American League/Boston Red Sox Preview
By John Hunt,
9:41AM, Tue. Apr. 3, 2007
The bloggers that be have decided that they would like an American League perspective to abut their brainy National League preview and have asked me to put together a few words as to how I think the American league is going to fall into the Fall.
Full disclosure: I’m a Red Sox fan. I grew up in Melrose, 25 minutes from Fenway Park. My dad had a couple of secret parking spots stashed in Kenmore Square (infinitely more valuable than season tickets). We could go from idea to seats in under an hour.
I’m pretty excited about this Red Sox season. I’m having a difficult time trying to remember the last time some gazillionaire invested $100 million into my summer. The signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka will hopefully pay its dividends over and over like solar panels. So, if David Ortiz can keep Manny Ramirez from chasing the ice-cream truck down Landsdowne Street and Curt Schilling can keep his trap shut and pitch like it’s his last contract year, I see no reason why this team won’t take the AL East.
The additions of J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo have been somewhat disconcerting. It will be J.D.’s job to back up the mighty three-four punch of Ortiz and Ramirez. Every Dodger fan in the world is telling me this guy shuts it down in May and that he plays with all the passion of a door guy on Red River. Well, there’s always Wily Mo Pena if he doesn’t work out. Remember him? He’s apparently worth one Bronson Arroyo (14-11, 3.29 ERA, three complete games). Never been a huge fan of Julio Lugo on a personal level. I hear he can hit. I hear he’s a good baseball player, too.
Look for John Lester or Devern Hansack to take over the back of the rotation after Matt Clement retires in July. Even if Julian Tavarez works out as a starter, I don’t see Mike Timlin coming back to us. We will need Tavarez in the pen to set up Jonathan Papelbon, who, after several sleepless nights, decided to take on his previous role as the savior of close ball games. Trust me; he wasn’t the only one losing sleep over this.
So, in the AL I see the Red Sox winning the East. Sorry New York, you will have to wait until you get your new fancy schmancy stadium till you win another World Series and resume your old delusionally egotistical behavior.
In the American League Central it’s a photo finish. It will be the Detroit Tigers with the Twins and the White Sox feuding over the Wild Card. In the end, the Twins will win the Wild Card, but that’s about it.
In our West we will see the A’s again. Moneyball, baby. This is how it will pan out: The A’s will start abysmally. They will be plagued by injuries then five guys you never heard of will come out of nowhere to propel them into October where they will lose in the first round. Sound familiar? This is how it’s always been and how it always should be.
It will come down to the Sox and Tigers. It will also come down to pitching. The Sox will then take their rightful place in the World Series after seven hard-fought games against whichever boring-ass team the National League sends their way. I hear the smart money is on the Mets. Please let it be the Mets.