Reporting Dan Roche
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BOSTON (CBS) – Can the Boston Red Sox win the World Series this year?
It’s as simple as that. Yes, the 2013 Red Sox can absolutely win another World Championship. Why not?
The 2012 Red Sox won 69 games and were the laughingstock of Major League Baseball. At least one of their superstars was seriously thinking of asking out of Boston – even after winning a World Series here. The team was in disarray.
However, the GM went out and fixed it and from Day One of Spring Training it was completely different.
Clay Buchholz, who is now 11-0 on the season, said exactly that after shutting down the Yankees on Sunday night — completing Boston’s sweep of New York and knocking them out of the playoffs. Clay told me that Jonny Gomes brought in bottles of champagne one day during the spring, and told his team that they would be spraying it around in October.
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I’ve heard nothing but great things about just how big of an influence Gomes has been in that clubhouse, showing the younger guys the right thing to do in certain situations, both on and off the field.
Another thing that’s impressed me is how much this group talks baseball. You can hear it in their voices just how much they love the game and they’re not afraid to talk about it – non-stop — and on all kinds if topics. I say that having not had the opportunity to be there many times this season.
As for on the field the 2013 Red Sox can beat you in many, many ways. They can pound the baseball, as we’ve seen up and down the line-up from David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia — who all have 30 or more doubles this season (and you can add the injured Jacoby Ellsbury to that list as well). They can run, especially up top, with Elsbury, Shane Victorino, and even Pedroia. And they take pitches with the best of them; I heard on the radio last week that Sox hitters had seen 1,000 more pitches than any other team in baseball.
I asked David Ortiz before Sunday’s game what he liked about this team? He said “everything.” He went added that the only doubt he had was if the Sox could hit left handed pitching – something they struggled with for quite some time. However, they have been pounding lefties, especially since Mike Napoli re-emerged in the line-up. So, David said – that one question has now been answered.
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With the check mark next to the offense, let’s move on to the defense. The infield has been outstanding all around the horn while the outfield has the ability to get to a lot of balls hit their way. Victorino is amazing to watch play right field as you can’t count him out on any fly ball. Ellsbury has been Ellsbury while Gomes plays better than he’s been “labeled” throughout his career.
Starting pitching? Jon Lester has shown that he is the ace of the staff over the second half, sporting a 2.77 ERA since the start of July. Clay Buchholz has come back from his three months off with shoulder trouble and has looked real good – and should get better with each start going forward. John Lackey has been above average from start to finish, and Jake Peavy competes like no other starter in baseball. They should be able to match up with any rotation – even Detroit’s big 4 of Verlander-Scherzer-Sanchez-Fister.
The bullpen is probably the biggest question mark for these Red Sox. That is, after Koji Uehara who is having a “one for the ages” stretch at closer. The question is, who sets him up? Will it be Tazawa from the right and Breslow from the left? Workman? Thornton? Dempster? Morales? Doubront? That question is still TBD, but if Tazawa can rest up and get back to his old self it would be big for the bridge to Uehara.
Ben Cherington has put together a deep and talented roster that gets an A-plus in chemistry, and John Farrell and his staff have brought this club together. Now, it’s up to the Sox to see if they can get on a roll. You need to execute and catch some breaks along the way too.
As for my thought going into the postseason on the 2013 Red Sox, it’s all gravy. To win 95-plus games will be amazing, and to show the character and resiliency they have has made it special and fun again. Who knows how far they will go, but I tip my hat to a group that has made this summer a blast.
Bring on the playoffs!
Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.