Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part II
posted at 3/20/2014 8:53 AM EDT
But remember last year we probably snuck up on a lot of teams. This year everyone will be looking to knock off the Champs. The team can be better, there are areas we probably will be improved, bullpen / 3B / even SS could be better. more than likely we take a step back in CF / DH [not sure Papi can continue the run he had last yr- possible but I wouldn't put my $ on it]. The fact that we have a lot of young kids ready to make the jump also makes us a better team. But 162 is a grind and when every team is trying to measure its self vs. RS, hopefully this team is up to the task mentally, more so than the talent. It will be much more difficult this year!
I'm not sure we won a single game, because a team took us lightly, or we "snuck up" on them, but you are right, it is not going to be easier this year, in fact, the AL east got tougher.
There are a lot of areas where the Sox can step up their game to offset the loss of Ellsbury, Drew, Salty and others. It will take a few of them to happen to give us a solid chance at another ring, but to me, there are so many of them that expecting 2 or 3 to happen is not a big "if". Of course, a major injury here and there could set us way back, but I feel more secure about our health this year than in recent years.
To me, if we have normal injury losses, we should only need 2-3 of these to happen to be close to favorites to win it all (which guarantees nothing, I might add):
1) Buccholz is healthy all year.
2) Napoli hits like 2011 or 2008.
3) Pedey hits like 2010 or 2011.
4) Bogey wins ROY.
5) Middy plays like early 2012.
6) Doubront steps it up a notch or two.
7) Peavy pitches like he has in the recent past (2011).
8) Mujica, Badenhop, a healthy Miller and our young pitchers help make our bullpen fantastic.
9) Gomes hits lefties like he did from 2009-2012.
10) Victorino plays more and plays closer to 100% when he does.
11) Sizemore and JBJ surprise us by having a combined OPS higher than Ellsbury's .771 in 2013.