By Art Martone
You'll forgive the Red Sox if they're not jumping up and down at the news that Sports Illustrated has chosen them as the 2011 World Series champion.
In fact, you'll understand if they hide under their bed in fear. Or beg the magazine to change its mind.
Since 2000, not only has SI never correctly picked a World Series winner -- not once -- but only one of its selections has even made the World Series. The breakdown:
FAILED TO MAKE PLAYOFFS: 5
LOST IN DIVISIONAL SERIES: 4
LOST IN CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: 1
LOST IN WORLD SERIES: 1
WON WORLD SERIES: 0
Pretty putrid, huh?
(This particular stretch actually started when SI picked the Sox to win the 2000 World Series. They finished 85-77. And even that wasn't as bad as 1987, when they picked the Indians -- who wound up 61-101 -- to win it all.)
Lou Merloni, however, sees a silver lining around this dark cloud:
Even though SI picked the Sox to win the Series, it put the Phillies on the cover . . . and we all know that being on the cover is the actual SI Jinx.
So there's hope yet.
Art Martone can be reached at email@example.com.
Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.
He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.
Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.
Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.
Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17.
With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games.
The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings.
The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.