|The Boston Red Sox 2003 - Fighting History and Striving for the World Series||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on September 23, 2003
For 85 years the Red Sox fans have waited and hoped that this season would be better than the last one. Every year fans vow, “This is our year”. Well maybe this year they will be right.
This is the best Red Sox team that has hit the field in my lifetime. They are a great storyline as they seek that elusive championship. In truth it’s hard not to root for this team, as even a number of Yankee fans here in NY have acknowledged. This team is a powerhouse offensively and one you can never tear your eyes from when they hit as they could erupt at any time.
Personally I’ve enjoyed watching them time and time again this year, and several of the best games I’ve seen this season, both in person and on the tube have involved the BoSox. Simply put they are an exciting team and a lot of fun to watch - but can that translate into a championship?
That of course is the big question. Certainly the Red Sox do not have great pitching. Boston’s pitching ranks 8th in the American League and only two of their pitchers are going to win close to 15 games - Derek Lowe (who has won 16) and Pedro Martinez (who has won 14). Their team ERA is hovering at 4.50. While their starting pitching is weak, their relief corps has been solid adding close to 40 wins to the team’s total and that is with their questions regarding the closer role.
General Manager Theo Epstein and special consultant Bill James have put together a team, based as much on the bullpen as the starting rotation. It’s reminiscent of the 2000 New York Mets team, which was also built without an outstanding starting pitching staff. By that I do not mean to take anything away from the Boston starters, but the team relies on its relievers more than most teams do.
Even so, this team is really driven by its offense. The Sox are an offensive juggernaught with more runs scored than any other team in baseball. Recently one of our columnists looked at the axiom that pitching wins championships. His conclusions were that teams with less pitching but great offense tend not to go very far in the playoffs though it has happened, and just recently with the Anaheim Angels last season.
Even if you choose not to believe in a curse, and most people don’t, the Red Sox have history stacked against them. However in the AL only Oakland has a dominant staff. The Yankees are questionable pitching-wise, and the Twins are in little better shape than the Red Sox. In the National League every contender has better pitching numbers than the Red Sox and only the Braves and perhaps Marlins, have staffs that are as questionable.
Bearing that in mind, the awesome Red Sox lineup that includes Damon, Garciaparra, Ortiz, Ramirez, Nixon, Millar, Mueller, Walker and Varitek is a daunting task for any pitching staff to have to face. Still they’ll have to do a lot more than intimidate to get to the World Series. Then who knows maybe “this will be the year,” that is unless of course you believe in the curse.