Tuesday, July 08, 2008

15 Minute Post

I'm a little pressed for time these days but wanted to get up a quick post on BigP. I've got 15 minutes to do it so please ignore the typos and lack of coherent sentences. Today's topic is a quick assessment of the Sox at mid-season (I know they officially have a few games to go before the All Star break but we're pretty close).

  1. I like what I see so far. Great starting pitching (I mean REALLY great starting pitching). For the first time in years, they actually have a reliable number 5. They are also getting quality innings from youngsters Lester and Masterson which is a huge plus. If DiceK can get over his early inning walks, he could easily pitch 240 innings and be somewhere in the 20-6 range. Can't believe Wake is still cranking along - that guy is $$!
  2. Defense (minus Lugo's occasional naps at short) has been equally stellar. The outfield in particular has been lights out. You have to go back to the days of Dewey Evans, Fredd Lynn and Jim Rice to recreate the speed, agility and hitting that we're getting today with msrs. Ellsbury, Drew, Crisp and Manny (who really is where he should be these days i.e. DH).
  3. Hitting has been solid but timely hitting has been sorely missed. Credit this to a little bad luck and a lot to Ortiz being out of the lineup. Although the rest of the Sox have done a stellar job hanging in there (Drew, Lowell, Pedroia and Youk in particular), Ortiz being out of the lineup has had a ripple effect. It would be a huge boost to get him back in the lineup post All Star break. I know, I know, tell you something you don't know already.
  4. Other than the occasional brain fart (like leaving Hanson in last week against the Rays after he's walked two straight batters on 9 pitches), I love Francona more and more each day. The guy totally gets this club and his balanced approach (don't get too high or too low) has really helped. Who would have thunk it when the Sox hired him back in 2004.
  5. Congrats to the DRays who have been lights out the first half of the season. I honestly wish them well (as long as they don't keep sweeping the Sox) but I have one word of caution to their bandwagon fan base - 2003 Baltimore Orioles. Remember them? They were white hot during the first half of the season but forgot there was a second half to play (maybe Roberts stopped taking steroids during the second half). I still like the Sox chances...
Done! And with four minutes to spare. I guess I can go off and comment on some other blogs now. Oh yeah, almost forgot to congratulate the seven - yes SEVEN Sox that got nomitated to the All Star game this year. Not sure Varitek truly deserved it (although his impact on the pitching staff is probably reason alone) but love the fact that Pedroia, Youkilis, Paps, Manny, JD Drew, and Big Papi all made it.

What am I missing?


adamcohen said...

Nice post Aaron, a good "forrest for the trees" reflection on the season to date. Red Sox fans (including yours truly) can get caught up in the heat of the moment and think the world is ending when one particular game ends poorly. Agree so much on the ripple affect of Ortiz out of the line up - not just the burden on the rest of the line up but of the confidence factor for Manny. That was a strange 3 pitch at bat the other night, to say the least.

Looking forward to celebrating the All Stars invading the MFY stadium soon, and regrouping for a back half. I like our odds.

Beau said...

Like you said, starting pitching has been strong, but I think there is still plenty of room for Beckett to get back to last year's form. I think we'll see that in the second half. The bullpen is a continuing worry for me, but they have all shown positive signs, and if Oki can continue like last night I'll feel a lot better. I like the Masterson to the pen move, and can't wait to see how it plays out. Hopefully Manny is a homestand heater onto the Mass Pike away from getting back in the groove with fastballs. I like that we're home until the ASB, and hopefully we can build some nice momentum going into the second half.

Adawg said...

Adam - yup, getting caught in the heat of the moment is easy to do (just ask my family how I reacted over the weekend). Fortunately, two World Series rings in four years has made me a little more patient. ;)

Beau - good catch on the bullpen. It's been shaky at best but Oki coming back and Masterson solidifying things will help.