For the first time since World War II, the Boston Red Sox have started the season 0-6. This comes to a shock given the hundreds of millions the club spent in the off season to an already formidable roster.
Need help at the corner? Sign free agent Adrian Gonzalez formerly of San Diego. Just entering his prime, Gonzalez’ swing is tailor made for the dimensions of Fenway. Gonzo posted terrific numbers in cavernous PETCO Park and has BoSox fans salivating at the possibilities in bean town. Short on speed and athleticism? Sign former Tampa Bay All-Star Carl Crawford. Crawford, arguably the most athletic player in the majors, seems a perfect fit in left field with the green monster to his back.
So what’s all the fuss? The talk shows are rampant with discussion as Boston stumbles out of the gate. Is it too much to overcome is the question I keep hearing. Are you kidding me? 156 games and six months of baseball remain. Baltimore leads the AL East and there start couldn’t have been better. Right behind are the Yankees, who are conveniently at Fenway for a three game series this weekend.
Bottom line, the Red Sox will be fine. I will go out on a limb and say they will win the American League pennant. Not just the AL East, they will be in the World Series! Boston is adjusting to the new superstar additions and the cold start could be attributed in part to the miserable weather during the Cleveland series. In the three game season opening series, they ran head first into a white hot Texas offense, arguably the best in baseball. Jacoby Ellsbury, who endured an injury plagued 2010 campaign is working his way back into shape. A healthy Ellsbury, along with second baseman Dustin Pedroia and Crawford will create nightmares for opposing managers on the base paths.
There is plenty more to fuel the Boston offense. While they collectively slumped in week one, their lineup is so stocked with hitters, don’t expect many slumps of this nature. With the addition of Gonzalez, Kevin Youkalis, the heart and soul of the Red Sox, slides over to third base. Need more left handed power for the short porch at Yankee Stadium and down the line in Fenway? How about a rejuventated David Ortiz at DH and a healthy JD Drew in right field.
Boston did make a substantial change replacing team captain Jason Varitek behind the plate with Jarrod Saltamaccchia. Varitek is still with the team, but this change was necessary and could be contributing to the slow start. Saltamacchia was a huge prospect with Atlanta, and was the key to the Braves rental of Mark Texeira, traded over from Texas several years ago.
Boston has a slump buster in the rotation in Jon Lester. He was masterful in Thursday’s loss at Cleveland and it most cases will have plenty of offensive support. Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka round out the top of a rotation that can carry Boston deep into the post season. Jonathan Papelbon leads the bullpen, with Bobby Jenks now on board for insurance. Daniel Bard is a prototype setup reliever possessing 100 mph heat.
Red Sox nation should breath a collective sigh of relief, unless of course they get swept by the Yankees. Then, the meltdown will truly begin.