OK, so the Sox are two series into the season and have a record of 2-4. I know it’s a small sampling of the season and they’ve yet to play the punching bags of the AL (Royals, Seattle, Baltimore) but these are the teams that you’ll be competing against in the playoffs (if you qualify).
So Friday night I wrote off as an emotional win the Angels needed. The Sox came back and battled to win an exciting game on Saturday. After Papelbon loaded the bases, I was a little worried (think 2001 World Series, Diamondbacks against Yankees. Gonzales hits a bloop single to win the game and the World Series) but he battled and ended up getting the save. Bend, don’t break.
So this sets up yesterday. A win gets you a series win, brings the team to .500 on the season, and your ace is on the hill. Well, all for not even though Beckett only gave up four runs. Just like Bay’s homer on Saturday, Vlad’s home run in the eighth added that little bit of insurance so even though the Sox scored in the ninth, it didn’t tie the game. Again, bend, don’t break.
So after two series and a flight to the west coast what have we learned? Well, so far we’ve learned that Ellsbury still can’t hit. All the line drive outs in the world don’t make up for the fact that they’re still outs. Francona apparently is seeing this as well as he had Baldelli pinch hit for Jacoby in the ninth (of course he struck out, Ellsbury could’ve done that). Lowrie is a train wreck which is why Nick Green got the start yesterday. Green went 2-3. I say you leave him in there today as well. Let Lowrie get some extra batting practice because leaving the amount of runners on base that he has is unacceptable. Who’d think we’d be waiting for Lugo to come back because he may be better? Ugh, I can’t believe I just typed that.
I don’t think he’s saying “Fudge”
Is Okajima done? Through three games (two innings worked) he’s given up three runs. Could he be the Grandpa Timlin of this year? He’s only 33 (I thought he was a lot older) but maybe all the work in Japan and now in the US is starting to catch up to him. Or the batters are finally figuring him out. It’s early enough that hopefully he regains his All Star form. I know there’s other bridges to Papelbon but he’s been there for a couple years now.
Again, these two series were against the AL elite so I’m not super worried, especially two series into the season. But this team needs to find it’s identity. If Ellsbury isn’t the answer as a lead off hitter, maybe you move him down the lineup and have Pedroia or Drew lead off. At least they work the count instead of going down on three pitches.
Tonight is more west coast baseball. 10:05pm tonight and tomorrow. 3:35pm Wednesday before flying home for a day off. We wouldn’t be watching anyways as the Bruins start their Quest for the Cup Thursday night against the Canadiens. Can’t wait.