The Sox got off to a great start last night beating the Indians 10-4. I was able to catch most the game despite it being interrupted by a three hour rain delay. I finally headed to bed at 1am but not before watching Jim Thome hit a monster blast and Brandon McCarthy pitch three perfect innings.
Unfortunately, I was unable to stay awake and watch new Sox lefty Matt Thornton finish off the game with 1.1 scoreless innings.
If Jim Thome can regain his pre-2005 hitting stroke, the Sox will have no problems winning the Central this year. Even if he struggles, the Sox starting rotation will keep them in the race. But if he can hit 40 homers, the Sox might be unstoppable.
The other big worry for the Sox is their bullpen. But last night's game showed what a luxury they have with McCarthy in the pen. When you have a pitcher in the bullpen who would be a front of the rotation starter on most other ballclubs, it can't be that bad.
Anyway, on to some predictions. I don't think the Sox will get back to 99 wins. Both the Twins and Tigers improved in the offseason and you can't expect them to go 14-5 against the Indians again. But I do think the Sox will win the division.
The Cubs are where the Sox have been prior to the 2005 season. They have a shot if they get a couple of breaks. So do ten other teams. I think they will finish third this year in a bunched up NL Central.