After a September collapse, followed by a losing season, the Red Sox will be under a lot of pressure to succeed next year. For veteran players, the stress of playing in Boston should be commonplace at this point, but they've never dealt with a Boston fan base coming off of a losing season before.
John Farrell was brought in with one intention: to turn the Red Sox around. He faces the heavy pressure of not only trying to tie the clubhouse back together, but also to fix all of the pitching issues Boston faced last season. Farrell has said most of the responsibility for the pitchers will be placed in his yet-to-be-named pitching coach, but he's already being proactive in finding issues within the Sox' staff.
Dustin Pedroia is coming off another solid, yet slightly injury-prone season, and his play was one of the few bright spots for the Red Sox in 2012. The offense will no doubt revolve around the All-Star second baseman again this season. Still, there's pressure for Pedroia to succeed. Gone are big bats Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, and Boston still has some decisions to make with the rest of their offense. Much of the Red Sox' offense may depend on the shortest guy on the team.
The Red Sox' ace, Jon Lester, is coming off the most disappointing season of his seven-year career. His ERA and WHIP were up and his strikeouts and wins were down. Lester was also giving up more home runs than is typical for him, though he did show more control, walking just three batters per nine innings. Lester will have to anchor a Red Sox staff that seriously struggled in 2012. After Lester, question marks exist in the starting rotation, and if the left-hander has another subpar season, the Sox could be in trouble.
Boston faces a lot of uncertaintly next year, but one thing is for sure: Red Sox Nation expects better than what they saw last year. Which member of the Red Sox faces the most pressure in 2013?
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