After a four-month delay; the 2020 Major League Baseball season is about to commence. From Spring Training 2.0 to the very first meaningful game either on the 23rd or the 24th of July.
The last time we saw the Red Sox in general was Wednesday March 11th as they defeated the Rays in a 3-1 Spring Training win. After that, camp got shutdown for the foreseeable future amid the Covid-19 Pandemic. The last meaningful game the Red Sox played was last September when they defeated the Baltimore Orioles to close out the 2019 season.
Even with the late start to the season, the Red Sox are still going to look like a completely different team. For starters, Manager Alex Cora was relieved of his duties after his role in the Astros cheating scandal dating back to 2017. Cora is currently suspended for the entire 2020 campaign but can come back to work in the majors in 2021. Ron Roenicke was named the intern manager prior to Spring Training, but was later named the new manager about half way through.
On February 11th; the Red Sox officially completed a trade that involved sending Outfielder Mookie Betts and Pitcher David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Outfielder Alex Verdugo, and prospects Jeter Down and Connor Wong. The team also said farewell to longtime utility man Brock Holt as he went on to sign with the Milwaukee Brewers.
What to expect from the Red Sox? If this were a normal 162-game season; it would be an absolute struggle of a season to watch. However, with the season being shrunk down to just 60-games, this should benefit the Red Sox compared to a normal season as their playoff chances will take a huge boost.
The team will be without their best starting pitcher in Chris Sale, who is due to miss the entire season after under going Tommy John Surgery back in April. Questions rise whether Sale will be ready for the 2021 campaign.
What can we expect from the Red Sox entering the shortened season? Expect the Red Sox to compete for a playoff spot from game one all the through game 60. Rather than this season being a marathon, it's going to be a sprint to the finish line. The Red Sox cannot afford a slow start as they had last season. If the Red Sox go 15-15 or worse through the first 30 games, they will be way behind the eight ball.
Look for Xander Boegarts and J.D. Martinez to truly lead the charge for the Red Sox offensively. Eduardo Rodriquez can prove that he can lead the [itching staff and set the tone with absence of Sale, and for Nathan Eovaldi to prove that he was worth the five-year investment. Jackie Bradley Jr. can benefit from the shortened season as he tries to make a case to either get a long-term deal from the Red Sox or hit the market and give himself some value. Great defender, but Bradley has struggled with the bat throughout his career with the Red Sox.
What will the Red Sox record be? If the team can stay healthy through 60-games and Verdugo if doesn't have any setbacks as he comes back from a back injury he has been suffering through since last August. If the team can play hard and stay healthy injury wise and not contract the virus, the Red Sox could have a record of 39-21, which could be good enough to qualify fora wild card spot.
The Red Sox schedule will consist of them playing 10 games each against their AL East rivals while playing four games each against teams for the NL East.
There will be universal DH for the 2020 season, and games that go into extra innings, there will be a runner on second base to begin each inning.