BOSTON (CBS) — There is an ongoing trend down in Fort Myers, Florida in regards to the 2021 Boston Red Sox. It’s a team that is being counted out by many around baseball, but not those currently taking the field at JetBlue Park.
Over the opening days of Spring Training, the motto of the 2021 Red Sox has been “don’t sleep on us,” a mantra that has been echoed by returning manager Alex Cora and anyone else who has gotten in front of the camera for a Zoom interview.READ MORE: Dorchester Church Joins National Father's Day Challenge, Calls For 'Summer Of Peace'
On Sunday night, potential closer Matt Barnes was the latest to jump on the bandwagon during his 1-on-1 chat with Dan Roche for WBZ-TV’s Sports Final. From an improved rotation — which in turn should help the team’s bullpen — to a potentially powerful lineup, Barnes says there is a lot to like about this year’s Red Sox team.
“Our lineup bangs, man. One through nine, everyone can do damage at any point in the game. Our rotation is bolstered by the guys they brought in, and our bullpen is bolstered by the guys who they brought in,” Barnes said of this year’s team. “And a lot of us have been playing together for a while, so we have experience of guys who know how to win and what it takes to play through October.READ MORE: Massachusetts Reports 41 New COVID Cases, 5 Additional Deaths
“We’re fine being underdogs. The pressure isn’t on us,” he added. “It’s on other people to do things. When we go out and take care of business, play at the level we know we’re capable of playing at, it could be a special year. You could see some guys bounce back, some guys elevate their games or guys continue doing what they’re doing. I like it; don’t sleep.”
The Red Sox went just 24-36 during last year’s shortened season, and won just 84 games in 2019. It was a disappointing follow-up to the historic 2018 Red Sox that won 108 games before cruising to a World Series title.
But with Cora back on the bench and a rotation that will once again have Eduardo Rodriguez — and eventually, Chris Sale — back in the mix, Barnes is confident that the Red Sox will make some noise all the way through October.MORE NEWS: 'Devastating': 1-Year-Old Angelo Nicoloro Drowned During Wrentham Father's Day Celebration
“I don’t know that you can ever sleep on a team with ‘Red Sox’ across the front of their uniform,” he said.