Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What, me worry?

As a former manager once said, "there's a problem in Boston".

Or more specifically, there are several. My sense of optimism at the start of the season (which, let's just get some perspective here, is only eight (8) games ago) has been severely dampened over the course of the last several days. To review some of the lowlights:

  • Youkilis is the only one who is consistently hitting the ball.
  • Only the Texas Rangers have scored fewer runs in all of baseball.
  • Ortiz has yet to collect an extra base hit.
  • The shortstop position has been baseball's answer to the Spinal Tap drummer.
  • The $100 Million Man from Japan (sporting an ERA of over 12) pulled himself out of last night's game and may go on the DL, apparent collateral damage from Bud Selig's pet project, the World Baseball Classic.
  • Beckett has been suspended.
  • Lester looks fallible.
  • We are 4 games back of The Baltimore Orioles, and have taken up residence in the basement of the American League East.

On and on.

But there is good news as well. The Yankees (the filter through which we tend to view everything as Red Sox fans) have also looked awful (Wang has been a disaster so far, no A-Rod, Baseball Prospectus has suggested that Jeter change his first name to "Past The Diving"). New York has only won two more games than Boston.

I am confident there will be a righting of the ship. It looked like it was going to happen last night after a 3-run first for the Red Sox (a lead that was promptly relinquished by the MVP of the WBC). The team is going to get back on track, and will be in the hunt, but it's not hitting the panic button (a graphic I deliberately chose NOT to use for this post) to say that there are some areas of concern which, if not addressed, could turn into more significant impediments to making it deep into the playoffs.

If I had to pick one, I'm picking the lack of a game-changing bat in the lineup. Ortiz is really concerning me. How worried are you in general, and what's the biggest problem facing the team in your view?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Today's Trivia Question: April10

From Mr. Baseball, Tim Walker of Hoovers:

BigP trivia Q: Name the top five batters in career hits . . . who never got 200 hits in a season.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Opening Day: Beckett Back

Finally we reached Opening Day, something we've all been looking forward to for a long time, particularly with the extended spring training and the debacle that is the WBC. Parties, or as the kids call them "TweetUps" were held throughout Red Sox nation to celebrate the fact that we could once again hear Don and Jerry call a game. Here in Austin we had a decent turn out for our first meeting of the ATX Red Sox Nation, along with our new friend Nick on the bagpipes, but the real story was Josh Beckett, king of the hill.

In HD you can now practically see the ice water running through the man's veins. On a day where the crowd and the players are so pumped up to get started Beckett went out onto the green fields of Fenway and mowed them down. The final line was 7 innings pitched, 93 pitches, 2 hits, 1 earned run and TEN STRIKEOUTS! Ten strikeouts on opening day, on a chilly afternoon. I failed to find any stat on average strikeouts for an Opening Day pitcher, but I'm going to guess this day was on the upper end. You could see the movement on his pitches throughout the game and when he wanted to Beckett seemed to be reeling back for that extra bit of speed. One of the most annoying statements by sports writers is "mid-season form", but you have to admit as you watched Beckett hurl yesterday it seemed like June not April.

The lineup did it's part with Pedroia the Destroia (NOT pictured to your right) showing why he is the MVP and folks manufacturing runs when needed. This is not a lineup that is going to bash 10 runs a game, but it they remain healthy and smart on the basebaths (I'm looking at you Sir Youkillis) they will always be throwing down 4-6 runs a game. Ultimately, like it always does in baseball, it will come down to the pitching. And if we see the likes of Mr. Beckett each fifth day we will be looking good.

Now, let's get to Game 2 and see what Jon Lester has in store for us.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Question of the Opening Day: Take Two

Today's question comes from Natanya Anderson, new baseball fan and inquiring mind.

What do you think of Ortiz? Was last year a slump or the beginning of the end?

Please expand your responses to include your projection for his next three years (the final years in the club's current deal with him). Thanks!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Question (s) of the Day: Opening Day

Behind the Plate

I thought it would be fun to get you thinking about the game a little early this morning with three quick questions about the game. Let us know how you plan to celebrate Opening Day in your comment.

1. Will the Red Sox hit a home run today and if yes, who will hit the first one?
2. How long will Josh Beckett last and who will come in to relieve him?
3. Will they pull the tarp over the infield at any time during the game and if yes, during what inning?

Play ball!!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Baseball Summer Reading

Looking to get more up to date on baseball? Here are some "must reads" by two big baseball brains...

Tim Walker says, "Possibly the three best books ever written about baseball":
Other excellent reads Tim recommends:

And from Kyle Flaherty:

Will the real Terry Francona please stand up!

About a month ago someone started following me and my fellow Red Sox fans on Twitter. His handle was @TerryFrancona and we wondered if he was the real deal. He sounded real, but it wasn't clear. Then he went on a hiatus for a while (during spring training) and now he's back. He's amassed a pretty good number of followers

Now another Terry Francona has joined as @real_tito and I'm wondering WTF? I understand it's fun to goof around and impersonate someone for a little while, but with public celebrities (and I think Terry qualifies) it seems out of line.

I'm wondering what you think of all this and also who is the real Terry Francona? I don't want to talk with a fraud.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Daily Question for April 2, 2009

When a team loses a player to free agency they get a draft pick, typically in one of the latter rounds, as compensation. Let's look at some recent free agents who left the Sox, you tell me the compensation they drafted:

Departing Free Agent     Compensation

Orlando Cabrera 2 players
Derek Lowe 2 players
Pedro Martinez 1 player
Johnny Damon 1 player

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Daily Question - 4/1 (not an April Fools Joke)

I asked Aaron and Tim Walker this question on Twitter as part of the #twalkwisdom meme and it seemed to be generating a lot of side conversations. Let's pull them all in here and get it out there.

Save Fenway Park or build a new stadium down by the waterfront? Two assumptions... the space is available and can be acquired by the team and in building the stadium they stay true to Fenway Park (field dimensions, The Wall, etc.).

Quick note: Please include how many games you see in Fenway each year and where you sit when you go in your comment... I think it'll offer an interesting perspective on the responses.