Baseball - Five Reasons the Red Sox Should Be the AL Favorites

    When thinking about the chances of the team that will represent the AL in the World Series, only a realistic possibility comes to mind - Boston Red Sox. Say what you will about the amount of money the Yankees have been playing, or the increase that has put the Angels in Los Angeles back in the top of the NL West, or the inspired play of the Tigers Detroit and Chicago White Sox (recently) in the Central Division. For me, the Red Sox are a breeze, and here's why:

    (1) The best bullpen - And when I say this, what I mean is that they have the best bullpen by far. For the moment. Statistically speaking, they were the best, with an ERA of 3.21 after Saturday's game, but you do not even tell the whole story. A lot of teams have a good fence, and a strong man set-up. In the Boston bullpen, just about everyone represents strength, if your 'Jonathan Papelbon, one of the best in the game "fire" to alleviate the medium and Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez, Takashi Soto, Hideki Okajima and Daniel Bard, no weakness for an opponent to exploit. And remember that when in a short series, the Red Sox will have at least a starter or two can be downloaded in a relief role. This means that besides Justin available for service relief over time, Masterson could even have John Smoltz for that purpose, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, if it is healthy at a time.

    (2) depth in the rotation - I do not know if you can win twenty games or not, but Tim Wakefield is definitely in good shape at the midpoint. His performance has been an advantage for the Red Sox. Brad Penny has taken a while to return, but has thrown well enough to win two-thirds of their decisions. Jon Lester and Josh Beckett has been mostly sizzling in the last month or so. This is not a swing beat, but this team should be able to plug holes with the above Smoltz, Masterson and Matszuzaka and Clay Buchholz. They have enough on the way to start reaching the target with momentum, although a couple of those headlines get lame.

    (3) David Ortiz - Ortiz had a brutal start and was hitting just .185 on June 1. You do not classified as red-hot now, but at least to move the ball much better, having hit seven homers in the month of June. His slugging percentage also increased more than 100 points from the beginning to the end of June. You can not post a large number of end of the season, but is once again becoming a useful member of the lineup, and the Red Sox could use that.

    (4) It has the best "Manny Deal" - while Manny Ramirez received a 50-game suspension for steroids, Jason Bay, who came from Pittsburgh in the three-way trade that sent Ramirez to Los Angeles, has brought some energy to the line without bringing chaos to the clubhouse. Bey is not affecting a high average, and actually was in a slump, but he was still leading the league in RBIs from 04 July, and his .535 slugging average was among the best in the league Americana. Surprisingly, the Red Sox do not have many home run hitters, and one of them (Mike Lowell) just went on the disabled list, and the bay has filled the void left by the departure of Ramirez. It was dangerous in key situations, at a time bumps eleven straight homers with men on base.

    (5) are winning games away from home - The Red Sox won 12 of their last 16 as the road July 4, and that's important, having won 25 of their first 36 home games. When you look at the pattern between this year and last, the Red Sox were 56-25 at Fenway Park last season, but had only a 39-42 road mark. This year looked like it might be more of the same, but if Boston can stay on the plateau of 0.500 on the road, they'll be in great shape to win the division title and made the best record in the league.

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Baseball - Five Reasons the Red Sox Should Be the AL Favorites

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