In that way, Lester was right.
The only reason the Red Sox entered Wednesday with a chance to secure the wildcard and advance to the playoffs was that the commissioner did not have the authority to overrule the principles of mathematics. Before Wednesday’s games began, the Rays and Sox had both won the same number of games, meaning that they both had an equal shot to win the last playoff slot.
By the principles of baseball, however, the Red Sox have been roadkill since September began.
What team worthy of the postseason can go an entire month without winning twice in a row, as the Red Sox did?
What team staking a claim as one of baseball’s best gives up at least six runs in 11 consecutive games, as the Red Sox did before last night?
What team fighting for its playoff life loses five of seven games to the Orioles, who finished at 69-93, 28 games behind the first-place Yankees, having given up 152 more runs than they scored?
No, this was not something of the Red Sox past. This was something unto its own universe.
At least the Red Sox of old made it to the World Series, allowing Bill Buckner to become a croquet wicket on Mookie Wilson’s routine grounder.
At least the Red Sox of old made it to the one-game playoff to allow Bucky Dent to hit his bloop home run.
At least the Red Sox of old were tormented by the memory of the greatest baseball player who ever lived.
The “Curse of Robert Andino” doesn’t quite evoke the same dread.
The Red Sox of old were futile, yes, but elegantly so – a Sophoclean tragedy in stirrups penned yearly for the Harvard Square crowd.
This was a farce.
And there was, quite simply, no logical reason for it.
Yes, the Red Sox had some injuries. But in August, when the Sox were missing the same players, they went 17-12. Had they matched that record in September, they would have won the division.