Sox, Bradley Struggle
by Andrew Godwin on Friday, April 25th, 2014
With a 2013 World Series championship title under their belt, the Boston Red Sox looked to kick off their 2014 season with a bang. Sox fans have quickly found their high hopes diminished, as the Red Sox now hold the third spot in the American League East with an overall record of 10 wins and 12 losses. Why are the Red Sox not at the top of the heap once again? Their roster remains nearly the same as last season, and their World Series win must have boosted their confidence for this season. So, what went wrong?
With almost the entirety of their team locked up from last season, fans agree that the Sox should be dominating the league once again. Unfortunately for Boston, a key player is missing. After winning his second World Series with the Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston’s former all-star centerfielder, signed a 7-year, $153 million deal with the New York Yankees. Boston fans have seen this betrayal before with Johnny Damon; an all-star wins the World Series with his team, only to leave the next year for a big check laid out by their most bitter rivals-the New York Yankees. Upon departure, however, Ellsbury left Boston with gratitude and class, saying, “Leaving those guys behind is definitely the toughest part of this. We won together. I got to be a part of two championships and that will always be with me because that’s the organization I started with and grew up in. I’ll never forget it.”
Despite his classy words, Ellsbury surely leaves some big shoes to fill for Jackie Bradley Jr. As a 23-year-old, Bradley has struggled thus far this season, batting just .213. Jacoby Ellsbury is now batting .325 with the Yankees. However, Bradley Jr. hopes to assist the team this season in his own way. In a press conference, after questioned how he hoped to fill Ellsbury’s shoes, Bradley replied, “I don’t have anyone’s shoes to fill; I’m just trying to fill my own shoes. Size 10 ½. Just trying to do what I can do.”
Jackie Bradley Jr. played in only 37 games last season. However, his time on the bench was useful as he learned much from Jacoby Ellsbury. Jackie Bradley Jr.’s explosive base running, defensive range in center field, and patience at the plate mirror Ellsbury’s playing style. Give Jackie Bradley Jr. time, and he will settle in to have a solid year. Give the Red Sox the spring to fix the nuances in their lineup, and they will have a strong summer.
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