2011 Boston Red Sox: Terry Francona Is the X-Factor for a Playoff Run

Christopher GaspariniContributor IJune 15, 2011

Terry Francona has no shortage of talent in 2011, question is..  Will he know what to do with it?
Terry Francona has no shortage of talent in 2011, question is.. Will he know what to do with it?

You read it correctly folks.  Terry Fancona will be the deciding factor in how deep the Red Sox make it through the postseason.  I chewed on this one for a while because I couldn't figure out a clear cut player to take the nod.  Then it hit me.  It's going to have to be the skipper.  With all the talent that surrounds this team, it's going to be up to Francona to manage this team to its maximum effectiveness.  So far, so good.

At first I wanted to give it to Adrian Gonzalez.  The numbers don't lie and this guy is a clear reason for the Red Sox's recent success.  There is no question that he is a huge part of their offense.  But I hate to throw the weight on the new guy.  Also, there is to much talent to really pick one offensive player.

After I realized it wouldn't be a position player, I went directly to pitching.  We already know a team's pitching staff is the make or break for any franchise with goals for a World Series, but could you rest the entire season on an arm?  All signs pointed to Jon Lester.  How could they not.  Though Josh Beckett sat in the back of my mind for a good while, I'm still not sold on him.  Don't get my words twisted.  I'm ecstatic that he has been pitching this well, but from evidence of the past few seasons, who knows if he'll be at 100 percent to make a push into the postseason.  He has great playoff numbers but something is sitting in my stomach about him this year.  Almost a too good to be true type deal.

So, where does that leave us now?  Bullpen?  Eh, a strong bullpen is always a plus for any team, and in the past we've noticed how important it could be.  But I didn't see the deciding vote for them to take the nod.  After a careful thought process, and deductive reasoning, my vote goes to Terry Francona.

If you really think about it, this is all going to come down to the man behind the machine that is the 2011 Red Sox.  It's going to be up to him to make sure the right guys are in the right place, at the right time.  I know this sounds simplistic, but when you have the talent he has, it's almost more difficult to make this machine run at full throttle without any malfunctions.  All the same, skipper type issues will arise for Terry this season, but there comes those decisions where games are won and lost (Grady Little). 

Now I know there might not be any real clear evidence that this postseason dash will rely on what Francona does, but at the end of the day, would you want anyone else managing this club?