Thursday, April 05, 2012

Opening day, 2012

On April 15, 2011, Americans filed their taxes and the Red Sox lost to the Toronto Blue Jays to fall to 3-10. On September 6, 2011, nearly five months later, they beat the Toronto Blue Jays to run their record to 85-56. So, for 5/6 of the 2011 season, they went 82-46, a tremendous .640 winning percentage which, if it had lasted for the entire season, would have resulted in 104 wins. They clearly weren't ready for the regular season when it arrived, and they had a catastrophic collapse down the stretch. But that 2011 Red Sox team was extremely talented, and most of that talent is still here...


I've spent less time following the offseason and pre-season moves of the Red Sox, and everyone else, than at any time in the last 30 years. I have not got a set of projections ready to go. So bear that in mind when reading the following predictions.

  • The 2011 Red Sox led the AL in runs scored. They may or may not repeat that performance, but the bulk of the offensive talent is still here. They'll finish in the top three in runs scored.
  • The top three starters - Lester, Buchholz and Beckett - will see their ERA (3.23 in 2011) go up, but not a lot. But they'll also start more games (than 75) and pitch more innings (than 467).
  • Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront will be more effective in the 4-5 starter roles than Lackey, Miller, Wakefield and Matsuzaka were last year (5.49 ERA).
  • They'll miss Papelbon. Occasionally. But not nearly as much as some people are currently expecting them to.
  • They'll work harder at stopping opposing running games. This will appear to be effective, as they allow fewer stolen bases. Whether it will actually be more effective, as the pitchers give up more hits through concentrating on base runners, will be impossible to know with any certainty.

The big prediction is this - the people (and they appear to be legion) writing this team off are wrong to do so. They will finish either first or second in the AL East, and be one of the AL's playoff teams again.

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