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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

BUT I LOVE THAT DIRTY WATEEER

Massive upgrade required close to $200MM
ESPN.com
Massive upgrade required close to $200MM

With blistery-cold temperatures, a foot of snow which what appears to come weekly, and walks to UMB becoming more and more unbearable, good news is on the way. For the first time in recent memory, excitement and confidence have filled the area in anticipation of the 2011 Red Sox season. Thanks to the big-time signing of Tampa Bay Rays’ left fielder Carl Crawford and trade of San Diego Padres All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, the Sox on paper appear to be the most dominant team in baseball.

 

Even in the World Series years of 2004 and 2007, the Sox were predicted to make the playoffs, and even by some to make the World Series. This year is different. Every analyst, fan, stadium worker, and even non-fans are picking the Red Sox to run away with baseball like the 1998 New York Yankees did. That team won an unprecedented 114 games while cruising to the World Series title with an 11-2 playoff record.

 

Looking at the team on offense, it is tough to find a better 1-5 set of hitters on any team than what the Red Sox will be throwing out there on April 1. With a healthy Jacoby Ellsbury leading off, followed by former MVP second baseman Dustin Pedroia, the dynamic 1-2 punch will cause fits for pitching staffs. Next up are Crawford and Gonzalez. This may not be as thunderous power-wise as David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were in their prime during the early part of the 2000s, but this has the chance to be special. Crawford is a speed demon that bats .300 with a guarantee of 15 home runs and 100 runs scored. Gonzalez has elite power and is one of the best overall hitters in the game. Being known as a hitter who goes the opposite way, A-Gon will wear out the Green  Monster as well as the rest of the American League. He is a sure bet for 35 home runs and 110 runs batted in.

 

With Gonzalez manning first base, former gold glover and team energizer bunny Kevin Youkilis is making the switch to third base. Moving the one time clean up hitter down to the fifth spot will force pitchers to be overly careful and not make a mistake. This team has an outside chance at scoring 1000 runs, which is something very rarely accomplished.

 

The Red Sox did a lot more than just upgrade their offense; the team also upgraded its pitching staff. Any fan will tell you that the Sox had one of the worst bullpens in the game last year and anyone not named Jonathan Papelbon or Daniel Bard was not trusted and very rarely used – not going to be the case this year. To save some bullets in the arms of Papelbon and Bard for the end of the season, the Sox went out and signed former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks and Tampa Bay Rays reliever Dan Wheeler. Jenks will be pitching the 7th inning/back up set up man/occasional closer if Papelbon needs a night off while Wheeler will be the 6th inning man/back up set up man.

 

The 2011 season is really shaping up to be one of the more special ones in recent Red Sox history. Besides the standard 8th inning stretch singing of Sweet Caroline, expect to hear Dirty Water more than usual as the Red Sox look to win their third World Series title in eight years.