Postseason Previews: Boston Red Sox

Posted: September 30, 2013 in Uncategorized


2013 Record: 97-65

From worst to first, the 2013 Boston Red Sox have been a storybook tale. Offensively, this team is drastically different from a year ago. Newcomers Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes, and Shane Victorino have provided enough offensive punch to supplement a strong pitching staff whilst tossing a changeup into the clubs previously stiff clubhouse atmosphere. Meanwhile, longtime organizational superstars like David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury added stability to an overhauled roster. Boston was among the league leaders in runs scored at 853. Napoli, Drew, and Victorino all bring playoff experience to a roster fueled by their past postseason failures

Rotation: Boston’s starting pitching was the biggest question mark surrounding the team heading into this season. Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and John Lackey were all coming off disappointing seasons (the latter two missing most of 2012 with injury). General Manager Ben Cherington added depth last winter by acquiring veteran Ryan Dempster via free agency. The former Cub and Marlin is likely to pitch out of the bullpen this October. He will be replaced in the rotation by midseason acquisition Jake Peavy. The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner has postseason experience and should be a quality fourth starter come playoff time. As for Lester and Buchholz, their two best starters, the time is now to prove that they can headline a championship caliber rotation.

While the rotation was the biggest question mark surrounding the team last spring; the bullpen has devolved as we creep towards October. Yes, closer Koji Uehara has been stellar in that role. But, it’s the middle relief that is the main cause for concern. Youngsters Brandon Workman and Junichi Tazawa have each failed in the setup role this year. Dempster, a former closer over five years ago, is likely to get an opportunity to fit that eighth inning role in the playoffs. Boston does not have the starters to go seven or eight innings every time out. So, it will be critical for them to find someone who can reliably pitch between their starters and their closer.

John Farrell, who managed Toronto in 2011-2012, will get his first taste of the postseason as a skipper. There’s no doubt that Farrell is talented. After all, he did orchestrate the dramatic turn of fortune for Boston this season. But, his lack of postseason experience and his propensity to overwork the bullpen could come back to haunt the Red Sox.

Lose in ALCS, 4-2

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