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Spring Training Thoughts


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#1 BeantownIdaho

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:54 AM

We are only a few games in but any thoughts?

*Lackey looks in much better shape - I don't put too much into his walk, single, HBP in his first three batters faced.

*RDLR looked great in 2 innings

*Some guys look to be working hard to earn a spot - Ciriaco is one that stands out to me



#2 sancap14

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:11 PM

I think its still a little too early to make any definitive statement on how the team looks after a couple of spring training games. And its been said a million times before on this board that players can have terrible springs and then go on to have great seasons. I was at the game on Saturday and thought Lackey looked good but still pitched like the same ole guy. Salty also looked terrible on defense. I really hope they let Ross play a bunch this year.



#3 BeantownIdaho

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:28 PM

Of course it's too early to make any definitive statements, but there can still be plenty of thoughts and observations. I liked what Wright did today and the article on bostonredsox.com



#4 alwyn96

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:19 PM

I do like that Lackey looks different. Anything that differentiates him from his 2011 form is probably welcome. It doesn't mean he'll necessarily pitch better, but he looks slightly less disgusting, which should make for a better viewing experience. 

 

It's always cool seeing the young guys and imagining what they could be. Seeing Webster hit 99 was pretty cool - I didn't realize he had that kind of velocity. 



#5 Hugh G Rection

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:53 PM

Looking over Lackey's career stats and I think it's more likely than not that he returns to being a moderately valuable starter for this team. Before 2010 he was the definition of consistant, I wonder if that is when he started having elbow discomfort and it progressively got worse. Believe it or not this team will look a whole lot better if Lackey is earning at least a semblance of his contract.  These last couple years, he has been a drag on this team financially and mentally, even when he was pitching he was a negative value. I belive that you'll get a 2011 year or better from him as long as he remainse healthy and doesn't have any set-backs.  He was too good of a pitcher for too long not to revert to the mean somewhat, not to mention he's still young enough to put together a good couple years for this team. His teamates love him and that has to say something, at the very least he seems to be a hard worker.

 

As for Spring Training , I think the story so far is the youngsters..... Rubby, Webster, JBJ, Wilson and even Britton have all been impressive and Iglesias looks poised to make us think twice about shifting him to the SS backburner.



#6 alwyn96

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 03:00 PM

Looking over Lackey's career stats and I think it's more likely than not that he returns to being a moderately valuable starter for this team. Before 2010 he was the definition of consistant, I wonder if that is when he started having elbow discomfort and it progressively got worse. Believe it or not this team will look a whole lot better if Lackey is earning at least a semblance of his contract.  These last couple years, he has been a drag on this team financially and mentally, even when he was pitching he was a negative value. I belive that you'll get a 2011 year or better from him as long as he remainse healthy and doesn't have any set-backs.  He was too good of a pitcher for too long not to revert to the mean somewhat, not to mention he's still young enough to put together a good couple years for this team. His teamates love him and that has to say something, at the very least he seems to be a hard worker.

 

As for Spring Training , I think the story so far is the youngsters..... Rubby, Webster, JBJ, Wilson and even Britton have all been impressive and Iglesias looks poised to make us think twice about shifting him to the SS backburner.

 

Yeah, I'm not really expecting much from the Red Sox this season, so I'll probably be spending a good chunk of my baseball obsessing time focused on the younger guys in the minors this year. 



#7 FinanceAdvice

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:58 AM

Yeah, I'm not really expecting much from the Red Sox this season, so I'll probably be spending a good chunk of my baseball obsessing time focused on the younger guys in the minors this year. 

Alwyn96, dont give up on the team so early.  While many good things need to fall into place, (everyone reasonably healthy, good SR, etc.), I believe this team can win 90 games and make the playoffs.  I think Lester and Buchholz can have comeback years.  Who knows.   Maybe Dempster can turn into our version of Madison Bumgarner.  Lackey I agree I dont expect much but we have Rubby waiting in the wings if Lackey falters.  I also like Wright as a type of knuckler like RA Dickey, who can come up to start.

 

Maybe I place too much on team chemistry but it appears that Cherington has constructed a team that will blend well together.  New manager, new faces of Napoli, Gomes, Victorino can put up maybe 5+ runs per game and with low to mid eras of 3 for Lester, Buchholz and maybe even Dempster (he did have some strong outings in TX last year) could be just what the doctor ordered.  At any rate, I'm not a fair weathered fan and will stand by my predictions of 90 wins.



#8 Frank, Fenway

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:00 AM

Yeah, I'm not really expecting much from the Red Sox this season, so I'll probably be spending a good chunk of my baseball obsessing time focused on the younger guys in the minors this year. 

 

And on day negative 30, they threw in the towel 



#9 Stanley Steamer

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:41 AM

Maybe Dempster can turn into our version of Madison Bumgarner.


I'm guessing you mean Ryan Vogelsong, and not the 23 yr old with ace potential.

#10 alwyn96

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:16 PM

And on day negative 30, they threw in the towel 

 

Hey, for the record, barring any huge signings, I gave up on this year's team the day they made the Punto trade. I'm happy to be pleasantly surprised! 

 

I think I'm actually being pretty optimistic in predicting 85-87 wins. Plenty of reputable projection systems have them worse. The general feeling in most winter threads here has been that the Red Sox will be lousy this year, but it seems the Spring arouses stirrings in the more hopeful parts of our nature. Or it's just different, more optimistic people commenting. Maybe that.



#11 alwyn96

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:37 PM

Alwyn96, dont give up on the team so early.  While many good things need to fall into place, (everyone reasonably healthy, good SR, etc.), I believe this team can win 90 games and make the playoffs.  I think Lester and Buchholz can have comeback years.  Who knows.   Maybe Dempster can turn into our version of Madison Bumgarner.  Lackey I agree I dont expect much but we have Rubby waiting in the wings if Lackey falters.  I also like Wright as a type of knuckler like RA Dickey, who can come up to start.

 

Maybe I place too much on team chemistry but it appears that Cherington has constructed a team that will blend well together.  New manager, new faces of Napoli, Gomes, Victorino can put up maybe 5+ runs per game and with low to mid eras of 3 for Lester, Buchholz and maybe even Dempster (he did have some strong outings in TX last year) could be just what the doctor ordered.  At any rate, I'm not a fair weathered fan and will stand by my predictions of 90 wins.

 

I'm not discounting that all those things are possible, I just don't think they'll all happen (and they will probably all need to happen for the Red Sox to get to 90 wins). There's certainly a non-zero chance that the Red Sox make the playoffs, but I don't think it's a very strong chance. The team as currently composed just does not project to make the playoffs...and that's ok! I don't subscribe to the weird worldview that a season is just about the playoffs and it's "wasted" or "pointless" if the Red Sox don't make it. Baseball is about more than just winning. Some people only like to win, and that's fine, but I just like the game. Baseball is fun! I do like winning (or maybe not losing) a lot though, and I like dreaming about a future where the Red Sox are an unbeatable juggernaut, but the reality part of my brain tells me that the Red Sox just don't project to be as good this year and I'll get more overall baseball joy in tracking the kids.

 

Also, I think this is the most interesting crop of prospects the Red Sox have had for several years, so my interest in them is as much a function of them being awesome as it is the Red Sox not looking as good going into the season this year as they have in years past.  


Edited by alwyn96, 13 March 2013 - 01:38 PM.


#12 ATB25

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 08:14 PM

A little shameless self promotion but here is a brief write up heading into the season, done about half way through the spring

http://throughthefen...-preview/30168/



#13 sancap14

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 06:37 PM

Man this while board is dead. Peace out SOSH.



#14 alwyn96

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 10:51 PM

Man this while board is dead. Peace out SOSH.

 

Not much drama tp talk about this Spring. Kind of a welcome change from last year, I'd say. It's time for some damn games to overreact to!



#15 Borg

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 09:04 AM

The JBJ debate is raging on the "real" board and since I still only have visitor plus privileges on SOSH, I shall offer an opinion here that bypasses sound baseball management discussion (demoting JBJ is the prudent decision). The signals are blaring. JBJ is the story. JBJ may be the only reason New Englanders will pay attention to this team. Ticket sales have plunged, concessions are being discounted, starting times have adjusted....ownership is worried that the product will not draw. Factor in the unispired schedule of home games in April, the JBJ coming out party may be seen as the best/only means to hook disinterested fans. Look how Farrell is acting. High praise on a daily basis (unBelichickian). His build up alone signals that JBJ is coming. No soft sell, no managing of expectations like in regimes past. I just don't see how this team squashes the buzz around this kid by sending him down. They can't....not now, not yet. After all, it's entertainment....just ask Werner

I will be interested to see how Cherington handles this. The cold calculating prudent choice back to the minor leagues...or....riding the JBJ momentum right into Yankee stadium. If JBJ is sent back to the minors, we will have confirmation that Cherington's pulse never deliniates from 45 beats per minute. If robotic Cherington wins out, at least talk radio will be set for the spring.



#16 keyalyn

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:33 AM

Demoting him is the smarter business decision, logical discussion, and the smarter baseball decision in general. The discussion is 9 games in 2012 versus 162 games in 2019. Demote him for two weeks, and call him up after. You have just made sure he is protected in 2019. I'd rather make sure he is protected for his age 29 season than have him on the roster for the first two weeks of his age 23 season. That's not a management decision, that is a decision for the future that could save the team millions of dollars. Millions of dollars and an extra year of protection for 9 games at the start of 2013. This is a no brainer.



#17 Hugh G Rection

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:00 AM

I keep going back and forth on whether JBJ should be in Boston to start the year or not. Right now I feel that he has done everything to prove that he is ready. With Ortiz injured this team needs to get some offense somewhere, you also have to add the fact that Iglesias looks to be the opening day SS which will further downgrade the offense. This team can afford to lock him up long term if 2019 is the only question. A lot can happen between now and 2019 (an injury, a trade that couldn't be turned down, or JBJ hitting a skid that requires him to be sent back down eventually this season).

 

The bigger question to me would be, if you were going to keep JBJ up why wouldn't you have him in RF in fenway or even CF. If the idea is to maximise the talent on the roster, put the weakest arm in LF. Ellsbury is probably gone and he might even play better with something to prove. Why should the team care if he pouts because he gets moved to LF (and possibly out of the leadoff spot).

 

In fact if JBJ starts the season as a regular why not have this line-up... against RHP

 

1.JBJ

2. Pedroia

3. Ellsbury

4. Napoli

5. Middlebrooks

6. Carp

7. Victorino

8. Salty

9. Iglesias



#18 alwyn96

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 12:08 PM

Demoting him is the smarter business decision, logical discussion, and the smarter baseball decision in general. The discussion is 9 games in 2012 versus 162 games in 2019. Demote him for two weeks, and call him up after. You have just made sure he is protected in 2019. I'd rather make sure he is protected for his age 29 season than have him on the roster for the first two weeks of his age 23 season. That's not a management decision, that is a decision for the future that could save the team millions of dollars. Millions of dollars and an extra year of protection for 9 games at the start of 2013. This is a no brainer.

 

Even setting aside that it's the smarter business decision, it's a correct baseball decision, too. Bradley has been great and that is wonderful, but there's a reason that 'spring training batting champion' isn't a thing. SPRING TRAINING DOESN'T MATTER. Players often aren't even trying to win. Hell, in some of the games they'll let a guy leadoff every inning so he can get some extra at-bats in. They'll play a 1B at SS. Some pitchers will just throw curveballs, regardless of the count or situation, just to work on that pitch. They aren't reading scouting reports on hitters, they're not concerned with results, they're trying to repeat their rusty mechanics - often vets are barely even trying at all. A-ballers are playing against MLB vets. It's craziness! It's the least useful statistical sample of playing time for predicting a player's season possible. If you go by ST stats, Darnell McDonald (447/512/816) was poised to be the breakout superstar for the Red Sox last year. I think we know how that turned out. 

 

Jackie Bradley is not going to sell out April Red Sox games. A winning Red Sox team will. 


Edited by alwyn96, 26 March 2013 - 12:08 PM.


#19 koufax37

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 02:36 PM

As we come out of spring training, here are some of my thoughts:

 

1) I think the rotation will outperform current expectations.  Things entered a downward trend after Farrell's departure, and that went crazy under Bobby V.  I think conventional wisdom doesn't account for the true talents of our returning 4 (Dempster excluded), and the ability of Farrell to get more out of them.  I still fear that Salty is a little bit of an anti-Tek in terms of game calling, but hope the coaching staff and even Tek himself can improve this. Dempster/Lackey will be at an advantage as confident veterans calling their own games, Lester will likely get Ross, so my concerns would be focused on Clay and Felix suffering slightly, and hope coaching can keep this from being a drag on performance.

 

2) I think our bullpen is obviously a big strength compared to last year when Bailey was out, Bard was in the rotation, Tazawa in the minors, and Uehara and Hanrahan on other teams.  I think getting Aceves back to his flexible role gives him a chance to maximize his value while reducing his destabilizing nature.

 

3) On the subject of Bard, I am still greatly disappointed that he is the one who pays the biggest price for the Bobby V regime.  I think Farrell will get him going back towards his relief ace role little by little, hopefully without a shattered psyche.  But I think he is the single greatest failure of the 2012 season, and obviously that ship has already sailed and he will never be converted to a starter again.  I feel strongly that Joba, Champan, and Bard should be trying to dream of being Clemens, Randy, and Verlander.  If Bard had waited one year longer for the conversion or Farrell had come one year earlier, I am confident that the transition would have been a success, and we really miss out on this.

 

4) Bradley needs to start in Pawtucket for arbitration clock rules.  His 10 game Wins-Above-Nava (Nava better than replacement) is very small, and the long term financial disadvantage is significant.  If it was good enough for Longoria/Trout/Harper, I think that Bradley can continue his tear in triple-A.  It is exciting to have him in the near term pipeline, but opening day doesn't make sense.

I do think one piece being missed in the equations however wouldn't be "losing a whole year" of him, because by moving up his arb years and free agency, chances are you are paying less in each arb year catching them in lower producing parts of his upswing to his peak.  But I don't know if you would reasonably expect his actual free agent value to be lower by him hitting the market one year earlier since he probably is pretty much at peak in either case.

 

5) I think Iglesias outhits expectations, but not enough to steal the position from Drew.  It will be fun to watch his glove paired with a weak bat instead of an embarrassing bat for a while, and I think there is about a 25% chance that he can grow enough to steal the position later in the season if Drew has an injury or slump and keep his career window open between the Drew signing and Xander being MLB ready.

 

6) I am very worried by the Ortiz injury and the implications on the middle of our lineup.  While I am bullish on Napoli, I don't expect Ellsbury to return to his level from two years ago, and I see us likely to score fewer runs than expected.  There is room for a few things to go right and be fine, but while I think we will score more runs than last year, we are more likely to be under 800 than over (after eclipsing that mark every year from 2002 to 2012).

 

7) When all of that dust settles, our significant run prevention improvement combined with some run scoring improvement has us in the 84-89 win range and a better team than most are expecting, and very much in the two wild card race.

 

I can't wait for opening day and our first nine inning small sample size to overreact and adjust our expectations wildly up and down!



#20 koufax37

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:01 PM

Just checking back in on my seven points in March:

 

1) I am glad I have both Lester and Buchholz on my fantasy team

 

2) Bullpen has been awesome even without Hanrahan.  With Bard coming back it should get better, although we alo know the Aceves story is playing out worse than we would have hoped.

 

3) I still wish they sent Bard to Portland to become a starter, but I'm happy to have a potentially effective reliever back.

 

4) Bradley's 10 game Wins-Above-Nava proved to not only be not worth a year of control, but also less than zero.  I wish he was able to start the season in Pawtucket because the type of reality check hitting slump he encountered could hurt his confidence and growth, but I still hope we see him back soon somehow.

 

5) Well, it was all on BABIP luck, but Iglesias did outhit his projections.  I think if he can continue to improve through the summer, he could still threaten Drew later in the year if there is any nagging injury or prolonged slump for Stephen at any point.

 

6) I am happy that the Ortiz injury hasn't had the impact I thought it might. Napoli lived up to my hopes, Ellsbury is productive, but not a 30HR guy.  I'm glad things are shaping up, but we are on pace to score 788 runs after our long run above 800, and it is our pitching holding us together.  But with Ortiz back, if Pedey or Ellsbury heats up a little, I think things could start looking up.

 

7) I'm definitely hoping at this point that we continue to roll and exceed my win range.  I don't think we stay on the impossible 110 win pace we are currently on, but I don't think our success has been a mirage, and I think our run prevention has improved even more than I thought it would.



#21 touchstone033

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 09:36 AM

I have to say, I was pretty pessimistic about this team before the season. I do think they're playing above their talent right now -- I don't think this is a 116-win team -- but the head start gives them a big advantage in the fight for a playoff spot.

 

Anyway, here are some "cautious" responses to your points:

 

1) It was pitcher health, not chicken and beer, that led to the '11 collapse. The key, I think, is how well the starters hold up the entire season. I'd expect some bumps ahead, and I'm not sure of the Sox' depth. Can Webster pitch effectively for a long stretch? Can Lackey pitch serious innings?

 

2) I do believe the bullpen is for real. And there is depth there.

 

3) Bard wrote his own cautious response.

 

4) I think Bradley will be fine. Despite not hitting, he showed very good plate discipline and defense. I like his profile very, very much. He'll be valuable even if he hits, say, .250.

 

5) Igleslias is currently hitting .228/.267/.368 in Pawtucket. Both his 2013 MLB and MiLB numbers still suffer from SSS. Jury's still out.

 

6) It's still early to draw conclusions about Ellsbury's power. Miguel Cabrera and Giancarlo Stanton both have 3 HRs. Ells hit 4 HR in April 2011 and only 6 through the end of May 2011. I'm cautiously optimistic about Ortiz. With that injury and at his age, I would hope he gets lots of days off...Napoli's performance is good, but I think Middlebrook's weaknesses are getting exposed at the plate this year -- that is, I'm not assuming he'll rebound much from his poor start. Drew should rebound...I'm always worried about Pedroia's health...Nava will probably come back to Earth and Gomes will likely improve...so I think their present run-scoring is pretty indicative of what they'll do. It may not be an offensive juggernaut, but I like the depth and flexibility of the roster. 

 

7) Yeah, it's a good team and fun to watch right now. Still, they've played pretty easy competition thus far. This upcoming stretch of games, including some road games against pretty good teams -- Yankees, Rays, et al -- should challenge them. I don't expect they'll have the best record by the end of May.



#22 koufax37

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 11:39 AM

Yeah, I agree with you on #6.  I'm not down on Ellsbury, but I think 2011 will be a power outlier, and I think if he is a 15 HR guy with his other contributions he will be plenty valuable.  I think the same goes for Pedroia, and while I know he will heat up and drive some over the monstah, He has enough value without the longball that I'm not going to fret too much.  Middlebrooks showed all the signs last year of becoming a slump prone sophomore.  I think he can evolve his plate discipline and approach, but it isn't a sure thing and could take some time, and 2013 could be tough for him in between when he runs into mistake pitches (which might happen often enough to forget about his struggles).  I am very confident in Drew rebounding, and I think the Nava/Gomes balance will even out as you said., but I am still bullish on Nava holding an unexpected edge.  I also think David Ross should catch more than 50% of our games both for run prevention and run production.



#23 rlsb

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 04:24 AM

To duplicate the record of the first 25 games will enable the Red Sox to have a record of 36-14. The 2007 team started 35-15 and led the division rest of the way.

#24 koufax37

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 03:17 PM

To duplicate the record of the first 25 games will enable the Red Sox to have a record of 36-14. The 2007 team started 35-15 and led the division rest of the way.

 

Yeah, I think that this team can stay hot and be very good, especially if Ortiz stays healthy and we don't have any major injuries.  I don't think it is a 95 win team if you replayed the season a thousand times, but momentum can be a strange thing, and as long as the pitchers keep pitching well (and I think they are pitching well, not just being lucky or on a hot streak), I can see the team winning more games than anybody would have projected, especially with NYY having injury issues, and the Blue Jays suffering Marlin-itis.  In other words, I think our hot start is more likely to extend until October than that of the Pirates or Royals.



#25 alwyn96

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:26 PM

Yeah, I think that this team can stay hot and be very good, especially if Ortiz stays healthy and we don't have any major injuries.  I don't think it is a 95 win team if you replayed the season a thousand times, but momentum can be a strange thing, and as long as the pitchers keep pitching well (and I think they are pitching well, not just being lucky or on a hot streak), I can see the team winning more games than anybody would have projected, especially with NYY having injury issues, and the Blue Jays suffering Marlin-itis.  In other words, I think our hot start is more likely to extend until October than that of the Pirates or Royals.

 

The Yankees have injury issues, but I'll be damned if they aren't still playing well. Infuriatingly, Wells and Hafner have been ridiculous and the Yankees are still only 2 games back, despite 3/4 of their very expensive infield being injured. Baltimore isn't going away either. I think the Red Sox are better than the Royals and Pirates, but it's going to be a real fight for the division.



#26 koufax37

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 12:02 PM

The Yankees have injury issues, but I'll be damned if they aren't still playing well. Infuriatingly, Wells and Hafner have been ridiculous and the Yankees are still only 2 games back, despite 3/4 of their very expensive infield being injured. Baltimore isn't going away either. I think the Red Sox are better than the Royals and Pirates, but it's going to be a real fight for the division.

 

I absolutely agree, and the division is far from over, but I do think we are unlikely to fade and have April be a lucky mirage.

 

The Orioles are for real, but I think we all agree they got a lot of luck last year (Buck seems to make some luck too though), and they have given up a lot of runs so far this year.

 

The thing about the Yankees (who will certainly hang around, and likely make the playoffs) is that despite the injury reinforcements that are coming back, Wells and Hafner have been so far outperforming their abilities, and Granderson, Jeter, Teixiera, and ARod have missed so much time (unless they are at the David Ortiz school of no spring training) and are getting up there in age overall with declining performance, that I don't know how much of a run scoring boost they get as those pieces come back.  They are on a 750 run pace right now, and I think that will come up, but not as much as some may think.  And in terms of run prevention, their rotation has been performing about as expected, with Kuroda a candidate to regress, and Nova likely to improve or be replaced.



#27 rlsb

  • 103 posts

Posted 04 May 2013 - 10:32 AM

These next two games are going to be a fair glimpse of their bounce back capabilities. L&L I trust will respond.

#28 rlsb

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 10:10 AM

I still believe the Red Sox are more the 19-8 team of April 2013 than the 19-49 team of August-September 2012 and May 2013.  The pitching appears more sound and there are no AAAA batters in the lineup.  I would have liked to have seen No. 11 vs. Texas and I hope to see a repeat of what the 2012 team did in Minneapolis.


Edited by rlsb, 12 May 2013 - 10:13 AM.





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