The 2012 season has began inauspiciously for both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The Red Sox and Yankees were swept in their opening series by the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays, respectively. It is the first time both teams started their seasons 0-3 since 1966.
Now bear in mind there are 159 games left to be played in the regular season but there will be plenty of discussion in both Red Sox Nation and the Bronx Zoo. Yankee fans are no doubt dismayed that the Mets have gotten off to a 3-0 start after sweeping the Braves.
Although the Bruins and Celtics are both playoff bound, I think there will be greater scrutiny of the Red Sox given how last season ended. The biggest concern is the bullpen. With Jonathan Papelbon signing with the Phillies in the off-season, the Sox acquired Andrew Bailey from the Oakland Athletics. However, Bailey injured his thumb in spring training and will be out until the All-Star break. Alfredo Aceves and Mark Melancon are at the back end of the Red Sox bullpen but both have been ineffective. Today, Aceves blew the save in the 9th giving up a three run homerun to Miguel Cabrera and then in the 11th inning Melancon gave up a walk off two run dinger to Alex Avila to give the Tigers a 13-12 win.
As for their starting pitching, while Jon Lester pitched effectively on Opening Day both Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz have struggled in their starts. Yesterday, Beckett gave up five homeruns (two apiece to Cabrera and new Tiger Prince Fielder and one to Avila) amidst concerns about his thumb. Beckett has seen two specialists concerning it.
The Red Sox are not without talent. But the reason I think they will finish last in the AL East because I think the team is a long way from psychologically overcoming the 2011 collapse and Bobby Valentine will only accelerate their descent to the bottom.
The Red Sox make their way from Detroit to Toronto while the Yankees travel from St. Pete to Baltimore to face the 3-0 Orioles.