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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Will 2012 be Soxcessful?

Red+Sox+at+Orioles+July+20%2C+2011%2C+courtesy+of+Keith+Allison+on+Flickr%0A

Red Sox at Orioles July 20, 2011, courtesy of Keith Allison on Flickr

A lot has changed since last September’s historic collapse, and we are here to bring you up to date as the new season approaches. The changes for the Sox started at the top, with the departure of longtime manager and general manager tandem Terry Francona and Theo Epstein. They are out, and a new duo of Bobby Valentine and Ben Cherington is in.

 

Also gone is JD Drew in right, and long time veterans Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, who both retired. In is a new pitching coach in Bob McClure, who replaces Curt Young, who fled for the shores of Oakland in the offseason. At shortstop, it is looking more and more like Mike Aviles will be taking the position on opening day in place of last year’s starter Marco Scutaro. Scutaro was traded to Colorado.

 

It is unclear who will be the regular right fielder replacing Drew, but it will likely be either Ryan Sweeney or Cody Ross. Darnell McDonald could also see significant playing time with the injury to Carl Crawford to start the season.

 

The pitching rotation situation is also somewhat foggy, with the fourth and fifth starters yet to be cemented. But it is currently between Daniel Bard, Aaron Cook and Felix Doubront.

The 2012 season kicks off on April 5 with a game in Detroit against the Tigers and their ace, Justin Verlander. For the Red Sox, Bobby Valentine has announced that Jon Lester will be their starter for the opener. Fans will also get to see Tigers big offseason addition Prince Fielder, who signed a nine-year deal. The home opener is Friday, April 13 against the Rays.

 

Given the offseason changes, there are a plethora of opinions on how this team will perform and ultimately finish this coming season. Personally, I see myself as more optimistic than most in my outlook for the 2012 Red Sox. While many see manager Bobby Valentine as an egomaniacal fool, I believe he is just what this team needs. In contrast to his predecessor Francona, Valentine prefers to play more small ball and be more aggressive, and give his team a kick in the pants every so often. Whether it is talking unkindly of players to the media, eliminating beer in the clubhouse, or making an unpopular decision supplanting a veteran with a young player, Valentine isn’t afraid.

 

Mike Aviles and Daniel Bard also have their detractors, but I think Aviles will surprise people with his bat and defense, and Bard will steadily become more comfortable in his new starting role as he works on his pitches. After all, he only began throwing as a starter during spring training for the first time since his college days at UNC. There is no way Carl Crawford can do worse than last season, and the bullpen has many great additions that should give them a rock solid way to seal the deal late in games.

 

As for my prediction, I’ll give the Sox a record of 96-66 for the season, taking the AL East in front of the Yankees in second and Rays in third. With the added wild card team for this year, I can see the Yankees taking the first spot and the Rangers claiming the second wild card. The Red Sox will eventually make it to the ALCS where I predict they will lose to Albert Pujols’ Angels. The World Series will come down to Miami vs. LA, with the Angels taking home the Commissioner’s Trophy. It’s early yet, but it will surely be an interesting season and we’ll see how things go.