So the Red Sox as of now are 1-1 as they finish their series against Baltimore on Sunday. With that in mind, I'm just going to list all our upcoming series and my guesses on how the Red Sox do in them. From that, I will predict the Red Sox record. Here goes:
1-0 vs. BAL
1-1 vs. NYM
1-1 @ NYM
1-2 @ NYY
0-2 @ TB
2-1 vs. TOR
2-2 vs. TB
1-3 @ NYY
1-1 vs. PHI
3-1 @ BAL
2-1 @ TOR
1-2 vs. WAS
2-1 vs. ATL
3-1 vs. TOR
1-1 @ PHI
1-3 @ TB
2-1 @ MIA
1-2 vs. NYY
3-0 vs. BAL
1-2 @ ATL
And so if you add all that up, I have the Red Sox going 31-29 this season. I also have them making the playoffs thanks to the new expanded format, as I think they'll be one of the two teams that gets in (7 or 8 seed in the AL).
Yeah, that might be an optimistic prediction considering how terrible our rotation is especially with ERod likely missing most, if not all of the season and Sale sidelined after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. But I do think we have a great, and deep lineup that can help us win a handful of games especially against the more mediocre teams. Bullpen isn't great, but I think it can be solid especially if Barnes, Workman and Darwinzon can pitch well out of there. Same with Taylor and Walden, the latter I imagine might also help us along with Darwinzon with multi-inning roles and maybe as an opener for some games.
I actually think a shortened season will help us. For one, it makes it less likely you brutally overwork anyone from the rotation or bullpen like you might in a much longer, and more grueling 162-game season. Matt Barnes I feel is typically a victim of this as there can be stretches where the guy pitches like "10 games in a span of just 16 days". And the hope is, the pitchers who are injury-prone (like Eovaldi) can stay healthy because they only need to make like 11-12 starts instead of the 28+ in a usual season. Those could work a bit in our favor.
Red Sox Players Who Stand Out (Pitchers): Nathan Eovaldi & Matt Barnes
- I envision both players having great seasons and we'll absolutely need it. Barnes can hopefully be a reliable "workhorse" option in the late-innings, and Eovaldi I think will stay healthy and give us a great season (something like 12 starts + a few relief appearances, 7-3 record with around a 3.75 ERA)
Red Sox Players Who Stand Out (Lineup): JD Martinez, Alex Verdugo & Jackie Bradley Jr.
- I think we could see a lot of guys in our lineup stand out honestly. Besides some of the obvious choices (like Devers + Bogaerts), guys like Pillar and Peraza could also have some hot stretches with the bat and they'll stand out at times. I expect JBJ to have his signature white hot stretches as he's having currently which is why I have him as a "stand out". A shortened season might benefit him the most. JD is an established elite hitter and it wouldn't surprise me if he finished the shortened season with a really high batting average (like higher than .340). And Verdugo can absolutely hit. 3 hits today in his Red Sox debut as well. Like I've said, while our pitching is certainly "meh", we have a fantastic lineup.
NOTE: Sorry, I'm not as familiar with the NL, so I won't really make predictions on those, but I'm expecting the Dodgers to reach the World Series from that bracket. They are absolutely loaded and added a former MVP + current superstar in Betts, to go along with a great rotation, bullpen and an already deep lineup.
AL Division Winners: Yankees (East), Twins (Central), Astros (West)
AL 2nd Place Division Teams: Rays (East), Indians (Central), Athletics (West)
Final 2 AL Playoff Teams: Red Sox & White Sox (both edge past the Blue Jays + Angels to make it in a close race)
World Series: Dodgers vs. Yankees (Dodgers Win)
Yeah I feel like I've said this a lot in recent years. But again, if the Dodgers still can't find a way to win it all with the insanely loaded and deep roster they have, I don't know when they ever will. Even with David Price opting out of the season, they still got a great rotation and a dangerous lineup which added Betts too. The team has a ton of promising young talent which should contribute for them going forward. They've got it all, and the key for them is to stay healthy and look for the ultimate prize, something they've waited for since 1988.