Boston Red Sox: Five Observations from Opening Week
Observations from Opening Week
The 2012 season was a year all Boston Red Sox fans and players want to forget. The team posted the first losing season since 1997 and the first 90, or more, loss season since 1965.
Coming into the 2013 season, all anyone can talk about is how great the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays look, and how the Red Sox will have a tough fight to even make the postseason.
The Blue Jays added a number of big named talent this offseason, a great looking lineup and pitching staff on paper. However, it has not turned out how they hoped it would. The Red Sox are sitting at 3-1, while the Blue Jays sit at 1-3.
The Major League Baseball season is 162 games and there is a lot of baseball left, so the opening week of the season is far from the end of the season. However, if a team can get out of the gate with a strong record they have a better chance of sustaining it or having a better chance to stay out front, even with a midseason slump.
The Red Sox strong start has shown a few glimpses into what we may see this season and what we can look forward. Can they keep it up for 162 games?
What are the key factors to the great start and what are some things the team need to tweak to continue their winning ways?
One of the highlights of the 2012 season was the outstanding play of Will Middlebrooks at third base. This season, Jackie Bradley Jr. broke camp with the team and has been as patient at the plate as a 15 year veteran. Additionally, Jose Iglesias has suddenly found his bat and is getting on base while driving in runs.
So far, the Boston Red Sox bullpen has been a dominant force this season. Joel Hanrahan has posted two saves already while newly acquired Koji Uehara has pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts.
Last season, the Boston Red Sox starting rotation was horrendous. Opening week, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester put together two great outings, while Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront pitched five innings each giving up three earned runs. If the starting rotation can perform, it takes some pressure off the bullpen.
The Bobby Valentine experiment failed horribly in 2012. Opening week has proved the hiring of John Farrell was a great decision. He is putting out the best lineup to win each night and making substitutions at the right moment, giving the Boston Red Sox the advantage.
On the Road
The Boston Red Sox are 3-1 to start off the season. If the team can win on the road, they should have no problem making their way into the postseason. Once they return to Fenway Park, the outstanding play will continue.