Back on opening day, not much was thought of this edition of the Boston Red Sox.

It was Chaim Bloom's first full season on the job with a roster of misfit pieces made up of veterans on short-term deals to bridge the gap until Bloom could get the organizational depth back to a position of strength.

Like many Red Sox fans, Las Vegas wasn't expecting all that much from the club this year, projecting a win total of 81.5 while many fans and analysts expected a third or fourth place finish in the AL East.

Then the season began, and after a brief hiccup out of the gate vs. Baltimore, the Sox caught fire, becoming one of the best teams in baseball in the process.

That peaked on July 27, days before the trade deadline, when Boston was an AL-best 61-37, held at one point a 4-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the division and were 10-games up on the rival New York Yankees.

But then the wheels fell off. The team was ravaged by COVID-19. Players went into deep slumps. The regression to the mean was drastic and the Sox finished the season at a 31-33 clip.

Now, with a date vs. the Yankees at Fenway Park in tomorrow night's AL Wild Card Game, how do you view the 2021 season? Do you go back to the preseason lack of expectations and call it a success just to be in the postseason? Or is it all relative and after being the best team in baseball through 100 games, a mere spot in a 9-inning playoff is not satisfactory?

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