Opening Week Thoughts

After Josh Beckett’s stellar performance on Opening Day, I was excited to see what the rest of the pitching staff was going to offer. I can’t say that I was thrilled with the three games that followed Josh Beckett’s, but I can say that I’m optimistic for the rest of the season. It is obvious that the Red Sox are still coming together as a whole, and transitioning from the Spring Training atmosphere to the regular season atmosphere. But as Kevin Youkilis pointed out, I’d rather be off to a slow start than have a bad finish. “There are bright things to come”. 

I was very excited for Wednesday’s game because I knew that it was going to be a pitcher’s duel. Those always keep me on the edge of my seat, even if they are a bit nerve racking. It seems to me that Lester and Kazmir serve the same purpose on their respective teams– dominant lefties. Then again, when I was in Tampa last year I did see Kazmir pitch nine straight balls. It was quite a game until around the fifth inning where the Rays exploded for four runs. I bet Carlos Pena’s home run was pretty “deflating” as Jon Lester called it. I’m trying to remember the situation, but maybe he could have put Pena on instead of pitching to him at a 3-1 count. Then there was that really weird play where Jason Bartlett had that suicide safety squeeze or whatever you call it. Poor Lester looked so lost, but at least these looks of confusion are happening at the beginning of the season rather than the middle. 
Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez looked good that game, and Takashi Saito did alright after giving up that home run on the second pitch. As soon as he gave up that home run, I thought back to that game in 2007 where Okajima gave up a home run on his very first pitch. Frustrating for sure, but then he was completely dominant the rest of the season. Perhaps there will be a similar pattern to Saito’s performance this year. The main thing that I noted about Lester though was that he wasn’t really hitting his spots. He would shake off Varitek a lot and after the first two innings, the command just wasn’t really there. If I was a pitcher on the Red Sox, I wouldn’t shake off Varitek too much. He definitely knows what he’s doing. 
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The final game of the series offered another great matchup between Matt Garza and Dice-K Matsuzaka. I swear, Matt Garza looks and acts like a snake. His tongue is always out! Whenever Dice-K pitches, I’m always a nervous wreck. This time, it wasn’t because he walked the bases loaded, he only walked three. His command wasn’t really present and he gave up three home runs.
My incessant hunger became overwhelming as I watched this game, and I needed something to munch on. Eventually, dry roasted peanuts and sunflower seeds became available. Pretty good baseball food. The more nervous I became, the more inclined I was to munch, but for the most part I was able to restrain myself… until Justin Masterson loaded up the bases in the top of the ninth. Luckily, Jacoby Ellsbury squelched my anxiety as he made a beautiful running catch.
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The next night, the Red Sox played the Angels… the first game the Angels would be playing after the tragedy. That game, I wasn’t as compulsively rooting for the Red Sox as I usually do. I was comfortable with watching a good baseball game, and I was comfortable with the fact that the Red Sox lost. There were much bigger things going on that night than winning and losing. I did rush home though, and I was the one driving so it was a lot easier to put the pedal to the metal and run those yellow lights that may have been transitioning into red. I made myself coffee because I tend to have trouble staying awake for the West Coast games, especially in a dark room. 
It must have been hard for Jered Weaver to pitch that night. I didn’t even realize until after the game that Nick Adenhart was supposed to move in with him that Friday. Weaver had 8 strikeouts in 6.2 innings, and as he walked off the mound, he pointed to the sky. That was beyond baseball. 
Brad Penny started the next game (yesterday’s) and even though his command wasn’t totally there, he still looked pretty healthy, which made me happy. I started watching this game in the third inning because I was at my grandparents house and I didn’t really expect the game to be on TV. If Brad Penny was feeling healthy, than that’s pretty good news because he will be great to have on the rotation if he is healthy. His velocity was up there, so for a guy coming off the worst season of his career, I would say that he did pretty well.
The offense finally woke up during this game. After the very first game where almost everyone got a hit, a few people fell off the radar. Kevin Youkilis was basically on fire until yesterday (still hitting .526 though) and Jacoby was just starting to wake up and get on base. Unfortunately, Pedroia and Big Papi haven’t been producing much. Big Papi is definitely due to say the least. Jason Bay came out of the gate swinging so that has made me pretty happy. Especially for a guy who generally has a pretty crappy April. I think that Mike Lowell is starting to wake up too. And where is Jed Lowrie?? He had a monster Spring, and here I am waiting for him to transition. I hope that he and Papi have big days today. 
Jonathan Palebon gave me a heart attack in the bottom of the ninth inning. First the home run to Torii Hunter, and then the bases are loaded. My grandparents are laughing at me as I bury my face in my hands and peek through them. Howard Kendrick hit something like seven foul balls in a row. Papelbon claimed to be “giggling” but I sure wasn’t– not with the bases loaded. My mother came over wondering what was going on since I had promised her that it was one more out five minutes ago. 
“Are you bad luck?” I asked somewhat accusingly as she came over. Last time she was near the vicinity, Papelbon had walked a guy, and we were not walking in the tying run. Luckily, she wasn’t bad luck, and Papelbon miraculously got out of it. I was able to breathe again. 
Last game of the Red Sox vs Angels series coming on in a little while. Can’t wait to watch Beckett pitch again, and I kind of want to see Chris Carter in this game. 

18 Comments

I just saw the benches clear at the Red Sox game. The whole Angels team wanted to take Beckett down, haha! It is tough for a pitcher to hold the ball when ‘time’ is called during his windup. There wasn’t anything intentional. Anaheim has been dealing with a lot of emotion in the last few days obviously, so this probably set it off.
-Mark
http://philliesperspective.mlblogs.com

You watched a game and ate sunflower seeds? Did you spit them out like the ball players do? LOL.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

You watched a game and ate sunflower seeds? Did you spit them out like the ball players do? LOL.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Mark: Yeah, hard to tell with Beckett though. He’s very hostile.
.
Jane: They didn’t have shells on them so no worries lol

Elizabeth – I saw the replay (We were eating Easter Dinner during that part of the game.) and I don’t think Josh let the ball fly on purpose. It was a really late call. I hope you had a great dinner – the game didn’t help digestion!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I totally agree with you about the Angels in game 1 of the series… they deserved that win. Apparently the Sox see that Lowrie isn’t producing like he did in the spring either and so they started Green today, which I think was a decent move. What are your thoughts on the “fight” that happened today?

I totally agree with you about the Angels in game 1 of the series… they deserved that win. Apparently the Sox see that Lowrie isn’t producing like he did in the spring either and so they started Green today, which I think was a decent move. What are your thoughts on the “fight” that happened today?

I totally agree with you about the Angels in game 1 of the series… they deserved that win. Apparently the Sox see that Lowrie isn’t producing like he did in the spring either and so they started Green today, which I think was a decent move. What are your thoughts on the “fight” that happened today?

Wow, what happened there on Sunday? That was quite the brawl! I guess I can’t blame Abreu, since he thought that pitch was intentional, but I have to wonder why the plate umpire allowed him to call time so late. Beckett was already well into his windup, it’s kind of tough to stop at that point.-Erinhttp://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

Citi Field looks fantastic, I agree. If you get a chance, come and say hi on my live Cover It Live blog with some other fans :-) http://ashleymarshall.mlblogs.com

Even if he didn’t let the ball fly on purpose, which I’m sure he didn’t, he could have straightened things out pretty quickly by just being like, “Sorry, man, my bad.” Instead, the replays looked like he was verbally challenging Abreu.

The big Sox question on my mind is, when is Pedroia gonna show up to play?!

Jason
http://jmays.mlblogs.com

All I know is Abreu is a really nice, non-confrontational type of player. Too bad things got out of hand, but that’s baseball.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Right now I think the Red Sox have the best bullpen in the majors.
http://metsmainman.mlblogs.com

nothing better than enjoying a game and chewing on sunflower seeds.

that confrontation by the sox-angels couldve and shouldve been avoided. beckeet and abreau are two nice guys. i was surprised it got out of hand.

http://pittpeas.mlblogs.com

Hey, Elizabeth, I love your new “updated” photo! VERY COOL!
I hope you are right about Lester. We’ll see. I have not liked what I have seen from him, not at all what he has been doing historically. I hope we’re wrong and he simply settles down. GO SOX!

By the way, your post listed again as “jacobyluv. Might want to check that out, see if you need to change something. Take care. You’re doing great! (And Pesky seems to agree!) ;)

To make up for my earlier comment about Ellsbury I want to say that I can’t wait for Chris Carter to see some at-bats either.

He has produced everywhere in minors, however, he has not had the chance to show what he can do in ‘the bigs.’ I think he is a talent, regardless. I’ve been keeping him in fantasy pool for that reason alone. He is still a very nice player to have if some gets injured.
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

I love your descprition of watching Paplebon! I know what you mean though, it can get pretty stressing :) Seems like the Red Sox are doing pretty well so far!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

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