With the extended winter weather this year, it’s hard to believe that the 2013 Major League Baseball season is upon us. Opening Day is scheduled for Sunday, but more important to Connecticut fans, the Red Sox and Yankees square off on Monday – the first of a three-game series.
Say what? You don’t get that last comparison?
You see, at Southern, the chairmen of two academic departments – political science and history – are avid baseball fans. Both are distinguished academicians in their respective fields, and when they are not teaching, researching, writing and administrating, they can often be seen following their favorite team. The two have been friends and colleagues for years. Art Paulson, who leads the Political Science Department, is a dyed-in-the-wool Yankees fan. Troy Paddock, who is in charge of the History Department, has been a Red Sox fan since he was 10 years old.
Interestingly, both agree that it will be challenging for their respective teams to win the American League East this year. Both agree that it will be a very competitive fight for the division title and that Tampa Bay looms as the team to beat.
But that doesn’t stop either from talking about why they think their team will finish higher in the standings than their arch rival. Each has given their 5 top reasons why that will be the case.
Here they are:
Troy Paddock’s 5 Reasons why the Red Sox Will Beat the Yankees in 2013:
- Bobby Valentine is not the manager of the Red Sox. He cost the Red Sox at least 5 or 6 games last year by leaving pitchers in too long. John Farrell knows this team from his time as a pitching coach and the players like him. Enjoying coming into work matters, even when you are playing a game.
- Injuries. The Red Sox had a tremendous number of injuries last year. Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Will Middlebooks, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and David Ortiz all spent significant time on the DL (as did others). If the starting lineup remains relatively healthy, they should be in better shape than last year.
- The pitching – both starting and relief — looks to be better. Buchholz and John Lackey have both looked healthy in spring training; Lester looks to be returning to the form that made him one of the best left-handed pitchers in baseball a couple of years ago.
- This Red Sox team is deeper than past teams. There are several players who can make the trip up from Pawtucket to help this team. Jackie Bradley Jr. has caught everyone’s eye, but Ryan Lavarnway, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and Brock Holt have shown they step in as needed, too.
- The Yankees look weak. The decision to become fiscally responsible seems to have been ill-timed. With Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira all starting on the DL and CC Sabathia starting to show some signs of wearing down, the Yankees look like they might be in trouble. That’s too bad. Mariano Rivera deserves better in his final season.
Art Paulson’s 5 Reasons why the Yankees Will Beat the Red Sox in 2013:
- The Yankees have become the more experienced team. They have Jeter, Granderson, Sabathia, A-Rod, Robinson Cano, Teixeira, Pettitte and Youkilis. The Red Sox have good young talent, but it won’t collectively be as ready as it needs to be.
- New York has the better starting pitching. Not by much, but better. Sabathia is stronger than any of the Boston pitchers and Hiroki Kuroda is a pretty solid #2. He may also be better than any Bosox pitcher.
- The Yankees have Mariano Rivera and the Red Sox don’t. If Rivera can return to form after last year’s injury, he gives the Yankees a far stronger bullpen than the Red Sox. If for some reason he can’t – and I think he will – then the bullpen will be a close call.
- Stronger position-by-position. If the Yanks can recover from their injuries, we have to give them the edge. Jeter is Jeter, and Cano is the best athlete on either team. Ellsbury is pretty good, but he’s the best the Red Sox have.
- The Yankees are the Yankees. The Red Sox are the Red Sox. Enough said.
Check out additional analysis from Art Paulson and Troy Paddock on the 2013 baseball season.