At the beginning of September, the Red Sox were a lock for a playoff spot. Three weeks later, after going 4-12 in September, their Wild Card lead reduced to three games, they still were, by any reasonable expectations. I myself proudly proclaimed that they would be just fine. Even on the season’s final day, when the Red Sox found themselves somehow tied with the Rays, it seemed easy enough. With Tampa Bay quickly falling behind 7-0 to the Yankees, all they had to do was beat the Orioles, the worst team in the American League, and they could avert any potential disaster.

If you are a long-time Red Sox fan (as I proudly am), your team’s current standing should come as no surprise. After a dismal April, the Red Sox managed to cling to first place through the end of August despite an ailing pitching staff, relying instead on an outstanding offense — the second-best in the American League (AL) — and the late-inning duo of Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon.

In September, however, the Red Sox have slumped to a 5-15 record, having fallen to six games behind the division-leading Yankees.

As any English professor will tell you, clichés are the bane of the language. They offer little-to-no descriptive value, relying on overly familiar and uninspiring usages of diction and syntax. Like a soggy bed of iceberg lettuce, they are thoroughly disappointing and do little to satisfy a healthy appetite for excitement and energy.

Naturally, clichés thrive in the language of the sports world.