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2009 Red Sox Preview

April 4, 2009

Things that I absolutely guarantee for the 2009 Red Sox.

Terry Francona will manage the personnel to their maximum effectiveness, regardless of what any second-guessing couch potatoes want to think or know. Tito knows more than you about his players, and always will.

The best managers in the game aren’t the men who “X” and “O” better than everyone, they’re the men who manage their people the best. Tito is as good as anyone I’ve ever been around at that. While he may suck at Cribbage, he can manage people. He may be a bit off-kilter since this is his first season as a ML manager without me on his team, but I’ll cut him some slack…..

First the divisional prediction. Cop-out time. I will make the same claim I made last season. The winner of the AL East will be between NY, Boston and Tampa. Whichever team has the fewest DL days of the opening day starting rotation’s five guys and closer will win the East.

One exception to the above rule is this. I think of the three teams that are legitimate contenders (I would add Toronto as a factor but even having Butter on the bench as a General is not enough to overcome the big 3 in my opinion), only the Red Sox could manage a big injury to the staff and not get buried. Not that they will, but I think they could.

The East has been a war of attrition for years and this year people are going to take Tampa for real as a player in this fight. The same folks who last year spent the whole season saying “this month is it,” “they can’t keep it up,” “they’re ready to go down” about Tampa are the same folks this spring saying “they’ll come back to the pack” or “they’ll come down to earth.”

Problem is those comments were made with no logic behind them. Tampa won this division last year with not one player having anything close to a career year. They did it with their ace on the DL for part of the season. They did it with no 40 HR guy, no batting title contender. They did it because Joe Maddon can manage his people, and he got his younger players to understand that winning games is far cooler than being a star. You can have both. Now add to the mix Gabe Kapler, someone who will have a profound impact on superstar young players, a healthy Scott Kazmir, a more seasoned James Shields, Matt Garza and others and I don’t see them ‘fading.’ I think it’s going to be a challenge for sure, but they’ll hold their own in my opinion.

The Yankees? Well in addition to opening what many will come to realize is the most kick-ass new stadium on the planet, they spent about $14.5 trillion in the off season to add more studs and horses. That the formula refused to work in the last eight years didn’t stop them from continuing it. The difference now is they are mixing in some young homegrown studs at the ML level who are impact guys.

Joba Chamberlain has all the makings of being a true top of the rotation guy, or the next Mariano. His numbers and stuff don’t lie, he’s the real deal and I love the makeup I’ve seen so far.

CC, well, he’s CC. That means a guy who will scream for the ball every five days if not every four, want to be on the mound in the 9th and be pissed at less than perfection. What’s not to love? That’s an ace, that’s what you HAVE to have at the top of your rotation.

Now add Tex to the mix and once again it’s a lineup to worry about. If I am not mistaken the new ballpark dimensions mirror the old, which means LHH are going to continue enjoying hitting there. Missing A-Rod will not help them early, no matter what you think, but starting the season without that media BS in the clubhouse every day should be some sort of bonus.

The bigger piece coming into play for them now is the top end of their prospect list. Austin Jackson appears to be a five-tool guy everyone is excited about and supposedly isn’t that far off. People got complacent or just totally missed the fact that having Bernie Williams out there for a decade was an insane luxury. That CF area is enormous ground to cover and having someone out there that brings some pop at the plate will be a huge lift for them. Melancon, Brackman and McAllister are all potential big upside arms. Melancon is being mentioned as Mariano’s heir apparent and that’s not a bad thing for either guy. Meaning one guy is still far from done, but this kid supposedly has the tools and makeup to be the next one. I still think Chamberlain ends up in that spot. Brackman is the wild card. At 6’10” and 270 pounds you are talking massive potential with massive consistency issues. Moving that much mass, under control, consistently, is incredibly hard to do and teach. If they do, and he progresses, you are talking about a right-handed Randy Johnson if he can pan out. That’s ace, top-of-the-rotation stuff that comes along every 20 years. Anytime you hear ‘middle of the rotation’ mentioned in a prospects accolades it means three things.

1) We may never hear his name again
2) He could be an ace
3) Not one of his pitches wows you.

The reason that never bothers me is they continue to do this to kids in their late teens and early twenties, before velocity gain and physical growth has stopped. Many kids getting these labels are in growth spurts and are trying to adjust to new bodies, both in height and weight, as well as learning how to get guys out as the McAllister kid is.

Jesus Montero is listed as a catcher, but with his offensive ability and his size, he’ll switch positions.

One thing to watch out for in the next two years: if Boston doesn’t get that catcher of the future, and Minnesota doesn’t re-sign Joe Mauer, he’s going to go off the charts after the 2010 season as a free agent when the Sox and Yankees will be at the front of the line.

So New York needs to stay healthy, get 30 or so from Burnett and Sabathia, 25-30 from Chamberlain and Wang becomes as good as any #3 in baseball, right alongside Dice or Lester. The Yankee defense, if it’s not solid, could prove to be a huge issue for them this year as far as Wang is concerned. He’s won consistently with a below average defense and he won’t suddenly start striking guys out. I expect his numbers to remain the same, or maybe improve outside W/L. He is a guy that could have across-the-board improvement in all categories but W/L if he doesn’t get consistent defense.

If they get that many starts from their rotation they are going to be very very good.

Boston, and yes there may be some bias here but it’s because I know them and I understand how they are approaching things, is the favorite for one reason. They won the wild card last year, were within nine outs of a World Series, and never had their ace. Josh had a tough year last year. He was far more hurt in the playoffs than anyone knew. You put him out there healthy, which he is, with Jon Lester, Dice, Wake, Penny/Smoltz/Masterson, and you can’t help but feel good.

The top three pitchers have a legitimate shot at finishing in the top 10 in Cy Young voting. It would not surprise me if two things happened I don’t think anyone is expecting this year:

1) Jon Lester is better than he was last year.
2) Dice is as good, if not better, than he was last year.

The Lester progression to me is natural. Given his makeup, his stuff, and the Farrell factor if he stays healthy there is no reason his numbers won’t continue to improve over the next few years. Add in the life experience (which cannot be underestimated imo) and you have a perennial Cy candidate.

Dice is just smart. He ‘grew’ last year and progressed and the W/L total, while surprising given the IP, was not a fluke. There are pitchers with marginal stuff who can throw out the occasional W/L % like he did last year, and then there are pitchers with good stuff who know how to make pitches in big spots. Dice is the latter. He knows how to execute when he’s in a bind and that means he gives up far fewer runs than you might expect. If he can improve his command and mindset early in counts, he can move into lofty company.

After those three you figure the combination of Wake, Smoltz, Penny, Masterson, Buchholz needs to make 72 starts. Can they do that and win 45 of them? Absolutely.

If Justin masters getting ahead and beating LHH he’s looking at a long and prosperous career as a starter in the big leagues. When your feature pitch is a sinker with more tail than sink, left-handed hitters can be a huge issue (reason being the ‘tail’ sees the ball move more to the barrel of a LHH’s bat than happens with sink, when the ball has dominating downward movement; Kevin Brown and Brandon Webb have massive sink). Few guys can do that and master the inside part of the plate to LHH. The key for Justin is that it’s something identified already and being addressed. Believe it or not, identifying the problem has been the most missed step in the process in the past. Even so, identifying it is one thing, but properly addressing how to ‘fix it’ never seems to get put in the mix.

You do that, imo, with command of the inner half of the plate to LHH through a cutter/FB mix. Greg Maddux was a master at this. He threw a sinker and a cutter to BOTH sides. If you know what side of the plate I am throwing to that can be an advantage. But if I can throw two pitches to that side of the plate — one that moves TOWARDS you and the other moving AWAY from you — it’s almost to my advantage that you ‘guess’ right as long as I am throwing the ‘other’ pitch. Add his pitching IQ and knowledge of hitters to the mix and you get 350 some odd wins and 100% of the HOF ballot. Justin will need to, again imo, be a guy that learns hitters more than some guys. He’ll need to learn LHH’s tendencies and create an ebb and flow that keeps LHH guessing and uncomfortable. If he can do that he’s going to win and win a lot.

Brad Penny remains the potentially biggest bargain of the year. I’ve known Brad since early in his Florida days and he’s a fantastic kid. Unfortunately, and fortunately, for him he’s got a high-maintenance body. Speaking as someone with experience in that department he’s got to keep on top of that and it appears he knows that and is doing that exact thing. If he’s healthy and pitches like he can, with Tek, Farrell and this bullpen, he could be a 15-20 game winner. That’s a lot of ifs, but certainly not out of the question. If he is in fact healthy then he immediately becomes the best #4 or 5 in the game and the Sox could win 110.

Smoltz, damn. Another “if” but I’ve heard nothing to think he won’t be healthy. If that is the case then things get even brighter. I bet you any amount of money, if you asked every manager in the game what rotation they would NOT want in a best of 5, or 7, it would be a healthy Sox rotation. Two of the best big-game pitchers in baseball (Smoltz and Josh), along with Dice and Lester? I’ll match that group with anyone all time in October.

That’s another huge if. October is a loooong way off. As a fan though you have to feel good knowing that the training staff, led by Paul Lessard, along with Tito and John, will manage their guys and the innings in the best possible manner to see that this staff arrives in October as healthy as possible.

I don’t even need to go into depth on the bullpen. Another “if,” but if they are healthy they present the one thing every opponent dreads. The ‘seven-inning game’. In the late 80’s and early 90’s it was the Reds. Mid 90’s it was the Yankees with Rivera and Wetteland. A few years ago you had the Angels with Rodriguez and Percival.

Managers manage different, offenses play different. You know on nights when everyone’s available that not having a lead after seven pretty much means you lose. It’s not a “fait accompli” but you know going in….

This bullpen not only has that potential with Saito, Paps, Okie, but you have multiple arms able to fill both spots. Not just any arms either, but power arms. This is where I see the Sox having a huge edge given the coaching. You won’t have a “pitch Scott Proctor until his arm falls off” scenario here. They will be able to mix and match on almost every night and not burn any one guy out. That’s just huge, even more so in the East.

The offense? Let’s put it this way. Manny‘s gone and there’s only one Manny. At the plate there is no comparable player in the game when he wants to play. Having said that, this offense is going to score runs and wear out pitchers. One of the keys will be Jacoby and his progression. On base he changes everything about the game for the hitter, pitcher and defense. Not many players can say that.

The Yankees have two players you could legitimately see as top 10 MVP candidates. The Rays? Not sure they have one beyond Pena right now. Longoria certainly could be that guy, Upton as well, but if you were betting and using track record there is nothing in the numbers that says Petey, Youk and David couldn’t be as well. If David is healthy, which it appears he is, he’s going to see his protection come back. No matter how the lineup shakes out Papi is the ‘don’t let him beat you’ guy, but he’s also surrounded by four guys who can beat you just as well: Petey, Youk, Bay and Drew. Don’t discount a healthy Mike Lowell either. The lineup is just so damn deep that other teams are going to have a hard time winning a series in which they don’t run out a No. 1 or 2.

The Red Sox lineup, like the Yankees, just crushes mediocre pitching. Not only that but the series in which you start your 4 or 5 in game 1, or 1 and 2, can get away from you fast because there are many games that these lineups are in your pen in the 3rd inning. I’ve watched many managers in the past five years lose all three games of a series in the first five innings of game 1 by mismanaging the bullpen.

What people miss is not the immediate effects, which often times are obvious, but the lingering ones. You use your pen for six innings in game 1, three in game 2 and three or four in game 3, and that’s 12 of your 27 innings being thrown by your pen. You arrive at the ‘by availability’ day when you have at most two or three guys available and the starter craps the bed again. That first game of the previous series can take you out of games for a week if a manager mismanages the bullpen.

No one wants to be considered ‘strong’ in middle relief. It’s a calling card for teams that suck because middle relief is something you want to use 1-2 times a week tops. It’s the spot many teams park their 11th or 12th arm, or the young developing kid. Teams with payrolls like NY and Boston manage to park very talented, somewhat expensive veterans or young, up-and-coming studs in that roll. Their staff never misses a beat and combined with these offenses they end up turning three or four games a year every other team loses into wins.

One of the mandates of the Epstein era was revamping and recreating a truly deep minor league system. Is there any question as of today as to whether that’s happened or not? You’ve got a stable of arms that are primed and close to ready to make a difference in the big leagues and they are catching up on the position player pool as well.

I never thought having stacked prospects in the position player area was a major concern simply because having tons of arms means you have the ultimate bargaining chip in any trade.

Take a poll of GMs around the game and I would bet you’d see the ratio 2-1 or higher as to ‘untouchable pitching prospects’ vs. position prospects.

How many teams could create a package of talent that would garner a front-line catcher with one or two minor league pitchers and maybe a position player? Not many.

So there you have it. Another long winded post and another opinion…..

My call is the Sox win 105 games this year, the Division as well. No post season predictions yet.

Oh and I also think the Cy will go to a member of this staff: Beckett, Lester or Paps.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2009 6:52 pm

    What about the bench? You missed Rocco and Carter…make it 106 wins.

  2. bosoxyaz8 permalink
    April 4, 2009 7:11 pm

    Good article.go sox !!

  3. April 4, 2009 7:49 pm

    i think you are correct with how tough the east is going to be. If all stay healthy, I think it will be the Yanks ans Soxs in either order. I think the pitching will be the difference and “if” all are healthy-the Yanks have a better 1-5 and the bullpen will be really tight between Boston and New York. Offense goes to the Yankees and defense goes to Boston.

    Which makes it really tough to pick a winner but I will go with the Yankees.

  4. NHBill permalink
    April 4, 2009 8:59 pm

    Thanks Curt! That was a fantastic post! You definitely bring a perspective I can’t find anywhere else.

  5. April 4, 2009 10:23 pm

    LOL you are right – totally safe call on saying it’s either Boston, Tampa or NYC. I think it’s either Boston or Tampa; personally, I think NYC has successfully gotten themselves in yet another position of too many egos to form a cohesive team. I could be wrong, there’s immense talent there – but I just don’t see that team being a “team” and gelling. Just my uneducated opinion….

    I personally also love Joba, despite his lack of discipline or emotion thus far. (Is that the makeup you were referring to, his emotion? Or were you just referring to his show of ability?) He absolutely is the real deal, and I love to hate him as a result of it. I’d like to see him settle down and do really well – hopefully not have him become injury prone — and though I don’t want to see him do well against us necessarily, I do appreciate his talent and hope to see him have a great year.

    I’m really happy with our team overall this year, the pitching staff – and hopefully, the bats will be there consistently. I am really looking forward to Monday. 🙂

  6. Ryan Dowdy permalink
    April 4, 2009 11:16 pm

    Great optimism and perspective Curt. But, for a division that has the 3 best teams in baseball – how do the Sox win 105 games when they haven’t eclipsed 100 in over 50 years?

    Winning 95 will be difficult even if everyone stays healthy.

  7. DeniseSoxFan permalink
    April 5, 2009 5:32 am

    Curt, great post! I think you are dead-on. I especially appreciate your comments about Terry Francona. He is a humble man who allows his players to shine but it is easy to see why he’s a great manager! We’re going to miss you this year.

  8. Bill H. permalink
    April 5, 2009 6:58 am

    Great insight Mr. Schilling! I would question the 105 wins insofar as the big 3 are doubtless going to “beat up on each other”. This should prove to artificially lower aggregate win totals for all 3 making 95 the likely ceiling.

  9. Cecilia permalink
    April 5, 2009 6:59 am

    HI cURT –

    Excellent forecast.

    Would just like to reiterate that although I hate to see your career end I’m glad that it ended here. As I watched you wave your cap at the end of 2007 I hoped that you wouldn’t end it anywhere else. As someone who has followed Boston teams for more years than I would care to admit I would hate to have seen you in another uniform – as we did with Fisk and Bobby Orr. Not happy memories at all.

    Love your opinions and can’t for the life of me understand why people who can’t stand you take the trouble to go to your blog and read them – odd behavioe.

    Didn’t know much about you until that famous Thanksgiving dinner as I don’t follow the National League too much, but heard that you and Shonda would be a real asset to the community. That was quite an understatement. i read some idiot comment recently that you pay no attention to kids after the cameras leave and was probably almost as incensed as you were.I have a family member that works with a children’s home that your family has been wonderful too and I know that is not the case.

    Love the blog – my favorite quote from you is that you had no idea that entering your profession would prevent you from learning and forming opinions = priceless.

    Cecilia

  10. GollyGeeWhiz permalink
    April 5, 2009 8:05 am

    Nobody has the right to comment. The Great Schill has spoken.

    We are all second-guessihg couch potatoes, not entitled, as decreed by the blowhard, to have an opinion.

    Oh, and Curt? Welcome to the couch.

  11. April 5, 2009 11:13 am

    Curt, here is my response. It’s too long to get into here, but feel free to return serve in the comments section here or there.

  12. Rachel C permalink
    April 5, 2009 11:45 am

    Cool post. I agree with you about 105 wins. Our pitching is just unstoppable. And I think they will feed off of each other, too…not to mention the position guys will have more confidence/less nerves knowing the amazing talent out on the mound every single day.

    I predict Smoltz comes in mid-May and blows everyone away. I’d add him to your list of possible Sox Cy Young candidates. He is unbelievable. I put nothing past him.

  13. paul permalink
    April 5, 2009 4:29 pm

    105-57 is far too optimistic. Playing in a difficult division with two other teams that have a legitimate shot at an AL pennant, means the Red Sox will win 94 games. This will be good enough to make the playoffs as a wild-card team.
    I hope that MLB will some day figure out a way to make the DCS a best of seven games instead of five. It is unfair when a team works so hard and wins 100 or more games, and is bounced out in a short series by an inferior team that gets a big break or two.This is the same type of problem that I have with the World Baseball Classic.

  14. Scott permalink
    April 5, 2009 10:59 pm

    Great to read your insight into the season Curt; somehow though I am not as optimistic. 100 plus wins sounds wonderful. Looking at the lineup and the rotation they are more than solid. Something is still missing for me; Manny at the plate and you on the mound. I am surely in the minority in regards to Manny yet somehow it lingers on. Avoiding clichés is almost impossible when dealing with #24, so I will just get it out of the way, Manny is who he is. That being said, he has been “Manny” for more than a decade. I will miss him and his bat. I understand that if he chooses not to swing the bat, I may as well step to the plate. You said it well “there is no comparable player when he wants to play”. As for you: you too will be greatly missed, on the field and off. Thanks for your time in a Red Sox uniform. Your skill, effort and integrity were all appreciated.

  15. Doctor X permalink
    April 6, 2009 7:27 am

    My call is the Sox win 105 games this year, the Division as well. No post season predictions yet

    From your fingers to the hands of the Baseball Gods.

    –J.D.

  16. jmcmaster permalink
    April 6, 2009 8:16 am

    One question? Do you even use X’s and O’s in baseball?

  17. Rhayader permalink
    April 6, 2009 8:28 am

    Hey Curt, awesome post, thanks for your perspective.

    Listing out the players surrounding Papi in the order makes me feel pretty confident. Talk about a nightmare stretch in the order. Add on the fact that the “other” batters are guys like Tek, Lowell, and Jed Lowrie, and it’s a pretty formidable lineup. And of course the pitching will be top-notch. I can’t wait to see that bullpen put the last three innings on lockdown.

    I’ll be flying up to Fenway to see the Yanks lose on April 24. Can’t wait.

  18. April 6, 2009 10:59 am

    I’d heard of this blog Curt, as any Sox die hard has, but this is my first visit. After reading this post I promise it won’t be my last. This might be the best analysis I have ever read, not only because of its depth but also because it is very educational.

    While many former stars end up on the autograph circuit after retirement, it’s obvious you’ll have many choices as to any “second careers.” Sports writer (I can see you laughing already), coach, or, more likely, “in the booth.”

    Whatever you choose, I only hope you’ll always think of yourself as one of the Boston Red Sox family and will consider going into Cooperstown as a member of that family!

  19. mrbmbstic permalink
    April 6, 2009 11:15 am

    Curt,

    Not sure if anyone has provided you with your “Welcoming Materials” packet yet, but I think you are now officially a member of the fan section of RSN! Only a true Red Sox fan has as much optimism about the coming baseball season (I think it will be interesting to read your posts, God-forbid, if the Sox suffer a mid-season lull. Thus begins the roller coaster ride known as the Major League Baseball season!!! PLAY BALL!

  20. bill permalink
    April 6, 2009 5:39 pm

    Hey Curt, why dont you retire from bloging

  21. sdl1 permalink
    April 6, 2009 8:56 pm

    Hey Curt…

    You may get a laugh out of this. Almost all of the geniuses at the St. Pete Times pick the Sox to win the East, except one who picks the Yankees to take it…at least he picks the Sox for the Wild Card. I now expect all the front-running cowbell-ringing idiots down here to storm the paper’s offices.

    And of course, I have been getting dirty looks all day here for wearing Sox gear…the price I pay for living in the “belly of the beast.”

  22. Yawkey Way Bum permalink
    April 7, 2009 12:26 pm

    I agree with you on the the sox winning 105 games. thier staff is way too deep and the the competiton for the #4 and 5 starters should breed sucesess. However i see the yankees finishing third in the east and out of the play offs again. im no saying this just as a sox fan, but because of thier line up. I see them as the dallas cowboys of the MLB. Too many super stars and no chemistry, and with out Torre to run the show, Yankees finish third, a waist of 441 million dollars.

  23. Steve Sullivan permalink
    April 8, 2009 1:06 am

    Curt:

    The Sox will be fine…..as long as they don’t have to play any teams from Japan. Can you imagine what the Japanese baseball community must think of the United States when they see CC Sabathia on the mound. Sad Sad Sad.

    Anyway, you are correct. It will come down to pitching injuries. You should have been more precise and said “unnecessary” pitching injuries. Had you had the balls to drive the 30 miles to Zephyrhills from hanging out in Tampa with your “working stiff” pals from Pittsburgh at this years Super Bowl, Dr Mike Marshall could have showed you how to eliminate all pitching arm injuries.

    The carnage this season will be even worse, in my opinion, due to the ever increasing role of Strength and Conditioning “coaches” in baseball. Which brings us to your good friend, Mr Eric Cressey. You may recall that on January 28. 2009 Mr Cressey said he would answer some simple but critical questions concerning his baseball training. Unfortunately, you sicced Mr. Cressey on the unsuspecting young pitchers in Boston. Therefore, I would like you to join me and urging Mr. Cressey to keep his word or, better yet, disown him.

    To review here are my questions (the title of the thread was appropriately called “The Man I love to Hate).

    “1. Where is your source for saying 50% of a pitchers power comes from the lower extremities?

    2. In case that statement was a guess, now that you see that the stride foot has landed in the traditional baseball pitching motion and the baseball is still moving backwards do you still believe the stride adds ro release velocity?

    3. Do you actually believe the baseball is still going backwards in the traditional pitching motion when the glove foot lands?

    4. What is your kinetic chain for baseball pitching?

    5. Do you actually believe that muscles store energy? If so, do you have a source for this?

    I think that covers what has been already discussed.

    I’ll start with an easy new one. Why is it that all you traditionalists blame God for all these pitching injuries. The statement of traditionalists goes something like this….”the human arm is not constructed for overhead throwing” or words to that effect. As a matter of fact in this post:

    http://ericcressey.com/newsletter108html

    You write: “And, to be more blunt, there is absolutely nothing even remotely healthy about throwing a baseball. ”

    6. Do you think God did a poor job contructing the pitching arm for overhand pitching? Or is blaming God just another of the many copouts we have to listen to today?

    Thanks much. I am sure we will all learn much from the discussion.”

    So there you have it. I await Mr. Cressey’s answers.

    On some related issues Dr Marshall commented on your surgery. I did not write the note to him. If you go to http://drmikemarshall.com/Question-Answer2009.html and do an Edit Find on Schilling. I’m sorry it did not work out.

    As a bonus, you can do a word search on Cressey and see how lost the young man is.

    Finally, you told me that Dr Marshall was a “genetic freak”. Here is a recent interview with Dr Marshall on MLB.com. He doesn’t look like a “genetic freak” to me. Actually that was the term you Hillary Clinton Baseball Village types used to explain away Dr Marshall’s many accomplishments. Why would new age conservatives ever think his accomplishments were the product of hard work and scientific inquiry?

    http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?mid=200903263990519

    I highly recommend the drill he demonstrates on the clip. You’ll be happy to know that Joe Williams (in the clip) will go into the Navy Seal program if he can’t catch on with a team this month. Perhaps you can be of some assistance. Thank you.

    Enjoy your retirement.

    Steve Sullivan

  24. April 8, 2009 5:35 am

    Curt. This was a brilliant write-up i enjoyed reading this! keep up the great work man!

  25. babe ruth permalink
    April 8, 2009 6:48 am

    Thanks for your 2 cents. Now I feel better.

  26. April 8, 2009 1:38 pm

    Good analysis Curt. The Rays are obviously for real, there is too much talent on that team for last year to be a fluke. I like the addition of Pat Burrell too, and like you made reference to, I don’t think we saw the real Scott Kazmir last year. On the other hand we never saw the real Josh Beckett either, and we sure did yesterday. I think the Red Sox will finish on top because their pitching is just so deep this year. If any starter gets injured they have Buchholz and Masterson just waiting to fill in. The bullpen seems to be even deeper, and that is with Daniel Bard (who I just can’t wait to see pitch) waiting in the wings. Obviously the Yanks have put together a fantastic rotation, but I think what gives the Sox the edge is the proven postseason success of their starters over the Yanks. With Beckett and Smoltz the Sox have two of the best big game pitchers ever (2nd and 3rd best big game pitchers of the last 20 years, next to Curt Schilling?).

  27. sdl1 permalink
    April 9, 2009 5:07 pm

    To Steve Sullivan…

    I only wish that Dr. Marshall had been available back in ’70 when my junior high school coach more or less killed my arm by telling me the way to get rid of a sore arm in the cold New England Spring weather was to throw hard. To this day, I can’t write on a wall-mounted surface for more than about 30 seconds before it feels like a knife has been thrust in there.

    Looking at the Cardinals staff, Dr. Marshall’s thoughts on their pitching coach seem to be spot-on.

  28. April 10, 2009 2:41 pm

    Curt,

    I would agree with everything you said minus one thing. I think Terry will do a great job leading the team rather than managing them. It is in my experience, sports or not, that you lead people and manage things. Of course, you have been there so I may be wrong and if I am, let me know! Terry is one of the best. Good luck in everything you do.

    Darren

  29. Brian permalink
    April 10, 2009 7:21 pm

    Hi Curt. Tx for the preview, it’s always fun to read in-depth analysis from an insider. One nitpicky detail: you call for the Sox to win 105 games. That’s going to be REALLY tough when nearly 80 of their games will be against the other tough teams in this division. Personally, I think 94 or 95 wins is much more realistic, and that that total will take t

  30. Brian permalink
    April 10, 2009 7:21 pm

    Hi Curt. Tx for the preview, it’s always fun to read in-depth analysis from an insider. One nitpicky detail: you call for the Sox to win 105 games. That’s going to be REALLY tough when nearly 80 of their games will be against the other tough teams in this division. Personally, I think 94 or 95 wins is much more realistic, and that that total will take the division.

    Just my two cents.

  31. terrence permalink
    April 13, 2009 2:43 pm

    i still think lowrie’s and ellsbury’s bat will kill us. however ill take lowrie anyday over lugo(9miilion for him but not 10million for o cabrera i mean cmon). and the fact that manny’s bat will be desperately missed, im picturing a midseason trade for a holliday or someone his caliber. 105 games? omg i wish.
    but othere than that im agreement with the majority of what you said

  32. April 23, 2009 4:17 pm

    I have a website I would like you to look at, conor-soxrox.blogspot.com

  33. Rog permalink
    May 7, 2009 9:03 pm

    What about Manny and steriods? You know he didn’t just start using them. Testing just caught up to him. Big Papi better watch out. He is the next to get caught alongside with Beckett. Two rings tarnished gold. Sad very sad agfer all these years of waiting for a ring, they turn out to be tarnished and tainted. Curt what do you have to say about Manny roid

  34. wetakatiame permalink
    July 7, 2009 7:49 pm

    Hey, I’m online! ). And Se ya later)).

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Curt Schilling's Official Blog

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