Monday, July 21, 2008

Pre-Season Thoughts in Review: Boston Red Sox

Another look back on my thoughts about our AL East opponents. Finally, the Red Sox

1. Schilling Hurts More Than They Want To Admit

I was pretty much wrong on this one. Beckett has pitched well, if not like a Cy Young candidate. Jon Lester has taken a big step forward at age 24. Dice K has been dominant and Tim Wakefield is having one of his best years ever. The only letdown has been Clay Buchholz.

Add all this to the good bullpen performance, they have the staff to contend. They are not really missing Schilling at all…

2. Mike Lowell Falls to Earth

Yeah, this was easy. He obviously wasn’t going to hit .324 again but he’s still having a pretty good season. He didn’t fall far enough to hurt…

3. Some Guys Are Just Plain Getting Old

After a couple of down seasons, Jason Varitek has finally fallen off the table. David Ortiz is banged up. Manny Ramirez has seen a small drop-off but he’s still damn good. A mixed bag on this one but the kids have picked up all the slack.

4. The Ellsbury Enigma

Is Jacoby Ellsbury going to hit .350 and slug .500 this season? Hell no! I would expect something in the range of .290 while slugging something closer to .425 or so.

Ellbury has not even lived up the the reduced expectations I had for him. The pluses are that he has already stolen 35 bases and his defense in center has been better than previously advertised.

He does enough but is only posting an 82 OPS+…exactly the same as the much-maligned Coco Crisp.

5. Will Lugo and Drew bounceback?

Lugo has not. Drew has.

I was hoping against hope that Drew would follow the Kirk Gibson career trajectory and start to breakdown in his early 30’s but history shows that Drew has a good year every other season.


Many of the problems I highlighted have come to fruition but not to the extent I thought. And when they did, the weaknesses have been masked by unexpected success in other areas.

They are a flawed team but they are the best equipped to win the AL East at this point.

No comments: