With the trade of Jon Lester to Oakland this past week, so departs one of the best left-handed starting pitchers in Red Sox team history, with 110 wins, a no-hitter, and two World Series championships to his credit. Among southpaws in team history, his 110 wins is second-most behind the legendary Mel Parnell and his 1386 strikeouts leads all others.
There is no question from anyone who has watched him over his eight-plus seasons with Boston that he has been an invaluable contributor to its recent success and there’s a possibility that we have not seen him pitch for the last time in a Red Sox uniform. So how does he compare to others greats who have pitched for this franchise?
The slate has been wiped clean and, save for Friday’s pregame ceremony at Fenway Park that will celebrate Boston’s 2013 championship season one last time, the Red Sox must now focus on the task at hand, which is to navigate through another 162-game schedule in the hopes of making the postseason for a second consecutive season.
It was a relatively quiet off-season for the local nine. The one notable subtraction was the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency, who agreed to sign with Boston’s division rival, the New York Yankees. Also gone from the team are two other key cogs from last season’s machine: catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (signed with the Miami Marlins) and shortstop Stephen Drew (currently unsigned). There were also a few notable additions, too, including catcher A.J. Pierzynski, outfielder Grady Sizemore, and reliever Edward Mujica, all of whom made the Opening Day roster.
Otherwise, the team taking the field this afternoon at Orioles Park at Camden Yards is for all intents and purposes the same one that we saw playing for postseason glory this past October. The starting rotation carries over from last season, as does the right side of the infield, the corner outfielders, and the key bullpen components.
The defending 2013 world champion Boston Red Sox are set to open the 2014 regular reason tomorrow in Baltimore against the Orioles, an American League East division rival. The Red Sox, who surpassed the expectations of most prognosticators last season to win their third World Series in ten seasons, will be managed for a second year by John Farrell. After finishing the opening series, Boston will open Fenway Park this Friday versus the Milwaukee Brewers.
Some of the new faces include veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski, outfielder Grady Sizemore, and reliever Edward Mujica. In what was a relatively quiet spring, Sizemore was the big story; returning to baseball after being limited to 112 games between 2010-2011 and no games over the past two season, he outperformed expectations and displaced Jackie Bradley, the expected starting center fielder, from the major league roster.
The Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers are set to kick off the American League Championship Series Saturday night at Fenway Park, with Red Sox ace Jon Lester taking the hill opposing Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez. Tickets are available and all games will be broadcast on the FOX Network.
With the disastrous 2012 campaign still fresh in the minds of fans and prognosticators, the Boston Red Sox will open the 2013 season against the 2012 American League East champion New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Sox, who have missed the playoffs for the past three seasons, are predicted by many to finish no better than the middle of the pack in the AL East; only a few give the team an outside shot at a wild card spot.