It has just been announced that the Boston Red Sox World Series trophy will be making its way to Maine by the end of the month. Hmmm, I should really find my camera….David Ross, back-up catcher for the champion Sox, gave a speech last week at the Gracie Theater….heard it was funny….and there is less than 30 days before pitchers and catchers have to report for spring training….YES!!! It’s no secret that baseball is by far my favorite sport and I’ve been waiting eagerly for it to return. Football and hockey are both great but baseball was how I started making friends when I moved to Maine.
So-baseball. Let’s skip the Hall of Fame detailed discussion (completely fine with who got in, slightly disappointed that Biggio missed out) and go straight to the majors. The Red Sox put on one of the most unlikely World Series runs in recent memory, exactly one season after losing almost 100 games. Which leads to the question, of how will the Red Sox do this year. The Red Sox haven’t made any ground-breaking acquisitions and lost several key players. Let’s take a look on how they’ll do.
Starting Pitching 2013 vs Starting Pitching 2014: The Red Sox will have more or less the same rotation this year as last. Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Félix Doubront, Jake Peavy and John Lackey all pitched surprisingly well. With Buchholz at full health and Doubront fully rested, I expect the next season to be even stronger. I can see either Dempster or Doubront being reassigned to the bullpen, but with six guys equally capable of starting, the rotation will be a strength, particularly if Lackey can remain his new form he found last year.
The Bullpen 2013 vs The Bullpen 2014: Last year’s bullpen was nearly a disaster until the Sox found their new closer -Koji Uehara. Uehara became one of the best closers in the game and the Sox are going to use his talents all year-long. Several major parts of the bullpen will be back in full health-Andrew Miller comes to mind and now that Andrew Bailey, Joel Hanrahan and Franklin Morales are gone, the bullpen will be even stronger.
Lineup 2013 vs Lineup 2014: Good news. The Red Sox have the healthy Dustin Pedroia until 2020. They also resigned Mike Napoli and signed A.J. Pierznski to be the new catcher with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who decided that he hated winning by going to Miami to play with the Marlins. Bad news. Unfortunately, the Red Sox have also lost Jacoby Ellsbury…who went to the New York Yankees for a colossal waste of money. Jacoby’s power numbers were bleh, but his speed and his defense will be missed. So that will mean the Sox will be using youth with new superstar Xander Bogaerts likely to play short and Will Middlebrooks being played at third. Last year’s lineup was likely better but we’ll see.
Bottom line: I like the players on this team. I like the companionship of the players. I think team chemistry was essential for last year’s miracle season. But this year we can expect a small setback but we’ll still enjoy following this team. I’m thinking…given how the other teams have spent….and what other teams have lost…the Sox should finish with about 85-90 wins.
Oh, one more thing. I think there is a good number of people who may read this blog whom I am not connected with on Facebook. Therefore, I should post this here too.
A friend of mine, Adrienne Carmack, from high school is running the New York City Half Marathon in March. She’s raising money for the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which supports research for cystic fibrosis. She’s nearly at her fundraising goal.
If you would like to donate, the link is posted below. If you like the cause but can’t donate, pass it around. It’s for an excellent cause for one disease that would benefit everybody if it could be cured.