Obviously, you always want a team to get out to a hot start. It sets the tone for the year and it’s good to snag some wins whenever you can. But I cannot think of a Red Sox season where the first two weeks were more important than this year. This year the Red Sox will play fourteen games before April 15th, the day the NBA playoffs tip off. Two days after that, the puck drops on the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Red Sox are not in a good place as far as public perception goes. Since the final out of the 2018 World Series, it’s been a bit of a mess for them. Boston will always be a baseball town, and I’m not denying that. But in 2023, things could get a little hairy. The Bruins and Celtics (even with their recent struggles) are two of the best teams in their respective leagues. They both have legitimate championship aspirations. Those aspirations could see both teams playing into mid-June if things go their way. The Red Sox will, of course, be there whenever the runs of the Bruins and Celtics come to an end, but it just might not matter if those first two weeks of baseball games are ugly.
If Tommy from Brighton or Matty from Dorchester watch the Red Sox stink it up for two weeks in early April, I can take a pretty good guess of what they’ll be watching come late April, May, and June. Even the most diehard sports fans will always ask “What have you done for me lately?”. It’s the nature of entertainment. People don’t wanna spend money or time on something that doesn’t bring them joy. Lately, the Red Sox have not done much for anyone. The miracle ALCS run of 2021 is sandwiched between two last-place finishes and the departures of two different homegrown stars. It’s been ugly! And if the Red Sox don’t perform early in the season while the Bruins and Celtics march to a possible title? Well, let’s just say we could see some empty seats in America’s most beloved ballpark.
Me? I am ever an optimist. I do not think the 2023 Red Sox will be a disaster. In fact, I think they might actually be kind of good! However, some small injuries to Garrett Whitlock and Brayan Bello will leave the rotation in a bit of a rough spot for, you guessed it, about the first two weeks of the season. The rotation, to start the year, will be Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Tanner Houck, Kutter Crawford, and Nick Pivetta. Not exactly the ‘98 Braves.
But as I said, I’m an optimist! So let’s take a look at their matchups in those first two weeks and see what we can muster up. They’ll have:
3 games against Baltimore at home,
3 games against Pittsburgh at home,
3 games against Detroit on the road, and
4 games against Tampa Bay on the road.
Okay. Best case scenario here the Sox go 13-0. But the best realistic scenario is probably more like 8-5. Is that good enough? We’ll have to see. The Red Sox better hope so.