When a certain third baseman from the Bronx went down with his hip surgery, the chances of your 2009 Red Sox capturing the AL East gonfalon went up exponentially. After all, we already had the best pitching staff in the division 1-12 (or 13); an offense (despite being "Manny-Free") that was as tough as they get 1-7 and, lastly, the "You Can Call Me" Rays were bound to have a sophomore swoon.
Ah, but then the dreaded Curse Of The Nurse hit. Julio Lugo tore up his knee; Dustin Pedroia strained an abdominal muscle at World Baseball Lite (we told you so!), and all of a sudden the Red Sox infield is about as deep as the lead baritone's voice on the Vienna Boy's Choir. Some guy named Nick Green is probably going to make it out of camp as the new Alex Cora. Nick Green? Oh, my.
So, the lesson to be learned, Red Sox fans, is that (forget starting pitching) you can never have enough back-up infielders. What does all this mean in the grand scheme of things? Probably, that the Sox revert to an even shot to take the AL East—with the Empire about as likely to finish first. That's assuming that the Curse Of The Nurse doesn't re-visit that third basemen when he returns in May.