The 2011 Red Sox are winning
I hate normal previews for seasons or teams. I need a gimmick.
(Reaching for gimmick, still reaching. Fine, I’ll just do what everyone else is doing this week)
It’s no surprise that the most quotable person in America this week has been the crazy and utterly insane Charlie Sheen. Just on Tuesday alone, my roommate Ryan Sullivan and I spent a good two hours just looking up every single Charlie Sheen quote that we could find. When we found the ABC “Good Morning America” interview on Youtube, we nearly broke down. I don’t even remember what line almost killed us, but it was something about doing seven grams of rocks or something.
Quotes from the great Sheen himself don’t just apply to the esteemed Sheen. They can also be used to describe almost anything that could be, for lack of a better term, “winning”. In this case, the 2011 Boston Red Sox are certainly set-up to be winners in 2011. Despite a ridiculous amount of injuries for the Boston Red Sox in 2010, the team still won 89 games and missed the playoffs by 6 games. The Red Sox could have just sat on their asses and hope for no injuries this year. They didn’t. Instead, General Manager Theo Epstein opened up the checkbook and made it rain on Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, and Adrian Gonzalez (Gonzalez has yet to sign an extension, but it is expected to come shortly after the start of the season). The Red Sox made a splash and are positioned to be the team to beat in the American league this season. Certainly they are set up to be winners, but how does the greatest “bi-winner” of them all, Charlie Sheen, feel about the 2011 Boston Red Sox?
“The run I was on made Sinatra, Flynn, Jagger, Richards, all of them, just look like droopy-eyed, armless children.”
Clearly, Charlie is talking about Theo Epstein. The Boston Red Sox GM didn’t just sit on his ass and let the Yankees, Rays, and Rangers make moves. He first made the big splash by trading for a franchise-caliber hitter in Adrian Gonzalez, something the Red Sox haven’t possessed since Manny Ramierz was in his prime. Then, Theo made another splash by coming out of no where and stealing five tool player Carl Crawford away from the Angels just when it looked like he was going to be in Los Angeles for the next five years. Then, to shore up the bull-pen, Theo just decided he would go after two of the best bull-pen arms on the market and sign Dan Wheeler and Bobby Jenks to be seventh inning guys. Nothing was stopping Theo this past off-season.
You borrow my brain for five seconds and just be like dude, can’t handle it, unplug this bastard. It fires in a way that is, I don’t know, maybe not from this terrestrial realm
Terry Francona was on-fire last year. Despite about a million and one injuries to the Boston Red Sox, including big names such as Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia, Terry Francona still managed the team to 89 wins. It was easily one of his best managerial performances during his tenure as the Boston Red Sox manager. It’s amazing to wonder how the hell he was able to manage this team. I know I wouldn’t be able to handle having to juggle so many different lineups. If Terry Francona is anywhere close to where he was last year, this team will win 100 games.
“It’s perfect. It’s awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it’s scary.”
Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are set up to be the best one-two punch the Boston Red Sox have had since Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez in 2004. Jon Lester has come into his own as one of the best left-handed starters in baseball. He was a Cy Young candidate last year, posting a 3.25 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. His right handed counterpart, Clay Buchholz made me eat all the mean things I said about him over the years as he posted a 2.33 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. If they pitch at the same or similar level, they will get the offensive
support and should both win 20 games.
“I’m different. I have a different constitution, I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man.”
Dustin Pedroia might have tiger blood. The reason Red Sox fans have fallen in love Dustin Pedroia over the years is because he is the Wes Welker of the Boston Red Sox. There is no reason that a guy this small should be this good at the sport. Instead, Dustin Pedroia is almost guaranteed to hit .320 every year, pump the team up, and get big timely hits whenever they are needed. The man just loves to play baseball. While he probably ruined any chance to come back last season by pushing his broken foot (dumb) it still doesn’t take away from the fact that he wanted to get back on the baseball field so badly. As long as he is smarter about that in the future, I will always love the lil guy, and the way he plays the game of baseball definitely shows off some “tiger blood”.
“Most of the time, and this includes naps, I’m an F18 bro, and I will destroy you in the air and deploy my ordnance to the ground. There’s a new sheriff in town and he has an army of assassins.”
Adrian Gonzalez is set to explode in Boston. Adrian Gonzalez is a career .284/.368/.507 (Batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage) hitter and has 168 home runs and 568 RBIs in seven seasons. These stats are partially skewed as well. Gonzalez has played almost his entire career in a pitcher’s park, PetCo Park in San Diego, California. At home, he is a career .263/.360/.440 hitter compared to his road stats that are a .303/.376/.568. Now, Adrian Gonzalez’s home park is the hitter’s ball park of Fenway Park. Do you see what I am getting to here? Adrian Gonzalez in a line-up with protection in a ball-park that encourages the long-ball could be the first Red Sox player to have the “I’m not going to miss that at-bat” in the line-up since David Ortiz in 2006. There is a new sheriff in town, and he is going to drop bombs.
“I’m bi-winning. I win here and I win there.”
If anyone has the bi-winning disease, it’s John Lackey. John Lackey at times looked like the man the Red Sox meant to throw big money at last off-season. At other times, John Lackey made me want to burn my hand in an oven. The problem was, both of these seemed to happen IN THE SAME GAMES. He would be great for four innings, but Red Sox fans knew an implosion was coming. John Lackey was certainly bi-winning last year as he won sometimes and other times looked like a complete loser. If John Lackey can stop bi-winning and get back to just winning, the Red Sox will have one of the best number four starters in all of baseball.
“If you’re a part of my family, I will love you violently.”
Welcome to the family and Carl Crawford. He’s a five tool player with a career .296/.337/.444 hitter, but the big issue is that this was done in Tampa Bay with almost no pressure. Even when the Rays were competitive, there was never any Boston or New York style pressure. Now, Carl Crawford has to deal with the Boston fans and the Boston media. There have been plenty of players that have handled it well and played as they had in the past. There are other, unfortunate cases, however, where the media presence or playing in the large market is too much for them. This is the biggest thing that scares me about Crawford. I think he will be fine, I think the Red Sox are smart enough to now only sign players with the constitutional fortitude to play in Boston, but you never know. If Crawford struggles out of the gates, it could be problematic for the Crawford.
“No. Not going to. Period. The end. I blinked and I cured my brain.”
Here’s hoping Josh Beckett’s concussion gets cured sooner rather than later.
“It’s a wedge. Boom. You form a wedge to make room for the guy carrying the ball.”
Kevin Youkilis wins the “Best teammate ever” award for the foreseeable future. The Red Sox have bounced him back and forth between first base and third base for the past three seasons depending on how the current injury situation was. Every baseball player wants to play in one spot and after winning a gold glove at first base, the thought was that Youk would probably want to stay there. With the addition, of Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis has to make room for the guy carrying the ball and is making the move back to third base. A lot of players would be pissed off about moving back and forth over and over, but Kevin Youkilis is one of the best teammates in baseball.
“I’m still alive, which is pretty cool”
Somehow, Jonathan Papelbon is still the closer for the Boston Red Sox. There was a lot of talk that Papelbon could have been moved in the off-season to make room for Daniel Bard to become the closer and the Sox also offered longtime Yankees closer Mariano Rivera a contract. Clearly, Papelbon’s good luck is starting to run out on him.
Still, Papelbon is alive, and for the time being, he is the closer of the Boston Red Sox. He is also in a contract year. Maybe with an improved defense behind him and a new focus to get paid, maybe we can see the Papelbon of 2007 instead of the heart-attack inducing one that we have seen of the past two seasons.
“I’ve spent close to the last decade effortlessly and magically converting your tin cans into pure gold.”
To John Henry, who actually is a person who sounds like he would say this. He turned Fenway from a dump into an amusement park of baseball and converted one of the sorriest franchises into a contender year in and year out. John Henry also has the personality to say this line. In fact, are we sure this one is actually a Sheen quote?
“I guess I’m just that goddamn bitchin’.”
David Ortiz who seemingly has to fight off ridicule every April only to come back and have productive seasons. As this is probably his last season with the Red Sox, don’t be surprised if he takes every chance he can get to remind everyone how bitchin’ he was and hit a couple of clutch home-runs when we need them.
If everything goes right for the Boston Red Sox in 2011, that’s what the Red Sox will be doing. Winning. Winning a little here, winning a little there, but they will be flat out winning. If this roster was 6 games out of the playoffs with the team they put on the diamond last year, imagine now with all the additions they made in the off-season? The Sox can win 11-3 games 5-4 games, 13-12 games and everything in between. There is no reason this team should not win the A.L East and there is no reason this team should not be in discussion to reach 100 wins. Once we reach the post-season, its a whole new ballgame, but in the regular season, the Red Sox should be winning.
Surprise, that’s what winners do.