Well, folks. The Red Sox are in Fort Myers, and a new baseball season is nearly upon us. This is the one time of the year that all 30 teams are on equal footing, and with a series of cost-effective offseason moves, the Red Sox are exuding a quiet confidence this spring.
Everyone knows that 2012 did not go as planned for Boston, and while injuries played a big part in the Sox’ subpar season, it was largely a pitching staff that wasn’t up to snuff that doomed the season. This year, however, with former pitching coach John Farrell returning to Fenway as manager, the Sox seem to have a feeling that this year will be different.
Heading into the Grapefruit League, Boston’s five starting pitchers seem to be set. Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, John Lackey and Felix Doubront are slated for the No. 1 through 5 slots, and quite possibly in that order. So, barring any spring injuries, we have a pretty good idea what the rotation will look like.
But who will win the most games?
Lester is looking for a return to his former ace-like form, while Buchholz will attempt to avoid a second consecutive year of early season struggles. Dempster is out to prove he can pitch in the American League after a 5.09 ERA in 69 innings with Texas last year, as Lackey looks healthy well over a year removed from Tommy John surgery. Felix Doubront, meanwhile, had an impressive rookie campaign, but will try to take the next step and improve his efficiency.