Entering September with the American League’s best overall record, the Sox dropped 20 of their final 27 contests, falling out of the postseason on the season’s final day.
Despite the collapse, the Red Sox still managed to lead the league offensively, scoring 5.4 runs per game. With seven of the nine starters left, it’s safe to expect big things to come out of Boston yet again in 2012. Only this time, it’s win or bust.
As spring training looms, a few questions have yet to be answered:
- How much will new manager Bobby Valentine impact the lineup?
- Who starts at shortstop: the veteran Mike Aviles, the long-time backup Nick Punto or wunderkind Jose Iglesias?
- Where will Carl Crawford end up batting?
With all that in mind, here’s a look at how the Red Sox lineup should look this season: