Monday, March 31, 2008

Wrapping up pre-season

Finally, the real season is upon us - again. Never put too much credence in exhibition/practice games, but once again the Sox looked far less than stellar. The only hit they managed in last night's game was from Bobby Kielty in the 8th inning. Jet lag? Hmm. As for pitching, we are seeing how difficult it can be to crack the majors. Clay Bucholz struggled last night getting pulled after walking the first two batters of the 4th. His line was not good. A couple of observations. First, he probably had less pressure last year in his couple of starts. He knew he was just up for a spot start, and just let loose. It is different when your mentality is to earn a permanent job and be impressive day in and day out. Second, there is now a scouting report on Clay - one that did not exist last year. As he says himself, batters are not swinging at his setup pitches like they did last year. He has good stuff, but needs to take that step up to the next level.

Speaking of Bobby Kielty, he should be making a decision today on whether he'll accept a trip to Pawtucket, or ask for his release. He does not have a problem staying, but I think his agent is trying to get him a good offer elsewhere. Can't blame him for taking a regular major league job rather than play in the minors. I think he is a nice addition though. With JD Drew/Jacoby Ellsbury both left handed batters, Bobby gives them a right handed option that they'll miss.

Speaking of JD Drew, I hear people getting on his case again on the radio today. Come on people, back off. He's injured, let him work through it. It amazes me how people love to assume players dog it. Not easy with the level of scrutiny they get from trainers every day. Beckett is out with back troubles, so is Drew. They are both on our side, give them the same respect. JD Drew is a terrific outfielder, and has a lot of talent at the plate. Last year was an off year for him, but he had a lot going on at home juggling a pregnant wife, and a son going through some serious medical problems. He stepped up in the playoffs when we needed him the most, and he looked great this spring until he got hurt. His second season should be better (ala Josh Beckett last year).

Speaking of Japan (well I started the other paragraphs that way), the Sox signed a 26 year old talent from Japan. Terumasa Matsuo (why does that name remind me of my favorite Italian dessert) was the MVP of his league last season going 15-3 with 159 strikeouts and a 1.72 era. Of course, that does not translate into MLB numbers, but he clearly has some talent. He's reporting to extended spring training this week, but keep an eye on him. He could be interesting.

1 comment:

Sweet Caroline said...

Will do - and can you imagine when Remy & Orsillo (try to) say Terumasa's name during games?- That should be fun.

I'm also rooting for Clay & JD to pull through their struggles/issues!