Monday, February 5, 2018

World Series Glory A Realistic Target for Red Sox in '18?

The Boston Red Sox have struggled to inspire confidence in recent times but the upcoming 2018 campaign brings new hope and optimism to Fenway Park. With two American League East division wins in the last two years, Boston have been dominant against their close rivals but a deep playoff run has eluded them. Fans will be expecting an improved effort this time around… Boston’s roster has changed drastically since the Red Sox last won the World Series back in 2013 but manager Alex Cora will be quietly confident ahead of the upcoming campaign. You can see a few similarities between Boston’s current crop of stars and the 2013 setup. Firstly, their form at Fenway Park was outstanding last year. With 48 wins and just 33 defeats, the foundations for a successful Red Sox campaign lie on home turf. Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez, two of Boston’s most effective batters last year, will be key to their chances of success in 2018. With both players tied down to return for the new campaign, Red Sox fans will expect more of the same in the coming months. They combined for 288 hits, 159 runs and 47 home runs last year and a similar return should see Boston go to the playoffs once again. On the other side of the ball, Chris Sale is Boston’s top pitcher. An All-Star in each of the last six years, he joined the Red Sox in 2017 after he was selected with the 13th pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. Sale led the team in wins (17), ERA (2.90) and strikeouts (308) last season and it would take a brave man to back against Boston if he emulates that form. The Red Sox will be right in the mix if Sale, Betts and Ramirez stay fit. And with that in mind, there will be plenty of fans who fancy their chances this year. The Red Sox, currently priced at +1400 in MLB odds on bet365, are building for the future but if a few of their younger stars step up then why not? Jalen Beeks, recently named the 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year whilst plying his trade for the Pawtucket Red Sox, has been added to Boston’s 40-man roster and he could shine on the big stage. It has been a quiet offseason for the Boston franchise so far and that has created an aura of uncertainty ahead of the 2018 campaign. However, it would be unwise to read too much into any rumors or media reports suggesting that the Red Sox may struggle. As one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball history, you have to trust that Boston will get their preparations right in the coming months. The Boston Red Sox are not a million miles away from challenging for the World Series; let’s be straight up about that. Some sections of the mainstream media will have you believe that the Red Sox are destined to fall at the first postseason hurdle for the third year in succession but Boston ARE indeed ready to take their game to the next level. Write them off at your peril.