AL East MLB MLB Team News — 14 February 2011
2010 was not kind to the Red Sox. Injuries and just plain bad luck led to a disappointing year for Sox fans, as they did not reach the playoffs and finished third in the division. With all of their players now healthy and with the addition of some key players, the Red Sox should be a force to be reckoned with in 2011. Carl Crawford will be more than capable of manning the void in left field caused by the departure of Bill Hall. Additionally, the trade for All-star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will allow Kevin Youklis to slide over and take over Adrian Beltre’s spot at 3rd base.

Sox fans are hoping for bounce back years from several of their starters, most notably John lackey, who failed to live up to the hype in his first year in Boston. It the Sox are able to get consistent production out of its stacked rotation, they will undoubtedly be the team to beat in the AL East, if not the entire American League.

Key Additions: Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Dan Wheeler, Bobby Jenks

Key Losses: Victor Martinez, Adrian Beltre

Lineup:

C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Dustin Pedroia
3B: Kevin Youklis
SS: Marco Scutaro
LF: Carl Crawford
CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
RF: JD Drew
DH: David Ortiz

Rotation:

1: Jon Lester
2: Josh Beckett
3: John Lackey
4: Clay Bucholz
5: Daisuke Matsuzaka
CL: Jonathan Papelbon

Critical Players to Success:

John Lackey: The Red Sox signed Lackey to be a top of the rotation kind of starter and he didn’t quite fulfill that role last season. If Lackey can return to his pre-2010 form, the Red Sox’ rotation should be one of the best in the bigs.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Salty came in to the majors with huge expectations resting on his shoulders based on his lofty rankings as a prospect. He hasn’t quite fit the billing as an everyday catcher yet, but he is still young. Regaining some of his minor league prowess will go a long way toward solidifying the Sox lineup.

Jonathan Papelbon: Papelbon had a down year in 2010 compared to his own standards. If he can revert back to being the shutdown closer he had been prior to last year, the Sox will be set in the pen. If he can’t however, they might be forced to rely on newcomer Bobby Jenks or Daniel Bard.

Check out the other 2011 MLB Team Previews.

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