We’re not even 24 hours removed from an absolute gem of game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros, in what is turning into one of the best World Series of the 21st century. It was a game that had so many remarkable moments that it quite literally made me thankful to be a baseball fan:
Thank you, Baseball.— OverTheMonster (@OverTheMonster) November 4, 2022
I typed that moments after Alec Bohm’s nail-biter of a double-play to end the top of the ninth last night. But apparently I should have been a little more patient, because just seven minutes later, I had to do it again:
That was the amazing Chas McCormick catch in the bottom of the ninth, one of the greatest defensive plays in World Series history.
I love the World Series. Nothing else so consistently produces these moments of tension. And yet, somehow, every year I forget just how great the World Series is. That’s ok, though, because even when I do forget, we invariably get another game like last night’s to serve as a reminder, and that reminder is always tinged with a bit of both surprise and re-affirmation, and I spend the next day a little happier, and a little more energized, and a little more thankful to be alive and a baseball fan.
But, alas, the internet exists. And the internet, as extensive research shows us over and over again, does not make us happy. It usually does the exact opposite. And so, my happiness was disrupted when I, once again, found myself arguing with strangers on the internet about Chaim Bloom.
I’ll save you the details because, Christ, the last thing we need is to elevate dumb internet arguments. But there is something important that came up in the argument that needs to be addressed, and it’s this: the persistent idea — taken by gospel at this point by pretty much all Red Sox fans — that Boston Red Sox 2022 season was derailed by injuries.
If we’re going to keep arguing about this, it’s important to clear something up: the 2022 Red Sox weren’t really all that injured.
Sorted by the number of players lost to injury, the Red Sox were only the twelfth most injured team in baseball. Teams who lost more players than the Red Sox but nonetheless had successful seasons included the Mets, Yankees, Rays, and Phillies.
Sorted by the number of days lost to injury, the Red Sox were the seventh most injured team. But, again, teams that lost even more days included the fantastically successful Dodgers and good-enough Rays.
Where the Red Sox were an outlier in terms of injuries was in money spent on injured players. They were first in the league there. But, again, the Mets were second, the Yankees were fourth, and the Dodgers were fifth. Moreover, the fact that the Red Sox topped that list was due almost entirely to Chris Sale’s injuries (the next most costly injuries on the list were those suffered by Nathan Eovaldi and Trevor Story, with James Paxton coming in third, and Paxton’s was an existing injury cost that the front office deliberately took on with open eyes). If losing one single guy dooms your season, then that means your roster wasn’t well constructed in the first place.
So, no, the 2022 Red Sox season was not derailed by injuries. It was derailed by a poorly constructed roster that lacked the depth to deal with a moderate amount of injuries that every Major League team should expect to face.
And while we’re discussing this, here’s another injury fun fact: the 2021 Red Sox were the second-healthiest team in all of baseball, losing just 907 cumulative days to injury. So, again, if they needed near-perfect health in order to win the Wild Card, that means last year’s roster wasn’t all that well constructed, either.
Ok, great, glad we cleared that up. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch a replays of Nick Castellanos catches for the next ten minutes — as it turns out, the internet isn’t all bad, after all.