Sunday, April 3, 2011

Uphill Battle

Okay, so now, in order for the Red Sox to have their 117-win season predicted by Eric Ortiz of NESN, they will have to go 117-42 the rest of the way.  Looking forward to the .736 winning percentage from here on in.  Look, the silver lining in this series is that JD Drew is in mid-season form, 1) sitting out 67% of the games, 2) walking, and 3) hitting a grounder to first preventing a run from scoring in his first two at-bats. 

I'm not going to flip out too much about getting swept by Texas.  I feel like I've already done that enough in the first four seasons of How Youz Doin Baseball.  We don't get worked up about the first two or three games, right?

Well, Terry Francona tells us not to.  But after two rough games, he immediately moves their new acquisition Carl Crawford to seventh in the order.  Pat was blowing up my phone about this, but this is the knee-jerk kind of reaction that is typically the result of Bigelow Green Tea-related dementia.  Good.  Whatever good stuff Crawford does at the plate can be negated by the black hole that is 8-9 in this order.  BUT A ELFTIE IS ON THE MOUND!!!1

Credit where credit's due:  I will take my hat off to the other Ortiz, David, who decided it was no longer worth his time to conduct the investigation of why his steroid test turned up positive back in 2003.  Hopefully this way, he can be a good hitter full-time instead of being a part-time crappy detective and a part-time crappy hitter.  Two home runs will not get this guy off the hook in my book, but it's a great start.

Not as good as Nelson Cruz or Ian Kinsler, but he's not facing batting practice pitchers who have been on cruise control for a freaking month.  Memo to Jon Lester:  You may be good at chipping a golf ball toward second base, but you have another more important job during spring training.  It's called getting ready for the freaking baseball season.  Less golf, more preparation.  I also know for a fact that Clay Buchholz is a tremendous golfer.  Didn't get a chance to see any of his pitching today (I could drop a Shooter McGavin line here), but the way Dale Arnold sounded on the radio would indicate that there was too much golf.  I'm really more pissed off about all these Kinsler home runs because the cheering was drowning out Elvis Andrus's walkup music (Just a Dream by Nelly).

I was closely examining John Patrick Lackey last night, trying to figure out if he actually had a case for his inevitable "my performance was a lot better than the 3.2 IP, 9 ER line" comments.  A Josh Hamilton RBI single early in the game was the only good pitch that was hit.  The rest were bad.

Awesome bullpen.  Much better than the Yankees.  Untouchable rotation.  Great lineup.  117 wins.  Boy wonder.

Also, if you haven't noticed, check out the top of the blog.  The boy wonder traded the farm system for Adrian Gonzalez, who is now a 159-game rental.  I thought they were going to sign this guy once the season started.  Well, the season started, and this token of Theo Epstein's ineptitude will be hanging over this blog like the Sword of Damacles until an extension is signed.  If an extension is signed.

5 comments:

PF said...

you absolutely cannot get worked up about getting swept the first 3 games of the season. the yankees famously lost the first 3 games of the 1998 season and went on to set what was at the time the single season record in wins and on the world series. you can also lose your first 3 games and have a bad season obviosuly, i just point this out to show that the first 3 games aren't necessarily indicative of anything.

that said, batting carl crawford 3rd is questionable, batting him 7th is nuts. it would be one thing if he hit 7th in the all-star game, but he's doing so with ellsbury leading off. no offense to ellsbury, but you don't sign a guy for $20 million per to hit 7th while ellsbury leads off. you don't even bat crawford 3rd, because the moment he's not batting 1st or 2nd he loses some of his impact on the game. what he does is get on base at the top of the order and help the middle of the order create runs by getting in scoring position and putting pressure on the pitcher/defense. he doesn't drive in runs. he doesn't bat at the bottom of the order so that he can get on base for saltalamacchia and mcdonald. i don't care what arm the pitcher pitches with or how productive crawford has or hasn't been: it's three games into the season. he bats 1st and pedroia bats 2nd, or vice versa. that should be non-negotiable this early in the season. it sends the wrong message to crawford batting him that low as he tries to adjust to a new team/city, and it's not putting him in maximum position to help the team. this has nothing to do with the losses this weekend, it's just a general comment on the sox running the optimal lineup out there. trust me, i hope they don't. i hope i see crawford batting 7th all three games against the yankees next weekend. get him in a far less dangerous part of the lineup. the fact that i feel that way as an opposing fan tells you all you really need to know about this strategy.

Anonymous said...

DV/PF

Not worried about the fact that the Sox sucked this weekend, nor am I concerned about how horrible Crawford was or where he bats. He should probably lead off or bat second. Whatever. Wherever he hits, he'll hit. Will it be the most efficient use of his ability? No. But neither is having him play left field. Or paying him 20 million a year, for that matter.

Ortiz and Ellsbury looked great. So did Gonzalez and Youkilis. And Pedroia showed that he's physically back, which is all most Sox fans are concerned about.

0-3 is bad. But it's not the end of the world. A lot of that has to do with the fact that my attitude as a fan has changed since 2007. That second championship really let me sit back and enjoy the ebb and flow of a season. They will get hot. Let's just hope it's sooner rather than later.

The alarming part of the weekend was the pitching. Not worried about the bullpen, yet. But Lester showed that he's not a guy who starts pitching until May. And that's not good enough. Every game counts, not just ones in June and July. What was most frustrating was Lackey. When a guy like Crawford or Lester struggles, at least you can look at their entire career and be confident that they'll turn it around. Not so with Lackey. He sucked last year. He's been slightly better than average for nearly his entire career. Then he comes out and gets absolutely destroyed on Saturday. I can't imagine how the Sox are going to find a way to eat the $65 million left on his contract, but it should be interesting to see how they try.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

Gunn,

The Sox staff needs an "It's Not Alright!" speech in a bad way.

Sucking it up this bad the first series of the season? It's not alright!

Having said that, their poor performance on Friday at least led to an awesome text message exchange between you and I which set the stage for the whole weekend.

DV:

"Hopefully this way, he can be a good hitter full-time instead of being a part-time crappy detective and a part-time crappy hitter."

Very funny, good stuff.

PF:

You can't worked up over 3 games, but as a fan it's very frustrating when you go through the whole off-season looking forward to the start of the season and then you throw out a dud like this. You'd think the players would be excited for the start of the season and lock in a little bit. You looked at the Sox this weekend and they just looked out of it as a group.

I would sort of relate it to how the Raiders opened this past season by getting stomped on by the Tennesee Titans. I can't remember what the score was but it was like 38-13 and Chris Johnson had 700 yards rushing. Was I surprised? Absolutely not- the Raiders have sucked for years.

However I had a great deal of anger because for the last 3 months they'd gone through training camp and pre-season games knowing they'd have to stop Chris Johnson on opening day and got totally gashed. It's like, what the hell have you been doing for the last 3 months?

I had the same feeling about the Red Sox this weekend. Really? You guys played how many pre-season games and you couldn't get your s*** together?

Looking ahead, you figure that at best they could probably get 2 of 3 this week at Cleveland, but in that case they return home to play the Yankees coming off of a 2-4 start. That makes a 3-6 or 2-7 start very possible which just shouldn't be the case.

Patrick said...

that's a very good point bandi. you always want your team to show up for the first few games of the season, or at least look prepared. this doesn't apply to your raiders analogy (which was great on all the fronts that you mentioned), but a lot of times we see teams with a lot of offseason "hype" stumble out of the gates early. expectations get so high and that creates pressure. when the yankees were having those huge offseasons every offseason back in the middle part of this decade, look at a lot of their april records. look at the heat this year. all the attention can create unnecessary distractions. talented teams usually find their way (the aforementioned yankees and heat teams), but it can be a struggle early for these reasons. all the hype talk can turn to the sky is falling talk because they haven't immediately lived up to expectations and that complicates things.

Anonymous said...

All I know is that it is a good thing the Revs are on the West Coast Wednesday night because I want no Sox fans distracted when Dice takes the hill for what surely will be the 0-4 Red Sox. Looking forward to a redemption season for the 'Big Wasabi', as they will soon call him.