With the day off in Minnesota, one can only assume the Red Sox are spending the day at the Mall of America riding the indoor roller coaster. Following yesterday's loss at the opening of the Twins' new stadium the Sox are sporting a 3-4 record 7 games into the 2010 season. Despite what the tone of local sports radio is, I'm not freaking out about dropping 2 out of 3 to the Yanks or the slow start, however here are a few thoughts and observations from the first week of the season.
The bullpen is a concern for me right now. If starting pitching is the strength of this team then the game plan is to hand a lot of 1 and 2 run leads to the bullpen, and so far they haven't been confidence inspiring. I'm not too worried about Paplebon blowing that save against the Yankees, however everyone leading up to him is giving me a moment’s pause. Danial Bard shouldn't throw change ups, I stand by that. Bard throws 100mph and has a pretty good slider, his change up kind of sucks right now. Throw the heat kid, every time you throw your change up you're doing the batter a favor. I'd like Okajima to be more like Okajima in 2007 and less like Derek Lowe coming out of the pen in a day game following a night game on a get away day for a west coast trip. And Ramon Ramirez with his ERA of 33.75 makes me miss Coco Crisp, and Coco Crisp makes me miss Andy Marte, and Andy Marte makes me miss the home run derby...
I don't want David Ortiz to be the DH on this team anymore. It's not just 7 games in with him, this goes back to the 2008 ALCS against the Rays. It's one thing to not bat his weight, quite another to not even bat my weight. He can't catch up to an average fastball, he certainly can't handle anything on the inside corner, and he definitely isn't feared at all anymore. I'm not going to delve into the steroid angle of his struggles; I'm just squarely in the column of him not being the everyday DH. If it's not there physically right now, and he's doubting himself mentally, I am more then willing to plug in a former top 10 prospect in there and see if that sweet stroke translates with more at bats....ahhh Hermida!?
Ortiz is a black hole in that line up right now and if the answer isn't on the bench (Lowell or Hermida) then I think Theo needs to go get someone at the trade deadline, this lineup will get shut down if they are playing ball in October.
With all apologies to Willy Mo Pena, Adrian Beltre is the real life Pedro Cerrano. Has that guy ever seen a breaking ball before?
Teams are 12 for 13 in stolen base attempts against the Sox this year, that's not a good number even if Faux News is spinning it. I demand to know who was thrown out, because he shouldn't be allowed to ever steal again if he can't swipe second against us (us, because yes, I play on the team). Singles are essentially doubles and runners in scoring position tend to score, see yesterday's game and Denard Span.
Part of the problem are the pitchers holding runners on, and the other huge part is Victor Martinez. I'm not sure what the answer is, short of bringing in a defensive oriented catcher, and since that isn't going to happen I don't think Lo-Jack has to worry about donating too much money for every runner the Sox throw out. The current Vegas money line has the over/under at 8%, I'm taking the under.
How much do I read into Beckett looking a couple thousand times more comfortable and effective with Tek behind the plate in his second start instead of V-Mart?
Also I got a text from a buddy of mine stating he would have lost huge amounts of money if you bet him Tek would hit a home run off Zack Greinke. Then Tek doubled down on us and hit a second home run in the game(though not against Greinke), I do wonder if MLB has satellites listening and watching us.
Just to clarify, it's hard to get too worked up about anything not having to do with Ortiz 7 games in, but I'm looking at the early warning signs. I don't anticipate Ortiz getting yanked out of the starting lineup in April, and I do anticipate the bullpen gets better.
Lackey's on the hill tomorrow and he was very impressive in his first start, also, I need a big start out of him before the fire sale on my fantasy starts because I am definitely freaking out about that.