Monday, April 8, 2013

Quick observations after the first week of 2013

Well, look at what a difference it makes when an organization gets a manager who doesn't suck at life.  Going over .500 on a roadtrip is great at any point in the season, but going 4-2 on a season opening road trip after the way this Red Sox club has started the past couple of years, that's just cathartic.

And the Red Sox got on this roll when Jackie Bradley Jr. worked a walk against CC Sabathia in his first MLB plate appearance.  Ryan Sweeney, who the Sox cut to place JBJ on the team, wouldn't have worked that walk -- so I hope the debate of team control of a prospect over placing your best team on the field at all times is, finally, over.  If it isn't, just look at the Angels from last season: they brought up Mike Trout in May and got an extra year of control over him, but missed the playoffs.  If Trout was on the team in April -- especially given Pujols's early struggles -- they would have had a better chance of making the playoffs.

Major League Baseball is far removed from the days when each league had two division, those teams that won the division made the playoffs, and if you were too many games out by June then you could just call it a season.  With the expansion to two wild card teams, MLB has reached a point where every game actually does matter.  Therefore, teams that don't place their best team on the field at all times suffer -- just ask the 2012 Angels.  JBJ won a key match up against an ace and former Cy Young award winner, and even though it was the first game of the season, it matters and it is a big deal.

But I don't want to go overboard here, harping on the success the Sox have had thus far.  The Yankees lineup couldn't beat a prospect starting in the International League.  As for the reloaded Toronto Blue Jays, Jose Bautista is injured and RA Dickey hasn't been throwing his knuckleball well.  Besides facing Sabathia to begin the season, the only other real test the Sox have had was facing Andy Pettitte -- they failed that one.

And then there's John Lackey.  Lester and Buchholz look like dueling aces right now, Doubrant looks like he can provided decent starts, and Ryan Dempster is, well...  Yeah.  The Red Sox really need Lackey to step up to give the team four solid starters, but if he's going to face injury issues all season, then the Sox rotation consists of Lester going all year, Buchholz getting his yearly injury, Dourant being a back of the rotation guy, and two big question marks.

Given what we've seen so far, there's a lot to like with the Red Sox -- especially compared against the rest of the AL East.  But let's not get cocky yet.

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