The 2010 season ended in a roller coaster of frustration and anger for our boys on Yawkey Way. While most in the great state of Massachusetts were focusing on what we lost, I was focusing on what we gained through the injury pile. One thing was for sure, Jon Lester would be the team's ace of the future. As of Yesterday my theory became true.
Lester was named Boston's Ace for the 2011 season. A move I'm sure most Red Sox fans can all agree with. He's been Boston's most consistant pitcher for the last two seasons, and a damn reliable arm. Following Lester will be John Lackey, who had a very disappointing season in 2010. Lackey came into Spring Training 20 pounds lighter and has his mind set on making 2011 a better season not only for him, but the Fenway Faithful as well. Next on the rotation is Clay Buchholz, who was the second most consistant arm in the rotation last year despite being injured for a good portion of last season. Josh Beckett move to the four spot, a surprising move for many, including myself. Beckett's oft injured and inconsistant season last year may be a reason he was moved here. A good move? Yes, I think so. Taking the spotlight off of him could be the thing he needs to find himself in a good position to just pitch this season and not focus on anything else. Lastly, the enigmatic Daisuke Matsuzaka takes the fifth spot in the rotation. The injury plauged Matsuzaka missed most of last season due to injuries, and when he did pitch, he was often eaten up by opposing hitters. The move here is the same as Beckett's. Except in Matsuzaka's case it's to get him to focus on throwing strikes in a consistant manner.
2010 was also a numbing year for the positional players as well. Losing both Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, and Kevin Youklis in a span of two weeks was a blow to the team that they couldn't recover from. This year Martinez is out (Signed with Detroit), leaving this year's catching duties to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and "Ol' Reliable" Jason Varitek. GM Theo Epstien had a busy offseason as well as we all know, signing OF Cral Crawford and acquiring 1B Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego for prospect P Casey Kelly and two others. The Gonzalez move, moves Kevin Youklis back to 3B; A move he was happy to make. With the addition of Crawford it brings the outfield depth. Mike Cameron will likely be your 4th outfielder and first off the bench to fill in against left handed pitching for JD Drew, who's struggles are well documented against most lefties. Jacoby Ellsbury after last season's debaucle with injuries looks to turn a new leaf in 2011 as well. Last but not least is DH David Ortiz, who looks like a man on a mission this season. Ortiz is in the last year of his contract and wants to make a statement to stay in Boston, a place he doesn't want to leave.
Now with all this optimism I'm sure you want to see what the Opening Day line up would look like. Here's a mock lineup I drew up.
1. CF Ellsbury
2. 2B Pedroia
3. 1B Gonzalez
4. 3B Youklis
5. DH Ortiz
6. LF Crawford
7. RF Drew
8. C Saltalamacchia/Varitek
9. SS Scutaro
That's all for today kids, hope you enjoyed my first article. I'll be checking in weekly as the season progresses. As for now keep at it Red Sox fans, good things are at hand.