2010 Boston Red Sox Baseball Preview
Last season, the Boston Red Sox (95- 67) were good enough to win the wild card but were unable to advance in the playoffs. This year could be different as an upgrade in the pitching staff could make a huge difference for this club.
The starting rotation has been made better with the addition of former Angel fastballer John Lackey (11-8, 3.83 ERA, 139 SO). Lackey is a quality, veteran ace. He joins power pitcher Josh Beckett (17- 6, 3.86 ERA, 199 SO), who also offers a very tight curve, and lefty, strikeout ace Jon Lester (15- 8, 3.41 ERA, 225 SO). Together these three are a potent one, two, three punch. Then there’s knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (11-5, 4.58 ERA, 72 SO), who continues to perform well despite advancing age. The major concern is Daisuke Matsuzaka (4- 6, 5.76 ERA, 54 SO), who suffered from injuries and inconsistency last season. Clay Bucholz (7- 4, 4.21 ERA, 68 SO), with his array of pitches, could start if he can find consistency.
The bullpen is led by John Papelbon (1-1, 1.85 ERA, 38 SV, 76 SO), one of the best save artists in the game . He’s backed up by set up men Daniel Bard and Hideki Okajima. The addition of Boof Bonser from Minnesota and continued contributions of Manny Delcarmen make this a solid pen.
Jacoby Ellsbury (.301 BA, 8 HR, 60 RBI), who replaces Jason Bay in left, has fine speed. Last season he swiped 70 bases. There are simply some fine batters on the Red Sox, including the amazingly efficient Dustin Pedroia (.296 BA, 15 RBI, 72 RBI) and first baseman Kevin Youkilis (.305 BA, 27 HR, 94 RBI). Despite hitting 28 homeruns and 99 homers, David Ortiz struggled mightily at the plate, hitting just .238. If he can deliver power a tad more consistently that will make him much more dangerous.
Right fielder J.D. Drew (.279 BA, 24 HR, 68 RBI) is a selective hitter with a compact swing who runs the bases well. He is a solid fielder. From Milwaukee, center fielder Mike Cameron may be losing a step or two but he does know how to play all that acreage in center. Look for Victor Martinez (.303 BA, 23 HR, 108 RBI), who came over midseason from Cleveland last year, to be the starting catcher. He is not the best backstop, showing a weak arm and inconsistent abilities behind the plate, but he’s a switch hitter who can deliver.
Manager Terry Francona does a fine job with players and in game situations and GM Theo Epstein is all about making this club champions once again. Epstein moved a lot of minor league players to bring in a boatload of vets. He’ll want to stabilize the farm this year.
The Red Sox have depth and talent in pitching, a load of hitters and good play in the field. Ortiz is a concern and the loss of Jason Bay can be problematic. If it weren’t for the Yankees, they’d dominate the division. But the Yanks are there and the Sox will have to vie for the wild card.
For more info on the Red Sox check out the MLB official page for Boston baseball.