3 to Watch: The 1-5 sure beats 0-6 edition

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider
Remember that stat about how no team that started 0-6 has ever made it to the World Series?

It's still true, just less relevant, since no team started 0-6 this year.

And six teams that started 1-5 made it to the World Series (although none since the 1973 A's, and none before that since the 1948 Braves).

See how much better off the Red Sox are this year than they were last year?

If they'd won one more game in the season's opening week in 2011, that win alone would have vaulted them into a single-game playoff for the wild card . . . which they almost certainly would have lost, since the Rays had Matt Moore ready to start, and the Red Sox had . . . well, nobody.

Still, 1-5 feels only a little like 0-6, even though the Red Sox have given up exactly the same number of runs (38) as they did in that 0-6 start a year ago.

For the second straight year, they'll reach the Fenway opener with a lousy record, although I can pretty much guarantee that Friday's game against the Rays won't feel like last year's opener against the Yankees.

For one thing, there won't be a pregame fire-'em-up clubhouse speech from Theo Epstein. For another, if the Red Sox end the day with a 1-6 record, the manager won't say, "I've never seen a team so happy to be 1-6," as Terry Francona said after last year's home opener.

Oh, and there's not much chance that a Manny Ramirez retirement announcement will become the news of the day.

Does all that mean that 2012 is automatically different, and 2011 has been totally forgotten.

In Boston? Not a chance, especially not since this will be most Red Sox fans' first look at this team since they completed the September collapse.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Are the Red Sox better off than they were a year ago? Ask again after the home opener, because Josh Beckett gets the start in Rays at Red Sox, Friday afternoon (2:05 ET) at Fenway Park. Beckett gave up five home runs in his first start last Saturday against the Tigers, and said afterwards that his right thumb was not the problem. The questions will continue, unless Beckett shows up Friday and pitches the way he did in his first home start a year ago -- when he worked eight shutout innings, allowed two hits and struck out 10 Yankees. David Price, who was 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA against the Red Sox last year, starts for the Rays.

2. What happens next with Ozzie Guillen? We may have a better idea after Astros at Marlins, Friday night (7:10 ET) at Marlins Park. If the story of the night is protests and boycotts, then the question of the night will be whether the Marlins manager can survive his stupid comments about Fidel Castro. If the story of the night is the Marlins' slow start in this hugely anticipated season, then that's good news for Guillen, who will serve the third game of his five-game suspension.

3. When he visited Yankee Stadium last year with the Rangers, C.J. Wilson said he hates the mound there. "It's terrible," he said. "It's like clay and silt." At the time, we wondered how those feelings might affect free agency, because there seemed to be a real chance that the Yankees would try to sign Wilson. They didn't, instead signing Hiroki Kuroda (who starts Friday's home opener) and putting their faith in guys like Phil Hughes, who opposes Wilson in Angels at Yankees, Saturday afternoon (1:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium.


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