Boston Red Sox 2008
By jason keen
Updated: December 3, 2008
The Boston Redsox may have been the defending World Series Champions in ‘07, but chances are they will finish in the middle of the 86 wins they had in ‘06 and the 96 wins this past season. And, here is why:
Starting Pitching –With Curt Schilling almost indefinitely missing a strong part of the season, regardless if he has surgery, the Red Sox top 5 are not strong. Josh Beckett needs no mention and is a proven ace. Although Dice-K ranked 6th in the AL in strikeouts with 201 he also had some control issues finishing 6th in the AL in BB with 80. Although he made at least three quality starts in every month with the exception of Sept., the most important month in the majors, when he finished with one, he also had 9 games in which he gave up three walks, 4 games in which he gave up 4 walks, 3 games in which he gave up 5 walks, and one game in which he gave up 6 walks. His strikeouts deteriorated in the second half of the season when he had only four games with at least 8 strikeouts as compared to the 8 games he had in the first half. Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester have a combined 31 career starts. And, Tim Wakefield is hit or miss. You throw in the fact that there are four righties and only one lefty on the team even when Schilling is ready to play and you have two pair; ?’s over youngster’s with an ace high. Is that hand good enough to go all the way, I think not.
Starting Positions – Although the Sox do not have to worry about David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, nor Manny Ramirez at the plate they should be keeping a close eye on a few players. Cocoa Crisp and Julio Lugo both need to improve their .264/.237 batting average as well as their base on balls 50/48 so the team can manufacture a few more runs this year. Jason Veritek can call a game with the best of them, but he is one year older and his defensive abilities have been deteriorating since the start of the ’04 season. In the past four years, Veritek has thrown out an average of 23.5% of all base stealers. The 112 strikeouts he as average over the last five years is almost as unimpressive as his career .267 batting average. And speaking of one year older, Mike Lowell who had never previously topped a .300 batting average, a .375 on base percentage, 105 runs batted in nor 175 hits, did so on a contract year. His numbers will not be nearly as high in 3 of those 4 same categories. Last but not least, I am almost certain the Red Sox did not pay J.D. Drew north of $14mm to hit only 11 home runs and drive in only 64 runners in 2007. He better step of his game in ’08 or expect to be sitting the bench behind fan favorite Jacoby Ellsbury.