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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The Red Sox: spring training in review

Published: April 8, 2011
Section: Sports

The 2011 Boston Red Sox have much to live up to in the 2011 season. With the big off-season acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox offense is setting itself up to be explosive. Crawford’s speed on the bases and Gonzalez’s power hitting fourth in the lineup puts pressure on the Sox’s divisional rivals the New York Yankees without a doubt. During the month of March, the Sox won 13 games while losing 19, and two games ending in a tie. Overall, the Sox scored 145 runs during spring training but allowed 153 runs giving the Sox a .424 winning percentage during their time in Florida.

Week one (March 1 to 5) of spring training saw the Sox face the Twins, Braves, Phillies and Yankees, with the last day of the first week featured a double-header against the Orioles and Marlins. The first week of Spring Training the Sox had to face very good teams, especially the Phillies and Yankees being World Series caliber teams. The Sox won their first game of spring training against the Twins in a 5-0 shutout. The following day they faced the Atlanta Braves losing 1-6. Boston faced 2008 World Series Champions the Philadelphia Phillies on March 3 and lost 0-2. The Sox followed up by facing the 2009 World Series Champions the New York Yankees the following day and won 5-0. By the end of the first week the Sox had scored 17 runs and only allowed 11 runs giving them a record of 2-3-1.

In week two (March 6 to 12) the Sox faced the Mets, Orioles, Cardinals, Astros, Rays, Twins, and Florida Marlins. March 8 was a double header against both the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros, both of the National League (NL). By the end of this double header, the Sox were on a three-game winning streak and outscored their opponents 17-14. The following game against the Orioles saw the Sox win a nail biter game 2-1. The Sox would go on to lose against the Rays and Twins in week two but finished the week by beating the Astros and Marlins. By the end of week two the Sox had managed to outscore their opponents 50-37 and had a record of 6-3-1.

Week three (March 13 to 19) began with a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Sox managed to beat their rivals, the Yankees, once again, this time 2-1. Following this win, the Sox beat the Tigers 2-1 as well. The rest of the week did not go so well for the Sox by losing four games while only winning one against the Mets 8-5. The Sox began to slip during the third week of spring training due to the offense not producing enough runs while the pitchers allowed many runs. The Sox were 11-11-1 by the end of week three with plenty of time to make the 2011 spring training a winning one.

In week four (March 20 to 26) the Sox woes continued as they entered with a three-game losing streak. The losing streak did not break and by Sunday, March 27, the Sox had a 10-game losing streak. In only two out of those 10 losses, the Sox lost by more than five runs. Seven out of those 10 losses were by less than three runs. This shows that during the regular season, the Sox’s offense needs to help their pitching win games. In their last game of spring training the Sox faced off against the Houston Astros and, on a positive note, the Sox won with a 10-0 shutout at Minute Maid Park.

Spring training serves as the best way for a team to figure out in which areas they need to improve. The Sox left spring training with a losing record but that does not mean that the Boston Red Sox are not World Series caliber.

Most teams need to work their kinks out during spring training and the Sox are no different. As long as the players on the Sox stay healthy and do not lose their motivation during the tough times, I have no doubt that they will make it to the World Series. April Fools marked the beginning of the 2011 season, and without a doubt the Sox were fooled by the Rangers losing all three games in the series.

The Sox were outscored 11-26. This weekend the Sox will host the New York Yankees in the first series of the season between the rival teams. During spring training the Sox managed to beat the Yankees twice outscoring them 7-4 in those two games combined. The Boston Red Sox have plenty to work on in terms of offense and pitching but, with enough dedication, the team that won it all in 2004 and 2007 can maybe do it again.