I hate predictions especially when it comes to baseball.
In a season that's 162 games anything can happen like starting off 2-10 then playing the best for 3 plus months only to have the biggest September collapse in the history of the game after being deemed by most "the best team ever" (including possibly me).
Most "experts" have the Red Sox finishing third in the AL East behind the Yankees and the Rays and if you're looking at the teams right now it's tough to disagree as Boston has a lot of issues as of April 5th:
- A new manager in Bobby Valentine. How will they respond to his methods now that the regular season is here?
- Losing Papelbon in the offseason to free agency then losing Andrew Bailey to injury. Will Alfredo Aceves and this "closer by committee" method work?
- A starting rotation filled with 2 guys in Lester and Beckett that should pitch like aces (emphasis on should), a guy in Buchholz who's got the stuff but has been hampered by injury and Daniel Bard who had success in the bullpen but has never started in the major leagues once let alone for a full season. Though he can't be as bad as Lackey who had the worst single season numbers of any pitcher…ever.
- A brand new bullpen of guys who haven't been tested in the AL East though this a issue throughout the league.
- New position players in right field, left field (to start), shortstop and catcher.
I believe offensively this team will be fine. The 1 through 6 is one of the best in the AL just behind the Yankees and just ahead of the Angels. The 7-8-9 is definitely weaker but find me a team where that's not the case.
If you look at the issues I listed, the success or demise of this team hinges again on it's pitching. This is not original it's just the truth.
Lastly, many fans and analysts are still bringing up the end of last season and the "chicken and beer" story. These are great "talking points" I suppose but I'm not sure how much they have to do with this team. Was if awful last season as a fan? Was it embarrassing and disappointing to watch? Should we still be upset with that team? Yes to all of the above. But to carry that over to this season with this team with a new manager and new players I think is a mistake. Do the Red Sox have question marks to start? Plenty of them but who doesn't. This team still has a ton of talent and best of all a clean slate with a record of 0-0.
Call me crazy but I'm excited for today. Are you?
Follow Nick Giuliano at twitter.com/nickgradioshow for daily Red Sox updates.