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OTM Roundtable: How is the year going to go?

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It’s prediction time!

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

We made it. It’s months after we thought it was going to be, but we have very much reached Opening Day. There are still valid questions as to whether or not we should be doing this, but we are and even amid the uneasiness I’m still going to watch and enjoy. Unfortunately, the Red Sox don’t look all that great this year. The playoffs being expanded to 16 teams will help, but the 60-game season is probably going to be a slog. I think. Well, that was the question to the staff for this week’s roundtable. Assume they complete the whole season, what do you think the Red Sox will do this year and who do you think will win it all? Keep in mind that I send these questions out on Monday, and in this case that means we thought it was a normal playoff field.

Shelly Verougstraete

I cannot wait for the season to start but I am not really feeling great about the Red Sox’s chances this year. I love the lineup but those pitchers...yikes! I think we will be fighting the Blue Jays for third place all season and in the end, those Blue Jays will just barely beat us and we will finish fourth. If there is a postseason this year, I think the World Series will be a Dodgers and Rays matchup with the Rays winning their first title in franchise history.

Michael Walsh

The Red Sox will be relatively competitive this year, and I believe their lineup will carry them to a 31-29 record. Unfortunately, the Yankees will likely lock up the division, but the Sox still have an outside shot at a Wild Card spot. A big factor will be their ten divisional games against the Rays. The Rays are favorites for a wildcard spot, and the Sox finishing with a winning record against them would be huge for their playoff chances. However, my guess would be that this Red Sox team ends up a game or two short, and the wildcard is taken by the Rays and a team like the A’s or Indians.

As for who will win it all, the Dodgers are just too good not to pick them. Between their dominant pitching staff and the addition of Mookie, this Dodgers team might be better than any of their previous playoff teams. Despite being popular ‘choke’ candidates, I think this is the year they finally get it done.

Boston Red Sox Summer Workouts Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Jake Kostik

Call me a pessimist. I don’t think the Red Sox will be good. I also think they will very clearly not be good. I have them projected right now for 26-34, and fourth in the AL East (although with the Blue Jays being homeless as I answer this and every game potentially being a road game, I might bump us up to third). The reason for this is simple: I just think our pitching isn’t good enough. You can essentially count the starting pitchers I trust in our rotation on one finger. Am I interested in how Eovaldi could be this season? Yes! Am I intrigued by the potential of a Godley resurgence? You bet your sweet bippy! But for all these fun little maybes and what ifs, I’m left to face the grim reality of the situation.

Our rotation will likely feature significant appearances from Godley, Martín Pérez, and maybe even Brian Johnson. If we’re lucky, maybe Matt Hall will have impressed enough to get some of those Johnson starts. If you want to feel sad, look at the numbers for those guys, I’ll wait. Even if we get through four or five innings with a lead, with those guys, I’m not convinced our bullpen will hold it. Beyond Workman, Barnes, and maybe Hernandez, I’m just not left with much in the way of optimism. Since we probably aren’t having each of those guys throw 70+ innings over this 60 game sprint, we’re going to be getting significant innings from Ryan Brasier, Josh Taylor, and any number of Quad-A relievers who we call depth, but in reality were let go from other teams for a reason.

Don’t get me wrong, the bullpen can be very good. I’m just not counting on it, and think a lot of our wins will look like 12-10 clubbings that we hold on to by the skin of our teeth.

As for my prediction for season winners... I’m going to go out of left field here. I think the World Series will be a matchup between the Rays and Dodgers. And I think the Rays win in six games, because we can’t have the Dodgers winning. It’s become an annual tradition at this point. The Rays are well built and have a lot of depth. I believe that in a normal season they’d be outclassed by the Yankees, but I think this season is uniquely catered to a team like the Rays, which is very forward thinking in comparison to a lot of their peers.

Jake Devereaux

I think that the Red Sox will be competent enough in the pitching department to finish with a winning record this year. Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi will pitch well, and Martín Pérez and Ryan Weber will pitch well enough most times for the Red Sox offense to give them a fighting chance. I believe the offense will be quite strong even without Betts. I put the Red Sox record at 32-28 by the end of the year.

The team to beat this year is undoubtedly the Dodgers. My goodness they are loaded. The rotation is so deep that they have optioned Dustin May to start the year and features Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and several other pitchers who would all be the best if they were on this Red Sox team right now, aside from Eddy who isn’t pitching. The lineup has no soft spots with an All-Star at nearly every position, they will win it all. It will be painful to watch our guy Betts become truly LA’s guy, but I wish him the best.

Mike Carlucci

As I write this MLB is considering expanding the 2020 playoffs from 10 teams to 16. The Red Sox have a makeshift rotation with only Nathan Eovaldi returning at full strength. With games against the Yankees, Rays, Nationals, Braves, and Phillies, there are a lot of talented teams in the Sox modified schedule. But, if Eovaldi is healthy and Chaim Bloom can work some of his Rays-era magic with roster moves, 32-28 might just be enough to make the top 16. Winning the vast majority games against Baltimore and Miami and avoiding sweeps at the hands of the Yankees, Rays, and Nationals and it just might happen. 32-28. Let’s roll the dice.

Keaton DeRocher

Well we learned some news today that actually changed my answer to this. MLB announced playoff expansion to eight teams per league. The top two squads from each division qualify and as well as the next two teams with the best record. Based on that I actually think the Red Sox will make the playoffs. Even more interesting is they can actually make a bit of a run if things break right. The first series is a best of three so assuming they don’t have to play a third, Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez could actually win them a playoff series. That’s probably about as far as they could go because after that Eovaldi and E-Rod would need rest and the rest of the rotation is terrible but in a weird season, they could pull off a weird playoff run. As for winning it all, crazy season yields crazy results, why not Cincinnati?

Phil Neuffer

I’m not particularly bullish on this year’s Red Sox. The rotation is a disaster and while it will be interesting to see a number of different young starters, it will be difficult to win games that way, especially since the bullpen isn’t exactly stacked either. The lineup should still be pretty solid, even thought Mookie Betts is gone. *Throws laptop out the window in rage*

Sorry about that. Based on the roster they have, I think the Red Sox’s offense will carry them, but only so far. I predict a third or even fourth-place finish and 27 wins.

As for who I think takes the whole thing, I’m pretty pessimistic that we’ll get to that point, but if we do, I’ll take the Dodgers. They’ve got to be more than just a great regular season team at some point, right?

Bryan Joiner

I think the Red Sox will finish third or fourth in the A.L. East, close enough with Toronto as to not make much of a difference. I think the Dodgers are the best bet to win the World Series and I hope they do on a Mookie Betts walkoff homer that simultaneously solves climate change and finds a vaccine for COVID, and also Mookie is president after that, and the Sox fully reap what they’ve sown here. Still mad!

Matt Collins

I really have no idea how to judge who will make a 16-team playoff field. I have no thought enough about what that even looks like to think about it. I will say that I don’t see the Red Sox finishing with one of the top two records in the division, so I imagine they’ll be fighting with teams like the Indians and White Sox and Blue Jays and Athletics and Angels for those final two spots. So, I guess I just did think about it. I think the Red Sox offense will be good enough to keep this from being a disaster of a season, but ultimately not good enough to have them finish with a winning record. I’m predicting a 28-32 record, and I don’t think that’ll be enough for a wildcard spot. But who the hell knows. As for the champions, I’m going with the Indians. Why? I have no Earthly idea.