|2008 Boston Red Sox|
Written by Paul Keen (Contact & Archive) on March 23, 2008
Home Field: Fenway Park
Practicing “Sweet Caroline”
C Dusty Brown (Called up from Triple A)
1B Sean Casey (Signed as a free agent from Detroit Tigers)
3B Mike Lowell (Re-signed)
SP Curt Schilling (Re-signed)
RP Mike Timlin (Re-signed)
SP Bartolo Colon (Signed as a free agent from Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
RP David Aardsma (Acquired from Chicago White Sox)
RP Dan Kolb (Signed as free agent from Milwaukee Brewers)
Getting the red out of their sox
C Doug Mirabelli (Cut)
RP Eric Gagne (Signed as a free agent with Milwaukee Brewers)
SP Matt Clement (Signed as free agent with St. Louis Cardinals)
The Skinny: The Boston Red Sox had an amazing year last year bringing home their second World Championship in four years. It was a close call against Cleveland, but after their victory at Jacobs Field, they dominated the Rockies for their title. All of this dominance has led to few changes in their lineup, rotation, and bullpen. Many people are already predicting Boston to come out on top again this year, but many teams are busying themselves to make sure they can take down the Sox.
Strengths: Boston’s strengths this year are all over the field. Their pitching rotation has some of the best pitchers in the game today (provided they stay healthy, but we’ll cover that in weaknesses). It’s also difficult to mention their bullpen without bringing up one of the strongest closers in the game, Jonathan Papelbon. With a 1.85 ERA, and 37 saves under his belt from last year, Papelbon looks to continue his dominance. Boston seems to think he can handle it too. They gave the stare down artist a pay raise over spring training to make sure he stays around. He’s not a bad dancer either.
Their power hitters have remained with the club too. The biggest one to date, and a favorite in Beantown, is David Ortiz. Big Papi’s role as the DH for Boston has helped the Sox stay on top.
Weakness: Boston’s weaknesses are in a large part not with the players. Their first big problem is the season debut in Tokyo versus the A’s. Not all the team is going, but the ones who are will have quite the trip ahead of them. They will have a few days rest in California, fly across the International Date Line for two exhibition games, two regular season games, and then back to the States for eight away games in California. By the time the Sox make it back to Fenway, some teams will have already finished at least one home series.
The other major problem Boston faces is injuries. So far, Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, and Coco Crisp are all on the DL. Even though Schilling says this was going to be his last season playing, Boston was still counting on him to bring that special something to Fenway. It will be at least two months before Schilling can pitch again.
Beckett’s story is a little more comforting to Red Sox Nation. Beckett had some back spasms during an outing in Florida, and is expected to pitch again. Hopefully, he will be healthy after they return from the Land of the Rising Sun. Crisp is running day to day, and Jacoby Ellsbury will step up if he Coco isn’t ready in time.
1. 1B Kevin Youkilis
2. 3B Mike Lowell
3. LF Manny Ramirez
4. DH David Ortiz
5. CF Coco Crisp
6. RF J.D. Drew
7. 2B Dustin Pedroia
8. C Jason Varitek
9. SS Julio Lugo
1. Josh Beckett
2. Daisuke Matsuzaka
3. Jon Lester
4. Tim Wakefield
5. Clay Buccholz
Keys to Success: The biggest problem is that Boston does not have a lot of bench players. They’re banking so much on last year’s core that they may have sold themselves short. Staying healthy will be key for the Red Sox to bring home another championship.
Prediction: Most people are predicting Boston will bring home another championship, and I don’t disagree. However, it will not be an easy road. The upside is that this franchise likes to take things one game at a time, and they never underestimate their opponents. If this attitude prevails (and I never thought I would say this), Boston will be bringing home their third championship in five years.