BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox have enjoyed a relatively quiet Spring Training, and Opening Day is just a week away.
Despite David Price’s injury, there is an air of confidence around the team as they head into the 2017 campaign. After ending a two-year postseason drought last season, the expectation this year is that the Red Sox will be playing well into October.
Every day leading up to Monday’s opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand will examine a “Red Sox Thought Of The Day.” They had a couple of different thoughts to share on Monday, with Zolak hoping for a strong season from Pablo Sandoval. But Marc Bertrand argues that Sandoval’s bounce-back season is one of a few giant question marks surrounding the team. In addition to Sandoval’s return to the lineup, there are questions surrounding injuries and a potential drop in production for some of Boston’s younger players, which makes it difficult to predict what 2017 will hold for the Red Sox.
“All these beat writers are telling me not to worry about the runs, the runs will come. Do we really know that though? Will these bats mesh?” wondered Bertrand. “The scary part of Sandoval is that you need him to perform. We talked about seven players playing in 140 games or more [in 2016], and that’s not going to happen. There are too many variables, and not just from an injury standpoint.”
Andrew Benintendi was impressive in his two-month stint in Boston at the end of the season, and now finds himself in the No. 2 spot in the Red Sox lineup to start the season. There’s reason to be confident the 22-year-old can handle those responsibilities so high in the order, but it’s still a big question mark for Boston.
“We haven’t seen him hit a hard slide for an extended period of time,” Bertrand noted of Benintendi. “You could see any of these players have huge dips in productions. You could have guys miss games. Hanley [Ramirez] could miss time because the shoulder is a problem. There are too many variables. You look at Sandoval and you don’t just root for him. They need him to be a decent player.
“They could be terrible, they could be great. It’s hard team to predict what could happen this year,” said Beetle.
Listen to the full Red Sox discussion below, and stay tuned all week for Zolak & Bertrand’s thoughts on the upcoming Red Sox season: