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Heading into the 2013 season, the Red Sox are determined to turn things around and get back on top of a competitive American League East division. Going in with a fresh start, I’m curious of what will be different this season than last season. Will clubhouse issues still exist? Will the starting pitching improve? Did the Red Sox do enough to actually make a playoff run?
Even though several questions are up in the air, it is important to be optimistic about the Red Sox because it was acknowledged that once the 2012 season ended, changes had to be made. But, according to Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, the books are already closed on the Red Sox on making any recovery.
When reading Shaughnessy’s article, I was amazed at how quickly he dismissed the Red Sox when the season hadn’t even started.
For example, Shaughnessy said, “But here’s the reality, people: The 2013 Red Sox might be really bad. Worse, they might be really boring.”
How can you say the Red Sox will possibly be really bad? It is unfair to say just because of last season, that the Sox could really bad this year. Several problems existed last season with issues off the field affecting play on the field. Firing Bobby Valentine and hiring John Farrell I believe will make a huge difference, especially in the clubhouse.
I also believe Shaughnessy says the Sox will be really bad because the Sox did not acquire a big free agent like Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke. The Red Sox were smart to go small after looking at past deals with Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and John Lackey. The market for pitching was weak, and it would have been too risky giving Hamilton nine figures after the off-the-field problems he has had in the past years.
If there is one thing I can agree with Shaughnessy on, it would be that the Red Sox did not do enough to improve the starting pitching. The only offseason addition the Red Sox made to the rotation was Ryan Dempster. Dempster is an overall good addition, but does he make the Red Sox rotation a dangerous one? No way. The biggest problem with the rotation is relying too much on Jon Lester. Lester is the ace of the Red Sox, which is scary considering he finished last season with a 9-14 record and an ERA over 4.00. When I think of ace, I think of Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw and others. There are teams that have succeeded without an ace, but the Sox are in such a tough division and may need a better number one starter.
The Oakland Athletics 2012 season is a perfect example of why Shaughnessy is wrong. When the 2012 season started, the Athletics looked like a team who would battle the Seattle Mariners to avoid last place. It looked like a horse race between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to win the division. The Athletics won the division and lost to the Detroit Tigers in the divisional round. No one expected Josh Reddick to make a huge impact (and he did), but also the Oakland starting rotation did a terrific job.
Shaughnessy’s overall article is wrong because he is rushing to conclusion too fast. On paper, the Red Sox look over matched by other teams, but that was similar to how the Athletics were perceived before last season. After the A’s surprisingly successful 2012 season, anything could happen.