I don’t know much but I know this: If the Red Sox are gonna go anywhere in 2007, they’re gonna need the big man — the Captain, Sir Jason of Varitek County, Commander Kick Ass of the Hell Yeah Brigade — to come up huge with the bat.
Last year, it seemed there wasn’t a rally that Tek couldn’t kill or a good time he couldn’t toss a wet blanket on. In an injury-shortened season, he hit a puny .238 with 12 home runs (just 10 more than Bronson Arroyo, for those keeping score). This spring he’s at .108. And the Bill James Handbook projects a .259 average for Tek in 2007, with 17 home runs and 69 RBIs — pure speculation, to be sure, but numbers that would equal one of his worst seasons in the bigs.
Of course, there are some things that can’t be measured with statistics. Like coaxing your pitcher to sack the f–k up. Or being the first one out of the dugout to push a fist in someone’s face when the situation calls for it. Or being a stand-up guy in the clubhouse.
That said, this year’s line-up could conceivably have more potholes than Commonwealth Ave. We’re counting on Lowell and Youk to improve on the expectations-exceeding seasons they had last year. We’re assuming Pedroia will start hitting at the major league level once the games start to count. We’re hoping Drew can effectively partner with Ortiz and Manny to create the Unholy Trinity. We’re betting on Crisp rediscovering his buried mojo. And we’re praying Lugo can be the leadoff hitter we thought we’d be getting with Coco. Factor in an unproductive Varitek, and it could make for a long, long summer.
Again, it’s all crystal balling at this point. But we really, really need The Cap’n to start megadosing on Vitamin Awesome.