Before we get negative, let’s appreciate the fact that we finally get to watch competitive sports again. It’s been an odd few months without the luxury of throwing on a game on any given night. That alone is reason to be excited.
Now for the product on the field.
The Red Sox’ defense and hitting are on par with some of the best teams in baseball, but they currently have the 20th best odds (or 10th worst) to win the World Series. I don’t think I have to explain why, so I’ll let manager Ron Roenicke’s input speak for itself:
“I understand why those other teams are rated above us,” Roenicke said. “They’re really good teams, they’re really well-rounded and you gotta think they’re in a position where they’re going to play really well. We’re hoping to surprise people. We think we have a tremendous offense, we think our defense is really good and we think our pitching staff, Eduardo (Rodriguez) will be back in that mix sometimes, but we think we can surprise people and we know it takes everything to come together.
“So we just need to piece this thing right. If we’re hot at the right time, it works. You try to play .500 ball in this and then have a couple of hot streaks. If we can do that, we should be in a great position to be back in the playoffs.”
These words are far from encouraging for Sox fans. Phrases like “we’re hoping to surprise people” don’t typically come from ball clubs with World Series aspirations. Planning on playing .500 ball and then having “a couple hot streaks” is not an approach that will instill fear in opposing teams.
It’s all just a nice way of saying that our pitching staff is alarmingly bad on paper so we’ll see what happens. I’m reminded of 2015 when John Ferrell deflected concerns about a lack of an ace by trying to imply that they had five aces:
“In the short response, I’m not overly concerned that some might think we don’t have a No. 1,” Farrell said. “I think we have five number 1s. The number 1 for us is going to be that night, the guy that pitches that night.”
That team finished fifth in the AL East at 78-84. The good news for this year’s Sox is that they only have to play 60 games. If there were ever a time to have the “play .500 and get hot a couple times” mentality, I guess this is it.
They’ll open the season tonight (Friday) against the Orioles at Fenway with their (current) number one starter Nathan Eovaldi. First pitch at 7:30.