It seems to me that the Red Sox are beginning a transition season. No, not a bridge year. (For some reason people found that term negative.) But, it seems like the style of the Red Sox is ready for a change.
Maybe I'm putting too much thought into David Ortiz lately. But, it seems like his style of play is leaving the team. The plodding 3-run homer mindset that has been so useful in the years past is out the door with him. No longer will the team be loading up the bases the best they can and hoping for a Manny or Ortiz homer. This year they are definitively going for the "younger" approach. A bunch of young guys running all over the place scoring as many runs as possible.
Truth be told, the team has been trending that way for a while. In last year's line-up, really only Hanley and Ortiz fit the old style. The rest of the team was a pretty athletic group. So, maybe it's mostly symbolic. Replacing an opening day line up last year that had Ortiz with one this year that has Andrew Benintendi is drastic. It creates a line-up that is not only incredibly deep and talented, but designed to beat you senseless. No more "if I can get by Papi I'll be ok" mentality. Everyone will be getting their hits, and taking their extra base, and forcing you into errors. It will be relentless.
I'm never sure what to think of this approach. Many teams have tried this approach, and succeeded. But, very few win it all. There's something comforting about having someone you can depend on to really help your team ,as opposed to needing the entire line-up to perform at a high level. Take the 2013 World Series. Only one guy was hitting at all. David Ortiz was able to carry that team. Replace him with, say, Benintendi, and what happens? Sure, it's more exciting. But Ortiz was able to drive in himself. Tendi needs some help.
But, I'm willing to see how it works. Hopefully the talent level of the whole team is high enough that you can count on enough of them being hot to score runs. Because if this line-up is clicking, not sure there's anything that will be able to stop it. They'll be scoring runs in bunches.
And it will be a lot of fun.
What people are reading this week
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