Surprise surprise, the Red Sox seem to be the favorites (again) over at ESPN. One of the clowns, Rob Neyer, has them picked to win it all even though he chose the Yankees to win the division and the Rays to win the Wild Card. For those that don’t follow the sport…it is impossible to pull that one off. Literally impossible.
I seem to recall hearing the same raving reviews about the Red Sux pitching carrying them to a World Series title last year. Dice-Gay bla bla bla. Wakefield is so versatile and an innings eater (what a myth that is lol) Smoltz at mid-seaon bla bla bla. A resurgent Brad Penny bla bla bla. Bucholz will finally be consistent bla bla bla.
The Red Sox will be a great pitching team this year. Their starting pitching, esp 1-3, is some of the best in baseball. Beyond that though, you have huge question marks. Dice-K is horrible..again. Even when he shuts a team down it is for 5 innings and nothing more. Wakefield is marginally better than average. Has been that way his entire career. Bucholz can’t be trusted until he actually shows he can be trusted. Bonser is a reclamation project that is already looking like “Brady Penny Part Deux”
Don’t get me started on the bullpen. Okijima has been in a steady decline since his first 6 months in 2007. Daniel “I send it in 100 mph and you send it out 120 mph” Bard gives up way too many HRs to be considered effective at this point in his career. Manny Delcarmen has been, well, Manny Delcarmen. To borrow one from Crash Davis in Bull Durham “From what I hear meat you couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a f@#$in boat”. Billy Wagner, however short his stint with the team was, was their most effective guy out of the pen and he is in Atlanta now.
Paplebon will undoubtedly have a better year than last year, but who is going to be the bridge to him? Right now, that bridge looks a tad bit rickety. And make no mistake, this is the key to things. You keep hearing about the new found Red Sox devotion to defense and “run prevention”. They know they can’t just run roughshod over you etc…
Well if you are scoring less and relying on your starters to keep you in-games etc…it does you absolutely no good to hand the ball over to your 7th and 8th inning guys who then start serving up walks and gopher balls. Because, lets hear it class, there is no defense against the Homerun or the base on balls.
The Yankees will boast a deep rotation with Hughes emerging as a future ace. He added a cut fastball & a change-up to his arsenal and is primed to have a break out year. Even if one of the 5 starters underperforms it is no huge deal simply because they ALL have top 3 starter stuff. The bullpen is insanely deep and crazy good. They stole Phillies best BP guy, Park (who’d have ever thunk one would say that haha?) and have put Joba in the pen for the entire year. His last few appearances out of the BP have been nasty. We have seen what they kid can do when he is allowed to just come in and go balls out, expect close to that again.
A staff that eats innings, allows a limited amount of runs and an offense that is just unrelenting. All of that adds up to a long, long year for those who think the Yankees are somehow in “tough shape”.