Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sox Rising, Yankees Slipping

Doesn't everything look a little brighter today? The Sox held a terrific Opening Day, exorcising one last demon - bringing out Bill Buckner to throw out the first pitch to the ever-loved Dwight Evans (Deeewwwyy). After all the pomp and circumstance, they got down to an excellent ball game.

Dice-K Matsuzaka was masterful. His command was perfect, and he kept Detroit batters off balance all day. Dice-K has now pitched in 3 straight opening day games. That's got to be a record. The Sox have won all three of those games. We all hoped that Dice-K's second season with the Sox would work out a lot like Josh Beckett's second season with them. So far so good. Could we have two Cy Young candidates in the rotation this year? The bullpen did just as well with Manny Delcarmen shaking off the memory of the grand slam he gave up to Frank Thomas and pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings to hand it over to Hideki Okajima who wrapped up the win for his fellow countryman. Okajima seems to be picking up where he left off last year, and promises to be an anchor in the bullpen for the Sox.

The offense looked better, with JD Drew staying hot, while Youlikis, Varitek, Pedroia, and (yes) Julio Lugo all had multi-hit games. Manny attracted the most attention with his (ill-advised) decision to stretch a double into a triple. It worked out fine, but let's hope he doesn't try that too often. It was a 1-0 game at the time and he was leading off. The throw actually beat him to third base, but luckily it was off-line and sailed past the third baseman. Glad to see Manny Ramirez being aggressive, but the smarter move would have been to hold up and have a runner at 2nd base with no outs and your 5, 6, and 7 batters coming up.

Big Papi is still struggling a bit, but did come close to launching a grand slam. Hopefully he gets into a groove soon. Word is his knee is still bothering him after off-season surgery. Having him out of the lineup drastically changes things for the offense, so let's hope the knee holds up.

Good news in Pawtucket. We have been less than pleased with the Sox middle relief so far this season. On Monday, Mike Timlin threw 18 pitches in an inning of relief for the PawSox and felt great topping out at 93 mph. He is expected to join the Sox on Friday when the Yankees come to town.

Speaking of the Yankees, things are not looking to upbeat for them right now. The season is still young, so no reason for New Yorkers to start crying into their pinstriped handkerchiefs just yet. But, while the Sox were taming the Tigers at Fenway yesterday, the Yankees were getting schooled in Kansas City. The mighty A-Rod struck out four times in the game! Meanwhile, Derek Jeter will miss a few games with a groin injury and Jorge Posada is on the verge of a possible DL stint for a "dead arm". Meanwhile, rookie sensation Phil Hughes did not fare so well lasting only 3 innings in the game.

So, what does all that mean? Everything is rosy in Red Sox Nation today.

Tonight the Tigers' Jeremy Bonderman will make his first ever start in Fenway Park, matching up against Jon Lester. Lester was brilliant in his last start, and should get an emotional boost from the home crowd. Bonderman is a good pitcher, but the Sox should fare well against him. The only thing I worry about is that the Tiger is due to wake up soon. This team is predicted by many to be the best team in the AL this year. Right now they are winless at 0-7. Can Lester hold them back for one more game? Can Big Papi break out for the home town crowd? Will JD Drew stay hot and carry the team through April? Will Julio Lugo begin a march to challenge Youkilis' error-free streak? He's already one game into it.


Fenway West said...

nice post, take a look at this article riping Damon today

Fenway West said...

I added your link to Fenway West

Rooster said...

Back at you! Thank you!

Also, thanks for the article link. I was pleased to see it agrees with much of what I wrote in my personal assessment of the yankees on Monday. Pleased for 2 reasons - one is that it makes me feel good that my views seem sound, but more so that it confirms that the Yankees are not looking too sharp.

You captured it perfectly on your site. Nice catch!

~**Dawn**~ said...

LOL... Lugo... errorless streak... That's funny! ;-)

Honestly, he's only had one season his whole career where his errors were in single digits. He had 8 that year. Of course he's halfway there now...

Rooster said...


I put that Lugo comment in there just for you. I'm glad you caught it! LOL