Boston heads into spring training with great optimism after an injury plagued 2010 sent them into third place in the AL East.Â With two key additions to the offense in 1B Adrian Gonzalez and OF Carl Crawford, the Red Sox look to be a contender for a World Series title this season.
The Red Sox have a solid starting rotation with lefty Jon Lester being a favorite for the Cy Young award this season. Lester has won 19 games in each of the last two seasons, and with more offense now in Boston, Lester could top the 20 win barrier this season. Clay Bucholtz, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka round out the rotation. The Red Sox will need more than 20 combined wins from Beckett and Lackey this season, and for a change, Matsuzaka is healthy entering spring training.
In the bullpen, Boston will expect a better season from closer Jonathon Papelbon who blew seven saves last year. Papelbon’s ERA went up over 2 runs per nine innings last year, but in this his final year of a contract, it is expected that he will bounce back to form. Boston did acquire Bobby Jenks, and have Daniel Bard on hand just in case.
The Red Sox have reason for optimism after scoring the second most runs in 2010. With the addition of Crawford and Gonzalez, Boston also returns OF Jacoby Ellsbury who played in just 18 games last season. Boston could challenge the NY Yankees for the most run scored, but appears to have the better pitching staff and the inside track at the AL East title in 2011.