It seems that alot of people consider the Red Sox underdogs going into the 2012 season. I guess i sorta understand it with the September collapse of 2011, and the Red Sox not making alot of improvements over the winter, but frankly im not sold on The Sox being underdogs.
Last Summer Boston media outlets all over were proclaiming the Sox the "best team ever" and all but guaranteeing them a spot in the World Series. The problem with this was The Red Sox hadnt even played a Regular Season game yet. Perhaps the pressure was too great to perform, maybe the beer and fried chicken really did play a role. Or the most likely, yet seemingly least covered cause was probably Pitching. We all witnessed it. The carousel of inadequate pitchers that trotted to the mound three out of five games. The unrelentless offense of the Red Sox couldnt overcome this one problem. The Pitchers couldnt allow less runs than the AL Leader in Runs Scored.
While this could still be a problem in 2012, im optimistic that Clay Buccholz will regain form now that hes healthy, and Daniel Bard will prove to be an adequate fifth starter. This wouldnt be the first time a team has succeeded without a bonified fifth starter. Even with the move of Bard and losing Jonathon Papelbon to Free Agency, I think the bullpen will also prove that it can be effective enough to compete in the AL East. Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey were solid aquisitions, and Alfredo Aceves proved his value out of the pen last year. I think that even without a fifth starter penciled in at this point, this team can compete with the pitching it has and the potent offense that it will surely bring to the table again this year.
Maybe the Sox are underdogs, but i dont think it should be as clear cut as most are making it out to be. This team has as much talent 1-25 as any other in baseball. Getting back to the fundamentals could be the make or break factor this season. Let me know what you think in the comments section.