When looking back at the 2010 season for the Boston Red Sox, it really is a wonder that they even won 89 games.
Just a week into the season, they lost the services of leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury for virtually the entire season, and on June 25 sparkplug and fellow table setter Dustin Pedroia went down with a broken bone in his left foot. Aside from an attempted two-game comeback in August, Pedroia was lost for the season as well.
Losing the top of your batting order never bodes well, and despite the many different lineup combinations that Sox manager Terry Francona trotted out every day, the absence of both Ellsbury and Pedroia were without a doubt a major reason the Sox were unable to mount a playoff run.
This season, not only are both players back and completely healthy, but both are chomping at the bit to start playing games for real and show the world that newly acquired players Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzales won’t be the only weapons in the Red Sox offensive arsenal.
“I knew I had to put in a lot of work to get to where I’m at right now,” Ellsbury told Sean McAdam of CSNNE. “It was nice to just come into camp, ready to go. And it’s nice having good results early in camp, but my main thing is just seeing the ball.”
So far in Pedroia’s relatively short career, he has picked up Rookie of the Year and AL MVP trophies, three Silver Slugger awards and a Gold Glove. Pedroia has more walks (215) than strikeouts (184) during his career, which speaks directly to his ability to spoil good pitches and take advantage of mistakes.
Having both Ellsbury and Pedroia back at the top of the batting order, along with the additions of Crawford, Gonzalez and a healthy Kevin Youkilis, absolutely makes this current lineup one of the scariest in recent seasons, and the table setters will be the key.