Tuesday, April 15, 2008

#24 is Now 24th

With a tremendous swing of the bat, Manny Ramirez (number 24) moved into a tie for 24th on the all time home run list. It was home run number 493 for Manny tying him with Fred McGriff, and the legend Lou Gehrig (whose number 4 I wore on my back for most of my baseball playing days). I am sure that swing rubbed a lot of already irate Indians fans the wrong way. If you had not heard, there has been a movement in Cleveland to bean Manny for his "transgression" of watching his home run in game 4 of LAST YEAR's playoff series against Cleveland. Have you ever heard of fans holding a grudge like that? Sheesh.

There were a number of heroes yesterday, and for me, a notable one was David Ortiz. I have mentioned a number of times that the Sox offense has been weak, in part due to Big Papi's slump. That does not mean he has to hit home runs all the time, but when he goes 'o-fer' it leaves a big hole in a critical part of the lineup and shuts down the offense. Just look at the ninth inning last night. Two outs, bases empty, tie ball game. Ortiz gets on base with a bloop single, then Manny wins the game. Had Papi struck out, we lose that opportunity. Nice job Papi!

Jon Lester, I thought, was very heroic. Yes, he had a mediocre night all together, but battled well in the 4th. It looked like the Indians were about to completely blow the game open, but even though Lester was against the ropes, he did not go down. He kept the damage to 2 runs, kept the bullpen off the field a little longer, and kept the team in the game. His stuff was good again, but he needs to stay closer to the strike zone - his big issue.

The middle relief out of the bullpen was great (sigh of relief). Julian Tavarez was tremendous, coming into the game in the 5th inning with bases loaded and only one out. He proceeded to strike the next two batters out to save the day, and then went two more innings of overwhelming shutout ball to stymie the Indians. Mike Timlin, who has looked incredibly hittable recently, followed Tavarez with a snappy 1-2-3 8th inning, setting up the late heroics for Manny in the ninth.

All in all a fun game to watch. It was encouraging to see the Sox put up a great fight like that. The Sox are now 5-5 on this very challenging 13 game stretch in the schedule. We all realized that if they go roughly .500 in this stretch, they'll be doing fine. So far so good.

A few days ago I pondered how the Sox would use Jed Lowrie, who is primarily a shortstop, as an aid to the ailing Mike Lowell, who plays third base. Tonight we will find out as Terry Francona has indicated Lowrie will be in the starting lineup. Terry has not committed to where Lowrie will play, but he seems to be leaning towards putting Lowrie in at third, moving Kevin Youkilis back to first, and giving Sean Casey the night off. Always fun to get a look at the young talent. Let's hope he has a good, and memorable night.
(AP Photos/Mark Duncan - from ESPN.com)


Suldog said...

That blooper was just what Papi needed to bust it. Something innocuous like that, so he knows he isn't snake-bitten, will go a long way.

Rooster said...

You said it, Sul! In general, Papi has been getting the bat on the ball, but between bad luck and the "shift" there always seems to be someone standing right where he hits it. I have been in that same situation at times. You don't want to change your approach for fear of messing up your swing, but you get frustrated that the batter in front of you hits a grounder through to left and yours is stabbed by the shortstop for an out at first. Just getting any type of hit builds back the confidence.

~**Dawn**~ said...

Lester worries me. I just don't see what the hype is about with him. He gives up a lot of hits almost every time he pitches. Granted, he gets out of many jams, but having runners that like can lead to disaster.

I am definitely with you on coming out of the first three weeks of the schedule at .500 because the schedule has not been all that favorable.

Bring on some Jed Lowrie. Where ever they play him tonight, I hope he shines. Stap One in my Master Plan for the exit of The Human Void. >=] Bwahahaha.

Rooster said...

The thing about Lester is he throws a very nice pitch - and being so young, if they can refine his control (which is all about mechanics) he will be very effective. He does not have the overpowering stuff of a young Roger Clemens or Josh Beckett, so he needs to be more precise rather than just blow it by you.

I bet you'd rather see Lowrie at short today rather than at third. This is his chance to get noticed!

~**Dawn**~ said...

I just felt like last year, no one wanted to be critical of him because he was The Kid Who Beat Cancer. His pitching is just so inconsistent. It has been from day one. I know that a lot of that boils down to immaturity, but in the mean time, I find his starts very frustrating to watch, personally. I like the kid but if his mechanics are that out of whack, perhaps a little more time in Pawtucket would serve him well.

Oh I am hoping he shines whichever position he plays tonight, because I still believe that, with his natural position being SS, it's Lugo's shadow he is standing in. Wonder if that will make Lugo a little nervous tonight...