Myers and Longoria are the key to the Rays success (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

After a long hard winter that never ended, Opening Day is finally here. Do not let the 38 degree temperatures fool you outside, baseball is back. The AL East is sure to be one of the most exciting divisions in all of baseball with four teams (sorry Blue Jays) with a chance to compete for a playoff spot. A lot can change over a course of the season, but that does not stop us from making predications.

1. Tampa Bay Rays, 93-69:¬†The Rays will have one of the best rotations in the Majors without question. If Wil Myers can follow up his Rookie of the Year campaign with an even bigger year and Even Longoria stays healthy, then the Rays should just edge out the Red Sox for the division crown. James Loney repeating last year’s performance would take this team to the next level.
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Xander Bogaerts is just one of many story lines Red Sox fans can look forward to instead of fixating on another World Series title. (Boston Herald)

What do you do for an encore after winning the World Series?

This is the question that has been nagging me more and more as the 2014 season rapidly approaches. (I guess it’s already here, but do games in a British penal colony really count? I say no.) Unless the Boston Red Sox pull a 10-year anniversary deja vu of the magical 2004 season, last season’s run to the 2013 World Series title will be hard to top. It’s been almost a decade and a half since the last time a team was able to repeat (the Yankees from ’98-’00, he said begrudgingly), and only one other team has managed to accomplish that feat since 1979 (the Blue Jays, ’92-’93).

So in the interest of managing expectations and not setting myself up for disappointment, here are a few things other than a second straight World Series trophy that I’m looking forward to this season:

Continue reading Managing Expectations: A Red Sox Fan’s Guide to Overcoming the World Series Hangover »

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David Price leads a formidable Rays pitching staff (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Our position by position ranking of the AL East is coming to a close and this installment focuses on the pitching staffs of the AL East. As the old adage goes, pitching wins championships, so which AL East team has the edge?

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Ranking the AL East: DH/Bench

March 30, 2014 at 9:38am in Boston, Opinion, Red Sox
Ortiz helps the Red Sox lead the rankings for DH and bench (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The season is just a day away and there are a few rankings left to discuss. After covering outfielders, this post focuses on the DHs and benches on all the teams in the AL East. While it may seem strange to put the DH and bench together, there are few teams outside of the Red Sox that employ a full-time DH and rather cycle many players through. As a result, pairing the DH and bench is the best way to encapsulate the strengths and weaknesses of each team. So without further ado, here are the rankings:

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Only 2 out of 44 ESPN experts predicted the Boston Red Sox would hoist the World Series trophy again in 2014. (Photo courtesy of ESPN/Getty Images)

The 2014 MLB season is set to begin in earnest on Sunday night with its stateside Opening Day. However, that is just the preview of a full Monday slate that includes five nationally televised season openers on ESPN.

Accordingly, ESPN has published its experts’ predictions for the upcoming MLB season in preparation for what should be a national holiday (if Ozzie Smith and Budweiser say it, it must be true). Among the individual awards, Xander Bogaerts (41 votes) edged out Masahiro Tanaka (37) and Jose Abreu (28) in the voting to predict the 2014 American League Rookie of the Year.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Red Sox as a team received only two votes among 44 experts to defend their 2013 World Series title. Does that seem right to you?

Continue reading ESPN Expert Predictions: Bogaerts to Win ROY, Red Sox Receive Just 2 Votes to Defend World Series »

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Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino will have an MRI on his hamstring to determine whether he'll need his helmet to start the season or not. (Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe)

Don’t unpack in Pawtucket quite yet, Jackie Bradley Jr. You may be on your way back to Boston before you know it.

On Saturday, in the final game of spring training for the Boston Red Sox, right fielder Shane Victorino tweaked his hamstring rounding first base against the Minnesota Twins. The likely #2 hitter for the Red Sox will receive an MRI in Boston before Opening Day in Baltimore.

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Now that DeSean Jackson has been released by the Eagles, should the Patriots go after him or have a quiet rest of the offseason? (Photo courtesy of Yahoo)

Amid reports of his connections to gangs and other off-field and locker room issues, Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson has been released by the Philadelphia Eagles.

The move comes after weeks of rumors and speculation, including a strangely playful photo from Jackson’s Twitter account of coach Chip Kelly (presumably to prove their wondrous relationship), a series of tweets from Jackson insinuating he’d like to play with his old pal Michael Vick on the New York Jets, and the refusal of Philly brass to back or commit to Jackson in any way.

Among the myriad stories swirling about Jackson’s impending end with the Eagles either by trade or release, the New England Patriots were listed as a potential destination. Now that Jackson is officially a free agent, should Bill Belichick and company make a Revis-esque run at the talented but troubled wide receiver?

Continue reading Eagles Release WR DeSean Jackson; Should Patriots Sign Him? »

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