Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Shooting For The Stars: Will The Red Sox Finish In 3rd For The Third Straight Season?
There have been plenty of changes to the Red Sox since then although I think pretty much all of them are downgrades. Theo Epstein went to the Cubs and now Ben Cherington (Theo 2.0) is Boston's GM. Terry Francona was run out of town and replaced by Bobby Valentine, one of the biggest blowhards in professional sports that most recently was a commentator on ESPN's MLB coverage. Jonathan Papelbon wasn't resigned so he went to Philadelphia, who was more than happy to pay him. In his place, the Red Sox traded for A's closer Andrew Bailey. He might not even see the field this season for the Red Sox since he had thumb surgery today (he's expected to be out 3-4 months). Hell, even Heidi Watney left for the West Coast (Lakers games) while NESN replaced her with her Zoomass, non-union equivalent Jenny Dell.
I can never recall going into a Red Sox season with this many question marks. Sure, there's been plenty of teams that didn't have nearly this much talent (most of the 1990s and early 2000s) but who has any confidence in this group since it's most of the same heartless losers that choked last season.
Boston still competes in MLB's toughest division. The Yankees and Rays are still both loaded in their own unique ways and I expect each of them to finish ahead of the Red Sox. The good news for the Red Sox is that a third-place finish this season could potentially end in a playoff berth. This is the first year of two Wild Card spots so keep that in mind. Maybe, Toronto will finally get over the .500 mark and do something. The Baltimore Orioles are still one of the worst teams in baseball until further notice.
I'm sorry it's taken me this long but here's some things we can positively count on: Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez will all continue to mash. Unfortunately, there's plenty of negative things that you can set your watch to: Mike Aviles will make a ton of errors at shortstop, Josh Beckett will get hurt multiple times with minor or fake injuries, David Ortiz will go through a long drought and the back end of the Red Sox' pitching rotation with Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard could likely be a disaster.
I wish I didn't care as much as I do but I can't help it. I'll watch all the games and fiendishly read about them in many forms. I enjoy baseball and no summer is complete without a Red Sox game on the TV or radio. There's a calming serenity to it all and that's probably the cheesiest thing I've ever written on this blog. All I ask for is effort and a team that makes it much easier to root for them. Also, if they could find a way to not let Valentine talk more than five minutes a day to the media, that would be fantastic.
The 2012 season begins tomorrow afternoon in Detroit as the Red Sox play the Tigers three times. Jon Lester gets the Opening Day start against Justin Verlander.
Here is the Opening Day roster for the Sox:
Pitchers (13): Scott Atchison, Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers, Daniel Bard, Josh Beckett, Michael Bowden, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Jon Lester, Mark Melancon, Franklin Morales, Vicente Padilla, Justin Thomas.
Catchers (2); Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach.
Infielders (6): Mike Aviles, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Nick Punto, Kevin Youkilis
Outfielders (4): Jacoby Ellsbury, Darnell McDonald, Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney