The Boston Red Sox weren’t supposed to be celebrating a trip to the American League Championship Series — let alone celebrating on Marathon Monday in the middle of October.
After all, sportsbooks had the Red Sox winning roughly 80 games in the regular season, and they were as high as 70-to-1 to win the World Series.
Now, after going more than half the season without ace Chris Sale as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, overcoming a COVID-19 outbreak near the end of the regular season and working their way out of a potential four-way tie for the wild card, the Red Sox will be one of the final four teams playing for the Commissioner’s Trophy.
It’s easy for Red Sox players, personnel and fans to say they knew it all along. After all, hindsight is 20-20.
But Kyle Schwarber — who was at one point an eyebrow-raising trade deadline pick-up from the Washington Nationals — had an outsider’s perspective on how the Red Sox continually managed to overcome all that was thrown in their way.
“I think it’s part of the city,” Schwarber said after Monday’s 6-5 victory, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Perfect day today. Boston Marathon, and the adversity that all the people in Boston had to overcome. It’s part of the culture here in the city. It’s part of the fans.
“I think that ingrains into the players that at the end of the day, we’re not going to quit,” Schwarber continued. “The guys believing in themselves, I think obviously the team thought that they should have won the division and it slipped away. We were able to come out and do the Wild Card and take care of business there and take care of business on the guys that won the division, and that’s huge.”
The Red Sox await the winner of the ongoing series between the Astros and Chicago White Sox, which Houston leads 2-1. Whichever team it is, the Red Sox will hit the road to face them in Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday.