Late last week, Major League Baseball released a proposed league that was made up of a three-division with ten teams in each. This plan is to try and get baseball back playing as soon as possible. The divisions are West, Central, and East. The Red Sox would be placed in the East division.
- Red Sox
- Blue Jays
As a fan, this division will be fun to watch. I said it in my last article, a lot of these teams have something to prove. Whenever you get teams that seem to have been written off before the season even begins, you often end up with highly competitive baseball. As a fan, that is all you can ask for. The season is rumored to be cut down to 100 games. In my opinion, still a little long. End of the day, this division will be fun to watch, again from a baseball fan perspective.
What Does This Mean For The Sox?
Not going to sugar coat this, this makes the Red Sox schedule and division a lot tougher. All this division alignment did was combined the AL East and NL East, minus the Braves, they swapped with the Phillies. Winning the AL East would have been a tough task in general for the Sox to accomplish, nevermind adding five other very good teams to the mix. The Nationals, coming off a World Series ring, are young and poised to continue their success over the next few years. They are a team that makes this division that much harder to win.
I believe the Sox are a lot better of a team then anyone is giving them credit for, their offense was still one of the best in the league last year, and I’m confident they can score runs with the best of them. Pitching is where the questions arise. The Mets, Sox, and Yankees all lost a pivotal starter to Tommy John surgery this offseason. That is both a blessing and a curse for the Sox. If they can have a young guy step up and deliver in a big way, similar to how E-Rod did last year, I like our chances that much more. This, of course, is all depending on E-Rod continuing his dominance from last year.
The Two Main Question Marks
One of these question marks may be a little obvious, but I’m sure the other one isn’t. Collin McHugh and Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi was absolute nails for us during our 2018 World Series run and showed that he has lights out stuff. Then came the elbow surgery that limited him to only 67 innings in 2019. If Eovaldi bounces back and can prove to be a reliable arm in whatever role the sox use him in, this division just got a lot more interesting.
Now the next question mark, Collin McHugh. McHugh was a solid, reliable backend starter for most of his career until battling injuries last season. In 2018 he was dominant out of the bullpen for the Astros. McHugh appeared in 58 games pitching 72.1 innings while racking up a 1.99 ERA. If he can bounce back to these numbers for the Sox in 2020, our bullpen just got drastically better.
The question marks are still there. Can these two bounce back from injuries and be reliable once again? If so, the Sox make a strong case to be a legit contender in this division. If not, let’s hope for some of that 2013 magic to strike again. My prediction on how it will play out? Sox finish second in this division and find their way into the playoffs. Once that happens, it is a whole new season. I fully expect this team to be able to make a deep playoff run. Even without Mookie, there is a lot of talent on this team.
-Kevin Perdios (@Perdios95)