March 12th, 2007
In 21 days, at 4:10pm,Â Red Sox Nation will all sit down to watch the 1st game of the season–and it will not come soon enough…whooo hooo!
It was bound to happen–Daisuke had a decidedly human day–and his 1st loss in a Red Sox uniform–with a throwing error and 2 home runs. The whole line for the 4 innings of work: 4 runs (3 earned) on six hits, no walks and 3 strikeouts, throwing 63 pitches, 40 for strikes. Not the level we have come to expect, based on his body of work in the majors (4 games in Spring Training–whoo hooo.) But before anyone starts lining up at the Tobin Bridge–this should not be a surprise. He is still acclimating to his surroundings, in baseball and Red Sox Nation–he will be fine. I think expectations need to be tempered a bit this year–does anyone really expect 25 wins and a Cy Young out of this guy in 2007? Hell, I would be happy with 16 wins–and if he can completely baffle the Skanks. Julian Tavarez fared better than his last outing, not allowing a hit in his 2 innings of work, although he did walk 3.
Steady as he goes: John Lester, in his continuing program to prepare for the 2007 campaign, threw about 34 pitches in a simulated game yesterday, and, barring any unforeseen, will throw an inning or 2 in a minor-league game on Friday. While I totally agree that they should not rush him into anything, I think this progress is WAY slow–the threw 8 pitches his 1st outing, and 34 this time, now only 1-2 innings again minor leaguers? Supposedly the Sox want him stretched out to 4-5 inning by the time camp breaks in 3 weeks–at the rate they are going with him–is that a realistic expectation? Jon seems to think so: “There’s no way I can go out there and pitch against big-league hitters right now…I’m just not physically ready…every five days we’re going to get some more work in, we’re going to up the workload and, hopefully, I’ll get to pitch for [the Sox]sometime.”
Now HERE Is a horrible thought: There are a number of players I cannot stand–no matter what uniform they are in: Giambi, Soriano, Jeter, Eric Byrne….and Sheffield–I know most are/were Skankees, but 1/2 of them are no longer, and I STILL Cannot stand them–but when I heard this weekend that the Serial Killer “desperately ” wanted to play for the Sox…and he says that the Red Sox fans LIKED him: “Even when I was out in public, Boston fans would say, `Why are you hanging out with Jeter? We hate the Yankees, but we respect you.’…Maybe it’s the style of play or something else, but I always sensed the respect factor, even when I came to the plate.” Are you KIDDING me?? Respect for an arrogant malcontent who called the Sox “a disaster” during the ALCS in 2004? Who ARE these fans? UGH…
The “other” Japanese pitcher: How sucky is it for Hideki Okajima? He is the Jan Brady of the Red Sox since Daisuke is Marcia, hogging all the spotlight. But he doesn’t seem to mind operating under the radar, as evidenced by his excellent performance out of the bullpen on Saturday, striking out 4 in 2 1/3 innings. Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy…has anyone thought about his as a possible closer? According to Tito: “You have a left-hander that can maybe go a couple, three innings, that could be very valuable to us. I don’t know that he is a left-on-left guy. It looks like he has the ability to get some right-handed hitters out. In Japan…he’s been a closer, he’s been a reliever… even though he’s new here, he’s a veteran pitcher.”
Tonight: The only Spring Training game against the Skankees. Tim Wakefield gets the start, and will pitch against Carl “I think I strained something again” Pavano–have I mentioned how GRATEFUL I am the Sox did not sign this one???