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Can the Red Sox win the World Series? The vibe seems to be there

Can the Red Sox win the World Series? The vibe seems to be there

The American League Championship Series has yet to begin, but its not too early to tackle the pressing issue on Red Sox Nation s minds.

Can this team win it all?

Its neither a fanciful nor obscene suggestion. For a franchise that has hung banners since 2018 and done it four times since 2004 (2007 and 2013 as well), the expectation of obtaining trophies is always in play.

Behind a leader who has yet to lose he postseason series as s/he or bench coach, the resume of success is there as well. And with a roster fueled by 'a belief that isn't limited to each player's individual abilities, but that spreads equally through what they possess in every other guy'' s ability to deliver when needed, it'll almost feel like another special stew is simmering in Boston.

You know what? Alex Cora said Wednesday at Fenway Park, shortly before leading his team in its last workout before heading for Houston, I woke up today and I was like, Were four games away from the World Series, Weve won four games and were right there, she said.

Xander Bogaerts has gone from a nervous playoff rookie to the sacrosanct connective tissue of Red Sox championship eras.

Also, yes, in other words? This team can accomplish everything!

Cora stated, To answer your question, yes, I believe that weve got a chance to win the World Series." We are where we really wanted to be. By accident, perhaps, because this lineup [came together after] J.D. [Martinez] was hurt, but now we have this balance, and the at-bats are getting better. Were at our best now. In 2018, it was, You win 11, and now were at eight games.

We need to win eight more games to avoid losing. Weve done it before.

What Cora spoke about was the acknowledgement of a championship vibe, that unbreakable, perhaps indescribable mix of confidence and experience (and perhaps stoicism) that tells the players their time is now. It can grow slowly over an entire season, building month by month, or it may converge in a shaky eye-blink when the jumbled pieces of an up-and-down season suddenly settle into place.

Cast this version of the Sox in the latter formula, unlike the 2018 team Martinez described Monday night as one that had the horses and played under the pressure not to win.

This year we dont have that, he added. None of the media, no one here, counted us to be here. For us to be here, it shows it doesnt matter where you start the season, as long as you go out there and play and compete.

Everyone here is hungry, everyone wants to go out and prove it. Weve got a lot of guys who have been written off in other places; they want to show what they can do.

No matter how many times the season went through lows that made this ALCS appearance seem impossible, the Red Sox just kept rising again. No sweep at the hands of the Orioles to begin the season or sweep by the Yankees near the close of it could erode their inner faith. No string of COVID-dictated roster replacements or jumble of assorted lineups could deliver that knockout punch.

Red Sox are concerned about red sox shelving concerns about Houston's struggles during the regular season.

They just kept on rising for more, and now they are driven by the confidence that they can both deliver and absorb the blows needed to stay on winning. Just look at the ALDS' ninth-inning victory on Monday night. It was a fundamental baseball fans dream that included batting cage, pinch runner, sacrifice bunt, and sacrifice fly.

Kik Hernndez described it as "whatever it takes to win" after hitting the sac fly to defeat the favored Rays. "Thats our motto right now: Whatever it may take to succeed," she added. Today well win, and tomorrow we'll worry about. Lineup, bullpen, starting rotation, it doesnt matter. Were a team, and we are one. Were not 26 dudes, weve been one.

Cora, who won a title with these Astros as their bench coach in 2017 and led the Sox to the title in his managerial debut ten years later, is one behind Coraga, the other who was named the Astros number one.

He, too, is driven by having something to prove, still ensnared in the Astros' sign-stealing scandal that resulted in his one-year suspension. Cora was out of baseball in 2020, and the game had changed (filled now with COVID protocols), his bosses had moved (he hadnt really worked with new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom), and many of Coras championship players had been changed too (so long, Mookie Betts, David Price, Jackie Bradley Jr., & Andrew Benintendi).

Garrett Whitlock, a reclaimed reliever who took over this week, described him as a guy youd run through... if you had he talent. Whitlock wasnt merely a clich. Cora further explained that you dont run through the wall simply because Corus tells you to, but because if he told me to run into that wall, Id believe if I did, a safety device would be in place to ensure that it would fall for me.

Alex Verdugo, who was still in champagne and still playing chess, chose a different phrase to describe Monday night, when he said, Hes out there playing checkers and everyone else is playing board games.

Nate Eovaldi, a red Sox catcher, admits he doesnt like the Astros very much.

The Red Sox are still playing baseball, which is the result. One of the final four, with eight games to go to a title.

Weve got a lot of work to do and the team were going to face is outstanding. They are, Cora said. At the same time, they know that we are really good.

When people start talking about us in this way, its like, Oh, weve got something special going on here. But weve got to keep working, keep getting better.

Tara Sullivan is a Globe columnist. tara.sullivan can be reached at tara@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @Globe_Tara.

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