In about one hour and three minutes, for the first time in 86 years, the Boston Red Sox will be defending this:
I know I said that I'd do my Sox preview yesterday, but the time change and drinking until 3 am at Byrnie and Keri's house did me in. We had a fun time on Friday night, Andrew and Ryan came over and he brought Liam and Aidan. We had a ball running around with them, drinking beers, playing cards, eating pizza. Good time. I didn't lose any money in cards, but I didn't win any either. Not too shabby.
Saturday Aly and I woke up at the Byrnes and went to two cake tastings and then over to Crate and Barrell where we did more registering. Fun stuff. Lots of fun. Then we made a meal, watched "Ray" (which was very good) and then crashed out. Sunday, we journeyed to Millford where we watched a wedding band (they were good) and bought a coffee table.
But everything is a prelude to the game tonight. I'm continuing with my ritual, which I started in college in 1993, of having three hot dogs, potato chips and beer while watching the game. Last year I did it and they won the Series. We won't count the previous 12 years that I performed the same feats.
As far as the Sox go, I'm a bit nervous. They actually improved their line up when they added shortstop Edgar Renteria from the Cardinals and their bullpen is top notch with Matt Mantei, Keith Foulke, Mike Timlin, Alan Embree and Mike Myers, but their starting pitching scares me.
Their opening rotation of Curt Schilling (hurt), David Wells (42 years old), Matt Clement (don't know what to expect), Tim Wakefield (knuckler) and Bronson Arroyo (good last year, but what can we count on this year) is suspect. There are so many things that can break badly for the Sox. What if Wakefield, Schilling and Wells act their age? What if Clement can't handle Boston? What if Arroyo was a one-year-wonder? What if Wade Miller doesn't come back from elbow surgery and sucks?
I have the utmost confidence in the starting lineup and the bullpen, but these questions have me wondering what kind of year we'll have if they go unanswered. There are a few things that calm me a bit. One, Theo Epstein knows exactly what he's doing. He's reaching Belichickian status with me where I don't question his moves anymore. For the most part, he's kicking ass. Two, the Sox will not end the year with that staff. They have the prospects in their system to get a stud, and unlike the Yankees, they make their big splashes in July and August, rather than January and February.
Speaking of the Yankees, that's who the Sox open up with tonight. And while many people are predicting great things for the Bronx Bombers, they have a lot of questions too: what happens if Randy Johnson's back flares up? Are Carl Pavano (who gave up one hit per inning) and Jarret Wright (released by the Padres two years ago) ready for the big stage? Will their defense improve (Bernie Williams, Tony Womack and Derek Jeter are NOT good up the middle players, which could cause the staff to throw more pitches)? Will they get any production out of centerfield, DH, first base and second base?
Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Hediki Matsui, Gary Sheffield and Jorge Posada are top notch hitters, but the other four positions are questionable. They certainly don't stack up to the Sox:
So as you can see, I think that the Sox have about the best lineup in the American League, while the Yanks are right up there. It wasn't so clear cut (especially at first, shortstop and catcher), but I thought of who comes up big in bigger situations, who I'd rather have on my team, stuff like that. Is it the most scientific way of doing stuff? Nope, but it's my Blog.
And I didn't go with the starters and bullpen because New York would win in the former, while Boston goes with the latter. I think Mariano Rivera (who's 35!) is starting to break down a bit and is afflicted with the same disease that Pedro had when facing the Yanks.
This is going to be a great year of baseball and I can't wait, so let's play ball!