The last couple weeks have been very busy for me, all with the Olympics, school, sports, and life in general. I know this happens a lot, and I always end up apologizing for stopping every few weeks. Life is busy, and mine is very busy right now, but I have to face the facts that I don’t have a lot of time on my hands and that I should use whatever free time I do have to do the things that matter most to me, one of which is blogging.
MLBlogs is always one of my top priorities, but I sometimes just don’t get around to it. During baseball season, there is more to write about, so everyone posts more, but during the winter months things have been straight up dull. The few huge trades of the offseason came early on, and most of January up until now have drifted along at a sluggish pace, with nothing much going on. However, we have now nearly reached Spring Training, and then the season.
As the countdown clock on the MLB.com homepage alerted me this afternoon, we are roughly 19 hours away from the entrance of pitchers and catchers to all Spring Training camps (some are already there). On the eve of this glorious day, as I really have nothing negative to reflect on involving the offseason, I must say that things are good in the baseball world.
The Red Sox are looking like an above-average team at this time. All baseball fans know that the sport we love is at times extremely unpredictable, so there’s really no telling what will happen to the Sox this year. Who knows what I’ll be saying in the middle of August. Last year, we consistently “had the Yankees’ number” in the beginning of the year, but spring turned to summer, and then… well, you know what happened then. Last year, a certain team from Boston was also expected to have a fabulous pitching staff. This dream was soon forgotten, as Dice-K conveniently chose not to disclose the details of an injury suffered during the World Baseball Classic.
After the Matsuzaka’s collapse, the rest of our staff slowly declined. We had a good pitching staff, but not a great one. Additionally, these next couple years will be some of the last in which guys like Josh Beckett will be able to pitch at top form. I hate to admit it, but he’s aging, and no one lasts forever. In the end, surprisingly, it was relief pitching (even our closer, Mr. Papelbon, of all people), that really killed us, both literally (e.g. Game 3, ALDS) and figuratively.
If the pitching staff can stay strong throughout the season and hold on for that final push at the end into the playoffs, we will be helped enormously just by that effort. However, there is still a gaping hole that has been occupied by Manny, Ortiz, and Bay, respectively: the power hitter. We need an offensive spark, someone that can clean up the bases and drive in runs. There aren’t many types of offensive players that directly translate into wins like a power hitter does. Several guys could step into that role, but right now no one seems to be ready. I’m still hoping that we might acquire someone that fits this role, but it seems unlikely.
So, aside from the normal griping and doubts about the team, I am pretty happy right now. Because, in 19 hours, we will have takeoff. Away we go!
Last night marked the return of one of the great pitchers of all time- Pedro Martinez. In an eventful game, he got the win vs. the Cubs in his first outing in nearly a year.
But first things first. The Red Sox beat the Tigers 8-2 to complete the sweep. Our ace Josh Beckett was on the mound and once again he delivered a strong performance, going 7 innings and allowing 2 runs. He’s become almost automatic when on the mound, as he has gone 7-1 in his last 10 starts and gone 7 or more innings in all but one of them. I think he is definitely in the top 4 pitchers in the AL right now, and possibly behind only Greinke and Halladay.
The other guy acquired in that trade with Florida back in 2006 also shined last night- Mike Lowell. He hit a homerun in the 2nd inning and didn’t look back from there, going 3-4.
We have made great progress in recovering from the Yankee series, almost completing a sweep of our own now! I have faith that we can ride this hot streak through this series and into what will be an important one against our wild card foes, the Rangers.
Now on to the Pedro news. Martinez started against the Cubs, throwing 5 good innings, with 3 runs and 7 hits allowed (in the same game, Shane Victorino was hit by a beer cup from an unruly fan, check out mlb.com for video) I, for one, am happy to see Pedro back in the game. Last year, before his father died, he asked Pedro to continue playing the game of baseball. It is heartwarming to see Pedro back in the game and still going strong because of this. I was always a big fan of him, even though he had his occasional issues.
Since Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, two other legends trying to return to the scene, have already made their sorry exits from this season (and probably the game), it is good to see that the one legend closest to Boston fans’ hearts still has a chance. And we had some good memories, didn’t we Pedro?
Thanks for reading.
It was a glorious day in baseball yesterday. Unfortunately, all that day has left me with is a feeling that things can only get worse from here.
First, it was a fiesta on my fantasy team. CC Sabathia made one of his best starts of the year, holding the Twins to 1 run and 2 hits in 7 innings. This more than made up for Johnny Cueto’s disastrous outing yesterday (see my post from yesterday).
Also, Paul Konerko, previously just a utility player for my team, really came through after my decision to start him: He hit 3 homers!
In Boston, Josh Beckett followed up a brilliant performance by the A’s rookie pitcher Brett Anderson with a great outing, getting his 10th win on the year.
(. Jason Bay also looked back to form as he went 2-3 with a homerun in the 2nd inning. Is his weeklong slump over? Let’s hope so…
And finally, in New York, the one thing that could brighten the mood as the Mets lost once again (yeah, I sort of like the Mets) was the sight of this guy getting ejected:
(that really looks like a mug shot, doesn’t it?)
So why do I keep getting the feeling that after this great night in baseball, things are only going to get worse from here?
Well, my fantasy team certainly hasn’t looked like it did last night before this season. CC has been good, but there is still much room for improvement. Konerko has also had a pretty good season, but a 3 homer night is rare and won’t likely happen again for him this season. I guess, on the bright side, Johnny Cueto can only get better from here!
For the Red Sox, it doesn’t look as much like things will get worse. We haven’t been amazing lately, but we are still the best team in the AL and things are still fine. Jason Bay has certainly been in a slump lately, and he won’t get much rest and relaxation during the All Star break. Let’s just hope we can hang onto this division lead and keep the pace in the second half of the season.
So, maybe I exaggerated a bit. I don’t know, can things get any worse with Manny?