Friday, February 24, 2006

Predictions anyone?

Today on sports radio, some of the regulars gave their predictions on how many games the Red Sox would win this season. The consensus seemed to be 90 to 95, with variable belief as to whether the Red Sox would capture the wild card.

Last time I checked, the Sox have barely started constructing the newest version of the Big Red Sox Machine, with questions about who will comprise the starting rotation, many of the bullpen roles, and of course the closer.

Presumably, the rotation gains stature with the return of Schilling, the addition of Beckett and Papelbon, and the maturation of Arroyo. Wakefield fills out the rotation, presuming that Clement and Wells find greener pastures. Frankly, with the injury histories of the top of the rotation, I'd rather try to find a way to at least keep Clement, with the hope of having five healthy starters all year long.

I expect that Foulke will make a satisfactory physical and mental (attitude) recovery, and that we'll see how Tavarez, Timlin, Seanez, Hansen, Delcarmen, and a LOOGY (lefty out of the pen to get one guy) work out. Obviously, something's got to give, and we can look forward to Jon Lester just over the Rhodizon as the Bruce Hurst replacement in waiting (heck, it only will have taken twenty years).

A new season, a new hand-wringing article. What can go wrong?

1) The pitching coach gets a serious health problem. Nah, that could never happen.

2) Manny Ramirez loses his directions and doesn't arrive at camp. Manny must have an in-vehicle GPS, so he's going to need a better reason than that.

3) The number two starter gets blisters. Whoever heard of that?

4) David Wells decides he wants to stay, and stay in the rotation. He demands to stay, or he'll go on a hunger strike. Probably not.

5) Dustin 'The Wind' Pedroia beats out Mark Loretta for the second base job. Theo announces Loretta has 'turf toe', and trades him back to the Padres for Dave Roberts. Roberts gets standing ovation in first appearance.

6) John Flaherty homers in first Red Sox at bat. Terry Francona faints and is taken to Mass General for observation. Pigs fly.

7) Theo Epstein looks for additional players with Massachusetts city and town names for local appeal. Lowell and Wakefield ask for 'naming rights' bonuses. Adam Everett says he will not be a reserve infielder, Brian Lawrence reports Boston weather unacceptable, and Terry Adams doesn't fill the bill.

8) Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein star in Brushback Mountain.

9) Coco Crisp retires after one month to run for governor.

10) The Sox raise ticket prices and seats go empty. Never happen.

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