Now, the Red Sox might win 90 games this year, as suggested by Baseball Prospectus, a total that might be enough to reach the playoffs in a couple of other divisions in baseball. But the whizzes at BP also place the Sox chances of making the playoffs at about 6 percent, and it's been dropping quickly. The Yankees and the Rays are just too good this year. David Price looks like a Cy Young winner, and if BJ Upton or Carlos Pena heat up at the end of the season, the Rays are going to be fearsome. The great Carl Crawford, in a contract year, wants a ring -- and then he wants to get paid, baby.
Alex Speier of WEEI has written about the $20 million in salary and the roughly 1000 player/games lost to injuries to the Red Sox this year. The gap right there would cost you about 10 games. Say what you will about losing Cameron, Martinez, Buchholz, Beckett, and Varitek here and there, it's the loss of Pedroia and Youkilis -- All-Star caliber players as well as past and likely future MVPs -- that has hurt the most. Statistics aside, as well, both Petie and Youk are home-grown guys who personify the Red Sox Way -- be a strong and steady all around, hard-nosed player who grinds it out every at bat. But I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said before.
|2011 Closer: Daniel Bard|
Here's my lineup card, so to speak, for 2011:
C - Saltalamacchia
1B - Youkilis
2B - Pedroia
SS - Scutaro
3B - Beltre
LF - Ellsbury
CF - Kalish
RF - Drew
Starting Rotation: Lester, Buchholz, Beckett, Lackey, Matsusaka
Closer: Daniel Bard
Half the team is made up of products of the Red Sox player development. If it works out that way, I think that's always an encouraging sign. As for the rest of the season, I'm putting my money on the Rays.