Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was on ESPN Radio’s “The Herd” on Monday and cautiously painted the Red Sox as the favorites in the AL East:
“I think it’s Boston’s division to lose, but it’s the AL East,” Schilling said. “There are no cakewalks. Even the last-place team Baltimore winning 60-something games last year was misleading because of how strong they finished. You look in the division and I think the top four teams last year had a plus run differential, which was as good if not better than every division in the game. They beat up on each other and they crushed the rest of the league.
“With 19 games [against each team] in your division, almost half of their schedule is spent inside the East. It’s such a grind. I don’t think Tampa Bay is going to win 96 games again, but they’re not going to be a team you’re going to [expect to take 2 out of 3 from every time]. And the other divisions have those [cakewalks].
“Whoever gets the most starts -- and the most quality starts -- out of the five [starting pitchers] they leave spring training with -- the Yankees and Boston -- is going to win that division, and I think it’s Boston’s to lose.”