Monday, May 19, 2014

Red Sox One-and-done Prediction...

You read it here first: the Detroit Tigers are going to the 2014 World Series. I just don't know who they'll be playing -- I don't follow the NL games anywhere near as closely as the AL games.

If the Red Sox even make it to the playoffs this year, I'll be happy. Winning back-to-back championships is a real tall order by itself. But this year's Sox model isn't quite the same as last year's. For one thing, they lost Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees in the off-season -- his lead-off batting and his base-stealing are probably the two things the Sox are missing the most right now.

But something else that's been intriguing me is the battery of pitcher Jake Peavy and catcher A. J. Prezinski. These two know each other from their White Sox champion days. You wouldn't know it from April onward, though -- Peavy is 1-2 in eight starts, and A. J. is... well, still a bit of a mystery to me. He can definitely throw out potential base-stealers, which I love, but he's very streaky as a hitter, and worse, he seems like he's still adjusting to a mostly-new starting pitcher rotation -- that, since the clear bulk of virtually every ballgame that's ever been played has taken place between the guy on the mound and the guy with the largest mitt, pretty much seals the no-repeat deal in my mind, even if you leave the loss of Ellsbury out.

(For the record, Jake Peavy is currently my favorite of the Red Sox starting five, even after his last two ass-kicked starts. His record's as bad as it is because he usually gets meager run support at best -- and last night was hardly an exception. I saw that this guy always pitched to win last year, and he still does in spite of his mistakes and just plain rotten luck. Others may think Peavy's lame enough to warrant a ticket to the bullpen, but I think it's hard to maintain anything resembling a good fight when your team's offense keeps stepping on its own goddamned dick.)

If the hitters are to be expected to carry this team, then David Ortiz is going to need a few teammates to get on the stick right quick. Last time I checked, four of Detroit's starting nine -- Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter, and Ian Kinsler -- were all batting over .300. Ortiz's current average? .299 -- and he's Boston's team leader. He couldn't do it all even if he were to resort to PEDs.

As for Detroit's pitching, well, look at these: Rick Porcello, 7-1 with a 2.91 ERA; Max Scherzer, 6-1 with a 1.83 ERA (if he keeps that up, he'll win another Cy Young); and Justin Verlander, who once won a Cy Young and an MVP in the same year, currently 5-2 with a 3.15 ERA, beating the musk out of everyone on the Red Sox staff (and, frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if this son of a bitch turns out to be the next Nolan Ryan in the long run, he's been that impressive thus far in his career).

Oh, and the Sox beat the Tigers to get to the World Series last year, too. Ballplayers tend to have real long memories, the perfect breeding grounds for payback. I don't like Boston's odds. At all.

John Farrell's one hell of a manager, but I think the Sox may need a magician this year...

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