BOSTON (CBS) — Spring is in the air, and summer is just around the corner. Monday is Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox.
A new season begins at Fenway Park, with the Red Sox hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates for their first of 162. With the new season comes some new hope and even a little confidence that Red Sox baseball will be played into the month of October.
Read: Pirates-Red Sox Preview
There is plenty to like about the 2017 Boston Red Sox, as Dan Roche and Tony Massarotti discussed Sunday night on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final. And with Mazz, you can’t have the good without the bad. Here’s what the duo likes — and doesn’t like — about the 2017 Boston Red Sox (check out the full segment in the video above):
3 Things To Like
Top Of The Rotation
Even with David Price starting the season on the disabled list, the front of the Boston rotation is still in great shape with defending Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and Chris Sale (who won a combined 39 games in 2016) setting the tone.
“The Price injury isn’t good news, but between Sale and Porcello they’re still pretty good 1-2. I don’t expect Porcello to win the Cy Young again, but with Sale and Porcello they will match up with most teams in the AL,” said Mazz. “I don’t think Price will be right this year, but that’s just my two cents.”
How can you not like the trio of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and rookie Andrew Benintendi???
“You have a dynamic group there. Bradley is what he is, he probably has the lowest potential of the three, but the defense is exceptional, as we know. The other two guys, one is already a borderline superstar in Betts and we’re all intrigued by Benintendi,” commented Mazz. “You’re talking about as dynamic a young outfield as there is in all of baseball.”
Right Side Infield Defense
The steady glove of Dustin Pedroia (4x Gold Glove winner) and new first baseman Mitch Moreland (who won a Gold Glove last year) should make for some outstanding defense on the right side of the infield this season.
“Defensively, on that right side, you could have something pretty special there,” said Mazz.
3 Things Not To Like
Craig Kimbrel will be the man responsible for the final three (and sometimes more) outs of the game, but getting to Kimbrel may be an issue this season.
“To me, this is a given in any year. You’re always worried about the relief core unless you have a group that is so deep and so good every year, and a manager that can handle it, that you just say it’s an automatic and they’re going to be good. This one has some injuries in it on top of it, and I’ve never been thrilled with Farrell’s ability to mix and match and manage a game in the late innings,” said Mazz. “Given the injuries they have with [Tyler] Thornburg, you have to watch that.”
Power From The Left Side
It’s not so much replacing the retired bat of David Ortiz, but the Boston lineup is heavily tilted to the right side.
“It’s about getting a left-handed bat that consistency produces and also hits for power. They need someone from that left side to give them something consistently,” said Mazz, who is leaning toward Benintendi and a motivated Pablo Sandoval to providing some pop from the left of the plate.
Rochie says that Farrell is a good manager for this team, but Mazz expects the pressure to ramp up on him this season.
“To me, let’s see how it goes with the injuries on the pitching staff, with the absence of Price. There is going to be more pressure put on the manager. They built this team with the idea of winning a championship in three years; that’s the goal. When that happens, when you have those kind of stakes, there is more pressure on the manager.”
Tune in to Sports Final and Sports Final OT every Sunday at 11:35 p.m. on WBZ-TV!