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Posted By Brian Joyce On Mar 31 2011 @ 11:24 pm In Boston Red Sox | No Comments
Opening Day has finally arrived for the Boston Red Sox. I know it’s only one game and there will be 161 more games after Friday’s game against the Rangers, but Opening Day is filled with excitement, and of course expectations. Especially, when it comes to the Boston Red Sox. Huge expectations for the Boston Red Sox in 2011. Who doesn’t love the moves Theo Epstein made this past winter?
Let’s go back to last year’s team. After a thrilling opening night win against the Yankees on Easter, it was all downhill from there. Six games into the season, Adrian Beltre ( now in Texas) collides with Jacoby Ellsbury and basically ruined Ellsbury’s 2010 season. Ellsbury would play in only eighteen games last year. It seemed every week or in some cases, every game someone wearing a Red Sox uniform would get hurt. In some cases, season ending injuries. Names like Daniel Nava (161 at bats in 2010) Eric Patterson, Jonathan Van Every, and even Bill Hall (344 at bats) were getting significant playing time in Boston. Van Every also had one relief appearance. I guess Mark Clear wasn’t available that night. Who would have thought at the beginning of the 2010 season that Nava, Hall, and Darnell McDonald would combine for 824 at bats and the Red Sox be in contention until the final week of the season. Oh yeah, don’t foget about Kevin Youkilis ( my pick for the AL MVP this year) going down and playing in only 102 games. Also Dustin Pedroia playing half the season. Victor Martinez ( now in Detroit) missed nearly two months. Who can ever forget that weekend in San Francisco. Pedroia goes down one night, Clay Buchholz gets hurt while running the bases the next night, and Martinez caps off the weekend getting hurt. At that time, Boston was creeping back into the AL East race because the Rays and Yankees were having their issues. From that point forward, Boston was playing out the string, that will not be the case in 2011.
This 2011 edition of the Boston Red Sox will be fun. They have two speedsters, Ellsbury and Carl Crawford. Not only will Ellsbury and Crawford wreak havoc on the basepaths. Any ball hit in the air to center or left should get caught. The pitchers are going to love those two jackrabbits! Most years, Boston has never had any guys that could run, now they have two. And we haven’t even touched on Adrian Gonzalez, and the impact he’ll have on the Red Sox. Not only at the plate,but at first base, too. Gonzalez should be able to play “ping pong” with the Green Monster like Wade Boggs did for several years back in the day. Gonzalez will put a lot of dents into that 37 foot green wall. His swing is tailor made for Fenway Park. Just think, Gonzalez on Opening Day will be twenty-eight and Crawford will be twenty-nine. These guys are going to be around for a while and will help the Red Sox win a ton of games over the next several years. Of course, they will be judged on what they accomplish come playoff time. Playing in Boston is a different animal and Crawford and Gonzalez will soon find out. The players are treated like rockstars and every game at Fenway is treated like a playoff game. It’s a tough atmosphere and Fenway is right on top of the players. Some players handle it well, while others get swallowed up in that fishbowl atmosphere.
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