Boston Red Sox: 2010 Preview

SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team as the 2010 season opens. Today:Boston Red Sox (2009: 95-67, AL wildcard winner).

STARTING PITCHINGWith Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Bucholz, Boston already had a strong rotation. But then management went out and signed John Lackey, who has toiled for seven years in Anaheim, compiling a 102-71 record, as well as 3.12 ERA in 14 postseason series, including a World Series ring. Expect Lackey to raise his performance level now that he finally plays for one of the two teams in baseball that actually matter. It must be so exciting for him!
LINEUPGeneral manager Theo Epstein made a concerted effort to improve Boston's defense. So in are shortstop Marco Scutaro, third baseman Adrian Beltre and outfielder Mike Cameron. The trio should noticeably upgrade team defense, but they won't help the offense much. Hey! That gives me an idea! Maybe nowthat David Ortiz can't hit anymore, that means he's a great fielder, too! Like a ying and a yang thing. I would like to see the Red Sox try him in centerfield. I would really, really like to see that. Please! Please do it!
BENCHLongtime Boston stalwarts Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell now man the bench. Fans may tour the bench to see them on game days, excluding during the game, as well as an hour before and after the game. Also, there are no tours on Sundays for cleaning and maintenance of Varitek and Lowell. Flash photography is prohibited.
BULLPEN … Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, and Ramon Ramirez form a great core of the bullpen. But what puts it over the top isJonathan Papelbon. He is the team's closer … both in the fact that he closes games, and also if any non-Boston fans are on the fence about hating the Red Sox, watching Papelbon on the mound pretty much closes that deal, too.
OVERALLWith the Yankees coming off a World Series title and Boston's offense not what it once was, Red Sox Nation is terrified their beloved team is falling far behind its hated rival and could miss the playoffs. But that's absurd. Boston has great pitching and still plenty of offense and … wait. Never mind. What am I saying? Yes! Yes! The Red Sox will be terrible. Really, really, really bad. Just embarrassingly awful. Yes, yes, let the disappointment and depression wash over you. Now kill yourself.