Though the Boston Red Sox were able to win 90 games in 2011, the team failed to make the playoffs. In short, the season ended disappointingly for the Red Sox. With a new manager and some key additions this offseason, the team may have a better 2012 season.
Here are five ways the Red Sox can have a better season in 2012:
Bobby Valentine acts as an authoritative manager
Terry Francona, who helped the team win two World Series, was a player-friendly manager, when he coached the Red Sox. Bobby Valentine, on the other hand, is known for being more of an aggressive manager than Francona and this should help players focus more on baseball, while leaving petty personal objectives at bay.
Bullpen improves, with the help of a serviceable closer
Currently, the Red Sox bullpen is average to below-average and the team still needs a closer with good closing experience. Though Daniel Bard or Mark Melancon may become the next closer for the Red Sox, the team would be wiser if it looks for a better closer on the free agent market, including Ryan Madson or Francisco Cordero. If the bullpen improves, and the team has a dependable, highly-reliable closer, the chances of the Red Sox playing in the playoffs next year would be greatly improved.
Clay Buchholz and rest of team have an injury-free season
Clay Buccholz is a great starting pitcher; unfortunately, he was not available to pitch in many games last season, as he was injured with a severe back issue. There were also many other Red Sox players who were injured. If the team could stay healthy, and play their best baseball, then the team would have a solid chance of having a better 2012 season. Though injuries are highly likely to occur to many players, especially to players who have a history of being injured, the team would experience the worst luck if its starting pitchers experience injuries.
Carl Crawford improves as a baseball player
Carl Crawford's 2011 season was a disappointment. In 130 games last year Crawford hit 11 home runs, drove in 56 runners, and only stole 18 bases. To make matters worse, his batting average and OBP were .255 and .289, respectively. Since he is the starting left fielder for the Red Sox, he needs to improve his offensive numbers, though fans should not expect that he will ever be as successful in Boston as he was in Tampa Bay.
Josh Beckett and fellow notorious poultry eaters need to focus their attention and time during baseball games on the actual game
When the Boston Red Sox were playing horrendous baseball in September, a few players were demonstrating that they were uninterested in how their fellow teammates performed during baseball games. One of these players was Josh Beckett. Josh Beckett and his fellow poultry-eating teammates need to be encouraging and supportive teammates in 2012, as their behavior could again depend on whether the team makes the playoffs. Fortunately, Valentine's reputation precedes him and it is unlikely that any player will be allowed to be in the clubhouse during any game.
Born inWeston, Massachusetts, Tom Harrington has been one of the most faithful fans of the Boston Red Sox. Although he briefly lived in New Jersey and Vermont, Tom was raised as a member of the Red Sox Nation and has been to many games within the past couple of years.
"Red Sox Team Report," Yahoo! Sports.
"Valentine fills out Red Sox coaching staff," Yahoo! Sports.