GOODBYE HABS. Enjoy your offseason poutine. Such is life… bitches! I had been holding my breath for 3 hours watching the Bruins game, but during commercial breaks I saw enough of the Sox game to wonder what is going on with them
Too many defensive breakdowns tonight led to unnecessary pitches by Beckett which turned into 3 runs. Unacceptable. In little league they teach outfielders how to call off the infielder. It’s not hard, you just scream “I GOT IT.” Bucholz was shaky last night giving up 3 runs on 12, yes 12, hits. Beckett wasn’t much better tonight.
The offense continues to be plagued stranding runners in scoring position. This must stop. On a brighter side, Francona essentially announced Jed Lowrie as the Sox starting shortstop, replacing the ineffective Marco Scutaro.
Read about it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/red-sox/post/_/id/10312/tito-all-but-ordains-lowrie-as-starter
Good for Lowrie, the kid has been through a lot of injuries with wrist problems, mono last season and getting stuck behind subpar and overpaid fielders. Let’s see what the kid can do!
Drop us a line about either the Bruins or the Sox.
Former Red Sox centerfielder and umpire-headbutting extraordinaire Carl Everett has been arrested in Lutz, Florida for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by putting a handgun to his wife’s head. He seems to have a head fetish. He’s also been charged with tampering with a witness. Glad to see retirement has been treating Carl well. Stay in jail Carl.
Welcome to the Easter edition of The Baseball Buffoons.
While many of us (myself included) were glued to the 2 OT Bruins game last night (CA-REEEY, CA-REEEY), the Red Sox continued their impressive turnaround. I watched enough of the Sox game during the Bruins intermission’s to see that they were doing well, but it wasn’t until about the 5th inning that I could give them my full attention.
After calling for Dice-K to be traded 2 weeks ago, I’ve been shocked with how he’s pitched. In his last 2 starts, that’s the number of hits he’s allowed: 2. His breaking stuff has been excellent and he’s consistently locating his fastball.
Crawford is showing signs of breaking out of his beginning of the season funk, going 2 for 4 last night with an RBI. Let’s hope this continues.
The area that I’m most concerned with now is catching. Have the Sox lost confidence in Saltalamacchia? It seems that way because Varitek has been catching a lot more games than an over-the-hill backup catcher normally would/should. Varitek’s offense is anemic, but the Sox seem more than willing to let that go as long as the pitching staff is doing better. And they have been since he’s been catching more. This is certainly an area to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
3 quick thoughts from last night’s game:
– Dice K needs to be traded or released. Immediately. Last night was the definitive proof that he can’t make it in the American League East. Does he have the talent to be a major league pitcher? Yes. Last year he almost no-hit the Phillies, so the stuff is there. But he isn’t made for the pressure of Boston. Maybe he’d be suited better to Seattle if the Sox can eat at least half of his salary. Please check out the article by Peter Abraham today for better articulated thoughts: http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2011/04/the_time_has_co.html?p1=News_links
-Curt Young needs to go. The new pitching coach must be fired at some point soon if this terrible pitching continues. Ultimately he is responsible for the pre-game preparations, including gameplanning a pitching strategy. He’s failing.
-Catching sucks. The catching is terrible. I’m beginning to wish the Sox signed a Molina.
The first game of the season between the Red Sox and the Rays was quite a doozy. A 16-5 final score means it was way more interesting for Rays fans than Sox fans, to say the least, and it indicates the Rays offense is back on track. Several notes from this game:
- Sam Fuld was in full beast mode last night. Final line: 4-6, 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 HR, 1 3B, 2 2B, falling a single short of the cycle. He also made another sick diving catch, which is becoming a regular thing now. Make no mistake though, Fuld could have legitimately had that cycle, he just chose not to because he’s straight bad-ass. He entered the 9th needing a single, and when he laced one down the left field line he secured it…except, he decided not to stop at first and instead went straight on to second, apparently feeling his cycle would have been cheapened/illegitimate if he simply took first and didn’t try and get everything he could out of the hit. Ladies and gentlemen, this boy’s got integrity (an irrelevant push for an extra base in the 9th inning of a 16-5 game notwithstanding).
- Dice-K tried to take advantage of the Rays and their .163 BA by throwing strikes instead of “nibbling at the strike zone,” as Rays announcer Dewayne Staats liked to put it. Instead, the Rays took advantage of Dice-K. Johnny Damon started it off by smacking the very first pitch out over the right-field wall. Then the rest of the Rays opened up in the 2nd inning, seemingly hitting every ball thrown at them to push across 6 runs before the Sox could record the first out. Daisuke’s final line: 7 ER on 8 hits (2 for bombs) with 2 walks in 2 IP, with only 2 K. Ouch.
- Wakefield was brought in to start the 3rd inning, but it’s not like he did much better: 5 ER on 7 hits in 3 1/3 IP. Alfredo Aceves was Boston’s star pitcher of the night, putting almost 3 innings in the books without giving up any runs! Former Ray Dan Wheeler then closed things out for the Sox by giving up 4 ER on 5 hits in only 1 inning. I almost shed a tear for you, Wheels. Almost.
- Baseball Tonight said every Ray raised his batting average tonight, except for Dan Johnson. It’s OK though, I know he’ll hit at least one bomb this series.
- I didn’t really notice any awkwardness between Carl Crawford and the Rays during his first game against his former team. However, I was watching to see if he would accidentally walk into the Rays’ dugout after a plate appearance or between innings. Unfortunately, to my knowledge that didn’t happen. We’ll see what transpires the first game Carl plays back in Tampa.
- Hellickson pitched pretty well tonight, allowing only 2 runs on 5 hits in 5 1/3 innings, though he only got one strikeout. He also gave 5 walks, which is odd for him. This oddity can be verified by checking out his Strikezone Plot:
Notice the 13 balls (green squares) that home plate umpire Tim Tschida called that were within the strike zone. Hellboy had an unusually small zone to deal with, and this is why he had an unusually high number of walks.
Anyway, tonight’s game should be the exact opposite of last night’s game as David Price faces up against Jon Lester. Pitcher’s duel here we come!
Last night’s game was a vast improvement over any of the games the Sox have played this season, including their win on Friday. Friday’s game was won on emotion, tonight’s on emotion and execution.
Beckett looked like the Beckett we became used to seeing in 2007 when he dominated. 8 strong innings and 10 strikeouts. His fastball had great life and his curveball was devastating. Even when it went as a ball, it routinely froze the righties batting for the Yankees last night. He looked far more comfortable with ‘Tek behind the plate, so perhaps ‘Tek can catch for him every start. Beckett essentially said this after the game: “‘Tek and I were really clicking. We do that a lot.”
What hasn’t been said about Pedroia? Going into the weekend he said he was going to rake the ball and the he went out and did so. He was the catalyst for the weekend’s offense, finishing up by getting on base 5 times last night. Laser show showed up and delivered.
The new Sunday Night Baseball crew is slightly better than Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, but barely. I wanted to reach through my tv and punch Bobby Valentine in the face. I know Boston is a beautiful city and Fenway is a baseball mecca. I’m from here, I know all about it. The play-by-play guy kept calling Pedroia “that little guy.” Everyone knows he’s small. We also all know that he’s been a Rookie of the Year and an MVP. Shut up with the small talk. Orel Hershiser was refreshing, and I’m glad he pointed out that Manny quit on every team he ever played for. Someone in the national media finally had to call him out. I’m glad it was a hall of famer.
With an eye to tonight’s game against the Rays, let’s hear what you thought about last night’s game.
Yesterday is the day that Sox fans have been waiting for. Especially with the way the season started, the return to Fenway provided new hope for fans and players who were beginning to look down-in-the-mouth. There’s new grass in the infield: this is significant because Pedroia had been an outspoken critic of the old infield grass… I guess it wasn’t like the grass Bill Murray used in CaddyShack: 2:04 into the clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrcgjMJmvNg
John Lackey again proved that he sucks, but luckily for him Phil Hughes was equally bad. Who saw Bartolo Colon pitching that well? It’s almost too bad that he got the loss and lackey the win because it was clear that Colon was the best pitcher yesterday. With the offense showing life, I think that the pressure for them to hit will lessen and offensively they’ll look more like the team we were expecting. Pedroia said pre-game that he was going to rake the ball, and then he backed it up. Laser Show.
The bullpen was excellent yesterday, even call-up Alredo Aceves (former New York Bastard pitcher). Jenks-Bard-Pabelbon showed that the the late innings of the ballgame might be too late for teams to try and make up ground on the Sox this year. I was pleased with Bard’s bounce back performance after his shaky outing in Cleveland where he matched his career high in losses (2).
The boys are right back at it today at 1:10, but I’ll be needing the Picture-in-Picture option with the Bruins playing at 1:00. What a sports day.