These imperfect Red Sox ultimately had perfect timing

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HOUSTON - Sister Mary Catherine stood in back of the Minute Maid press box so excited. The nun had just thrown out the first pitch prior to Game 6, tossing in a little panache along the way thanks to a simple tap of the wrist.

"This is the Astros' time. This is our time," she said, simulating the watch-tapping gesture made famous by Carlos Correa (and Eduardo Rodriguez) throughout the American League Championship Series. "This is it."

She couldn't have been more right. It was the Astros' time. The 5-0 win, gold and blue confetti, and midnight middle-of-the-field celebration could attest to that.

But in many ways, the Red Sox couldn't have had better timing. In hindsight, this is a group that won't be defined by those few Friday night hours - or even those last three uncomfortable games.

This was about the big picture. And in that realm, the Red Sox were like clockwork.

It was the far-from-perfect team that offered Boston sports fans the perfect seven-month dose of jubilation. Little did we know at the time, but it was exactly what the doctor ordered.

"I told them how proud I am," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora after his 2021 team officially landed at 98 wins. "It's an amazing group. It's a group that we will always remember. In the offseason trying to recruit players and trying to buy into the concept that we were going to be good, it was hard. But at the end of the day, we did an amazing job to have that meeting. Not too many teams can say that they're in the League Championship Series, and I know it doesn't sound great, to have that meeting it means something, right?

"And we did an amazing job throughout the season. We just got beat at the end, but when we look back and everything that we went through, the thoughts of this team early in the season, it's just amazing. It was a great year. Obviously, very disappointed that we didn't win this series, but we're going to look back and we're going to be very proud of the group, the organization, and everybody that got to be part of this operation on a daily basis."

In the minutes after the final out it was easy to pick apart what transpired after the Red Sox took that 2-1 series lead. When you get outscored 23-3 in the final 27 innings, that's fair.