Boston's September collapse was disastrous, and the fallout from the 2011 season was one of the worst in team history. Do things look any better in 2012?
Despite struggles from Carl Crawford, missed time from J.D. Drew, and injuries to Kevin Youkilis, the 2011 Boston Red Sox held the title of the best offense in baseball.
They retain their core of Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz. Then there's bounce-back candidates Carl Crawford and Kevin Youkils. Who can forget minor leauge prospects Ryan Lavarnway, Ryan Kalish and Will Middlebrooks?
In other words, this deep lineup is the AL East's best.
But, as we all know offense isn't the problem.
The BoSox spent the offseason revamping their bullpen, and they did a heck of a job. The real problem has always been starting pitching—something new GM Ben Cherington failed to address.
Boston enters the season with a strong front three in Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz. After that things seem to taper off, with bullpen arms Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves possibly getting the No. 4 and 5 nod.
Despite a top-heavy pitching rotation and potent offense, it wont be enough to win this division. Boston will put up a good fight, but, for the second season in a row, they'll fall short.