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April Mourning


Thomas Casey

4/7/09

As the excitement of opening day settles in, anxious Red Sox fans are still awaiting their first pitch. Whether or not this will be from the Lion of the Senate Ted Kennedy or not is of little or no interest to most. However, what is at the top of most of our minds is the state of affairs in the AL East.

The first question that comes to mind: Will the Rays repeat their performance of last year where they took the lead in late June and effectively never looked back? My sentiments are yes, they seem like they will be in the hunt for October. But, this will not go without contention from the Red sox or the mighty Yankees.

Vegas has three teams in the AL East (Red Sox, Yankees, Rays) in the top 10 in the MLB going into the 2009 season. The Yankees, not surprisingly, are sitting in the 1 spot. With a proven ace in Sabathia, a solid rotation behind him, and that always potent 1 through 9 (including the addition of Texiera) the Yankees have once again muscled themselves into the top of the AL East discussion. Regardless of the Rays amazing performance last year, I think it is foolish to not look at the Yankees as the top team going into 2009.

In spite of this, the Red Sox are not a team to glance over. Locking in Youkilis and Pedroia was important to keeping the nucleus of this young team intact. Josh Beckett coming into the season fully healthy is a great sign of things to come. Even though the Red Sox don’t possess a solid four or five man rotation, they could have what proves to be the deepest pitching in the league. Not to mention, if John Smoltz returns in a big way this June to keep his sub 3.30 lifetime ERA intact, we could be looking at the best all around pitching staff the Red Sox have seen in a long time.

The truth is there’s no sure way to know which team in this division will be crowned with the AL East title. The only conclusion that is out of the question would be Baltimore entering October with 80 or more wins. Still, 2009 will prove to be a gripping struggle for power in the AL. Yet, do Red Sox fans want another competitive team in their division? Have the Yankees not delivered us enough pain that we have to endure another formidable foe?

I, for one, say we do want another competitive team in our division. The postponement of the game today with the Tampa Bay Rays gives us as fans one more day to look forward to that opening pitch. We have one more day to be eager for that first punch-out, or that sailing Youkilis homerun that just barely escapes over the monster. As our opening day nears, we can be glad that we have a competitive team in the most competitive league in baseball.

1 comment:

  1. I think the Sox have the best pitching in baseball, even without Smoltz factored in. Anytime you can roll out a guy who won 16 games less than 3 years ago as your 5th starter, you got some depth. Not only that but Bucholtz being in the minors is a pretty statement on their depth.

    What does everyone think of the pen? I think it has to be considered one of the better ones in the game, right along with the new look Mets.

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