don Meyer would answer, "It's not who you play, it's how you play."
Baseball isn't a sport where elevating your intensity level translates to improved performance. Getting over 'jacked' won't translate to more 'jacks'.
The speculation is that ultra-focused Terry Francona will outmanage Farrell. That's probably going to happen, but it won't matter if the Sox have their hitting shoes on. The Tribe has a great home record confronted by the Sox American League best road record. We can wonder whether Rick Porcello can carry his success into the playoffs or whether Craig Kimbrel can rebound.
But the wondering is about to end. Play ball. Sox in four. "Positive dog."