Red Sox: Yankees as the favorites could be great motivation for Boston

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 13: The Boston Red Sox celebrate after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 at Fenway Park on September 13, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 13: The Boston Red Sox celebrate after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 at Fenway Park on September 13, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

As Opening Day approaches it seems that the Yankees have become the favorites to win the AL East, despite the Red Sox winning the World Series. This could prove to be some serious motivation for Boston in 2019.

Here we are folks, just weeks away from the regular season kicking off. And as we get closer and closer to Opening Day, it appears our archrivals have taken over and are projected to regain the AL East crown. That’s right friends, not the reigning World Series champion Red Sox, but the Evil Empire New York Yankees.

Just having to type that makes me nauseous, but that’s the hand we’re being dealt. Honestly, I can fully understand why the Yankees are favored, they hit the panic button and made some serious moves this offseason. They had to after the dominance that the Red Sox displayed in the ALDS. However, that’s in the past and we need to turn the calendar and look towards the future.

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So going into 2019 the Yankees are the favorites and are also projected to finish with more wins than Boston. Per Doug Kezirian of ESPN, New York is projected to finish at the top with another Boston foe, Houston, at 96.5 wins, while the Red Sox are projected to come in right behind at 95.5 wins.

Obviously, we all know that there is a slim chance that the Red Sox would hit that 108 win total again as that was like catching lightning in a bottle. But to come in behind two teams that Boston handily defeated in the postseason? The oddsmakers must be partying a bit too hard out in Vegas.

Like I said above, I can see why the Yankees would be considered a favorite as they made some big-time moves this Winter, but Houston didn’t. They did SOME things, but nothing to the level of New York. Either way, if I’m in that Boston locker room, this is some serious corkboard material. There’s already the motivation of wanting to defend the World Championship, but just like in the playoffs, Boston is the underdog.

We heard it during the entire postseason, and it never made any sense. How could the Red Sox be the underdog to teams they outperformed during the season? How’d that work out for oddsmakers? Oh yeah, crushing the Yankees 3-1 and the Astros 4-1 en route to defeating LA 4-1. An 11-3 postseason record following a franchise record 108 win season, but yeah, they’re the underdogs.

I could see this being a huge motivator for the guys in that clubhouse to once again go out and prove the world wrong. Yeah New York is going to be strong and Houston won’t go away, but there’s a reason why their October ended early and Boston’s didn’t. From what we’ve seen so far this Spring has given me strong optimism as a fan. Between the vets coming to camp in great shape and the prospects showing no fear during games, it’s been a positive spring training.

The Red Sox have some serious talent in Chris Sale, Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, and Rick Porcello among others becoming free agents at the end of the year. So not only are these guys going to want to be superhuman this year so they can earn their next contracts but now they have folks saying they’re not as good as they were last year?

Are you telling me that won’t light a fire under these guys to push them to another stratosphere? Look no further than Chris Sale during the World Series when the team got into a slump, that dude is pure competition. So now they are gearing up to defend their title, they’re being told they’re the third best in the American League, AND they want to earn a nice payday? These guys are going to come out of the gates hot and run wild on the American League.

Again, I’m a realist and I know that we won’t be seeing a season as magical as in 2018. That was a year for the history books and one we’ll be telling our grandkids about. But you better believe Boston will do their damndest to come out of spring training ready to make a statement to the league. Everyone else spent this offseason trying to improve in order to compete with the Red Sox. But you can’t buy heart, you can’t buy camaraderie, and you can’t buy the spark that this squad has.

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I don’t believe this team needed a single ounce of extra motivation but I can see this going onto the bulletin board like Rocky staring at a picture of Drago. There’s a lot of pride in that locker room and the Red Sox will do whatever it takes to retain their seat on the top of the mountain. I can’t wait for Opening Day and to see this team do what they do best. With the season just a few short weeks away, business is about to pick up for Boston.