Mandatory Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports
The 2013 season was an awesome one, to say the least. At this time last year not many people thought that winning the World Series was on the horizon. The 2012 had been such an abysmal failure that there was nowhere to go but up. The Sox shocked us and took it all the way to the top.
What do the 2014 Sox need to do to repeat as World Series champions? There are three areas that stand out in the quest for repeat world domination.
There have been a few player changes over the off season. Getting the new guys into the mix will be the key to a cohesive team. It will be crucial to get A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate and working well with the starting rotation. Teaching new center fielders like Grady Sizemore to play the triangle will be important to saving runs in the dog days of summer.
One well-timed stolen base can make a world of difference, as the 2004 season testified. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate the Sox saw improvement in the 2013 season in catching would-be thieves. Can AJ continue the trend? He faces a difficult mission given that one speedy center fielder now wearing pin-stripes who will be working the base paths against us instead of for us.
Ignoring the Hype
When the 2013 season began, not many sports analysts were making a big deal over the Sox. Sure they may have remarked that the addition of John Farrell would be a needed change and an improvement for the Sox, but they were talking about getting out of the basement, not getting to the winner’s podium. It may have been a blessing in disguise that the Sox didn’t make any big-name acquisitions. There was little to no hype about the 2013 season to start. Despite being in first place for the majority of the season, they flew under the radar. That particular arrangement seemed to suit them just fine. If the Sox can put their heads down and ignore the swirling winds of “Can They Repeat” hype, they stand a great chance of doing just that.