March 24, 2013; Clearwater, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) works out prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Networks Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox Roundtable: What Do You Expect of The Red Sox This Year?

Welcome Sox fans to the second installment of Red Sox Roundtable. This is your chance to kick around a hot topic of the week with the Bosox Injection writers. I post, make my comments and then anyone and everyone can join in the fray. The more the merrier. Come on, get it off your chest!

This week’s question is How do you expect the Sox to do this year and what expectations should fans have of the team?

I’m going to follow Manager John Farrell’s lead when he told the team on the first day of spring training, “Be professional.” After the harangues (Bobby Valentine), outbursts (Alfredo Aceves), pouty lack of leadership that was more focused on sticking a finger in Valentine’s eye (Dustin Pedroia) and flat out stupidity (Ryan Sweeney punching a door in the dugout and breaking his hand), this team needs to keep its trap shut, focus their energies and play ball.

I think this will translate to a better than .500 record. In what has become an increasingly competitive division this may not get them much better than 3rd or 4th place, depending on if Baltimore can reproduce their uncanny number of 2012 one run and extra innings wins or New York somehow becomes not as ancient and banged up as they appear to be.

The wild card, as always will be who gets hot and who gets injured. If Lester and Buchholz continue the dominance they exhibited in spring training, Lackey returns to the Lackey of old or at least better than awful, Papi gets healthy and stays in the lineup for a prolonged period of time and the outfield gels both on defensively and offensively Boston could make it interesting. It’s a long season. A lot can happen.

Fire away group!

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  • Conor Duffy

    With a team like the 2013 Boston Red Sox, it’s crazy how much could go right or wrong. It all depends on whether the players recover from a number of disappointing and uncharacteristic seasons in 2012 and how much they are effected by injuries. If everything goes right for the Red Sox, I can see them winning around 90 games and competing for a playoff spot. If everything goes wrong, however, they could fall below .500 for the second consecutive year, maybe in the 75 win range. I would look in between the two extremes for how the Red Sox will actually do; I think that injuries will affect the team, but some key players will recover from rough seasons. I’d look for the Red Sox to finish somewhere in the 83-88 win range.

  • Aidan Flynn

    Like Conor, I see this year’s Sox to be in the running for a Wild Card spot, somewhere in mid-80 win range. While injuries could certainly be a factor once again, I see some guys (Lester, Pedroia, Napoli) recovering from their sub-standard 2012′s and posting numbers closer to their career norms. Other than health, I see the pitching as the biggest wild card and determinant of the Sox success this year. Lester and Buchholz have flashed ace potential before and Dempster and Doubront could certainly be serviceable middle of the rotation guys. As cliched as it is, if the Red Sox pitch, I trust the offense enough (not saying I love it, just that its good enough to win some games) for them to be legitimate contenders in the American League.

  • Paul Prims

    I’m going full on optimism. John Farrell appears to be the kind of manager this team needs: respected and a commanding presence. I think he understands what his team needs to do to succeed. I expect Lester and Buchholz to be top flight starters and I see a big year from a healthy John Lackey. And that is the key. if these three become the “Big 3″ the Sox will compete with anybody. The bullpen should be their biggest strength so ending games should be covered. As for the lineup, as long as they don’t lose Ortiz for an extended period, they should be OK. Expect Ellsbury to excel in a contract year, Pedroia to bounce back and Middlebrooks to be an unexpected force in the five hole. Is this a lot to ask? yes, but all AL East teams have flaws and why can’t Boston be right in the mix? High end number? 92. Low end if Ortiz is out for a while? 85. Actual is probably somewhere in the middle like 88 and that should be enough to be in the wild card mix. If you can’t be optimistic now, when can you be?

    • stephenepeterson

      I just got totally stoked reading this. Sox!

  • John Fahrer

    With the injury plagues occurring in each of the last three seasons, this club is due for some better fortune on the health front.

    There’s a lot of elements outside of their control that can effect their destiny. Will Toronto really be as good as advertised, or will it blow up on them (kind of like “The Best Team Ever” for us in 2010). Was Baltimore really a fluke or just a sign of things to come? Will Tampa have an effective enough offense to back up a pitching staff that was depleted a bit this offseason? Will Father Time finally collect his toll on the Yanks?

    The final standings for this division could very well be like the NL West in 2006 where everybody was just near, at, or above the .500 mark.

    I’m going to be optimistic and say they finish second behind Toronto and claim a WC berth.

  • Earl Nash

    I think the storyline on ESPN will be “the surprising Sox” and they
    will eke out a Wild Card slot ahead of Tampa. But, if enough elements
    fall into place, this is how the Red Sox could win the AL East crown.

    Let’s make a list of things that could, reasonably, happen and understand that they don’t ALL need to occur for the Sox to finish first in the AL East.

    New manager, John Farrell, is familiar to many Red Sox players and, after a year of playing against their manager in 2012, the team can now focus on playing against other teams.

    Sox solve the closer problem by starting the season with FIVE pitchers who could close: Two-time All Star Hanrahan, Thumbalina Bailey, Tazawa, Aceves, and Dempster.

    Sox start the year without Josh Beckett, who became a malcontent
    clubhouse lawyer; this allows his mates, Lester and Lackey, to re-focus
    away from beer and whines and on pitching. Lester achieves career
    average W-L record: 15-9. [+6 Ws for the Sox in 2013].

    After successful surgery, pitching pain-free, Lackey achieves career average W-L record: 15-11. [+15 Ws for the Sox in 2013].

    New catcher, David Ross, an excellent game caller who gains the
    confidence of his staff, makes Buccholz use hit entire pitching
    repertoire effectively and Clay achieves career average W-L record:
    15-10. [+4 Ws for the Sox in 2013].

    Lefty Felix Doubront improves his control and effectively spots his
    96 MPH heater, wins the #4 slot and improves to 13-12 [+1 W for the Sox
    in 2013].

    Ryan Dempster becomes a swing man and wins a few spot starts against terrible teams and goes 7-3. [+1 W for the Sox in 2013].

    Alfredo Aceves returns from closer [25] to swing man role and racks
    up Holds and “vultures” a few SVs. [+1 W for the Sox in 2013].

    Big Papi recovers from his heel injury and gets 600+ ABs and achieves and average career year with 35 HRs and 117 RBIs. [+7 Ws for the Sox in 2013].

    Middlebrooks bounces back and is elected to the All-Star Game; gets 550 ABs, 30 HRs, 100 RBIs. [+10 Ws for the Sox in 2013].

    The Other Drew provides more offense than Iglesias, who becomes an
    excellent late-inning defensive replacement. [+1 W for the Sox in 2013].

    Able to stay out of the crouch and out of pain, Mike Napoli is able
    to focus on his hitting and achieves and average career year with 33 HRs
    and 85 RBIs. [+7 Ws for the Sox in 2013].

    Without the distraction of clubhouse drama, Pedroia achieves an
    average career year with 17 HRs and 77 RBIs and 106 Rs [+5 Ws for the
    Sox in 2013].

    With the contract year incentive, Ellsbury stays healthy and
    achieves and average career year with 16 HRs and 73 RBIs and 107 Rs.
    [+5 Ws for the Sox in 2013].

    Shane Victorino maintains his excellent defense, steals 40 bags
    [copped 39 of 45 in 2012] and achieves an average career year with 14
    HRs and 62 RBIs and 93 Rs [+5 Ws for the Sox in 2013].

    Gomes repeats his 2012 stat line with Oakland: .262, 18/47 and 46 Rs. [+3 Ws for the Sox in 2013].

    Lyle Overbay starts against the tough right-handed pitchers the Sox
    don’t want Napoli to face and is a late-inning defensive replacement.
    His career BA is .270 and .323 in Fenway. [+1 W for the Sox in 2013].

    Pedro Ciraco maintains his .293 BA for pinch-hitting and serves as a Super Sub at 3b, SS, 2b and OF. [+1 W for the Sox in 2013].

    Larry Lucchino finally learns how to STFU and stops meddling in the
    player personnel decisions and focuses on selling trinkets, pink
    souvenirs and bricks. [Open wide, Larry…]

    Jackie Bradley forces
    his way into the starting lineup and charges up the mood; maybe he
    allows the team to trade “Uh-oh” Ellsbury for more help?

    If all of ALL of the above occurs in 2013, the Sox would add 77 Ws to the Sox 2012 record and result in a 2013 W-L record of 146-16. If only HALF of the above occur, it would add about 38 Ws over 2012 and a 2013 W-L record of 107-55. The Orioles won the AL East crown last year with a 93-69 record. It would require 25 more Ws in 2013 for the Sox to top that record by one game.

    With all five teams as legitimate contenders in the AL East, it may take only 90 wins to finish on top of the pile; a team could win it with a 90-72 record. Although Athlon Sports BASEBALL magazine forecasts this AL East 2013 finish:





    Red Sox

    We would predict:

    Red Sox





    • John Fahrer

      Seriously doubt they move Dempster into a swing man role with that big of a salary.

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