After a great extra innings win the night before, I really thought the Red Sox would pull this one out last night. It was not meant to be. And to lose the way we did… two stolen bases and a catcher who seems unable to gun down anyone… it was a heartbreaker.
For those of you who watched the broadcast on NESN, I would be curious to know if they showed Jon Lester’s meltdown in the dugout after the first inning. We watched the game on MLB Extra Innings and had to endure the Toronto broadcast. They were more than happy to show Lester’s temper tantrum. Oh boy. Good times.
The good news is our guys are hitting. Adrian Gonzalez is amazing. Carl Crawford’s bat is getting hot, Big Papi is hitting like the Papi of days gone by, Jacoby Ellsbury has a 19 game hitting streak… This is all good news for us. It is just a matter of time before Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis find their swings.
I was hoping we would hit .500 by our 40th game (and one quarter of the season is done). I am not sure that is going to happen. But I do believe we are trending in the right direction.
I am predicting a trade at mid-season for a catcher who can hit… We’ll see what transpires.
Keeping the faith…
So I came home after work, poured myself a glass of wine and settled down to watch the game. You can imagine my surprise when I saw the game was already over! For a split second I was upset. Then I saw that we had WON.
I couldn’t stay upset for long. So then I pulled up my free trial of MLB.TV on my iPhone and now I am watching the archived game. Life is good.
I have no analysis. I’m just glad it’s Friday. Glad the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the home opener. And I printed the 2011 schedule and have it tacked up on my bulletin board.
Wow. What an impressive Opening Weekend we had against the Texas Rangers. That was so much fun, let’s do it again. Oh, that’s right — we have 159 games left in the season. Oh joy.
I don’t want to rant because… well… because no one really likes to read someone’s rant. And a rant won’t solve anything.
Where to begin…
Let’s start on a positive note – Big Papi – my favorite player. He got his first two homeruns of the season out of the way early. That was a huge relief. So glad to see him step up to the plate and watch the ball sail out into the bleachers.
But where was everyone else?
I am bitterly disappointed in our starting rotation. Lester’s Opening Day performance was gag-worthy. I could be wrong, but I do not believe he struck out one single batter. *yak* And is it just me or does Lester look HUGE this season? His thighs are the size of tree trunks. Not sure if that’s good or bad. I guess if you are a competition powerlifter, that’s good. Starting pitcher in the MLB – maybe not so good.
Lackey was his usual Lack-luster self. And once again, he was left in too long. When we acquired him two years ago, I never thought he was an “ace.” Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee — those guys are Aces with a capital “A.” Everyone says: “Oh, Lackey – he’s a real competitor!” So what? Every Weekend Warrior on a softball field from Maine to California is a competitor. Just because you want to win badly, that does not make you an ace. Winning games, fanning batters, having more than one or two pitches in your arsenal — that is what makes you an ace. And what did he ever do for the Angels? I saw him blow plenty of postseason games for them. I’m just sayin’…
I cannot comment on Buchholz’s trip to the mound because I was not able to watch the early innings of the third game. All I know is we lost another game.
So I have to ask myself: What have these guys been doing all off-season? What have they been doing during Spring Training? They look like they haven’t thrown a pitch in over six months. Geez.
I think too much time is spent during Spring Training on the wannabe players — the guys from Triple-A and the others we invite to camp. I don’t think there is enough time spent on getting our starters ready to compete in April. Yes, April is early and there is still plenty of baseball left to be played. Still, you cannot start the season down 14 games. Well, I guess if you are the Yankees you can and still win a World Series.
I realize these guys still have some rust on them. I get that. But they look like they just got up out of their Lazy-Boy Recliners and decided to play baseball. And whose fault is it? Can we blame the new pitching coach? I would like to because I did not see one positive move on his part all weekend.
Personally, I am glad the Red Sox got knocked around this opening weekend. I have a feeling there was just a little too much complacency in the clubhouse during the off-season. I hope I am wrong, but when everyone and their brother is ranking the Red Sox #1 on paper back in February, I have to believe that has a negative effect on some guys.
I won’t even get into the other performances of the weekend. I don’t have enough time. But let me say one thing about Carl Crawford. He is not going to take the media and fan scrutiny up in Boston very well if he doesn’t start performing. I do not believe he has the personality to let it roll off his back. He is going to get criticized BIG TIME, and he won’t be able to take it. Just watch…
My final thoughts:
- Being a great team on paper means absolutely nothing. You still have to win games.
- I think the chemistry of this team is pretty good. I would expect they will band together in the coming weeks.
- My jury is out on Curt Young, the new pitching coach. He looked lost and bewildered this week, unable to make a decision without looking to Terry Francona for validation.
- Saltalamacchia needs some major batting practice.
- Papelbon looked pathetic initially then seemed to find his groove. He is a wild card, for sure.
- I think Bard will be okay.
Next stop, Cleveland and Josh Beckett… *fingers are crossed*
Although my blogging here has been virtually non-existent, I could not let Opening Day go by without at least making an appearance. It’s been a long winter of hoping the Red Sox would make some good acquisitions (DONE), hoping our players would return strong and healthy from their injury-riddled 2010 season (yet to be determined) and planning our annual Red Sox Roadtrip (DONE – Pittsburgh in June).
Am I excited about the 2011 season? Of course. But in true New England style, I will keep my exhuberance in check. There is no need to get all crazy. It’s only April. It bothers me to see so many sportswriters ranking the Red Sox so high in their “Power Rankings.” Anything can happen and it usually does. I am not being pessimistic when I say that — I am being realistic.
All I know is our front office has given us the best possible chances to win this season. That is half the battle. The other half of the battle will be played out over the course of 162 games.
Let’s go, Red Sox!
Jenks and Wheeler are EXACTLY what the Red Sox bullpen needed. I just hope Jenks is in good form for the 2011 season. I have no reservations about Wheeler. He has always pitched well against the Red Sox so I am glad to have him on our team this year. And he is a native New Englander — always a good thing.
On a different note…
I just read the blog leaders for November. Some interesting movement on that list. Congrats to you, Jane for leading the list again! And Rays Renegade deserves kudos for hitting the #2 spot. WTG!
It looks like we have some interesting new blogs out there. I am looking forward to more baseball talk in the coming months…
I couldn’t believe the news this morning. Cliff Lee takes less money to play for Philadelphia. Unbelieveable. I really thought he would stay with the Rangers. It seemed like the proximity to his home in Arkansas would be the key but I was wrong (again).
I did sense that Lee would not accept the Yankees’ offer. Little comments here and there from Hank Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman tipped me off. Making remarks that this was their one and only offer and other comments about players of Lee’s caliber should be playing for a team like the Yankees… it all sounded a bit arrogant to me.
I guess none of it matters at this point. What’s done is done and Lee is once again a Philly. Talk about a fantastic starting rotation… wow! The Red Sox play the Phillies in interleague play at the end of June. I can’t wait for that series.
Adrian Gonzalez AND Carl Crawford? Wow! Both players were on my Red Sox Christmas Wish List and Theo has delivered. Now if he can just bolster the bullpen…
I would imagine the Yankees are going to pull all the purse strings they can to get Cliff Lee. I don’t blame them. I would, too.
This is getting very interesting.