BOSTON (CBS) – The 2012 Red Sox season has arrived, and the 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ Sports teams have plenty on their mind.

National pundits aren’t giving Boston much of a shot following the offseason overhaul, courtesy of that famous September collapse.

It’s a mixed bag with this group. Some see October baseball, others see a season full of drama and Bobby Valentine antics. And Toucher and Rich… well, no one really knows what they think.

Here is where everyone stands on opening day, with 162 games left to play:

Plenty Of Potential

Dan Roche

I think the Red Sox will be right in the thick of things in 2012, however it may be a battle for them to capture a playoff spot. Their core is solid: Gonzalez, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Youkilis, Ortiz, etc lead a solid offense that will score runs. When Crawford returns they should also get a nice boost.

On defense, they should be above average with an outstanding infield and a capable outfield. Saltalamacchia is improving at catcher while Shoppach is very solid.

Read: Dan Roche’s 2012 Season Preview

The big question mark remains pitching. Losing Bailey is an obvious big blow, and when Aceves or Melancon fill in, they will be lost as relievers. I would stick Bard back in the pen and let either Padilla or Cook start. Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz should keep the team in contention.

Bobby Valentine will be a shock to the players system, but it’s their own fault after they took advantage of Terry Francona.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what/if new GM Ben Cherington can/will do to add to this team as the season evolves. Plus, we may see Iglesias, Lavarnway, Middlebrooks and others come up and help from Pawtucket.

Prediction? 90-72. Same as last year, but with a totally different feel to it. Should be interesting. Hope you all enjoy the ride.

Tony Massarotti

Amazing, isn’t it? A year ago, the Red Sox were the best team ever. Now, they’re bums. The truth is somewhere in between.

History tells us 90 wins should qualify a team for this year’s fifth and final playoff spot. If the Red Sox have their heads on straight, they have the talent to win 90 – and then some. They’ll be in the playoffs.

Walt Perkins

It probably wouldn’t be fair to say, “wait until next year” before the 2012 season gets started but that’s what many Red Sox fans are thinking on the eve of the opening game of the year. The new closer is on the shelf for several months. The left fielder is still recovering from off-season wrist surgery. Questions still abound about the back half of the starting rotation.

All that said, any team with Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury is going to be in the hunt for a playoff berth. I think the Red Sox have enough to finish 2nd in the A.L. East and secure a Wild Card slot.

Good, But Not Good Enough

Andy Gresh

There are six teams in the AL for five playoff spots, and the Red Sox are in that mix. They should win 92 games this season; whether that is good enough for one of the Wild Card spots I’m not too sure. History tells us yes.

I’m worried about the bullpen. I know they have 13 pitchers but how many of them will really last? All of this is based on their ability to go out and score runs, which I think they will do when they get Carl Crawford back.

So I’m going 92 wins, and hoping for the best.

Read: Red Sox Set Opening Day Roster

Michael Felger

I’m sticking with 95 wins even though their bullpen is a mess, even though a lot of things are a mess.

It seems that not much has changed since last year, but even last year through most of the season they were on pace for the mid-90’s in wins. So, if September doesn’t happen, they’re still at 95 wins even with all their problems. Let’s say the same problems exist, all they have to do is avoid the worst month in the history of baseball and they’re back in the 90’s.

I think the Red Sox are a playoff team, but I don’t know if they’re a championship team.

Open Schedule In October

Damon Amendolara

The old adage about a car wreck is: it’s so ugly you can’t turn away. That would be appropriate for the Red Sox September collapse and the ugly offseason that followed – except it’s so ugly Sox fans are actually turning away.

I can’t tell you how much venom I’ve heard on my show at night. This smells like it could start bad, and end worse. I’m not predicting 90 losses or cellar dweller status, but this team has the real potential to never run smoothly all season. My prediction is third place AL East, 89 wins, and out of the final AL Wild Card.

John Wallach

I say 88 wins. You need a closer and the Red Sox really don’t have one. Daniel Bard will stay in the rotation, which is a mistake.

I think Bobby Valentine will manage this team out of whatever contention they’re in. I don’t think this offense can hold up the poor back-end of the bullpen and one of the big three pitchers will get hurt, really making this a down year for the Red Sox.

88-74. Third place and out of the playoffs.

Doom And Gloom

Fred Toucher

The Red Sox have too many injuries, and with the lack of a closer I see a 20-142 record. They go on a big slump to start the season and I don’t see them digging themselves out of an early season hole. Look for them to finish fifth in the AL East, behind the Orioles.

Rich Shertenlieb

My prediction for the Red Sox this season is that every pitcher is going to get unbelievably hurt. Their thumbs are going to explode.

Then, out of nowhere Tim Wakefield is going to show up with a sickle and a thing of dynamite and say “How do you like me now?” and then he’s going to throw it into the Red Sox offices and Fenway will crumble.

Comments (9)
  1. 1stackmack says:

    .500 year,nothing more than play predictions cause the injury bug has already started.

  2. Brutally Honest Assessment says:

    85-77 and 3rd Place sounds about right. I *could* see them winning 90-92 games and contending for a WC spot if everything goes right (and they make one very simple move that won’t cost ANY money… see below). But right now, this is a lost season & the Liverpool-obsessed FO isn’t even pretending it’s not. I wouldn’t even rule out a 4th Place with a record around .500 if the Blue Jays finally get their act together.

    Mark my words: the Red Sox will have the WORST BULLPEN IN MLB… unless they make Daniel Bard the closer ASAP. Really, making him a starter makes ZERO SENSE. Bard will struggle to get through 5 innings as a starter and leave a gaping black hole in the 8th and 9th innings that could cost the Sox a good 20-25 games. He’s the closest thing they have to Paps right now. Instead of using him to lock down close games, they prefer to go with another dreaded “closer by committee” experiment, resulting in a bullpen that will rival the Astros and Orioles.

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