Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 2/28/17
Today’s MLB preview is on the Boston Red Sox.
Right at the outset, I have to make it clear that there is no bias in this rundown, but make no mistake, I’m a Red Sox fan. However, that’s got nothing to with my optimistic outlook for this year’s team.
There isn’t any question management is in got for it mode. Dave Dombrowski has effectively stripped the system of nearly all its top prospects in an effort to capture another World Series title. I’m not generally a fan of this modus operandi, but then again, an opportunity to obtain a pitcher at the level of Chris Sale wasn’t going to happen on a frequent basis.
To be honest, I think management might have overpaid for Sale. But I also cannot argue with the win or bust mentality and Sale is the stud that could get Boston back to the World Series once again.
Sale heads up what is now a rotation that could be lights out. Rick Porcello is the reigning Cy Young winner. David Price was probably a bit of a disappointment, and he was once again terrible in the post-season, but even in a down year, the lefty managed 17 wins. Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz figure to complete the rotation. That’s a pretty daunting five-man starting corps and that’s not even including Eduardo Rodriguez.
The bullpen should be strong. Craig Kimbrel will close with newly acquired Tyler Thornburg in the primary setup role. It’s possible the Red Sox might want another quality arm in the pen, but I’m still of the belief that Joe Kelly has the capability to be an asset, particularly now that he’s done starting. Rodriguez could also be of use in the pen, assuming he’s not needed for starts.
The offense will obviously miss the personalty and production of David Ortiz. Big Papi was a larger than life presence both in the lineup and the clubhouse, and there’s really no way to completely replace him. But this attack is still plenty daunting. Mookie Betts has established himself as a superstar and Andrew Benitendi is on his way to that level. Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts up the middle are solid as a rock. Hanley Ramirez can DH or play first base and is a great bet to rack up big production numbers again this season. Jackie Bradley Jr. is a brilliant defender and he’s become a better hitter than I thought he would be.
The areas I would identify as questions are behind the plate, third base and maybe first base. Sandy Leon was a revelation last season, but the Red Sox have to hope that wasn’t an outlier. Pablo Sandoval was a bust in 2015 and played only three games in 2016. If Kung Fu Panda is washed up, the Sox have superutility man Brock Holt to plug that hole. Mitch Moreland is set to start at first, but I’m not sure he holds the job. Moreland was not good with Texas last season. If he falters again, prospect Sam Travis is waiting in the wings.
I probably won’t get involved with playing the Over/Under prop on Boston, though I lean to the Over. The Red Sox are the rightful favorites to win the AL East and anything less than that would constitute a major disappointment.
February 2017 will head into the archives as a tremendously successful month overall. But last night was anything but enjoyable as I lost two basketball games at the finish line as well as an HL overtime defeat with the Kings. LA blew four leads in that loss, which was particularly frustrating. The good news was that my first two MLBx plays both crossed the finish line the right way, but it was still a lousy day overall.
My Tuesday card presently consists of two college basketball games, one in the NBA plus another on the ice that I’m using as the daily free play.
My March Madness package is now available. Cost is $350 and that includes all plays in all sports, as well as the daily pros vs. joes newsletter. If you’re only interested in getting the daily pros/joes, go to jimfeist,com, click on my page and you can purchase one month for only $99. Inquiries are always welcome via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another winner with the daily comp as Arkansas State scored a relatively sweat-free win over Georgia State. Tonight’s free play is on the ice.
71 RED WINGS at 72 CANUCKS
Take: 72 CANUCKS -115
Detroit is off its bye week, and I wonder about what’s left in the motivational tank for the Red Wings. Barring an absolute miracle, this franchise will miss the playoffs for the first time in a quarter century.
It’s no fluke as this is a bad hockey team. I just can’t see how the time off is a plus for a team going nowhere. It’s also worth noting that while it’s clearly a small sample, Detroit is 0-3 this season when swinging into action off three or more days rest.
As for the Canucks, they’re also likely on the outside looking in come playoff time. But Vancouver has performed pretty well at home for the most part, and I expect them to win this game. The price is certainly not an obstacle, so I’m on the Canucks for my Tuesday free play.