Morse: America’s pastime is back

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Ken Morse

We are a people that look to signs of good things on the horizon. The first box scores coming out of MLB spring training are a sure sign of warm weather just up ahead.

Get the lawnmower tuned up, America’s pastime is back.

Here’s a quick look at our local ball clubs as they prepare for a new season.

The Boston Red Sox will have a chore trying to duplicate their best season ever, but only lost two key components from a team that put up 119 wins en route to the club’s ninth World Series title.

Joe Kelly went to the Dodgers and closer Craig Kimbrel was still a free-agent last week. Outside of that, the Sox return almost the same club that set MLB on its ear last season.

The Yankees, from the city that never sleeps, may have some sleepless nights with a pitching staff that is iffy at best.

GM Brian Cashman brought in Troy Tulowitzski and D.J. LeMahieu to shore up the infield, but pitching is the name of the game. Although the Yankees had the No. 1 ranked bullpen last season, they still have a ways to go to put together a respectable starting rotation.

The addition of James Paxton via trade and free-agent reliever Adam Ottavino lends little support to a rotation that will begin the season with C.C. Sabathia and Luis Severino on the DL.

The New York Mets were like watching a scary movie with your hands over your eyes last season. After busting out to an 11-1 start, the Mets then started May 3-10 and finished the month 3-8, marking the beginning of the end.

The Mets quickly went into survival mode as they were second in MLB with 28 stints on the DL, and first-year manager Mickey Callaway saw the season turn into a nightmare of Titanic proportions.

The Mets made several key acquisitions in the offseason, and the biggest one was new GM Brodie Van Wagenen. The former agent brought in a slew of talent and depth to try and turn the Mets fortunes around. Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Keon Broxton and J.D. Davis were added via trade, and free-agents Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie and Jeurys Famillia were brought into the fold.

Time will tell if Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski made the right choice to stand pat, or if the Yankees were savvy enough to go with a starting rotation that has questions, or of the Mets added enough flair to compete in a very competitive division.

My lock is that the Red Sox and Yankees will be the teams to beat to get to the World Series, and the Mets, with any luck, will be right there until the end, instead of starting fast only to finish miserably.