Red Sox; Notes From The Bull…Pen; The Good, Bad And Ugly
Red Sox pitchers; a word to the wise – Joey Batts and Boom Boom Donaldson will do to a mistake what a bazooka will do to a fish tank. Gone, obliterated! A pitching coach once told me, “I’d rather see this pitch bounce in the dirt than hang up in the strike zone, because a good hitter will
send it to Kansas to visit Dorothy!” I guess Joe Kelly and Rick Porcello saw the evidence. Porcello, at least, had a better outcome than Kelly.
Bottom line is that you can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd! Don’t make a mistake with a good hitter. THEY WILL MAKE YOU PAY! That’s why you see pitchers cringing after delivering a meatball. They aren’t so much complaining about the hit as they are their mistake, kind of like hanging your Sunday roast out in front of ‘Jaws’…. Or, “mmmmghhh, Mongo loves candy!” So Joey Batts got in 2 AB’s what Donaldson got in one…4 RBI’s.
The good news for the Red Sox, although not in the hole they were in yesterday, is they managed to bounce back with some thunderous offense
AND…defense par excellance. (Pronounced X-cell-aunce) I mean defense that will get teams places. We’re talkin’ Shaw, Pedroia and Pablo droppin’ down and gettin’ dirty, and coming up with the big play. The kind of defense that makes opposing players mouth “WTF, I just got robbed”.
So this article isn’t so much about recapping yesterday’s game as it is a collection of thoughts on the Red Sox overall.
On the plus side, I see what seems to be that “good old team spirit”. Maybe it’s the inspiration from the venerable Pap-ster. After all how could you not be inspired by playing with the greatest DH of all time.
Then you have “Charlie Hustler Jr.” Comparable to the great Pete Rose (ironic his name is Petey), Dustin Pedroia, who has that “never say die” attitude combined with the endless drive of the energizer bunny.
Then you’ve got the rejuvenated Hanley Ramirez who seems to have found a home at first base and is swinging the bat like the Hanley of old.
Enter Bogaertz, Betts, JBJ, Shaw and “The legend of Brock Holt”. A corps of youth, enthusiasm, talent, hustle and flexibility. The defense is off the charts and the offense is coming from a multitude of players rather than just your marquis batter. Plus, look for about 200 stolen bases this season.
The outfield is equipped with arms, legs, gloves and bats, JBJ not withstanding. They can run ’em down and fire the frozen ropes, turn doubles into singles, and base hits into, “OMG, did you see that catch! That’ll be in the highlite reel tomorrow!”
This part of the Red Sox gives me the “warm and fuzzies”, we’re going to win the pennant, kiss the old women and the babies, and save your money for the world series tix feeling. AND…..did I mention the bullpen. Wowwwww! In five innings, five different pitchers gave up a grand total of two hits and one walk. I can easily see this squad “closing the door” on a bevy of seat squirmers this year.
As always, there comes the bad with the good. For starters, the inconsistency of the rotation. The upside – David Price as your ace. What else can I say but 15 wins. Clay Buchholz…glimmers of hope with bucket loads of disappointment. Every time he does something positive, he follows it up with the legion of doom. He’s the Red Sox hopeful of yesteryear and I’d have him on a short leash if I were management. I’d rather see Henry Owen move up and learn some ‘big show’ lessons but also have the benefit of Price for “Hurlers in the bigs 101”.
Joe Kelly, on the other hand, finished the season last year as solid as can be and changed his approach to batters. That makes his first outing more excusable than Buchholz but nonetheless disheartening for fans and teammates alike. We need to see him rely more on the off speed stuff and lay off the heater because the good hitters won’t let you get away with it.
Porcello, Porcello, Porcello – playing like an untuned cello. He’s playing all the notes but I still can’t tell what the song is. I haven’t given up on him either and I think he’ll pan out. He’s a proven winner and maybe just a little too cozy with the big contract, but, I still believe he’ll come out of the ether.
The BIG ?…..John Farrell. I loved him as a pitching coach but just can’t seem to fathom some of his decisions, and I’m not the first patriot on that
bandwagon. He seems like the kind of guy you like to play for but NOT the kind of guy that inspires great play! He’s got the lion’s share of talent on this squad and if the Red Sox don’t grind up the comp then I think he needs to get the hook too! After all, why do you think Torey Lovullo is on the bench?
Back in the 19th hole, as the golfers say, I’m the bar stool critic and eternal optimist all-in-one. One of the perennial “Wait till next year” die hards that always laments October and sulks till truck day. But speaking from a purely analytical viewpoint and not an emotional blubbernaut, I give the Red Sox an 8 this season (possible 9) on their chances of the AL title. They just have too much of everything not to make the rest of the division sweat.