Let's forget the total collapse of 2011. Let's forget the change at the manager and general manager spots. Let's forget the fried chicken and beer...and John Lackey.
The Red Sox are still a scary team to face and have had the Angels' number during regular-season and postseason games.
With the subpar performance of Kevin Youkilis and Carl Crawford last season, the BoSox still managed to finish first in the league in OPS, OBP and runs scored and second in batting average. Boston also has the most terrifying home-field advantage in the game. In short, it is poised to win if it wasn't for such a glaring problem.
Boston pitching was decent at best this past year. Finally the Red Sox will get Daniel Bard and Clay Buchholz back, which is definitely a plus. Josh Beckett will need to put up at least 16 wins and an ERA of 3.00, which is definitely realistic. Jon Lester should continue to put up the numbers he put up last season, but after that they have Alfredo Aceves, and after him they have question marks.
The Angels definitely have an advantage over the pitching staff of the Red Sox, which is exactly why they will not have a similar end-of-the-year destruction that the Red Sox had.
I expect the Red Sox to be in the running for Yu Darvish, as well as Andrew Bailey and Gio Gonzalez. Also, it is time to move on from Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek for the sake of the organization. I could see adding them to the coaching staff, but other than that, they have become liabilities.