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Jon Lester is already talking World Series

Jan 25, 2011, 1:52 AM EDT

lester

Red Sox Nation is brimming with confidence these days, and rightly so given the amazing offseason Theo Epstein put together.

They bolstered their bullpen with Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler, added Adrian Gonzalez’s big bat to the middle of the lineup and nabbed speed merchant Carl Crawford. So obviously, there is reason for plenty of optimism in Boston.

What’s interesting, though, is that Jon Lester is already talking about the World Series – three weeks before spring training. The Red Sox ace is not the type to go on long-winded (or even medium-winded) rants. Nor is he likely to puff out his chest like an NFL receiver after an 8-yard catch. So his comments to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe should tell you something about how good the Red Sox expect themselves to be this year.

“Mentally and physically, I’m preparing for the World Series,” he said. “I’m doing extra right now to make sure my body holds up for late October. You look at the kind of team we have and I don’t see why (we) can’t get there.”

Lester raved about Wheeler as “one of the best set-up men in the game,” and said the added bonus of having ex-Tampa Bay player Crawford on the team is that he doesn’t have to worry about facing him anymore. The left-hander, who won 19 games last year, also said that the Red Sox are focused and motivated after missing out of the playoffs last season.

We had a good year last year but we didn’t have a great year. Because of the injuries a lot of guys had time off. I think a lot of guys will have a chip on their shoulder.

“There’s a lot to prove in our clubhouse. That can take you a long way as a team.”

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  1. cup0pizza - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:54 AM

    Go Sox! Love the enthusiasm!

  2. mvd513 - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:44 AM

    Seems like a good idea for any player to be prepared for October. Also, no reason why he shouldn’t think his team is gonna make it. Without that enthusiasm and optimism, whats the point of even starting the season?

  3. thinman61 - Jan 25, 2011 at 7:03 AM

    I’d be worried if my team wasn’t expecting to win the World Series this time of year. All those players being in the best shape of their life and all.

  4. proudlycanadian - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    So what could go wrong? The starting pitching after the top 2 is iffy. Catching is problematical. Who knows what injuries might happen! Red Sox fans shouldn’t bet the farm on a World Series.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:40 AM

      Absolutely the Sox have a huge gaping achillies heel. And it’s pitching. What were they? Ranked 22nd last season? So yeah, they need a crazy offense to counterbalance a weak pitching staff. They are the opposite of Philadelphia really. They had an awesome off season, and I expect them to be favorites to take the AL east, but anything can happen in the playoffs.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 25, 2011 at 9:34 AM

        Anything can happen during the regular season as well. As the Red Sox should know from last year. Injuries, Papelbon could have another down year and who’s to say that both Lester and Buchholz will have the same success they had in 2010. Buchholz, especially is still relatively inexperienced and health issues have dogged him throughout his 3+ major league seasons. As a very wise man once said they may be the favorites now but that’s why they make you play the games.

  5. Panda Claus - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    Originally, looking at the title alone, I somehow expected some sort of Rex Ryan-like bravado from Lester. It’s nothing like that. He’s just trying to prepare himself for the possibility of playing in October. Nothing but a good idea for any ML player to be ready for that same possibility.

    • Bob Harkins - Jan 25, 2011 at 6:39 PM

      For him, that IS Ryan-eque.

  6. BC - Jan 25, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    Wheeler is horrible, and they have two solid starting pitchers. Lackey eats innings but is mediocre and Beckett looks like he’s cratered. Dice-K? Please. They need Beckett or Lackey to bounce back and win 17-18 games if they want to be the odds-on AL favorite. Otherwise they’re in a dogfight at best.

    • consistentlyerratic - Jan 25, 2011 at 1:32 PM

      Really? In the AL they were 9th in ERA, 4th in FIP, and 6th in xFIP. That sounds like a pretty middle of the road pitching staff. I don’t expect them to be hugely improved in 2011, but I’d imagine they aren’t going to get any worse.

      Buccholz’s regression will probably be offset by improvements from Beckett (ERA 5.80, FIP 4.54, xFIP 4.01) and possibly Lackey . The bullpen has undeniably improved- Wheeler is going to be a 6th inning guy, behind Papelbon, Jenks, and Bard, and can be used situationally against righties, which will improve his overall numbers. Given the roster improvements, I’d expect the Sox pitching staff to be top 5 in the AL this coming year.

  7. frankvzappa - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    anybody who thinks the next few world series matchups arent going to be Sox v. Phils is delusional

    • uyf1950 - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:47 PM

      Delusional maybe. But the Sox have quite a few issues of their own not only this year but next year as well.
      This year – it’s how will Beckett, Dice K perform and will they stay healthy. Which up to now neither one has been able to do consistently. Will Lackey be more consistent then he was his first year in Boston. Who will catch or maybe more appropriately do the Sox even have a ML capable catcher? Then there is the Papelbon question. Does he stay, does he go, does he bounce back or does he pout and continue the slide from 2010?
      Come 2012 – Then there is the question about the 2 FA. Drew & Cameron what to do about either or both of them. Cameron is probably an easy one to answer, Drew a little more difficult? Then there is do they resign or replace Ortiz? Then there still is that pesky question about a ML catcher? And since Beckett, Dice K and Lackey are still under contract what to do about one or more of them if they don’t bounce back in 2011 from less than stellar performances in 2010?
      I guess you’re right though how could anyone question that the next few World Series match ups wouldn’t include the Red Sox.

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