2014 Red Sox preview: A strong April showing would work wonders

Grady Sizemore Red Sox
Many eyes will be fixed on Grady Sizemore to start the season. Credit: Getty Images

As is the case with all World Series champions, they have targets on their backs the following season. Opponents might anticipate these games more than others as it gives them a chance to knock off the defending champs and see where their team stacks up against the best in the game.

This is what the Red Sox will face in 2014, particularly in the first few weeks of the season as the shape of the league begins to form.

“It’s to get back to a mindset that was the first day of spring training last year, and not the most recent memory, which was a great one, but to recognize that there was a lot of work, a journey that went into getting to that final out recorded at Fenway,” manager John Farrell said. “As you’ve been around the guys since they’ve reported, the conversation, the talk is about what we do today and not what has happened previous.”

Despite getting the best from the opposition night in and night out early on in the season, defending MLB champions have enjoyed a great deal of success in the months of March and April as in the last 10 years, defending champions have had .500 records or better nine times.

As for the rest of those seasons, five defending champs have missed the playoffs entirely, while one made it back to the Divisional series, three made it back to the Championship series and one to the World Series. The Red Sox will be looking to be one of those five teams to make it back to the postseason and ultimately be the first team in the last 13 seasons to repeat as World Series champions.


“In this group, no one’s going to let anybody sit back and relax,” Dustin Pedroia told the Associated Press. “We’re always going to push each other and make sure that we’re respecting the game and playing the game the right way. If we do that, we should be all right.”

Particularly for this year’s team, the first month will be especially important as 15 of Boston’s first 28 games will be at Fenway Park, a place they went 53-28 last season. Of those 28 games, 19 of them come against AL East opponents.

Leading the division for 141 days last year, getting off to a good start will be crucial in their title defense, and with their opponents particularly divisional, itching to prove themselves against them, the first month might be a grind.

But, if there is any team in baseball that knows how to grind, it’s this group, as they return the majority of a team that didn’t lose more than three straight games in 2013.

Follow Metro Boston Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @Hannable84



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…